On Supta Virasana and sticking to resolutions

There’s nothing like a public resolution to shame spur me to action. In July I vowed to do Supta Virasana daily, and nothing short of catastrophe could’ve kept me from a perfect record.

One evening, the temperature inside was still in the 70s (a veritable heat wave in Vancouver) and a bunch of windows were open for ventilation. Suddenly I detected the distinct odor of… skunk. “Hurry, close the windows!” Of course, that only locked in heat and smell, yet I dragged out my props and braced myself for five nauseated minutes in the pose.

Some days, the pose felt fine, if never quite soft and still. Other days, my knees rebelled and I noted the leap from Virasana to Supta Virasana. I experimented with different prop set-ups and with pre-stretching my psoas and quadricep muscles.

On August 1, did I do Supta Virasana? Uh…

The whole point of doing Supta Virasana daily was really to set a habit. I do other poses daily, without question. Some I prescribed for myself whether I liked them or not; others I loved from the start. Supta Virasana? They say a habit takes three or four weeks to stick. For me, Supta Virasana might take three or four months.

Losing my sweet tooth

I considered other resolutions that I’ve made. Two years ago, I wrote a post, Sugar, sleep, and Steve Nash, on a New Year’s resolution to stop eating refined sugar. While my diet seemed healthy, I had a sweet tooth and craved dessert after dinner or a treat with my tea. When I read that NBA basketball star Steve Nash attributes his athletic longevity to consuming a no-sugar diet and getting enough sleep, I was intrigued. If such simple things keep him playing pro ball, they’d surely keep me healthy and fit!

To my surprise I quickly lost my taste for sugar, or perhaps I became extra sensitive to it. It’s as if my taste buds changed. I can still appreciate homemade pie and dark, dark chocolate, but a little goes a long way now. And I have no need for a resolution as “enforcement.”

Sticking to a resolution is not enough

I’m not trying to advocate this or that behavior, but to show that a resolution can (and should) become a new habit, a non-issue, a natural way of life. The commonly made resolution to spend more time with family is successful only if priorities actually shift. It doesn’t count if one is grudgingly staying home or texting while pushing the stroller or walking the dog. If keeping a resolution is forced and a burden, it’s unsuccessful in my book. If, without the resolution’s enforcement pressure, one would go back to old habits, what’s the point?

If I immediately stopped doing Supta Virasana once July was over, I didn’t quite turn the corner as I’d expected I would. Retry in September.

Image: TheCartoonPictures, Pepe Le Pew

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4 thoughts on “On Supta Virasana and sticking to resolutions

  1. I will do it with you :). Regardless of whether I am in yvr or sfo. Doing something together with friends is a big motivation for me. Thanks again!!

  2. establishing a habit almost always involves falling a few times. little by little you fall less and less often and, eventually, you’ve gotten it. patience is the most important thing. without it, you won’t get up again and again until you’ve got it. instead your self critic will win the day telling you she knew you couldn’t do it and come up with some excuse.

    habits take a lot of time, focus, perseverance, and a lot of humour and compassion for yourself when you miss the mark.

    translation: supta v, see you every day in september! (or sometimes the goal needs to be made a little easier so that it’s fun and you want to do it, rather than feeling (even not-so-consciously) resentful about your homework.

    che

    1. Well put, Che. Here’s another thought: One cannot juggle too many goals at once. There a limit to our time and attention, and we must choose the most important. Me, I typically try to do too much at the same time. Too many balls in the air and they’ll all fall down!

      Warm wishes from gloriously foggy San Francisco,
      LY

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