By Laura Mills
Even though I enjoy the fall, at this time of year I notice a tremendous decrease in my energy. Yes, I do believe that to feel my best I should attend to nature and follow its cues on cycling with the world around me. However, in spite of this and in spite of my sentiment for fall, I find I hold tightly to summer; among other things, I still eat lots of cold foods and drink many cold beverages, and I don’t always utilize the extent of my fall outerwear. No wonder that this year so far I’ve felt cold and sluggish inside and out. Even though fall is in full swing, I have yet to “change my colors.”
I don’t believe that choosing hot soup for lunch or bundling up to run errands will instantly improve my energy. But I do believe I would benefit if I stopped fighting myself and instead, as nature does with seasonal change, flowed along with it. Am I tired? Then I should breathe and slow down. Am I cold? Then I should change clothes. Am I hungry? Then I should ask myself what my body really wants. And to assist in all these areas, I should re-think my yoga practice. I know I cheat myself on the days I push my cold and tired body through vigorous Vinyasa…I also know I can nurture myself with gentle practices and meditation on the days when energetic asana isn’t the way to go.
I’ve heard it said that much of living involves finding comfort with where we are, not reaching a different place. I believe it, and I'm trying.
IT’S YOUR LIFE, DON’T MISS IT!
March 25, 2011. The Buddha says we should “practice as if your hair was on fire.” This is such an amazing metaphor to remind us to wake up to our lives. This metaphor in no way implies panic or alarm. It encourages us stop treating life as a rehearsal for the future or ruminating over the past all the while not awake to present experience.
No better reason to come to the mat than to stoke our wakeful energy through movement and breath and by taking risks in experience new poses (like handstand). And what do we use to wake up? Our hearts first and foremost. For in the wards of Annie Dillliard “If we listened only to our intellect we’d never have a love affair, we’d never have a friendship, we’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical. Well that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs ALL the time and build your wings on the way down.” Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
Day-O (Banana Boat Song), Harry Belafonte
Tangled Up In Blue, Bob Dylan
Good Day Sunshine, Beatles
Down on the Corner, Creedance Clearwater Revival
I Want You, Bob Dylan
I'm Outta Love, Anastacia
Rolling In the Deep, ADELE
Gangsta Nation, Nate Dogg
Sita Ram, Girish
Stir It Up, Bob Marley & The Wailers
Simple Twist of Fate, The Format
Ripple, Grateful Dead
Teach Your Children (live), Steve Acho
I'll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy Feat. Faith Evans & 112
Every Breath You Take, Carol Welsman
Peace, George Winston
STOKING THE FIRE: YOGA FOR ENERGY!
February 11, 2011.
Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames. - RUMI
I read somewhere that “no one is born with healthy self-esteem” we must learn this quality as we face our challenges. In the energy system this is the work of the 3rdchakra, the solar plexus, or Manipura. The energies of this chakra have at their heart the intention to help us mature in our self-understanding like how we feel and take care of ourselves. This spiritual quality is about self-respect. How we feel about ourselves, whether we have a strong sense of self-esteem determines our quality of life, our capacity to succeed in relationships, and our overall vitality.
The spiritual truth here is that if we don’t like ourselves our energy sags. And the lower our energy the less able we are to attract healthy relationships and job situations. To know if your 3rd Chakra is in balance take a moment and honestly ask yourself: are you choosing situations, people, & things that drain your energy or grow your energy?
For meditation ask yourself these questions:
· Where were you last February 2010?
· Where are you now?
· Do you have more energy today?
· Where do you see yourself February 2012?
From this practice of yoga I want us all to keep stoking the fire! I want for you to feel energized and excited about your life. And if you aren't feeling that way then the time is now to set an expectation for yourself – to your own growth and evolution – and surround yourself with those that seek to fan your flames. You are all amazing and as we continue paying attention to the health of our 3rdchakra please know you have all come a very long way already and let's take it to that next level. SET YOUR LIFE ON FIRE! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
*Join me with Alchemy Tours www.alchemytours.com to set the fire ablaze full blast!
POWER OF ATTRACTION
JANUARY 11, 2011: Everything is energy according to quantum physics. The whole universe is energy: Water, air, soil, light, the stars, even you. And the most powerful form of energy we have, that makes us different than all other living creatures is our THOUGHTS. Our thoughts are made of energy as well. This is how quantum physics puts it "the object is influenced by the observer". After all, what we call reality is in essence our brain’s interpretations to the data gathered by the sensory cells in our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. Without you, there will be no reality, so to speak. We co-create our reality. Our physical universe is ‘shapeable’.
When you have a thought, it carries (or rather is) energy and goes out all the way to the universe. This energy contains the contents of your thoughts and the Universe starts to manifest it. Yoga is for the mind and is our means of organizing the energy of our thoughts.
“In a plain piece of metal, all the molecules are in chaos facing every which way. A magnet is a similar piece of metal in which all the molecules are perfectly aligned – the north poles facing one way, and the south poles facing in the opposite direction. Because of this alignment, the magnet gains the power to attract and hold other objects. If you stroke the ordinary metal and the magnet together in one direction only, the magnet will align all the molecules in the plain metal with itself, causing a second magnet to emerge. The power to attract and hold has been transmitted from one to the other, while amazingly enough the initial magnet retains its full strength. As we align our energies this way through regulating our breath with movement we maintain calm through the ordinary emotional roller coaster rides we encounter each day. We find that when we are upset, everything around us reflects the same disturbance, as if it is somehow contagious. When tranquility prevails, it magnetizes everything with the same sense of calmness.” (Story from The Secret Power Of Yoga.)
I teach yoga to be a magnet for all my students. I pass on to them what has been shared with me by my teachers who served as my magnet. I want all that come to my classes to feel the power they hold within themselves to attract their best life ever. We accomplish this by organizing our breathing, our thoughts in a way that designs the future that serves our truest potential.
Even after just one class together you become a magnet for positive thought and experience in your life! And then you share this with your families and friends and the yoga works through you to make the world a better place based on the energy of Love. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
*Join me magnetize yourself more on yoga retreat www.silviamordini.com or www.alchemytours.com
GROUPON FEATURING TOTAL BODY YOGA!
