TRUST, UNCONDITIONAL GRATITUDE AND LETTING LOVE IN
April 9, 2011. "If I knew that everything I believed and more was true-I'd wake up and let life take me as its own." 9:30am and 12pm at hauteyoga Queen Anne focused on Trust, Unconditional Gratitude and Letting Love in. Danna Faulds goes on to write, "I'd welcome whatever came next and know that love could change me forever if I let it." I have a confession to make, I have trust issues. One example started when I was run over by a car as a pedestrian over 10 years ago. Since that point whenever I'm walking I still feel my breath tighten and my skin constrict as I get ready to walk across the street. The fact of the matter is that when I was involved in this hit and run accident (as the one that was hit) I was a step away from the curb on the other side of the street. I saw the car coming on a sunny Sunday morning. And I didn't feel afraid because there was no way they would drive on the WRONG side of the street and hit me. I was so close.
Anyhow, the reality of the matter is that the car did cross over. And ever since I work on trusting that even if I have the right away as a pedestrian that the car will stop for me. Living in Seattle has brought me great healing towards rebuilding my trust because the law and the culture here are pedestrian, cyclist friendly. Even if a car has been stopped at a stop sign and you start walking they still give you the right to walk safely. And everyday I heal this trust issue I have between cars and people a little bit more. But its not easy and I still have to remember to keep breathing through the mental inconvenience of changing my thought patterns and old belief. In any spiritual practice we all have to make the choice to trust in what is important to us and believing in something doesn't make it easy.
Pema Chodran writes, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience. From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.”
"If I knew that everything I believed and more was true...." So what it is that you trust as true? If you've had your heart broken will you take the steps to try again even though putting yourself out there is inconvenient? If you've attempted an arm balance and it didn't work the way you thought it would can you reestablish trust in the Earth to hold you up? Today find something you trust, even if it as fundamental as air and earth and from there keep expanding your circle of trust. "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too." - GOETHE
When trust is difficult I practice Unconditional Gratitude inspired by the book BE HAPPY by William Holden who defines Unconditional Gratitude as follows:
- "Gratitude based on a faith that everything that happens or doesn’t happen in your life is for your own best interests. That we live in a purposeful universe. Life is always for you; it is never against you. It is a fact that blessings sometimes come wrapped in fear, pain, and tears. In choosing to practice unconditional gratitude you are choosing to trust the process, to honor your feelings and to place your faith in an outcome of inevitable grace."
And why bother healing the trust issues we develop in life? Because if keep constricting through mistrust then love can't come in. Either we trust everyone and everything that happens to us whether difficult or easy or we don't trust anything. We either trust the process and believe the universe knows what it's doing or we trust nothing. Learning to trust and when necessary rebuilding trust opens our hearts and allows love in. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
FAITH IS A VERB AN ACTION
April 7, 2011. Spiritual practice doesn't mean we don't ever face self doubt or worry. We do. The difference for me in my life is that when this happens I know better questions to ask myself. Then it’s a matter of believing, trusting, having pure faith. We are destined to rise to life’s highest ideal if we just keep the faith and trust in ourselves. This is like a promise we make to ourselves, an example of the most important kind of active faith for it’s the promise of believing in our best happiness. Now what I like most about Faith is best offered in the words of Sharon Salzberg who writes, “In Pali, faith is a verb, an ACTION, as it is also in Latin and Hebrew. Faith is not a singular state that we either have or don’t have , but is something that we do. We ‘faithe”. It is the willingness to take the next step, to see the unknown as an adventure, to launch a journey. Faith is what gets us out of bed, opens us to the possibility that our lives can be different. Though we may repeatedly stumble, afraid to move forward in the dark, we have the strength to take that magnitude of risk because of faith.”
Through FAITH we can see that although heartache or hurt exists in the world with Faith we will recover. Helen Keller says it like this, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” How do we action our faith? First we must accept that Faith is active, it’s something we have to take responsibility in doing. We can’t expect our healing to happen if we aren’t most interested in our own healings. I believe Jon Kabat Zinn who defines trust as “spiritual and emotional maturity”. It takes faith to have confidence in our potential for evolving in our maturity (physically, emotionally, emotionally). In yoga this is the most advanced pose, loving ourselves.
As Rumi writes, We are the mirror as well as the face in it. We are pain and what cures pain both. He encourages us to be the catalyst for faith healing our own wounds. How do we do this? Rumi puts it most simply when he writes:
I love myself...I love you.
I love you...I love myself.
