It’s almost 2019! A new year, a fresh start! Many of us are eager to make those New Year resolutions so that we can replace all of our bad habits with good ones, and become better people…right? Yes, we get excited at this time of year, our eyes shiny with good intentions. Yet, according to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. This may be because we jump in too quickly, failing to take the time to see where we have been or to acknowledge our “samskaras”, the impressions of our past actions and experience that we tend to carry with us.
So, this year, let’s try a new approach. Our Yoga and Meditation practices give us time to pause and reflect, and inquire into our habits and patterns, giving us some perspective. Let’s take our practice off the mat and into the new year by 1) Reflecting on the past year, with curiosity and inquiry, 2) Resolving to move mindfully and intentionally into 2019, and 3) Allowing the effects of our actions to Ripple out in the world in a positive way.
1. Reflecting: During the busy holiday season, we welcome the time on the mat or cushion to check in and see how we are feeling—underneath all of busy-ness and activity—and remember
who we are. Even though we may feel we are too busy to stop, this is a wonderful time to reflect on the year as we soon turn the calendar page to 2019. We can build this into our mindfulness practices, and take some time to consider the year. Rather than listing off the things that “happened”, we pause to consider what we have learned and how we have grown. In this way, we will be able to look at how we approached and responded to the events of the year, rather than just assessing success or failure. Doing this allows us to look at our samskaras, our habits and patterns with some perspective and dispassion. We are not our habits—and when we remember this perspective, we can take mindful action that has a better chance of cultivating what we want, rather than just getting excited over setting a new goal for the year.
Reflecting in this way helps us to acknowledge what is, as it is. We don’t spend the time wishing things had been different, we become witness to the things that come and go in our lives and how we managed them. And underneath all that is coming and going, we are still here. That can take the pressure off having to create a list of resolutions, that, if completed will make us the “perfect person”.
2. Resolving: If resolutions fail so often, why bother? That’s a good question and the reason that in the past few years, I’ve moved from New Year resolutions to New Year intentions. Resolutions tend to be about “fixing” something that is wrong with you, and that just doesn’t feel good. Intentions, are about how you will approach something, rather than the end result. It’s about what you want to cultivate in your life. For example, you could make a resolution to lose 10 pounds this year. That might encourage you to eat better and work out. If you do, you might lose those 10 pounds. And then you might gain them back, and the cycle begins again, as many of us know. Or, you could set an intention to be healthy or well-nourished or energized in the new year. That is something you can affirm to yourself each morning and gives you a lot of options. If you wake up in the morning and say to yourself “I am healthy and whole” then it is likely that your actions will line up to help you be healthy and whole. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a plan or have to take action, but it gives you a “rallying cry”. In 2018, I wanted to stretch myself and do something new. I’d been thinking about writing a book, but hadn’t taken action. So, I set my intention in January to be “courageous”. I wrote “I am courageous” on the first page of my journal, along with a poem or two about courage. Each day I affirmed it to myself; “I am courageous”. And so, I had to act! Because I am courageous! And I wrote a book, A Year of Mindful Wellness, that I am very excited about. So, resolve to move intentionally into the new year, and see what happens!
3. Rippling: When we have our intention and are ready to take our actions out into the world, it is helpful to remember that everything is connected to everything, and what we do has a ripple
effect out in the world; waves of energy that move out and affect others. Taking our practice off the mat and into the world is a way to practice Karma Yoga, or selfless action. When we go forth intentionally, rather than just trying to accomplish a goal, it is more likely that our actions will affect others in a positive way. We can mindfully set intentions that help us contribute to the well-being of all beings. When you are reflecting on the year, and setting intentions for the new year, consider how your actions will ripple out, and what you can do to ensure those ripples send out positive energy. Consider your strengths and passions to determine where to spend your effort. I express my passion for wellness in my work by teaching Yoga, and in my free time by volunteering for an organization that distributes healthy food surpluses to those who do not have ready access to good nourishment. For me it feels healthy, helpful and whole. What will you do this year to send out positive ripples?
This year, try a new approach…Reflect, resolve and ripple!! Here’s wishing you a meaningful holiday season and mindful new year.
Being Well Yoga
Make a ripple and join us in Spain! Come As You Are; relax, explore, and practice yoga and meditation. Early Bird ends 1/15! Join us! Details HERE.
About Lisa Feder
Lisa Feder is a full-time yoga instructor and wellness consultant living in Austin, Texas. She has had a passion for all things wellness for as long as she can remember. While working for over 20 years in the corporate world as a strategic marketing specialist, she began teaching fitness classes in her free time. This led her to explore yoga, and she fell in love with the way it made her and her students feel—physically, emotionally, and energetically. After teaching part-time for many years, she took the leap and started Being Well Yoga, where she brings yoga on-site to companies to help employees learn how to live healthier, more balanced lives. She also teaches in studios, schools, senior centers, parks, and private homes. Her approach is balanced, and she likes to bring humor, challenge, and deep relaxation into her practices.
Lisa is especially interested in helping students find a yoga practice that really works for them, and she believes that yoga can provide more ease and comfort to all. She has seen the effects of a healthy lifestyle on her family as well and wants to share. Through classes, retreats, and workshops, Lisa loves helping people explore how to incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives in a fun and sustainable way. She is working on her first book, about bringing mindful habits into your daily life. Her favorite thing is hearing about the positive changes her participants make for themselves.
Lisa lives and teaches in Austin, Texas. For more information about Lisa, please visit her website.