The year continues to fly by, days slipping impossibly fast through my fingers and my diary pages, it’s true what they say about time speeding up the older you get; I used to feel as if the six-week summer holiday lasted an entire lifetime, and now eleven months are gone in the blink of a third eye.
It’s good to start reflecting on the year passed around this time in the calendar; December can get so busy and giddy and before you know it it’s next year already and the whole cycle just begins again, without the opportunity to pause for thought. Contemplation is a valuable exercise in identifying what you want more of in the year to come, and what you want to leave behind in 2015 to make space for new possibilities. The earlier we start that conversation with ourselves, the clearer we can be about our goals and expectations for the year to come, helping us to overcome obstacles and achieve dreams.
For me personally, the year has been a challenge. The devastating earthquakes in Nepal shook my family and my home community unbearably, and I still feel phantom tremors while lying in bed in London even now. The scenes of devastation and the knowledge that the winter in Nepal is a cold one haunt me in the quiet moments and sadden me to my bones. I also continue to hope for and manifest a more peaceful and fairer world, which is one of the things I will be wearing as a badge of intention on my passage into 2016.
But the year has not been all bad, I have taught on two lovely retreats and laid plans to teach on more, I have continued to step outside of my comfort zone by accepting teaching and writing opportunities that have taught me much and instilled an invaluable feeling of self reliance that I cherish and am grateful for. I have found peace and joy in my relationship, and have experienced betrayal in an old friendship that hurt me deeply, but that I have not allowed it to break my faith in trust.
I’m sure your years’ have been equally eventful, joyful, sad, inspiring and unpredictable as mine (and if it doesn’t seem that way at first I invite you to seek a little deeper- there will be *stuff* there I promise), which is why I invite you this month to kick back on your heels (quite literally) draw your hands to your heart center, your truest place, and reflect in quiet on the year that will be drawing to a close before you know it. This posture is not only meditative in it’s simplicity and stillness, but also serves to stretch the toes and the connective tissue of the sole of the foot, be warned that this can be quite an intense sensation for some people at first, so go slow and breathe deep. Once you’ve settled in, turn your attention to the year just gone, and simply allow thoughts and feelings to bubble gently to the surface without trying to change them or suppress them.
- Start in Down Dog and stretch the legs a few times.
- Lower the knees to the floor and then sit the hips back onto the heels (do not let heels splay out to the sides)
- Bring the torso upright, keeping the spine long.
- Work into the stretch slowly, and then when you can settle in, close the eyes and bring the hands to the heart centre.
- Stay here for a few minutes, breathing evenly and reflecting.
If you experience discomfort in the knees, it may help to place a folded blanked under them or between the back of the thighs and the calves.
By Jasmine Pradhan from stretchandthecity.co.uk Jasmine teaches Hatha yoga (sometimes dynamic, sometimes slower) with an open heart and an open mind. She believes that every individual already has the tools they need to achieve true happiness and wellbeing, and that sometimes they just need a little help discovering them. She truly believes that a dedicated yoga practice can be the key to that toolbox, and aims to facilitate that discovery for her students.
Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any new physical activity. Always practice under the supervision of a qualified teacher.