India Inc. yoga expert runs through how to re-align the mind and body for the New Year with a range of poses, meditation and breathing techniques. January 1 serves as a benchmark to reflect and take stock of where we have come from and plan where we will be going. For many of us it's a time to re-set. Resetting means 'to set again or differently'. The New Year allows us to do exactly that. If you have been reading my articles regularly, you would know that the resetting or recalibration of the nervous systems' control over posture and tension in tissues is what brings about improvements in function across all faculties in the body. Yoga actively regulates the body through a process of stimulation and relaxation of the neurological and mechanical controls. This has such a profound impact on maintaining and increasing the elasticity of tissues, allowing them the dynamic qualities needed to reject disease, dysfunction and therefore stay healthy. Through my columns, we have extensively explored various physiological advantages and the rationale behind yogic practices, but there is so much to be said about how much we don't know and how much we don't understand. Logic and reason struggles to comprehend and to justify the impact that yoga has on us, but it is experience and feeling that pushes us towards belief. If you are considering your New Year resolutions, what is your game plan How will you achieve your objectives Do you need to 'set again or differently' Perhaps your approach in 2018 needs refining; you may benefit from a slight change in attitude, direction and commitment Such changes don't occur just from the thought of it alone. In order to shift gear, you might need a change in your internal environment that will enable you to focus on the changes that you need to implement in order to achieve your New Year resolutions. Can Yoga help you achieve this Yoga is a practice of re-setting, re-calibrating and re-establishing. Every day can be New Year's Day when you're practicing yoga. Through emotional integration and spiritual elevation, we increase the prana (subtle life force energy) within us. This increases our alertness and awareness, making us more enthusiastic and motivated. When this happens, decisions and actions come from a more positive and conscious space where there is greater clarity because discrimination is balanced with compassion and enthusiasm, leading to a more open and peaceful state of mind. But what is it about the practice of yoga that transforms people There is something that is is unexplainable, something that is not tangible or within reach of our logic. Spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was once asked to “explain the mystic elements of Yoga” His response was that mysticism is something that needs to be experienced, if it is explained, then it is no longer mystical. It is the mystical elements or qualities that lift you from the mundane everyday activities in life, which can lose their charm after sometime. It is something that keeps you alive and fills you with so much energy. This positively influences and impacts your behaviour and thought patterns and can shift your outlook and attitude. Isn't that exactly what is needed to pursue a New Year resolution Isn't that a prerequisite to resetting the mind and body in the New Year Just a 10-minute routine of sun salutations in the morning followed by some pranayama and meditation is enough to leave you feeling fresh and rejuvenated, shrugging off any emotional and physical fatigue which is an inevitability when you are busy working and striving to achieve something in life. We live in a world which is changing and evolving much quicker than it has in the past - technology is changing quicker then we can grasp, communication tools such as social media connect us all, increasing the level and scale of our communications. All of this takes a toll on us as most of us only saw the type of technology we have access to today in science fiction movies once every one or two years, also because they didn't make movies as fast as they do these days. Keeping up with ourselves is a new challenge that requires skills that we have not inherited from our parents, who were 'thrifty' with their time and resources, investing most of it into building a stable family life as opposed to a world where every experience and thought can be amplified into the ether for others to 'like and share'. In short, we need techniques to manage ourselves. We might explore the farthest reaches of the world around us, fuelled by artificial intelligence and a digitally & technologically advanced age, but still it is only the very traditional and perhaps the most ancient of practices that can bring us back to the self, which is perhaps the greatest of all explorations. My New Year resolution is to align my passions and desires with serving society around me and to ultimately impact the environment around me positively. There's only one fuel that I can think of to power this resolution. Yoga, breathing & meditation. I wish you all a very Happy New Year.
Keerti Mathur is an associate at the Gait and Posture Centre at Harley Street in London and has been practicing Osteopathy for 10 years. He is part of the Art of Living faculty and a keen musician. Under the guidance of Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Keerti worked to set up India's first school of Osteopathic medicine in Sri Sri University Orissa.