So join me and let's faithe everyday, without fail and watch ourselves and the world grow in love. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS Here are the two Salutations we learned and practiced in backbending class this day.
4th Chakra Namaskar Hridaya Namaskar (Heart Salutation)
INHALE – Urdva Bhujangasana (Standing Backbend)
EXHALE— Uttanasana (Forward Fold-Hands Down Thighs)
INHALE – Eka Pada Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Splits)
EXHALE - Ardha Anjaneyasana Right (Low Lunge) Prep
INHALE/EXHALE – Ardha Anjaneyasana Flow Side to Side
INHALE -- Ardha Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)-Back Bend full expression!
EXHALE –Anahatasana (Quarter Dog)
INHALE – Bhujapidasana (Cobra)
EXHALE – (Lay on Belly)
INHALE -- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Up Dog)
EXHALE – Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog)
INHALE - Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana Left Leg (1 Leg Dog)
EXHALE - Ardha Anjaneyasana Right (Low Lunge) Prep
INHALE/EXHALE – Ardha Anjaneyasana Flow Side to Side
INHALE - Ardha Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)-Back Bend full expression!
EXHALE - Eka Pada Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Splits)
INHALE/EXHALE – Uttanasana (Forward Fold-Hands Down Thighs)
INHALE – Urdva Bhujangasana (Standing Backbend)
*Repeat again but stand on left leg this time, step back right
5th Chakra Namaskar
INHALE - Upward Plank
EXHALE - Lower Hips
INHALE - Boat
EXHALE - Plow
INHALE - Tip Toe Pose Urdva Hasta Arm Position
EXHALE - Forward Fold Arms Fly Back Chin to Chest
INHALE - Tip Toe Pose to Camel
EXHALE - Camel backbend
INHALE - Place hands prepare
EXHALE - Plank to floor
INHALE – Cobra Low
EXHALE – Locust
INHALE – Bow no hands
EXHALE - Rest
INHALE – Cobra High
EXHALE - Downward Dog
INHALE - Jump to Sukhasana
7TH CHAKRA SPRINGTIME ROYAL INVERSIONS HEADSTAND AND SHOULDERSTAND
April 6, 2011. Springtime is the perfect time to strengthen our 7th Crown Chakra because it is related to our personal development moving forward in the direction of our greater purpose. When we focus our efforts on this chakra we engage a dialogue related to believing in our place in the world. This requires Faith. Caroline Myss, in Invisible Acts of Power, writes "Faith is the power of the 7th chakra. It’s the circuit to the divine and a porthole to our intuitive resources. Miracles abound. The acts of service of the 7th chakra include the faith you convey to others through your own beliefs, actions and prayers."
Faith is a hopeful positive expectation for life. “The present moment is always full of inifinite treasure. It contains far more than you can possibly grasp. Faith is the measure of its riches: what you find in the present moment is according to the measure of your faith. Love also is the measure: the more the heart loves, the more it rejoices in what God provides. The will of spirit presents itself at each moment like an immense ocean that the desire of your heart cannot empty; yet you will drink from that ocean according to your faith and love.” --Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) France.
Practicing inversions literally turns our world upside down. No matter how many times we've been upside down it is an act of faith to keep listening to the Royalty of yoga poses like the King of poses: headstand and the Queen of poses: Shoulderstand Rumi writes "Since in order to speak, one must first listen, learn to speak by listening."
While we practice asana we take apart these more complicated royal family of poses so we can take a step at a time (and gaining a new perspective as we change our vantage point). As Sharon Salzburg says, “No matter what is happening, whenever we see the inevitability of change the facts of our lives can become alive with prospect. We see that a self-image we’ve been holding doesn’t need to define us forever, the next step is not the last step, what life was is not what it is now, and certainly not what it might yet be.” So make time this Spring to work on yourself, go upside down! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
Sahasrara is the Sanskrit word for "thousandfold." The crown chakra is the seventh main energy centre in the human body.
Fundamentals of the Crown Chakra
- Name: Crown chakra
- Element: White light, thought
- Sanskrit name: Sahasrara
- Colour: Violet/white
- Position in the body: Top of the head
- Associated endocrine gland: Pituitary gland
- Physiological form and functions: Muscular system, skeletal system, skin and central nervous system
- Emotional or spiritual functions: Spiritual search for meaning, issues of karma and grace, spiritual awakening, divine discontent
- Linked to: God/goddess, the creator, search for purpose and meaning in life, discovering ethics, unconditional love, symbolic vision, ultimate liberation
- Affirmations: Thy will be done. Love surrounds, nourishes and protects me.
