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A Blank Canvas

Hello friends, and happy happy New Year! Whoa, it’s officially day 2 of 2017 and I bet you’re already up and at it working on those resolutions, right?

A new year is a natural, organic point in time for many of us to feel like we can start over, to flip the page and try again. I personally love the idea of a blank canvas – it’s inspiring and exciting and smells of adventure and possibilities. However, more often than not, I find that the New Year puts waaaay too much pressure on us to quickly fill up that shiny blank new piece of paper and we end up resolving to do things that may not really lead us to the happiness which is ultimately the end goal. We are quick to pen down what we think we want (go to the gym every day, eat better, get a promotion, see family more, etc.) and then get angry at ourselves for not sticking to our plans for more than a few weeks. I don’t think this is because we lack discipline, work ethic, or will power. We go after our goals half-assedly because the goals themselves fail to engage us wholeheartedly.

Knowing what you want is more than half the battle, and it’s something that takes time – time, effort, dedication, commitment, curiosity, change, and courage. Allowing the canvas to stay blank for a while and truly embracing the journey towards carefully pinpointing the goals that belong there is, in my opinion, an incredibly powerful and far more helpful type of resolution ( and way harder than jotting down a fitness plan for the year!)

I’ve always been a planner, a list-maker and goal-setter, and for years I filled journals with action plans to leave my corporate job. Looking back, I can clearly see that I wasn’t writing an action plan to move forward into the life I wanted, I was simply planning an exit strategy without a clue as to what I’d do once I was out. Since closing a door without having a new one to open is not exactly something I could truly embrace, I did nothing.

Luckily, a lightbulb went off on November 16, 2014, and I finally wrote the one meaningful resolution that changed the course of my life in my little journal (see below.)

In case you can’t read my terrible handwriting, here is what it says:

“I promise myself the following: On my 32nd birthday, I will give myself the gift of complete freedom, the ability to fully, wholeheartedly pursue my dreams, my purpose, and fulfill my potential. I will quit my job to find my life’s work, to practice that which brings me light, and joy, and peace, and a deep sense of fulfillment. I will not stress about or doubt my decision. I will rely on my intuition and desire to contribute my gifts to the world – that will surely lead me to the true definition of success. 10 months till the sweetest birthday present of all – blank canvas to design the life that I want.”

No plan, no step-by-step checklist, just the SPACE and FREEDOM and TIME to determine what that plan and checklist should look like before rushing to check off its boxes. I realize this type of goal doesn’t hit on a single requirement for setting effective, SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timed) and yet I believe it was exactly what I needed to get me to where I am today.

Reflecting on this, I jotted down the super duper simplified version of the journey I took from the day I wrote that journal entry in 2014 until opening up Yogaleena in 2016:

It all started with creating space in my life- physically, mentally, spiritually. I practiced more yoga, meditated, got rid of toxic relationships, decluttered my living space, and gave myself permission to NOT fill up my agenda just for the sake of being busy. I then focused on filling this space with good stuff that would nourish me physically, mentally, and spiritually. I paid more attention to the foods I consumed, surrounded myself by positive and inspiring people, took classes and workshops I hadn’t made time for, and became way more selective about who and what got a piece of my mental real estate. Once I felt healthy, light, energized and inspired, I got creative. I played with different possibilities, tried new things, said yes to things I’d rejected before, took risks, and just lived a little. At some point during this trial-and-error phase, I started to get a clear idea of what I wanted. Then and only then did I set some seriously SMART goals to achieve my objective. Currently, I am still settling into my new life as a studio owner, soaking it all in, and adjusting here and there, day by day. 

In just a few weeks, we’ll be kicking off our first-ever Yogaleena 30-day challenge, which is based on the process above. Each week, we will focus on a different step along the way, challenge your way of thinking, reward you with free workshops and special events, and encourage you (with tea and cookies and hugs) at weekly meetings. Here’s a brief outline for the challenge:

Week 1: Creating Space in your Life
Week 2: Nourishing the Whole You
Week 3: Sparking your Creativity
Week 4: Setting the Right 2017 Goals and Intentions

All you have to do is sign up, practice yoga at the studio 4 times per week, meditate twice per week, and commit to investing this time and effort on yourself. There’s no special class package you need to purchase – membership and regular class pricing applies. If you complete your 4 yoga classes and 2 meditation practices each week, then you get to attend the workshops and events for free!

Want in? SIGN UP HERE to be included in our Yogaleena Challenge email list and receive your weekly dose of inspiration, homework, tips, and encouragement over the course of the challengeMore details will be up on the website soon, and you can always ask any one of the Yogaleena teachers for additional info.

We are beyond excited to launch this challenge and practice, breathe, meditate, share, and grow alongside our beautiful Yogaleena community.

Here’s to blank canvases staying blank for a just a little bit longer and giving ourselves the space, freedom, and permission to take our sweet time filling them in.



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