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3 things Aristotle knew about Forming Habits

Stacey Astley-Clark gets philosophical about reaching your highest potential Aristotle; the Classical Greek philosopher, famous for his teaching on Virtue Ethics knew a thing or two about becoming your best self. It was his belief that the secret to enlightenment lies somewhere between Instinct and habit.  In other words, if we can create enough positive habits to outweigh our animal urges, we’re heading for nirvana. According to Aristotle, habits are a kind of ‘second nature’. An instinctual power that is potent enough to propel us in the direction of our goals or drag us into a ‘lesser’ version of ourselves. Which is why it’s so important to cultivate positive habits. And while you might not reach Samadhi in the 5.15pm Essentials (although I know stories of people who have) it’s fair to say that most of us practise for more than just the Yoga body.    It’s not something we need to over analyse or think too deeply about (unless you’re fascinated by the psychology of yoga, like me).  Simply noticing how happier we feel after a class or how our stress levels have plummeted can be enough to acknowledge Yoga’s subtler workings. If repeated over and over again, the practice of Yoga can quite literally transform your life.  It has the power to improve your relationships, your health, even your career.  But you can’t just dip in and out.  Yoga has to become embedded in your life.  It needs to become a habit and that can be harder than it sounds. So here are 3 ways to help turn your Yoga practice into a Yoga habit: 1. PRACTICE MORE. It sounds simple, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.  And eventually waking up and coming to class, will be as instinctive as brushing your teeth.And if you are a BodyMindLife member, the more you come, the cheaper it gets.  Our dedicated daily yogis pay just $5 a class! 2. CONTEMPLATE  HOW GOOD YOU FEEL.    Rather than just throwing on your clothes and racing into work after class, take a few minutes to reflect on what’s happening beneath the surface.The more you can recognise the transformation that’s taking place, the prouder you’ll feel and you’ll be more continue.In fact, Aristotle believed that that creating positive habits also reduced your negative behaviours….further helping you become a person of virtue! 3. GO DEEPER The more you understand the science of yoga, the more you’ll get out of it (& the more you’ll want to practice).    So many of our teaching training students are people who’ve reached a point in their yoga journey when they just want to know more.  You might end up teaching at BodyMindLife (like Christian Ralston & Azra Mustafa) or sharing your gift with the homeless like graduate Sonja Duncan. Or you might just solidify the most transformative habit of your life. Remember, studies show it takes 66 days to form a true habit.  So have patience.  Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon.  The most important thing is getting back up and starting again. Even Aristotle found it hard…

“I count him braver who conquers his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is the victory over self"


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