- Asanas: Head stand, meditation
- Gifts connected to the crown chakra: These gifts are of the spirit. They come in the form of angels in disguise and simple acts of kindness. They can be embodied in moments of seeing the "truth."
- Level of relationship: Our relationship to our life’s true purpose, relationship between the ego and the higher self, relationship to god and spirit. Also connected to emotional and spiritual issues with regard to service to others. Humanitarian activities.
- Identification of weak crown chakra: the ‘long dark night of the soul’, feeling
- disconnected from God, meaning or purpose, migraines, chronic exhaustion, sensitivity to light and sound, greed and dominance.
- Negative thinking traits: There is no point in life. Why should I, I’m going to die anyway and none of this matters. Who cares, we’re just food for worms. I don’t see the point in any of it. There’s no hope.
- Questions to help chakra consciousness:
- ‘Who am I?’
- ‘What do I believe about the universe?
GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS IMPRESSIONS OF A NEW YOGA TEACHER
Practice Never Perfect…Thank Goodness By Laura Mills
My first yoga teacher suggested I practice balance daily, even if only to lift one foot an inch at a time. But at the beginning of my yoga life, I barely practiced anything outside my once-a-week class. I tried to fit in a little balance here and there, but only after many random and frustrating foot-lifts did I successfully incorporate it into every day. Eventually, as my yoga life progressed, I understood that balance isn’t something to be learned once and then mastered, like tying a shoe, but instead is a process that continues throughout one’s life. As is yoga itself, so much more than a “thing to do” on a daily basis. I still get frustrated on occasion—with balance as well as other aspects of yoga—but now I recognize those frustrations as merely steps along the way on which I travel.
When I consider my own yogic frustrations, my heart goes out to my students, both beginners and seasoned yogis alike. Occasionally I notice a look cross a face; I know the look well, and I wonder what particular frustration causes it. Perhaps it’s frustration with a constantly-chattering mind or a certain pose. Speaking from my own experience: very likely.
On such occasions I wish I could tell the student my own yoga story, but in a 60- or 75-minute class those details have little place. If time allowed, though, I would share how I’ve always struggled to quiet my mind, and that even now both on and off the mat I often can’t do it. I would share how I couldn’t always touch the floor in Forward Fold or bend my knee 90 degrees in Warrior 2, and how even now on some days doing either of those seems impossible. And, while many students have already heard about my tight hamstrings, here I would add how last year those hamstrings forced me to pull back from my practice and learn modified techniques while they healed from an injury. I would also divulge that I haven’t taught Handstand yet, since I just did my first one less than a year ago, as well as that no student should expect to learn Headstand from me since in anything beyond Tripod I have yet to lift my feet off the ground.
But still, while frustrations occur, the difference between me at the beginning of my yoga life and me now is I understand that no end point or final level exists, and as a result today I am much more content in my practice. Though I continue to struggle with certain aspects of yoga, I realize that doors open and roads unfold constantly—as long as I keep practicing.
I’ve been wondering, then, how best to teach the yogic process to my students. We already convey the idea when we teach preparatory poses before full or more challenging versions, for example, or when we focus on one particular sutra or limb out of many as a class theme. And we always encourage students to “begin where they’re at” and move forward from there. Little by little, even as frustrations occur, all dedicated students grow in their practices. But in the midst of chattering minds and challenging poses, do they realize they are growing? I didn’t realize it, at least not right away.
But, thanks to my first teacher, I started to learn.
And I’m still practicing…balance, and everything else besides.
My best teaching method might then be to continue being myself—as I believe my first teacher was, and as I believe most of my teachers since have been. Like them, I am someone who adores sharing yoga with others and someone whose life yoga has changed. I have faith in yoga, and its process, with my entire being. And with this faith I practice; alongside my students, I grow while doors open and roads unfold.
DROP IN TUNE IN BE PRESENT
NOVEMBER 11, 2010. Sit down, DROP IN, TUNE IN, BE PRESENT. That's it. This is yoga! And this yoga can be practiced anytime, without any warm-up, anywhere, with anyone or by yourself. I know you were probably thinking it would be harder or more complicated? But nah, Yoga teaches us that when we are not present our minds become totally distracted and our thoughts are all over the place, starting stopping, wandering from one thing to the other at often break neck speed. If we pay attention we harness the power of our thoughts. As a human being this is what distinguishes us from other creatures and is our GREATEST STRENGTH.
Forgetting to pay attention happens to the best of us.
