A new year brings new opportunities and gives us a fresh start to take in where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going in our lives. Perhaps you made a resolution, or maybe you’re still working towards goals you made last year. If you didn’t make determinations or if you’ve already fallen out of sync with your best intentions, don’t worry! Rather than being hard on ourselves because of what we haven’t accomplished, this is actually a great time to practice self-compassion. Yoga offers us the opportunity to be compassionate with ourselves. It encourages us to notice and appreciate where we are at any given moment. Adopting this kind attitude is incredibly helpful when we’re faced with demands and expectations that come with a new year.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the three A’s: Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. By incorporating these practices into our daily routines, both on and off the mat, we can learn to be gentler with ourselves, a habit that will help us to more fully enjoy many new years to come.
In your yoga class, you may have heard your instructor saying things like “notice where you are” or “how are you feeling today?” Perhaps we can challenge ourselves to practice this mindfulness on our own. Maybe we haven’t been eating as well as we resolved to for New Years. Simply noticing where we are is a powerful tool.
Acceptance involves taking responsibility (not blame) for where we find ourselves. Noticing and taking in our feelings about our circumstances can be empowering. We may find that we don’t like how we feel about something, but we can choose to accept rather than react to that discomfort.
Once we have taken the time to notice and accept where we are, we are then in a better place to choose what to do next. If we find we are not quite meeting our goals, we can make a fresh determination and enjoy the opportunity to start anew every day.