It was a joy to welcome everyone back into class in January and to have some new faces join us too. The new year for many means new year RESOLUTIONS. A time to look at the aspects of our life – diet, exercise, work and figure out what we like, what we don’t and what we might want to change. I was inspired this new year by an article from Peach Yoga (https://peachyoga.org/tag/new-year/) to approach the new year resolutions setting ritual in a different way. Instead of setting specific goals, that are often focused on negative qualities of ourselves and easily broken, PeachYoga suggested setting a resolution that was more of a “THEME” for how you wanted the year to unfold. This theme was a word, or couple of words, that gave the essence of how you wanted life to be this time next year. A theme allows space for the year to develop, to uncover different ways for a vision to be realised and to evolve and grow, to move in ways that are unseen and may be seem impossible as we embark into 2017. With a theme there is no failure, no striving and no additional item for the “to-do” list.
To help support a resolution, be it a theme or something more specific we need to move with INTENTION. By setting a theme we have set an intention on how we want grow. A bit like planting a seed with the intention of growing a plant which may then bear fruit or flowers. For now the seeds in the ground are drawing in the nutrients of the earth around it, storing up the energy ready to grow. The same is true of our theme for the year. We need to allow the theme to gather strength. We need to gather the support from those around us, to dream, to create our vision. With this we need out INTENTION. By having an intention we allow our dreams and visions to become manifest. Intention is defined as “to have in mind a purpose or a plan, to direct the mind, to aim”. With intention we are less likely to wander away from our path, to stray without meaning or direction. With our intention we can in time and with effort allow fear and doubt to become hope and possibility and ultimately action and results. Our theme or vision for the year has been set, our intention is the first step on the path on realising that vision. We know how crazy life can be, how easy our best intentions can be knocked off course. But if we write it down, share it with others, do something to demonstrate our commitment to our intention and acknowledge our efforts then we are able to start trending the path forwards. We become serious about our dreams.
In the yoga resolution setting or intention setting is “SANKALPA” which means “will, purpose or determination”. A sankalpa looks behind the thoughts or feelings of our habits and praises the notability of our efforts. Sankalpas are a word or two, or short sentence that is not limited by fear. For example “may I be happy and open to what life brings me” rather than “may my life bring me only happiness and joy”. We need to continually work with these intentions and sankalpas to bring about change. We need to use it as a mantra, write it down and post it where we can see it, say it to ourselves during meditation and before we go to bed. Most importantly with it all we need to remember that change doesn’t happen over night. We need to be patient and kind to ourselves.
Our resolutions, intentions and sankalpas can help us take greater control of our lives in a way that is supportive, focusing on the positives, noting the effort and allows us to come closer to our dreams.
For 2017 my theme is SPACE. I am not sure how this will unfold through the year but for now it means my intention is to carve out some “me-time” to do MY yoga practise and MY meditation practise. My sankalpa is “let go and allow space to enter”. I have already seen benefits of taking the time out to nurture me, I feel more able to connect with others, more grounded and able to think more clearly. My theme, my word, helps me make decisions about what to do, if the answer doesn’t allow SPACE then I say no. I am excited about how this year will unfold as I try and stay true to this theme.
For February we will be looking into staying present. It may seem a bit odd after all the resolution and intention setting of January. However if we are too busy looking forward or backwards then we loose sight of what is happening now. The world is moving so fast with so many things for us to achieve that often experiences pass us by without us realising. By becoming present and opening up to what is in front of us we might even see new ways of doing things that will help us move towards our dreams in a way that keeps us connected to experiences and wonder of now.
See you on your mat to get out of our heads and into our bodies – to explore what it means to be present.