CREATE CONDITIONS FOR YOUR LIFE TO OPEN

March 30, 2011

“Yoga is the practice of creating the conditions for opening to occur.  We learn to relax and open up to more feelings than just those that are comfortable or familiar.  This kind of opening allows us to being to make friends with the variety of our own human repertoire of experiences.” This explanation from Cindy Lee of Om Yoga really hits home. 

I have learned through this practice that I create my reality from the inside out.  Or as James Allen writes "The outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs." I come to the mat to purposefully create the conditions that I want to experience in my life.  If I want more ease then I practice the poses in an easeful way. If I want more enthusiasm then I perform the asanas joyfully! If I need more courage then I face my fears going upside down and stoke my courage.  Whatever I want my world to be more of I try out on the mat so it is reflected back to me when I go out into the world. 

And I have learned that the conditions I create in my mind relate not just to the next moment of my life but sequentially to the moments that follow.  Or as the Buddha says, “All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.” 

Today take responsibility for your life! Create the conditions that serve you best and renew your commitment that this is the day we no longer blame situations or people or things for our happiness but we see the world from the inside out.  I wish you all your own best courage, gentleness and clarity.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

 

YOGA PLAYLIST

Yellow, Jem, Sweetheart

River Flows In You, Yiruma, First Love (Yiruma Piano Collection)

Gobinday Mukunday, Spirit Voyage Artists, Yoga Living Series - Temple Spa

Ardes Bhaee, Mirabai Ceiba, Jamtse - Love & Compassion (An Offering for the Tibet Fund)

Song for You, Alexi Murdoch, Away We Go Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

New People {Empire Remix}, Blue Scholars, New People {Empire Remix}

Hate It Or Love It, 50 Cent & G Unit, The Massacre

Morning Mr Magpie, Radiohead, The King Of Limbs

Karaoke, Drake, Thank Me Later

Still, Wade Imre Morissette, Strong As Diamonds

Gayatri Mantra, Bruce Becvar & Nada Shakti, Samadhi

Chandra (The Moon), Michael Mandrell and Benjy Wertheimer, Anjali

River Flows In You, Yiruma, First Love (Yiruma Piano Collection)

 

3/30/2011   Tags:  hip hop yoga, yoga playlist, vinyasa yoga, commitment, courage, clarity, feelings, creating, responsibility, conditions, beliefs, Direct Link

THE CRUCIAL STEP BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS

I unrolled my mat and made sure the music I wanted was ready to go. Greatly anticipated, it was to be a quiet hour of yoga with a friend at my home, and thus I took great care in creating the perfect atmosphere and space. As I waited for my friend to arrive, I sat down with a jotted sequence of poses; reading over it, somewhere between Tadasana and Uttanasana the words "I love yoga" floated through my mind. I paused, struck by the words' abrupt appearance, their simplicity, and the fact that my thinking them didn't surprise me at all.

  Indeed, as my practice has deepened, but most especially in the last six months as I've embraced the role of yoga teacher, such incidents have occurred more and more often--not always in the form of an unbidden thought, but definitely in a way that integrates seamlessly with the flow of the moment. One evening, for example, while mentally reviewing a class I was to teach the next day, I found myself suddenly up on my feet, moving from Virabhadrasana I to Humble Warrior to Virabhadrasana I to Plank...with joy, I had sprung out of my chair and into the sequence. With nothing in my mind except the love of the practice, my body had just started flowing.

  And this tendency, for lack of a better description, hasn't restricted itself to acute incidents, either, but sometimes occurs in the form of a new pattern. One of them I notice during my early-morning home practices.... Without fail, every practice, my body and mind fight the 5:30 am clock chime, the first glow of candlelight and hint of incense, the extra effort coupled with the creaks and cracks of those initial stretches. But by the end of the first wave, my body and mind pulse with peace, content with the flow and happy in the practice. And by the end of the 60 or 75 minutes, I don't want to stop.

