Relax & Restore for the New Year

Relax & Restore for the New Year

You can use props at home for your Restorative Supported Savasana

How was your Christmas? I hope it was good for you. Maybe you’re still enjoying some time off in the run-up to the new year, or maybe you’ve already headed straight back to work after having just Christmas Day off.

Either way, it’s easy to feel a bit of a slump at this time – the celebration of Christmas has passed and that phase between now and New Year’s can sometimes feel a bit ‘blah’.

The impending New Year can prompt reflection, and the altered pace of the things in the outside world can make us slow down whether we wish to or not. I suggest embracing that slower pace. Take some time to relax and restore your body and mind. One very accessible way to do this is with some restorative yoga at home. In my latest post for Urban Lucy, I’ve included a Simple Supported Savasana exercise that you can easily do at home – if you can give yourself twenty minutes a day then you can do this. And if you’d like to learn more about Restorative Yoga and its benefits then check out my Book of the Month by Judith Hanson Lasater.

And as we move into 2013, I’m really looking forward to teaching with Sally Parkes on the Relax and Restore New Year Retreat at Florence House in East Sussex Jan 11-13th. It will be a wonderful mix of Dynamic, Hatha, Restorative Yoga and Pilates.

If you’d like to join us and Bring a Friend for Half Price, then you can visit Sally’s website here for full details and to book. (Classes are suitable for all abilities including beginners.)

Florence House is situated between the stunning Sussex coastline and surrounding wild landscape and there will be plenty of time during the weekend to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. There will also be the chance to pamper yourself with a range of treatments from expert therapist Jo Poxon.

It’s a great way to kickstart 2013 on a positive note and I hope Sally and I will see you there 🙂

In the meantime, however you plan you spend your New Year’s, I wish you peace, happiness, good health, prosperity and much love in 2013.

Paula
x

Embracing The Longest Night

Embracing The Longest Night

Visoka va jyotismati – Sutra 1.36

Today is the Winter Solstice – the shortest day and longest night of the year.

This year the Solstice also coincides the end of the Mayan calendar (cue a slew of gags about the end of the world – like this one…) I like to think that what this really signifies is a move into a new, more conscious age.
The Winter Solstice is a time that provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months and set intentions for the coming year.

When I think about where I was this time last year so much has happened. 2012 has had its high points but I know that for many of us it has been a tumultuous year with its fair share of darkness. One of my lessons this year has been around learning to embrace those times, to understand that darkness itself isn’t bad or a thing to fight against. As a place where lots of good things emerge from, it’s necessary. Things are ever changing, but when we’re in the midst of those darker times it can feel as though we’re trapped. And it can be easy to forget the light within – the light each of us possesses.

Visoka va Jyotismati

Visoka – blissful
va – or
jyotismati – the supreme light

I’ve been thinking about this sutra recently and it feels very apt at this time of year. It speaks about the light that resides within each of us – within the heart centre – and reminds us to concentrate on that inner light which is beyond all fear and worry.

On this shortest day, why not take a little time to acknowledge where you’ve been this year, looking upon yourself with compassion? If you decide you’d like to set an intention for the next twelve months then this is a great time to look inward and ask yourself what it is you really want. And beyond today, as we move through the Christmas season – possibly being confronted with the odd bit of seasonal stress here and there – you could try this simple meditation. In the spirit of sutra 1.36, I’ve started doing this in the run up to Christmas and have found it helpful (especially on packed rush hour tube trains!). Maybe you will too. Give this a try whenever you feel stressed, anxious or unsettled:

– Take your awareness to your heart centre. Visualise a light there, glowing radiantly.

– Stay here, focusing on this inner light for as long as you can, even if it’s just a minute. Feel that light expanding, radiating throughout your body, until you are filled up with this light. Then feel your light expanding further, outwards into the space around you.

– Don’t be surprised to notice that your breathing has become slower and more steady – a good sign!

And, if by chance the short winter days are still getting you down, then take heart that after today we’ll start to notice the days gradually getting longer again. So, there are brighter days ahead – in more ways than one!

Namaste x

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