Welcoming a year of inner peace – no matter what’s going on in the external world – by learning to practice inner peace anywhere, anytime.
At the start of each year, we feel the intense pressure to start new goals and resolutions. We focus on moving forward, often without taking the time to reflect on where we’ve been. What if, this year, we focused instead on the feelings we’d like to carry with us into 2024, as well as the ones we’d like to leave behind?
If 2023 taught us anything, it was the true value of finding our peace – while simultaneously letting go of the expectations, stresses and obligations that take our peace away. That’s why, as we move into a new year, we’re carrying forward a focus on finding peace.
I have searched many years and many paths to find peace, only to realize it was within me all along. Defined as a “state of tranquility or quiet,” peace is where our connection to self grows. The quieter we become, the more we invite that sense of inner peace to take its place in our minds and bodies, which brings us into the present. From that place, we’re better able to process what no longer serves us. We can let go, in order to move forward.
This month, I invite you to join us on our journey to find and cultivate inner peace, for ourselves and each other.
1. Practice Inner Peace: Making Space
Tapping into your inner peace is often easier said than done. That’s why we wanted to share some peaceful tips and practices to help you stay connected to your peace all year long.
To tap into the place of inner quiet where peace resides, it helps to create a physical space that invites peace in. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Choose an area or room that makes you feel joyful yet calm.
- Set the tone by decorating that space with fresh flowers, candles, blankets, pillows, pictures of loved ones and teachers you admire. Bring anything that will make this space feel cozy and special.
- Smudge or burn a stick of incense to clear the energy and set a new intention for your new personal sanctuary.
Now, each morning or evening, return to this sacred space of peace. Reignite the beautiful energy each day by lighting a nice candle, burning incense or practicing a mindful meditation. Feel that sense of peace welling up from within and remember that you have everything you need already inside of you.
2. Practice Inner Peace: Mindful Journaling Activity
Once you’ve created a peaceful space, simply practice being in it. That might mean you read a book, write down what’s on your mind or sip a cup of tea in silence. If you’re not sure where to start, try this mindfulness practice and journal prompt designed to evoke peace.
A Peaceful Meditation
Start by finding a comfortable seat. Once you’re ready, bring your awareness to the breath. With each inhale, notice where the breath navigates within the body, and upon the exhale, notice where the breath releases from. Keep a slow, even flow of breath as each inhale meets the exhale. Repeat a few breaths this way, allowing the mind to stay with the breath.
Begin to scan the body from head to toe, bringing your awareness to how each part of the body feels in this moment. Invite yourself to be present in the body as you notice any sensations. There is no need to judge and assign meaning to these sensations. Simply allow yourself to feel them and notice how they’re affected by the breath. Give yourself permission to stay here as long as you wish.
A Peaceful Journal Prompt
Once you’re ready, take out a pen and paper and allow the following journal prompt to lead you. Start with the phrase, “In this very moment, peace is …” and complete the sentence once, twice or as many times as you like. Maybe it’s an image, a thought, a story or a poem. Maybe a person’s face comes to mind. There is no wrong answer. You can even use this as a meditation mantra to connect more deeply to inner peace whenever you need it.
3. Practice Inner Peace: Ayurvedic Remedies
In Ayurveda, we practice routines that create inner peace and support our best selves. The ancient Indian science classifies the seasons according to their predominant dosha, or constitution:
- Pitta season is late spring and summer.
- Vata season is fall.
- Kapha season is winter and early spring.
We tend to accumulate more Kapha in the winter, especially for Kapha-predominant people, causing us to feel lethargic. By following Ayurvedic winter remedies, we can avoid this accumulation.
Winter Ayurvedic Remedies for the Body
Here are five tips to energize your routine during Kapha season:
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to avoid colds, coughs, allergies and sinus congestion.
- Each morning, have a cup of hot water with ½ tsp of turmeric powder to boost your immunity.
- Drink hot water or tea several times a day to remove toxins from the body and to assist with recovery from a cold or congestion. Other teas that pacify Kapha are: ginger, cinnamon, dandelion, chamomile, peppermint, spearmint, hibiscus or orange peel.
- Don’t consume excessive liquids with meals, which impairs digestion.
- Follow a Kapha-pacifying diet. Heavy, thick, sweet and salty foods will increase Kapha, which is nourished by dry, light, warming, stimulating, bitter, pungent and astringent foods. Limit your intake of wheat, dairy and salt.
- For breakfast, eat oatmeal, cream of wheat, cornmeal, barley or tapioca. Eggs are ok during the winter, as well.
- An hour after breakfast, have a tea made of ½ tsp of ginger, ½ tsp of cinnamon and a pinch of clove.
- For lunch, you can have chapatti or bread, steamed vegetables, creamy soup with ghee and basmati rice.
- For dinner, you can have chapati, soup and cooked vegetables with spices.
- As snacks, eat astringent fruits like apples, berries, pomegranates, cherries, peaches and pears.
- Avoid eating just before you go to bed, as well as napping right after you eat. The meal won’t digest and will instead create ama (toxins) in the body and cause disease.
- Drinking too many cold beverages or ice water also diminishes agni, or digestive power.
A dull, heavy, Kapha-type depression can set in during the winter season – even in sunny California – but specific Ayurvedic herbs and lifestyle changes can help restore balance.
Danica Lynch is committed to teaching and educating individuals and communities how live happier, healthier and more balanced lives. As a Practitioner of Somatic Experiencing, Ayurveda and Somatic Yoga, Danica offers, practices and trainings.