A new year naturally brings up thoughts of new goals and intentions for what is next in our lives. I have learned through my yoga journey that it’s great to keep challenging yourself with your practice and introducing new elements of yoga to your life.
This doesn’t necessarily mean challenging yourself physically. One year my challenge was to be able to do a headstand but then the following year it was more about just being, silence, and really listening to my body. Actually just slowing down and not pushing myself forward was a bigger challenge than learning a headstand! I have also made changes to my diet and developed a spiritual practice of prayer/meditation, volunteering and going to church.
My intention for this year is to fast on a Thursday. Personally this is for 2 main reasons, firstly to give my body a break from digesting meals and also to remember the people who have so little, and to remember to pray for them. I remember my pastor at the church I go to, who has this practice, saying when ever he feels hungry on his fast day it reminds him of people who are struggling.
I like to challenge myself. I have found over the years strengthening my will power by going on detoxes/ giving things up/ committing to a daily practice has taught me that anything is possible. It’s given me confidence in myself and it’s actually been very freeing. It’s great to push your boundaries, this is where you grow. Of course I am no angel and there have been times when my willpower has not been so strong 🙂 This is all part of the journey though.
Following are a few ideas taken from the Sivananda Yoga Centre’s suggestions for New Year Resolutions:
- I will perform asana and pranayama for …….. minutes a day
- I will observe a fast……… (once a week/fortnight/month)
- I will give up…………once every……….. days/ months or for …………days/months
- I will observe silence for ………….minutes/hours daily and …………minutes/hours on a Sunday/holidays and use the time for meditation/concentration/ mantra/ prayer/introspection.
- I will not utter angry. harsh, or vulgar words to anyone this year.
- I will speak the truth at all costs during this year.
- I will not entertain hatred or evil thoughts towards anyone this year.
- I will give away …..% of my income to charity
- I will perform selfless service (Karma yoga) for …… hours daily/weekly
- I will keep a spiritual dairy
- I will get up at …….am and spend……..mins in meditation/ prayers/ concentration/ mantra repetition.
- I will study a passage from the Bhagavad Gita/ Yoga Sutras/ Bible every day
As with everything it’s important not to get completely attached to your intention and to beat yourself up if you loose momentum with it sometimes. This is all part of the practice, of being with what is, accepting yourself and awareness in the present moment. Just noticing and then returning back gently to your intention. When we get stuck it is an opportunity to learn.