Past the Mayan apocalypse that never happened, congratulations yogis and yoginis -- we made it into 2013! The ushering of a new year always comes the routine of the proverbial New Year’s Resolutions. Now that we are just about done with the first month of the year, statistics have shown that most resolutions have dissolved into thin air at around this time. How are you guys doing? The “2000-something will be my year“ spiel is something I’m guilty of. In other years, it’s “Why set a resolution?” talk you’ll hear from me, too! Whatever stance I assume to begin the year with, I always seem to end it exactly how I started – with my resolutions as just resolutions, and the supposed “Year of My Life” kind of ordinary. Negative habits resurface after a while, and before I knew it, I would land back to square one. It made me think.
Resolutions are always set in a negative context. They are usually about what we should NOT do, should NOT eat, should NOT think, and the list goes on. There is a lot of effort we put into what we want to CHANGE. As much as that works for a while, it’s not as sustainable as we think. We fuel whatever we give our attention to and if it is put into taking away from ourselves, it’s impossible to achieve something by simply muscling our way towards what we can’t clearly see ourselves doing.
I read through my yoga notebook and came across a word that made me realize what would change this pattern I can’t seem to break: Sankalpa. This Sanskrit word literally is defined as “intention” - directing our energy towards a goal we have chosen and surrendering attachment to the fruits of our efforts. We do it a lot in our asana (posture) practice and usually without much thought. Practicing Sankalpa is to embody a more positive quality into our lives; it is being instead of just wanting.
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Change happens when you claim it. When you take control over the decisions you make and the way you shape your life because the truth is, quoting Will Lau of Jivamukti yoga, "The world you live in comes FROM you not AT you". It's easy to fall into the victim complex and make all the excuses to not go through something that challenges what we feel we are capable of and might have the tendency to bruise our egos. Change comes with difficulty though. I used to be a whiner. I used to fold whenever things got hard. Which is probably why my resolutions have never worked before! What yoga has taught me through the years is to take the good in with the bad, take a deep breath and approach these difficulties with a sense of receptiveness and acceptance because that is what I have at that very moment.
So this year, I am starting what I would like to call The Sankalpa Project. I am throwing away the tired New Year’s Resolutions and will make an effort to truly exude the things I intend to achieve. In 2013, I will BE more firm with and bound to the decisions I make. There it is, I claimed it and it is going to happen. What is your sankalpa?
If our lives are shaped by the choices we make and change comes from within, we all need to allow our sankalpa to be true extensions of who we are. It is easier to stick to whatever you start if you know exactly why you’re doing it and if that vision is absolute, our goals become easier to reach. The Universe conspires to give us what we work for if we open ourselves up to it.
Here we go 2013! It is going to be an amazing year. (I'm claiming that too.)
If someone told me that I would lose weight by the end of this year, I would’ve laughed. Not that I was conscious, but my weight was something that I always problematic about growing up (forever fat kid!) that I kind of just accepted that I was just going to be one of those people who would never be thin and I was okay with that since I didn’t care much for my looks. It was only at the middle of 2012 that I finally had enough and got my butt up and started to do yoga at Beyond Yoga.
My first impression of yoga was nothing short of confused. I honestly didn’t get the point of all of it when I was starting out. How was all this stretching and bending going to make someone lose weight? Well, I saw how people who would regularly practice yoga got thinner so there must have been something yoga was doing right.
I started doing yoga around July 2012 for 2-3 times a week and eventually started taking it seriously at around September 2012 by going 5-6 times a week. I wanted to look for a class that would help me improve my strength and flexibility and started taking Ashtanga, making it my main practice. Eventually, I started taking the other classes at Beyond Yoga as well and got into Power Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga for a faster, cardio-like style that would make me sweat and work on my strength, as well as Yin Yoga and Anti Gravity Yoga to improve on my flexibility. It was convenient that the studio had different kinds of classes to offer that I was able to focus on different aspects of my practice. The harder the classes got, the more I worked and the more I started to fall in love with yoga.
I always believe that environment plays a big role in enjoying something; I can definitely say that Beyond Yoga covered that aspect in my journey to weight loss. Entering the studio every day was always something I looked forward to when I would and take a class because, aside from the actually practice, what made It all enjoyable were the teachers, the staff, the students and even the general atmosphere of the studio. Coming into the studio was like coming home to family, a fun-loving yoga family. In the studio, I learned a lot of lessons that I practice in my day-to-day life. It was through my teachers that I learned patience, self-control, self-worth, and forgiveness to my practice and myself. From the staff and my fellow classmates, I learned how to be dedicated into something that you love and to understand with where you are in your practice.
It came to a point that I was happy that I lost weight without me realizing it and I was feeling good about myself that I stopped caring about the numbers on the scale but started to concentrate on having better form, better balance, better jump backs, better inversions, better binds, generally a better practice. Also, because I was concentrated in having a better practice, I wanted to eliminate the things in my life that were hindering me, and that meant stopping my vices, sleeping early and even eating healthier. Eventually, I guess from not constantly monitoring about the pounds I lost each week, I was able to lose more weight and got better at yoga.
I have always been a lazy person in general so the fact that I got to where I am in a span of 7-8 months still amazes me that I still can’t believe that I have done it. I guess it was all a matter of finding something that made you feel good about yourself, that’s what yoga, my yoga teachers, my fellow classmates, and what the whole of Beyond Yoga did for me. Through yoga and through the support I got from the studio, I finally was able to find something that makes me feel good about myself, that challenges me and helps me constantly strive to be a better person, not just physically but mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and everything in between.
I wish I can impart secrets to how I lost the weight, but I don’t. It was just purely hard work and discipline. I still have 20-30 pounds to lose, but I’m in not in a hurry. I want to be able to lose the weight while having fun and not starving myself. I don’t want to be skinny; I do enjoy my curves. I am looking forward to the day I finally reach my goal, but until then, I’m learning to love myself a little more each day.
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