By Gopi Rao
Yoga training isn't very invasive for a therapy that can cause so many positive changes. The problem is all of us face temptations. Yoga instructors are just as human as everyone else, when it comes to temptation, and giving into temptation can become a habit. There is no big secret learned about dealing with daily temptation that is taught at a 200 hour yoga teachers training. Practicing good habits and avoiding bad choices is the result of a trained mind.
Bad habits stem from making impulsive choices that aren’t good for us. We know that certain things have harmful effects, but we are powerless to prevent ourselves from doing these things. In order to truly break bad habits, we must think about them in ways that we aren't always comfortable with.
Habits both good and bad emerge from training. At most times, this training happens in the background without any specific demands placed upon us. The human mind and body are clever enough to help us form these habits without any overt thinking required.
At other times, it is necessary for the mind to convince the body of what it can do. A basic example of this is riding a bicycle. Some part of the mind knows well in advance of the body that it is capable of mastering this task. The mind provides the determination and the body soon follows suit.
Breaking bad habits is much the same. We stick to our bad habits out of inertia. At times, bad habits can be so corrupting that the mind itself begins to believe that it cannot change. It is during these times that bad habits begin to change from choices into seemingly insurmountable aspects of our personalities. Without the ability to practice objective self-assessment, there is virtually no hope of overcoming such a habit.
Fortunately, the human mind is very flexible. No matter how far it persists in one belief or another, it can be guided back through direct work. The key to success in this kind of behavioral modifying endeavor comes from knowing how the mind forms bad habits in the first place. Yogic tradition has been used to break bad habits for centuries.
At its core the yoga is a collection of good habits. It is unnecessary to ascribe any sense of morality to these habits. It’s simple enough to know that every asana, every breathing method and every type of meditation in yoga is good for the mind and body.
When you practice yoga by standing, kneeling, sitting or lying down, you are forming habits with your mind and body. Regulating your breathing is a habit. Holding the body in asanas is also habit forming.
As yogic meditation shapes your mind it also increases your mental discipline. By doing this it increases your self-control. Increased self-control naturally leads to being able to defend against bad habits more effectively.