The New Year brings with it a sort of hall pass to a new life.  For some reason we think we are stuck with the way life is going.  We say things like, “Oh this has been a bad year”, or “ I can’t wait til this year is over..”!  The funny thing is that we have a renewed opportunity to change everything every day.  In fact meditation and following the breath is sort of a mini-version of a New Year everyday.  The in breath is the beginning of something entirely new, we have never had this breath before, or this dose of oxygen.  And the exhale is a way of letting go of what is not needed anymore. 

 

Imagine following each breath with the idea that the inhale is the opportunity for something new, the exhale is letting go of the old!!  Just think, we could be missing a whole lot of new stuff by getting stuck in the old stuff.  So by practicing allowing the new to come in with the in breath and to release what no longer serves us with the out breath would mean we can learn to let go and be in the moment, constantly.  That we don’t need to hold onto the ideas we might have about being stuck in some situation that we don’t want to be.  Now mind you this isn’t easy and perhaps if we are ecstatically happy about something we don’t want it to go away.  But the truth is everything is IMPERMANENT, fluid, always changing.  And freedom, even a sense of peace lies in learning to let go. 

So as a New Years resolution, I am going to re-commit to my meditation practice as one of allowing each moment, or at least each day to be a clean slate.  That my daily ritual of sitting down and consciously focusing on my breath and letting go is the training ground I need to be in the flow of life.  Just in case something comes up that I don’t want to miss!!

I am wishing you a New Year filled with many moments experienced, embraced, and then released with a little excited anticipation of what lies ahead!

The Practice

Find a comfortable place to sit down and support your back or legs if you need to.  Make sure your spine feels elongated and relaxed and rest your hands in your lap (left palm resting in right palm) or on your knees. Lower the chin just enough to feel the back of your neck lengthen, soften the jaw and let the teeth be parted and allow your eyes to softly focus on the floor or close them with your eyes rolling down and forward. 

Take 3 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth to start.  Let the exhale be slow to signal to the nervous system that you are slowing everything down.  Then allow your breath to flow in and out of the nose and notice how this feels.  After a minute or so you will start to relax into it.  As you breath in, you can say silently to yourself, “inhaling” and as you breathe out you say “exhaling”.  Do this to focus the mind on the task at hand and help to keep it from wandering off.  After a few minutes let go of the “labeling” and just sit, softly breathing, noticing your sensations, sounds, smells, whatever is happening in the moment.  When your mind wanders off come back to connecting your mind with your breath by labeling the inhale and the exhale.  You can even say to yourself, “letting go” as you exhale and notice how this makes you feel.

Try it for a few minutes each day or as long as you like, just a little check in with the new day and remember each new breath is an opportunity filled with possibilities!  Enjoy!!Image

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