Another year, another opportunity to reflect?
Self-reflection or Svadhyaya is the Niyama of Self-study. The ending of one year and beginning of another is an opportune time to practice self-reflection, though it can be a more constant daily practice or journaling or meditation. Or as simple as noticing the exhalation as an invitation to let go and our inhalation a chance to begin again. Take time to honor the previous year – lessons learned, physical or spiritual growth, relationship with self and others, where you have been and what you have done, your work, what went well and what didn’t – not congratulating or judging self, but just observing and acknowledging. Without self-study our yoga practice can become quite empty or feel meaningless. An asana practice can help us feel fit, strong, and supple which are wonderful, but the deeper rewards are a greater sense of ease and contentment when we realise we are not alone. Acknowledge and honour that you are enough. Your intention need not be more than an intention to begin, to bravely step forward into the day. There is no need to over-complicate it by attaching our elaborate stories that we hold dear to. Acknowledge the story, the shadow, and step bravely forward to the new possibilities of the day.
Preparation includes recharging or replenishing yourself. Sometimes we feel all used up and need a little self-care before embarking on a brave step forward. This may mean reviewing and adjusting your diet to healthier eating habits or eating mindfully, getting enough sleep, getting exercise to improve or maintain stability and suppleness and balance, yoga practice, breathing practices to improve respiration and focus, meditation to be more present. It could mean finding a better life balance in work and play, spending time on relationships, or on creative or spiritual pursuits.
To renew means to give fresh life or strength to, to revive, regenerate, revitalize, reinvigorate, rekindle, and revivify. I feel revivified already just listing those words! From the solid ground of self-reflection and replenishing we can renew or begin once again. Every breath, every moment is a chance to begin. You might ask yourself – what do I want from my deepest heart? what can I let go of that I no longer need for this new beginning? What can I do or practice to commit to this new beginning? Your commitment may be a yoga practice, walking, getting up 15 minutes earlier, time management, 5 minutes of stillness, saving $10 a week for vacation, coffee dates with friends, calling a family member, donating your time, … the commitment is yours to know. Give fresh life or strength to the new year. Renew your intention to step forward bravely into the day.
Happy New Beginning!