Artist: Sofonisba Anguissola (1530–1625)
Title: The Chess Game (Portrait of the artist's sisters playing chess).
Description: Lucia, Minerva and Europa Anguissola playing chess.
Medium: oil on canvas
Current location: National Museum in Poznań
To celebrate my one year old yoga practice and to inspire myself when I need a little push, I decided to imagine a conversation between my Old Habits (OH) and my new Healthy Habits (HH), who are still often at odds with each other. Let’s listen in on their conversation:
OH: Good morning Healthy Habits. It’s 10:00 . . . time for another cup of coffee.
HH: Hello Old Habits. Our new Healthy Habit at 10:00 is to do some yoga from one of the DVDs or do a kriya from The Owner’s Manual for the Human Body.
OH: But sitting around surfing the internet and drinking coffee is so much fun.
HH: I agree it feels like it’s fun, but I usually end up stiff from sitting and a little jittery from too much coffee. If I need a pick me up, I’ll do the breath of fire from one of the Kundalini Yoga DVDs. Then I’ll do an entry to the Kundalini Yoga Spark Team and be inspired by my friends there.
OH: I don’t understand how you can do the same thing over and over every day.
HH: I agree that it may look like the same thing every day, but each time I practice I find unique challenges. Some days my hips are wide open and sometimes they are not. Some days I am challenged by my back and others days my back feels great. Some days I need to work hard to focus and other days it is a breeze. But the thing all the days have in common is that I feel fantastic when I finish. I feel lighter, I feel like I can hear myself, I feel more flexible, and most importantly, I feel good because I’ve done something for me. I’ve set aside time to devote to myself and my practice.
OH: Well, I guess it’s good because at least you’re staying indoors like an old lady should in the winter time.
HH: Funny you should bring that up. I am on my way to yoga class tonight. I love being with others in the class and it seems I challenge myself more when I have one of the teachers shouting out, "you’re almost there!" I look forward to seeing the friends I’ve made and meeting new people, too. And I love the yogi tea after class.
OH: As long as you’re still in your pajamas, you might as well watch some TV.
HH: Old Habits, you may not have noticed, but I don’t usually sit around in my pajamas anymore. Depression and anxiety no longer steal my energy and motivation. I am not held back by fear and when I am, I can work through it and get on with my day. Since starting my practice, I sleep well and when I am rested, it is easier to make good choices about food, exercise and how to manage my time.
OH: You’re no fun anymore.
HH: On the contrary, I’m more fun than I ever was because my senses are awake and alert and I have more energy than I’ve had in years. I have tapped into my own reservoir and I want to keep drawing from it.
OH: I’m not going away . . . it isn’t as much fun to try to get you to return to your old habits as it used to be and I’m having far less success.
HH: Yes, old friend. Those days are pretty much behind me now. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.
OH: So you keep telling me.
HH: I tell you because it’s true. I can’t play around with you now, I’m going to do a yoga DVD. Sat nam.
I chose this painting by Sofonisba Anguissola because of the differing ages of the women and girls who are all enjoying the chess game. They can be seen as the stages of life through which we pass, and each stage has it's own gifts and challenges. I try to look on my old habits with kindness, which is made easier each time I embrace a healthy choice. Best wishes to you for a fantastic day.