The Yoga Sutras say “enjoyment is the sweetness of noticing your life right now – smell, taste, feeling, sensation” You see in times of doubt the key thing to know is that there is a point to it all. Even when we don’t understand why things are happening in our life we can rest assured as Sadie Nardini says, “alongside positive change, challenge appears.” This is why the greater point to spiritual practice is simply to drop in, tune in and PAY ATTENTION.
My teacher Shiva Rea says, "All beings have their yoga. This insight comes from a profound contemplation by Abhinavagupta. [He was] a prolific 12th-century scholar. He has this great axiom about yoga which is “tuning ourselves into our essential vibration.” We are learning how to tune ourselves into being present. This is why we go a yoga class. We feel out of tune. We start to feel in tune after the practice. I think only human beings distort ourselves to be something that we already are, our essential selves. For instance, a tiger essentially knows its nature; where as human beings have this incredible capacity to forget who we are and then have to search for ourselves."
Or as one of my favorite quotes reads "When you come to the edge and are about to drop off into the unknown, one of two things will happen: There will be something solide to stand on or You will be taught to fly."
I know from my own practice that the most powerful thing we can do is just be present to whatever is happening, tune in and trust that ability to focus one's thoughts will be enough to bring the clarity you need for the next moment. And we only live one breath, one moment at a time. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS Join me on a Yoga retreat with Alchemy Tours and without distraction really tune in to what you want for your life!
THIS PLACE OF MINE BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS
October 12, 2010 This Place of Mine.... (Thoughts of a Beginning Yoga Teacher) By Laura Mills
The need to put things in their place is what initially drew me to yoga. After some difficult years during which my life's flow drastically changed course, yoga proved itself a paddle with which I continued sailing forward. Yoga felt right; it made ME feel right, or at least more right than before...which made pursuing my teaching credentials feel especially right, so I could ultimately help others do the same.
And so, eager to teach others about re-establishing life's peace--about putting things in their place--I immersed myself in a teacher training program. And then, sooner than expected, a teaching opportunity arose, and into my first class I jumped. I'm glad it all happened quickly; if I had had more time to think before I accepted the commitment, I likely would have talked myself out of it. And true to my nature, after I accepted I struggled daily with the thought, "What have I gotten myself into?" Terrified, I wrote my first class, then practiced it at least once a day for an entire week. I mentally rehearsed it again and again. I even took the class plan to bed with me.
Was this what "right" should feel like?
The morning of the class I woke up sick-to-my-stomach nervous, and throughout the early hours I forced myself to stay busy at the risk of otherwise panicking. In fact, up to the moment the class began I focused so intently on NOT panicking that I can't explain too much else of what happened that day--all I know is that after the class I felt a surge of relief. And exhilaration, for it had gone well...which surprised me, because again true to my nature I had expected something to go wrong. Still, even with my initial happiness, afterwards I mentally replayed the class: did I cue everything correctly? Did I make eye contact? Did I speak clearly? Was my music too loud? What's landscape vision again? Was this really the right course for my life?
As my second, third, fourth and subsequent classes passed with the same anxieties and the same questions, something else emerged: a new dimension to the respect I held for my own yoga teachers. The effort in sequencing a class, the thought in developing a theme, the creativity in compiling a playlist...the amount of work involved, which I now undertook myself, revealed my teachers' love of and dedication to the practice. The thought of all they had done for me as their student humbled me. But even more than that, my realization of their faith inspired me anew...faith that, at some point, a teacher just has to let go of each class and trust that she or he has prepared enough and the rest will somehow come together.
The anxieties and the questions began to diminish...a little.
And then, a bit further along, an old feeling arose within me--a really, really good feeling that felt stronger with each class. I hadn't felt it in a long time, but here it was, back again. I recognized it when I realized I felt more excitement than nervousness before class; I recognized it when I realized I greatly looked forward to interacting with my students, many of whom I now knew by name. I recognized it when I realized I wasn't just another yoga teacher working with just another group of students, but part of a unique and beautiful yoga studio family.
And, I recognized it when I realized I was totally overwhelmed with blessings. With my attention lately so focused on yoga, my yoga-related blessings in particular were in mind.... My yoga teachers who enriched my practice and inspired me; my fellow trainees who shared so many of their gifts; my students who put their faith in me to guide them through each practice, each class; my husband who supported me in every possible way on my yoga journey. And God, the Universe, the Divine Being, who made certain that yoga and yoga teaching found me, and thus put me in my place...which is, in light of all this I am growing more certain, the right one.
