Maybe it’s not just a mouse
Habits . . . they’re everywhere. Even without realizing it we create habits for the way we do most repetitive tasks. Sometimes that’s good. Habits can make us more efficient, less likely to make a mistake. Other times habits are there even though we don’t realize it – and can keep us from growing and experiencing new things.
It all started with a mouse . . . a computer mouse. I teach yoga in the studio about once or twice a week. When students arrive I check them in at the computer and process any purchases they may wish to make. The studio computer does not have a mouse. (And here’s where I am likely showing my age!) Everyone else at the studio uses the touchpad. I can use a touchpad, but I’m pretty inefficient. So I started bringing a spare mouse with me to the studio. Who doesn’t travel with a mouse tucked into their yoga bag? I use the mouse whenever I teach and then put it back in my bag. Then one evening I left the mouse at the studio. My secret was out! And it prompted the question . . . do I really need to use the mouse? The mouse is a habit. Instead of spending a little time becoming more efficient with the touchpad I did the work around – bringing a mouse to the studio to support my mouse habit. Will I always need to travel with a mouse? That seems crazy!
Lots of habits are good . . . putting on your seatbelt before you drive, drinking lots of water, eating healthy food, regularly putting money away for a rainy day, brushing your teeth. These are all easy to recognize as good habits. Other habits are bad . . . smoking, eating too much fast food, texting and driving. Those are clearly bad habits. Good habits generally keep us safe and healthy and can open us up to more good experiences. Bad habits can bring on bad things (i.e. smoking and lung cancer) or keep us stuck in place.
Many habits we develop may not really fall into the bad category . . . but they may still get in the way of learning new things and having new experiences. Always go to a one hour hot yoga class? That can be a habit that’s getting in your way. Maybe you tell yourself you go to the one hour because you can’t do the 90 minute class. That keeps you stuck and limits the classes you can attend. Perhaps break the habit – try the 1 ½ hour class. Once in the class you can choose how you practice – you can still choose to do only one of each posture, standing in mountain or sitting during the second set. Feel cooked an hour into class – just lie down on your mat and enjoy some extra savasana time. Letting go of the one hour “habit” can help you see new options.
New experiences can open us up to all sorts of opportunities – help us feel powerful, refreshed, out of the old “grind”. It’s also good for our brains – creating new pathways, helping us see things differently. That mouse . . . it may not be bad but I’m pretty sure it’s not a good habit. And breaking that habit certainly isn’t on the list of things that are hard to do . . . it’s not like trying to understand organic chemistry, running a marathon or figuring out how to download pictures from iCloud . . . those are all really hard! I’ll just spend a little time here and there using the touch pad and leaving the mouse at home. Not only will I no longer need to travel with a mouse, it may well help me see some other habits that are getting in the way of new experiences. Hope you’ll find a habit to break too!
Jen took her first yoga class at a London YMCA in 1984 – and loved it. That was over 30 years ago and she’s been practicing ever since. A long distance runner and triathlete, Jen credits yoga with keeping her body healthy and injury free. Yoga was the calming influence in her life when running her own business and raising 3 children.
Jen has her 200 hour teaching certification and enjoys sharing her love of hot yoga with her students. She believes incorporating yoga into every day is key – postures, breathing or meditation – just take a little time for yoga every day to reap timeless rewards. Jen loves the outdoors - hiking, biking, camping, traveling – always taking her yoga with her.