We have come to the end of a very different year than we imagined this time last year. My January 2020 blog post, titled "Do You Have 2020 Vision," called my readers to pause, reflect, and create their vision for the new year. Many of my goals or intentions had to be put on pause because of the COVID pandemic, as I'm sure yours did too. However, my desire to move forward as a small business owner and seeker of knowledge helped me create new opportunities and new possibilities, not only for myself but for my business and the students who practice with me.
I am thrilled to share new ways you can stay connected with me and my business. I have updated my website to include an On Demand video library and direct access to podcast episodes and YouTube videos.
I worked hard to roll out a new process at the end of 2020 to help streamline practicing yoga and taking classes with me online. I know many of my students have had to manage multiple emails from me every week. Now, you can purchase and pay for a membership online, allowing you to book the classes you want to attend with an immediate Zoom link connection and access recorded videos from prior classes On Demand.
Students no longer have to wait for me to email them 1) registration confirmation, 2) invoice for payment, 3) class zoom link, and 4) post-class recorded link. That is A LOT of emails to manage (and send daily)!!!
I hope current and new students find the process easy to learn and use. You can watch a detailed video demonstrating how to navigate my website including step-by-step details teaching you how to purchase a membership that fits your individual needs OR you can watch a short video learning how to book your class and access the zoom link. Both are stored on my Mary McCarthy Yoga YouTube Channel for future access.
I am grateful for technology and the ability to adapt to current life situations and the changing environment we live in. None of us predicted 2020 would move forward in this way. However, with resilience and grace we managed to survive and maybe even thrive in parts of our lives that have been neglected. I know personally more attention has been given to my health, my home, friendships I care deeply about, and a business I am passionate about and love.
As 2020 comes to an end, I am recommitting to setting an intention or sankalpa. This yoga tradition offers a refreshing alternative to the New Year’s resolution. A sankalpa practice starts from the premise that you already are who you need to be to fulfill your life's dharma. Rod Stryker, founder of ParaYoga, explains that the chief architect of life is the mind. To create the life we are meant to live, we must draw the mind again and again to our dharma, our deepest intentions, and the qualities of the Divine within. A sankalpa is a statement that does this for us. Stryker explains that kalpa means vow, or “the rule to be followed above all other rules.” San, he says, refers to a connection with the highest truth. Sankalpa, then, is a vow and commitment we make to support our highest truth. The sankalpa becomes a statement you can call upon to remind you of your true nature and guide your choices.
To begin this process, I am making time to pause, reflect, and listen. It is not always easy to carve out time for this, but I have discovered the value of this practice. It is only when I take time to listen and pay attention that I can hear and connect with my highest truth. Listed below is the process I will use to help me create a new intention for 2021.
Yoga International shared a "How to Create a Sankalpa" post. Yoga teacher, Richard Miller, describes three stages of the listening process delineated in the Vedanta tradition. "The first, sravana, is the willingness to hear the message of the heartfelt desire. It can take courage to listen to the heart, and a quiet, settled mind—one cultivated through meditation—will best be able to hear this innermost call. The second state, manana, is the act of turning to and welcoming the messenger in. When you hear the call, you must be willing to sit with it, feel it, and deeply reflect on it. The final stage, nididhyasana, is the willingness to do what the heartfelt desire requires of you. 'It will call you into action, into the world,' says Miller. 'You must be willing to respond.'"
Once I have spent time in meditation to quiet my mind, I move into journaling. This allows me to free write and let my thoughts flow. I can reflect on the words written and begin to form a sankalpa. Once I have settled on a statement, I can strengthen the message and use it in my yoga nidra meditation practice. Over the years, I have declared a New Year's Resolution and then forgotten it after a couple of weeks. Working with a sankalpa and stating the resolve again and again in meditation helps remind me of my true essence and how I want to think, act, and feel moving forward into a new year.
I do not know what changes will come in 2021. When I think about a new year and all of the opportunities and possibilities that may arise, thoughts of kindness, compassion, resilience, and grace come to mind. It is my hope to step into each day treating myself and others with kindness and compassion and I want to continue to be resilient and adapt to life's circumstances with grace. Maybe my sankalpa for 2021 is "I am filled with resilience and grace, treating myself and others with kindness and compassion." This feels good when I say it out loud and hold it in my heart.
May we all move forward into a new year with gratitude and intention. My wish for you is that you find your best sankalpa and let it guide you in your yoga practice and in your life.