Another year has passed… Another challenging year for a lot of us.
It is really not easy to be a human in a world that is less and less human and more and more busy and fast and stressful and triggering and overstimulating.
In all of this external and internal noise, it is easy to forget how magical life really is. With all of the science we have, life is still unexplainable and so much of our truly beautiful universe is still a mystery.
Life moves at such a strong current now that we get lost, even drown, in all of the rushing and doing, but just take a moment to pause, to close your eyes and open them again and look at things afresh and you might see all of the goodness and beauty and magic that’s here. It is here. It’s always here.
And how wonderful is it that our lives are broken down into years and months and weeks and days and minutes and breaths? Each is an opportunity, a reminder, to look again, to try again, to start again with a renewed attitude and effort and outlook.
Did you fail yesterday? Don't make the mistake of messing up every new day (or year) with yesterday. Today is a new day. Cut yourself (or someone else) some slack, and start again. Grace, letting go and being in the moment are amazing gifts.
Well, you knew all of that, but maybe you needed a little reminder again. So here it is… Each year, each day, each breath, each time you blink is another opportunity to see that shimmering glimmers of magic and wonder… Doesn't matter how hard it was, there is a new and fresh moment right here and now that is full of potential for growth and joy. So seize the moment!
So as we breathe and do yoga together today, we will do it all as if we are doing it for the first time, trying to induce that feeling of freshness, free from the weight and expectations and worries and fears and entanglements of the past… It’s a fresh start.
This is a very slow and rejuvenating class… If you are looking for a more upbeat class for the new year, look for the one titled “New Year, New Movement, New Brain Cells” here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IztXJCROh9EEWi_wG-hr7ULVnEfAaEVI/view?usp=sharing
To Bring: Medicine Bowl
How was this past year for you?
If you are feeling a bit heavy, I want to remind you that every year, every day, every moment, every breath, every time you blink your eyes is a FRESH START; an opportunity to start again, try again, look at things a bit more positively and see the magic that’s right here and now inside and outside of you if you just pause to look.
So as we move through the class today, do it all as if you are doing it for the very first time... It’s a gift you are giving to yourself the gift of being present and the gift of letting yourself enjoy the moment.
Breathing For The First Time
Lie down on the floor, and take some deep breaths. Big breaths… With each big exhalation, let go of everything that happened or will happen.
Do it until you start enjoying your breath.
Breathe as if you are breathing for the first time.
Appreciate breathing as if you are breathing for the first time.
What can you notice about your breath that you have never noticed before?
Breathing is a sign that you are alive… Take joy and pleasure in this feeling.
You are alive!
Whenever your mind starts being carried away again by the currents of the past and future, the worries about what happened or will happen, gently bring it all back to the breath and enjoying the breath.
Moving & Discovering The Body For The First Time
Now bringing your awareness to your body, imagine that you are a little baby discovering your body for the first time.
Slowly shift your weight from side to side. Be as soft and as close to the floor as possible surrendering to gravity.
Keep finding new ways to do this. Transition through the front/back.
Slowly transition to your hands and knees and try crawling and moving in new ways, shifting your weight from side to side, forward and back. All while being very soft.
Try shifting by putting your head on the floor… Make your head loose, look around, and nod yes/no. Don’t get stuck on patterns. Keep shifting your body weight exploring movement like a baby would.
From here you can slowly transition to doing some Cat and Cow poses, maybe even in a wave form. Wave it from the tailbone to the head a few times, then wave the movement from the head to the tailbone… Do some washing machine movements with your spine… Move like a tiger for a bit.
When you are ready, walk your hands back to a squat. Explore moving your hips in different ways here.
Now let your head hang down as you straighten your legs (to a standing forward fold) and float from side to side with your body folded forward like a rag doll.
Finally, slowly slowly place your vertebras one on top of the other, the head comes up last, as you come to stand upright and tall.
Seeing The World For The First Time
Standing here, close your eyes and centre yourself again with a few conscious breaths.
When you are ready, slowly peel your eyelids open as if you are opening your eyes for the first time.
Look around you and try to see EVERYTHING as if for the first time.
Pause all judgments, previous experiences, ideas and notions… See if you can start feeling how magical life really is.
What can you see around you that you might have never noticed before?
Look at the big picture, look at the details, look up high, look down, look at other people and gently, with no words, smile at them…
Seeing Yourself For The First Time
Now look at yourself…
Sit down if you are tired of standing.
Look at yourself from your toes slowly slowly up.
What can you notice that you might not have noticed before?
Bring your hands closer to your face and inspect them more closely… Look at the tiniest details. Try to memorise your hands and every little detail about them. Take a couple of minutes to do that.
Now use your hands to memorise your body. Brush your feet, your legs, your tummy, your back your arms and shoulders… How does it feel?
Now explore your face with your fingertips… Every little part of it. Even your ears and your scalp. Take a couple of minutes for that. You can close your eyes while you do that.
Take a few more deep breaths and enjoy the sensations in your body.
Doing A Yoga Sun Dance For The First Time
Lead your students through a Follow My Body Sun Dance guiding them to be present, move through the poses as if they are doing them for the first time, and enjoy moving.
Keep it slow but flowing and beautiful with big stretches to open the body.
Go with the music and explore as many movements as you can.
Doing Yoga Poses For The First Time
Ring the Medicine Bowl and do a yoga pose of your choice for the students to follow. One pose.
Encourage everyone to do it as if for the first time. Feeling the contact of the body with the floor, and the places where they might feel the stretch.
Be still in the pose. Close your eyes if you want to. Breathe while you do it too and enjoy the breath.
Take the moment to savour and enjoy the moments.
Now pass the Medicine Bowl to the next person in the circle for them to choose a pose and ring the Medicine Bowl staying in the pose until the sound fades away before passing the Bowl and the leadership here to the next person.
If the group is small you can do a few rounds of this.
Fresh Start Relaxation
Begin by finding a comfortable position, either seated or lying down, where you can fully relax and not be disturbed. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Now imagine yourself standing at the entrance of a lush, green forest. This forest symbolizes your journey of renewal. The trees are tall and vibrant, and the air is filled with the scent of fresh pine and earth. With every step you take on this forest path, you feel lighter and more rejuvenated.
After walking for a while, you come upon a beautiful clearing bathed in soft, golden sunlight. In the centre of the clearing is a pristine, clear pool of water. This pool represents a fresh start, a place of purification and renewal.
Slowly, you approach the pool and notice your reflection on the surface of the water. Take a moment to connect with your reflection, acknowledging all that you are and all that you wish to become. Then, with a sense of intention, you immerse yourself in the water, feeling it cleanse away any remnants of the past and rejuvenate your spirit.
As you emerge from the water, you notice the sky above you transforming. The once gentle sunlight has now grown brighter, and the horizon is painted with hues of pink and gold. The rising sun symbolizes new beginnings, offering you its warm, healing energy.
Feeling refreshed and renewed, you begin to walk back towards the forest path. With every step, you feel more connected to your inner strength and clarity. You realize that this journey has prepared you for the path ahead, filled with endless possibilities and opportunities for growth.
Slowly, begin to bring your awareness back to the present moment. Feel the surface beneath you, the air on your skin, and the gentle rhythm of your breath. Know that you can return to this inner sanctuary of renewal anytime you need to find peace and clarity during this coming year.
When you're ready, gently wiggle your fingers and toes, bringing movement back into your body. Take a deep breath in... and exhale fully. Slowly open your eyes, carrying the sense of renewal and a fresh start with you into the rest of your day, your year.