Oh It's 2022!

Oh it’s 2022!


The dawning of a new year brings to light once again all of our hopes and aspirations and good wishes.

The last couple of years seem to have blended into one, with the pandemic and lockdowns continuing at the start of 2021, but gradually it seems that we are learning to live with Corona virus and life is becoming a little less restricted.

The reigning in of our everyday life experiences has given us more time to reflect on our individual and collective human experiences. Time to assess where we’ve come from and where we might be heading. 

In taking away our freedom of choice, many of us will be much more aware of the importance of making decisions for ourselves and feel liberated by the relinquishing of state control. 

I know many people who have felt oppressed by these controls and resentful of the restrictions imposed upon us, whilst others have wanted further limits imposed and preferred to be led by others who have scientific backgrounds.

It doesn’t matter in which category we find ourselves but it does matter if it has made us intolerant of others and created more divisions between us as human beings.

Adversity can make us bitter and angry for sure but it can also push us to explore and appreciate the things that are truly valuable in our lives.

As we emerge from this pandemic it may be helpful to look back at how it has changed us in so many ways. 

Many of us may have been challenged by the constant intrusion of information from the mainstream media which served to inform us but equally imposed massive fear and guilt into people’s lives. 

It was hard not to become strongly opinionated one way or another and this created more division in the fabric of our lives. Family members could disagree but could they still listen to each other and even respect their differences and honour their choices?

It is in these extreme times of crisis that we pick up habits that do not always support us in our quest to find joy and peace in our lives. 

The experiences of recent times will have affected every one of us profoundly. 

To move onwards it is important that we return to ourselves, that we find the positive forces within each one of us that drive us to a more fulfilling life. 

We are in a constant state of flux, life itself is a gradual progression of change, we are shaped by our life experiences more deeply than we are aware. 

We become the people we are and continue to shape-shift through life. 

Often, we forget that the habits that we’ve adopted throughout our life experiences can be changed, that we are always making choices even when those choices are limited by events such as this. 

Habits are unconscious until we bring our consciousness to explore them.

Habits can be changed only with awareness as we know so well in our yoga practice. 

It can be quite shocking in the yoga class, when we suddenly realise that our aches and pains were formed by habits that we mistakenly adopted through lack of awareness many years ago. 

Habits by their very nature are repetitive, they make it possible for our attention to be placed elsewhere, but they have a profound influence on our outlooks, the way we live our lives physically, mentally and spiritually. We repeat them endlessly until we choose to change them.

Will this year be like a groundhog year where we repeat all our mistakes again and again or will we remember to make the changes we seek? Now, more than ever is a good time to make changes and heal the divisions that are prevalent all around us.

A few days ago, I was invited to watch a film on Joy. 

It was a documentary filmed when the Dalaï Lama and Desmond Tutu recently spent time together in Dharamshala. 

They had met on previous occasions and become good friends over the years. 

They talked openly about their lives and the massive challenges they had both faced. One leading his people whilst being exiled from his country and the other leading his people to liberate them from the oppressive apartheid regime in South Africa. Both had faced persecution and experienced extreme fear and imprisonment.

They shared their thoughts and were very open about their feelings. Both of them had followed a path that was extreme and chosen to show compassion and forgiveness whilst remaining strong in their quest for change. But it was their inner joy and playfulness that really defined them, and when they were together that was multiplied.

I loved that the Dalai Lama found himself sometimes thinking of a chair collapsing when meeting with officials who took themselves too seriously. That he was always looking at events from a very human perspective whilst maintaining his playfulness and humour.

They talked about life and death and all the in-betweens but always returned to their natural joyful states. I had not been quite so familiar with Desmond Tutu apart from seeing him on the news. I was struck by his wisdom and compassion and his ability to reach beyond the confines of his religion and life circumstances to find the common ground we all share as part of the human experience.

I would like your help to carry their message into our new term and focus on the joy of our practice and the all-encompassing nature of Yoga. To reintroduce the playful qualities that are naturally present when we immerse ourselves in our practice. 

To notice the mind as it influences our physical actions and acknowledge the humour and playfulness that is naturally ours. 

To avoid taking things too seriously whilst at the same time recognising the depth and value of our practice. 

We will remind ourselves to check out the habits that underpin us physically and emotionally and if appropriate introduce changes that encourage lightness and humour into our lives. 

We will explore the 5 koshas once again and strengthen our links to the blissful essence of our true nature. 

This will evolve as the term progresses and as always will depend on your input and feedback.

As many of you know, with Covid testing continuing at Macbeth Centre and limited numbers for face-to-face classes, I have decided to continue my classes online. With the recent extension of ULEZ in London I am unlikely to return in person unless for the odd workshop or for some one-off events. I would like to say how much I miss those of you who are not able to join me online and how grateful I am and what joy it gives me to see those of you who do attend each week. 

I wish you all a very happy new year.

Hari Om Tat Sat.

Published by liz on Wednesday, 5 January 2022, last updated on Wednesday, 5 January 2022 at 5:17PM
Categories: New Year, Yoga Times

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