Thursday, January 2, 2014


Ahhh, the new year - a time for change. As we usher in the first day of the new calendar year the slate is clean and opportunities abound. A fresh start with resolve. What resolutions are you making at the start of this new year? Join a gym (and use it)? Drink less alcohol? Lose some weight? Eat less fast food? Here is another question: What do these resolutions say about you? What is the focus of each one?

If you are like most people who are making resolutions, the focus is on what is wrong and, hence, what you resolve to "fix" about yourself over the next 12 months. How is that for a fresh start? It is like saying,"Hello fresh, clean slate! Here is a list of all of the things that are wrong with me that I intend to change." Hmmm…lets think about that for a moment.

One of the mantras that I hold dear goes like this:

Begin as you intend to go on.

When we make a list of resolutions that point out what is wrong with us we begin negatively. The negativity placed behind a list of resolutions starts us on an uphill battle with ourselves. No wonder we are crabby when we finally make it to the gym. What if we began by believing that there is nothing wrong with us? What if rather than making a list of things that we want to change because they are wrong, we recognized the excellent qualities that we already possess? Then we can intend to use these qualities by setting a positive intention. It goes something like this:

"I possess the strength and discipline to go to the gym." 
"I love myself enough to let go of what is unnecessary in my life."
"I have the support of others who will help to soothe my sorrows."

We begin our new year with positive intentions that recognize the strength in ourselves. Could we be stronger? Perhaps. But reminding yourself of your weaknesses will not strengthen you. We grow stronger by using what we have with the best intentions. We practice being positive, intending to help ourselves grow in order for our strength to be in service to others. Sankalpa.

So to start the new year, here is a practice to set positive intentions:

1. Ask yourself what you want more of and write it down.
2. Ask yourself what you are willing to relinquish and write it down.
3. Ask yourself what you have to offer towards this intention and write it down. 

Then, practice. On your mat and off of your mat. Move your energy in the direction of these intentions. With each step, intention. With each breath, intention. There is nothing more powerful than moving your energy in a specific direction with intention.

Breathe in what you want more of. 
Breathe out what your wish to relinquish - what is not in service to your intention. 
Breath in what you want more of.
Breath out what you have to offer towards this intention. 

Breath by breath, we grow in our intention. We grow in our strengths. We grow in our service to ourselves. We grow in service to others.

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