A personal experience by Katyayani Heeramaneck
Since the very first time I spent New Year’s Eve up at Anahata Yoga Retreat many years ago, I have celebrated each passing year in the very same way. Having been a party girl from way back, to wake up at the dawn of a new year feeling inspired, clear & focused was something entirely new, yet had a profound impact on me and I vowed to start every New Year with conscious intention.
Like many, waking up with a hangover or at least very late after New Year’s celebrations, well into the early hours was the norm. While the all night celebrations were a short burst of fun, it did not support the bigger picture with my ongoing healing journey. Starting the year feeling sluggish, depleted and not embodying my highest intentions is not typically a path to success. It is no wonder that in today’s modern western society, that the common practice of setting New Year’s Resolution at the turning of a New Year usually fall flat on their face before the end of January.
If you really want to create positive change in your life, being in a supportive environment with the guidance and wisdom of experienced Teachers can really make all the difference. In the yogic lifestyle, we make resolutions on a regular basis, such as with the practice of Yoga Nidra using a Sankalpa (positive resolve/intention) or incorporating a Sankalpa prior to daily morning mantras. The use of a repetitive resolution stated in the present tense as if it is already so, is far more likely to succeed and we can work more effectively to dissolve our deep Samskaras (old patterns). It is especially powerful when used in conjunction with meditation and deep relaxation techniques as we plant the seed of intention at the subconscious level.
In the extended New Year’s Celebration, there is an afternoon workshop using powerful yogic techniques to help you discover your innate resolutions and ways to focus the mind for manifestation. This is followed by a Hatha yoga class and meditation, which supports creating practical change by strengthening your affirmation, facilitating positive direction within your life by fully embodying it.
During the evening part of the programme, we open our hearts fully through the Akhanda kirtan (continuous joyful singing). The practice of kirtan comes from the branch of Bhakti Yoga (path of devotion). It is a practice that works deeply on the emotions, helping us shift any blockages holding us back from attaining our highest goals. Chanting mantras continuously for several hours and feeling the powerful vibrations gives you a natural and sustained high and our very own conscious dance party usually evolves! I can honestly say I have never experienced anything quite like it. The energy is so high. There is so much joy in the room and I guarantee you will be out of your mind in a positive way. There is also the option to partake in a simple but beautiful Candle Ceremony. Guests are invited to offer their intention by lighting a candle from a central Akhanda Jyotir (eternal light) candle to symbolise the light we wish to bring into our lives. Concluding the event is the practice of Havan (Ancient Fire Ceremony), using the repetition of a mantra, we offer sacred herbs to the fire, thinking about what we wish to let go of and transform as our final offering of the year.
There is something so magical about being high on this mountaintop, in this beautiful & very special place celebrating in a conscious way with like-minded beings. What an incredible way to bring in a New Year and to create, manifest & integrate your intentions for the year ahead. Feeling centred and elated yet completely grounded and with no focus on the big countdown to midnight. Instead, after about 5 hours of chanting & kirtan, we head to bed, practising mouna (sacred silence) till after breakfast the next morning. The sound of the distant fireworks illuminating the sky reflects the explosion of delight I feel within. Do I miss my old way of celebrating New Year? Not at all! With no need for any intoxicants, not only do I avoid over socialising & other stimulating elements of today’s excessive lifestyle, but I actually feel charged up from connecting to myself deeply with all the powerful practices and ready to allow my highest dreams to unfold. I absolutely encourage anyone who is seeking self-realisation, growth & personal development to find out for themselves at least once in their life. But it comes with a warning; you might find it changes your life for the better forever!
With 3 choices – Afternoon onwards, Evening Only and the option to camp overnight, there is something for everybody.
To read more about the New Year’s Eve Celebration click here. If you feel that one day is not enough, you can also come for the whole 3 day Creating Change Retreat. Be quick, as this retreat is almost fully booked, being one of our most popular. To find out more or to book click here.