The Resolution Revolution

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New Year’s Resolutions can be extremely powerful tools for creating change in our lives-- improving ourselves (though one could argue you could never improve upon your Self), realizing goals, putting an end to “bad” habits or patterns or just plain shaking things up. Often times we shoot out of the gate like a fireball and all too often we burn out soon thereafter. With this in mind, we encourage you to embrace a healthy mix of abhyasa, sanskrit for constant and determined effort and vairagya, non-attachment to results. Make resolutions, set your goals and strive to reach them but don’t give up on them if you seem to be going nowhere or worse yet, take a step backward. You may take a few wrong turns or even get derailed every now and again, but it’s the trails that don’t show up on your map may be just the detour you need…

Here are a few resolutions that may inspire or motivate you for 2013. We’ve followed them up with some references/inspirations to get you started and keep you going…

Start a home yoga practice
Find your Om at Home-- whether it’s five minutes or 50, getting on your mat regularly on your own is a great way to expand and deepen your yoga practice. A mat is essential and props such as a blanket, blocks, strap and bolster can be a huge help. We’ve found that adhering to a set time and place to practice have really helped to keep the momentum going. Time can be as simple as “when I wake up” or “when the kids go to bed” or a set time that you can carve out regularly. Pick a place that’s comfortable for you—you may want to create your own “yoga space” that’s away from some of the outer distractions in order to quiet the inner ones. No worries if time and place need to vary, practice when you can and wherever you can for whatever time you can.

OK, it’s day one and the clock has struck “yoga.” I’ve got my space, rolled out my mat, so now what?!? There are many resources available for you to sequence out your home yoga practice (some are listed below). While you may seek external inspiration and guidance for your practice, part of the challenge, fun and reward of practicing on your own is it’s your opportunity to explore. Set your intention, celebrate your Self and cut loose!

Meditate
There aren't too many activities where you can get on your butt and get started. Whether on its own or as part of your home yoga practice, meditation brings you a lot closer to yourself (your Self). Sitting down and just being for a few minutes each day should be a welcome change from your frenetic pace and incessant external stimulation. Sit down and give it a try.

Eat (your veggies), Drink (water) and Be Merry
Whether you’re going to yoga class, the gym, walking or engaging in some other physical activity, you are likely very mindful of the amount of exercise you are getting. See if you can apply the same mindfulness to what you put into your body. You know your diet best and we’re sure many of us could stand to eat more fruits and veggies and drink more water. If you’re not sure, you may want to consider keeping a food diary so you can see just what you’re offering up to your body-temple.

Volunteer
Time is one of our most valuable and for many of us, scarce, commodities. To offer up our time in service to others, without expectation of thanks or other strings attached, is true karma yoga – the yoga of action. The Dalai Lama says that our purpose in this world is to be happy and to make others happy. Plain and simple, giving feels good and it clearly contributes to both our own happiness and the happiness of others.

Journal
There is something powerful about putting pen to paper and capturing your thoughts. The day’s events, goals, frustrations, triumphs or whatever comes to you in the moment are waiting to unfold on the page. The process of journaling may represent many things to many people—free expression, communication, therapy, release—in all these forms it is the process of getting to know yourself.

Get More Rest
Give yourself more time to do less– whether it’s more sleep, meditation, napping, an exercise recovery day, a day away from the news, soaking your feet- find what you need to be well rested from both a physical and mental perspective. Look at how much you’re already doing running on empty, imagine what you could do on a full tank.


RESOURCES


HOME PRACTICE

Books
Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar
Great resource for yoga philosophy and asanas/postures.

Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann
Another excellent resource for yoga asanas. Erich also shares his own story, which is very inspiring.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda
You won't find much asana here, but you will find an excellent translation and interpretation of the yoga sutras, Patanjali's "how to" of yoga and enlightenment. Satchidananda makes the sutras practical and accessible. A must have if you are interested in yoga philosophy and the eight-limbed path of yoga.

Articles
Bringing Your Practice Home on Yoga Journals website, www.yogajournal.com is an excellent article on getting started with a home practice. They also have a home practice section on their site that is worth checking out-
http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/home_practice

Web
A yoga class is literally just a few clicks away on sites such as YogaGlo. On top of sites dedicated to online yoga, YouTube and iTunes abound with videos and podcasts, respectively. Note, some digging may be necessary to find something you dig!

Video and Audio
Videos have come a long way and can be a good resource until you are comfortable doing your own thing or when you need a voice other than your own. Some DVD’s such as Shiva Rea’s Yoga Shakti provide multiple practices and let you customize your own.

If you are comfortable with a CD rather than a video, that’s another option. Check out Rusty Wells if you are looking for a good vinyasa practice…Bhakti Flow CDs.

Meditation

A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield. Shares his experiences and provides many meditations for you to try.

A Heart as Wide as the World by Sharon Salzberg. Get anything by her – always inspiring and thought provoking.



Meditation is Boring? as listed on Open Library,
a project of the non-profit Internet Archive

Mediation is Boring? by Linda Johnson. Provides her experiences with meditation, good inspiration.

Eat (your veggies), Drink (water) and Be Merry



http://www.charitywater.org is a link to charity: water.
Gives a whole new meaning to water,
water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Books
The Food Revolution by John Robbins. Makes a strong case for vegetarianism and eating organic, local and non-GMO. Warning, this may ruin it for you if you just want to eat more greens and enjoy a burger every now and again.

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison is a great resource for vegetarian cooking for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Other

Yoga + Joyful Living is a yoga magazine we highly recommend. They feature at least one food article each month, typically with accompanying recipes.

Check out the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. They offer classes and courses in mostly vegetarian cooking. Their Friday night dinner is amazing—meet up with friends or make new friends in “communal” seating while their students serve up incredible fare—you won’t believe it’s vegan!

Volunteering

VolunteerMatch is a website you can use to help you find volunteering opportunities in your area. You can search based on proximity to your zip code and other criteria.

Journaling

Check out Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. The website Journal for You provides some good information, including several links to other sites.

Getting More Rest



Photo Credit: Detroit Runner

If you’ve read this far, rest assured, it’s the perfect opportunity to start making this one a reality.

There’s no resolution too small or seemingly inconsequential. There’s no setback that shouldn’t inspire you to recommit to your resolutions. Some added inspiration excerpted from Antonio Machado’s poem Last Night as I was Sleeping to get you started and keep you on your way—

Last night as I was sleeping,?

I dreamt—marvelous error!—?

that I had a beehive?

here inside my heart.?

And the golden bees?

were making white combs?

and sweet honey?

from my old failures.



Brand new year, brand new day...