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A Note from Tracy:

Well, here we are in a brand-new year!  And it’s got such a good ring to it…2020!  How exciting!  Each new year reminds us that we can choose to start over anytime we want.  It instills in us the value of letting go of those things that no longer serve us, and working towards manifesting those things in life that do.   But actually, we don’t have to wait for the new year to start fresh…. In fact, Yoga teaches us that we can start fresh with each breath!  Wow!  A very lenient and forgiving method indeed.  You see, each breath we take is a brand-new present moment.  The past is done, there’s nothing we can do about it, the future will roll out in its time, but we have no control over that either!  What we do have control over is the present moment.  Each and every time we take a new breath, (that’s 23,040 times for the average person in one day!) we can make the choice to start fresh.  Fresh thoughts, fresh perspective, fresh attitude, fresh actions.  Whoohoo!  We are not locked into any of the habits or beliefs that the past demanded of us.  We are not bounded by the fear of what the future might bring us.  We can choose over 23,000 times a day to be joyful, or helpful, or happy, or respectful, or sad, or introspective, or active or still, or silly or whatever!  What freedom this realization brings. 

And remember to start your year with positivity. In this newsletter you’ll find a Year End Meditation that helps us to realize what’s important, why, and how to further manifest our intentions.  There’s also a New Year Affirmation which I find myself repeating at least up until the end of January. 

Yoga Experience is starting the new year with a fresh new studio. It is in the same building, so all the perks we already have will stay (location, parking, knowing the door code, etc.)  The new suite number is 302B.  We will have 15 feet more space to spread out into. No more looking out at the seemingly endless Metra construction.  Also, the aerial rigging is spread out further and we have a full 10 slings available now.  Let’s get the word out about the new and exciting space.  Be sure to invite all your friends who are wanting to start the new year right!  Incentives will be available if you want to invite someone to come try a class.  Just let me know!

Our first day of practice in the new space will be Wednesday, January 8, 2020.  Once we are up there, we will be up there for good.  The old space has served us well, and I am so very grateful for all the memories, challenges, community, tears, joy and laughter created in that space. I am also very grateful for the kindness of Hayes Properties (landlord) in allowing us to continue to practice in the old space while the new one gets ready for us.  So many blessings and chances for learning this endeavor has brought.

So Happy New Year!  Happy new breath!  Happy opportunity to start fresh any of the 23,000 times a day that you are staying present.  May this year, and each breath that it holds brings us great joy, great abundance, great learning, great growth and a continued deepening of our practice.  I feel the energy of something spectacular!


Resolve to Evolve

Resolve to Evolve
Give your New Year's resolutions a yogic twist—set an intention and infuse the New Year with positive change. 
By Catherine Guthrie 

A new year's resolution is a noteworthy concept—start off the year with a change for the better. So how did it devolve into a subconscious exercise in self-loathing? Lose 10 pounds! (Message to self: You're fat.) Stop drinking caffeine! (You're unhealthy.) Call Mom and Dad once a week! (You're ungrateful.) Why not celebrate this new year by trading in your tired (and probably familiar) resolutions for a Samkalpa instead? 

POSITIVE POWER   A Sanskrit word, Samkalpa means "will, purpose, or determination." To make a Samkalpa is to set an intention—it's like a New Year's resolution with a yogic twist. While a resolution often zeros in on a perceived negative aspect of ourselves (as in, "I want to lose weight, so no more chocolate chip cookies or ice cream or cheese"), a Samkalpa explores what's behind the thought or feeling ("I crave chocolate chip cookies or ice cream or cheese when I'm feeling stressed or sad. I will set an intention to become conscious of this craving and allow my feelings to arise and pass, rather than fill up on fats"). 

EFFORT COUNTS   A Samkalpa also praises the nobility of the effort rather than focusing on what you are doing wrong. "New Year's resolutions leave me feeling guilty and mad at myself for not keeping them," says Wendy McClellan, a yoga teacher in Louisville, Kentucky. So, last year, in a conscious effort to reject the resolution rut, she taught a special New Year's Eve yoga class and encouraged students to look back and let go. Her intention or Samkalpa? To open her heart to new possibilities. "An intention has much more of a global sense than a resolution," she says. "It helps me be softer with myself." With a Samkalpa, the self-loathing that comes from dwelling on past transgressions can begin to dissolve. In its place is an exercise in effort and surrender—create an intention and open yourself to the universe. 

Samkalpa Setting

LOOK INWARD  For several days, set aside time to write in a journal and meditate. Mull over your typical resolutions. How do they make you feel? Anxious? Unsettled? Incomplete? Now contemplate how you would like to feel during the coming year. Is there any way you can reframe your results-oriented resolutions into something that will make this year's journey more joyful and worthwhile? 

REPHRASE IT  Create a short sentence or phrase for your Samkalpa. Be careful not to set limitations based on fear. For example, instead of "May life bring me only happiness and joy this year" consider "May I be happy and open to what life brings me." 

BE FIRM BUT FAIR  Change doesn't happen overnight. When you stray from the essence of your Samkalpa, don't berate yourself. Instead, gently remind yourself of your intention. But be firm in your resolve—it's a good idea to incorporate your Samkalpa into your daily routine. Use it as a mantra during pranayama or meditation practice; post it on your computer, phone, or mirror; or simply say it to yourself quietly before going to sleep. —C.G 

Catherine Guthrie is a writer and yoga teacher in Louisville, Kentucky, and a regular contributor to Yoga Journal. 

Year End Meditation

At the close of the year, we often find ourselves thinking ahead to the next year. We think about all the things we didn't accomplish this year, and vow to accomplish them next year. Few of us take the time to reflect on the past year and look at our successes and the experiences that we have learned from.

Before you start thinking about New Year's Resolutions, take some time to meditate on the year that's gone by. Doing so will allow you to reflect on what's important to you, and to create a meaningful plan for the New Year. Set aside some time to meditate about, write about, or talk about your answers to the following questions.

Looking back on 2019
What were my successes?
What did I do that I haven't given myself credit for?
What unrealistic expectations did I hold myself to?
What would I do over, if given the opportunity? What lesson did I learn from this experience?

Looking forward to 2020...
What did I want to accomplish in 2019 that I wasn't able to?
Why was this important to me?
What held me back?
What am I willing to do differently?

End your meditation with...
Who are the people I am most grateful for?
What are the strengths and skills I am most grateful for?
What is my best quality? 
How will I share this quality with more people?

A Poem for the New Year
by Howard Thurman

When the Song of the Angels is Stilled

When the song of the angels is stilled
When the star in the sky is gone
When the kings and the princes are home
When the shepherds are back with their flocks
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

New Year Affirmation

I enter the New Year with the understanding that I am making a fresh start. I begin by discarding thoughts, attitudes, and habits that are not compatible with an excellent life.      I let go of whatever caused past discouragement, disappointment, or disagreement. I am open and receptive to new ideas, activities and relationships.

Each day, I can follow a fresh plan of fulfillment. I act on divine ideas that I receive in moments of meditation and inspiration. These ideas flow through positive thoughts. As I use creative thinking to build upon divine ideas, my activities become more dynamic and my abilities are enhanced. Therefore, I enter this New Year with optimism, joy and enthusiasm.

Copyright © 2020 Yoga Experience, All rights reserved.

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