This is always such a special time of year as the Earth makes a perceptible turn and the days begin to get longer again. We leave the dark part of the year behind and are presented with the opportunity to take pause, reflect and see what wants to be brought to light. Awakening from the darkness, a beautiful place of nurturing, where our dreams, desires and goals have been gestating and incubating over the past several weeks, we are ignited and receive an invitation by the Sun to act and manifest those hidden dreams, desires and goals.
In our culture, this invitation to act is marked by the New Year and the resolution that usually accompanies it. Oftentimes, our course of action is determined by what we believe to be lacking in our lives, what needs to change, or be improved and is usually influenced by some outside source. But by connecting to what is authentic for ourselves and our life and feeling worthy and deserving of our dreams and desires helps us to reach our goals. Instead of giving up too soon, not having reached our believed potential and being left feeling disappointed, disillusioned, and defeated, we move towards our hearts’ desire. We take the reins and act with a tremendous amount of courage. Leaving our comfort zone is a requirement.
Enter a consistent asana practice.
Seasonal in nature, our asana practice changes, flows and cycles back around. Our asana practice is comparable to Fall and the dark time of the year in that it is a process of gestating and incubating. It is something that is cared for and nurtured and slowly develops over time. It is the consistent molding and melding and attending to what is, not what we think we want. Taking one posture and step at a time teaches us how to progress without judgement. It challenges us and pushes us out of our comfort zone. It asks us to find peace with what is and give every moment and breath our all. It cultivates awareness and an aptitude for play as it shapes and heals the body and mind. Feeling worthy of this radical self-care, and it is radical, requires courage and action. Equipped with a fit body and steady mind, we are ready to answer the internal call and manifest our dreams and goals.
And just like the New Year and the return of the Sun, every asana practice and posture is an opportunity to begin again. Each side, not only a new beginning, but an opportunity to find balance and to experience wholeness, completeness and unity. Beginning to think of our asana practice as a retreat makes all the difference. It becomes something we live, not something we feel we should do. It seeps into the other 23 hours of our day. Steadiness of mind and ease in the body allows us to continuously go deep inside, no matter where we are, or what season we are in, and see what wants to be brought forth.
As a gift, I offer this poem to each of you for the New Year:
For A New Beginning
By John O’Donohue
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety,
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plentitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear,
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning,
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
Moving down The Prismatic Path and shedding more light and developing more awareness on how to incorporate the teachings of asana into our lives on and off the mat. Happy New Year and Namaste!