  Another new pattern occurs each evening, when I attempt to fall asleep. Whereas I used to try to take deep breaths while I replayed the day's events and convinced myself not to let anything bother me, now I settle myself by releasing one long, deep exhale and opening myself to a rush of gratitude. No matter what occurred during the day, I truly believe I am blessed with the privilege of just breathing, of having had another day to live...no mater what. The day's events, whatever they were, don't matter nearly as much.

  I definitely didn't feel this way before.

  When I first started practicing yoga, it was something I set out to do on a regular schedule--go to class, then go home, then pick up the day where I left off. And though I enjoyed yoga from the beginning, knowing I did something so, so good for me in so, so many ways, with time I began to actually feel yoga: the unbidden thoughts, the joy in the practice, the peace in knowing I am, as yoga teaches, only a small part of something much greater. Feeling yoga like this is what, for me, especially since I began teaching, has distinguished between yoga as a hobby and yoga as a defining quality of who I am. And significantly, because of the yoga I love so much, little by little I've learned to love myself so much better. I hope that now, in the role of yoga teacher, I might inspire others to learn the same for themselves.

  May you feel your yoga, too...  Laura 

11/1/2010   Tags:  Laura Mills, love of the practice, beginning yoga teacher, home practice, patterns, gratitude, feeling yoga, loving yourself Direct Link

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 

10/12/2010   Tags:  Laura Mills, flow of life, feeling right, finding peace, teacher training program, beginning yoga teacher, love of the practice, dedication, humility, faith, blessings Direct Link

WHY DO YOU DO THE THINGS YOU DO

SEPTEMBER 6, 2010.  Why do we do the things we do?  Why do you think the things you do?  Why do you feel the way you feel?  All of these most essential human questions.  Yet to be honest, before stepping fully into spiritual practice I had either not thought about these questions or I certainly didn't spend much time thinking about them on a day to day basis.  Through the cognitive behavioural therapy that is Yoga that all changed.  Even if you don't want to at some point while breathing on purpose and practicing the poses these questions get so loud that you have to address them heart first.  

Senior Yoga Teacher and a personal hero of mine Donna Farhi  has said  “In truth, it matters less what we do in practice than how we do it and why we do it. The same posture, the same sequence, the same meditation with a different intention takes on an entirely new meaning and will have entirely different outcomes.”

Whatever habits of the mind, that lead to actions, that establish our feeling state bubble to the surface of our consciousness during yogic practice and only then can we start to be honest with ourselves about why we are doing the things we are doing.  This is what is behind then the idea of INTENTION.  

So right now ask yourself, WHAT IS THE QUALITY OF YOUR INTENT?

It doesn't matter if you are eating, drinking, reading, kissing, working, breathing what is the quality of your intention behind doing what you are doing?

Thurgood Marshall said, "Certain people have a way os saying things that shake us at the core.  Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering.  What we could be experiencing is the INTENT behind the words.  When we intend to do good, we do.  When we intend to do harm, it happens.  What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through.  We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts.  The emotion is the energy that motivates.  We cannot ignore what we really want to create.  We should be honest and do it the way we feel it.  What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent.  My intent will be evident in the results."  Renew your commitment this Fall to pay attention of the quality of your intent (is it honest, is it authentic, how does it feel) and stay mindful of your intent in all you do!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

9/6/2010   Tags:  questions, intention, quality, feeling, donna farhi, mindfulness, goodness, doing, honesty, silvia mordini, yoga Direct Link

SECOND AGREEMENT DON'T TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY

APRIL 6, 2010:  The second agreement is not to take anything personally.  Don Miguel Ruiz explains this, "Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.  All people live in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.  When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world. If someone gives you an opinion don't take it personally, because the truth is that this person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs and opinions.  That person tried to send poison to you and if you take it personally, then you take that poison and it becomes yours. Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up. You eat all their emotional garbage, and not it becomes your garbage. But if you do not take it personally, you are immune to it."  

