• Barbara Newman

Wrapping up 2020

It’s December, a time to reflect on the year that didn’t quite have the 2020 vision I anticipated. At the beginning of the year I created my 2020 Vision Board based upon the Eight Limbs of Yoga. I started by writing my intention, “I speak my truth from my whole heart.” I listed my accomplishments, thought intuitively from my heart, began to write, sketch and finally water color. Upon completion of my 2020 Vision Board, I closed my eyes, did conscious breathing and knew I could do this!

I began with the first Limb of Yoga, Yama, consisting of five ethical teachings that are a guide to living in a healthy way. The following are the Yama affirmations in my comment bubble:

Non-harming or Ahimsa, “I think positive self-talk.”

Truth-telling or Satya, “I am truthful to myself and others.”

Moderation or Brahmacharya, “I live in moderation.”

Non-attachment or Aparigraha, “I detach from my stuff.”

I omitted non-stealing or the Asteya Yama because I didn’t want to possess another’s property or thoughts. However, I focused on non-harming to free myself from fear. I selected inner truthfulness, moderation and detachment from things because they were important to me.

I moved ahead to the second Limb of Yoga, Niyama, which consists of five observances for a happy life. During my yoga trainings, I had already given attention to cleanliness or Saucha, felt contentment or Santosha in many areas, had a zeal for life or Tapas and was involved in self-study or Swadhyaya. Instead my focus was on the fifth Niyama, surrender or Ishwara Pranidhana. I wrote the following Niyama affirmations along the inside border of the large heart below:

Surrender or Ishwara Pranidhana “I surrender and stop worrying.” “I am healing myself and others.”

I believed if I surrendered or let go, I would have “happiness, health, joy, love, bliss, wisdom, intuition, peace, calm, tranquility, serenity, compassion.” As I wrote these words inside the heart, I imagined and experienced their feelings.

I progressed to listing the remaining five Limbs of Yoga in the center of the heart as follows:

Posture or Asana

Breath or Pranayama

Turning inward or Pratyahara

Concentration or Dharana

Meditation or Dhyana

Oneness with all or Samadhi

I envisioned that if over time I practiced yoga and breathing regularly, I would gradually turn inward, begin to increase my concentration, then improve my meditation, and ultimately achieve oneness.

As the year unfolded, I practiced yoga consistently by preparing for classes through self-practice and teaching. The pandemic took over, and I put my 2020 Vison Board off to the side. I focused on the breath or Pranayama when practicing poses or Asana and meditating or Dhyana. My zest for living or Tapas motivated me. My self-study or Swadhyaya included reading, jounaling and painting, and expanded my knowledge. I was completing my Yoga Teacher Training and guided myself to do the following:

*Look inward to find answers about the meaning of my life.

*Understand the “letting go” lessons in the ancient Bhagavad Gita story.

*Experience the spiritual benefits of my Seva project, voluntarily teaching yoga without any expectations.

As a result, I moved into yoga poses or Asana, I used conscious breathing or Pranayama and discovered a stronger connection to my inner self or Pratyahara. My concentration or Dharana increased. My ability to meditate or Dhyana deepened. I began to experience wholeness, oneness or Samadhi. With increased self-awareness, study, concentration, meditation, and surrender, I became truthful with myself and others, gave myself love and acceptance, lived in moderation, was less attached to things and found joy by seeing others experience happiness.

As I reflect upon my 2020 Vision Board, I entered 2020 with blurry vision but ended on a high note with accurate 20/20 Vision, even in a pandemic world. Perhaps living in a time where isolation is the norm allowed me to discover my vision of “happiness, health, joy, love, bliss, wisdom, intuition, peace, calm, tranquility, serenity, compassion.” I didn’t have to leave home to find this energy. My subconscious led me in the direction I originally set for myself on 1/8/2020. The heart knows what the heart wants. I listened to my inner voice.

It is said that hindsight is 2020. There is strength in the power of vision and intention. I am pleasantly surprised as I think back and wonder if 2020 provided me with the gift of time and aloneness to accomplish my intention, “I speak my truth from my whole heart.” The proof is that I wouldn’t have written this blog last year.

I’m going to do a 2021 Vision Board. Who knows what 2021 will bring?

Barbara Newman


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