In Ayurveda, creating balance often means taking a look at current lifestyle and diet habits and modifying them, establishing new ones or deleting others so that the habits are in greater alignment with health. This involves exploration and change. And to be successful, this process needs to be handled gently, slowly and in small steps.
Put Time and Repetition on your Side
One of the ways you can support yourself in making changes is to understand how patterns and habits are created – and how they are best altered.
The bottom line is that it takes time to make changes, especially when changing long-term habits. Habits are essentially behaviors that are created and fed by repetition and regular energetic input. Each time you repeat a thought or action you are creating a pathway for your nervous system. With repetition, you are making the pathway deeper, like a groove on a sledding hill. The more it is used, the deeper the sledding path becomes so that when you start at the top, the sled will automatically go into that established groove.
In yogic science the term Jappa, which literally means “to repeat”, refers to the power that recitation over and over again with mantras or sounds has in controlling and directing the mind. In working with the mind, you are changing the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that underlie your habits.
Initially it takes time to create the neurological pattern groove, especially if you are trying to create a new groove to replace an old one (trying to switch one less-than-desirable habit with another healthier one). Initially, you may need to put more energy, effort and weight to retrain your system from following the established path. But over time the new groove deepens and eventually begins to do the work on its own, carrying out the action with little effort or thinking on your part. At this point, the behavior becomes a habit.
In yogic and Ayurvedic science it is said to take 40 days to change a habit and 90 days to create a new habit. It is an investment, but, once there, it becomes like second nature.
You can use this knowledge by taking one habit transition at a time and really make it your focus. To create true change, you need to think about long-term sustainability. Starting small with just one change at a time allows you to focus your time and energy on it so you can be successful.
Need support making changes? Contact Jamie Durner of Ayurveda Wellness in Brookfield, Wisconsin at email@example.com to get started today!
©2012, Jamie Durner, Ayurvedic Natural Health Practitioner and Wellness Educator