Wishing you peace in recognizing your place, Laura
THE UNIVERSE KNOWS WHATS IT DOING WITH YOUR LIFE
SEPTEMBER 28, 2010. My favorite class to teach is where we start by meditating on our open hand. That in this simple gesture we have the paradox of yoga: to open and to surrender, at the same time. If we close our fist we are not able to let go of the mental agitations that heavy us. If we close our fist we are clearly not opening to a greater force beyond ourselves.
“Grace wakes us up when we are asleep, brings light to where there is darkness and removes obstacles from our path”. -Krishna Das
To Open to Grace, is the first principle in Anusara Yoga, but it applies to all spiritual practice. To open requires the courage to not remain closed or tight hearted or asleep to our lives. It is an awakening! To open to the light of grace and love that exists everywhere as universal support. I especially like this expression of "Opening to Grace" from Marianne Williamson's book, A Return to Love. "To open to Grace is to ask that only loving, helpful thoughts remain in our minds, and all the rest be let go".
The concept of Surrender in yoga is really in two parts.
1. When we surrender to Grace we surrender to something bigger than ourselves. Ok that seems to make sense for just about anybody. But the next part is harder for the cynical mind...
2. When we surrender we do so to a universe that knows what it is doing.
To trust that what I AM OPENING INTO will love me without conditions and has my best interests at heart is a larger leap of faith. But it is exactly when we stop trying to over control events when they fall into a natural order, an order that works. At that moment where we allow a power much greater than our own to take over we begin to trust that the power that holds galaxies together can certainly handle the circumstances of our relatively little lives".
So the practice today is to peel back the layers, let the light in, OPEN UP to the truth of who you are and how you want to be living your life. This requires that you surrender and let go of the past, of the hurt and create space for what comes next. Even though none of us really knows exactly what comes next. We must just believe as we co-create our lives with the universal intelligence of love that spirit has our best interests at heart. We are loved, we are love. So today take comfort in loving yourself, loving your day, loving your life! Silvia, Anusara Inspired Yoga Teacher, ERYT
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way." - GOETHE
REAL GRATITUDE, PROACTIVE GRATITUDE, UNCONDITIONAL GRATITUDE
Favorite passage about gratitude in book, Be Happy by William Holden. May this inspire your life as it has mine! Love and light, Silvia
- Proactive gratitude – Gratitude is conscious reaction to things, people, situations, and outcomes that you deem to be good or positive. This attitude of gratitude is mostly reactive. That is it exists because something happens first. But PROactive gratitude is based on a decision to enjoy something BEFORE it happens. Mantra: I intend to appreciate and give thanks for today, no matter what happens.
- Unconditional gratitude – Gratitude based on a faith that everything that happens or doesn’t happen in your life is for your own best interests. That we live in a purposeful universe. Life is always for you; it is never against you. It is a fact that blessings sometimes come wrapped in fear, pain, and tears. In choosing to practice unconditional gratitude you are choosing to trust the process, to honor your feelings and to place your faith in an outcome of inevitable grace.
- Gratitude as spiritual realization – Gratitude stems from revelation that you are what you seek. This type of gratitude is based on deep spiritual realization that you are created perfectly, and that everything you have chased after and longed for – love, happiness, peace, is already yours. It is therefore a homecoming and a chance to finally rest. This real gratitude is based on a thanksgiving for your true identity. It teaches you that happiness does not leave its source. In other words, happiness does NOT COME AND GO; what comes and goes is your awareness of happiness. It also teaches you that what is truly valuable already belongs to you.
YOU ARE A TRAVELER PASSING THROUGH: YOUR STAY IS SHORT
“It is not easy to keep your heart open in the face of the trials of being human. Life can so often be difficult, disappointing; our dreams are so easily broken. How precious, then, those shafts of sunlight that sometimes break through our daily preoccupations, our anxieties, and reveal the beauty that was there all along.” - Roger Housden
The next step is not the last step…
“When we finally stop struggling with life, stop wanting it to be anything but what it is now – not giving up but giving it over – then our heart will indeed fall open, and we shall know beyond all doubt that, however dark the night, all is already well.” – Roger Housden
And the moment we let go of fear or the darkness of lost hope or peace of mind the sooner we find ourselves immersed in the journey of Faith once more. She will always take us back all we have to do is say “I choose life, I align myself with the potential inherent in life, I give myself over to that potential.” It means being present. That is what Sharon Salzberg in her book titled Faith speaks to when she writes, “With faith we can draw near to the truth of the present moment, which is dissolving into the unknown even as we meet it. We open up to what is happening right now in all its mutability and evanescence. A pain in our body, a heartache, and unjust treatment may seem inert, impermeable, unchanging. It may appear to be all that is, all that ever will be. But when we look closely, instead of solidity, we see porousness, fluidity, motion. We begin to see gaps between the moments of suffering. We see the small changes that are happening all the time in the texture, the intensity, the contours of our pain.”
