It’s six o’clock in the evening and you’ve had a hellish day at work. It’s raining, you were stuck in traffic for almost an hour, the new puppy just made a mess on the floor, you haven’t even thought about dinner…there’s no way you’re making it to yoga tonight.
Let’s try this scenario another way. You promised a friend you’d meet her to help her switch out her wardrobe for fall. It’s been in your phone for weeks, and she texted you this morning to make sure you can still come by. But you’re so tired, and still kind of hungover from last night, and there’s nothing in the fridge...so you tell your friend you can’t make it after all.
Life gets crazy. Things come up. We can’t see the future and know that we’re going to be tired, or cranky, or late. (Although, side note, wouldn’t that be amazing?)
What we can do is make commitments – reasonable commitments, sure, but also strict ones. We can make promises to ourselves and others. And then…not break them.
Baptiste yoga – what we practice here at Uprise – is all about commitment. Baptiste yoga teaches us that when we commit to our health, our wellbeing, and our happiness, everything changes. When we commit to showing up to yoga, commit to being mindful of our health, and commit to being authentic with ourselves and with others, we undergo a radical transformation.
Suddenly, when we say we’re going to yoga at 6:30, we make it. It’s not that our life suddenly got less hectic or the puppy decided not to make a mess. Instead, we made a promise: we put yoga at the very top of our planner and scheduled everything else around it. We carved out that time for our health and happiness. We made a commitment and honored it.
Suddenly, when we say we’re going to eat better, we do. It’s not that Panda Express looked any less tempting on the way home from work or that chocolate chip cookies stopped being delicious. Instead, we researched a diet plan that seemed like a long-term plan we could stick to, cleaned out the fridge, and starting packing our lunches the night before. We made a commitment and showed up to do the work.
Our friend asks us for help. We tell her we can. We set a date, put it in our phone, and schedule that commitment into our day, no negotiations. We made a promise and kept it.
Making promises like these can seem overwhelming. It’s really, really hard to make a plan knowing from the get-go that you’re not giving yourself any wiggle room. But at the end of the day, making promises to yourself and others – knowing you’re going to keep every one of those promises – makes you powerful. It’s not a restrictive way to live your life. It’s freeing. You’re not beholden to life’s craziness anymore. You don’t have to doubt that you’re going to be successful with that diet, or that new class, or that responsibility.
And doesn’t it feel good to accomplish something huge that could have never predicted? Like the moment when – after months of practice – you finally nail Handstand. Or when you’ve been eating clean and exercising, and after you run up six flights of stairs, you feel great. Or when your friends tell you that they can always count on you because you always stick to your word. And when your boss sees the same thing, and offers you an amazing promotion.
All of this happens because you make the commitment and you honor it. You show up to do the work. And from there, only incredible things can happen.
Anna Squires studies political science, journalism, and creative writing at Colorado College. There is nothing she enjoys more in a yoga class than laughing so hard she falls out of a pose, especially since then she doesn’t have to hold it anymore. She hails from Atlanta, GA.