One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Archive for November, 2012

Do I practice what I teach?

The easy and self loathing answer to this question is no. No I don’t practice what I teach… all the time, or in all aspects of my life. Every single day I give into various forms of temptation, pass judgement onto others, identify with the ego, and don’t give love as I could. I make mistakes at my job, I lack balance and confidence in my voice, and I’m not honest with others in how I feel. I’m not perfect and I certainly don’t claim to be in my own mind but sometimes when you are in the business of sharing yoga and health there is a sort of pressure you put on yourself to be a certain way because hey… I don’t want to be a hypocrit.

When I have financial stress or feel insecure in my work environment I get particularily hard on myself in this regard. Thinking… “you charge people for you to guide their healing bodies in a yoga class but you can’t remember to pay your visa bill? Get it together… you should know better.”

And I do. I do know better . But with balance is key and with judgement must come understanding until I am free of judgement completely. I am only human. A human just like you and just like the person 20 feet from you. I believe part of the experience and especially cultivating awareness come from making mistakes. Every day I give gratitude for my ears to listen, my eyes to truly see, and my heart to really love.

 

Namaste

 

ps… I just ate a cookie for dinner 😉

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A message to those that have a piece of my soul:

I can see the kings and queens from my past. I can feel the pain of the artists and the freedom of the beggars. I can sense the release from objects and the movement in the new. A story retold again and again soaking in love and hope. My search, my journey, linked endlessly to everyone else’s. My soul scattered throughout the moments in my life to be collected as I make my way through. Do you have a piece?

The Appointment

The Appointment

By Carly

 

Only ten more minutes and I can just go home. Thank goodness. That movie wasn’t even good. Why did I even bother to stay awake to watch it? So much to do still. What should I make for dinner? I should text Charlie and ask him? He doesn’t seem to …

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Yes, hi. Did you need to make another appointment?” I can feel my stomach growling. She’s not even looking at me. Hello? “Did you need another appointment?”

 

“I”ll pay first.”

 

Yes, obviously I know you need to pay. I’m just trying to help you. “Yup, we can do that.” Smile smile smile. “It will be $60 for today.” Okay, take a break from your phone hand me your card already…

 

“It was only $55 last time. Why is that?”

 

“Oh, sorry about that. It was showing wrong in my system.” Nine minutes to go. I haven’t seen this card before. It looks fancy. I wonder if she has a lot of money. She sure acts like she does. Doesn’t matter. “So when would you like to book for next?”

 

“I’ll need to come Thursday.”

 

“Okay, I have a couple openings, one at 7:30 am or another at 2:00 pm.” I don’t think she has made eye contact with me once. Connected to her phone and yet disconnected from real life.

 

“No, thats not going to work for me. You don’t have something around 10:00?”

 

Urg, patience. “No, sorry the only morning time slot is 7:30.” Like I already said.

 

“7:30 hmm, thats way too early for me. What was the other time again?”

 

“Two o’clock.” What do I have to snack on at home?

 

“Well, 10:00 would really be best. What do you have Friday?”

 

Click click click, sweet. “Yes, I have a 10:00 am on Friday if that works better for you.” Horay, click, champion of th…

 

“Ya, no. 10:00 doesn’t work for me on Friday. Do you have anything around 4:00?”

 

Ahhhhhhh. “Sorry, your therapist is only here till 3:00.”

 

“3:00 is fine.”

 

“No, she is only here till 3:00, her last appointment is at 2:30 and its already spoken for.” God, this women. Why is she so difficult? Maybe it would be helpful to look up from your phone. Oh, and now its ringing. Why doesn’t anyone call me? Smile.

 

“Hi, I can’t talk. I am just at an appointment. I’ll see you when you get home. Bye. Geez, kids right?!”

 

“Haha, yup.” Does she really think I look old enough to have kids old enough to be calling and bothering me on the phone? Old enough for a two year old. Maybe.

 

“Sorry, so you said you have 3:00 on Friday?”

 

Wow, really?! “No the only times I have Friday are 10:00 and 1:30.” Maybe old enough for a 5 year old if I had gotten pregnant after high school. But thats still a stretch. I wonder if I’ll  ever have kids. I’d be a better mother than her.