NOVEMBER 12, 2010. So great to have our Groupon friends CHOOSE US for the deal today and tomorrow! Tell your friends $30 for 11 classes, 70% OFF regular price. Or if you have been away from the practice then take advantage of this deal and come back.
I know the the world has been full of financial CONTRACTION. Well this is our way of putting energy into the world of ABUNDANCE! We want everyone to practice yoga, we want this in our way to contribute to the world's greater happiness. Love to all! Silvia
GROUPON LINK: Or go to our facebook page to click therehttp://email@example.com&utm_content=standard
PS - Great Holiday, Christmas Gift!!!
GOOD ENERGY BAD ENERGY AND ENERGY VAMPIRES
OCTOBER 20, 2010. Our hearts are like a safe in the energy bank of our bodies. We each have our own personal energy field that protects us and determines how we feel, think and function and oversees this safe of our hearts. And since there is energy everywhere we have to be aware of how to keep making deposits into our bank and not just withdrawals. Everything is energy!
And there is both good energy and bad energy.
The first time I was introduced to the work of Dr. Judith Orloff something just clicked! I had never heard the term "Energy Vampire" prior to working with an energy healer. But throughout my life I remember how sometimes just talking to a particular person would drain me so severely I'd need to rest and recover while interacting with most other people had an energizing effect. Why would one person deplete me and 25 other people in the same day would fire me up and inspire me? The volume of interaction wasn't making intellectual sense. Then I began to study and learn about the Alchemy of Yoga: the energy we have as people exists on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
Even today I have two primary energy vampires: one a person who by email, voice, person or even just thinking about them causes my breath to shorten my chest to get heavy and an immediate anxiety come over me and the other main energy vampire in my life is technology. It sucks me in and if I'm not careful can push me to the other side of energizing to draining. I have to be careful with both and this practice has helped find ways to restore my own energy and set stronger, healthier boundaries. My heart is too valuable to allow to be influenced by even a single moment of negative energy. I love myself too much to let this happen. And I hope you see your heart as this precious jewel in a beautiful safe in the bank of your body and you too learn from yoga how to set energy boundaries, recharge and make at least as many deposits as withdrawals for a happier more balanced life! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia (See below some excerpts from various articles you can find on the internet searching Energy Vampires, especially the works, writings, books by Dr Orloff are highly recommended)
"The real harm in a psychic attack is that is not a fair exchange of energy in that the vampire (predator) gets energized and the victim (host) gets depleted of their energy....
..Another way vampires operate is to always play the victim and voice complaints. You will play right into their hands when you give an optimistic response time and time again. The vampire uses this positive energy you are giving them as an energy source. The person giving the sound resourceful advice may think they are just being a good friend but if this person makes it a habit to complain they are using you as their victim and getting the energy boost leaving you not only emotionally drained but physically as well.
..Many people are not consciously aware of what they are doing but it does not render the attack any less harmless to the victim. You are actually creating an energetic opening and have made yourself vulnerable to the vampire attack once they get you to release some sort of energy by means of rage or sympathy.
..There are some key things that most vampires have in common. The vampire is unbalanced (1) emotionally, (2) physically and (3) spiritually. They have to use others to derive strength and energy from. Their system is highly deficient in all three areas. If you do not limit or discontinue contact with these energy reducers you could become imbalanced as well. You could find yourself drained of physical and emotional energy you need to thrive.
POSITIVE ENERGY BOOSTS- Dr Judith Orloff (she's the best!)
Clear your energy. Positive energy is the most powerful antidote to negativity.
"When dealing with energy vampires, your positivity, certainty, and vision have to be greater than their doubt," says Gordon.
Create a mantra that tunes out negativity, and repeat it to yourself during an attack.
Or take a cue from The Sound of Music: Remember your favorite things, particularly times of triumph or joy.
"Thinking about a great moment in your life builds a force field around you and blocks out negative energy," adds Gordon. Picturing your energy can offer protection, too. "Visualize your energy as a beautiful, golden light, and send that light through your body," suggests Reiki master Carolyn Agosta. "Tell yourself, 'My energy is only valuable to me,' and disconnect your energy from the other person's."
SERIOUS FUN THE UNIVERSE HAS A SENSE OF HUMOR
OCTOBER 18, 2010. The Universe has a great sense of humor! The humor is often wacky, weird, unexpected. And our human being job as the divine manages making things funny, is to laugh.
I just spent weekend laughing with our most amazing new teacher trainees! And we talked about the importance of elevating our attitude to unlock our happiness in yoga. And even how laughing relaxes your diaphragm.
Laughing for 3 days straight reminds me I find humor everywhere. In college my favorite thing to teach was ab work during group fitness classes. Working our abs makes me giggle! So we did some seriously unserious core cultivation and I got to play some awesome hip hop tunes, which makes me feel great that anything that wakes us up to who we are is yoga. Yea for Michael Franti and Blue Scholars!
In this performance of life there are plenty of scripts (almost on a daily basis) that are humorous (sometimes a bit dark comedy) but still funny nonetheless. And as we go out on stage we can shine out recognizing the choice we have in every moment to see the good, the funny, the beauty or to contract. We can either light up or lessen the energy of our own aliveness. This is something of the inside. Yoga teaches us that how we see the world is from the inside out. We look for humor and it is there. It is always there beneath the surface. And as Jeff Brown writes, "below the surface we are all sacred dynamite."
When I laugh that's exactly how I feel. Dynamite! Fantastic! Energized! Bright! Light! Strong. It is from and to that inner strength of our own unlimited potential that this practice taps into. So pratipaksha bhavana dudes. Cultivate that spiritual dynamite and show up to your life with a full blast effort! We don't get to do today over again, so we might as well find it funny (funny weird, funny wacky, or just plain funny!) Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS you know what's funny? Doing yoga in you swimsuit December 8-12 with me in Haramara Resort (well swimsuit part is optional...I mean you can wear your normal yoga clothes too!) Friend me Alchemy Tours www.silviamordini.com
EXTENDED FOCUS LAW OF ATTRACTION
SEPTEMBER 29, 2010. I am talking tonight in class about "radical affirmation of the fullness of experience" and how growth results from challenge and makes our hearts grow. This has everything to do with the law of attraction which simply states that like attracts like. This means what you think about your challenges is either an opportunity to grow positive energy which attracts more positive energy or negative energy which builds inertia. The challenge is not the problem, the way we think about it is. (The resistance to the disturbance is the disturbance.)
