We have a cultural obsession with the concept of the New Year. We’re constantly looking for a new version of ourselves. This is all manifested in the enthusiastic display, but often empty realm of "resolutions."
The New Year holds such promise because it encapsulates the possibility that not only will the year be different, but so will you! “In 2015 I eat will better, master Flying Crow, work harder, be healthier, and become a “lunatarian” who subsists solely on moonbeams!”
This marker in time is significant mostly because we feel like it is a chance to reboot our operating system and become the 2.0 version of ourselves.
The Complexity of Change
Once February comes around though, the complexity and complications of change overwhelm the fantasy. We start to lose hope that change is possible, and that disappointment festers and pools in the gutters of our consciousness.
Yet here is the thing. We can’t think about becoming a “new and improved” shiny version of the self, because that implies that we aren’t already who we want to be. That person you are striving to become, you already are…Just not as often as you like.
Change feels like such a daunting notion because of the assumption that you need to completely transform from one thing into another—like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
By the way, I’ve heard that when the caterpillar is in the chrysalis about to experience the metamorphosis, it actually thinks it is going to die. I have no idea how anyone would know that, because who knows what caterpillars think about, but it is still an interesting idea, okay!?
You Are Already Your Best Self
Just like our fellow worms, transmutation feels terrifying to us. As much as we want to resolve to be a new person for the New Year, we are also petrified of leaving behind the familiar—even if it is causing us pain.
The objective isn’t to suddenly grow wings out of your ribs and fly, but rather be the parts of yourself that you already like—just more often.
There are plenty of times that you are kind, eat broccoli, take the stairs, work with passion, don’t yell, demonstrate empathy, prioritize others, and hold a Handstand even if only for a second. You already do all those things—so do them more.
Be that person as much as you can, rather than the part of you that is destructive to yourself or others.
The practice of yoga is a constant reminder that evolution is incremental. ~Toni Nagy
As a physical tradition, yoga is built upon a basic foundation that you extrapolate from. You don’t suddenly expect yourself to strike Scorpion Pose if your spine isn’t flexible enough for Full Wheel.
In order to accomplish one thing, you have to first take steps towards it. Time, intentionality, and patience are the core elements of advancement. The asanas serve as a metaphor for the journey of personal growth because they are clear delineations of the path of progress.
It is only when you open up one part of yourself that you can more effortlessly move to the next.