How are your resolutions coming along? If you are like probably 90% of humans, you may have already lost a bit of steam on your January goals. That is very normal and very ok.
I can’t speak for the entire world, but in American society, we tend to put a lot of pressure on a new year. The moment we sing “Auld Lang Syne” and clink our glasses, many of us make lists of lofty goals. But to be honest, the start of a new year is somewhat arbitrary. Every month, every week, every day, hour and second is an opportunity for fresh eyes and positive energy – expectant that embracing something new is a fun adventure worth taking. We don’t need to wait until January 2023 to try a new recipe, listen to a new genre of music or start learning a new arm inversion. There’s no time like the present to breathe deeply and mix things up a bit!
Something new doesn’t have to be revolutionary, nor does it have to stick with you forever. You can pick up a book or start a movie and decide it’s not actually worthy of your precious free time. You can try a different food or change up your coffee order one day and go back to the old faithfuls the next. You can close your eyes in crescent lunge on the right side and look down the tip of your nose on the left.
That is what I really love about life. There are few situations that we get truly stuck in for a season. There are some circumstances beyond our control, but we also have a lot of agency in choosing to have a new experience, a new attitude or a new mindset.
Every time I get on my yoga mat for personal practice, I try to be present in the moment. I may be sore from a different workout or stiff from a period of inactivity, or I may be feeling super confident and feel primed to courageously attempt a tricky pose. The important thing is that I am seeking to lay aside my ego and expectations of how the flow “should go” and I allow myself to explore the capacity of my body in that moment through breathing, stretching, elongating, pressing, tightening and relaxing the many elements of my body.
Make it a practice: The next time you take the time to do a yoga flow, try something new. That doesn’t mean you need to master standing splits if your hamstrings are screaming in 3-point stance, or that you will smoothly transition from crow to chaturanga on your first try. Something new could be as simple as changing your drishti (point of focus) during tree or grabbing a strap to assist in standing knee-to-nose pose instead of fighting your balance and your flexibility simultaneously. In fact, your something new might be ignoring the optional challenge and cheering on others in class or even choosing to sit quietly to meditate on something that brings you joy. Let’s not forget: yoga is as much about finding inner peace as it is about moving the body. Maybe the new for you is adopting a mantra (word or phrase) that guides the mental and emotional elements of your yoga practice, such as “I am strong,” “just breathe,” “be the light,” or “seek rest.”
Whatever you choose as your next something new, I hope the opportunity brings you joy and greater understanding of yourself!
We would love to hear about your experience! Let us know what new things you try this next month by leaving a comment below.