by Angie Newson
A Yoga and Pilates Expert
We make New Year resolutions usually with every good intention to keep them and often start off determined and focused for the first few weeks - whether it be a new diet, cutting down the chocolate, reducing our alcohol intake, getting to the gym or taking up yoga. Health clubs are traditionally at their busiest in January and February and then before we know it, resolutions are broken and gym membership cards left at the bottom of unused kit bags by March.
By practising yoga not only do we receive the healthy physical and physiological benefits which are well documented, but yoga helps us become more open to change, to grow and to learn the truth about who we really are. Most New Year resolutions fail because either we are not ready to really embrace the change or our resolutions are often rooted in negativity - there are lots of 'shoulds' involved - I must go on a diet = I should be slimmer. I must exercise more = I should be fitter. I must stop smoking = I should be healthier - sound familiar? So why not take the time out to look deeper behind your resolution and find out what's really going on.
It's a bit of a paradox I suppose - we need to learn to accept ourselves and also embrace change. Developing a daily yoga practice helps us connect with source and focusing on our breathing helps create expansion, openness and balance. Focusing inward develops mindful awareness so we know when to come out of a pose even if the person on the next mat can stay for longer. We become more aware of the ego in play as we learn to accept that maybe our practice doesn't look like it does on a DVD or the picture in a book, but in fact we are actually pretty good enough as we are.
Have fun with your workouts (even if it's not yoga!) - life's too short to be doing something you feel you 'should' be doing even though you don't like it! In the mornings and before you drop off to sleep, take a few moments to notice your breath and count your blessings - be grateful for the fact we are breathing and thankful for good health and the family and friends in our lives. Let's make a New Year resolution to be still and just be - even if it's just for a few moments and to become a better person - one who is more conscious, more loving and kind, more giving and more accepting of ourselves and others.
Happy New Year.