During the course of our practice on the mat we flow and breath to remind us that faith in change is right there all the time inside our breath. One inhale leads us to the exhale and on into the next breath. Faith in our own breath reconnects us to trust in our lives.
“No matter what is happening, whenever we see the inevitability of change, the ordinary, or even oppressive, facts of our lives can become alive with prospect. We see that a self-image we’ve been holding doesn’t need to define us forever, the next step is not the last step, what life was is not what it is now, and certainly not what it might yet be. Without faith in change we would be compelled to repeat patterns of suffering at least reassured by being able to predict mortification and pain. Without a sense of possibility, we would be stuck—isolated, hopeless, and unspeakably sad. No matter what is happening, whenever we see the inevitability of change, the ordinary, or even oppressive, facts of our lives can become alive with prospect. We see that a self-image we’ve been holding doesn’t need to define us forever, the next step is not the last step, what life was is not what it is now, and certainly not what it might yet be. Without faith in change we would be compelled to repeat patterns of suffering at least reassured by being able to predict mortification and pain. Without a sense of possibility, we would be stuck—isolated, hopeless, and unspeakably sad.”
So I hope this inspires you all to step into the flow of grace. Believe that grace is always there the current gentle to swoop us up in our most challenging moments or as Rumi writes, Be helpless, dumbfounded, unable to say yes or no. Then a stretcher will come from grace and gather us up.
Hope you can join me at 9:15am this morning for a sweet quiet practice of Faith. Love, Light, Peace and Hope, Silvia
HOW TO RELAX
“We no longer have a choice about including practices in our daily lives that create health and spiritual growth. If we want a world worth living in today, as well as one worth leaving to future generations, we must take responsibility to create health in our lives, as well as to support others as they choose healthier lives for themselves. It is up to each of each of us to lovingly transform the world simply by first transforming ourselves.” (Judith Lasater)
Tonight at 7:30pm Basics we practiced the Art and Skill of Relaxation.
How did we do it? The answer is to be present.
It all starts with the breath. Even right now take a few moments and feel your entire body as you breath. Ask yourself what is your experience of yourself right now, right here? Keep paying attention to the breath to tune you into the present moment. Inhale, pause, exhale pause. As you breath remember no force, no over effort, think of your body as a glass and the base of the glass is your hips, the top of the glass is your collarbones. Just fill up smooth and easy.
Through the meditation of breathing we learn to be more present. This helps us connect to a quiet grounded sense of peace when our lives are filled with stress and messiness. But I’ll be honest with you, RELAXATION takes practice. So that’s where yoga comes in handy. Our time on the mat is the classroom in which we can practice how to relax. And once we take time to practice our yoga it can support us in our real life. Yoga can help us stay present and calm even in the most chaotic times. How? It reminds us that our natural state is one of love. From love all good things flow. And in a state of self-love we grow more relaxed no matter what is facing us outside ourselves. I wish you your own best love. Please hold your heart gently. Love in all ways, Silvia
“The present moment is always full of inifinite treasure. It contains far more than you can possibly grasp. Faith is the measure of its riches: what you find in the present moment is according to the measure of your faith. Love also is the measure: the more the heart loves, the more it rejoices in what God provides. The will of spirit presents itself at each moment like an immense ocean that the desire of your heart cannot empty; yet you will drink from that ocean according to your faith and love.” --Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751)
GETTING LOST IN LIFE - WHY ITS OK
Monday April 27th: Why Getting Lost is OK (About our internal GPS System and how I used a real GPS for the first time and what I learned)
Ok you guys so for the first time while in
This may seem like not a big deal but recently I had the experience in human relationship of being asked to trust and have faith, which I did, and then “getting lost” as I found out what I was told was true turned out to be false. I lost my footing, I lost emotional equilibrium. But as a result of this practice of yoga I learned that falling off the path of what we think life is supposed to be is an opportunity for spiritual growth. There is more than one way. Will I need to work harder to trust the next human relationship based on what happened here, probably, but love will win over skepticism with time. Hey, it helped me love GPS so anything is possible.
