My friend Ashley and I were talking about the new year and something she said really resonated with me. “Winter is not the right energy for renewal.” It is so true! Winter is a time to reflect, let go, get cozy and rest. Spring is the perfect time for resolutions, goals, intentions and action.

So, don’t fret! You can set an intention now and if it fizzles, begin again in April during the astrological new year, or spring equinox.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the start of the new year and dreaming, scheming about all the possibilities. I have set resolutions and had the same experience as most people; they were abandoned, forgotten about or lost their luster midway through February. Did you think you were alone?

For years, I loved to set intentions around The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte (DHN January/February 2022), as well as making vision boards and intention jars. What I know is that any time you want to reflect on your current situation, switch gears or take a different path, there really isn’t a “wrong” way to do it. You do you, take what you need and leave the rest.

In 2009, I embarked on a wellness and spiritual journey that has led me down many roads; all for which I am grateful. But some paths, like the yogic exploration and the books associated with yogic philosophy have really resonated. Within those books, many specific words have stuck with me.

See if this word resonates with you…Tapas. Tapas is one of the words I return to often. And no, I am not talking about small plate foods, although I love those, too!

Tapas is sometimes translated to “burning discipline” and is one of the five niyamas—the second of the eight limbs of yogic philosophy as described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Observation of the five yamas (the first limb, translated as restrictions or restraints) and the five niyamas (personal observances) are considered moral imperatives in yoga; they are the roadmap for intentional living. 

Discipline isn’t something we are born with, it’s a practice. Just as we roll out our mat, head to the driving range or local gym, the best way to achieve tapas is to show up.

It’s not just the amount of time dedicated to a practice, but the consistency of doing so that leads to long-term change or achievement.

As you contemplate your desires for 2023, perhaps first reflect on what, who and where you are willing to commit. Be honest and flexible, and then show up; even when you don’t want to – and especially, when there are lots of obstacles in your way.

At the end of 2023, you might find that your resolution or goal wasn’t the point or the prize, but rather learning to be resilient, to build the muscle of grit, to understand and embrace the concept of Tapas.

Jennifer Yockey is owner of Gather Yoga & Wellness, author of Gathered Truths and host of The Gathered Truths Podcast. She is an E-RYT yoga/meditation teacher and wellness coach and can be reached at (760) 219.7953, jennifer@gatherlaquinta.com. For more information visit www.gatherlaquinta.com.

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