It is already the end of January and in the first month of a brand new year I sometimes get wild ideas. The blank slate of the new number is an excuse for resolutions which are often left behind within a few weeks. For me, January is the month of steadiness. It does not mean I don’t make changes. I pay attention to what is needed, just listening before I make any sudden move. I tend to do that at various points of the year too, especially after breaks in routine, like holidays. In January, though, the depth of dark and cold winter in the Northern hemisphere, I aim for steadiness in everything I do: reflective, deliberately slow, using stabiliser muscles in my physical practice. Everywhere I can, I ground.
Steadiness for me is walking on firm ground, with balance and trusting gravity, using support if needed. It is finding the earth quality (one of the five elements I am made of) within me, as my teacher Kia invites me to do. In yoga, steadiness is one of the two wings of the physical practice, the other being ease. Both are needed to fly and with one the other is nourished. When I am steady in what I do, it becomes easier at some point.
The more dramatic the change I want to make, the slower I need to go to be steady or the more support I may need. For example, this year, I want to change a habit that although small, it is very well established in my day to day. I do it every day and it does not serve me. It does nothing for me and makes me waste time, even if it is comforting at the level of instant gratification. Because of this grip it has on my mind, I have had to go cold turkey, which is very de-stabilising. So in order to be steady in my resolution, I have had to replace that habit with something else, less wasteful, more wholesome but with similar gratification characteristics. I am finally beginning to see the grip of my old habit loosening, and I am glad I decided to change it.
And for that to be steady, I also had to concentrate my efforts on changing one small thing, a vey concrete one, rather than writing a wish list of what I think my ideal self should be. Just that little thing has taken considerable effort. But it is getting better and then walking steadily on the face of the earth might become easy and graceful like a dance.