Archive for October, 2012
Yoga Discovery: Everything in Moderation
“Everything in moderation, even moderation,” is something my boyfriend often says. I am not sure where the quote originates from but I certainly like it.
It is a good lesson since we live in the age of excess – well hopefully just on the tail end of it. I often think about the way I go about my daily life in the hopes of being better. I consider how much waste I produce, how much fresh food I eat (not how much I “think” I eat), how much I drink, how much I talk about myself or how much I do/don’t exercise. I started to think about what I could cut out of my diet to be better or what I could do to learn to be better.
I thought back to other times I have done the same.
– Carried around my garbage for a week in hopes to create awareness and reduce the amount of waste I accumilated.
– Stopped eating sugar, wheat, and dairy for 6 weeks (twice)
– Stopped drinking alcohol for 6 weeks
– Timed my showers so I never showerd longer than 5 minutes (since I was in the habit of taking 30 min showers because I was cold & bored)
– Taken a vow of silence for a day on 2 seperate occasions and once for an entire weekend while I stayed in a hostel in the mountains alone.
– (most recently) Commited to a 21-day meditation challenge
Not every one of these “experiments” was perfect and after the sloted amount of time I had commited to, other than adding meditation to my daily life, I just returned to my previous behavoirs. It created an awareness, yes, but more importantly it brought forward the realization that simply cutting something out of your life completely is not always the best way to actually change our habits.
It also gave me the opportunity to be less critical of myself. Less critical of so-called “bad” habits. There are things I would like to change in my life in order to be able to be better but taking things away from my outside isn’t going to help that. Change must happen from the inside first. Love and compassion must be present in my own being and shine outwards to the rest of the world. And when I meditate and practice yoga everyday habits change automatically without it feeling like I am punshing myself.
We can only do our best and today I’ll do my best.
*Please share your own experiences in clenses or awareness practices. I would love to open a discussion about the best way to cultivate positive change within ourselves in order to love one another better.
Yoga Discovery: Painful Words
Its almost an out of body experience when you hear someone speaking about you without them knowing. Like hearing a juicy piece of gossip that you can’t help but eat up. This is how I felt after recently hearing a co-working telling another some negative thoughts about me. It took a moment to process that the words were about me, and worse that they were fueled on the assumption that I had gone home early (which I hadn’t).
I enjoy my work and anyone who has ever worked with me knows that I generally always enjoy what I do. The best part is making other patients or my co-workers happy either with a little poem, a joke, special surprise, or just a positive attitude. So it hurt me to hear someone saying that they thought I was lazy. After hearing the conversation I felt cowardly for not coming forward or even confronting my co-worker later on about what he said. I even began to second-guess myself about the amount of work I had done that day and figured that perhaps he was right.
After re-thinking it and even staying late until after he left just in spite of him I realized that dispite the painful words it was up to me to move on. He had obviously made up his mind about the person I was and no amount of work was going to change that opinion until he was ready to change it. I know how much effort I put into my days, and the most important thing at the end of the day is that I am content. I know from past experiences and dwellings that if I focused on this one persons opinion and made it my goal to please them that I may not be leaving the office in a positive state of mind. I am most definitely not going to stop enjoying my job because one person seems to take that as I sign that I am not working hard.
So if you’ve had a similar experience or possibly feel the heaviness of disapproval from someone its time to tune that out and tune into yourself. People may have reasons for their judgements, motivations for their concerns but the most important thing is living YOUR truth.
Moments in reflection can be challenging but always worthy of our time. There are 4 postures together repeated slowly and free of any strained effort that make me turn inward, stand in my truth, and create space to let go.
A half sun saluation in this order
Urdhva Hastasana (upward salute)
Uttanasana (standing forward fold)
Ardha Uttanasana (halfway lift)
It looks like…
center Inhale exhale inhale exhale inhale exhale
I have written about mantras before but after my meditation challenge brought them more into my life. I find that a start repeating a mantra before I even think of it and it always brings pure focus and relaxation. I also find that repeating a mantra makes me see and feel real truths… whatever that even means. So if it feel appropriate for you try the mantra… “I am my truth”
Feel free to combine the half salutations with the a mantra along with your inhales and exhales
Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a Gossip.
Sidenote: This experience also hightened the awareness I had for what was said behind the front desk. Its not always easy working in an office with many different personalities and I am not innocent in the act of speaking about someone behind their back. Its something that I’ve always known to be inappropriate but within our space and for our ears only it seemed ok to complain or judge. But who knows, maybe someone heard me and maybe my words hurt someone too. I am in the business of sharing love, not slinging hate, judgement, or guilt. I can only hope my change of heart can also effect those around me.
Yoga Discovery: Fall Fire
After a couple of intense and mind altering festivals this summer I returned to the city with a new perspective as well as an extremely open heart and mind. I felt as though I had been creatively opened and ideas were pouring out. I finally began to write a short story that had been in my thoughts for awhile and I wrote with more ease and determination than I have in a while. Even my home yoga practice was more fiery.
After a few weeks of this I woke up one morning feeling different. Even though it was the same time I got up every morning, this morning was noticeably darker and my once flowing creativity seemed to be drying up. It was chilly when I stepped outside and for the first time in months I had to wear a sweater on my walk to work.
I decided then and there that I wouldn’t slop into my usual routine of feeling sorry for my lack of creative zest and instead take in the inspiration that Autumn had to offer. I had an extreme outpouring of energy at the end of summer and it was obvious that now I was in need of some rejuvenation. I went to few restorative classes and brought that restorative intention into my own day to day. I also fought off the urge to binge eat comfort foods when the weather turned and stayed true to my usual diet. Even getting caught up in others contempt of cooler weather didn’t tempt me. Within a couple days I was already feeling that familiar urge to write again as well as expand my teaching schedule.
But when winter does move forward and my attaire progresses from flip flops to rain boots there can still be inspiration and a firey restorative practice. It took me some time to realize it but don’t need arm balances and chair pose to keep me warm. There can be just as much fire in a restorative practice or in a moment at my desk in the middle of the day if that is the intention.
– Kapalabhati Breath
A valuable pranayama that I seem to have abandoned through the summer. Now its a part of each day in my practice as well as times that require a bit more fire. It also inceases concentration, massages internal organs of the chest and abdomen, and aids in increasing the lung capacity and function. Click above for more benefits.
Sometimes things are provided to us when we need them the most and I am grateful for the “skull shining” reminder.
– Short supported childs pose flow
The supported childs pose is the beginning and end of this mini flow that helps to stimluate the heart as well as offer the opporunity to restore and relax. It also aids in clearing the sacral chakra or Swadhisthan Chakra: The second chakra is the chakra of creativity, pure attention and pure knowledge. It is the one which connects us to the inner source of inspiration, and enables us to experience the beauty around us.
Move from the supported child’s pose to downward facing dog and wild thing
Transition into 3 sun salutation (at your own level) The fluidity of this sequence is particularly beneficial for your second chakra.
Make your way gently back down to the earth from your last downward facing dog and back into supported child’s pose. Remain here for 10 to 20 breaths, maybe also circling or rocking the hips before finding corpse pose.
Enjoy the opportunity for relaxation and rejuvenation and when you return back to life allow the spirit of creative energy flow.
The light of creative energy is within us all, sometimes it just needs an extra spark.