2018, a new year, that perhaps brings new resolutions. When you reflected on the past year to make those New Year’s resolutions, what emotions came up? Did you first focus on all you did well or on all your failures? Very often, our goals from the New Year evolve from frustration with what we did not accomplish in the past year. With this yoga sequence I encourage you to answer the question again: In reflecting on 2017, did you focus in on what you deemed your failures or your successes? But, this time, the answer is your successes. As you bring your hands to heart’s center, meditate on how it feels to be proud of yourself, no matter how big or small your accomplishments. And thus begins the journey to self-love.
Start moving through a sun-salutation on your breath, on your time. This practice is for you, for your body and mind. Perhaps you stay in downward dog, seeing how it feels to press through one foot at a time, or perhaps you move through multiple sun salutations. Continue breathing.
With each breath in, bring in kindness, and with each exhale, let go of the self-doubt, the negative self talk. In five more breaths we’ll walk our feet to our hands, and slowly roll up, meeting at the front of our mat in mountain pose. Stand tall, grounded as the earth holds you, as you begin radiating self-love to the beings around you and then out to the world. By showing yourself gratitude, your energy begins to radiate love and kindness to all beings. We’ll move through one more sun salutation, first inhaling our arms to the sky bringing in all the loving energy from around you to your heart.
We’ll meet in Down Dog, lifting our right leg to the sky and exhaling to step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning your knee over the heel. Keep your left leg strong and firm, while lengthening your tailbone toward the floor and reaching back through your left heel. Look up to your thumbs, and feel the energy in your body as your heart lifts up, your left heel reaches back, and your right foot stays grounded. On your next exhale release your arms to the floor and step back into Down Dog.
As you walk out your dog, return back to your thoughts of appreciation for yourself. Bring your left leg to the sky and into high lunge, once again feeling the energy radiating different directions. On your next exhale return to Down Dog, and on your own breath we’ll meet back at the front of our mat in Mountain Pose. On your next inhale, we’ll hug our right knee, and if you’re able, give it a kiss. We’ll then meet in Tree Pose, hands to prayer or reaching up as you extend your branches. Trees are ever changing, with the seasons, the weather, the soil composition, their inhabitants. Just as trees, we are also changing, and the negative self-talk may always be present, but we can continually focus in on our positive self-talk. From tree, we’ll move into Dancer, shifting our weight onto our left foot, bending our right knee behind to hold in our right hand. Lifting our right foot towards the sky, as the left leg stays strong and the left arm reaches forward. Feeling the opposition, but feeling the strength.
No matter how the thoughts in our mind may fight each other in opposition, you are grounded in strength. It is this strength that others can feel as you shine your light of love and kindness out to the world. Bring your right foot down and repeating on the left side, giving your left knee a hug, meditating in Tree Pose, and then slowly moving into Dancer, all on your own time, listening to your body. When you are ready, we will meet back at the front of our mat, eyes closed. In cultivating self-love, we can encourage ourselves to grow in a more positive light that shines out to others around us.
Start 2018 out with an act of self-love and join us on one of our many retreats: http://truenaturetravels.com/retreat-calendar/
About the Author
Alexandra Ross is thrilled to be working as the Operations Manager with True Nature! As a Yoga Teacher and Artist with a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health, work experience at the Environmental Protection Agency, and a passion for travel, her life’s path weaves into the mission and values of True Nature Travels. Since first traveling to Costa Rica at the age of fourteen to study ecology at remote biological field stations, she saw the power that experiential travel abroad has on one’s growth. Since then, she has worked the organic fields of a spiritual and intentional community and continued to travel, immersing herself in the local cultures.