When you think about it, there is never any reason compelling enough to hold onto a single negative thought. Not even one. Why? Because we don't have time to waste our energy on negativity which only produces more negative energy. Life is too short to live like that. We will all experience challenge, it comes in countless forms just this week I have friends and students who have received a diagnosis, lost their jobs, are separated from their partner, kids acting out, are being harassed at work and the list goes on. However, we only get to live today once. And to focus on anger, fear or disappointment will only cause you to leak energy, the very energy you long for to make each moment count and help you meet the challenge with grace.
The key things to know about the LAW OF ATTRACTION are:
1. you don't focus your thoughts they will end up scattered in all directions. They will be circus like ping pong's stopping and starting and running about.
2. if you make no effort in directing your thoughts towards something positive they will tend towards the negative and catastrophic (known as our hard wiring the "catastrophic brain")
We practice yoga to focus our thoughts. We practice these poses and breathing to see our habitual pattern of thinking and where we tend to be auto pilot negative. We practice yoga to apply the law of attraction on the mat so we know how all day long. What you say to yourself holding a poses is either positive or negative, rarely is it neutral. And if you can direct your thoughts to be positive in an uncomfortable or difficult pose then you can certainly do that when you encounter challenges in your life.
Finally, what I'd love for you to commit to memory about the law of attraction and keep forever and share with someone you love is the following:
1. The energy of your thoughts are like a magnet. The more focused your thoughts are then the bigger your magnet and the more powerful they become at attracting similar thoughts.
2. The longer you are able to hold a positive thought in your mind, the more powerful the positive energy becomes around you.
And brain science proves that eventually by holding positive thoughts longer and longer we don't need to try so hard and control so much of what we are thinking because we are constantly surrounded by the positive vibrations that draws more of what we want to us. With positive energy hugging us in we find an easeful effort to remain positive. It becomes our way, in spite of life's challenges. So today love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia, ERYT and ANUSARA INSPIRED teacher
(For more yoga inspiration, life coaching while on yoga retreat or teacher trainings please visit my website www.silviamordini.com or friend me on Alchemy Tours facebook)
TODAY'S PLAYLIST: Les Enfants Qui S'aiment, Amoureux De Paris, La Serenissima, Loreena McKennitt, Fire, Coco De Mer, Elusinian Blue, Gabrielle Roth, Believer, M.I.A. MAYA, Nobody's Perfect, Madonna, Il Pescivendolo, Matteo Salvatore, I'm Outta Love, Anastacia, Prayer to Rudra, Krishna Das, That I Would Be Good, Alanis Morissette, Dedication, Kirby Shelstad, Silent Wings, Lifescapes
*1008 humble bows to the opening quote from John Friend at the Anusara Grand Gathering 2010
FOCUS YOUR ENERGY USING LAW OF ATTRACTION
May 25, 2010. The law of attraction simply states that like attracts like. This includes all form of energy, including our thoughts. One of our greatest strengths as human beings is our power to focus our thoughts. And key things to know are (1) if you don’t focus your thoughts they will end up scattered in all directions starting and stopping and running about. (2) if we make no effort at all in directing our thoughts to something positive they will tend towards the negative or catastrophic. A philosopher said, “in a civilized world, if our strength are not determined to be valuable, we spend our life shoring up our weaknesses.”
When we practice yoga we practice focusing our thoughts (which then determine our actions). We on purpose set up our hands flat and wide fingers spread in table or plank or downward dog. And we stay focused on them otherwise if we don’t check in with the placement of our hands or feet they will get away from us like our thoughts if left unattended. On the mat we apply our minds to performing the poses and controlling our breath as a means to focus our attention. Yoga is all about the mind. We just happen to use the body as the technique to gather this energy.
The other main thing to really commit to memory is that applying the law of attraction means that our thoughts (and all energy) is like a magnet. The less distracted our thoughts the more powerful they become at attracting similar thoughts. Undistracted thought energy is highly potent. It works like this, the longer we are able to hold a positive thought in our mind the more powerful the positive energy becomes around us. And eventually brain science proves that we don’t need to focus on the action and controlling so much because we are already surrounded by the positive vibrations that draws more of what we want to us.
Like attracts like.
When you think about it there is never any reason compelling enough to hold onto a single negative thought. Not even one. Why? Because we don’t have time to waste our energy on negativity which only produces more negative energy. Life is too short to live like that. There is never any reason to focus on anger, fear or disappointment. Instead you are in charge of your life, your best life and responsible for making each moment count. As Deepak Chopra says it so simply, “happy thoughts create happy cells.” I get that. I apply it, And my life is forever changed for the positive and I want yours to be too! Love yourself, Love your day, Love your life! Silvia
May 19, 2010, Tonight we focused on hugging in to our center. To cultivate that awareness of our own best strength. And what is inner strength really? Well it is love, that’s all. "We are kept from the experience of Spirit because our inner world is cluttered with past traumas....As we begin to clear away this clutter, the energy of divine light and love begins to flow through our beings." -Thomas Keating
We experienced this return to ourselves through a series of poses and mantras flowing through the elements such as:
Earth: I am grounded
Fire: I am rising
Air: I am free
When our minds and hearts are scattered in their energy we lose track of self-love and it always starts there in laying the foundation for a healthy life. So we come to the mat to rebuild. Beginning with the earth element and drawing nutrients and support from the earth to help us return to stillness. The healing then expands and as we return to our center by engaging principals of alignment such as hugging to the midline and muscular energy we return to our most powerful selves. We feel the confidence and enthusiasm of the third chakra. There is an aliveness and energy that expands out and up! And from there we connect to the air element of the fourth chakra feeling the lightness and freedom that are our true nature. We are once more in the home of our hearts, we are in love with ourselves and with our lives. You see inner strength is love…that’s all. With metta, Silvia
GIVE GOOD, GET GOOD
MARCH 29 2010: Positive energy attracts positive energy. You give good and you get good. So simple! But not easy.
