Best Costume Ever
By Laura Mills
With Halloween just past I’ve been thinking about disguises. Like most kids I loved October 31. Over the course of my younger years I disguised myself as, among other things, Pebbles Flintstone, Raggedy Ann, a princess, a witch, a hippie (several times!), and a cat. But Halloween, of course, isn’t just for kids; for plenty of adults, dressing up as someone or something else is just...FUN.
Putting the festiveness of Halloween aside, I’m wondering why we love disguises so much. Not only on Halloween—after all, a disguise doesn’t require a mask, whiskers and a tail, or even unfamiliar clothes. However we go about it, we find comfort in fooling others about our identity, in others’ not knowing whom we really are. Think about it…as children, who among us didn’t at one time or another want to be invisible? Then, with time dawned the knowledge that we couldn’t make ourselves disappear, but we could do anything but. Now, short of donning fake fangs or a wig, we devise countless ways of hiding the person we are on the inside. Maybe it’s the tremendous relief from self-consciousness….
Years ago, when I taught high school science, every October at least one student would ask me about my upcoming Halloween costume. I would always joke, “I’m going to be a chemistry teacher.” Today, I see the actual seriousness of that statement. The most difficult disguise to wear is no disguise at all. Appearing as the real you—heart, soul, and everything in between, within and without—is more frightening than dressing up in even the scariest Halloween costume. But I have no doubt it’s also the most worthwhile way to let the world see you.
An Exercise in Awareness
By Laura Mills
For several years I made a habit of drinking one diet soda every afternoon. It was my pick-me-up, my simple indulgence in the middle of the day to add a little flavor to the hours that followed. I enjoyed diet soda and never considered my one daily can a terribly unhealthy habit. But what bothered me is that I often pulled one out of the fridge just because the clock said 4:00 pm. I didn’t contemplate whether I wanted it or not; it was just something I had gotten used to doing.
Completely eliminating my afternoon pick-me-up just left me irritated, so to remedy the situation I sought a more gentle approach and switched from diet soda to something less automatic: tea. I had always kept a few varieties of tea on hand, but now I stocked up. I reasoned that tea requires intention, that I would never be able to pull a hot, ready-to-drink cup out of the cabinet at 4:00 pm or any other time. I would instead have to gather the tea-making items, wait at least a few minutes for the water to boil, and then wait another few minutes for the tea to brew. In other words, I would have to REALLY want that tea.
So far, my new approach is working well. I still keep a few emergency sodas in the fridge and pull one out every now and then, but I’m noticing that the more I drink tea the more I enjoy it. In addition to tea’s flavor and warmth, I appreciate the experience of consciously choosing my afternoon pick-me-up, another small way of savoring even the simplest moments.
VINYASA CLASS PLAN VIDEO NO JUDGEMENT PEAK VISMAMITRASANA
INTERMEDIATE VINYASA - PEAK POSE VISMAMISTRASANA - NOVEMBER 14, 2010
One wave taught and practiced from my video. Philosophical theme is not judging, letting go of self-consciousness
Wrist Stretches: Finger tip table floss shoulders, turn one hand around face knee, switch, turn back of hand around to face knee, switch
Half Thread the Needle
Thread the Needle: Hold then dynamic keeping shoulder quiet- all core action obliques
Half Thread the Needle dynamic
Thread the Needle side 2: hold then dynamic
Half Spinal balance to child's pose dynamic alternating each side
Full Spinal balance hold,
Kneeling Side Plank
Half Warrior B
Half Triangle then unsupported niralamba
Kneeling Side Plank
Flow 3 x's
Hold Kneeling Side Plank to Full Side Plank
Plank - basic vinyasa
Reverse Half Vinyasa: Upward facing plank to Dog pose repeat and flow (add optional chatarunga, plank)
Walk the dog to Uttanasana (forward fold)
Lift right leg - standing splits, lower
Stand up - lift left knee to crane
Crane to Standing Pigeon Chair arms open, twist arms wide
Step forward Pyramid
Side 2: stand on left leg crane, warrior 3, crane to Standing Pigeon chair, twist, step back Pyramid
Standing splits left leg is up
WAVE 4 - Sun Salutation C with variation
