ARE YOU A HOT, WARM, OR COLD YOGI?
OCTOBER 24, 2010. With more and more yoga options all the time. And I am not talking about types of yoga I am simply talking about the temperature of which a yoga room is heated for your practice. You have to make the best choice for yourself 120 degrees? 95 degrees or 80 degrees? The bigger question is not about the temperature of the air but how does it make you feel? If you are practicing in a cold room and you leave the practice a Hot headed yogi well that's a problem. If you are practicing in a super duper hot room and you leave a cold hearted yogi that's a problem.
My hope is you find what you need in the world and you leave the practice warm hearted with a cool clear mind. That's all. And whatever you have to do to get there is all good. The world needs less hot yogis or cold yogis and simply needs loving warm yogis. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
OCTOBER 31, 2009: So last Friday night for a Halloween Birthday Party for a friend I made butternut squash soup for the first time. Amazing recipe given to me by a dear student. Now this was quite something for me to attempt to cook something new, but knowing that someone else had made it before and was encouraging me to try for myself helped immensely. Yup, that sounds pretty much like yoga. You may not know the poses but rest assured that your instructor has years of experience in the poses and wants to help support you as you try for yourself. And yes it can be a bit scary. But we learn from this practice that we don’t have to do it perfectly the first time and the whole reason for coming together to practice in a group is to have the group encouragement along with that of your teacher. Like family and friends that serve as the container of our greater life experience the kula embraces us. And we always know we are safe within the container of this sacred space of the practice room.
In this safety we can realize that as sutra 1.30 says “The Perception of our true nature which is peaceful joy is often obscured by physical, mental, and emotional imbalances. 1.31 These imbalances can promote restlessness, uneven breathing, worry and loss of hope. 1.32 These imbalances can be prevented from taking over our lives by consistently practicing yoga.”
Knowing I have a place to go when I need to replenish and address these imbalances has saved my life many, many times over. I could come into the practice room, into the group energy and be contained within myself so I could process whatever was going on in my life. I could let it cook and as a result feel more healthy upon leaving class. Speaking of containers I had to go out and buy my first crock pot at the Target on Friday (what an amazing selection!) because I realized once I made the soup I would need something safe to carry it in to the party. The container served to hold what I had personally created (along with help from my friend Janet dressed as Pee Wee Herman at the time) and as she drove us to the birthday gathering she made sure we were safe in her car until we arrived into the warm embrace of gentle friends. The whole thing was about containers.
We serve ourselves as that container of peace and love within and we connect to others in groups, tribes, families contained in that same way. So from my heart to yours know when you come to class you are safe, you are cared for and you can take time to feel all that is good within you. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I did and just like doing a yoga pose, I will be making this soup for years and years to come. Love and light! Silvia
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup From Don P.
This recipe makes about 3 1/2 quarts which is about 18 6 oz portions so feel free to cut this recipe in half. It freezes well however so you can save it for a super quick lunch or dinner. I freeze this in 2 or 4 serving size containers let it cool before you freeze it.
2 Tblsp unsalted butter
2 Tblsp good Quality Olive Oil
4 cups yellow onion med dice
1 tblsp Curry Powder ( The curry is an interesting flavor combo that adds depth but you could substitute a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg if you dont like curry)
5 lbs butternut squash
1 1/2 lbs McIintosh Apples
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups water
2 cups apple juice or cider.
Heat the butter and oil in a large stock pot over med heat, add the curry and the onion to the pot and cook for 15 min stir the misture a few times and scrape the bottom of the pot. Peel the squash cut in half and remove the seeds with a spoon or the handle of your peeler and cut into 1 inch chunks. Peel quarter and core the apples and cut into 1 inch chunks as well.
TIME FOR YOURSELF: TODAY IS A GIFT
MARCH 28TH, 2009:
For yesterday I hold no apologies,
For tomorrow I hold no answers,
Today is a gift and I will honor it by fully living in it."
My Healer at Holessence says “If you don’t take time for wellness now, you’ll have to make time for illness later.”
