Part of our vacation in July, was spent at the Idea Fitness Convention in Los Angeles. We were surrounded by some of the biggest names in fitness and industry professionals from around the world. While we came away with many ideas, many of which you will see progressively introduced to the studio, one of the most inspiring sessions was from Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Success Principles.

Jack had many key messages but the most important, and the message that resonated the most, was that there is only one person that is responsible for the quality of life that you live… and that is you! You are responsible for the success you achieve, the results you produce, the state of your health and the quality of your relationships.

This also means we need to stop the blame game. Most of us are conditioned to blame outside factors for the things we don’t like in our life. We blame the economy, our bosses, our parents, even our teachers. The reality is that we always have a choice as to how to respond in a given situation; the choice is always ours.

One cannot change the event or situation; we can only control our response to the situation to achieve the outcome we desire. If we do not like the outcome, we need to change our response given the situation. For example, if we are unhappy with our weight, we will continue to see the same results if we eat the same food in the same proportions, drink excessively and retain the same exercise habits. We will only achieve the outcome we desire by choosing a different response; choosing to eat healthy, smaller proportions, drinking less sugared drinks and perhaps a broad based exercise routine. In this simple example, it is clear we cannot blame anyone else for the food we put in our mouth.

Simply put, we need to take 100% responsibility for our lives.

Taking responsibility on the mat

For a yogi, the word “responsibility” is actually thought of as “response-ability”—the skill of responding spontaneously and naturally from a core of inner stillness in such a way as to take a situation to a higher level.

For the apprentice yogi—that is, the person who is on the path to mastery—response-ability starts with self-inquiry. Obviously, your capacity for responding to situations depends on your inner state at any given moment. If, for example, you’re tired, angry, or distracted, you won’t be able to respond in the same way you would if you were calmer or more energized.

Similarly, on occasion, I have heard people saying they were injured because of their own yoga practice. The reality is, injuries occur when we are not in tune and don’t listen to our own body; our ego pushes us to do more, to be ‘better’ than others, which in many cases can result in injury.

The point is, we are responsible for our thoughts and actions on the mat. We cannot blame others for our distractions and ruining a class – we have the ability to turn our thoughts inward, shut out the rest of the world and focus on our breathing. The choice is always ours!

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