The next time I forget the calm and clarity that comes from taking some time off, please remind me: “Hey remember the time between Christmas and New Years’?”
Ah, that’s right: the space between the holidays and its double-sided gift of restoration and inspiration. I love this week. It’s a time to pause, reflect, and digest, literally and figuratively, on all that transpired in the previous year.
Before you click away thinking: “Well isn’t she quaint and elevated”, you should know that before starting this post, I filled my Amazon cart with a few different 12-month planners (one for me, one for meal-planning) and make-up and hair tool organizers. I convince myself I NEED these tools to keep my s*** together now so that during the busier times of year I can
keep try to keep myself organized and focused on what matters, like practicing yoga rather than cursing at inanimate objects under my breath, like hair ties that are buried under a layer of electrical cords and travel-size product samples in the early morning what-would-have-been the quiet morning hours before yoga or meditation. I can’t be the only one with a bathroom cabinet that can be best described with the word “anarchy”, right?
So yes, at the end of every year, I like to look back, learn from what happened, and look forward to the new year, and make some plans on paper or via e-commerce. When I share the planning process with friends, it’s usually met with one of two reactions:
Response A: “Oooh that sounds great, I want to do that!”
Response B: “You couldn’t pay me enough to look back on this year, also setting new goals sounds stressful… what if I don’t achieve them?”
With all due love and compassion to the latter reaction, I say: “Who cares if you don’t achieve them? Isn’t it fun to dream and focus and work towards something without the attachment of GETTING or ACHIEVING it?” But I’m starting to realize that other people’s ideas of fun are not the same as my own (who knew?)
Still, there’s something deeper and worth looking at in that dream-sabotaging limiting belief. There’s some simple, yet difficult to remember yoga philosophy in being afraid to privately state your goals and dreams on paper or out loud.
To those who are either afraid of declaring their dreams and goals or declaring them with unchecked wild ambition, yoga serves as a mental and physical middle path tool. Yoga teaches us to show up and practice, do the work, and be unattached to the results that come, first in our bodies and then in our minds.
How to Practice Yoga (and Other Pursuits)
The tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) summary (which I will inevitably need too) for pursuing what’s most precious to you:
- Show up.
- Do the work.
- Be unattached to the results (easier said than done).
On the yoga mat, this means: show up to the top of your mat for regular practice. Breathe and move. Try your best, but don’t be mentally attached to GETTING or ACHIEVING a posture.
Remember: unlike a 12-month planner (and speaking of that, guys which Moleskine should I get: myrtle green or bougainvillea pink?) a yoga posture is not a tangible thing to “get”. It belongs to no one. Just because your body could do it once and never again, or can do it every day doesn’t mean you’re more or less enlightened, or a better or worse person. In fact, moving your body, with the subconscious intention of injuring yourself in the name of vanity, status, or the Instagram photo, is destructive and not the goal of yoga.
At the risk of over-simplifying, the goal of yoga is becoming a more peaceful and equanimous person who is tuned into their intricacies of body, mind, and spirit for the benefit of all. However the physicality of yoga cannot be denied, and so many of us, myself included, begin yoga our yoga practice in the body or with breathing or mindfulness practices like meditation (all of these are yoga; read more about the eight limbs of yoga to learn more).
Taking it one step further with new year goal-setting, I remain committed to teaching and sharing yoga as a tool for physical, mental, and productive mindfulness in 2021 online and in-person. For those of you who are into goal-setting and want to deepen your yoga practice in a group setting, get ready to put some real or digital ink in your fresh new 2021 calendars!
Explore Ashtanga Yoga 2021
Starting Thursday, January 7th from 11-12:15 PM Central USA, we’ll explore Ashtanga yoga with a five-week series. Each week will be dedicated to deepening a specific aspect of Ashtanga yoga with the goal of giving you tools to develop your practice or create an autonomous physical contemplative practice to last you through the year and beyond.
Sign up here or keep reading for details!
For a free 30-minute preview of the class, join me and others on Zoom for Free First Friday Yoga on Friday, January 1, 2021. If you’re already an email subscriber, sit back and wait for the email to arrive in your inbox on New Year’s Day! Class will be recorded and shared with email subscribers.
- Week 1: Find your breath + Standing postures
- Week 2: Find your bandhas (internal muscular engagements) + First half of seated postures
- Week 3: Find your drishti (focal points) + Second half of seated postures
- Week 4: Bring it all together + Closing postures
- Week 5: Self-guided Mysore practice + Individualized teacher feedback
As well, every week will include:
- Strength and conditioning drills
- Short chanting lessons
- DIY home practice resources
- And more!
Sign up to receive five weeks of instruction that will set the tone for a solid yoga foundation to support you in the new year!
Questions? Drop them below in the comments or send me an email!
If you read this far and thought: “I can’t commit to yoga right now, but I would like to set some new year goals”, please enjoy these posts from previous years:
Since last year marked the end of a decade, I did Marie Forleo’s Decade-in-Review. This is the super-charged 10-year version of looking back 10 years before looking forward and setting goals for the coming 10 years. I picked up my journal from last year to review it and was pleased to see how what I wrote last year integrated well with the first year of this decade, pandemic and all. And to my delight and surprise, I met my top three goals for 2020 which were:
- Earn 200 hour yoga teacher training certification – a lovely experience I’ll write about here in 2021!
- Write 24 blog posts: 12 for this site and 12 for my other site Onward Woman (okay, technically I still need to hit publish on this piece and Onward Woman, but they will both get done before the bell tolls on 2020!)
- Earn my ACC coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation – the organization and positive psychology love runs deep within me; let me know if you ever need help setting goals and making plans to achieve them with coaching!
Ready to explore yoga?
If you’re ready to make 2021 the year that you deepen your yoga practice, sign up for Explore Ashtanga Yoga in 2021: a five-week series for brand new yogis and experienced practitioners.
Remember: for a free 30-minute preview of the class, join me and others on Zoom for Free First Friday Yoga on Friday, January 1, 2021. If you’re already an email subscriber, sit back and wait for the email to arrive in your inbox on New Year’s Day! The class will be recorded and shared with email subscribers.
Breathe and believe in wishing you and your people well as we close one year and begin another.