We always have opportunities to be kind to ourselves. When we refuse to take the time to treat our bodies, emotions, and minds with reverence and love, they will often remind us – not so kindly – by failing to respond when we need them. Our ability to think clearly recedes when we aren’t looking after ourselves. It’s weird how we can be super tired and have a really busy mind all at the same time. To bring the frequency of our bodies and the frequency of our thoughts in sync we are obligated to take time for ourselves without apology. In yogic philosophy we call this Ahimsa. The idea of loving ourselves is a way to demonstrate love for all people. But we must start with ourselves. (SUTRA 2.35 EMBRACING REVERENCE AND LOVE FOR ALL (AHIMSA) WE EXPERIENCE ONENESS)
The Buddha put it like this, “The object of your practice should first of all be yourself. Your ability to love another person, depends on your ability to love yourself.”
WHAT DON’T WE MAKE TIME FOR OURSELVES? I’ve come to think that the main reason is that we are worried about what other people think. We actually make the opinions of others even MORE IMPORTANT than our own opinion of ourselves. And when you think about it there will never be a shortage of opinions about us form other people. Yoga teaches us that we are sovereign over ourselves, we can’t be responsible for how others see us all we can do is have the authority of leading our own peaceful life. Why because life itself is a gift! MARK TWAIN says “ A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval”
WE ARE PRETTY AMAZING!
Think about this formula proposed by John Maxwell in his book Talent is Never Enough. Maxwell says that “every person is capable of doing something better than the next 10,000 people.” That something is called your STRENGTH ZONE. From the yogic view we are capable of far greater things than what we often deem possible. We realize our potential only when we see that we are worthy of making time for ourselves and that each breath is another opportunity to dream even bigger dreams.
LESSONS FROM MY TRIP THIS WEEKEND
FEBRUARY 2ND: My Dear Yogi Friends, as you know I was away this weekend for four days in Colorado. I was totally getting that Rocky Mountain High: breathing, skiing, yogaing, enjoying the sunshine! I benefited from many life lessons as a result of this trip that I will share in classes this week related to yoga philosophy. As always the most important of which is to wake up, pay attention and BE PRESENT in order to live life more fully in each moment. A fave quote that speaks to this is:
“Most of the time we don’t even pay attention to the depth of life. We only see flat surfaces.” -Anonymous
Some other topics that came up during this weekend: AHIMSA - a fundamental principle of yoga often known as non-harming, kindness and safety. Every day we are fighting for our lives but how do we do so without hurting others. How do we create a safe situation for ourselves where we aren't driven by fear but by the desire to be kind? COURAGE - not the front page stuff but the quiet courage that requires trust, faith and a really brave heart. HABITS - those habits with attachments that prevent us from growing spiritually. You know those one's that give us a false of sense of ease because we grow dull doing the same thing over and over again. OPENING UP - When we close down we are like fish moving towards dry land, when we open up and even allow vulnerability we flow with grace towards the ocean. The mountains helped me remain open even though all I wanted to do was contract during challenging moments. BE PRESENT - It is easy to see everything as flat and "ok" but that means we really aren't paying attention. This is when we are not awake for if we were living in the moment (where true happiness lies) then we'd see the depth, like the mountain ranges I experienced this weekend.
Ok, many other lessons learned over the weekend like Managing Doubt, Simplicity, Facing Our Fears, Body Prayer, Spirtual Seeking, Peace of Mind, but I'll save those for my book. Please join me this week to learn more about these key one's above. I look forward to being with you on the mat! And remember today is not a rehearsal - this is IT! Love to all, Silvia
AHIMSA: KINDNESS, SAFETY, SELF-LOVE
Every day we are fighting for our lives but how do we do so without hurting others. How do we create a safe situation for ourselves where we aren't driven by fear but by the desire to be kind? In learning how to ski again I got a guide, a ski instructor, Patrick Vaughn. He helped me stay safe, control my speed so that I wouldn’t run other people down nor would I hurt myself. This was an expression of kindness all the way around. But the key thing here is to know it wasn’t about fear. That’s something different to live in a way that restricts us because we are afraid all the time. I have been there – I spent a great deal of time in my past afraid and basing my actions or inactions on fear. That’s no way to live. It drains you, it creates a constant feeling of being unsafe. The potential for danger constant.
