I find myself conflicted on the principle of New Years Resolutions. I believe that the journey of self exploration and growth is gradual and continual and when we resolve ourselves to something…it has to come from within our hearts…not because the calendar tells us to. However, I do respect that these times allow us to ask the question, to probe deeper within and connect with what we are we would like to be resolute about. So, as I stumbled on the definition of Resolute as Admirably Purposeful, I knew what my message for the week was.
As I taught my class yesterday, New Years Eve day, I asked my students to be just that on their mats; Resolute; admirably purposeful. It is such a powerful description of what we have the chance to do every time we step on our mats. I carefully explained that being admirably purposeful on the mat does NOT mean doing the most, pushing past an edge, rather instead it meant making the conscious, purposeful choice to accept what served the body best in that moment and let go of what did not…now that is admirable.
We began practice on our backs in Supta Baddha Konasana with one hand on our belly and one on the heart to connect to what we felt resolute about. From there we moved on to core warmup and cat/cow stretches to find ourselves standing at the top of our mats ready for Sun Salutes. I asked them to connect to something, off the mat, that they were proudly resolute about; where they felt admirably purposeful; not something they would like to change, but something they were already resolute about.
After Sun Salutations, we flowed through a deep twisting practice as we came back to Pavritta Parsovokanasana several times both dropping the back knee and with knee lifted, bound and not… in order to cleanse and purify the body. I reminded them that resting when they needed was very admirably purposeful; in other words Mindful. We moved from there into stretching the hamstrings in Parsvottonasana and Standing split before lifting the heart and opening in Half Moon pose. Once we were ready we moved into “Baby Hopper” pose (A version of Grasshopper; pictured above) the mindfulness was deeply present in the room and each student went to the place that served them in an admirably purposeful way.
Off the mat, the same principle applies..instead of just pushing ahead, checking things off our proverbial to-do list, we always have the opportunity to be mindful, admirably purposeful, in our decisions and how we live our lives..every day, every year. And, the second when the year switches from one to the next is a profound moment because it asks us to be present and mindful. As we practice on the mat, so becomes the practice off the mat.
We finished practice with hip opening and three deep backbends before settling into Savasana. I felt such as sense of pride in my students as they had all been truly mindful, resolute, admirably purposeful in their practice. I reminded them that again they had the choice, the gift, to translate that resolute-ness off the mat; to be admirably purposeful in their lives each day, each year. As we came to seated and finished with a quiet moment, I asked my students again to connect to the gratitude for that which they already have an admirably purpose for in their lives.
And later that evening, as the moment came to usher in the New Year with 20 close friends and all of our children, I took in that moment. I reminded myself of my ongoing intention to live in an admirably purposeful way, in 2015 and beyond. This is my life’s journey and I truly appreciated the chance to be reminded. I felt Gratitude for all that I already connect to in an admirably purposeful way and incredible Hope for more to come. I wish for a Happy and Healthy New Year to all. Namaste.