 

“Okay, well, this is ridiculous. I am trying to work YOU guys into MY schedule and it just isn’t working. I’ll have to call you when I know my schedule.”

 

Bitch! Well, at least she’s gone and I can go home.

 

 

Why is it always so hard to get up after these appointments. Pain is radiating everywhere in my body. Am I over reacting? Maybe I have that pain disease that Montel has. How do I get out of here. All I see is red flashing when I feel like this. Red red red. Oh buzz… there goes my phone. I should book first but I don’t want to miss a call from the hospital. 

 

“Excuse me?” This girl is just staring at the clock like a zombie. Oh shoot I missed a call. When did it ring? It was probably the hosp…

 

“Yes, hi. Did you need to make another appointment?” 

 

…ital. Red. Mom. My mom. I love her. It hurts. 

 

 

 “Did you need another appointment?”

 

Oh, I need to remember what I am doing. “I”ll pay first.” I have to go. What is going on with my call display. Its all wacky.

 

“Yup, we can do that. It will be $60 for today.”

 

Focus. Credit card. Wait that price is wrong. “It was only $55 last time. Why is that?” How much money have I spent here and I still hurt everywhere. Red.

 

“Oh, sorry about that. It was showing wrong in my system.”

 

How many times have I been here and she still can’t remember how much I pay. I wonder if she knows my name. I wonder when the last time a man said my name in passion was? 

 

“So when would you like to book for next?”

 

Mom’s thing is on Wednesday and the kids have that other singing thing in the afternoon on Thursday. “I’ll need to come Thursday.” 

 

“Okay, I have a couple openings, one at 7:30 am or another at 2:00 pm.” 

 

“No, thats not going to work for me. You don’t have something around 10:00?” Ahhh this phone. Calender. Okay Thursday. 

 

“No, sorry the only morning time slot is 7:30.”

 

Yikes. “7:30 hmm, thats way too early for me. What was the other time again?” My brain is not working. Red. Hospital. Mom.

 

“Two o’clock.” 

 

Forget Thursday. What’s Friday? “Well, 10:00 would really be best. What do you have Friday?”

 

“Yes, I have a 10:00 am on Friday if that works better for you.” 

 

“Ya, no. 10:00 doesn’t work for me on Friday. Do you have anything around 4:00?” Why is this girl so abrupt? I can’t think fast enough for her. Friday morning I have to go yoga. The kids…

 

“Sorry, your therapist is only here till 3:00.”

 

Oh “3:00 is fine.”

 

“No, she is only here till 3:00, her last appointment is at 2:30 and its already spoken for.” 

 

 

Red red. Oh phone finally. Mom. “Hi, I can’t talk.” Whats he gotten himself into now? He never calls. Red. Breathe. “I am just at an appointment. I’ll see you when you get home.” I love him, “Bye.” Her smile seems so forced. Maybe she has kids. Young ones. “Geez, kids right?!” I miss having a baby.

 

“Haha, yup.” 

 

I guess she does. What did she say? “Sorry, so you said you have 3:00 on Friday?” 

 

“No the only times I have Friday are 10:00 and 1:30.” 

 

Phone. Red. 1:30 what am I doing? Ahhh I can’t think right now. Mom. I have to check on mom. “Okay, well, this is ridiculous.” I am being ridiculous. Red red red. “I am trying to work you guys into my schedule and it just isn’t working. I’ll have to call you when I know my schedule.” I need to lay down. Wow, look of death from reception zombie. Glad I am not her kid. 

Listen

Make meaning of the sounds around

Echo’s filter into the ground

No one speak, just listen close

To the sound of your only ghost

Shaky hands and blurry eyes

Creates a thing thats hard to find

Don’t know yourself or what’s next

No cheating will help you pass this test

The ghost builds up walls in your way

No getting past on this fine day

Struggle exceeds the energy source

Trying only promotes remorse

Can you do it, can you find

The secret to success in life

Wait a minute, it was hard to tell

All along it was love, not wealth

Love is the answer, your ghost says

And offers luck along the road ahead

Don’t get distracted or lose the way

You’ll make it through, you’ll be ok.

