The transition from one year to the next seems to stir up a whole lot of reflection and dreaming within us all. There’s this kind of collision between existing experiences and status quo and the hope of transformation and a flavor of freshness to what currently ‘is’. Wasif Ali Wasif, a renowned Pakistani writer, said that “the world is ancient but it has not lost its newness”. It is in the noticing with mindful eyes and heart of what already exists that we find newness and, given that there’s lots out there, newness is plentiful!
The ability to cultivate this connection to ourselves and use it as a tool for growth is ingrained into yogic philosophy. The fourth niyama, Svadhyaya, means putting energy into meditating on, or studying, the nature of oneself. Loosely translated, “sva” means soul, “dhy” relates to meditation, and “ya” implies an active element to the term. I see this as stripping away the layers of ‘gunk’ that form out of the day-to-day: accumulated stress, over identification with the noise in our mind, attachment to things which don’t serve us… Once these illusions have been acknowledged and lifted, we’re better able to bond with our true selves. The self that we’re more likely to encounter in a savasana or when we’re surrounded by nature.
So, while there’s this collective new-year momentum to manifest awesomeness in the months ahead, perhaps it’s a good time to make a list of things which help you strip away unnecessary layers. I’ve made a list of five things that help me to get rid of the ‘gunk’ and find newness. Hopefully, it’ll help to set you off on creating your own list!
- Sweating and then relaxing every day
Yes, I know this is a bit gross but the energy I use to create sweat seems to create such a healthy perspective. The relaxing then allows me to linger here for a while so it ‘sticks’.
- Dancing daily
Preferably in your underwear with good earphones. Kicking free to my favorite music has medicinal qualities than anchor me in the present and encourage me to approach the day with playfulness.
- Spending time close to nature as often as possible
This is another trigger which shifts my perspective. Troubles that initially seem big to me are often dwarfed when I’m looking at a towering tree or magnificent mountain.
I often find that intimacy with others brings me to a greater awareness of myself and how I connect to the greater scheme of things. I cuddled my sisters dog this morning – it doesn’t always need to be a person!
This is one of my favorite ways of self-study. Understanding what makes me laugh helps me know who I want to be around. So, take some time to develop your ideas.
Article by Steve Roberts
Steve Roberts is a passionate yogi, teacher/trainer, nature lover and adventure seeker from South Africa. Yoga brings him strength and flexibility in body, mind and heart.
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