Let this New Year bring you more joy, optimal health, unconditional love and deeper spiritual connection.


“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” Scott Peck


The quote above resonates with me in so many ways, and is a great new year’s reflection for 2018. Turning 50 two years ago was a profound experience for me. Half century. WOW. How did that happen? How did I get here? This doesn’t feel anything like what I thought it would when I was younger.


I try not to get caught up in the less desirable aspects of aging, but to remain curious about what each year and decade brings. The insights that come with life experience, reflecting on how others seem to perceive us based on our age, and even the changes to the physical body. I’m a grandmother, and yet still feel so youthful. I’ve faced and overcome hardships I never imagined I’d have the strength to. My life has moved in directions I never could have foreseen.


One thing that is consistent is that with every challenge I’ve faced – no matter how painful, frightening or unsettling – some kind of growth has always followed.


“Pressure Builds Diamonds”


This is something I often say to myself when I’m in a situation that I’d much prefer not to be. It might be when I’m under pressure at work, facing relationship conflict, or even in a challenging yoga posture. The sentiment is a quick reminder that these periods of suffering or discomfort, serve our spiritual awakening.  It’s so easy to look for ways to avoid the unpleasantries of life, but leaning in offers us endless opportunities for growth. We are offered a glimpse into what we’re really made of, what we’re capable of handling and the vastness of the human spirit.


It’s not our experiences, but how we respond to them that defines us.


Let this be your practice this year. Or at least consider what shifts in your experience might be possible with this is mind. We cannot control what experiences come to us in life, but we can control how we respond to them.


I started off the year with the following reflection that I came across in a newsletter from Buddhist Meditation teacher – Jonathan Foust. He begins every year with a review of the previous and uses these questions to guide him.


What went well last year?

What didn’t go well last year?

What am I working towards?


I found this to be a fun and profound way to honour my victories and accomplishments, reflect on my challenges , acknowledge that I, like all of us, am a work in progress and set intentions for the year ahead.


“We’re all just walking each other home. “

Ram Das

We’re never too old to learn, grow and move deeper into our true self. As Vishvaji reminds us, our natural state of being is joyful, playful and fearless.


I encourage you to take some time looking back on 2017 with these questions, and let them set some groundwork for this New Year’s intention setting. Perhaps you’d like to take some time to mediate and journal about what comes up for you. Creating a record is a great way to see your evolution from year to year.


Om Shanti!

Sarva Mangala

Yoga in India -- holy cows

Kathy (Sarva Mangala) Noel is an Ottawa based Akhanda Yoga Teacher who completed her Akhanda Yoga 500-hour teaching certification at Anand Prakash Ashram, with Vishvaji in 2013. She lives on her rural property with her husband Keith and fur-baby Dahlia, the adopted senior shih tzu who runs the household.

Sarva, as she’s known by her friends, offers weekly Yoga and Meditation classes at the Carlsbad Community Centre.

She can be contacted at Kathy.noel@xplornet.com and kathynoelyoga.com