New Years: It's Not A Fix But A Feel
by Mindy Levine
Oftentimes we head towards the New Year reflecting upon our resolutions. It's the stuff we want to change or transform or add into our lives. It's the ten pounds we want to lose, the new job we want to find, the stress we want to dissolve, the love we feel ready to open up to, the money we want to save or spend, the vacation we want to find time to explore. The list goes on and on, and perhaps it's the same list as years prior. By January maybe we're disheartened by how quickly we lose momentum or break promises. We may find ourselves caught up inside the 'why can't I just fix that' frustration.
For me, this is when I turn to the experience, experiment, science, and art of Yoga. Yoga is not a fix, but a feel. A feel of something new each time I come into a pose, which is why there's so much repetition and time to reflect on the contrast, the sensations, the breath. Yoga doesn't ask of us to transform because there's something wrong with us that needs fixing or modifying. Yoga keeps reminding us that our deepest self is whole, at ease, pure light and love. A lot of what keeps us stuck is our ego-mind, full of judgments, comparisons, beliefs, and a distorted perception that those habitual thoughts are our most real self.
So I invite you to play on the mat this month, before the New Year, and explore the newness of each movement on your breath, thought, and form. Can you allow your deepest self to be a calm witness to how the breath changes and works for you in moments of holding, effort, and stillness? To calmly witness the rise and fall of your noisy thoughts as the poses build or feel tricky or when you're lying in savasana? To calmly witness the rotation of your shoulders, where your head feels in space, or the placement of your feet? And perhaps noticing the thoughts that arise when a teacher comes to assist or adjust: she/he is not fixing something that's wrong, but having you feel something new.
It's the simply being which is extraordinary, the effort of allowing ease, the permission to feel your inner inspiration and greatness. Even with some extra weight, despite the frustrating job search, or the heartache. Yoga denies no one who they are and doesn't try to convert us to any rule.
My mantra, which I offer you, is from Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras," which is a seminal text of yoga. Sutra 2.16 reads, "Heyam Duhkham Anagatam." It translates to: Avoidable is the suffering that has not yet come.
I wish you a Happy New Year. House of Jai is here for you to find some space for the unknown and the space to let something go.
With light & love,