New Year's Resolutions, and Why I Don't Make Them - Breathing Space

Its the end of December and my inbox is full of articles promising to guide me through setting my intentions for the new year.  My social media feed is full of people proclaiming the resolutions they’ll begin work on starting January 1.  We’re about to start not just a new year, but a brand new decade. Its the Roaring 20s, y’all!  Its the perfect time to set some resolutions and make big changes.

Unless its not.

I’ve spent the past six years (not coincidently aligning with the time I’ve been a mother) trying to buy in to the idea that there is beauty in every season, and there is no such thing as bad weather—only bad clothing choices.  Still, winter is not my season.  It is cold and the days are short and I miss my garden.  For me, January is a terrible time to be implementing anything new or challenging.  I know I’ll be on the struggle bus for the next three months and getting out from under my fuzzy blanket is enough challenge, thank you very much.

If you’re riding the bus with me, hear this: Its okay.  Its perfectly normal.

We’ve just entered winter, and the natural energy of the season is to go within. The reason we want to crawl under the blankets and read all the books and stay home with our family is because its exactly what we’re meant to be doing.  Spring and summer are the expansive seasons; fall and winter are about drawing close and going inside.

Yes, go enjoy the empty trails in Rock Creek Park, or join the snowball fight in DuPont Circle, but then go inside and put on your fuzzy socks and drink some hot cocoa.  Build the fire, or light the candles, or take the hot bath, and give yourself time to go within and build your roots, just like the plants outside are doing.  

From the Winter Solstice around December 21 to the Spring Equinox around March 21, the sun is building its strength, shining a little longer each day, and that’s what we’re meant to be doing, too.  Simmering.  Dreaming.  Thinking things through.  I submit that instead of making resolutions on January 1, we should spend winter letting our ideas build, and get super clear on the way we want to live in the world. 

In yoga, we call this—or something a lot like it—sankulpa.  Sankalpa is a clear, concise intention designed to help us reach our highest purpose.  Our highest purpose is probably not to lose ten pounds, but it might be to be our most healthy selves in order to participate fully in our lives. Setting a Sankalpa requires a period of deep listening.  Traditionally, this is done during the practice of yoga nidra, but I I think spending the entire winter season cultivating a practice of exploring what our soul desires is equally valid.  Then, around the Spring Equinox, when the world is bursting forth with new life and the natural energy is encouraging us to bloom—that is the time to manifest our intentions.

Whenever you feel called to set your intentions, here is a brief guide on how to create a sankulpa. And, happy new year–whether you’re making changes or just hunkering down for the winter.  May 2020 be filled with peace, abundance, and sweet, quiet moments.

About the Author

Jessica Lagarde

Jessica LaGarde has been teaching creative movement in the metro area since 2005 and is passionate about helping children discover and explore their bodies and the world around them. She was trained by Joye Newman, MA to teach preschool creative movement for Kids’ Moving Company, a Bethesda-based creative movement/perceptual motor therapy studio. In 2017, she completed her baby, toddler, and children’s Yoga teacher training through Childlight Yoga.  In addition to working with preschoolers, Jessica is a registered massage practitioner and is trained in infant massage instruction. She has practiced massage for over twelve years and taught massage as part of Potomac Massage Training Institute’s professional training program. Outside of the movement space and massage room, she enjoys cooking, knitting, sewing, gardening and exploring the outdoors with her daughter.

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