New Year, New Yoga Resolutions

At this time of year, I always find myself contemplating resolutions. Fast forward a month, another year and I find myself contemplating the fact I didn’t stick to any of my resolutions, and thus resolving not to have any resolutions in the future… and yet the cycle continues.

But 2016 is going to be different for me. I can feel it. Because now… (drum roll please) I am a yogi. Well… kind of. I want to be a yogi. I fancy becoming a yogi. I want 2016 to be the year of the accidental yogi. Let me share with you my new year, new yogi resolutions – and then check back in with me in a month or a year to see if – wait, I mean HOW – I follow through on them all.

1. To touch my toes

OK, OK, I know that’s not a really legit resolution, but I wanted to ease into my resolutions…

2. To do more yoga

So far this year, I have managed to practice sporadically. I wouldn’t exactly say it was a regular practice. I have been known to make excuses to get out of class from time to time. When I get stressed, I prioritise my work, or when I’m tired I still choose to sleep over practicing yoga. I KNOW this is not good for me. And I want to get to the point where I prioritise my yoga, because I know how good it feels. It’s not about losing weight or getting flexy (aside from resolution number one) or getting toned and looking good (though I will admit that would be nice… see resolution three!) – it’s about being strong, healthy, happy and calm in my day to day life.

3. To invest in some lovely new yoga gear

Oops – the old non-yogi me demanded to take control of at least one resolution so let’s indulge her for a minute. The way I see it, if I have a dedicated yoga wardrobe – you know, those quick dry patterned yoga pants that feel like a second skin, non-slip Bikram mats, soft fluffy towels for wrapping up after class, sweet smelling organic shower products and a luxe oversized slouch bag to stash them all in – I am more likely to go to class and achieve the above point! And hey – I did switch to organic rather than commercial products that pollute our water! And with all the laundry I’m going to need to do to accommodate all these clothes after all these classes, I need to be conscious of the environment however I can be!

4. To learn more about yoga

With all things in my life, I tend to do them best when I appreciate the reasoning behind it – whether it’s a language, a skill, a dish I can cook, a movie I know all the behind the scenes trivia about (hello Star Wars!) or a piece of electronic equipment I use. And so it stands to reason that yoga would be the same. I’ve discovered our teachers are a font of knowledge on the subject of yoga, and I have learnt a lot from them already, and don’t get me started on good old Google. From technique and philosophy to anatomy and spirituality (and let’s not forget Sanskrit!), there is just so much to absorb, to learn, to embrace, and I can’t wait to know more.

5. If I can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all

We learn this as children, but I have found as I grow older, it is easy to become cynical. It’s easy to use sarcasm as a form of wit. It’s all too easy to complain about things that don’t make you happy. It’s easy to moan and groan when things don’t go your way. But the more ‘yoga people’ I am surrounded by, the more yoga websites and blogs I read and the more yogic my life becomes, I realise life doesn’t have to be surrounded by negativity. In reality, it should be just as easy to gush when we love something, to smile when we’re happy and to compliment someone when they’ve done a good job. So for me, I’m going to think before I speak from now on. If it isn’t positive, why put it out there in the world?

6. Be patient

This is a simple one. No more honking the horn when the person in front of me drives at 20 kilometres an hour. Rather, just slow down and enjoy the view. No getting frustrated when a client is late for a meeting. Just use the time to catch up on emails, or Facebook gossip, or whatever your online preference may be. No huffing and puffing when I still can’t get my legs into my armpit and feet off the ground in Crow position. Be patient. It will come…

7. To be more conscious about what I put in my body

Now. This is a classic resolution for many people, however it usually starts as a negative. For example. Having a resolution not to drink. Not to eat chocolate. Not to have a cheeky Mc Drive Thru after yoga, but by starting with this negative ‘not’, I believe you’re setting yourself up to fail. So I’m going to flip it. I have a resolution to eat more fresh vegetables. To drink lots of vibrant, colourful juices. To guzzle water by the gallon (not in class though – it’s just a sip, right Sherry?). To have healthy snacks on hand to avoid splurging. To respect my body by treating it to things that make it feel good, and ultimately contributing to making my practice run smoothly.

8. Be grateful

I am indeed grateful for everything in my life, but sometimes it’s easy to slip into some unconsciously selfish behaviours (hello resolution number three!). So this year I would like to make much more of a conscious effort to be grateful for the many things around me. For starters – I live in Australia! What a beautiful, stunning, breathtaking, magical place. And the nature here – just wow. I get to write about places, people and things that I love, from the comfort of my own home with my beautiful kitty cats on my lap. What a beautiful way to spend my days – and be lucky enough to get paid for it. I feel privileged to practice yoga in a welcoming, non judgemental studio with wonderful teachers. My life is pretty great. But I think it’s important to take stock of that, and just be consciously grateful of that.

9. Breathe.

Because that’s what yoga is all about.

10. To be more yogic

I guess this resolution is a little like the sum of all the parts of the above resolutions (perhaps minus numbers one and three), but I do feel it deserves recognition in it’s own right. I would like to wake up in the morning and be conscious, be aware, be a good person, be grateful, be humble, be strong, be dedicated, be healthy, be helpful, be wise, be caring, be giving, be non-attached and above all, be happy. I am yogi… hear me om!

A yoga teacher’s letter to her first time student

Sweat and Stretch at Bikram Yoga North Brisbane

 

Dear First Timer:

You don’t even realize how amazing you were throughout your first class!  You stayed in that hot, sticky, drippy room the entire time.  You followed instruction.  You took a seat when you needed one.  You even found stillness during Savasana.

I know you are doubting these words right now.  I know that you looked at the folks in the front row and had the thought, “That will never be me.  They must have been born with freakish flexibility or godly strength,” but I’m here to tell you that they started the same way you did, following along, trying their best, and wondering how they had found themselves in this crazy yoga class.  The only thing they did that others sometimes do not, is come back. And not just a couple of times, but again and again and again as they looked for a way to master the class, to master their body, their mind, and their breath.  To master their lives.

I wish that for you.  That you come back.  That you try again.  You might have resistance to this practice.  You might find an excuse why it isn’t for you.  It was too hot.  The teacher was too loud, their voice booming through the microphone, so that you cannot even pretend that you cannot hear them.  And at times they even called out your name to encourage or correct you and you wished with every loud beat of your heart pounding in your ears that they would simply leave you alone.  It was too bright and and the mirrors were too much, as you watched your face get an alarming shade of red you had never witnessed before.  You might even have a headache tonight as your body urges you to drink more water and eat better food after you dripped with what seemed like buckets of sweat throughout the class.

I hear you.  Yoga is not easy.  It is a challenge.  Taking up a regular yoga practice is one of the bravest things you can do in life.  It means you are willing to become better than you are today.  It means you are ready to take responsibility for your own life’s story and face yourself on the soul level for at least an hour, day after day, to see where you are locked up both physically and mentally in order to free yourself from past injury and emotional turmoil.  It is more than a workout.  It is a work in.

I hope I see you in my class again.  For me, there’s nothing better than sharing this yoga and I want to share it with you.  I look forward to the day you look in the mirrors and smile at what you see or maybe even pull your mat up to the front row, so you can really get a good look at you and your practice and where you are in that moment.  For someday, if you stick with it, you will find your own strength and your own flexibility, in and out of the studio and you, my friend, will shine.

Sincerely,

Your Yoga Teacher

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