Happy New Year! A contemplation on what the New Year can bring.

Happy New Year to all students, instructors & friends of The Ananta Yoga Studios, Wicklow/Arklow!

I hope everyone had a lovely, peaceful & restful Christmas.  The studios are back in full swing this week of 5th January and we are delighted to see the renewed enthusiasm of our regular students returning to their weekly classes after the break! We welcome also the many new students who have signed up for weekly Yoga, Pilates & Somatic Movement Classes and also to our Mindfulness & Meditation Courses.

As we begin a New Year, we are often made to feel that we somehow need to change and become something else.  We are bombarded with advertising slogans such as “New Year – New You”.  Its all too easy to set lots of great but sometimes unrealistic New Years resolutions & goals and then put pressure on ourselves to keep them.   Many of us fall into the trap and mentally start to set our resolutions in place. Alas – despite our best efforts and intentions,  it is also all too easy to allow these resolutions to fall by the way side over the first few weeks of the year and then spend the next few weeks beating ourselves up and feeling guilty for not sticking to them! More suffering!

Having fallen into this trap and endless cycle for many years, I have come to the conclusion that a healthier approach to the New Year and the associated feelings of renewed hope is to work more towards Self Acceptance.  As we learn to become ok with who and what we are – beautifully flawed human beings – accepting our strengths and weaknesses equally,  it becomes easier to observe the parts of ourselves that we feel we could work on a little. If we learn to stand back and to begin this process of quietly deepening our awareness and acceptance of ourselves, it often yields longer lasting and more profound results in the long term. We are where be need to be. So my mantra for this January is to stay calm, breathe and go slowly!

Through the practice of yoga we are given the opportunity to explore the physical, emotional and energetic blockages that cause resistance, restrictions and mental limitations.  As the body becomes more open through the practice of yoga asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques), the mind too begins to open and become more fluid.  We then can observe the tendancy to become stuck in habitual thought patterns and the seemingly endless cycle of suffering and pain.  It is from this place of deepening awareness and honesty that gradual and positive transformation begins. We are all on the same journey but may choose to take different paths – the destination however is the same for us all as there is no separation between us.  We are not trying to change or evolve into something new, we are simply returning to what we have always been but have forgotten along the way.  The layers of conditioning (samskaras) that build up around us through our life experiences and relationships mask the essence of our true selves and as we shed the layers of our conditioning it is like peeling away the layers of an onion to reveal what is at the centre and always has been.  It is a journey backwards, a de-evolution and when we arrive it should feel like home.

Happy New Year – enjoy your journey home.

Liz x