The dawn of a new year is the typical time for many of us to take stock of the past year and set intentions for the year ahead. New Year’s resolutions may seem like a silly tradition, but to me it makes perfect sense. It is the beginning of the calendar year. And, more importantly, winter time is a perfect season for resting, reflecting and preparing for the year ahead.
Gardeners know that this the perfect time of year for planning. It is when they get out notes detailing the garden’s past productivity while pouring over seed catalogs that show opportunities for the next year. It is important to do this reflection and planning now. There is not much else going on in the garden that needs tending. It’s the time for the soil to rest and rejuvenate, while the planning gets the new garden off to a great start.
What about for the rest of us? Do we have enough quiet in our lives to rest, reflect and plan?
Likely not. That might be one reason why many of us feel that New Year’s Resolutions are trite. If you are not rested, you will find it difficult to be reflective in a meaningful way.
But if your brain and body does feel rested, you will be inspired to reflect, plan and successfully put your plans into action.
Your yoga practice can help you find a place to rest. Savasana allows the body the rest it craves, but more importantly Savasana and all of the yoga poses can offer your brain respite from the tensions of daily living. At least for 1 hour or 1.5 hours a day you can move away from a reactionary state towards a reflective state of mind.
When the brain is in a reflective state, amazing things can happen: feelings of peace, inspiration and understanding will certainly arise. And when you do experience these feelings, the behaviors required to attain your resolution – determination, persistence and discipline – will come more easily.
No matter what your 2013 resolutions may be, you can make them a reality. Try this:
- Use January to rest a little more. Go into social (media) hibernation if you didn’t do that over the holidays.
- When you are in class, do pay attention to the poses and how you are doing them. But in each pose also take a moment to observe how you are feeling, what it feels like to do the pose you are doing. Use this observation to go deep inside.
- Any day that you don’t make it to class, at home to at least do 5 minutes of savasana or Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose).
Then report back!
When you get a little more time each day for rest and reflection, what other shifts in your life do you experience? Do your plans coming to fruition? Please leave a comment below telling us how your New Year’s intentions are going.
*Thank you to Storm and Jinjee Talifero for inspiring this series.