In the first month of the New Year, you might be trying to set new intentions and engage in more healthy habits. Many people ride this wave of self-improvement for a while, only to return to old patterns that don’t serve them. In Ashtanga Yoga, we break this cycle through consistent daily practice.
From an Ashtanga Yoga standpoint, the New Year occurs during a Rajasic time period, which is based on the concept of Rajas (or energetic activity). You feel inspired to eat healthy, exercise more, and put aside negative habits. For many who maintain their New Year resolutions for an extended period, it is followed by the Sattvic time period.
The Sattvic time period is based on the concept of Sattva (or balance). During this period, you feel healthy, happy and accomplished. Unfortunately, this satisfaction meets with tempting proposals and the mind says you deserve a treat for being so good. Without heightened awareness, this leads to the next phase – the Tamasic time period.
The Tamasic time period, based on the concept of Tamas (or inertia). You start engaging in old habits, landing you back to square one. When you ultimately become dissatisfied with this state, you reignite your Rajasic flame of energy and activity and embark on a new phase of doing healthy things for yourself.
In Ashtanga Yoga, you hear a lot about not being pulled by the turnings of your mind or the whims of your senses. When the three states – Rajas, Sattva and Tamas (the three Gunas) – fall out of balance you are pulled in one direction then back in another and it is difficult to feel grounded. This vicious cycle must be broken.
With a consistent Ashtanga Yoga practice, you learn to use your mind to bring intention to your will to manifest and sustain new behavior. The goal is to cultivate a Sattvic state (balance) all year round and change the pattern of ups and downs that usually accompany daily life. Making a resolution to do Ashtanga yoga will, over time, help you keep your other resolutions. That’s just one of the fruits brought to bear by this practice.