Take Time To Reflect

When I was in my twenties, I started practicing yoga. Though I was mostly interested in the physical benefits of yoga, the mind/body connection was hard to ignore. As I deepened my practice and eventually became a yoga teacher, I started to really pay attention to how yoga was impacting my overall health.  In particular, I noticed that I was becoming more aware of how my thought patterns were influencing my overall mood and well-being. My positive habits were amplified and the behaviors that weren’t serving me well were starting to diminish. In other words, I was embracing what was good for me and I was letting go of bad habits.  In yoga, these patterns are called Samskaras. Repeating our Samskaras creates deeper grooves, making our habits harder and harder to change. This can be good; always wearing a seatbelt in the car, banning electronics at mealtimes, keeping a journal/planner. However, negative Samskaras can also be just as powerfully ingrained in our daily lives.

The transition to a new calendar year is a great time to think about our patterns and habits, or Samskaras.  It is a fresh start. Even though the school year is in full swing, students can also think about January as a time to re-set.  What has been working well? What habits are worth holding on because they serve us well? To look ahead, we often have to look back.

Here are some questions students should ask themselves to reflect on the first half of the academic year.

  • I am most proud of my academic accomplishment in ______ class, because ______.

  • If I could go back and do it again to get a better result, I would ____________ (think about a class in which you could have done a better job preparing for a test, or participating in class).

  • I have spent most of my time (when I'm not in class at school) on this activity ____________________.

  • I wish I had more time to ____________________________.

After taking the time to contemplate what worked, articulate new goals to create healthy habits.

  • My academic goals for the next three months include ___________.

  • By the end of the school year, I hope to ______________.

  • In order to accomplish my goals, I need to do the following three things ___________ ___________ ___________.

About a month into the new year, check in and see how you are doing.  Did you follow through with your action plan? Have things changed in your life?  Are there any goals/habits that need to be adjusted as a result of life’s unexpected twists and turns?

As we transition into 2019, let’s take the time to be thoughtful about holding on to what is good for us and letting go of habits that do us any favors. And let me know if you want to come to my yoga class!