One of the most interesting things about fear is that it exists in relationship to the future. So making sensitive adjustments going down a slope means you have to do so by staying present to all those that exist around us (life as we know it is not a game of solitaire) as soon as you get afraid in the what ifs then you move out of the present, you tune out, you drop out and you literally WIPE out.
Ahimsa is directing our actions from a kind place of gentle thought. The toughest practice of Ahimsa is paying attention to negative, violent thoughts. And if we are really honest we all have to admit we don’t always think kind thoughts towards ourselves (or others for that matter). But our existence as a global tribe requires we figure out how to manage kind thoughts because they lay the foundation of kind actions. It is the intention behind the actions not the actions themselves. Otherwise we fall into the trap of being afraid to hurt others and then act in ways that can often hurt ourselves.
We are all critically important to the universe. I saw this on the mountain it literally took a village to run the place. So we all can work together in a kind, loving way and suffering will be reduced in the world (not eliminated). Pay attention to your breath and it will give you a sense of your depth of kindness internally, are you cutting yourself off from breathing? Is this a form of violence towards self, isn’t it life diminishing?
So today let’s invite kindness, peace into our practice. On the plane I would say to myself ‘I am peaceful, I am feeling peace, I am peace” Take this as my gift. The best practice of Ahimsa is making time for ourselves (like my mini holiday, or you being here tonight in class). We are obliged to take time for ourselves the sutras teach us. And it is much more pleasant and fun to do willingly before any disease invites itself into your life.
LOVE FOR ONESELF IS LOVE FOR ALL.
BE GOOD TO YOURSELF DAY
NOVEMBER 9TH, 2008: Today we declared BE GOOD TO YOURSELF DAY! It was great! According to statistics 40% of working women say their stress level is High, 56% of men and women say stress I hurting their relationships, as Americans we take less vacation than anyone else in the world, we work longer hours, 22% of us say we’re too busy for a lunch break and the list goes on. You can easily see why it is vitally important to declare today a special holiday, Be Good To Yourself Day.
We did this by asking ourselves throughout our practice what is it that I need for myself here? What is the kindest approach, the most compassionate way of being in my body, my heart? The inspiration today was a 50th wedding anniversary I attended the night before with the key advice from the couple when asked “how to stay together 50 years” was BE KIND. Yup, that was it in a nutshell. Well ok, then let’s practice being kind to ourselves. May you be happy, healthy, kind and peaceful. With Metta (lovingkindness), Silvia
WHY MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
SEPTEMBER 21, 2008:
POWER TO THE PEACEFUL: CHOOSE PEACE
SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2008: I know some folks reading this will say, Oh no not peace, again!?!" That's cool. I thought that a long time ago too. But somewhere between "it's not my job" and "I can't really make a difference" I changed my mind. So I will keep talking about peace until that day that all people everywhere live in peace. With all my heart, I hope that day is soon...
We’re not going to be perfect in this quest. In the words of the band Teitur, All my mistakes have become masterpieces.” Let’s just keep trying, ok? “If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace. If peace mattered to you more than anything else you would remain nonreactive when confronted with challenging people or situations. From A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle "It would be powerful and effective and would make no person or situation into an enemy."
Now I really do believe that most folks agree that a more peaceful world would be ideal. However, its been my experience that a lot of us seem stumped as to how to contribute peace and make the world better.
From a yogic view it is really kind of simple in theory and is known as AHIMSA:
“If we are to have true peace in this world, each one of us must find it in ourselves first. If we don’t like ourselves, for example, we probably won’t like those around us. If we are in a constant state of inner conflict, then we will probably bring conflict into the world. If we have fighting within our families, there can be no peace.”
When it comes to peace: Our job is to say yes!, not when, how or maybe. We must choose peace! Join me and others all over the world in being a Peaceful Warrior. As Michael Franti sings, “POWER TO THE PEACEFUL!” (Visit www.powertothepeaceful.com to learn more).
And take to heart these inspiring words: of the Dalai Lama who said, “Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace starts within each one of us.”