By Myra Lewin
A new year, a new you?
How many emails landed in your inbox this month offering you a path to a better version of yourself? A new year carries the energy of a fresh slate, a page turn, a new chapter or maybe even a whole new book. In modern culture, a new year is viewed as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and invite a brighter future.
But think back to last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Were you able to sustain the inspired momentum of the new year or did motivation give way to old habits and disappointment? Have you found yourself repeating certain types of experiences and relationships year after year?
When the desire for change doesn’t translate into tangible results, it’s a good idea to examine the motive for change. For many, the ‘new year, new you’ mentality is rooted in guilt associated with an indulgent holiday season or perhaps even an indulgent year. Or maybe it stems from a dissatisfaction with present circumstances - a sense that you’d be ‘further along’ by now.
So what stops you from taking the action you want to take? What inhibits the deep and lasting transformation that you seek? Well, guilt and dissatisfaction are just flavors of fear. And acting from a place of fear is never going to bring good results.
So ask yourself: how do I want to live? In fear or with faith?
Real, sustained, long-term change is rooted in faith. It feels much better to have faith that you already have everything that you need to succeed in life, rather than dwelling in fear you’ll never get what you want. And not only does having faith in your true self feel better, but it’s actually going to bring about a deep transformation in your life.
Now, you may say, ‘that sounds great Myra, but how do I actually release fear and embody a feeling of faith in a consistent way?'.
A transformational path that I have found great success with is to deeply integrate Patanjali’s yamas and niyamas into my life. Along with asana, pranayama and meditation, the five yamas (ethical restraints or how I am in the world) and five niyamas (lifestyle observances or how I treat myself) are part of the eightfold path of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga.
The yamas and niyamas are the ethical foundation of Yoga; pillars of wisdom that form a framework for living a meaningful and purposeful life.
Coming back to these core values throughout the day will shape your capacity to make choices that serve your highest good. The yamas and niyamas will remind you that you are responsible for your own thoughts which guide your actions and create your life experience.
Thoughts create suffering or well-being.
As you begin to evaluate your thoughts within the framework of the yamas and niyamas you will detect patterns that produce suffering and difficulty and those that bring about happiness and joy. In this way you will turn away from fear and your faith in yourself and in the natural flow of life will grow. You will establish a new way of interacting with yourself and with the world that will bring forth a beautiful transformation in your life experience.
Because I know that following Patanjali’s yamas and niyamas is a wonderful approach to life, we here at Hale Pule will be dedicating 2019 to a deep and thoughtful discussion of each of the ten foundational principles:
As the year goes on, we will be integrating each principle into our own approach to living here at Hale Pule, and we will be sharing our experience with you through social media, the blog and the podcast.
I invite you to come along on this transformative journey with us. All you will need is an open heart and a commitment to deepening your self-knowledge. As each month begins and a new principle is introduced, let yourself embrace the concept from the point of view of a beginner. Let go of everything you think you know and open up to new possibilities.
How you weave the yamas and niyamas into your life is up to you. But aligning your life with these principles will produce wonderful results.
This is a path to connect to your highest self and highest aspirations.
I encourage you to journal about your experience as we move through the year, and follow any inspiration you have to share your thoughts with us on social media or by email to us here at Hale Pule. We all grow by sharing our experience with one another.
So, to begin your journey I recommend that you first clarify your motive. In a journal, jot down your response to the following questions:
1. Why do you seek transformation?
2. What are your top five priorities in your life?
These priorities will serve as a guiding light throughout the year - they can be emotional states like joy and happiness, a feeling of freedom or fun, or perhaps something more concrete, like completing a course. Establishing your motive and your priorities and returning to these statements regularly helps to orient your energy towards manifesting these things in your experience. And as we move through the year, you will begin to make connections between how the yamas and niyamas can support your priorities and create opportunity to truly transform your life.
Come along for the ride, and let life be an adventure, day by day.