Happy 2015! Oftentimes, when the calendar ticks over from December 31 to January 1, we take time to reflect and then determine how we want to move forward. For some, that means making resolutions. For others, that means they keep on keeping on…approaching things in the exact same way they have done before.
I did a lot of reflection as we moved from 2014 to 2015 and I realized that I want to spend this year living with intention. What exactly does “intention” mean to me? It means that I think, speak, and act with clarity and purpose and that I have nothing but the best outcomes in mind when it comes to the activities, relationships, and work I do. I know that things might not always work out the way I want them to, but if I moved into the space with the best of intention, then I know that I have done my part.
That got me thinking…how can I best live with intention? Even more so, how I best live with good intention? Immediately, the five Yamas came to mind. The first of Pantanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, the Yamas are five guiding principles for how we engage with both ourselves and our outer world – on and off the mat.
Ahimsa or Non-Violence. Do no harm, either to yourself or to other living things. The foundational Yama, this practice encourages to be kind, to ourselves, other people, and the earth. By being non-violent with our thoughts, words, and actions, we manifest care and love in everything we do. How can I live with more love in my life, especially toward those things, situations, and people that challenge me?
Satya or Truth. All of the Yamas build on one another, but for me personally, Satya and Ahimsa go hand-in-hand. Can we be truthful in our intentions? Can we recognize when we move into spaces in a connected and loving way versus ways that make us react with negative emotion. Can we be honest with ourselves about how we relate to ourselves, others, and situations? Can I be compassionately honest when talking about my feelings and where I am in relation to my life?
Asteya or Non-Stealing. All you need is within you! In this day in age, it can be very hard to tell the difference between being inspired and then doing something and then outright copying what someone else has done. I was watching a show the other day where a group of chefs were talking about this very thing. They noted that inspiration is all around us and if you do find yourself taking inspiration from another, be sure to credit that individual. They also noted that they enjoyed each other’s cooking so much more when they could tell it was an “original.” In other words, be an original. Don’t take from anything or anyone else. We are all rockstars…just as we are!
Aparigraha or Not Having Greed or Possessiveness. In these Pinterest-fueled days, it can be challenging to not covet or want something else…and something else on top of that…and a little more of that on the side. I explored this Yama during my teacher training and realized that, for me, it came down to the question of “Is this a need or a want?” I ask myself that all the time – food, clothes, things for the home. Is it something I am craving or is it something nourishing? In the end, I realize this Yama brings me back to Asteya – I have all I really need!
Brahmacharya or Moderation. In the end, it all comes down to knowing when enough is enough. Have I encountered today with enough of all the things I need (not want!) to live a full, nourished, loving, and engaged life. This Yama encourages us to monitor ourselves and when we do find places of excess in our lives. Why does that excess exist and is it possible to mitigate that excess in some way?
How are you planning on going into the New Year and where are you finding your inspiration for your every day life?
Happy 2015! May this year be full of love, joy, and peace!