Greetings all on this New Year’s Day – 2015. I hope that 2015 brings all that is meant for you, and last nut not least – good health!
Last year, I started with a new tradition of yoga on new year’s day at the Life Centre in Notting Hill. I didn’t really appreciate the specialness of the tradition that I have started, but it occurred to me as I was grounded to the floor in some post asana (posture) meditation (and yes, I shouldn’t have been thinking these things during meditation), but I think it may be the one time of the year when the majority of the world is on public holiday (and I’m sorry for all those people who have to work otherwise). It was like I had this feeling that everyone is resting (or recovering), contemplating and getting ready for the new year ahead. It was like I had this feeling that the whole world stopped for this one time of the year, rather than always being on the go, somewhere in the world at some time.
The practice itself was a mixture of asana and some interesting meditations. The teacher seemed very knowledgable and was quite willing to try and impress upon us her particular brand of yoga. The only thing I sometimes find difficult is when teachers of different traditions (and religions) start preaching their own personal beliefs upon the class – today we were told that “the back of the body is where we hold our past, and in the front, the future”. Why?! Where? This is more than the whole proof/science v faith debate. Rather, I think yogis are used to discussions about the chakras and there are many other things like mudras, bandhas etc..which I am told on great authority have some yogic merit but this to me seemed a little far fetched. Alas, perhaps there has been a great yogi in the past that his felt his past in his backside or had visions of his future on his chest, but other than that, it is difficult to accept such sweeping statements.
The body theory aside, the theme of the workshop was all about setting an intention for the new year (or San Kalpa). This resonated very strongly with me as the last two years have been an enormous year of development and progress, both personally and professionally. I really wanted to consolidate this and think ahead what I could further achieve and define further the work I had already done. Interestingly enough, I was even “looking forward” to going back to work in a philosophical sense after this festive period – and this is where the link between yoga and the workplace meets. Having the time on the mat today allowed me to sit back, breathe and look ahead what I wanted to achieve. But it is more than that, because without my work I could not live the lifestyle I like to live and enjoy the many things I love doing, like skiing for example. So if I work hard and achieve, then the job itself becomes rewarding allowing me to serve my passions outside the work place in an effortless manner. I am lucky that I work in a reasonably well paid job, but it is difficult, but a change in philosophy and approach can make it more bearable and even enjoyable.
I have always said let work serve you, not you serve work; and if we think of work like this, then it opens a whole new perspective and attitude to it. That I would say is the gift that yoga has given to me.
So on that note, I will close today’s post with the thought that yoga brings many benefits, and not just all about the “strength, flexibility and relaxation” thing. It can really help shape and define your life, the way you want to lead it. Yoga then on New Year’s Day is a really great way to start the year.