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I have always believed that the way you bring in the new year reflects the rest of your year. You have to agree that there is a lot of energy around New Years Eve. For the past 20 years I do my best to utilize that energy in the best way that I can. My favorite thing to do is the chant, meditate and do yoga and so that is how I like to bring in the new year.
I figured out that I have probably been a part of almost 100 retreats over the past twenty years. I have hosted more then 20 retreats around the world and after many requests to host one in the USA, I am pleased to announce that we are introducing the Ivy House to Nashville by holding our first annual 4 day New Years Retreat.
A yoga/meditation retreat is not like a weekend at a spa but more like a monastic experience of letting go and going inward. It is contemplative, not just an escape for a few days where you return the same old you, but an immersion where you change at the deepest level old patterns and habits.
The astronauts learned that they had to repeat an action 1000 times before it became automatic. They practiced screwing bolts under water 1000X in order for their hands to do it automatically in space in case their brain wasn’t working fully. What things have you done 1000X so that you can do them without using your brain? Driving, washing dishes, talking, making love…all the things you have done for years without thinking right?
Now there is a place for mindlessness and that is yoga and meditation. Or how about you use that 1000X for something that is special like learning an instrument?
The yoga that I teach is not a work out but a work in. We already know how to pay attention to the crazy world outside of ourselves as most people are surviving in frenetic numbness.
Do you know on a plane when they are giving the instructions about the oxygen mask, how they always instruct you to put yours on first? Well, that is what doing a retreat is like. It is like putting the oxygen mask on first and then helping others. Even if you have never done yoga, this retreat is great. The yoga that I teach even a beginner who is limited in movement can do. I love introducing people to yoga who may be otherwise intimidated by yoga. On the other hand I also love introducing my style of slow deep hip and root opening yoga to long time yoga devotees.
Yoga is for every body, not just the cover of the yoga journal, but for every age and every body.
No matter what you decide to do on New Years Eve, I hope you do it with intention and awareness. Even if you are drinking spirits of another kind, drink with intention, be aware of everything while you take each sip. Awareness happens in this moment only. Anytime you think, oh I will get to that mindfulness and enlightenment after the kids grow up or after the next quarter at work, you are putting off the most essential part of being human. Your birth right is to be happy. But true happiness comes from within.
At the Ivy House we teach people simple tools that they can take home to their day to day lives to help go inward on a daily basis.