January... the month of new beginnings.
During this time of year we tend to reflect on our lives and the past year, and look to the new year as an opportunity to begin again. It's a brand new shiny year without dents and scratches and we have an opportunity to start fresh. We often decide to set new year's resolutions and new goals that establish new patterns in our life. So often our new ideals fade away after just a few weeks or months. It can be easy to over commit and feel let down when the results aren't what we expected. With a clean slate and a new beginning, consider a new approach. Don't tie your success to the outcome. Being focused on the end game allows us to discount everything that unfolds along the way. This is a wonderful opportunity for growth and joy along the way, before you reach the end. As in your yoga practice, enjoy the journey and live in the moment. What can you learn about yourself as you try to balance on one foot? What can you learn about yourself as you approach and begin new practices in your life?
This year, I am going to keep a Happiness Jar on my dining room table. I've been inspired by
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. Everyday I will write one thing that made me happy on a slip of paper and drop it into my jar. On a difficult day, I'll be able to jam my fist into that jar and pull out a note with something that made me happy and it will absolutely make me smile. At the end of the year, I'll have an entire jar to read and remember all those precious moments of 2015.
As for your yoga practice on the mat, the turn of the page from December 31 to January 1 reminds us to de-clutter and detoxify, to eliminate the societal expectations that draw you away from your authentic self and to explore the wonderful resources that are uniquely you. Try more meditation. Whether you sit or walk, breathe deep. Try inversions (legs up the wall is nice, headstands are great too) to reverse the flow of gravity, simulate a face lift, flush fresh nutrients and oxygen to your face and brain, creating positive thoughts and putting a smile on your face. Headstands are not recommended if you have neck injuries, extremely high blood pressure, ear and eye problems, or have acid reflux. Also try more twists to address hip and back pain, to massage your abdominal organs, including your kidneys and liver, and stimulate your brain.
Remember to create time for yourself! Putting yourself first allows you to give mroe energy and enthusiasm to everyone around you.
“Every New Year people get you some presents but the best present you get never changes: Your own existence! It is also your best present to others!”
Meet Penny Easterwood!
Penny attends yoga at Val Vista Village (VVV) and here are her answers to my Featured Student of the month questions where we learn more about our fellow yogis who brighten our path and make our journey joyful.
SJ: Where is your permanent home?
PE: Warrensburg, MO, 50 mi SE of Kansas City
SJ: What prompted you to try yoga for the first time, and why do you keep practicing?
PE: I had always wanted to try yoga but never had the self-confidence to do so. A few years ago, my good friend Charlene invited me to share a long weekend at Val Vista Village with her and her family. I tried your class at her encouragement and was hooked. I continue the practice to stretch, build strength, and quiet my mind. (Thank you Charlene for bringing Penny to class!!)
SJ: What have you found most challenging about the practice?
PE: Building strength and balance continues to challenge me, as well as not holding my breath.
SJ: How does yoga influence your life outside of classes?
PE: With each practice I feel I have rewarded myself by taking care of me. That's empowering!
SJ: Name three things on your bucket list.
PE: I'm not really a bucket list kind of girl..... but I would love to live in Europe for an extended period of time, travel more with my children, and teach abroad. Travel seems to be the theme!
SJ: What would your friends say you are most known for?
PE: Positive Energy. (I can agree with Penny on her positive energy. Her warm smile brightens my day!)
Thank you Penny! for being a 'Featured Student' and for being part of our yoga community at Val Vista Village. Your presence indeed makes a difference! We'll have to schedule a happy hour yoga at your place soon!
Our teachers often use just the right words to inspire us on our mat, and in our lives. Here are some of my favorite quotes, thoughts and stories that inspire me to live my best life.