Happy New Year! As 2020 (finally?) rolls behind us, we’re all looking to start 2021 on the best footing. January 1st might be just another day in the year, but in the collective consciousness of humanity, it marks a fresh start, an opportunity to plant seeds and strong intentions that set the frequency for months to come.
Here are a few yogi-tested ideas to be your best self in the new year.
Start a daily practice
One of the most common new year’s resolutions is to start healthier habits: get exercise, better diet, etc. A stable practice of yoga or meditation is certainly one of the best things you can do for yourself this year!
But the tricky point is, how to actually stick to it?
Consistency of the practice is super important. It’s much better to practice half an hour every day then two hours once a week! So if half an hour is all you can do, then go with that, but go with it all the way.
You can even take what’s called a “tapas” in yoga. (No, not the tasty Spanish snacks!) This means a commitment to do a certain practice every single day, no matter what, for a set length of time.
So maybe you can welcome 2021 by committing to a daily practice for one month. Choose something that’s realistic, so you’ll have the experience of keeping to your goal. At the end of the month, reevaluate and continue. At this point it will already have started to become a habit!
Learn something new
Learning is what keeps us young, what keeps us alive. There’s always something new to learn, to keep moving and flowing with life.
One of the unexpected silver linings of COVID is that more opportunities to learn are available than ever, as long as you don’t mind doing it through a screen.
So many teachers and schools now are offering courses, workshops and even retreats online. Suddenly it doesn’t matter if you’re thousands of miles and five time zones away from your favorite teacher!
Studying remotely takes a little more self-motivation than showing up to a course in person, but once the knowledge and experience is with you, it’s yours for a lifetime just the same.
At AumTantraYoga, we’re developing several courses and masterclasses that will be available online in the new year. Check our website for details.
Become a teacher
Are you already in love with yoga or tantra, and feel the call to go deeper?
A teacher training course is an amazing way to immerse yourself in the practice and gain skills to share the light of spirituality with others. Many students of ours have gone on to spread yogic teachings around the world, while others have completed yoga and tantra TTC’s purely for self-development, taking the course as a retreat and journey in itself.
Whether or not you teach formally, going deep into yourself allows you to live as a shining example for others. In a way, your own practice is the greatest gift you can give the world. So if you feel that impulse to share, completing a TTC is a natural starting point.
The essence of yoga (and tantra, and spirituality in general) is love.
When you really boil it down, beyond the technicalities and philosophy and whatever else is there, it’s all and only about love. It’s a path to knowing yourself, which means knowing that there is no separation between “me” and “you”—which is love.
And what more clear expression of love is there than the desire to help others?
In this year’s new year’s resolutions, alongside your hopes to improve and advance yourself, why not include something for other people? Maybe you choose to start volunteering once a week, or develop an offering that can benefit others.
It’s true, the best channel for this isn’t always obvious. And sometimes you have to work on and develop yourself before you can really offer your best gift to the world.
Still, you can keep this as your intention, like a background to whatever else you are trying to accomplish. Like my teacher once told me, “Do what you do, but take the selfishness out of it.”
Love yourself as you are
So many new year’s resolutions revolve around an idea of not being enough. Like you need to lose weight, get in shape, get ahead in your career or whatever because you, as you are now, aren’t good enough.
It’s perfectly healthy to want to grow. Evolution is the nature of this life; if you’re not changing, you’re not living!
But at the same time, you can recognize that what you are is perfect. You, just you, as you are right now: absolute perfection. There are no mistakes in this manifestation.
Do what you can to refine and harmonize what is there. Bring balance, bring clarity, bring transparency. But at the same time, love things just as they are. Love yourself just as you are. It’s a radical choice, to be with what is, in a world where we’re always looking for what’s could be or should be.
So this year, try your own shape on for size. You may just like how it fits.