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New Year, New Intentions? December 8, 2015

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in 108 Sun Salutations, Books, Changing Perspectives, Daoism, Depression, Faith, Fitness, Healing Stories, Health, Hope, Japa, Japa-Ajapa, Loss, Mala, Mantra, Meditation, Men, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Music, New Year, Pain, Peace, Suffering, Surya Namaskar, Taoism, Tragedy, Twin Cities, Uncategorized, Women, Yoga.

“Searching for an answer / Where the question is unseen / I don’t know where you come from / And I don’t know where you’ve gone…”

Amen Omen by Ben Harper

We are closing in on the end of 2015. And many of us are wondering, “Where do we go from here?” or “How do I go on without him/her/them?” or “Now what?”

It’s those unseen (and unspoken) questions lingering between our readiness to be done with some parts of this year; our desires to move on; and our need to let go of the old – so some healing can begin – that can create fear-based behavior and make us move into deep hibernation. But, as much as I’m a fan of hibernating in order to heal, I’m more of a fan of putting things in perspective and moving on. So, let’s remember that this year hasn’t been all bad.

Remember, for instance, if you set an intention at the beginning of the year and now realize the “stars aligned” to help you reach your goal. Maybe you wanted a new experience, a new job, a new love – or maybe you wanted to heal as an old experience, job, or love passed out of your life. Either way, with all the craziness (and scariness) we’ve seen in the world this year, I think it’s important to remember our own personal highs-and-lows, ebbs-and-flows, risings-and-fallings.

Sun Salutations (surya namaskar) are a moving meditation which mimics the natural tendencies of our bodies and our lives. We rise, we fall, we ebb, we flow – and, if we do enough of them, we experience highs and lows. Practicing a 108 Sun Salutations is the yoga equivalent of a marathon. Like a distance runner, we repeat the same steps over and over again; finding our breath, finding our rhythm – until there is no difference between our breath, our rhythm, our minds, our bodies. We become the cycle, we become the circle or ring (mala). In essence, we are practicing effortless repetition (ajapa japa): where a whisper becomes a scream and then drifts away to silence. (See link above; it’s so worth it!)

I’ve started the past few new years with this 108 ajapa-japa mala practice because it is a great way to reflect on the past, wipe the slate clean, and prepare for the new year. Again and again, it is a way to take Ranier Maria Rilke’s suggestion to a young poet and “live the question (in order to)….live your way into the answer.”

If you’re available or interested, click on the links below for more information about 108 Sun Salutations events on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day:


If you’ve started a new year with this practice, please share your experiences below!


~ May you be healthy and strong (and accept your limitations with grace) ~






1. kpmvhm - December 27, 2015

Hi Myra ! I hope your Christmas celebration was all that you hoped it would be. A friend sent me the recent Jane Brody article in the NYT about 12 yoga positions that strengthen people’s bones. Did you happen to see it? I would be very grateful if you would go through those poses with me and anyone else interested. I would like to try and do them on a daily basis , but I don’t know what they all are. Thanks for any help you can offer. I’ll see you tomorrow 🙂 peace, Karen

ajoyfulpractice - December 28, 2015

Namaste Karen,
Thanks for the article! I had not seen it; however, it is consistent with what we discussed after class today – specifically, that many styles of hatha yoga (like the vinyasa I teach at the Y) are weight-bearing exercise and that standing poses are good for your joints. As I suspected, the poses mentioned are poses we would typically do during the vinyasa classes I teach. And, while the sequence listed would address most of the joints in the body, someone unfamiliar with the poses would be hard-pressed to do this sequence in 12 minutes (and I can’t imagine teaching or leading it in that amount of time).
To go back to my earlier point (and one reinforced by the article’s reference to the lack of Western science studies), there are a lot of yoga poses/sequences you could do every day for 12 minutes which would benefit your bones – and these benefits have been studied and documented (just not according to Big Pharm).
I’m happy set up a time with you to go through the poses and sequence with you. Since we are going to start Kiss My Asana a little earlier this year, maybe I’ll even set up a video.


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