Step back Half Lunge knee down circle arms up, lower
Step forward half way Pyramid inhale/exhale
Lift chest prepare jump or step back basic vinyasa
Step Left foot forward Half Lunge, pyramid, basic vinyasa
Flow and repeat 5-7 times
Last time from Pyramid hold
Revolved Half Moon B
Warrior A with yoga mudra
Dynamic Reverse Warrior to Side Angle Pose - a few times
Side 2 repeat above
Step to Low Lunge - Quad stretch
Half Warrior 2 prep
WAVE 7 - LIKE MY VIDEO
Malasana front of mat
Cobbler (optional Supine Vismamitrasana)
Seated Forward Fold
Marychasana C twist
Janu Sirsasana twist
Kneeling Side Plank
Parsva Vasistasana 1 (variation of side plank legs split)
Sit to Upavista Konasana twist away then towards other leg
Wear leg on shoulder Seated Sundial pose (Seated Vismamistrasana)
Elephant arm balance - thread leg under
Half Vismamistrasana or Full Vismamistrasana
LOVE IS THE ANSWER
May 10, 2010 Nischala Joy Devi puts it like this, “We miss life if we allow others to dictate the direction of our thoughts and feelings. But when our heart guides the focus of our consciousness, love is ever present in our life.” So whatever the question you are struggling with is in your life the answer yoga teaches us is simple. LOVE IS THE ANSWER.
If you can accept and embrace that our true nature is joy beyond the ups and downs and complexities of our humanity we are meant to live in love. In yoga Bhakti means love. Bhakti is love in ACTION. Love is active.
Right now you could be living more in love with your life. There is no reason to wait for your life to be better when it can be better right now. So why delay? Well what often happens is we start to identify with our grumpy selves or sad or angry or critical selves and even come to believe that it us. It is not us. Those are just some fluctuations. To get back to our true nature we have to do something. Love is active. (Chapter 1 Verse 4)
The Yoga Sutra this is based on is Chapter 1 Verse 3 United in the heart, consciousness is steadied, then we abide in our true nature, joy. The expansion of this joy is infinite LOVE, which encompasses and then transforms everything it touches. Everywhere we look, we see the reflection of our joyful nature.
Make the practice of Bhakti of actively living in love your experience this week and see what happens, I know what happens…for that’s how I’ve chosen to live every day I have in this earthly body. I don’t want to waste a moment and hope you won’t any longer either. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
WHAT WOULD YOU NAME TODAY - THE 10 BLESSINGS GAME
OCTOBER 7, 2009: We start with a sweet exercise called “The 10 Blessings” by Dr William Holden. It goes like this, look over the last week of your life and write down 10 blessings you experienced in the last seven days. It’s not much to ask because all we need to do is find one blessing per 16.8 hours of life. And if you think about 10 ways you blessed others lives that’s consciously thinking of goodness every 8.4 hours. Now do the math and consider if you could somehow multiply that by 2 so you think of 40 things every week: 20 blessings received and 20 blessings offered that’s something every 2.1 hours.
This helps us keep the focus on the important questions like: How can you enjoy the miracle of existence today? How can I enjoy this moment more?
The more you are willing to enjoy the moment the more beautiful each moment of your life will be. Essentially it means you are choosing life. And life only happens one moment at a time. The more you give yourself to each moment, the more each moment gives something back to you! Please starting now don’t miss a thing! Think about waking up to your life and start naming your day something beautiful! Love and light, Silvia
“Awaken to the mystery of being here
And eneter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow it’s path.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.
May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
Around the heart of wonder.”
Navajo prayer to enjoy
“Happily may I walk.
May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
It beauty, it is finished.”
MOST LOVING PEOPLE ARE "PRESENT"
OCTOBER 3, 2009: In my role as a Love Anthropologist it’s been my experience that the most loving people. You know those folks that sparkle and are excited about life, loving towards everyone they meet, fun to be with…well what makes them unique is that they are PRESENT.
