Lighter* For The New Year

Create a little retreat for yourself during the holidays and embrace the New Year a little lighter*. 

*(No, I am not talking about your weight when I say "lighter". If you are looking for fitness, or diet tips, this blog will leave you very disappointed. 


When I was 11 years old I started a personal ritual that I still perform every New Years at midnight.  Instead of creating resolutions that I know I won't uphold, I figure out what I need to let go of instead. Before I get to the ritual of that, here's a little of what I tap into to figure out what those discardables are: 

Savasana (shaw-vah-saw-nah) शवासन : corpse pose 
I melt down into the floor and relish, marinating in my own sweat. A stillness washes over me, something that I don't experience anywhere else in my day. Its at this point that I remember why I motivated myself to get to yoga despite how badly I wanted to watch Grey's Anatomy instead. Its in that buzzing, yet still place of savasana where I feel my heartbeat for the first time that day, the tingling of blood flowing beneath my skin, and I have a hard time establishing exactly where my body ends and the stinky yoga mat begins. Sometimes, my greatest insights rise to the surface here. My restless thoughts have ceased, unlike before the yoga class started where I was further planning or making lists in my mind of what else I had to accomplish in order to sleep well at night.  Right here, I embrace the death of my worrying, my self-doubt, my planning, and my over-analyzing. All this moment looks like is a sweaty, tired person playing dead in a room full of other sweaty, tired, dead-playing people. This is a weird place, and I love it. 

I've learnt that this peaceful, weird place is not necessarily something I have to seek out externally, nor are its conditions limited to: 

  • the end of a hot yoga class,
  • In the promise of performance in stretchy pants, 
  •  In the green juices or the beet juices or the almond milk or the organic honey, (organic honey? How do they control where the bees fly? "Do they have all those bees on little leashes?"-Paul Buntain)  

This is an internal place where peace of mind and clarity bubble up from a subtleness, layered deep beneath the surface of my skin, from an intelligence that I truly cannot begin to comprehend. Pay attention to your breath and it will lead you there. This is the place I retreat to. In this place, I can ask what holds me back, and with a kindness and a raw honesty, it also reveals the insightful answers that no one else can provide for me.  It is from that  same subtle place that I realize I can choose this calm clarity in every moment of my life, if i remember to pay attention to my breath. Thats where the practice component comes in. 

The reason I share all of that is because these moments of insight can inform and shift your perspective in life. You do not need to practice yoga every day to get this, and if you do, you do not need to bend backwards so far that your head almost touches your ass to get this insight.  It is simply finding a stillness, and developing a relationship with your breath that you learn to discern between knowing what is important to keep in your life, and what its time to let go of.  Now, I am not suggesting that you go all gung-ho and sell/give away everything you own to live happier in simplicity (some people will tell you that though).  I am suggesting that you figure out what is important, truly important to your life, to your soul, to your own evolution, and what you can let go of so that you can move forward and make space for great things you can't even imagine yet to present themselves. 


Step 1: Engage in an activity that leads you through your breath; a yoga class or seated meditation will do, or whatever engages you into a flow that you feel connected, grounded, focused, and clear in. 

Step 2:  After a few moments, ask yourself what you're carrying thats weighing you down, or holding you back from reaching your desired feelings and goals. You might already know what these things are, trying to burst from your chest but you just haven't given them credibility yet, or it might be your samskaras, deep imprints of habitual thoughts or stories that pull you under and away from your bigger dreams . Make a list: write that stuff down. Completely abandon judgement here- be blunt and real about what you're willing and ready to part with.
Remember: small changes are a key component to evolution. 

Step 3: Make a nice little bonfire or find a place outside, away from endangered species and protected forests. 

Step 4:  As you may have guessed: burn that list. Actively let go of what does not support you in pursuit of your greatest and happiest potential. Acknowledge that you have carried it with you long enough, and that you can choose to release it from holding you back in your future pursuits.

 These pyro activities are not reserved for New Years celebrations alone. embrace them anytime in your life that you feel a bubbling of clarity, guiding and supporting you in releasing, letting go, and feeling free. 

December 30, 2014 by Ashley Wray

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