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Small changes cause revolutions

Kelly Major Heath
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyKelly Major Heath
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EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” I love a new year. A fresh start! Most of us believe we can start all over, finally become that wonderful, productive, healthy, happy person we’ve always wanted to be. The trouble is that the enthusiasm to make changes, especially with our body and our diet, tends to have already faded once we realize we can’t change everything overnight. Make this year different by staying committed to what matters most to you throughout this year.

Remember your season. Winter is a yin season ” dark, wet, cold, slow-moving. Winter’s yin nature makes it a less desirable time of year to begin a vigorous workout schedule or stringent weight-loss program, like many of us do as New Year’s resolutions. Winter is a time to conserve strength, to rest and to build energy, not expend it. Keep an eye on nature. Just as plants re-emerge in the spring, so should you.

Highlight the positive. Instead of focusing on what you think you should change, make a list of your good qualities and all the things in your life for which you are thankful. Everyone in this valley is truly blessed! Sometimes we all need to remind ourselves how lucky we are and start from there.

Find equanimity. There are innumerable things we cannot change. Most of us are busy fighting and reacting, defenses up. Just accept that we aren’t in control of everything: the snowfall or what happens as we go through Dowd Junction or the rude sales clerk. Then, turn your energy to something more proactive, such as changing the things that you can. It’s not about being in control, it’s about relaxing into the flow. Equanimity is the art of meeting life as it meets you ” calmly, without drama or fuss. In a lighter, childlike, more natural way.

Pamper yourself. Once a week do something just for you: Take an herbal therapy bath, make some hot cocoa, give yourself a pedicure or rent your favorite movie. Remember, you can’t do anything for anyone else unless you can first do it for yourself.

Create silliness during each day. Turn off the television (and the computer) and sit quietly for a few minutes, meditating. Everything comes out of nothing. We must first learn to empty our cups before we can fill them. Once you turn off the tube, you’ll be surprised by how much extra time, creative energy and wisdom you’ll have to explore your life and your surroundings.

Try yoga. Quiet and invigorating, yoga is a perfect wintertime or anytime practice. And if you’re one of the many people who spends most of the time in front of a computer, check out Office Yoga (www.yogajournal. com/practice/231). There, you’ll find a great guide on how to implement elements of yoga into your day.

Eat whole, fresh foods. Eat at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Notice labels and added ingredients that promote shelf life in a grocery store but take away important nutrients from our bodies. We are what we eat. What are you?

Give to others. Go through your cluttered closets and sweaters and give to a local charity.

Journal or speak out. Don’t hold your feelings inside. Recent studies have confirmed that repressed emotions (particularly anger) can negatively affect your health. Get a journal, and begin to get clear on where you are and how you feel. While you’re at it, tell those close to you how much they mean to you. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Shift your thinking. If you have the wrong attitude about approaching change, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Most people look at New Year’s resolutions as punishment for bad eating, an obligation, painful, time consuming, impossible to sustain over a long period of time or even boring. Figure out whether these attitudes are just excuses you’ve been telling yourself for years. Then, try a different perspective, and look at this as a lifelong, daily change. Can you shift your thinking to believe that you are exactly where you should be? Taking care of yourself is deeply rewarding and will add time onto your life. How long does it really take to peel an apple or a banana? Find a way to go with the flow and begin making changes that empower you today.

Remember, small changes cause revolutions! You don’t have to go out and change everything to experience real transformation. Start small. Find a way to get clear on any repressed feelings. Begin to sit quietly for a few minutes every day. Get in your body physically every day for a few minutes. Eat whole, fresh foods every day.

You are worth it!

Kelly Major Heath is the director of Moutain Lotus yoga in the Vail Athletic Club. She writes a monthly yoga column for the Vail Daily. Send comments about this column to cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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