Every year, right after New Year’s, I am caught up in a flurry of activity. People are interested in working on their New Year’s resolution—which is to lose weight and be healthier this year.
Of course, it is best if we are always as healthy as possible. But New Year’s does seem to be a good time to start something. We’ve seen our friends and family over the holidays, so this month we have fewer social obligations. At the office, sweets are not in front of us at every turn. The frantic holiday energy on the street has calmed down, allowing us to focus inward.
So how to start? A cleanse? A radical change in diet? Get up at 4 am for a three-hour workout? These measures are probably a bit extreme, and often lead to a short burst of adherence, followed by a return to old behaviors.
I suggest we all (new to this practice or not) focus on the joy in our practice.
If you are new to yoga, you are in for a treat—find a brief time (20 minutes or so) daily to do a stress-relieving practice. If done in a light, easy, not-too-serious way, you will experience great joy.
If you already practice, re-evaluate what you like about it. Go to classes or do sequences that leave you feeling energized and happy. Remember your beginner’s mind, and swim in the positive and peaceful feelings that your practice brings.
Extend this joyful practice to eating. Relish and enjoy the daily foods in your life. Take a small amount of time to contemplate how food enhances your life. Notice the complex and interesting flavors of your favorite foods. Allow the experience of eating to be fun. I was reminded of this while eating clementines recently. What sweet could be better?
If our resolutions include these joyful practices, the more challenging aspects of our lives will be balanced—and where there is balance, there is peace.
May we all be free and happy this year.