Step gently into the new year

For most people December is one of the busiest months of the year. Balancing work commitments, family expectations, and festivities can leave you feeling quite depleted by the time New Years comes around. Then just when you start to think about taking the Christmas tree down, and settling back to work, you’re bombarded by ‘New Years Resolutions’. The pressure to conform, and jump on the resolution bandwagon of self judgement and retribution for those Christmas treats you may have indulged in, is amplified by the diet and fitness books displayed in every bookshop window.

Personally, I don’t consciously set a New Year resolutions, I feel all twelve months of the years should be a time for self reflection, and deepening your journey towards leading a good life with awareness of where you fit into the world. But new starts can be a good time to remind you of your intentions or kick start a new positive affirmation. Setting an intention of self care instead of self punishment is a better way to start the year. Rather than setting unrealistic goals, that will leave you feeling like a failure and, like many people, drop it by the end of January – set a feel good intention that will give you space for self reflection. Constantly monitor how any new routines makes you feel. If your resolution is filling you with dread, review it and alter your expectations. Observe and take notes – journaling helps to simplify the thought process and makes it easier to whittle out what doesn’t serve you. Take your time and make it a new part of your lifestyle rather than a temporary quick fix. Focus on how you want to feel in yourself and move gently towards a happier and healthier you.

This sequence is designed to help you to move with slow intention and get close to your breath. Start your practice on your back with your knees bent, feet mat distance apart. Place your hands on your belly and feel the breath move through you. Take three to five rounds of this Viloma breath – inhale for a long breath, and then exhale pause, exhale pause, exhale pause – dividing your exhale into three sections.

As you move through your practice observe how your body is responding to each movement – are you getting tetchie to move more aggressively through your practice; do you want to spend more time in childs pose, are you holding your breath; do you hold tension in your facial expression? Throughout the sequence you will be working into your hips which will help you to release any built up tension and tendencies for self judgement. Move lightly through your transitions from pose to pose with just as much awareness and care that you give to the poses themselves. Enjoy a quiet time to yourself on your mat and step into your new year gently.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru