I love the New Year and all the new possibilities it brings. This blog is about how we can use yoga to release the old year and manifest what we truly need in 2019.
Yoga for me is a moving meditation. I am not so good at sitting still and resting my brain, which is something I really need to work on. Moving mindfully in my yoga practice is as close as I will come. This mental rest from external distractions allows me to notice what is going on in my mind and my body that I wouldn’t otherwise. Where I feel tight and why? Why some poses feel more difficult that others? What is really bothering me? Or if all is well, then connecting with that feeling of love, gratitude and elation, which is pretty special.
Often, if I come to a practice feeling upset, the answer to my problem will come to me during the class. Usually a very straightforward, common sense answer that I know anyway if I am truthful with myself. There is no hiding from yourself in your own yoga practice and, to be a bit twee and clichéd; yes the truth does set you free.
A reflective New Year exercise
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and settle your breath.
Take a long deep breath through your nose and a full exhale from your mouth. Continue to breathe in this deep, slow natural breath for a few minutes until you feel calm and relaxed.
Take a moment now and scan back over your last year. Allow the images of happenings and events to appear in your mind randomly. What were the high points for you? Were there any recurrent issues you were dealing with, physically and mentally. As you scan, take note of how your body feels and any sensations you notice as you remember your life in 2018. How does your breath change? Spend as long as you need to simply reflecting and breathing.
Open your eyes. Now ask yourself, if you could use one or two words to sum up 2018, what would they be? Don’t think too hard, what are the first words that pop into your head? Write them down.
Now, breathing deeply into the part of your body where you felt any sensations during your reflection or, if nothing occurred to you physically, then breathe into your heart area and ask yourself, what words do you need to guide and motivate you in 2019? Not what you think you might want but what, truthfully, do you NEED in 2019?
Trust your intuition to deliver the truth to you. Be honest. Write those words down. You will know in your heart if they feel right.
My reflective process in 2018
I would like to share my reflections on my last year. My word for 2018 is “change” and the area of my body I felt most keenly was my heart.
The whole year was about change. We moved house, just 20 minutes from where we used to be but it somehow seemed like a complete wrench, like we had moved continents. I think sometimes a complete change is easier than watching your old life from close proximity. I’ve felt off keel and unbalanced and I’ve had a strange feeling of heartbreak for several months and haven’t been able to pinpoint what it’s about.
As a result, I’ve focused my yoga practice on my heart area, sending comfort and love there. It has taken a while for me to work it out but, after many weeks of reflection, I understand that I am grieving the friends and community I feel I might lose with our move and, at 43 with 3 children, the life I thought I would have. My eldest child turned 18 earlier this year and is shortly about to leave on his dream gap year. My youngest child, who is only 4, has a genetic condition called Williams Syndrome, which means she will be likely dependant on us forever. I am not sure how I thought it would pan out, it’s all a bit hazy, but I am pretty sure my expectations included excitement, adventure, a glossy career and at least some free time.
If I am honest with myself, my truthful, motivating words for 2019 are “stability” and “creativity”. I need to create a safe, unchangeable space for our family this year so we can enjoy our new home and get to know our new, very friendly community. I also need to carve out regular #metime to do something frivolous and creative, just for the sake of doing it. I am very grateful for everyone around me, my good fortune to be teaching, my lovely new home but the heartache will not go away unless it is filled by something I love that is just for me.
Stability and Creativity.
I write them down, I breathe them in and I will make them the centre of all I do in 2019. There are the values but which I need to live in the next year.
I would absolutely love to hear what your guiding words are, please do share them with me.
Wishing you a very Happy New Year!