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Updated: Dec 30, 2020

I never was one for New Year’s resolutions. Thankfully, because according to statistics, I would have abandoned mine by now.

New Year’s Eve festivities in general never were ‘my thing’. They seemed to come with obligatory sleep deprivation and a high potential for kisses from strangers in tinsel-trimmed red foil hats. The only hope for protection from the trill of kazoos, was a chance encounter with a blowout party-favour propelled into my ears, likely powered by breath thick with alcohol.

Nope, not for me.

There's little threat of a traditional New Year's party with Covid-19 this year, but the New year itself can be a reminder to honor the voice of our heart in any decision we make.

For years my mind said of a New Year party, “It should be fun”. But my heart crumpled and said, “Meh”.

However, some New Years celebrations sparkle in my memory, still warming my heart today.

They were gentle celebrations with family, or when I turned off the TV before the ball dropped in Times Square, choosing instead to snuggle into sleep. They were the years of following my heart rather than selling out to the cultural idea of New Years’ that my mind prostrated toward.

These were the New Year celebrations when “meh” transformed to “yum”.

Conforming to perceived obligations could be the reason why most New Year’s resolutions end up in failure, foiled like the party hats under which they began.

What happens when we follow our hearts, rather than making commitments out of a sense of obligation?

My clients are some of my best teachers, the subject of obligation without exception.

As I met for a private session with a client, she was positively glowing with excitement. “I just had an epiphany!”

“What is it?” I asked, realizing I held some skewed hope that her happiness was because of my arrival.

“I don’t have to be friends with someone just because they want to be my friend!”

Well, how about that? What a teaching!

How many of us feel guilty when we avoid the “friend” we’ve outgrown or with whom we have never felt affinity? You know, the one who’s invitation “we’ll have to get together for tea” is received with a dropping heart. How different this is from an invitation that comes with an uplifting feeling.

I was never so aware of this sense of obligation in myself until my client spoke it.

That day, I’d received a linkedin invitation from someone I don’t know, who happens to sell insurance. She asked if I’d like to get together for tea, saying she likes to connect with other professionals and would like to know more about me. I found myself stumbling with ways to politely reject her. It was ludicrous really, when I reflect on it now. She obviously wanted to sell me something and that’s okay. But why is “no thank you” so difficult? Age old stories of being a nice, accommodating girl run deep.

I eventually replied “No thank you. I wish you all the best for a Merry Christmas and Happy Year’. She politely replied and I felt a weight off my shoulders.

Even though it was a small weight, like a pebble, how they can add up!

Social obligation does have a place. It is okay to follow that sense of obligation as long as we don’t betray our heart. Follow the “yes” that comes with a warm, expansive, uplifting feeling. Feel for the “no” that feels quite opposite.

Many New Year resolutions are inspired by “should”. I should be able to hold plank pose for two minutes. I should lose five pounds. I should eat only plants.

Before making commitments at any time of the year, let your heart speak its truth.

Your mind is affected by social and familial conditioning, rendering it unreliable at best. Your heart and body know Truth. When you are in your heart, you are momentarily free of the confusing rhetoric of obligations.

I am not implying that you abandon your intellect and what you have learned through experience. Invite your bright mind into the decision making, just don’t let it override your heart.

At times, your head will still overshadow your heart. It is okay! We are only human after all. Each time you notice, turn back to your heart as if returning home to a loved one after time away.

Your heart and all it represents will never turn away from you. It is always here for you.

In my heartfelt desire to be here for you, no matter where I am, it is with great joy that I continue share an ever-expanding library of practice and teachings in the Body Mind Ease online subscription community.

I don’t require a New Year resolution from you, and I will support you in sustainable, effective practices for more ease of being every day of the year. I look forward to seeing you on the inside.

Happy New Year!

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Like blackberries among twisted, thorny tangles of cane, opportunities poke through this year of pandemic, political strife, and environmental crisis.

At moments I am inspired to be the change so desperately needed in our world. At other times I drop into silent despair. Mostly I dance between the two. I imagine we share this dance.

Our experiences are unique and deeply personal and yet we are united, in one grand dance of life. Our perceived separation is an illusion. We are never alone, even when loneliness takes hold.

Perhaps we use the opportunity of this changed life to pivot to love and connection with other beings and the earth. We might nurture a garden, adopt a pet, or knead our secrets into dough, tucking and folding them into loving acceptance. Perhaps we claim our voices, too long quiet, and pirouette to action where we otherwise might have remained silently passive.

Through the opening up and shutting down, opportunities anew and lost, there is one essential piece of this human experience upon which we can rely.

It is a constant companion that we share and yet feels personal. As it walks alongside us in various forms, we befriend and deny it all day long. Denial disables us and inclines us to depression. Befriending this companion enables us to move through changing times with grace, presence and empowerment.

This constant, colourful companion is emotion.

Has there ever been a better opportunity than now to learn to navigate our emotional wilderness, without drowning or getting swept away? There’s certainly no shortage of emotional material to work with these days, from gratitude to fear; blackberries and brambles in abundance.

Developing our relationship with emotions enables us to move through frenetic, demanding days without burning out, and to thrive in times of surplus solitude.

If you and I have spent time together in-person or online, you’ve likely heard me say;

Feeling is healing. Put this to practice now with my e-book Befriending Emotions and accompanying guided meditation below.

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To become a yoga teacher, 200 hours of training is required. A Certified Yoga Therapist has a minimum of 1000 hours of formal training with a school accredit by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, hands on group and individual experience and extensive documented case studies. Ongoing training is a requirement to maintain certification status.

It was not until 2016 that the official Yoga Therapist Certification programs and governance was launched. This ensures a high standard and accountability to ethical and professional responsibility.

Read the definition of a yoga therapist, from the International Association of Yoga Therapists here.

You only get one body in this life. It is a big responsibility to maintain and optimize by yourself. Your body is not separate from your heart and mind. Caring for you is a big deal.Who you entrust your body, heart and mind to is a big deal too. You are worth the best care!

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