“Decide to remain true to yourself” Joseph Pilates
This is probably the most often and most annoying title ever!!!! Let’s be honest, every December 31, I put an exorbitant amount of energy into dreaming up goals and resolutions for the next year. As if this past year was not good enough and the new year will solve all my problems. Often I forget these within the month January and by summer I am confused that it ever even happened. I also hate the saying “new you” as if the current you is not good enough. My hope for myself and for all of you this eve before 2018 is that you disregard all this nonsense and instead reflect on the past year and hope to add on to it in 2018 instead of tossing it out and wishing for something you.
Personally I do have some hopes and dreams for 2018 and beyond. I hope to get my book finished and maybe even have someone read it. I hope to move out of NYC, which is scary as all hell. I hope that my daughter can find friends and happiness in a new school and community. And I hope we can have as many adventures together as possible. 2017 was a tough year. It was not what I had hoped for and there were more growing experiences than I would have liked, but it was an important year for growth and truth seeing. It was not the toughest year of my life and it was not the happiest but it is still important. It was the year of truth. No longer living in a bubble of comfort and waiting for other people who know more to make things happen. It was a year where I had to step up and take responsibility for my life and happiness.
2017 for me was the year many of us had no choice but to step up, deal and take responsibility. This is not easy, not full of happiness and fun, however it allows for us to move into 2018 with eyes open. Truth is not always easy, but it opens the door to living an authentic life which brings us closer to full alignment with our soul.
Mind: Truth is a tricky thing. In theory we all want to hear it and abide by it but in practice often it is easier to live a lie. Social media is amazing for this. Let’s be honest does anyone even remember life before filters. We can have a crap day and post a photo of ourselves filtered to perfection with a quirky caption and immediately we feel better. Truth is harder to live in daily. Truth is raw and messy and real. Truth is hard, but it is also important in stepping into who you are meant to be full acceptance and full love. We need to deal with the crap before we can fully have the lasting joy.
Spirit: The 5th chakra focuses on communication and speaking and hearing the truth, our self-expression, and our ability to create. Before true manifestation can occur we need to be fully aligned. This requires knowing and speaking our truth.
Body: To open this chakra we need to stretch the neck and upper traps. Any simple neck stretch will do but I love supported stretches for this pose. There is something metaphorical about being supported while opening up to truth and acceptance.
I like to use a kids ball but you can also use a yoga block, bolster or firm pillows. Place the ball under your upper back near your shoulder blades. Keep your knees bent and feet flat to the floor. Slowly guide your torsion back over the ball until your head is on the floor. If this is too intense for you you an also place a yoga block, book or firm pillow under your head for support. As your breath visualize your throat opening and relaxing as the back of the neck releases into the ground. Stay here as long as you can. Use controlled and slow breath. When coming out of the pose, carefully remove the ball and allow yourself to stay lying on the mat to release the spine fully before standing.