Ridiculous sparkly Buddha wishes you a happy new year!

Ridiculous sparkly Buddha wishes you a happy new year!

Happy 2014, yogis!

I hope you were able to peacefully close out last year and are feeling ready for all the good stuff that is to come.

Since I’m a classic introvert, I’m really not into big parties. Just seeing the Times Square ball-drop insanity gives me heart palpitations. Our usual December 31st appointment with sweatpants, the couch and a bottle of Champagne suits us just fine.

But, we did something a little different to celebrate this time around – Husband and I spent new years in the hot room! We attended a special class that started at 10:45 pm. Our teacher practiced with us and played music in place of the dialogue. We welcomed the new year in savasana.

It was blissful.

There was no pressure to drink or be loud or wear high heels. We got to be with friends, doing something we love, setting a healthy, peaceful intention for this new beginning.

In hindsight, I don’t know why we’d do anything else for new years, but at about 10 pm, I totally didn’t want to go.

I was nervous about going out. Our studio is located downtown and I was intimidated by the mere thought of drunken drivers and overly-enthusiastic partiers. That kind of chaos is the perfect storm for my anxiety and it made me want to throw the covers over my head.

But I had heard other yogis talking about this special class and how it was such a beautiful start to the year. I knew we needed to try it. So, we packed up our water bottles and dragged ourselves out of the house, leaving as few claw marks on the door frame as possible.

About 40 other folks came to sweat in the new year, a couple of brave souls were there for their very first class! The classical music our teacher played was such a nice change. Us Bikram yogis are not used to hearing music during yoga, but I found that I was able to just get lost in it. Having something else to engage my senses other than the dialogue brought a different dimension to class. (Since then, I’ve added some music to my home practice, and I’m loving that. I just prefer to totally hippie-out with some Jai Utal instead of classical.)

Our teacher counted down to midnight while we were in savasana and the air filled with this blissed out celebration. We were all bathed in gratitude for a fresh new year of opportunities.

After all the sweaty hugging of fellow yogis, we were ready to go home and wish the dog a happy new year. When we emerged from the studio at 12:30 am – much to my surprise – the world was so beautiful. Downtown was alive with flashing lights and and thumping music. The streets were full of joyful people embracing each other and rows of taxis transporting the tipsy.

I found I was able to enjoy the chaos and not feel overwhelmed. And that is what yoga always does for me. It enables me to take a step back, take a moment and put some space between me and the rest of the world. I can enjoy the inner stillness and smile at the craziness, without feeling dragged into the middle of it.

I’m sure that as the year wears on, life will creep in and I will get flustered and wrapped up in nonsense. But the fact that I started 2014 with this deep sense of presence and calm makes me hope I can find it more often this year.

And it made the satisfaction of going home and putting on sweatpants even sweeter.

I wish you all a year full of peace, love and backbends!

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