By Lisa Brabender

This time of the year is characterized by change, growth and resolutions! Interestingly, 44% of Americans make new year resolutions, increasing physical activity being the most popular. In Africa, this is their dry season, the time to go on ‘safari’ which in Swahili means ‘journey’. Beryl Markham who wrote about ‘safari life’ in Africa, tells us “what you say has no ready ear but your own, and what you think is nothing except to yourself.” It is a time to leave the comfort and safety of civilization and venture into the wild, a time for inner reflection and discovery of oneself. Each day on a safari is lived to the fullest with a heightened appreciation of how wonderful it is to be alive.

Physical exercise has a relaxing, mood-elevating effect. When a worry passes through your mind or a situation makes you upset – adrenaline, cortisol, lactate and fatty acids are released into your blood stream. One of the best methods of managing a highly responsive adrenal system is breath synchronized movement as found in the practice of Yoga and Pilates. These practices force your body to burn off all these stress by-products. So rather than taking several hours or all day for these toxins to slowly get filtered out of your blood system, research has proven that twenty to forty minutes of a regular practice reliably reduces anxiety and improves mood, not just while you’re doing it, but for hours afterwards.

This year, instead of making resolution, why not set intentions? Set aside time to go on ‘Safari’ with oneself. It’s a perfect opportunity to try something new, journey within, with affection and understanding, and remember your real life’s purpose. Light a few candles, play your favorite instrumental music, brew an aromatic cup of tea, wrap yourself up with the coziest blanket you own and be quiet. Remember the dreams you aspired to when you were a child. See them in your mind, hold them tenderly in your heart and just Be. Listen carefully, for once the ‘noise’ of the outside world is silenced you will hear your heart playing your song!

Peace and Light to your Journey,

Lisa Brabender