"The only constant is change."
This timeless quote by Heraclitus reminds us that change is an inevitable part of life. As we stand on the threshold of a new year, in the face of as-yet undefined transitions and uncertainties, the practice of yoga offers a nurturing space to cultivate strength, courage, and resilience, empowering us to confidently embrace change with grace and fortitude.
Start each day with a grounding ritual to center your mind. Author Julia Cameron invented the concept of “Morning Pages”—a stream-of-consciousness style of journaling that expels all self-analysis or correction. It's three foolscap pages of unedited, typo-ridden handwritten thoughts, reflections, insights, fears, gossip, complaints, and anything else that comes to mind. Anything goes! In clearing out the mental clutter, we create space for more valuable insights to grow. In honing a scattered mind, we can approach the day with ease and clarity.
2. Dynamize Your Yoga
Engage in a dynamic asana practice that challenges your body and mind, encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone and build physical and mental resilience. Such classes may reference “power,” “strength,” “core,” and “vinyasa” in their names. That being said, if your greatest challenge is slowing down, you might embark on a class with a slower pace and longer holds. Both formats have their benefits!
3. Move Mindfully
How do you show up in the world? If you followed yourself around for a day, would you like the person you observed? To maximize our potential and manifest the person we wish to be, we must take stock of who we currently are. Bringing a heightened awareness to our thoughts, actions, responses, and reactions fosters resilience amidst shifting circumstance and enables us to “choose again,” if we so wish.
4. Review Your Day
At the end of the day, when you’re lying in bed, do a “soft review” of things you could have done beter, interactions you would do differently if offered the chance again. Your mind on the brink of sleep is highly receptive. consider not only what you might improve upon but also what went well that day, the interactions, conversations, responses, or thought patterns you’d like to strengthen places destiny into your hands. Self-observation fosters a deeper understanding of your capacity to assess, adjust, and confidently ‘go with the flow’ in a world that is ever-changing.
5. Show Compassion
Compassion is the invisible thread that binds us together as human beings. Ironically, it is in our desire to relate to another, to be understood by another gives us strength in numbers. Extend kindness and compassion to others and when you need that force behind you, it will be there to help you navigate change with empathy and shared humanity.
6. Be Intentional
Establish clear intentions, not just for yoga but throughout the day. Before booting up your computer, know why you’re logging on, who you want to email, what you want to say, and then follow through! In this way, you sprinkle your day with purpose, which can guide you through the inevitable ebb and flow of life.
7. Explore Online Communities
Engage with online yoga communities to nurture connections with like-minded individuals and draw strength from a supportive network of practitioners, regardless of geographical boundaries. Expand your online community base by exploring virtual book clubs, support groups, hobbyists not only for the virtual companionship to be had but also for the wealth of resources, including forums, webinars, or skills for personal growth. Communicating our thoughts and feelings with others also builds self-assurance fr applying those same skills offline.
8. Embrace Flexibility
When most people think about flexibility, they think ‘hamstrings.’ But the flexibility cultivated through yoga impacts our mind as much as our body. When our joints ache and muscles feel tight, it can be challenging to present our best self. For most, it’s easier to project kindness into the world when we're feeling good physically, emotionally, even spiritually. By embodying the wholistic spirit of flexibility, we nurture adaptability as a cornerstone of resilience and self-confidence.
9. Cultivate Courage
Try a new class or practice some challenging asanas to explore the unknown and expand your practice. Courage is like most muscles in our body—to strengthen it, we must engage it, and to engage courage, we must push past fear, welcome difficulty, and face resistance head on.
10. Take Time for Gratitude
Cultivate a daily gratitude practice to acknowledge the beauty and abundance in your life. In nurturing the ability to see the good in our lives, when times get tough, you’ll have established an optimism that will fortify you in periods of transition.
11. Rest and Restore
Knowing that resilience is nurtured through moments of rest and rejuvenation, prioritize restorative yoga practices and self-care rituals to replenish your energy reserves. As with all life cycles, there is a time to be strong, take action, and be pro-active, and there is a time to sit back, integrate, and “enjoy the view” that is just as important.
When times get tough, you’ll have established an optimism that will fortify you in periods of transition.
As we step into the light and potential of a new year, let’s remember that yoga serves as a steadfast companion, guiding us as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of our lives. By embracing change with strength, courage, confidence, both on and off the mat, we can cultivate a resilient spirit that sustains us through the triumphs and challenges that lie ahead.