I remember taking a teacher training with Shiva Rea in 2013 that went over New Years Eve and Day and it revolutionized my view of the new year and resolutions. Prior to that training I had never really been a fan of New Years. I always felt that the parties, celebrations and resolutions around self-improvement seemed so false and manufactured. Not to mention how they seemed to stress the need to fix ourselves, which I already struggled with as I already had a lot of self judgement and feelings of not being enough. However, Shiva’s approach to New Years really shifted the way that I approached the new year from that point forward.
Simply put her offering resonated. It landed in its simplicity. Shiva laid out clearly what New Year’s is . . . It is literally a NEW year! A beginning. And what a beautiful gift a beginning can be.
We have beginnings every day when the sunrises and starts a new day, every turn of the week, the start of a new month and on the most minute level with each new breath that we take. We are constantly invited into the rhythms of beginning and releasing in the practice of yoga. This is a great gift.
The Lord Ganesha who is the Lord of New Beginnings teaches us that we can always begin again, take a new breath and start fresh. The Surya Namaskars, or Sun Salutations are meant to be practiced in the morning as an invocation to the new day, an offering and a calling in for the energy that we are working to stimulate and create and the way we want to start our day. Each exhale in our pranayama practice can be an invitation to release so that we can take in the new breath through the inhale and begin again.
The NEW year is no different, than the examples given above, other than it is a larger scale. The beginning of a new year provides us with the opportunity to consciously call forth what we want to cultivate in the year ahead. Not through superficial resolutions which tend to focus on diet, body image or what we are lacking materially, but rather through looking deeply within and cultivating what already exists within us but what may lie dormant. To call forth that which we are perhaps scared to speak.
We invite you to take a journal and answer these questions:
- For this new year, 2019 what are you wanting to call forth from the deepest part of your heart?
- What can you let go of to make room for this new beginning?
- What practices can you commit to, to honour this beginning?
However, you choose to honour the ending of the previous year and the beginning of the new year, honour your enoughness, your potency and your power exactly as you are and if you choose to set an intention or manifest something new for the coming year allow it to come forth from the very centre of your beautiful self, versus come from an external source. Allow your intention to be a beginning, a brave step forward . . .
Leaving you with some words from David Whyte:
“Beginning well or beginning poorly, what is important is simply to begin, but the ability to make a good beginning is also an art form, beginning well involves a clearing away of the crass, the irrelevant and the complicated to find the beautiful, often hidden lineaments of the essential and the necessary.
Beginning is difficult, and our procrastination is a fine, ever-present measure of our reluctance to take that first close-in, courageous step in reclaiming our happiness. Perhaps, because taking a new step always leads to a kind of radical internal simplification, where, suddenly, very large parts of us, parts of us we have kept gainfully employed for years, parts of us still rehearsing the old complicated story, are suddenly out of a job. There occurs in effect, a form of internal corporate downsizing, where the parts of us too afraid to participate or having nothing now to offer, are let go, with all of the accompanying death-like trauma, and where the very last fight occurs, a rear guard disbelief that this new, less complicated self, and this very simple step, is all that is needed for the new possibilities ahead.
It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities clouded by fear, the horizon safely in the distance, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility . . .”
Happy New Year!