Posted in: Love-Liv, Reflect

Liforme 2020 Recap: Lighter and Brighter on the Way Out

When future generations Google annus horribilis, it seems likely that 2020’s picture will pop right up. In addition to horrible, it’s been a tragic, stressful, monster of a year. But, for sure, 2020 will also be remembered as a year of important change. Guided by the Universe’s unique and infinite wisdom, we have experienced ‘shifts’ of consciousness this year that were a great test of our emotional bodies but will be of even greater benefit to the future of humanity. As 2020 winds down, even though the crisis isn’t over, it feels like the light is finally starting to break through. We’re entering the age of Aquarius and a transcendence from earth-bound energy to the energy, and wisdom, of air. Led by science, technology and innovation, we’re entering a new era of human collaboration, community and liberation. Whilst 2020 has been full of emotional pain and suffering for so many, and we must not forget that, we hope you can feel this positive change too.    

The mantra “lighter and brighter on the way out” resonates with yogis on and off the mat. We know from experience that whatever troubles we bring with us onto our yoga mats or our meditation cushions, we usually step off feeling better. That’s not to say that all your problems are miraculously solved in an easy 90 minutes of movement, but there is some magic in getting into your body and out of your mind. Do it regularly and it’s a powerful tool to change your perspective and provide clarity. You may arrive onto your mat with a dark cloud hovering over your head, but you almost always walk out feeling the sunshine on your face.

As we reflect on this [insert expletive of your choice] year, we must mourn the lives that have been lost and acknowledge the trauma we have faced. However, the only way is forward and we have reasons to be hopeful that next year will be better. We have taken the first steps toward change, locally and globally. Though there are still some tough times ahead, we can start to feel a little lighter and brighter on the way out.

Comfort Versus Discomfort

We all got a big helping of getting comfortable with discomfort this year, whether we wanted it or not. We can’t help but think that whenever we get back to dealing with just your average, everyday levels of uncertainty, we’ll be better equipped to handle them. The tools we’ve marshalled to maintain a semblance of equanimity during this turbulent time will continue to be effective going forward.  

Although we have had to change the ways that we practice yoga and mediation this year, many of us have found solace on our mats at home. We’ve experienced the importance of moving and grounding our bodies and finding ways to step out of our monkey minds. There is something empowering in the new ways we have discovered to take care of ourselves, something that gives us a measure of control even when everything else is going haywire.

Silver Linings

A lot more people discovered the benefits of yoga home practice this year. While some things don’t lend themselves particularly well to distance learning (primary school, for example), fortunately, yoga does. And while we are eager to return to the in-person classes that allow us to be in our communities and get feedback from our teachers, the flexibility and independence afforded by home practice could help more people do more yoga in the future, bringing together people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn from each other. 

Taking this idea off the mat, some of the things that we’ve been forced to do remotely could stick around to the benefit of society and the planet. Early in the shutdown, we saw how emissions and pollution can be drastically reduced. Much as we are tired of being ‘together apart’, experiencing how we can connect using technology has the potential to reduce our carbon footprints in ways that help the planet. Though video conferencing has been around for a while, now that so many people have learned to use it more effectively, it has the potential to be a real factor in the effort to slow the effects of climate change.  

On the Way Out

Ultimately, the best antidote to this [again, insert your own expletive] year may just be the feeling of hope that better times are just ahead. Successful vaccination trials mean that health care workers and other vulnerable populations will soon be better protected and we can look forward to the reopening of more schools and businesses. We particularly want to acknowledge the hardships faced by so many small business owners this year because of COVID-19 related social restrictions and closures. This has directly affected so many in our own community, particularly yoga teachers and studios. We’re truly proud of our team for all the incredible hard work and dedication it took to set up and administer our Yoga Support Fund. We at Liforme have donated $100,000 out of our revenues this year to this Fund, and our incredible community have added personal donations bringing the total raised to date to over $119,000. All of these funds have been allocated as grants to support hundreds of yoga teachers and studios the World over through these incredibly tough times for them, and the Fund still continues – so please donate if you can afford to.

This year, more than in any other in living memory, people have come together and taken action for change through elections, demonstrations, and protests. We have seen marked progress in the movement towards racial equality following huge global engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement and we can all do our bit to ensure the momentum remains. And at the tail end of this year, real progress has been made with Climate Change coming back to the forefront of the global political agenda (we really need this to continue next year, it is all-important!). It now appears the United States could re-join the Paris Climate Agreement as early as February 2021, and the UK government has recently committed to ending export finance, aid funding, and trade promotion for new oil, natural gas, and coal energy projects overseas by November 2021. These are real signs of progress and cause for optimism, and we look forward to more good news to come as governments wake up to the realities of the climate emergency and the pressure real people are putting on them to lead and govern responsibly to protect our home planet Earth.

This time of isolation has also been a time of incredible community action. It’s enough to nurture just that smidgen of hope that brighter days are on the horizon. The road ahead is sure to be a bit of a rollercoaster, but when you feel down, just head to your mat for that hit of lightness.

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