Gentle, Reflective Resolutions

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Inward, gentle, self-reflection. In yoga philosophy it referred to as Svadhyaya or self-study. Of all the Yamas and Niyamas (the yoga dos and don’ts) it’s probably the one I most easily follow.

I’m a natural at Svadhyaya, but not at gentle. My self-study, pre yoga, has mostly been critical and harsh. Self-bashing to the point of loathing. But, somehow (by the grace of Jesus? Yoga? Maturation?) my self-reflection has shifted toward gentle, soft, nurturing. It’s such a relief too, because I can be really hard on myself.

This time of year, being close to the hubbub of resolutions and all, I am turning inward again. I find myself reflecting on where I am in life, my goals, my shortcomings and my blessings.  I guess, in a way, I’ve been making some early New Years’ resolutions.

  1. To be more active and spend more time in nature. <–This is the gentle version of what I would have resolved in the past. I currently don’t feel well in my body. Part of that is lack of physical activity. But instead of resolving to unrealistically change my body, or adhere to some ridiculous amount of calories burned each day, I’m going to leave it at this. Move my body, preferably outside!
  2. Refine my morning routine. <–After doing a lot of nurturing, self-study, I’ve come to the conclusion that, for my sanity, my morning routine could be a little more disciplined. Now that I work a day job, my mornings are sacred. There is A LOT I want and need to accomplish in a morning. I’m blessed to work just part time so this can happen, but even still, I’ve been a bit of a lazy worker ant in this department. (While being gentle, I still need to be honest) My goal is to wake up earlier (which also means going to bed earlier, yikes!), do my yoga first thing, move my body a little more (outside), stick with my daily chores/upkeep and make sure to carve out one on one time with my daughter.
  3. Live, love, laugh, be thankful, be bold and be kind. I want to embrace Christ’s heart. I know it beats inside me, but I know I don’t always show it.

If you’re not a natural at self-study, like me, resolutions can be a great place to start. Take some time to reflect on your life. Your day to day activities, how you interact with others, larger goals, etc. Base your resolutions on these observations. Be realistic, fair, gentle and nurturing.

If you struggle with negative thoughts toward yourself, being no expert, the only tip I can pass on is to be mindful of your thoughts. Watch your thoughts, pay attention to what you’re thinking and then actively attempt to change it to something more positive. Or maybe you really do need some self-constructive criticism. How can you talk to yourself more softly? How would you treat yourself if you were a small child? Be nice.

Make yoga and reflection a part of your New Years Eve celebration! Join me on New Year’s Eve, December 31 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. for a Reflective Restorative Practice.

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