I talked about how I read about a California bride yoga teacher who raised $2,300 at her wedding and donated it to Haiti. This is yet another of the daily examples in my life and in others of the law of attraction. We can change the world we live in from the inside out. All we need to do is give good and equally through yoga we learn how to be sweet in receiving. For that too came out in this article this cool girl was so gracious in receiving the kindness that folks gave her. So let’s try it for one week. Join me and everyday this week just GIVE GOOD and humbly GET GOOD back. I love you all and wish you your own best beauty! Silvia
California Bride Raises $2,300 at her wedding, donates 100% of would-be wedding expenses to relief for Haiti.
My wedding was perfect. I still believe it may have been a dream if it weren’t for the photos.
If you read the first article I wrote for elephantjournal.com, you’ll remember how I described myself as not being “the wedding type.” I decided to have my wedding at Yogaco, where I teach yoga in Santa Monica by donation. I gave up my Sunday slot and turned it into my wedding. I asked that all the guests bring money for Haiti instead of towels, pots and sheets for my new husband Robert and me.
I planned this big hoopla and made it public on Facebook (assuming everyone was on Facebook). I did receive some flack after from people who missed the event because they are not on Facebook. I am still stunned. Not on Facebook? Apparently there are a few people out there who still rely on phone calls rather than texts, on actual communication rather than social networking. Hmm.
I was a bit nervous as to how it would all work out, but I kept reminding myself of the life lesson proven time and time again: It Always Works Out. And It did.
Emmy award winning stylist Brenda Cooper styled me in an amazing gown and jewels and my student Hilla Peer did my makeup.
Second lesson I have been re-learning lately: You attract what you are, or, likes attract. I must be doing something right because I have been attracting the most wonderful people and students into my life. At no other point in my life have I had such kind, generous, loving, and spiritual people surrounding me. Nobody would take money from me. I looked like a movie star and yet I did not pay one cent.
Another example of this Law of Attraction is the angel that showed up right before I got married and healed me.
My back went out before I was to wed. Yes, it sounds cliche, but it’s true. And I teach yoga. All around bad situation. I literally could not move or teach. How was I to get married? I tried doctors, heating pads, ice, rest, no rest, bath, massage, chiropractor. Nothing seemed to alleviate my pain. I finally managed to crawl out of bed to teach my Saturday evening class, where I announced my back was injured and I would not be demonstrating any poses. After class, a woman came up to me who I had never seen before and said that she wanted to help me. She would open her office for me the next day, a Sunday morning, because she was leaving for Japan on Monday. To make a long story short, this woman whom I had never met opened her heart and her doors to me on her day off and cured me. She gave me acupuncture and helped me release whatever it was I was holding onto, physically and otherwise. Mostly otherwise. She would not take money from me. It was as if she showed up just to help me and then disappeared.
I had a professional photographer at my wedding who also would not take money. It was as if all these people were conspiring with the Universe to help me pull this off. And did we ever!
As the people arrived, they brought home-cooked food and champagne. The children took the Red Cross buckets and began walking around to collect donations. Of course no one could resist them so we owe quite a bit to their charm.
Samadhi Bishop sang, I want to hold your Hand with a voice so powerful that people actually started weeping. Erica Rhodes was on cello and proceeded to mesmerize the audience. We had a didgeridoo player and drummer and people got up and said prayers and poems. One woman got on stage and asked everyone if they had seen the movie Avatar. We all nodded. That is like asking if everyone is on Facebook, isn’t it? She had us all gather and touch the person next to us, so the whole room was touching and we could all feel each other. It was a profound experience, much like the film. The energy in the room was palpable, as if it was a living breathing thing, which indeed it was.
One of my students brought tears to my eyes when I saw that he wrote a check to the Red Cross for $1,000. This is the type of person who comes to my class. I feel so blessed to even know this kind of person, let alone be their teacher. All in all, we raised over $2,300 for Haiti. It felt so good counting all that money knowing how far it would go.
I did register at Target because all my friends kept saying that I ” had to.” (I am human and there are a few things that I want. If you recall I mentioned a wok in my last article. Well, I have received seven woks.) After a while however, as you browse the pages of Target registries, all the stuff starts to look the same. I realized: It is Just Stuff. Whereas this $2,300 is going to go very very far in saving lives and helping people with basic necessities such as water. The stuff of life, rather than just stuff.
I figure that if this law of attraction stuff keeps up I won’t ever have to register for anything ever again because amazing things and people will just keep Showing Up in my Life. This is how it works. Going back to How may I serve?
When you give with a pure heart, the pure heart in others reveals itself to you. Case in point: my wedding and all the events surrounding it.
All in all, it was a huge success. I know my father was there in spirit as I felt his presence in the room and it was his spirit which helped me in all of this. It was truly a spectacular celebration with people I knew and people I didn’t know alike, singing and dancing and eating and raising a ton of money.
p.s. Not one person wore shoes!
Jennifer Pastiloff is a yoga teacher based in Santa Monica, Ca, who spends too much time on Facebook, Twitter, and elephantjournal.com. She tries to balance it out with writing poems and being the So Cal Director of Yoga teachers forYogabear, a non-profit that provides free yoga to cancer survivors.
FEELING CENTERED 9 LIFE LESSONS YOU LEARN FROM CLIMBING (AND YOGA)
MARCH 3, 2010: What does CENTERED mean to you? To me it means balance, peace, happiness, patience, a oneness with others instead of a tug of war, and most of all BEING PRESENT. It is that “isness” of now that Echkart Tolle writes of in A New Earth. When we practice yoga we are actively seeking to make the adjustments necessary to be more present to keep returning to our center by studying ourselves or as Socrates says, "To know thyself."
