It’s no secret that old habits die hard, and it’s true. Whether it’s unconsciously snapping out when we’re stressed, or grabbing a glass or three of wine after work, the neurons in our brains build stronger connections every time we do something. When a habit becomes unconscious, it is nearly impossible to change, simply because we aren’t even aware of the action any more.
The good news is that our brains – and our lives – are able to change. This ability is called neuroplasticity. Just as the neuron cells in our brains build stronger connections to old habits, our neurons are also able to create all new connections as soon as we start working on another practice. Keep at it, and over time, you can change the way your brain is wired to really change your life.
Our brains are incredibly powerful, and filling the space used for an old, negative habit with something new and positive can help sustain powerful changes. The biggest challenge is often getting started, and then nurturing the new connections as they are first being built. This is where yoga helps. The practice of observing ourselves, starting with the breath, builds awareness of how things are. As we work to observe, we finally become able to see reality without blowing by it in our busy lives.
Yoga can be an intense practice of physical postures or as (seemingly) simple as observing the breath and the mind. No matter what variation of yoga works best for you on any given day, it can provide the space we need to make a new choice without immediately reacting as we might have in the past.
Whether you seek to change a habit or something physical about your life, having a community to support you in your change can make a huge difference to your success. Talk to those you love about your goal to enlist their support. Even if you don’t find yourself with sympathetic ears at home, just coming to practice with a yoga community in a group class can be a huge help in sustaining your personal commitment to change.
Scholé REFRESH will be starting this Thursday evening, January 7, and the 100-hour Scholé Yoga University Level 1 begins February 20. Whatever your goals, join us to learn new skills in changing habits as you begin your own personal journey of transformation in 2016.