Creating Peace in the Workplace

The office place continues to boggle, challenge, and interest me. I have worked in a variety of workplace settings. Video store, large hotel, big rehab center, hospitals, small an larger private physio clinics. Each of these settings offer their own special kind of drama. I have always thought of myself as an observer and in each of these settings I could have started a tabloid magazine with the amount of  drama that occurs on a daily basis.

Every once in a while the story has included yours truly for which I have undoubtedly encouraged instead of letting it go. Of course I was always the good guy and the wronged individual and I took every opportunity to broadcast my story of woe to anyone that would listen. When I began to explore inward I noticed my dramatic pattern. Not necessarily looking for trouble but not stopping it should any kind of situation arise. I noticed that I even mildly reveled in someone treating me unkindly so that I could retell my story and get further retribution from others. What the what?!

Ultimately my reaction is less about other energy towards me and more to do with my perceptions of others energy as well as my insecurities regarding my work and emotional connection to how others see me. When I let go of my ego and tune into my unity with others the drama becomes very insignificant and the desire to create or maintain a peaceful state within myself and my office becomes the goal.

Practice:

Although I still catch myself in this pattern I am more conscious of it and don’t do it as much as I used to (hopefully). Something that has really aided me in letting go of workplace drama and most especially not taking it home with me is to balance my 7 chakras (most importantly the first 3) and having a work mantra when things are about to go sideways.

-In my experience and my body the most efficiant way to balance is with Surya Namaskara सूर्य नमस्कार or “Sun salutation”

I can pretty much do a sun salutation anytime and anywhere and is valueable tool to have in your kit of knowledge. *Keep in mind that everybody has a different body and take the time to explore what works right for you.

-Also, I am a firm believer in the transforming power of a mantra (A mantra मन्त्र is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation” -Wiki) Just like asana practice each person has something that works for them. The same goes for mantra’s. We all have something that resinates within depending on whats going on around us or where we want to go.

When choosing your mantra you can find something that is already out there (Check out Deva Premal for some beautiful and uplifting mantras http://grooveshark.com/#!/devapremal) Or you can make up your own with sounds or words that resinate.

-Now that I am feeling more balanced I can start to creating real change in the workplace. I like to bring in flowers to brighten up the space, smile and laugh whenever possible and treat my team with respect dispite how they may be acting towards me or other co-workers.

***This is an ongoing practice, and I am most certainly not always perfect and have moments when I fall back into old stories and patterns. I feel blessed when I am reminded of my ego and have the tools to let it go and cultivate change for myself and hopefully others.

Namaste

Carly

Finding Your Inner Focus Focus

 

 

FOCUS seems to be a necessary word in our world. We are taught we should have focus in school. Focus in the workplace. Focus on our talents. Focus on our goals and making sure others focus on our achievements. When we lose this focus we can sometimes tend to lose ourselves along with it. If you find throughout your day your focus or insight is becoming more and more clouded, take a moment to step back to see and feel what you need. What are you trying to focus on? Is it coming from a place of pure intention? Will it lead you to truth? If it is truth, STAY ON YOUR PATH

“Pursuing the task of everyday life, I walk along the ancient path. I am not disheartened in the mindless void.” – C. Zenji (9th Century, CE), China

In times of multiple tasks, goals, commitments, decisions and needs our focus can become clouded. Although all these things may among your journey, it to can get a little foggy now and then. So where do we go when we can’t decide what to wear in the morning? What is the solution when we can’t find the inspiration to write or complete an assignment? Where do we start when our mind is full of air, jumping from one thought to another?

 

Practice:

 

 There are many different ways to bring your inner sight back into focus through asana practice as well as meditation and pranayama. (Side note: If its your actual eyesight that seems to be the trouble then I suggest seeing a doctor) I will give an example of each and if there is one in particular that you found helpful I can suggest some other similar options.

 

1. Balance to focus: All balance postures in asana practice cultivate and enrich concentration. One you can try is Tree Pose (vrksasana) http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/496 You emulate the steady balance, strength and focus of a tree, firmly rooted in the earth while growing tall toward the sun. To increase your focus while in tree pose or during other moments throughout, set your gaze on something in front of you. This is your drishti. Let your eyes be soft and your mind liquid. Let your breath flow like water as you find softness to the point of focus. You can remain for just a few breaths or a few minutes. Remember to honor your body in any posture.

