Routines are good things.
They keep us on track each day and help get things done.
Routines are prisons.
They bind us to mindless and numbing tasks that keep us from being creative.
Change is difficult and challenging. Breaking habits is hard and it is much easier to just go on as we have been.
One of the best things I like about yoga is how it helps me to look at myself and begin to change. I can find ways to make small changes slowly that add up over time to significant ones.
Because it is yoga it is my body I am working with and my body is something I have pretty easy access to. The changes are ways in which I move or sit or stand; they make me more comfortable. I make changes in little ways such as how I carry the weight on my feet or turn a leg or shoulder, or remind myself to adjust in the chair at the desk: over and over again during the day, the week, the month. Slowly these changes become the habit. I have learned not to judge myself or my progress. I realize that in my daily yoga practice I can recognize the original pattern and work on something in my poses, then at the end be satisfied with that work I’ve done that day, tomorrow will bring another chance. Later during the day there is a muscle memory that tweaks my conscious memory to move a little differently, or vice versa. Slowly over time it adds up to a larger and larger change. Of course there are frustrations from time to time. I don’t do as well as I wish or as I have done before, but there are also times when it feels as if I’ve jumped ahead, or I can appreciate steady progress.
More importantly I’ve also found that this “take it slowly” and “do what you can without being too judgmental” attitude with myself has spilled over into the way I think about and treat other people. I find myself more tolerant and less judgeful of them and find it easier to try to put myslef into their perspective to see what it is that is motivating who and what they are. I am more liberated in both my self and in how I relate to others, more relaxed and eager to learn and explore new ideas and ways of thinking.