Why I’m not making a New Year’s resolution this year. By Victoria Jackson
Iused to be really big on New Year’s resolutions. I love setting targets, making plans, measuring progress. There’s nothing like an improvement project – and of course the ultimate such project is oneself!
On the face of it making resolutions to improve ourselves in some way can only be a good thing. But looking at this from a yoga perspective, New Year’s resolutions and such conscious self-improvement now seem a bit ego-driven, a bit too goal-oriented, and by definition all about the future rather than the now. None of this fits well with how I practice my yoga, where I deliberately try to observe and accept how things are rather than getting caught up in shoulds, musts, and what ifs.
I could all too easily come up with a whole list of things to improve in my yoga practice. But I’m deliberately not plotting a timetable for achieving an unsupported headstand, nor planning what hamstring-stretching regime might help me work my legs perfectly straight in a deep Uttanasana (standing forward fold), and I’m not setting targets for the length of my daily meditation practice.
More important than these kinds of objectives is simply to step onto the mat or drop my bottom down onto the cushion regularly without any goal or ambition. Although it can feel counter-intuitive, letting go of the aims can be very liberating and rewarding. In fact yoga is probably the one area of my life where I feel I have the freedom to do whatever I want, simply to explore and be curious, without needing to gain a particular result or reward. Why would I change that?
So if I were to set a New Year’s resolution it would simply be about continuing my Sadhana, my regular practice, and to worry less about what might happen in the future. There’s no app to help me and no chart to show my progress. I can’t tick it off as a job done, kilos lost, pounds saved, countries visited, books read…the resolutions I used to make. I can’t measure it because yoga will always – beautifully – be a work in progress. The power of the practice lies in the daily resolve to experience it and to accept it. Change will just happen
So with the much-quoted words of Pattabhi Jois in mind – “practice and all is coming”. It’s time for me to roll out that mat…
Happy New Year everyone!
Victoria Jackson lives and practices in Oxford. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as a vinyasa yoga teacher.