NEW YEAR NEW YOU
The beginning of a New Year evokes the feeling of a new beginning and a fresh start. It is a time when we naturally look forward with a sense of excitement, open to the possibilities and potentials within ourselves, and our lives. We re-evaluate our lives and decide on what we would like to change and improve.
January is a phase within the yearly cycle, were the newness sparks our ability to get up, dust ourselves o! and start again. A new found vigor, purpose and hope to not only our future self, but our future life. As a result many of us set ‘New Year’s Resolutions’, and so our individual journeys begin with dreams of a ‘new you’, on our way somewhere and away from something.
A pledge to change rather than to celebrate, fueled by promises and plans to become this idea of my best self. Often emphasized with an “I will”, New Year’s Resolutions
are a promise towards not only reaching a goal that we believe will make us happier, it is a suggestion that where we are is not enough. In the tradition of yoga we are offered a practice that is not based on a need to be somewhere else or loaded with promises to change who we are, but one where we can celebrate our uniqueness and where we are in the various seasons of our lives.
Sankalpa which often translates as ‘intention’, is the practice of recognising that which makes you feel whole, realising the deepest desires of your heart for your self and your life. Sankalpa unlike a New Year’s Resolution is not driven by a need to change or a desire to have more in your life, but to feel more of that which is deep within you. It is a recognition of our current limitations with an openness to our greatest potentials that ultimately takes us beyond the limited idea of a resolution. This practice not only honours the deeper purpose of our life, but it also becomes a reminder of our truest nature.
When we realise our Sankalpa we find we don’t have to acquire skills or dig deep for the will and determination to do it, because this deep-rooted purpose already holds the
seeds of will and commitment alongside all the qualities needed to fulfil it.
Pause from the assuming mind.
Realising your Sankalpa is a practice of cultivating the qualities of listening and feeling, becoming quiet enough to hear the longing of your heart. It is the practice of realising your truth and learning to live peacefully and happily between the intention, and realising the desire.
Create an environment to sit with yourself, supporting your body so there is less possibility of being distracted by the physicality of your seat.
We cannot think our way into meditation, we feel our way, so take time to settle, to pause and un-busy yourself. Connect with your breath so the mind can become engaged in an aspect of yourself that can get lost in the business of life. Watching the movements of the breath without interrupting or the need to add anything or take anything away. Breath awareness, an experience in feeling a steadiness that is a balance, rather than being motionless and a practice of seeing the simple in the potentially complicated.
Not fidgeting but feeling towards an aspect of yourself in an effort to bring awareness inside. Observing what is here and slowly expanding what you can control and what you are aware of. Our breath is the bridge that can be used as a way of transforming our energy into a vehicle for awakening. Allow the mind to be moved with the breath, not trying too hard, so un-effort-ed so there is the potential of becoming absorbed in being in and with the breath, and doing less and less. Our asana in a yoga practice or seat in meditation invite us to engage therefore, keep attentive to what is here, noticing moment to moment what you need to be fully awake here along with a sense of curiosity.
Our practice is an effort to bringing awareness inside, so we may feel the energy of our inner body. Keep guiding the mind with curiosity to explore beyond the created form of this seat, this place, ourself.
Soften to remind yourself of your own receptivity. When you are feeling stable and at ease, remind yourself that stability doesn’t mean unwavering, it means balanced. In this way we can be open to the unexpected guests and be willing to adapt to each moment. Ask yourself questions. And don’t just rely on the mind; drop the questions into your body and into your heart.
With our questions we don’t need to go wildly searching, but just be open to where they orientate you. How do I want with my life to make me feel? What aspect of myself have I not fully connected with? What do I want to feel in the year ahead? What aspects of myself get in the way of this? What are my dreams for the year ahead? Even if what arrives seems flimsy, permeate these responses so you can reach the depths of these initial ideas and move towards their suggested goal. So questions become our way in and have the power to lead us towards our deeper desires and longings.
Realising our Sankalpa is a process of uncovering and illuminating a truth where we can abandon our ideas of where we should be and become our own authority. The practice of Sankalpa is to recognise we are not going somewhere because we have arrived, and seeing all aspects that are here, that are trying to help us and also what is getting in the way
Connect with what’s here, with curiosity, care and compassion. Connecting with what is here is to feel with your whole body, your heartfelt desire in the very depths of your
being. State your Sankalpa in the present tense and bathe in the energy of the words. Pause and connect with these words inviting the mind to settle into the feeling of your
Just like our mindfulness of breath our practice is to be able to remember, and once we have our Sankalpa, our practice is to keep this in mind so that the energy that supports your resolve is only ever strengthened. Directing our energy with intention in all that we do and at the same time our mature mind tells us that also like our breath, everything is always changing.
EMMA PEEL EMMA IS A YIN YOGA AND MEDITATION GUIDE BASED IN LONDON, PASSIONATE ABOUT SHARING A PRACTICE THAT IS FREE FROM GOALS OF ACHIEVING PERFECT POSES BUT ONE OF BEING ABLE TO REST INTO WHERE WE ARE. SHE IS A STUDENT OF PAUL AND SUZEE GRILLEY, SARAH POWERS, WITH-YIN YOGA, YOGA LONDON AND THE YOGA PEOPLETIALS. EMMAPEELYOGACO.UK [email protected]