I don’t believe in the perpetual cycle of “New Year, New Me” that January 1st always brings around. I used to make false promises to myself that a new calendar would bring about a better me, a healthier life and a fresh start.
That, however, I have debunked after nearly five years of wishing for things to just “magically” happen.
We barely have time to take care of ourselves in the fast-paced society that we have become accustomed to. It was on a trip to Cades Cove in Tennessee that I realized how far and few those important moments of internal bliss have become in my life. I was looking out at acres on acres of rolling hills and mountains, with no cell phone signal and near silence (other than the cars driving slowly past behind me). I told myself, “This is what I want to feel all the time.”
Once my boyfriend Jacob and I got in the car to leave after that day in the mountains, I began to sob uncontrollably. Mostly because I knew that it was my last day in Tennessee, but also because I knew that I wouldn’t have a moment like that again for a very, very long time. It was a point in my life that all the stress I had didn’t matter, and I think that’s what experiencing true inner realization is.
The grind quickly returned and I got caught up in the daily hustle and bustle which turned into the next 365 days. Nothing changed. There was no great prophetic epiphany that made me want to change my life and, as a result, it went on as usual. I was always waiting for the right time to start a diet that would ultimately fail, or a workout routine that would burn me out before I’ve even really begun.
That changed when I started my Yoga Theory and Practice course for the fall semester.
I was beyond excited to begin a regular yoga practice. It was something that I had always wanted to do, but did not have the time, money or travel expenses to drive to and from class every other day. By taking this class, I was literally forcing myself to spend an hour and fifteen minutes of my time investing in me, myself and I. The class was more than about doing funky poses and chanting “ohm.” It was an opportunity to shut myself out from the world and just be.
The things that I learned in my yoga class have helped create a better life for myself. I didn’t need the first day of the first month of a new year to change. I didn’t have to wait for rock-bottom to switch my lifestyle. All I needed was an instructor that was passionate about sharing her love of helping others and an hour out of my week. Of course, it wasn’t all about the practice. We still had presentations and papers to do (our professor was the head of the English department, after all). But those 75 minutes each Thursday had an impact on how I saw myself and how I dealt with everyday situations.
One of my favorite parts of our weekly practice was the guided relaxation. Our instructor would have us lie down in Shivasana – the sanskrit term for Corpse Pose – and close our eyes as she talked us through a winding down period. More times than not I would fall asleep and wake up extremely refreshed.
I opened each practice by embracing the energy surrounding me and closed with allowing the energies to come over my body and carry me through the rest of the day. This simple and repetitive action made me want to propel myself down a better path.
No, I don’t believe in the almighty “New Year, New Me” superstition. What I believe in is that you can change at any time.