The third chakra, often called the solar plexus, is our personal power centre, the magnetic core of the personality and ego. The Sacred Truth of the third chakra is ~Honor One-self~. The energies that come together in this chakra have but one spiritual goal; to help us mature in our self understanding - the relationship we have with others, and where we stand on our own and take care of ourselves. The spiritual quality is self-respect. We have all faced or will face an experience that reveals to us our own internal strengths and weaknesses and hence is what throws us OFF balance. Here below is a beautiful summary of 3rd Chakra key learning points we went over in class together. And one of my FAVORITE TED CLIPS about the 9 life lessons rock climbing (which is so much like yoga!). Enjoy!! Love and light,
Primary strengths – IN BALANCE: Self-esteem, self respect, and self discipline, ambition, the ability to generate action, and the ability to handle a crisis; the courage to take risks, generosity, ethics and strength of character.
Primary Fears – OUT OF BALANCE: Fears of rejection, criticism, looking foolish and failing to meet ones responsibilities, all fears relating to physical appearance, such as fear of obesity, baldness or ageing, fears that others will discover our secrets.
How we feel about ourselves, whether we respect ourselves, determines the quality of our life, our capacity to succeed in business, relationships, healing and intuitive skills. Self understanding and acceptance, the bond we form with ourselves, is in many ways the most critical spiritual challenge we face. In truth, if we do not like ourselves, we will be incapable of making healthy decisions. Instead, we will direct all of our personal the hands of someone else; someone whom we want to impress, or someone before whom we think we must weaken ourselves to gain physical security. People who have a low sense of self esteem attract relationships and occupational situations that reflect and reinforce this weakness. Nobody is born with healthy self esteem. We must earn this quality in the process of living as we face our challenges one at a time.
Key points about the Third Chakra:
- When our thoughts are scattered in several directions at once and we are no longer conscious of what we are doing or why, it is time to center ourselves.
- When we center ourselves, we begin by acknowledging that we have become spread too thin and we are no longer unified inside.
- Our thoughts might be out of sync with our feelings, and our actions may be out of sync with both. The main signs that we need to center ourselves are scattered thoughts and a feeling of disconnection or numbness, as if we are no longer able to take anything in. In addition, we may feel unfocused and not present in our bodies. Centering ourselves is a way of coming to terms with all the different energies within us and drawing them back into ourselves.
- Centering yourself means that you are working from or being aware of the core of your being in the solar plexus area of your body. We naturally know how to center ourselves when we take a deep breath, for example, before making a big announcement or doing something big. Another way to center ourselves is to sit down and engage in breath meditation. We can start by simply getting into a comfortable upright position and noticing as our breath enters and leaves our bodies. Our breath flows into our center and out from our center, and this process can serve as a template for all of our interactions in the world. In conversations, we can take what our friends are saying into the center of our beings and respond from the center. Our whole lives mirror this ebb and flow of energy that begins and ends at the center of ourselves. If we follow this ebb and flow, we are in harmony with the universe, and when we find we are out of harmony, we can always come back into balance by sitting down and observing our breath.
- When we center ourselves we can imagine that we are gathering our straying thoughts and energies back into ourselves, the way a mother duck gathers her babies around her. We can also visualize ourselves casting a net and pulling all the disparate parts of ourselves back to the center of our being, creating a sense of fluid integration. From this place of centeredness, we can begin again, directing ourselves outward in a more intentional way.
Matthew Childs' 9 life lessons from rock climbing (6 minutes)
- Don't let go (you think about letting go way before your body does, hang in there, watch for creative solutions)
- Hesitation is bad
- Have a plan (plan ahead to get to the top but you can't forget you have to complete each individual move)
- The move is the end
- Know how to rest (best climbers know to to get themselves into a position where they can regroup, calm themselves)
- Fear sucks (you are focusing not on what you're doing but on the consequences of FAILING at what you're doing, anything effective requires you focus on what you're doing)
- Opposites are good
- Strength doesn't always equal success (pull up example guys and girls)
- Know how to let go (once you get to that point where you know its going to happen, think about how you are going to fall, that's how you won't get hurt, fall in a way that you can control the fall, don't just hang on until the bitter end)
MENTAL DIGESTION AIDS US WHEN WIRED AND TIRED
FEBRUARY 6, 2010: As Americans we spend a lot of time thinking about physical digestion (what we eat, when we eat, what we're not going to eat, how many calories stuff has) but what about Mental Digestion. When we have poor mental digestion we experience stuff like poor sleep, obsessive worry, lethargy, impatience, fatigue, anger and an annoying degree of anxiety. How does this happen?
1. Being too sedentary keeps us in our heads, leading to overall mental stuckness. We need to move and breath, like we do in yoga.
2. Watching others move like on dancing with the stars doesn't help our mental constipation. We still need to move and breath.
Two articles that support this:
(1) Well, health experts say that sitting is deadly. "Scientists are increasingly warning that sitting for prolonged periods - even if you exercise regularly - could be bad for your health. ANd it doesn't matter where the sitting takes place - just the overall number of hours it occurs. Several studies suggest people who spend most of their days sitting are more likely to be fat, have a heart attack or even die. After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals says Elin Elblom Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences as reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
(2) In the January 29th, 2010 issue of the The Week, page 23 an article suggests "TV can kill you. Watching too much television may shorten your life by years. Australian researchesrs tracked the medical conditions of 8,800 healhty adults for several years; the more television the participants watched, the more likely they were to have died during hte years examined. On average, for every hour per day spent watching TV, a subject was 18% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, 9% more likely to succumb to cancer, and 11% more likely to die of any cause. The culprit is the inactivity TV promotes. Prolonged watching of TV equals a lot of sitting, which invariablly means there's an absence of muscle movement, study author David Dunstan tells CNN.com. Long, unnatural periods of doing nothing physically, he says, clearly lead to premature death. The antidote is to just get up and move, he adds. The more you move, the greater the health benefits likely to be."
