Welcome to 2015 and hopefully a resolve to do more yoga! No doubt most of us – myself included – have made resolutions for the new year. The solstice, when we swing from the shortening days of the old year into the promise of spring, is a time of change. After the feasting and indulgence of Christmas come all those resolutions to eat well, lose weight, tidy the house, learn something new and so on.

Another kind of resolution?

As we launch ourselves out of the door to jog, cycle, walk or swim, or head to the yoga studio, I suggest you take a breath and pause ad invite you to make a different kind of resolution. Be kind to yourself. Whatever endeavour you embark on, think first about taking a leaf out of the yoga book and make a resolution to be kind to your body.

What is ‘ahimsa’

One of the India sages who first outlined the key principles of yoga philosophy, Patanjali, listed eight limbs of yoga. One of the limbs describes how we should lead our lives, and the first of these is to practice ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence. This has led to many yogis embracing vegetarianism: But it can also mean being non violent to yourself as well as others.

So,  how to be kind?

So when you practise yoga, don’t push yourself into areas of pain and discomfort. If you feel unwell, it’s fine to give it a miss. And if you have a injury, ache or twinge, respect what your body is telling you, and don’t hurt that part of you that needs to be rested. The key to being kind to yourself is acceptance. All too often, we are encouraged to strive for success; but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our health and well being. Accept what you can do at this moment, and leave the striving for later when you are ready. It’s very easy to be hard on ourselves.

But being easy on ourselves is far harder.

This week’s lesson - a reminder of some of the warm up and strengthening work