Goodbye 2020

Goodbye 2020

Nothing could have prepared us for the year we have just had. As we enter 2021, a global sigh of relief can be felt in every corner of the world as we dare to focus on our hopes for the future even though many of us are still in the grips of the pandemic that is COVID 19. Although lockdowns help to reduce the impact on our health systems, their benefits are temporary and the aftermath is equally harmful to us in other aspects of our wellbeing. 

The ability to adapt and use every available option to support our needs and the needs of those around became very apparent, and love it or hate it, technology has played a massive role in allowing us to make the necessary changes to avoid some of the negative impacts of isolation. I am so grateful that I was encouraged to move classes to an online platform and able to offer the benefits of Yoga at a time when it was most needed. I am also grateful for the support of those who joined me online, it has never escaped me that teaching is a two way process and that I learn as much from those who join me in class as I do from my own personal practice and study. 

As the winter solstice approached this year, it was more apparent than I ever remember that we needed to reflect on the powerful lessons 2020 dealt us, and seriously consider what to leave behind and what to take forward. If nothing else, we have all learnt many things about ourselves that we would never have chosen to face if we hadn’t been pushed to such extremes. Each one of us has a personal story to tell and when we look back it may become known as a year when massive changes were made and that some of those changes were definitely positive.

There is one thing for certain and that is that we are being asked to become more aware of the impact we have on our environment and on each other. There is a coming of age happening where we need to start thinking for ourselves and learn to recognise the value of our instincts and appreciate our own intelligence. Nothing is more empowering than realising our own potential to make good choices based on our own intuition and wisdom. It is not easy to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions on a personal level when we have become so used to being told what to think and how to act, but we can never really grow collectively until we do so.

From a personal standpoint,Yoga is always asking me to experience things from many perspectives in order to see through the illusions that I cling to that bind me in a seemingly safe cocoon. I think the lessons of 2020 destroyed that cocoon, not just for me but for many of us. I became aware that I had been holding on to things that were no longer sustaining and nurturing but were often harmful and compromised my ability to move forward in confidence. I think for me this year hi-lighted things that I’d been choosing not to notice and pushed me into relinquishing my outdated ideals, but it also showed me that there are lessons we cannot avoid in life and that it is necessary to do whatever we can to support and nurture those we care about even if that means letting them go as painful as that can be. 

Now more than ever before, it is incumbent on us to take responsibility for our own well being and to share our resources and wisdom with those who share our journey. 

By keeping up our Yoga practice we support our immune systems and our general well-being. The emphasis Yoga places on Pranayama (breathing) supports us energetically, physically, emotionally and mentally. The meditative elements of Yoga practice offer us the ability to see beyond the limitations of the mind, to overcome our fears and access our personal power. 

There has never been a more important time to keep up our Yoga routines. 

As an added boost for our systems at this time of year it is vital that we eat a healthy diet and when the weather is cold we need warm and nourishing food with plenty of fresh vegetables, and warming herbs and spices such as sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, peppercorns of all colours, chilli peppers (if they agree with your constitution), coriander and cinnamon. These warming herbs help support Agni , the inner fire that supports digestion and helps strengthen our natural immunity. Some supplements can offer extra support in the cold, dark months of winter. Vitamin C ( up to 3000mg a day or more if you have any symptoms of COVID, provided your stomach can cope with it), vitamin D is essential when our daylight hours are limited and the sun is at its weakest and sometimes hard to find at all! For those who suffer from respiratory diseases I recommend using a salt pipe. I have used mine for many years and I believe it helps in fighting the problems associated with damp conditions and helps prevent infection. Jala netti ( salt water cleansing) is also helpful in cleaning the nasal passages. 

Whilst I recognise that we all want our lives to get back to normal, I do not wish for things to be just as they were before. Many of the changes I have made were down to a wake up call that showed me a more realistic view of myself and made me aware of how attached I was to things that were not supporting my well-being. However much we want to ignore it, we are in a constant process of change which continues throughout our lives. The acceptance of ageing and change allows us to move forward in ways that support us and the environment we live in. If things remain always as they are we must accept that we have got stuck somewhere and even when big changes are not possible we need to make the small changes that will help us on our life’s journey. 

It is truly a time of transformation and to wish for things to return to exactly how they were before would mean that we have failed to learn from this experience so let’s ensure that those who lost their lives prematurely during this challenging year did not do so in vain. 

I wish you all a very happy new year. A year in which we create the changes that individually and collectively we desperately need. 

Published by liz on Friday, 1 January 2021, last updated on Friday, 1 January 2021 at 2:46PM
Categories: Yoga Times

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