Our mental digestion is relieved by using the breath led poses in vinyasa yoga to help us circulate our energies, both physically and mentally. Otherwise our minds feel both WIRED and TIRED. We have this need to burn off excess energy that's pent up from sitting too much and we also need to breath and refresh our brains. Remember as John Doulillard, Director of LifeSpa School of Ayurveda in Boulder, Colorado says, "everyone thinkgs that when you can't sleep, you have too much energy, but usually people have too little energy: they are TOO exhausted to get to sleep." Please stay with your commitment to yoga and let your life be free of all constipation, mental or otherwise! Peace and light, Silvia
STAYING WELL IN WINTER WHEN WE FEEL LAZY
JANUARY 25TH, 2010: I was out at Target this morning and overheard two ladies one saying to the other: "I'm so over Winter. Yeah I've been over it since it started." Ok. I get that. I'm one of those folks for whom staying well in Winter is hard. My balance is constantly disturbed in the Winter (I’m more sensitive to sound & emotions, more easily agitated, more difficulty concentrating, relationship to food is vastly different – my digestion is more sluggish, I want to eat more but don’t get full, can’t warm up, harder to relax, hold my breath more, tired but not sleepy). Does any of that sound familiar?
For most of my life I thought I was alone. Thank goodness I found Yoga and eventually my studies expanded to include the sister science to Yoga called Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, we are all made up of the 5 elements; ether, air, fire, water and earth. The 5 elements combine to create the three doshas; Vata (air and ether), Pitta (water and fire) and Kapha (water and earth.) We are each born with varying quantities and qualities of the doshas, denoting our unique psychobiological make-up or constitution. One of the three doshas is usually primary, one secondary, and the third least prominent. Health depends on maintaining this proportion in balance.
Here’s the thing. STAYING WELL IN WINTER IS HARDER FOR US IN COLDER CLIMATES.
It is much easier to maintain balance (mentally, emotionally, physically) let’s say in Spring and Fall. So what do we do? Give up? NOPE. That’s not it. If we don’t get off the couch the downward energy and sluggishness INCREASE and we feel worse. Bummer. The answer to maintaining balance (or at least have a shot at it) is to address the high degree of Kapha in all of us this time of year and keep moving. YOGA ENERGIZES: it helps restore energy to a tired body allowing cells, senses and nerves to quiet down. It increases circulation to the adrenals, thyroid and kidneys which are the storehouse of energy. YOGA REDUCES STRESS: it reduces cortisol and other stress hormones which drain the body of energy from being in fight or flight response.
However, the Yoga we should do is a steady slow-flow with some holding of poses and more inversions. So that’s what we’ll offer you. All you have to do to feel your best this Winter is show up for class. You guys we have to keep the momentum going, it’s only January 25th….we have a ways to go until Spring my friends. Just don’t give up! Stay the course.
My themes for evening classes this week:
Jan 25th Level 1 at 6:15pm-7:15pm and Basics 7:30pm-8:30pm: Lazy People’s Yoga
Jan 26th Basics 6:15pm-7:15pm Yoga and Weight Loss and 7:30pm-9pm Level 2 Yogapalooza (linking a gazillion poses gently, sweetly to one another)
Jan 27th 6:15pm Level 1 Slow Flow for Home Practice
Jan 28th 7:30pm Level 1 Using Inversions Safely for Healthy Metabolism
Jan 29th 6pm Level 1 Avoiding Stuckness
Jan 31st 4:30pm Level 1-2 followed by 6pm Wine and Cheese Party (Why Do A Yoga Retreat – Benefits of Spiritual Adventure)
So let’s plan a date. Make and keep this appointment with your LIFE, don’t skip Winter, get out there, stay involved and active in your life! Love the day, Silvia (Bonus article below)
”Staying Well in Winter Conditions
Winter brings in a handful of elements that may disturb the healthy balance we maintain during more moderate seasons. Cold weather disturbs, and increases vata. Add the dryness in the air, caused by indoor heat and it increases doubly. Kapha is affected in damp, cold conditions and can also be also exacerbated from not getting much fresh air and natural light.
When the air outside remains cold, it provokes the Vata quality in us all; inside the constant blowing of dry heat can also disturb vata through the quality of dryness; remember that balancing Vata is key to all individuals since when Vata moves, it directly affects the complementary elements, or doshas, for better or worse. Cold, windy and dry conditions can be hard to avoid altogether, and the following actions can counteract disturbed Vata:
* Staying well covered in cold climates - hats, scarves, and gloves
* Nourishing the insides with warming foods, drinks and spices to promote internal fire
*Do more Yoga. Slowly flowing and interspersed with longer holdings an inversions to keep energy moving upward. Make sure to stay warm during the whole practice and cover up during savasana at the end of the practice
* Special attention to skin care in cold/dry conditions - keeping the skin, hair and nails hydrated and lubricated
* Establish and keep to a daily routine - balancing vata in this way will help to keep all the doshas in balance”
RESISTANCE GETS A BAD RAP
JANUARY 8TH, 2010: I was feeling bad for resistance. I think it usually gets a really bad reputation when maybe we aren’t giving it enough credit. In chapter two of the Yoga Sutras there is all this talk of working towards balance and harmony in our lives. One example for instance of using the breath is that it has the same “effect as combing our energy” on the inside just like we have to comb our hair on the outside when we wake up. Nischala Joy Devi says “with rhythmical breathing we align and comb our energy, it becomes smoother, calmer, and more focused.”
So it occurs to me in order to brush my hair I have to use some muscular energy in holding the brush and sometimes really work hard to get all the knots out and retame my long hair in the same direction. The use of the brush is an example of positive resistance. The chaos of the hair needs to be focused otherwise it is all over the place. We use the poses and the breath in the same way on the mat. They teach us there are consequences. Rolf Gates when visiting TBY last year said something like "if we avoid our consequences we won’t wake up and we wouldn’t love as well.” In life even difficult people serve as a form of positive resistance to help us align our energies in a more focused way towards love and peace.
Another great example comes from nature. You’ve heard or seen stuff about Biodomes right? (And not the movie with Pauly Shore). Well tree’s inside the biodome won’t stay upright without any wind. They NEED the wind to be held accountable. In a really great harmonious ecosystem there are consequences. Some negative resistance might serve as warnings while positive resistance serve as examples. This is like listening to someone who has a teaching story to tell about how they went wrong, we learn from this and better appreciate why it’s important to comb our energies in a loving way in order to avoid those same consequences.
