Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcoming 2014! Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha

Each New Year brings a lot of exciting opportunities and challenges. The New Year gives us a marker of the passing time and mentally a clean slate, tabula rasa.

The Hindu elephant God, Ganesh, the remover of obstacles and one who is called upon in the beginning of a new journey/experience. A mantra to invoke Ganesh: "om gam ganapataye namaha." Also happens to be one of this yogi's favorite of the Hindu God. 

What are your 2014 resolutions?  

So far, here are ChaCha’s 2014 goals:

1Stop talking about yourself in the third person.

2. Stop responding when talking to yourself. I’m pretty sure that’s one of the signs of insanity…who am I kidding? This is not going to change and I’m not sure I really want it to. That’s definitely a sign of insanity.

3. Drink more water. As a self-proclaimed coffee addict, I am more apt to reach for my warm dark beverage than a refreshing clear one. We know the statistics and health gurus push towards drinking roughly 3 liters (about 7-8 glass per day). But more than the prescribed number, it’s important to stop and figure out what feels best to your body. Each person has a different activity level, environment, and energetic need.

So, 2014 I encourage everyone to take the time to pause and check in with what his or her body really needs. Throw away the “chug” concept of imbibing water. Frat boy water chugs were so 2013. Slow down. Sip and enjoy.

*And if you’re the type of eater who forgets what they’re eating until five bites into the chomp (J.B. Harrison, I’m talking to you), pump the breaks. Food and water are energy. Your body is made up of energy. The way that you drink and eat other energies affects your emotional, physical, and mental energy in a huge way.

4. Carve out the time to get back to my seated meditation (pranayama). Five minutes of meditation is better than no meditation at all. In a fast-moving environment (like NYC) and culture (like the good ol’ USA), little credit is given to moments of stillness.

I find movement meditation through yoga, barre, and walking daily but having a committed seated meditation practice for a few months, I know first-hand the potency of it.
A few moments of sitting consciously with your breath and mind each day makes space for greater clarity. We would all be a lot nicer to each other and ourselves if we took the time to check in with ourselves each day.
How do you instill this habit?
My mom always refers back to when I was sixteen and announced to her that it takes three weeks to make a permanent change in your life. That’s 21 days of sticking to a new habit that you want to enforce in your routine.
Consider that I waited months for the new season of Girls to come out (plug: January 12th, season 3 begins), I think I can commit to a beneficial life change for three weeks.

5. Practice, practice, practice. The age-old saying: “practice makes perfect,” does not apply here because life isn’t about perfect. In fact, (and this may blow up some previous conceptions) there is no such thing as perfect. So, let’s ease up on ourselves and let go of that notion. Instead let’s focus on the saying: “keep calm and chive on.”

So, if practice isn’t about perfect, what’s the point?
Practice is about our continual PROGRESSION and EVOLUTION. And if you read those two words as me screaming them at you because they’re in CAPS LOCK, know that it is an empowering scream to emphasize their importance rather than a whiney angry scream. Life isn’t about the end result, but rather the process (including the highs and the lows).
So, get on: your yoga mat, your Pilates’ mat, the barre, your walking shoes…are you picking up what I’m putting down? Find your daily movement practice and/or practices and commit whole-heartedly to them.
To quote my yoga teacher and dear friend, Shiva Rea: "our movement is part of a greater movement."
Move your energy and transform each cell within your mind and body. To quote yogi, Jessica Simpson (who may not know that her lyrics encourage yogic lifestyle): “a little bit goes along way.”

I’ll leave you with a little inspiration for resolution #5 to practice. I learned this movement sequence in an asana junkies (yes, some of us just can’t get enough) practice with my amazing friend and mentor, Mary Kate Murray.
*Note: this video was taken upon returning form a run in the park. Better practiced without sneakers. 

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