“After living in the dark for so long, a glimpse of the light can make you giddy.” ~ Jennifer Aniston, The Good Girl
I am a long time Jennifer Aniston fan, especially because she loves yoga. I like that we share this sameness.
To be honest I was drawn to this movie originally because of the title. I felt the impact of being a “good girl” and doing everything just right. The problem about sameness is that we can easily convince ourselves that if we do everything “right”—if we are good girls and boys—then life will always remain stable. This gives us a false sense of security.
Quite frankly forcing ourselves to do things the same everyday—even our yoga—is exhausting!
We all form habits as we go through life. Yoga teaches us that even our good habits keep us from growing spiritually. This is because habits are by definition an attachment to a pattern of behavior, or a form of dependence. So a key principle of yoga is to break our attachments.
This includes not just our attachments to material objects (like needing chocolate to be happy), but also attachments to only seeing things in one way or repeating the same thoughts over and over. Yoga gives us a chance to examine our behavioral patterns and realize that our habits—even the good ones—keep us stuck.
Only then can we begin to break those attachments to allow true spiritual growth to begin.
Alex Levin puts it like this, “Habits allow us to not think about what we’re doing . . . giving us the illusion of ease. When we are under the illusion of ease, not thinking about what we’re doing. Breathing the same old way, moving the same old way, thinking the same old way we check out of the present, out of happiness itself.”
Taking a time out by going on a yoga retreat is a safe environment where we can step back and see our true selves, taking time to watch the thoughts or behaviors that hold us back. We quickly realize there is a lot of clutter to get through.
As Thomas Keating puts it, “We are kept from the experience of Spirit because our inner world is cluttered with past traumas. As we begin to clear away this clutter, the energy of light and love begins to flow through our beings.”
Going on a personal retreat is for me the easiest way to go beyond the ordinary routine. We break free of repeating the way we lived yesterday, last week, last month…today.
On retreat you are in a different ecology, your connectivity to technology is usually not the same as at home, what you eat and do is extraordinary. The conversations you have with others are not a repetition of the same language you use at home with your local tribe. There is a newness even in the ordinariness of your personal beauty routine.
This experience beyond the ordinary allows you to do your best yoga. The yoga that teaches it is possible to change the old paradigm of self-limiting beliefs and instead choose happiness in a new way every day.
Physicist Max Planck said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” That is what a yoga retreat offers you. You change the ordinary habits and all of sudden you see yourself, your potential, your life in a whole new way.
When on retreat we make that quantum leap in changing how we see the world from the inside out. And the changes we experience in how we think go with us way beyond the days of a personal retreat. The ripples are deep, extraordinary and long-lasting.
Read the full article on Elephant Journal click below.