I especially can relate to this story from The Secret Power Of Yoga. I hope you get as much out of it as I always do! Love and peace, Silvia
“In a plain piece of metal, all the molecules are in chaos facing every which way. A magnet is a similar piece of metal in which all the molecules are perfectly aligned – the north pol,es facing one way, and the south poles facing in the opposite direction. Because of this alignment, the magnet gains the power to attract and hold other objects. If you stroke the ordinary metal and the magnet together in one direction only, the magnet will align all the molecules in the plain metal with itself, causing a second magnet to emerge. The power to attract and hold has been transmitted from one to the other, while amazingly enough the initial magnet retains its full strength. If you now take the two magnets and stroke them so the repelling poles are facing each other, the strength of each will diminish. The power to attract and hold is gone. We can see the benefit of being with those that support us rather than neutralize our power (satsang). As we align our energies this way through regulating our breath we maintain calm through the ordinary emotional rollercoaster rides we encounter each day. We find that when we are upset, everything around us reflects the same disturbance, as if it is somehow contagious. When tranquility prevails, it magnetizes everything with the same sense of calmness.”
HOW TO RECHARGE YOUR ENERGY
MAY 2, 2009:
What do we put in our cars to make them run?
What about ourselves? Oxygen, chi, Qi, laughter, life force, love, hope, passion, vitality, prana, food, water
What is energy?
What kind of things drain you of energy? Fear, Negativity, Worry, Doubt
What kinds of things can you do to give you energy?
· Practice breathing
· Practice yoga
· Listen to great music
· Be out in nature
· Do something you really enjoy – try something new
· Say something nice to strangers.
· Send thank you note once per day
· Love more
So the question is do you take more time to recharge your car and keep its energy strong or yourself? What can you do to limit the things that drain you of energy and do more of the things that recharge your spirit? Sending you love to boost the positive flow of energy into your life! Silvia
EARTH DAY MEDITATION
APRIL 22, 2009: How to Go About Decharging Negative Energy
Negative energy is blocked or excess energy that needs to flow. Negative energy can be stress, frustration, anxiety or anger for instance. Depression is feeling negativity but being unable to decharge that. Nature makes you feel closer to Universal Source Energy, because Source energy is flowing in nature. Nature can heal you!
Once you've learned how to feel the energy during meditation, you can begin using the Earth element to decharge. A good way of decharging using the Earth element is to use a plant for decharging excess energy. Take a plant, point your fingers near it and say the mantra, "Oh Spirit, my heart is open to you, please come. I know you are in this plant. Please use this plant to decharge my negative energy. Thanks". Do this for about 15 minutes.
Depression, anxiety and stress will flow out of your fingertips into the Earth. As you do this and repeat the mantra a lifetimes worth of negativity may flow out. You have a second chakra in each fingertip for giving or sending out energy. Don't worry about the plant. The plant takes this energy and uses it in a positive way. It's not bad for the plant in any way. Having a channel to the Earth brings huge peace and happiness. Although you may have problems you no longer care about them. The Earth also helps open your heart. It allows you to live on Earth happily. The Earth radiates huge energy and can magnify any type of emotion. When you purify the Earth element in you, the magnetism of the Earth will automatically suck out your negative energy.
YOGA FOR BEING LESS TIRED
JANUARY 6TH, 2009: We all get tired right? But why? Interesting enough when we are tired we are stagnant, it is not that we have expended too much energy but we have not been actively moving our bodies enough. The yoga of moving and breathing moves our energy and flushes the body to remove the stuckness. A key way to look at Yoga for being less tired is to focus on the 3rd Chakra. This chakra often called the solar plexus, is our personal power center. The magnetic core of our personality which wants to bubble up and radiate out.
When the 3rd charka is in balance we have strong Self-esteem, self respect, and self discipline. When out of balance we get stagnant and run down as a result of fear of rejection, criticism, whether we’ll look foolish and worried about whether other people think we are meeting our responsibilities. This drains us of energy.
How we feel about ourselves, whether we respect ourselves, determines the quality of our life, our capacity to succeed in business, and relationships. Self understanding and acceptance, the bond we form with ourselves, is in many ways the most critical spiritual challenge we face. This is really then the entry from spiritual babyhood or adolescence into spiritual adulthood. Managing our energies is a big part of this. From a spiritual perspective, in fact, the entire physical world is nothing more than our classroom, but the challenge to each of us in this classroom is: Given your particular body, environment, job, family, and beliefs, will you make choices that enhance your spirit or those that drain your spirit? Will you be able to maintain your energy boundaries and sense of identity as part of your tribe but not based only upon it.
A favorite meditation I have from my friend Constance Hart is this: DRAW YOUR ENERGY BACK TO YOU - imagine that you are gathering your straying thoughts and energies back into yourself. Or visualize yourself casting a net and pulling all the disparate parts of yourself back to the center of your being, creating a sense of balanced energy. From this place of centeredness, we can begin again, directing ourselves outward in a more intentional way.
Life life on purpose, with purpose, maintaining the energy necessary to propel yourself towards your dreams! Think big! Silvia
"Time in life is short. Robert Bucco,
DECEMBER 18TH, 2008: I was reflecting on what it means to be balanced. So I looked up Balance in the thesaurus and it said: stable, steady, together, middle, centered. The opposite is unbalanced, unequal, uneven, lopsided.
What I love about balancing poses is that if we are not focused to our center we fall over. That's what’s so great, there is an unavoidable immediacy to balancing related to meeting ourselves. In other words there IS NO FAKING IT. Or I like how Laura Yeshe puts it, ‘If you expect your life to be up and down, your mind will be more peaceful."
How does this help us in life, well the yoga helps us practice strengthening our connection to the midline so that we get real about responding appropriately to both sunny days and stormy times. This comes about as we HUG IN.
And what is a hug? A hug between two people demands trust. It is an extremely skillful way of focusing on our humanness in all its messiness (wrinkles, hang ups, talents). It is real – it is not just some concept. So right now, take 60 seconds to be fully present with another human being. Try this from Thich Nhat Hahn:
Before hugging take a couple breaths to bring yourself fully into the present moment so you can really be there for that person.
