For many of us summer can be a wonderful time of the year, serving as a period of rest from our regular routines and an opportunity to recharge and take stock of the year before we launch into the business of back to school and work in the fall. For others who do better with a schedule, it can pose a challenge to find stability in the more unscheduled weeks and months. In either case, we are given a chance to look at our lives differently for a while and to change our perspective, whether through travel or simply spending more unstructured time with family and friends. There can be a freedom and lightness that comes with this more open time.
As we look to the new year ahead of us, we may feel happy and contented with where we are in our lives or we may feel unsettled and unsteady – not sure how to navigate the challenges in front of us. One of the benefits of yoga is that it helps us stand more firmly on our feet, aligned in our physical body – and this can lead to a mental and emotional steadiness over time which supports us. This is reflected in one of the central niyamas or character-building observances – Ishvar Pravidhana – one translation of which is ‘learning how to line up with nature’s intelligence and grace’.