New Year’s Eve resolutions are often made with an eye toward immediate results but without a long-term vision that includes commitment to a future that is different. Not even three full weeks into the New Year, New York University published a story stating that 90 percent of New Year’s Eve resolutions are abandoned.
It’s because changes happen by small degree and over time. It’s not by adding requirements or resolutions that our lives change; it’s by subtracting from our lives that which is unnecessary or unproductive.
This is one gift of yoga, we learn by the process of tapas to define more clearly what is necessary and leave the rest; it is yoga’s counter-intuitive mathematic, an equation suggesting that discovery and addition happens by negation and subtraction.
Yoga philosophy develops within the ebb and flow of culture, story, and time. It’s an ongoing journey of subtraction and addition. Civilizations grow, but they also burn to the ground. This is the key to yoga’s tapas, the burning away of that which is unnecessary.