It’s a New Year! Many of you are feeling stuck in this bitterly cold winter and want to go into hibernation and catch up on sleep missed over the holidays. Some may have chosen to set intentions, burn sage, or vision board, and the new calendar year is a great excuse to create new habits. But for most of us, many of our best laid plans dreamt on the bright dawn of day begin to dwindle almost immediately. In my experience, I have found the loftier the goals, the further they fall.
If you are feeling sluggish, slow and stiff or don’t feel like setting an intention, you don’t have to! Maybe that isn’t a part of your self-care process. Enjoy this time when the weather encourages you to stay inside and take the rest that you need. Build your stores of energy for a later date. But take good care. Be conscious of the choices you make in the present moment: a pint of ice-cream all in one sitting might seem like best self-care in the world, but you know in actuality it will just send your body into overtime to try to work that through your system, thus defeating this rest. Instead, dive deep into the quiet space inside all of us, perhaps practicing some focusing pranayama like alternate breathing or nadi shodhana. Nap, and repeat.
However, if you fall in the camp that likes to dream big, and have a list of self-improvements single-spaced and double-sided, don’t forget that old fable about the tortoise and the hare. Instead of lumping all of your self-improvement for the year into one month, can you start with something small? Making your bed daily, not looking at electronics one hour before you fall asleep, or making sure you have at least one vegetarian meal a day. Psychologist Jeremy Dean says that it takes 21 days to create a habit. Choose one “improvement” that you think you can reasonably succeed at implementing and would give you joy. Commit to that for three weeks. Mark the days you succeed on your calendar, and do me a favor, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. If you miss more than three times in your three weeks, check in with yourself to see if this is a change you really need.
Because ultimately, change is a part of life. We can’t hold on to this current point in our lives any more than we can hurry the future. We practice on our mats to try to discover that balance inside each one of us. The sound OM that we call out each class represents four different parts of change: creation, maintenance, destruction and then the pause, the silence before the cycle begins again. Take this moment, whether you are feeling ready to take on the new year or need to wait until spring, and tune inward so that you can be the change you wish to see in the world!