The short, cold, dark days of winter are ripe with opportunity for the self-care practices I treasure: I huddle and cuddle inside the house with my two- and four-legged loved ones; I take long soaks in steamy baths; I get on my mat and practice yoga nidra to my heart’s content; I walk next to the dog until we find a place where the quiet cold of the winter sunshine rimes the tree limbs with beauty to cover their bareness. And from the fertile ground of all this being, I find the space to reflect.
The frenzy of the last few months–all of the hurdles and hiccups attendant to the official opening of the school, and a busy, albeit joyful, time in my personal life–left little time to take stock, to allow pure awareness to transform the bareness of experience into useful beauty. I stumbled upon this article at onbeing.org from the lovely Courtney Martin, and I’ve spent the afternoon considering my answers to the questions she poses, and considering what questions I would add or adapt to ask of myself as a yogi. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- What have I held on to this year? Where have I been resistant to the flow of life? How has this affected my body-mind?
- What have I let go of? How have I surrendered? How has this affected my body-mind?
- What have I learned through practice this year? About my body? About my spirit? About my mind? What would I like to learn in the new year?
- Which relationships have enriched my life in 2017? What teachers have informed my practice, and my life? Is there a teacher I would like to learn more from in 2018?
- When did I feel most balanced and whole this year? What conditions, actions and/or self-care practices led to that feeling? How can I continue to cultivate those conditions in the new year?
- When was I most physically joyful in 2017? How can I get there more in 2018? (I just couldn’t improve on this question…it is too good.)
- What is my deepest longing, my heart’s desire, my sankalpa? Can I be brave enough to live that desire as true in the coming year?
I’ve scribbled my first answers in my journal. I say first answers, because my wish for myself, and for us all, is that we keep asking, that we keep reflecting, that we keep transforming through this practice we love.
To that end, the partners of The Essence of Yoga Center have been working on setting the dates for our 2018-2019 200 and 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Programs. If your sankalpa leads you to take the next step in your yoga journey, we humbly hope you’ll journey with us.
In gratitude for this year, and in hope for the next,