Young, old, male, female, skinny or cuddly, you're a beautiful soul.
I recognise in you, that which is in me, in all of us - beautiful, wonderful, amazing 'life'.
Within in each of us is 'life' - beating it's steady rhythm, a soul ready to spread it's wings, infinite love ready to open up to the world.
To love and be loved in a way that softens the world and all our experiences of life.
It's in me and it's in you.
Rather than 'New year....New You" how about graciously accepting 'New Year, Same You' with some love and compassion. Recognising that you, your situations, experiences and relationships are all constantly changing and growing, its how we respond to those changes that makes all the difference.
This 'fresh start' is a wonderful opportunity to honour what we already are but also set intentions so the inevitable change sends us in a direction of our own choosing.
To do so, we need to create solid foundations and set our internal compass in the right direction, embracing it completely - mind, body and soul.
Drawing on yoga philosophy is a way in which we can do just that.
Patangali's Sutras present the 8 limbs of yoga - each limb has it's own identity yet forms the whole system of yoga.
#1 Yama (a set of social codes for social harmony and ethical living)
#2 Niyama (guidelines for personal conduct and behaviour)
#3 Asana (physical yoga postures)
#4 Pranayama (breath control, regulation of prana)
#5 Pratyahara (withdrawal and control of the senses)
#6 Dharana (concentration)
#7 Dhyana (meditation)
#8 Samadhi (enlightenment, self-realisation)
The Yamas and Niyamas are an excellent place to start when choosing how to root your intention for growth this year.
They are further broken down into 5 specific guidelines which we are encouraged to observe.
#1 Ahimsa - compassion and non-violence towards all living things.
#2 Satya - truthfulness, honesty in thoughts, words and behaviour.
#3 Asteya - non-stealing, being generous with your thoughts and actions.
#4 Brachmacharya - in its broadest sense, self-discipline and moderation in all areas of life.
#5 Aparigraha - non-possessiveness, the ability to share and to have freedom from desires.
#1 Sauca - cleanliness, keeping yourself and your environment clean and tidy.
#2 Santosha - contentment, appreciate both blessings and tribulations in life as part of the journey.
#3 Tapas - related to self-discipline, the ability to stay focused and go without certain things in order to grow.
#4 Svadhyaya - self study and reflection, observing your thoughts words and actions.
#5 Ishvarapranidhana - devotion (to God if that's your belief) or devotion to the sacredness of life.
If this concept is new to you, trying to observe all of them at once can feel overwhelming.
Perhaps choose one a week to focus on as you incorporate them into your daily life.
Like a pebble thrown into water, the ripples created move outward long after the pebble has sunk - if these guidelines are applied, the beneficial effects ripple out to other aspects of our life, into the wider community and the world.
Let's face it nothing thrives and grows alone, we need support and nourishment (mind, body & soul).
Every thought, word and action has a ripple effect on the people, animals and the world around us....let's make that a beautiful ripple, softening the world and our experiences.
We'll be incorporating some of this philosophy in classes over the next few weeks, just imagine what beautiful ripples of energy will be felt in the room if we all embrace these practices.
I look forward to seeing you on the mat.