While in the
Going off roading then is the answer. Get lost! How? It begins with allowing ourselves to explore new pathways, or poses or relationships. And if we do get lost as long as we are conscious of our actions and are causing no harm to others then why not? We have to trust the internal GPS of our internal locus that we will get unlost again. And its through getting lost, that facing of the unknown or fear or being out of control or trying something new, that we often learn the most. We learn to try the path less traveled as Robert Frost speaks of. And most of all it wakes us up to so many other options! Better this than living life in a constant state of “ok” where its just half a life.
Now I’m the first to admit this isn’t easy. I have to say that I could feel my breath change when hiking especially these fossil falls, all black rock, like the surface of the moon or in the snow on the mountain, or in dense forest you can easily get lost but while lost you can also enjoy the experience.
That’s what I hope we learn, enjoy life, get lost, get unlost but make it all worthwhile as a means to learn about yourself and grow spiritually and emotionally. Have faith, trust and explore love! Silvia
BELIEVE IT: LOVE HEALS
APRIL 20TH, 2009: Spiritual practice doesn't mean we don't ever face self doubt or worry. We do. The difference for me in my life is that when this happens I know better questions to ask myself. Then it’s a matter of believing, trusting, having pure faith. In what? It's easy, LOVE.
Love does heal, will heal, if you step into the currents of grace and allow it to flow into your life.
What blocks the flow is fear, the enemy of love. Fear is any form of negativity. Don’t wait, remove the blocks of negativity that is slowing the flow of love into your life and you'll come to believe this yourself.
In yoga we are the lover and the beloved: As Rumi writes, We are the mirror as well as the face in it. We are pain and what cures pain both. He encourages you to, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” He puts it most simply when he writes:
I love myself...I love you.
I love you...I love myself.
5 ELEMENTS MEDITATION: LOVE HEALS
Part of my healing took place as I practiced a technique based on the teachings of Swami Kaleshwar. You sit or lie down, holding your hands just above your shoulders. You repeat the mantra, "Oh God, my heart is open to you, please come sit in my heart". You say this once for each fingertip. Your thumb is the Earth, your index finger is the Fire, the middle is Sky, the ring finger is Water and the small finger is Air.
You say the mantra for each fingertip giving each one a little wiggle as you say it. You may feel heat or a tingling sensation after a few weeks or months of practice. Each fingertip contains a chakra for receiving energy that corresponds to the five elements energy. When you are asking God into your heart you are drawing natural energy in through your fingertips. Performing this meditation technique for 15 minutes twice a day will open your heart to pull the divine energy in you. It will help dissolve your layers and problems in love. It is said that Shiva (Father energy), is flowing in the five elements. Shiva is said to be the Lord of five elements, Namashivaya. He is the pure consciousness, the highest person to reach in the universe. He's where you will find peace. Connecting to Shiva brings you the deepest peace and silence. This deep peace helps you transcend your problems and emotional blocks. When you are in a negative state of mind it helps you come back to your natural states of Love, confidence and happiness. It aligns you with divine peace, intelligence and creativity. This technique is for charging and aligning yourself with LOVE energy. Try it for yourself and see. Big love, love, love to you all, Silvia
TRUST IN ENOUGH
MARCH 30TH, 2009: I really believe that we are all benefited by words of inspiration. Today I am meditating in my own life in trusting that I will have enough. Enough of what? Well, enough courage, enough inner strength, enough wisdom, enough energy, enough love, enough happiness, enough peace. When life becomes intense it is easy to convince ourselves through the prism of mental scarcity that we aren’t going to have enough of anything. More than anything else, even more than love, what I wish for all of us is that we have Enough FAITH.
Through FAITH we can see that although heartache or hurt exists in the world with Faith we will recover. Helen Keller says it like this, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” How do we trust in enough? Well first it is to accept that Faith is active, it’s something we have to participate in. We can’t expect our healing to happen if we aren’t most interested in ourselves first. I believe Jon Kabat Zinn defines trust as “spiritual and emotional maturity”. Right on. I love that.
At some point in our spiritual evolution we realize we don’t need more and more of anything. Instead having just enough is plenty. So on the mat we do enough and we save a little for next time. We don’t have to do it all. Mostly because aren’t you tired of being perfect all the time? I am. So we appreciate the messiness of life and with just enough faith we let go of unrealistic expectations and let our story unfold. The universe if we have faith enough to trust in her wants us to be happy, to be courageous, to be loved, to be peaceful. So I wish you all enough (not more, not less). With faith in love, Silvia
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough.
