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The Yogi’s New Year Resolution

27th Dec 2022 | Author - Viraj

As we approach yet another New Year, it’s time to reflect on the year gone by and set new intentions and directions for the future. There are many things we might have achieved in the past year and many more that we still desire to accomplish. Life is a beautiful journey, because it always presents us with new experiences, learning and growth opportunities. There is always the option of starting fresh if we put our minds to it.

When it comes to developing new habits and modifying old ones, it can sometimes seem challenging. However, the start of a new year gives us the opportunity and inspiration to make fresh resolutions and set intentions for the coming year. Yoga can be a very helpful tool for self-purification and transformation and the Yama and Niyama of Patanjali can be excellent intentions for creating lifestyle conditions for yoga to accelerate our journey. 

So, for the Yogi in you, here are 6 intentions  to consider;


Put the Yogic Principles into Action:

Enlightenment, which means experiencing and expressing one's truth, being one with nature, and practicing ahimsa, is a stepping stone on the yogic path. Additionally, the yoga philosophy promotes unity, human values, and service toward others. The world would be a better place, overflowing with peace and happiness, if we made a decision to live by this idea.


Embrace New Challenges:

For yogis, performing routine yoga Asanas are equivalent to getting out of bed and cleaning their teeth. This New Year, experiment with some new asanas or physical routines like walking,trekking, dancing, playing a game or even running, to challenge your body in a pleasant way. It will not only increase the variety of physical postures and maneuvers, but it will also surprise your body as you push it to its physical limitations. You'll be surprised by what you're capable of.


Include Pranayama in Your Daily Routine:

Whether you go to a yoga studio or practice yoga at home, make sure to make pranayama a habit of yours. Pranayama is essential to all yoga practices. Because different pranayamas affect the body differently and might enhance your experience. They also work well as a tool for enhancing meditation and mindfulness.


Start with Short Meditations

Yoga is the gateway to meditation, and meditation is an essential skill to gradually decondition our minds. Once we are through our physical postures, activities and pranayamas, we can try to sit still for a short duration and just be mindful of our own breath. This practice will help us to build our ability to go within ourselves and gradually develop an environment where mediation will start happening and we will be able to go into the state of non-doing very easily. This can do wonders for our health and also bring out our hidden creativity. 


Be Kind and Spread Happiness:

The power of kindness is so great that its usefulness is limitless. All of us are seeking happiness in our lives, but there is no greater happiness one can achieve than the joy of giving. A simple task of giving, whether we share our knowledge, skill, money, food or even a smile can bring long-lasting happiness to us as well as others. The greatest gift of the enlightened person is kindness. This is a stand-alone resolution that emphasizes how every single one of our feelings and actions may help create a better world for everyone. Every time a yogi steps onto their mat, they are working toward this purpose.


Make Time for Yourself:

Does your to-do list resemble an infinite cycle? It’s time to take a step back and enjoy the little things in life. Make a date with yourself and everything that inspires you to feel amazing on a daily basis. That may be doing some yoga, playing with our friends, meditating, taking a stroll through the park, or just taking some time to unwind.


While the above resolutions will help you embark on your new journey, you will also benefit immensely by embracing Patanjali’s Yama and Niyama in your New Year’s resolutions. The Yamas and Niyamas are often referred to as the moral code of yoga or the moral commandments of yoga.


A short outline of these ideas is provided below, along with recommendations for how you may apply them to accomplish the desired result in 2023;


The Yamas:

The Yamas are a set of moral pledges that are traditionally defined as "restraint." They enable us to operate more intelligently both toward ourselves and the outside environment. These are the five Yamas and some suggestions for how you can incorporate them as part of your New Year’s resolutions;


1. Ahimsa (Kindness): We can start this practice by being kind to ourselves. Let's say five kind things to ourselves in the mirror at the beginning of each day. Once we can develop kindness toward ourselves we can also be kind toward others.


2. Satya (Truthfulness): Consider whether what you are about to say is true, polite, and essential before you speak to others. Don't say anything if it isn't.


3. Asteya (Non-Stealing): Non-stealing means so much more than merely not physically taking something from someone else. It is also hoarding and collecting more than our needs. The need to steal essentially arises because of a lack of faith in ourselves to be able to create what we need by ourselves.


4. Brahmacharya (Moderation): The word Brahmacharya actually translates as ‘behaviour which leads to Brahman’. It's not just celibacy as defined by popular culture. Brahmacharya essentially means the right use of energy. A Yogi uses the energy to go inward and not waste it on negative thoughts or destructive behaviour. Every week, dedicate one day to practicing silence.


5. Aparigraha (Non-Possessiveness):  Aparigraha is about letting go of attachments to things, people, emotions, and outcomes. This is a gradual practice that can lead to immense freedom. One can start small by letting go of our likes and dislikes and being open to life.


The Niyamas:

The Niyamas, which are practices focused on taking care of oneself, our spiritual practice, and our inner world, are frequently translated as "positive duties." These are the five Niyamas and some suggestions for how you can incorporate them as part of your New Year’s resolutions;


1. Saucha (Sanitation/Purity): Keep yourself and your surroundings clean. Start each day by making your bed, grooming and taking care of your body, and letting go of unnecessary clutter, both physically and mentally.


2. Santosha (Contentment): Each morning, list five things for which you are thankful in your journal. This practice will gradually develop an attitude of gratitude within us, and gratitude can fill us with positive energy.


3. Tapas (Endurance): Tapas is our willingness to do something that is not easy. By doing so, we train our body and mind to follow our will. The higher the willpower, the greater the flow of energy. Consider the challenge you've been holding off on due to your fear. Begin implementing it this year.


4. Svadhyaya (Self-study): By studying ourselves and our tendencies, we will slowly start realizing our own inherent patterns and issues. We would also start distinguishing between what's real and what's not. They say, "Study thyself, discover the divine." Svadhya is only possible with regular meditation practices. Therefore, make meditation a daily habit. Start with 5 minutes per day and gradually increase. 


5. Isvara Pranidhana (Surrender): Surrendering (pranidhana) to a higher source (Ishvara). Ishvara pranidhana is a “big picture” yoga practice. It initiates a sacred shift of perspective that helps us remember, align with, and receive the grace of being alive. Whenever we are doing our yoga practice we can develop a genuine feeling of gratitude towards simple things like being well fed every day, being healthy and being able to do our practice or any other thing we are blessed with in this life.


Yoga can help you figure out what to do and how to accomplish it, whether it's a "New Year's Resolution" or simply an approach to making changes in your life. If you make an unwavering and steadfast commitment, there is no force that can stop you from being the best version of yourself.


Happy New Year!!

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