This is one level of understanding so on the mat we let everyone do their own yoga. We don't worry about whether someone next to us can do a deeper variation of a pose, it's not about us. They are practicing their own yoga and we should focus on our own yoga.  Now the other level of this experience is as Ruiz says so well, "even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily truth; therefore, you don't need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally.  We have a CHOICE whether or not to believe the voices we hear within our minds. The mind can also talk and listen to itself." So be careful and choosy about what you listen to in your own mind.  Let go of the old stories that don't serve you that hurt you that keep you from being more of your potential.  

What we experience if we Don't Take Things Personally is, "you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear, and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don't take things personally. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering."  

And of course it always comes back to LOVE.  "If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your HEART completely OPEN and no one can hurt you. You can say, "I love you." without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need. You can say yes without guilt or self-judgement. You can choose to follow your heart always!"  I love all of you and hope you can embrace this agreement to love yourself, love your day, love your life!  Silvia  

4/6/2010   Tags:  LOVE, FEELINGS, OPINIONS, HEART, OPEN, ANGER Direct Link

TAKE TURNS WITH YOUR EMOTIONS

MARCH 9, 2010:  So I read this great article abou Gary Lauder's clever idea to reduce traffic accidents: a traffic sign that says "Take Turns".  I love this. It's solo yogic! It's simple, cheap, smart and kind.  And if 50% of traffic accidents happen at intersections it could save lives. The yogi in me takes this suggestion and applies it to our emotions. So imagine you approach the intersection of your emotions (just like you would in your car) and you look around and politely allow the emotion you are feeling to cross over.  Then the next emotion takes its turn quite politely.  Splendid!

Yet as human beings we often push back our feelings creating in the flow of our lives a flood at some point of pent of emotions. Or we deny what we are feeling trying to run away from it.  Neither of these works.  When we allow our feelings to take turns we are really CARING FOR OUR FEELINGS.  As Rumi writes;  "It's good to leave each day behind, life flowing water, Yesterday is gone and it's tale told. Today new seeds are growing."

This is really getting to the heart of a Tantric practice which encourages us to embrace all of who we are.  The sadness and the joy, the tiredness and the vigor, the fear and the love.  This is a nondualistic approach to see that there is not a winner/loser or bad/good that we don't have to battle our emotions, thoughts or feelings any longer.  Running away from what we feel will only prolong it.  And all of our feelings can be put into 3 buckets: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral.  So as hard as it might be to heal and remain in a state of being healed we are taught through yoga to embrace your feelings, care for them.

A great meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh suggest we take a feeling, let's say sadness, and talk to your feeling: say to your sadness "breathe - I am taking care of you now."  Acknowledge this feeling is you and as you breath out, let it go.  Then allow for the next moment to unfold and the next feeling. Breath into that one.  Take one at a time and stay with the flow taking turns. 

Most importantly know that whatever you're feeling is part of your humanness, love and hurt co-exist, one is the compliment to the other so to prevent staying in a state of suffering it helps to embrace all you feel and care for yourself.  We literally learn about ourselves as we experience emotion, feeling and thought.  We also become expert through this in the human experience. We can by caring for our own feelings learn how to care for how others feel.


If we can take turns in our emotions we can allow others to feel what they need to feel and take turns appreciating them too for their humanness.  Through this we create a more polite world. A world of peace and authenticity.  Love yourself, Love your life! Silvia

 

Gary Lauder's new traffic sign: Take Turns | Video on TED.com  

 

3/9/2010   Tags:  take turns, emotions, caring, feelings, TED, past, politeness, tantric, running away, breath Direct Link

YOGA AND JOURNALING

NOVEMBER 13, 2009: The Yoga and Journaling workshop was wonderful thanks to all who attended and Lucy Activewear, our sponsor. Our focus, different than earlier in the year, was 4th – 7th chakras, building upon the lower chakras. We took to heart the words of Joseph Campbell who said, “Life is not about the meaning. It’s about the feeling.” But the question is how do we promote healthy relationships between ourselves and others? The story of the Porcupine Fable by Arthur Schopenhauer served as further inspiration. "A troop of porcupines is milling about on a cold winter's day. In order to keep from freezing, the animals move closer together. Just as they are close enough to huddle, however, they start to poke each other with their quills. In order to stop the pain, they spread out , lose the advantage of commingling, and again begin to shiver. This sends them back in search of one and other, and the cycle repeats as they struggle to find a comfortable distance between entanglement and freezing." Also here below are the Affirmations Per Chakra and other details of these particular chakras.

