The Most Important Lessons of 2020
Dec 22, 2020
What a year 2020 has been. At the beginning of the year, I became a yoga teacher (!) and learned quickly that even when you teach, you never stop learning. You learn from your students, and you learn from your experiences.
2020 has certainly been a year of uncertainty and challenge for many of us. A year of frustration, anxiety and fear. It has been a year of destruction, change, and hurt. It has been a year of illness, medical crisis, and heartache for many families due mainly to covid, job and financial uncertainties, and racial and political tensions.
We learn through yoga that there is balance in all things. How in the world can we find balance in such a year? For all of the negative things I may feel about 2020, here are my most important lessons learned this year:
- Breath is life. My pranayama (breath) practice has helped me stay calm and avoid panicking when I can’t breathe. Breath is literally food for our cells. If we could measure the quality of life we’re giving to our cells by how much time we spend doing pranayama each day-- which pranayama would you choose to feed your cells? Breath of Fire is one of my favorites, and excellent to support the immune system.
- Community is necessary. Whether you have multiple people living with you, or you live alone, we all need community. Community helps us to feel supported and grounded. Who are your people? Who helps to keep you grounded? And-- who do you support? Do you know someone living alone? A text, email, Zooming or a call can make such a difference.
- Patience & Grace. Just like working on a new or difficult kriya or mudra, part of measuring “success” is through patience and grace. This year has been full of surprises. How do you show patience to others? How have you been impatient with yourself?
- Timing is everything. I’ve learned as a teacher how to work with time, to be sure my students are getting a balance of pranayama, warming up their bodies, the kriya for that class, some deep relaxation and meditation within a 90 minute window. Practicing a specific exercise for a specific amount of time creates a specific effect in the body. We learn how to master ourselves over time. We discover how we gain strength and flexibility over time. 2020 has taught me that time waits for no one-- and at the same time that timing means everything. How often do you take time for YOU? How often do you stress that there isn’t “enough time in the day” to do everything you need or want to do?
- Mindfulness creates trust. We remind ourselves in our practice to be present with our breath, to do what resonates with our bodies. Yet, how often do you shake off a nagging feeling, something that doesn’t sit well with you? Do you trust your intuition? Do you trust when your body whispers that something isn’t right? Or only when it cries out?
What lessons have you learned from your practice that you apply to your life off the mat? Comment below and let us know.
I wish you all the joys of this holiday season. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or even Festivus (lol), I hope you remember that YOU are a gift. Check on your neighbors and loved ones. Take time to breathe and Be. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be a light in this world. Be kind to others, and be kind to yourself.
There is a period of time before the dawn called the Amrit Vela, or Ambrosial Hours, which translates to “sweet time”. It is during this dark period before the sun rises that many people get up to work out, or meditate/pray. It is also a time that many dedicated yogis practice a morning discipline. Perhaps this dark time we’ve experienced in 2020 is preparing us and making a way for a bright and beautiful 2021! I look forward to holding space with you in 2021!