open yourself to new beginnings

Need a reset? The time is NOW.

need a reset the best time is now

New beginnings don’t need to start or stop with New Year's’ celebrations. Don’t get me wrong, there is something powerful, almost cosmic, with the changing of the year. It is a time when anything seems possible, and you can say, “Adios!” to another year. However, New Year's happens once a year. What about the rest of the time? What happens when you need a reset? This is a question I toyed with for years until it hit me: my birthday falls close to the middle of the year...perfect! It was an amazing shift in perspective for me.

I’ve been able to use the time surrounding my birthday to contemplate my year thus far. I’ve looked inward and listened to my heart so I can hear what it is telling me. Am I on track with the person I wanted to be this year? What can I do differently? Having this conversation with myself, and being open and honest in my assessment of my progress, has been life-changing. I feel as though I am getting a second New Year’s Resolution, and I embrace the rest of the year as a challenge, but one I am equipped to meet.

So what if your birthday doesn’t happen to fall in the middle of the year? Don’t let that stop you. Find any date and make it your celebration and your time to reflect on the first half of the year. Use this day as an opportunity to explore what the rest of the year looks like for you. Who says beginnings can’t start in the middle?

With that said, I’ve come up with three easy-to-do exercises to help you get in your groove and find a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

Set a date, and stick to it. Like I said, your birthday may not fall in the middle of the year. If this is you, don’t worry. Pick a date that may have other special meaning to you. It could be the birthday of a loved one, an anniversary of a first date...something that may make you look back and smile. If you’re still coming up blank, that’s okay. Perhaps the summer solstice, which happens every year between June 20 and June 22 (but pick one!), is meaningful to you. Like New Year's, the Summer Solstice has that cosmic element that officially brings in summer and is the day of the year in which we get the most amount of daylight. What better way to enjoy that extra bit of light than by exploring the ways in which you can start fresh for the rest of the year?

Reflect, then Look Forward. What has worked for you so far this year? What would you like to change? Make a list. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. Get it all down on paper. Smile and be thankful for the Good. Reflect, and write down how the bad made you feel and any thoughts on how the Bad can be turned into Good the rest of the year. Not sure what I mean? Perhaps you lost a loved one, a job, or are just in a rut. That sadness you feel can be transformed into positive energy. Maybe volunteering more and helping others can morph your Bad into a Good. Then there is The Ugly. Maybe you’ve been less-than-admirable in some aspects of your life. Own it. Recognize it. Change it. Write down the “warts” and then set out how to fix them moving ahead. Your future self will be glad you did.

Stay Accountable. Once you have your list and have set goals for yourself for the New You, check in on yourself! Don’t let excuses get in the way of becoming a better you. If you’ve struggled with New Year’s Resolutions in the past, tell a friend or family member what you’re up to and ask them to help keep you on track and on target. Something that has always helped me in goal-setting is setting SMART Goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By setting your goals in this deliberate manner, you take actionable steps to a better you.

No Time Like the Present

Anyone who practices yoga regularly is probably aware of the benefits yoga has on mental health. They each compliment one another on so many levels and the integration of yoga with mental health is becoming more popular by the minute.

Yoga and mindfulness especially, are all the rage these days. It seems everywhere I look, there’s a new study on how yoga can help with depression, anxiety and ease stress or relationship tension. How slowing down to become more ‘mindful’ can help us to make healthier choices and teach us new ways of coping to unpleasant, unpredictable life events.

The benefits are written about everywhere, yet people remain challenged in starting a regular yoga practice. I see this struggle in my patients as they come in session after session, reporting back to me with reasons why this week {yet, again} they could not make it to their mat.

I get it. Starting something new is difficult. Especially when it involves slowing down, getting centered and becoming grounded in your body. Emotions, fears and anxieties are bound to come up. However, yoga can be extremely healing and having a consistent yoga practice can be so supportive to emotional well-being.

SO… for all the curious newbies who are aspiring to start and keep a consistent home yoga practice, but are a little unsure of where to begin- I will outline a few simple steps to get you going.

Number one. Intention.

I suggest you become aware of why it is you want to start a yoga practice in the first place. Is it to help with your insomnia or anxiety? Do you want to lose weight? Perhaps you want to get to a calmer, more relaxed state of mind. Whatever it is, it’s okay. Intention is key to so many things in life, which is why I think it is essential to any yoga practice.

An example may be, “My intention to start a yoga practice is to slow down my racing thoughts so that when my children/partner/life become irritable/frustrating/demanding, I have the necessary tools to help me deal with the situation at hand.”

Number two. Time.

 I suggest practicing yoga in the morning. A morning yoga practice is my preference for many reasons, but mostly because this is when the mind is most clear. Plus, it’s the perfect time to get grounded and start your day with that intention you set! A morning practice can also help keep your energy lifted throughout the day. If that’s not a possibility for you, it’s perfectly okay. Practicing yoga around the lunch hour or in the evening can work well too, to refresh the mind, help release tension and counter afternoon fatigue.

Number three. Space.

A small, private room in your home or office is ideal for a daily yoga practice, although any quiet space that is large enough to roll out your yoga mat is perfectly doable. A balcony or grassy, quiet area in your yard can be a lovely place to practice if the weather permits. Just make sure your phone is off and you are not likely to be disturbed for a while.

I like to put on either a mellow or upbeat playlist and depending on my mood, will light a few scented candles. This is completely optional and really depends on you and what you’re feeling on that particular day. I always encourage my students to listen to their intuition and to trust it. Once your yoga practice becomes more consistent, your ability to tap into your intuition with more regularity will also strengthen.

That’s it! That’s all you need to start. Intention, time and space. These three things, in conjunction with the most critical piece {your breath} can provide you with the opportunity to develop a consistent, fulfilling yoga practice within your own home. Keep in mind too, that if you’re able to make it to a local yoga class, that’s a great way to build connection and be a part of your community.

Most importantly, go easy on yourself, have fun with it and enjoy the process. Learning something new can be challenging! Give yourself permission to fully experience whatever comes up.