20 New Things to Try in 2020

A fresh year lies before us like a field of new-fallen snow! What tracks will you make in the months to come, as you forge a path into the future? If you’re inspired to veer off into an unexpected direction, here are 20 new things to try this year that can create small yet significant changes in your day-to-day life.

1. Add tongue scraping to your morning routine. This ancient Ayurvedic self-care ritual rids your body of the toxins it worked so hard all night to expel, and it’s a great way to check in with the state of your health. Here's how to do it.

2. Learn this simple self-compassion mudra. It can transform a bad day or a difficult moment by shifting you out of the stress response and into a new outlook.

3. Eat one meal a day in silence. When we set aside distractions and focus on the nourishment we’re taking in, and the textures and taste of our food, gratitude and awareness naturally arise. Kripalu presenter Danny Arguetty likes to make breakfast his silent meal. “It’s the perfect opportunity to commence the day with mindfulness and an open heart,” he says. It’s also an opportunity to try a mindful eating exercise.

4. Do these three exercises at your desk every day. It takes five or 10 minutes, and regular practice will improve your energy level, increase your sense of calm and relaxation, and enhance your overall well-being.

5. Get an Ayurvedic healing arts treatment or consultation. Designed to create balance, calm, and harmony, Ayurvedic bodywork is done with herbalized oils chosen for your unique dosha, or constitution. These traditional treatments are derived from the centuries-old practice of Ayurveda, which also offers natural approaches to healing at every level—mind, body, and spirit. Find Ayurvedic practitioners in your area.

6. Explore all the ways you can use coconut oil. Are you ready to take coconut oil to the next level—in the kitchen, the bathroom, and the bedroom? Here’s how.

7. Get certified to share your passion with others. If you haven't explored our Schools yet, browse our certification options in yoga, Integrative Yoga Therapy, Ayurveda, and mindful outdoor leadership. 

8. Try a new creative pursuit. Creativity has been proven to enhance happiness. And there are so many ways to exercise your creative muscles—whether it’s taking a dance or painting class, starting a writing practice (even if you’ve never written before), or learning how to play the harmonica.

9. Start your own meditation practice. Make this the year you get on the meditation cushion (or bench). All you need is a few minutes each day and lots of self-compassion—remember, the only “bad” meditation is the one you don’t do. There are many different forms of meditation, from mantra to metta to walking meditation; browse all our meditation programs. Need an extra incentive? Check out the health benefits of meditation.

10. When you’re stressed, lie down and look at the sky. “This is an age-old trick,” says Elisha Goldstein, founder of the Mindful Living Collective. “A natural experience of mindful awareness sets in when we simply lie down, look up at the sky, and watch the clouds. Experience the wonder of how all things naturally come and go.” Here are some other ways to relax.

11. Restock your spice cabinet. Here’s a look at the amazing properties of herbs and spices, and how to use them every day to enhance your health and enjoyment.

12. Stop apologizing so much. Saying sorry all the time is “a constant message to ourselves that we aren’t worthy, that we’re not enough, that we have to take responsibility for everybody’s suffering and discomfort,” says Kripalu life coach Izzy Lenihan. “When we’re always apologizing, we confirm a deep belief that we’re doing something wrong.”

13. Instead of looking at your phone when you wake up, do a body scan. Though it’s tempting to get sucked into the Insta story of your best friend’s cousin’s dream vacation in Corsica while still groggy-eyed, do a mindful body scan instead, turning down the volume on the digital notifications and tuning into the sensation of the breath moving in and out of your body.

14. Connect with your inner child. Kripalu presenter Erin Maile O’Keefe, developer of Circus Yoga®, says the curiosity and unselfconsciousness that come naturally to kids gradually erode as we get older. The antidote is to play more. “Play is about taking risks—we discover something new about ourselves,” she says. One of our favorite ways to play here at Kripalu: hula hooping, a popular R&R activity.

15. Drink more tea. Not only are herbal teas warming and comforting, they can also help heal specific areas of imbalance, according to Ayurveda. Read more about tea and get recipes.

16. Spend time outside every day. Getting out in nature is really good for you (which you’ve probably already heard, unless you’re living in a cave and already receiving the benefits). Make a commitment to get outdoors every day, whether you’re hiking, doing yoga on the grass, or opening your senses in a “sit spot”—a place you revisit throughout the seasons, observing how the sights and sounds shift as the year progresses. Browse outdoor programs at Kripalu.

17. Ask yourself these seven questions about your relationships. How do you relate to yourself? How do you relate to the people closest to you? This exercise can shed light on where you can stretch and grow in yourself and with others.  

18. Tune in to your body’s natural food-intake monitor: the “full burp.” The full burp is a built-in function that tells us when we’ve eaten the right amount for our bodies to comfortably digest. Basically, you eat your meal at a slow and steady pace, wait for the first burp, and then stop eating. You will have eaten just the right amount of food to maintain your body. Read more about this Ayurvedic practice.

19. Make your own ghee. You can use it for cooking and sautéing, spread it on toast instead of butter, add a teaspoon to your hot breakfast cereal, melt it over steamed vegetables or rice, and even add it to your coffee (sounds strange, but so good). Here’s the recipe and a video.

20. If your head’s not facing south, move your bed. Yes, which direction you sleep in matters, according to Ayurveda. Rearranging the furniture might set you up for the best year ever!