As the old year draws to a close and a new one begins, many of us will be turning our attention to what the New Year may hold and setting resolutions for the start of the year but how many of us will actually follow through those good intentions, or will the same resolutions bubble up at this time next year.
New Year Resolutions
As a yoga teacher, January is often the time of year when my classes are busiest, particularly beginners classes and I am delighted that so many people think of taking up yoga. It is, of course, great for both physical and mental wellbeing. However, it is always disappointing to see the number of students start to drop drastically in February and I’m always so happy to even just see one or two of those January newbies still coming to class in Spring. The ones that do last through to Spring are the ones that tend to then continue with their practice long-term.
But why does this happen?
One of the main factors is the energy at this time of year. Whether or not this is something you relate to or believe in, nature’s energy still affects each and every one of us and at this time of year, our energy needs to rest. If we try to go against this and take up running, go on a crash diet, get a brand new membership at the local gym or buy an introductory offer at the local yoga studio, many of us will lose momentum really quickly as this isn’t the time of year to leap into action.
Instead, this is the time for planning. Between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, we were (ideally!) quietening down, letting go of the old to create space for new ideas. Around the Winter Solstice and the New Year, the energy starts to change. It changes direction and begins to lift again… slowly! This is the time for planning, rather than doing. New ideas may have started to form regarding the direction you would like to go for the coming year. Now’s the time to do a bit of research, to build structure to those ideas and form plans, ready for when the energy lifts a bit more once we are closer to Spring. An added benefit of pausing now is that with a bit of research, we are more likely to find the right path to our goal than if we leap straight in. And with the wonder of Google at our fingertips, there is no reason why we can’t find the perfect fit for our own personal aims.
Setting the Intention
Ok. So I’ve convinced you to pause before splashing out on a whole yoga wardrobe before you’ve booked your first class and to do a bit of investigation as to which style of yoga may be most suitable, whether to go for classes or a course but what else can you do to really succeed?
The art of manifesting what you want to get out of life is all about setting the intention in the first place. The amount of belief you have in the intention is the key to achieving it. When forming your intention in the form of words, you need to phrase it in the present tense as if it has already happened, so ‘I have...’ rather than ‘I would like...’ One trick to doing this is to imagine it has already happened and you are telling one of your friends all about it. Notice the words you use and how you feel when you say the words. The feeling is as important as the words, if not more so. If you are more of a picture person, then see yourself succeeding in your aim and notice the feelings that come up with that image. Each time you think of your intention, try to evoke this feeling and release any doubts that may creep in. Easier said than done, I know but it’s all about practice!
Sankalpas - The Yogic Resolution
In yoga, resolves or intentions are called sankalpas. They are not exactly the same thing but understanding the power of intention will help you understand sankalpas.
Whereas intentions or resolutions are what we want or think we need, sankalpas are what we actually need; the next thing we need to achieve our dharma. Our dharma is our life purpose. We all have one, even if we don’t know what it is and there will be different steps through life that we need to take to help us achieve this purpose.
Finding out what your sankalpa is, requires connecting to your intuition and really listening. Again, this requires some quiet time to allow what we know deep inside us, to slowly bubble up to the surface. Incorporating meditation and Yoga Nidra practices that are suitable for you into your daily routine can help to reconnect to our subconscious.. For an excellent explanation on dharma and sankalpas and how to discover yours, I would recommend reading ‘The Four Desires’ by Rod Stryker.
Happy New Year
And finally, I would like to wish you all a wonderful start to the New Year. I am personally busy plotting and planning my 2021 and will have news of more workshops, courses, a new website and, most excitingly, some new Ayurvedic offerings coming soon…
So Watch This Space...