CHAKRA LOCATION ELEMENT COLOR BACKGROUND

4. ANAHATA HEART AIR GREEN Balance, comfort, joy, enthusiasm for life, vitality. Cultivation of love and universal heart qualities: compassion, resonance, peace
AFFIRMATION: May I be free to feel my true feelings, desires, passions and be at home in my heart

5.VISHUDDHA THROAT SOUND TURQUOISE Freedom & openness in self-expression, Communication: both inner speech & outward, balance between heart & mind
AFFIRMATION: May I be able to express my feelings with ease and be balanced between heart and mind

6. AJNA BROW LIGHT INDIGO BLUE Intuition, capacity for universal vision, self purpose, global awareness, insights, meditation, empowerment, dreaming, imagination, visualization, clairvoyance
AFFIRMATION: May I see and perceive clearly on every level and seek only the truth.

7. SAHASRARA CROWN THOUGHT DEEP VIOLET OR WHITE Inspiration, selflessness, devotion, spiritual understanding, calm, awareness
AFFIRMATION: May I have a clear and open connection with source energy (spirit) and live in the present moment


11/13/2009   Tags:  Chakras, Yoga and Journaling, Joseph Cambell, Lucy Activwear, Feeling, Porcupine Fable Direct Link

CARING FOR OUR FEELINGS

AUGUST 6, 2009: 

It’s good to leave each day behind,
like flowing water, free of sadness.
Yesterday is gone and its tale told.
Today new seeds are growing.
~Rumi

 

This practice of poses and breath brings about an awareness of what we are feeling.  For most of us when we start yoga we haven’t made time to even ask ourselves this simple question. We’re either too busy going faster and faster or really good at avoiding what we are feeling.  Denial or argument with our feelings has become a way of life. But also a formula for suffering. 

 

Tantric practice encourages us to embrace all of who we are.  The sadness and the joy, the tiredness and the vigor, the fear and the love.  This is a nondualistic approach to see that there is not a winner/loser or bad/good that we don’t have to battle our emotions, thoughts or feelings any longer.  Running away from what we feel will only prolong it.  And all of our feelings can be put into 3 buckets: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral.  So as hard as it might be to heal and remain in a state of being healed we are taught through yoga to embrace your feelings, care for them like you would look after a younger sibling.

 

A great meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh suggest we take a feeling, let’s say sadness, and talk to your feeling: say to your sadness “breathe – I am taking care of you now.”  Acknowledge this feeling is you and as you breath out, let it go.  Then allow for the next moment to unfold and the next feeling. Breath into that one.  Take one at a time and stay with the flow. 

 

Most importantly know that whatever you’re feeling is part of your humanness, love and hurt co-exist, one is the compliment to the other so to prevent staying in a state of suffering it helps to embrace all you feel and care for yourself.  This practice of being human is put into poetry by the poet Kahlil Gibran who wrote, “all these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart.”  We literally learn about ourselves as we experience emotion, feeling and thought.  We also become expert through this in the human experience. We can by caring for our own feelings learn how to care and offer compassion towards how others feel. 

“In that calmness we begin to understand that peace is not the opposite of challenge and hardship. We understand that the presence of light is not a result of darkness ending. Peace is found not in the absence of challenge but in our own capacity to be with hardship without judgment, prejudice, and resistance. We discover that we have the energy and the faith to heal ourselves, and the world, through openheartedness.” (From book All About Love)  So may you all take away from your time on the mat the courage to “CARE FOR YOUR FEELINGS” as they arise, holding them gently and then surrendering them to the next moment. Love in all ways, Silvia

 

8/6/2009   Tags:  Caring, love, feelings, hardship, sadness, breath, meditation, rumi, thich nhat hanh, kahlil gibran Direct Link

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