 

2. Candle to concentration: Tratak is the yogic practice of candle gazing. Begin in a comfortable seated position in a quiet place. Sit approximately 3 ft in front of a lit candle. Let your sit bones become heavy and the spine long. Feel the breath become more mindful as you let your drishti float to the flame. Let the gaze be still and with intention until the eyes begin to slightly water. Then close your eyes and visualize the flame in your mind’s eye for two minutes. This will develop your inner focus. When ready gently open the eyes looking to the candle. Let yourself become aware of difference and feel of having outer focus. Concentration leads the mind a little more softly into meditation and from there into a more balanced mind. This is also a more natural way to ease into the practice of meditation and quieting of the mind. *** After this practice, or after a long period of looking at a computer or book, soothe the eyes. Place your hands into prayer position and begin to quickly rub them together until you can feel the warmth, then place the palms over the eyes. Let your lids become heavy and give the eyes the opportunity to rest.

 

3. Sharpen with ujjayi: The Ujjayi offers mental focus, calming for the nervous system, increase in oxygen, warming for the body and many other benefits to those who practice it. Ujjiya, also known as ocean breath because it can emulate the sound of the tide coming in and going out from shore. To do, breathe in and out through the nose while contracting the back of the throat (glottis) so you can hear the breath flowing. If you feel as though you are forcing the tightening sensation at the back of the throat just relax slightly and enjoy the slowing of the flow as you were breathing through a very thin straw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcPjvp4La8A&feature=related

 

“One who is undisturbed by the flow of desires finds peace, as the ocean – though filled by incessant rivers.” Bhagavad Gita (400-300 BCE), India

 

Finding your own rhythm, relaxation and calm in times of stress and lost focus can be challenging but let it be an exploration and enjoy the things you learn about yourself along the way. If you have any questions, concerns or want to explore further don’t hesitate to connect. We are all just making our way through the fog a little more each day but I am okay with not always being able to see in front of me because I still have the rest of me as a guide.

 

Namaste xo

For the Love of Movement

Days off for me can be a variable amount of productivity. Sometimes I spend the whole day outside wondering the streets and running errands. Other days I stay in and watch an unnecessary amount of TV shows and movies. Or I will write and practice yoga until my body is mushy and there is nothing left to reflect on. Sometimes it is balanced mix of all of these. Today was just that. The perfect amount of relaxation, productivity, and reflection that makes me feel like I am on my desired path and fill my heart with energy for the rest of the week.

Another thing that I like to do is move consciously. I know that sounds a little vague, and to some, perhaps even like hippy non-sense. Whether its walking, asana, hiking, or (most especially) spinning poi I like to remain connected with the sensations of the movements and allow those movements along with music to move me without thought or judgement.

As a person who had grown up participating in a very regimented competitive type of dance and later a strict study in anatomy and physiology moving outside the box and thinking creatively was something that almost foreign to me until I started practicing yoga. Even when I first started I took it extremely seriously and was more focused on if a posture looked right instead of focusing on how it felt. This most certainly isn’t the wrong way of asana practice but it was when my teacher truly taught me to flow and remain connected with the sensations of practice that I received an abundance of benefits. Most importantly, SELF awareness.

*”Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.”

Having this awareness isn’t always an easy road. Sometimes there are harsh discoveries about yourself. But along with awareness must also come understanding and the ability to let it go to move forward.
Awe yes, movement. Movement of my body as well as the movement of my mind and attitude.

Practice:

Conscious movement – The next time you are walking home, working out, practicing yoga, or dancing to music tune into the sensations of your movements.

-Begin at the feet. Take notice of the feel of your toes, soles, and ankles with each step. Do the right and left feel different? Is one side putting more weight down than the other?

-Continue this exploration all the way up to the knees and hips

-Once you’ve reached the base of the spine focus in on each vertabrae as you move your body

-Do the same thing with the fingers, arms, shoulders, and finally the neck and face. Are any of these places holding tension or are they at ease.

You may discovery discomforts with this type of focused attention through the body. But there is a good chance you’ll notice where feels good and which ways your body moves that feels good. Having this awareness is also so benefical if something in our body starts to feel “off” because you”ll have a better idea of what normal is for you.

***Of course allow breath to be a valued part of this exercise.

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. 
Deepak Chopra 

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