I flip-flop on the value of New Year’s resolutions/intentions. (flip-flops – wow those sounds good right about now.) But I digress…. resolutions – bringing me into the here and now – in the dead of winter. As my fingers freeze at the keyboard, even thought the sun is shining bright outside, I am reminding myself of the value of creating time for reflection, intention setting, and re-orienting myself as I face another wonderful year of opportunity (and challenges).
As a personal trainer in the 90’s, I couldn’t wait for the “resolutes” to roll into the gym. New Year’s meant better business for me and my clients had motivation to fuel more upbeat sessions. I was always amazed though, just how quickly the flames of personal drive flickered and burned out. As I evolved through yoga practice, I came to learn about Ayurveda, the sister lifestyle science of Yoga. I began to understand that, here in the heart of winter, when light and heat is at it’s lowest point, energy stores are low and perhaps New Year’s Day is a really lousy day to make big and lasting changes. Most of us just don’t have the energy it takes to change hard-to-break and engrained habits.
New Year’s Day and early winter is a perfect time to simplify and to make space in your life so that you can reflect on, and clarify, the changes that will add value as well as a sense of inner freedom to your life. I like to use special days, like: holidays, seasons, and astrological markers as “life organization tools.” Having dates or periods that I use to pulse between reflecting, and acting, has helped me to feel more balanced in my life.
I, probably like many of you, have a tendancy to keep pushing forward, only to collapse in a disfunctional heap after I’ve pushed too hard. Yoga and the yogic lifestyle has helped me to cultivate an ability to move forward with greater ease and integrity by honoring my limits and working with them, rather than trying to barrel through them. I now admit that I need rest! I need to carve out time for myself to play… even though a part of me says that I have too much work to do. I need to eat well… even though my tongue tells me otherwise. Etc.
Taking time at the New Year to reflect on my good, and “bad” habits, allows me to reorient myself in a more thoughtful way that encourages longer lasting and more balanced change. Besides… after all the holiday buzz, taking some time to slow down and get clear is a welcome shift.
Today, I’d like to share a few of my basic lifestyle building blocks to cultivate greater clarity and harmony in the fullness of my being: body, mind, heart, and soul.
In the winter months, I start my day with a cup of warm water enhanced with a bit of honey and a squeeze of lemon. This first morning cup is like a little ray of sunshine even before the morning sunlight filters it’s way through the thick cloud cover of a midwest winter morning. Drinking warm water is so much more appealing during these cold days. I remind myself to refresh my cup often (minus the honey – don’t want to overdo the sugar.)
I have reframed the word diet, and even eat, in mind to…. NOURISH! This helps me make healthier and more energizing choices throughout the day. I will not hide the fact though, that if I could, I would just eat chocolate and drink tea all day long!
>>>>>> I’m catching up with my recipes, and just posted three of my favorites to promote cleansing and nourishing….
– KateeO’s Basic Green Juice
– Craving! Bok Choy
– Tangy Tuscan Vegetable & Bean Soup
Again, it’s a healthy habit that can be reframed with semantics. We all know we need exercise but sometimes the recommendations are so intimidating that we don’t even start. Exercise science is proving more and more, that just taking the time to move your body often throughout the day is really all the exercise you need. With that great Nike slogan in mind, I say, “just do it” — walk, stretch, twist, dance, lift, push, pull, breathe — just move —- even better to move enough that you feel your heart and lungs getting strong as they move quicker, and your body cleansing itself, releasing toxins through a good, glow-inducing sweat.
Breathe ended up here at number 4 but it could easily top this list. Breathing well keeps your body, mind, heart, and soul more energized and clear. Breathing well can be encouraged by simply paying attention to your breath pattern often throughout the day. Even better… sit down, close your eyes, focus on your breath, and make some time and space to rest and clear your mind. In the same way that we bathe our bodies daily, our minds benefit from a good cleansing as often as possible.
Check back soon for a breathing and meditation blog to help you in this process.
For now, wishing you all the best for the coming year!