Happy New Year and welcome to 2021. Last month we focused on replenishing the Water Element (you can check it out here) and I hope that you had some time to restore your energy supplies.
January is still in the season of Winter and Water. The Water Element is the deepest energy in the body therefore it’s the element that takes the longest to replenish, so it can take a while to feel the effects of it’s nourishment. As the New Year arrives, it can be really easy to jump back into the habit of being busy and getting things done. The new fresh energy that comes with the New Year is great if it’s approached from a place of loving kindness, compassion and patience. Allow the choices that you make about the New Year to come from a place of love and abundance rather than from punishment, neglect or scarcity.
The New Year is a great time to set intentions. Intentions can be a useful way to keep the Water Element nourished as they remind us every day to keep our cups full. In Yoga, an intention is called a Sankapla or Mantra (a one pointed resolve to focus both psychologically and philosophically on a specific goal).
A Sankapla can be anything that has meaning to you and only you (remind yourself that you don’t have to do something just because everybody else is doing it). What has meaning to you? How do you want to grow as a person, what brings you joy? What would you like to let go off? What would you like to welcome in? You don’t have to know the answers to all these questions… they are tough after all. If you do have some of the answers however, they can help you set your intention.
The mind is a powerful thing, it’s like any other muscle that we have, we must train it in order for it to become stronger. It’s important that we train our mindset to shape how we want to show up in the World. If 2020 taught me anything it’s how powerful the mind is on a physical and emotional level.
Intentions or Sankapla’s are best when kept short and simple.
Here are a few examples that you could use if they resonate with you or even better still come up with your own personal mantra.
I AM AT PEACE – this can a wonderful way to stay centred and present especially in times of difficulty.
I AM A MAGNET FOR MIRACLES – this mantra enables to see how beautiful life is.
I AM LOVE – a beautiful reminder of our true nature.
I AM KIND – this mantra reminds us to live and act from a place of kindness.
I AM OPEN TO SUCCESS AND ABDUNDANCE – allows us to start to release our limiting beliefs.
The options are limitless. It’s important to keep coming back to our intentions every day or most days if we can. Returning to our intentions daily allows that intention to remain in the forefront of our minds so on a subconscious level it will eventually start to influence our actions. You only needs to few minutes, set a timer to 1, 2,3,5, 10, 15 or maybe 20 minutes, whatever time you have, start by simply focusing on your breath, the inhale coming in, the exhale going out, begin to slow it down to a count of 5 in, and a count of 5 out (you can count at a normal pace or very slow), then after a few rounds allow the breath to flow as it pleases and bring to mind your Sankapla (Intention), simply repeating it mentally, tuning in to how it feels in the body. Continue until the timer goes off then allowing your mantra to slip into the background, open your eyes and return to your day whenever you feel ready. Please know that your mind will most likely wander and that’s ok, when you notice that your mind has wandered compassionately bring it back to your intention.
Even though this is a simple task, it can be quite difficult to actually take those few minutes to do. This is where the third Niyama, Tapa’s (Self Discipline), you can check out years post here, comes in to help us out, even though it might feel difficult to set aside a few minutes to tune into your intention daily, knowing that it will benefit yourself and others around you means that it’s worth it and the practice of Tapa’s will give you that discipline to schedule it into your diary if it has true meaning to you.
This month’s practice will provide the opportunity for you to keep coming back to your intention as we move the body with gentle repetitive movements to encourage everything within the body to flow smoothly.
SUPTA BADDHA KONASA – RECLINED BUTTERFLY POSE
Supta – Reclined
Baddha – Bound
Kona – Angle
Asana – Pose
Level – Beginners
Another variation of Baddha Konasana, I find that I keep coming back to this pose, it feels very grounding at this time. The mild stretch on the inner thigh’s and the feet elevated gently stimulates the kidney meridian line associated with the water element. This restorative pose allows time for the body to re-energise and for your Sankapla to imprint while at the same time getting that much needed rest into our practice.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
Reduces stress on the nervous system
Calms the mind
Provides a gentle stretch to the inner thighs, groins and knees
Decompresses the spine
Increases flexibility in the hips.
Stimulates the reproductive system
Improves blood circulation and stimulates the heart
Soothes menstrual discomfort
Can be helpful for flat feet
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
Avoid if you have groin or knee injury
Elevating your feet onto a bolster or a couple of cushions or blankets is optional. I find that it feels really good for my body and mind but if it doesn’t feel good you can keep the feet on the floor or you could even place a bolster or a sofa cushion behind your back this is a great option for pregnancy.