With the New Year we have many new visions and ideas for our new selves. “This year I will begin a yoga practice!” Or whatever intention you have set for the New Year. Beginning something new is not necessarily easy, and continuing with this new habit can be even more challenging. So setting yourself up for success is the most important part. Therefore, we recommend a “Soft Start to the New Year”!
As everyone is trying to push it, and possibly making resolutions that are impossible to keep for the long run. You should ask yourself these simple questions:
What worked for you last year? That you could build on this year. Do you really want this specific resolution? Or are you just following the hype? What small and soft changes can you apply to your daily routine today? Acknowledge yourself for the smallest effort and change in the right direction.
With yoga we look at the physical aspects in the body. Do you carry tension? Do you need more strength? How is your mobility? Is you stiffness hindering you from breathing well? We look at the vitality and the energy in your body. How is your circulation or your digestion? Do you feel good? Are you experiencing a feeling of lightness and ease, or do you feel sluggish and heavy?
Simply by paying attention to how you move and breathe during the day, you are creating awareness, and with this understanding you can discern and choose what will increase your well-being. The attention and awareness is the KEY.
With a soft start we will start our Year by bringing attention in to how we are Living, and in a non-judgmental way, adjusting our habits.
Here are a few simple ways on how to bring yourself into the present moment.
- When you wake up in the morning take a glass of water and drink it slowly. Take a couple of breaths in between sips. Go outside or by a window, notice something beautiful in nature. Maybe a flower or a tree, and take the moment in by taking deep breathes.
- Stretch your arms up over your head and lean to one side. Lift up and then lean over to your right side. Inhale and lengthen up then exhale and lift and bend sideways. Take 5-10 deep slow breaths on the first side, then switch to the other side. Anchor down through both feet and lift out of your lower back, and let the side stretch open your whole side body! Imagine every atom and cell waking up, and smile.
- Open your hips. You can do this simple stretch sitting on the edge of your bed or standing up is you want to practice your balance. Cross your right ankle over the top of your left upper leg. Flex your feet to protect your knees, then forward fold over your bent left leg to stretch your right hip. This “number four” position can be practiced laying on your back as well, especially if you are working with knee issues.
- Notice that you are externally rotating your thigh bone from the hip socket, and releasing the medial and external rotators in the hips. This hip opener can help relieve lower back issues, sciatica and tightness in hip flexors. After 10-20 breaths switch sides.
When you are softly stretching in to your body, pay attention to your breath, and guide the breath into those areas that feel extra tight. If you are experiencing an intense stretch, back of and linger in a softer intensity, observe your body letting up. Notice if something emotional is letting up at the same time. We have to slow down in order to truly experience this release and shift, so be very patient with yourself and remember to not judge if you get restless. Notice how you are feeling for giving yourself these 2 simple and very doable postures, acknowledge yourself for taking time to begin anew!
You are on your way to a profound shift in your way of living, just by paying attention and breathing, and moving in order to heal yourself. My personal mantra is “do less, breathe more, because sometimes less is more!” Let this soft start open your eyes to a new you. Happy New Year!