How I broke a bad habit.

It’s been said that to create a habit you need to do the same thing for 21 days. But nobody talks about you how many days it takes to break a habit?

Something interesting happened to me in Costa Rica at Yoga Teacher Training. After doing yoga every morning for 21 straight days I broke a habit. One that had been causing me a great deal of pain.

It all happened all because of our 6 am morning yoga practice. Every morning for 21 days we practiced yoga for two hours, in silence.

There’s an unexplainable magic at this early hour on the yoga platform at Caribe Yoga Academy. The colors of the sky majestically appear and the ocean comes into view. The air is alive with jungle sounds yet devoid of human voices. The tranquility of it all gives one immense space to think and BE.

I will not lie, there was a lot of resistance in my body when the alarm went off. Our days were full, I was tired and I wanted to sleep. Yet each morning I woke up and made it to my mat, the sky and jungle always there to greet me.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a bad habit of laying in bed when I first wake up, scanning the day ahead and making judgments. Thoughts like, “I’m looking forward to this. I’m dreading that.  I wish I didn’t have to wake up and do this…” You get the picture.

By the end of the first week I saw this conversation and for the first time I felt it’s rippling consequences in my life. I noticed I was judging how morning practice was going to go, debating if it was worth it to get up, telling myself how much I disliked early morning activities. I noticed the angst in my body as I debated and analyzed. Creating stories that it was unfair and unnecessary.

The interesting thing is I really enjoyed these morning practices. As the days went on a new understanding of myself was coming into view. I realized I could resist something and want something at the same time.

The big ah ha moment came around day 17 when I realized that this bad habit of mine was actually sabotaging what I wanted in my life.

I knew that I wanted the feeling I got from morning practice more than I wanted sleep.

That the expansiveness I felt on the mat was powerful and that I didn’t want to talk myself out of this experience.  I was ready to stop listening to the talk in my head.

The discipline of these 21 days gave me the time, space and clarity to break a bad habit. I don’t want to anticipate, label and judge tomorrow, next week or even next year. I’d rather show up and let it unfold.

Contributed by Meg Williams of Modalities That Heal

Photo by Yousef Espanioly OM at Cashew Hill Puerto Viejo Costa Rica