Our bi-monthly focus to start 2019 in January and in February is Kindness.
That’s right Kindness.
Are you a little surprised?! Were you expecting me to go on about making Resolutions?
To tell you to write up your goals list? Or maybe to you thought I’d say things like… “time to yoga, yoga, yoga… meditate, meditate… diet, diet, diet … be more productive… be a certain way… don’t do this… do this…” and that I would lay the pressure on and spout all of these instructions under a guise of supporting our well-being?
Well, surprise! I am not going to suggest that you to do any of that, nor will I be putting that pressure on myself.
So, let’s all take a deep breathe, slow down and ease into 2019 with Kindness!
Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.
And as always, I encourage our focus on kindness to inspire and fuel our yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, to come into our classes, workshops and sessions, and I am personally excited to start the year keeping this in mind in my practices and in my life in the coming months.
Ahhhh, now that feels good, doesn’t it! But why No to New Year resolutions?
Don’t get me wrong, the start of each year can be a useful time to reflect, review and tune soulfully inwards. But this is more in line with discovering our “aspirations” and revealing “intentions” – and these words have a much softer, lighter feel than “New Year Resolutions”, don’t they?
And while, we certainly benefit in taking personal responsibility and an active role in our lives - New Year resolutions do not offer the most effective, positive way to invite and move towards that. They really are not a vehicle to nurture and uplift ourselves, especially at this time of year, and in fact they often have an opposite effect leaving us feeling discouraged, overwhelmed and disempowered.
Setting resolutions and listing goals, goals, goals at a time of year when we are traditionally still hibernating here the northern hemisphere (or are only beginning to flow into summer in the southern hemisphere) is out of sync with the natural rhythm of the seasons. It is a time of transition when we are meant to go gently with ourselves.
Additionally, in making New Year resolutions we often put unrealistic, unsustainable demands on ourselves that come from listening to that critical voice within that reinforces self-doubt, feeds false beliefs that we are not enough and leaves us feeling deflated and unmotivated.
Instead of self-criticism, if we try to focus on kindness as we reflect, review and look inwards we create healthy self-talk that positively moves us towards putting intentions into action that enable us to realise aspirations that support personal growth, life learning, health, wellness and allow positive changes that enrich our experience of life.
But, where and how do we start to make the kindness shift?
Here’s one simple way:
1.) Start by asking and answering questions that focus on our gifts.
What qualities/characteristics do I love about myself?
What do I love about my body?
What makes me feel good (body/mind/spirit)?
Who uplifts my me and leaves me smiling?
2.) Write it down. There is benefit in writing the answers down – it can be a brainstorm, a list, phrases, whatever works for you – but by writing it down we reinforce kindness and give ourselves recognition for all the beautiful, amazing, perfect things about ourselves!
3.) Finally, coming from that place a of self-love, set the intention to do more of what supports and feeds the positive aspects that are already present in you and your life.
Again, write down your ideas of what you might like to do – you’ll be more likely to do more of those things if you write them down and this can us help identify what they are.
As part of your kindness shift - be sure to surround yourself with people who nurture you and who you nurture. Take time on your own too – and do whatever, however, with whoever, feeds positive thought, words and actions in your life.
Know that in fostering that kindness to ourselves not only makes us happier, healthier and feels good; it gives us the energy to share and spread kindness to others.
“Be Sensitive, Be Honest, Be Open, Cultivate Intimacy and Generosity”
You might recognise those words, it is a phrase that I share and repeat when guiding you in our practices. It is a positive translation of the Yamas, which is the first limb of Yoga that refers to external yogic guidelines.
In Sanskrit the Yamas are “Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha”
I hope that with that you might feel the Yamas resonate that bit more and have you diving deeper in your practice on and off the mat – with Kindness.
Happy 2019! I look forward to sharing space and Kindness over the coming months.
With Love & Blessings
PS: Reminder that I will be doing 3 special Friday evening workshops on 18 Jan, 25 Jan and 1 Feb, 7:30pm to 9:30pm @YogaDublin Ranelagh. Hope you can Join me and start our 2019 feeling good!