FAITH IN YOURSELF
MARCH 12, 2009: When you think about it we grow great by degrees. It’s the little wins, turning off the tv, eating well, getting enough sleep, surrounding ourselves with positive people that demonstrate our faith in making good choices. The big stuff falls into place pretty much from all the little day to day, moment to moment decisions that we make. This clearly reminds us that it is the quality of the journey not the place we arrive to that counts. For we will get there, ultimately we all end up at the same finish line anyway.
We are destined to rise to life’s highest ideal if we just keep the faith and trust in ourselves. This is like a promise we keep to ourselves, the most important kind of promise for it’s the promise of happiness. Now what I like most about Faith. Trust, Confidence in ourselves is best offered in the words of Sharon Salzberg a favorite author of mine who says, “In Pali, faith is a verb, an ACTION, as it is also in Latin and Hebrew. Faith is not a singular state that we either have or don’t have , but is something that we do. We ‘faithe”. It is the willingness to take the next step, to see the unknown as an adventure, to launch a journey. Faith is what gets us out of bed, opens us to the possibility that our lives can be different. Though we may repeatedly stumble, afraid to move forward in the dark, we have the strength to take that magnitude of risk because of faith.”
I have had this experience when I traveled all the time and woke up in strange hotel rooms at first afraid, then comforted myself that I was fine and this kept me calm while my eyes adjusted. I have had this experience in therapy, where all that was asked of me was that I show up. The showing up was sometimes kind of difficult for the journey towards continued healing can be ripe with challenges. But I believed in the possibilities of myself and kept going, kept healing. These life experiences as well as time spent on the mat in poses facing myself that as much as others want good things for us we have to trust in ourselves first. We have to want it, we have to believe in our own intuition based in love and all will be as it should. BELIEVE, TRUST, FAITH – make these active day to day! Big Love, Silvia
QUIET COURAGE: FAITH AND PEACE
FEBRUARY 3, 2009: We have a gazillion opportunites to practice courage each and every day. Not the big splashy front page sort of courage but the quiet courage of daily life. While on the slopes my ski instructor Patrick Vaughn's favorite word was "quiet". He encouraged me to keep the movement quiet no matter what the external forces were around me (other skiers, the sunlight, the shadows, verticality of the run). I am deeply inspired by his kindness and want to dedicate this lesson to him.
This quietness in skiing keeps you nonreactive and calm. The splashy courage may help us initiate action in our lives but in order to "run the whole race" we have to maintain enough quiet courage that we can get to the bottom of the hill so to speak. This peaceful courage is sustainable, and certainly there is an aspect of endurance to it.
The best practice of courage is to believe without what Judith Lasater calls "proof of the future, without confirmation that the outcome will be what we want it to be." So it is easy to see that Faith is just another name for courage. A way without conditions, prerequisites or judgement to be present allowing the next thing to unfold. Living from this courageous place (which always comes from the heart the source of love and inner strength) is that state of non knowing that yoga teaches us.
Today I encourage you all to run your own race, don't just get started or think about it but find the deep resorvoir of quiet courage that helps you get to the to bottom of the hill. I wish you peace, Silvia
AUGUST 14TH, 2008: This morning when I was pulling out of the driveway the mailbox door was open. I had in my bag next to me my Netflix to return (which I usually hold on to for an extra 2 weeks). But today I stopped the car. I read this as the sign it was – to return my Netflix so I can get more movies. Profound! Well maybe not world changing but you get the point. Everything in our path is there with great purpose all we have to do is open our minds and hearts. At the same time it is important not to get caught up in the pitfall of asking why, after why, after why. Who are we to think we should understand the bigger reasons behind why things happen? Maybe we just need have faith. Once I surrendered to moving beyond the sudden death of my Father at the age of 59 years old to trusting the universe again my life got softer, I got softer. So today I wish you your own best strength, don’t lose trust even when you’ve been deeply hurt. Keep the faith and it will all be as it should be. Trust life, love life, love yourself….Silvia
TODAY’S INSPIRATION - Here is a quote from Unmistakable Touch of Grace by Cheryl Richardson
Every event we experience and every person we meet has intentionally been put in our path to help raise our level of consciousness. When we awaken to this fundamental truth, life becomes a true adventure, a spiritual adventure. The person who smiles at you while you are walking down the street is no longer a stranger. The phone call from an old friend who crossed your mind is no longer a surprise. The failed relationship that left you broken hearted is no longer a source of bitterness and pain. Instead it’s seen as a blessing in disguise, a gift that makes you stronger, more conscious, and ultimately, more alive.