Good news is we can all cultivate this ability and yoga helps us do so. This is supported in the yoga sutras Chapter 1 verse 23 “Boundless love unite us with consciousness.”
This means be present, awake (conscious) turns us on to being more loving. And that love is infinite. We don’t have to pick and choose or dole it out conservatively. We can literally love everybody. When we are present we see people, I mean we really see them through the eyes of compassion. As the Dalai Lama says, “through compassion you find that all human beings are just like you.” So start today. Get to the mat and practice being more present and then just see for yourself, using your own life as self-study that in order to love more, we need to be more present.
As I’ve spent my whole life studying what brings others together in loving ways, I use this practice to explore myself and as I am present and accepting of who I am I naturally evolve into a more loving human being. Please join me so we can transform ourselves, transform the world. Love everybody, serve everybody! (words of Neem Karoli Baba) Love in all ways, Silvia
LET IT BE - WHY DO WE NEED TO QUESTION EVERYTHING?
SEPTEMBER 20TH, 2009: When I was a girl I’d get together with my friends and we’d use the ouija board. When it was my turn I’d ask serious questions, they’d be things like “Does Craig like me? Will Chris ask me to the dance? Will Ben love me forever so we can get married, have babies and live happily ever after?” The ouija board had no chance in impressing me. I was relentless in my questioning. And I was only 15 years old.
Now just a few years later it has taken a lot of spiritual maturing to realize that as yoga teaches we experience life not with our mind and all its questions, but with our soul. That we are something beyond the mind, beyond thought. And why do we need to question everything?
Putting all questions aside today can we in the words of my favorite band, The Beatles, “Let it Be” Or as Tantric Scholar Christopher Tompkins said during a lecture in
Hmmm, ok I have to say I kind of get the feeling of that on a gut level. It is also helping us to just be present. So easily said but to actually BE has a learning curve. The mind wants to question every little thing, rewrite the past, write out the exact detail of the future. In a way a better understanding of consciousness could be to let go of what we know is NOT consciousness (like what we see, what we think, the numbers of shoes we have, what kind of jeans we wear, etc). Consciousness, a real awakening to this moment being presented is felt with our soul.
This is why fundamentally Yoga is for the Mind, to help us focus and find ourselves more present. I know we do stuff for the body but that is the gateway and totally enjoyable as well. Eventually the path of yogic teachings is taking us deeper inside than perhaps we’ve ever been, the Home of our Heart. May you live in love and today give yourself a break, STOP QUESTIONING EVERYTHING. Just Let it Be. Love and light, Silvia
(This meditation inspired by Kishan Shah, visit his site www.kishanshah.com) Om Shanti!
(This meditation inspired by Kishan Shah, visit his site www.kishanshah.com) Om Shanti!
DHARMA: DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT?
MARCH 18TH, 2009: We sat in Vajrasana, rubbed our hands together like to two sticks of wood to create friction/heat and then cupped our eyes. We used this as an opporturnity to open our eyes and look at our hands which acted as a mirror. Asking ourselves in our outward reflection what did we see? Who is the person staring back at us? Then we closed our eyes in the warmth of our hands and turned our gaze inwards to view the inner reflection and ask what is our purpose? Who are we?
And this means it is something more than the role we play at work, the labels we wear like son, daughter, partner, parent. As a human creatures who are you? As Stephen Covey writes, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” So as a human being what is your Lifes Purpose or Dharma?
For its more than what job title we have on our business card or the label people know us by. Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the
For that’s the practice knowing our Dharma and contributing in a positive way to the world. So we partnered in handstand tonight to help us experience this directly. We also used a variety of flowing poses to help us face our fears such as balance poses and hip openers. Because that is the harder practice to keep coming back to our purpose and living our Dharma not just for one day, or one week or even one year but forever, in spite of the fear we sometimes face.
Best said is motivational speaker Earl Nightingale who says, “Don’t let fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” So go inside, see your dreams, believe me when I tell you that you already have all the time, money and energy you need to make these dreams a reality and shine out your Dharma to the world! Love to all, Peace to All, Courage to all! Silvia