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What strength did you find that you didn't realise you had? What did you let go of in the past 12 months? What will the past 12 months stand for? Take the time now to write down your responses in all of these areas, and then to say thanks and farewell for the past 12 months before we welcome in the year ahead The year ahead: one word STEP 2: NEXT, THINK OF AN AFFIRMATION. An affirmation is a declaration of something that is true and used to practice positive thinking. This is the part where affirmations aren't weird and not just for people who love chanting; Some examples of affirmations could be: My body is beautiful; I acknowledge my own self-worth. I am perfect and complete just the way I am. My body deserves love. Girl, you are KILLIN' it today! I release myself from outside expectations. Others that I have heard and loved: My hair is gray and that's more than okay. The teacher who says such things, do they own a car? If yes, what car do they drive? Do they live in a nice house? Do they wear fashionable leggings? Do they look after their bodies?

Is this not ego? Without a personal identity. Without a value of self. Is it ego to want a nicer car for yourself or to apply for a promotion or to have dreams and aspirations? So, according to the logic of such yoga teachers it is okay to have an ego if it earns you money and allows you to earn a living, but that same sense of worth and identity, the ego, is not allowed to push us into an advanced pose? You obviously need to determine when you want to say No! Allow me to present some general considerations and experiences. Let us begin by looking at the things parents cannot say No! We must never say No! Were we to deny them this we would be guilty of failing in our duty of care and risk losing the right to live with them. There are still parents who for a variety of reasons are unable to live up to this responsibility and have to leave it to others for shorter or longer periods of time--or for good. Inadequate parents are no worse than any other parents, they are just not privileged enough to be able to make it happen. Apart from that, parents can--technically speaking--say No! Allow me to propose the following reflections before doubt leads you to a definite No! The reflective No! Over the past five to ten years there's been a growing discussion about creating a word for the year ahead, instead of wasting time on resolutions we won't keep. Experts such as Gretchen Rubin, Ali Edwards and Dr Jason Fox talk about this approach and have all added to the collective conversation of the concept. I first came across this idea from designer and visual storyteller Ali Edwards, and for the past three years it's become an annual ritual with friends. Some of my words for the past few years have been: Ones that I've loved from others include magnet',launch', clean' andstyle'.

Thinking ahead, what is one word that you want the next year to stand for? Choose something that is aspirational, and something that kind of scares you when you say it out loud. Take some time to sit with your word. Often it finds you more than you having to force it. Once you've landed on your word, take the time to think about how this word comes to life in different areas of your life -- from relationships and work to finances and health. I am worthy of love. It is okay to love myself just as I am. My body is a vessel of awesomeness. Goddamn, I'm hot shit. This is my life and I have decided that my body is good. My personal choice? For me, a simple You are okay, Jes is all I need. I challenge you to find one that speaks to you, whatever that may be. STEP 3: WRITE DOWN YOUR AFFIRMATION AND THAT THING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR BODY. It's great that you've found your affirmation (and if someone is around, tell them what you've decided! So now we can be even more selective about what our ego is. Essentially, ego is whatever the religious man, the yogi or the yoga teacher wants it to be. Their idea of the ego thus suits their agendas and insecurities at that given time. On a final note, yogis often say we must surrender. They mean that we must surrender our ego.

But unless we know our egos, what is there to surrender? Yoga asks that we surrender our identification with oneself by surrendering the I am. But unless you know who you are, there is no surrender. Yoga says let go of desire and surrender the ego. But unless both have been experienced, you are lost because you do not know what it is you are giving up. You need to consider your own values, needs and personal boundaries, and relate this to the consequences your No! From as early as age two or three you are able to include their thoughts, experiences, fears and expectations in your considerations. This does not mean that they are able to make decisions to the same extent as you but it does mean that they have a right to be heard and taken seriously. Their contributions will often be both surprising and valuable. Involving them is an invaluable way for you to stay up to date with their concept of self, their boundaries and desires. Children are not particularly adept at talking about their emotions, nevertheless, when they are given the opportunity to talk about what is on their minds, they are surprising good at expressing themselves. In today's world we are not left with much of an opportunity to be in doubt and take the time needed to consider things carefully in order for us to make genuine decisions. Although it is worth taking that time to consider things carefully. You will definitely not be a worse parent for it. Often children seem unable to wait for you to make a decision, but when all is said and done, they do respect parents who make an effort to reach the right conclusions. Epic questions The following questions will get you thinking about actions and opportunities for the year ahead. COMBAT CHECK OUT If you feel yourself drifting towards Check Out, ask yourself: Sit with these questions and jot down your responses.

BATTLE BURN OUT Among the busyness, what tracks do you need to lay down now to make sure you continue to focus on your health? Write down one thing you could do to prioritise: Also write down how you're going to defend your health priorities when things get busy. FOCUS IN FREAK OUT Place your affirmation wherever you tend to be when you have the most negative thoughts. It could be your bathroom mirror, your bedroom or the room where you get dressed every day, next to or under your pillow so it's there when you go to sleep and when you wake up. You know where those spiraling thoughts most often come; STEP 4: EVERY TIME YOU HAVE A NEGATIVE THOUGHT, I WANT YOU TO READ YOUR POST-IT OUT LOUD. Don't skim it. Don't read it in your head. Read it and say it out loud. Here's why it's important that you do so: When you're having a negative thought and you say a positive thought out loud, it is impossible for the negative thought to remain. They simply can't coexist in the same place at the same time. So you're ridding your brain of the old way of thinking; Some beautiful paths cannot be discovered without first getting lost. We cannot surrender that which we are not acquainted with. We must make friends with our ego - do not walk in front of it or behind it but rather walk side by side with it where it can cause no harm. Danger in Yoga Poses Disciple: You have said before that nothing is dangerous in a yoga class, yet when you are teaching, you are very specific about what you want people to do and how.