On the first in breath we say to ourselves “Breathing in, I am aware that you are alive & in my arms; Breathing out, I am so happy”
On the second breath we say to ourselves “Breathing in, I know that I am alive and in your arms; Breathing out, I am so happy”
On the third breath “Breathing in, I am aware that we are both alive right now and embraced in each other’s arms; Breathing out, I am very happy.”
RECHARGING ONE'S BATTERIES: RETURNING TO ALIGNMENT
Yoga essentially shows us our best selves and each time we come to the mat we rediscover who we really are. You know that feeling of coming home, like in our first down dog of the practice. So when we come back home to ourselves we are aligning to our spiritual hearts. The flow within and outside us feels easeful once more. This is different than saying “easy” life is not always going to be easy, just like poses are not always easy either. But if we are aligned with our greatest good we can face any challenge without letting it get the best of us, burning us out, making us sick or tired. So join me in taking an honest look at whether you are in or out of alignment and from there I wish you all the courage to do something about it. This is the same wish I have for myself. I want for you, your own best strength! Love in all ways, Silvia
UNDISTRACTED ENERGY TO KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
SEPTEMBER 9, 2008: "Throughout life, we get clues that remind us of the direction we are supposed to be headed. If you stay focused, then you learn your lessons." -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
One of the greatest strengths we possess is the power to focus our thoughts. The value of the currency of our thoughts is worth more than anything else we can imagine. If we don't focus our thoughts they will end up scattered leaking energy in all directions. Pure thought is the idea of being totally undistracted. Now here's the coolest part: the energy of our thoughts are like a magnet and they will attract similiar energy. If you are focusing on what you don't have, on anger, disappointment, fear then you will attract more of this same energy. We don't have time to waste a single thought on negativity. What you focus on gets stronger.
You get to choose where you place your attention so pay attention to your strengths. A philosopher said, "In a civilized world, if our strengths are not determined to be valuable, we spend our life shoring up our weaknesses."
Do Yoga. Trust Your Strengths. And in turn Love Everyone.
MANAGING YOUR ENERGY: WHY AM I SO TIRED?
AUGUST 5TH, 2008: Do you remember Justin Timberlake last year or so had a new album and song about “bringing sexy back” I want to bring ENTHUSIASM BACK – LIVING with passion, vitality, zest!
Did you know that the single most common symptom amongst all disease is fatigue? This class tonight will demonstrate how the multiple causes of fatigue are interrelated and how you can experience more energy through yoga.
· One in four Americans complains of enduring fatigue, and blames everything from a lack of sleep to that general bugaboo: stress.
· Approximately 20% of Americans claim to have fatigue intense enough to interfere with their having a normal life.
· 80% of American women & men suffer from Adrenal Fatigue at some point in their lives.
· Approximately 20% of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue
· The average working mother spends 44 hours/week at work and 31 hours on family responsibilities per week in effect holding almost two full time jobs.
· The average working father spends 47 hours/week at work and 15 hours on family responsibilities
CAUSES: Fatigue is caused by a wide range of medical conditions so of course always see a doctor if the condition has existed for a long time.
A - Adrenal Fatigue – Affects up to 80% of the population! If you are most tired between 3pm – 5pm AND have suffered a number of shocks, or blessings, within the past couple of years, you could be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
A - Anxiety - "The on-switch for every negative picture that you've ever had about yourself." -Dr. Harriett Lerner
Physical symptoms: Fatigue, sweating, headaches, irritability, need to frequently urinate, insomnia, feeling easily startled and overwhelmed, difficulty breathing and intensification of PMS and menopause symptoms.
C - Constipation - Constipation feeds fatigue, literally. Because toxins aren't being eliminated properly, they are in fact building up and demanding more of your body's energy to process and store. If you do not regularly have 2-3 bowel movements a day, you are constipated.
E - Eye Strain - Spending all day staring at a monitor, watching the road while driving, needlepoint, T.V.
H - Hypersensitivity: A trait that makes about 20% of the population more aware and affected by all kinds of subtle messages from the outside and inside. "It's not that our eyes or ears are sharper. It's that we process more deeply the information we receive." -Dr. Elaine N. Aron, author, The Highly Sensitive Person
N - Nutritional Deficiencies
P - Perfectionism: Did you know that perfectionism is the ultimate form of self-abuse and is a major source of stress and fatigue, especially in women.
How yoga fits in
· YOGA HELPS WITHOUT HARMING: Gentle asana practice stretches muscles, keeps us limber, releases tension in muscles without straining the body the way overly vigorous aerobic exercise can.
· YOGA BRINGS AWARENESS: where are you Leaking Energy? (Tight jaw, Wrinkled forehead, Pursed lips, Hunched shoulders?)
· YOGA HAS NO PRE-REQUISITES: Yoga and breathing exercises can be done no matter how tired you are to help rejuvenate you. It can be practiced anywhere. It is transportable
· YOGA ENERGIZES: helps restore energy to tired body allowing cells, senses and nerves to quiet down. It increases circulation to the adrenals, thyroid and kidneys which are the storehouse of energy.
· YOGA REDUCES STRESS: Yoga reduces cortisol and other stress hormones which drain the body from fight or flight response
· YOGA BRINGS BALANCE: Yoga makes the whole metabolic system function better, with increased immunity, better digestion, better sleep, regulation of hormones, it brings energy/vitality and is the great equalizer.
· BENEFIT comes from consistent practice over a long period of time
· Yoga EMPOWERS us to take back control. You are actively involved.
· Yoga teaches STILLNESS. To hear what is going on, to listen to the answers instead of replaying worry tapes over and over.
· SLOW DOWN people breathing: When you are anxious, natural breathing is inhibited. The diaphragm freezes, failing to move air downward as you inhale, which means that you don't let your lungs fully expand and fill with air. "And when you don't get enough oxygen, the brain receives a 'danger' signal, which perpetuates your mind-body state of anxiety," explains Jonathan Davidson, M.D., director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at