By Laura Mills
A question non-yogis often ask me upon learning I teach yoga is: “Do you meditate?” And when I answer yes, they seem either impressed or scared. I guess much like asana practice, or even the yogic lifestyle itself, many non-yogis maintain a preconceived notion of what meditation is or involves. Since as many definitions of meditation, techniques for meditation, and opinions of meditation exist as there are meditating people out there, just for the record here’s my current take on it….
When I sit to meditate, I sit comfortably in a peaceful place—not necessarily a quiet place—with my eyes closed. I slow my breathing. I focus my attention on the place between my eyebrows. When I walk to meditate, I focus my attention on each step, the feeling of the earth beneath my feet.
And that’s it.
More often than not, staying focused challenges me, especially if I’m rattled, afraid, or even excited about something. And at those times—if I even notice my attention has strayed in the first place—I keep encouraging my attention back. Happily, practice over time has brought me more ease in staying focused. And with focus, the sensation is one of having put my “busy brain” on a shelf. It’s a relief.
I don’t meditate every day. I intend to, all the time, but I admit it’s one of those practices I move aside as my days fill with other things. Making the time to meditate is, I think, just as much a practice as meditation itself, and something I need to continue to work on.
My take on meditation may change tomorrow, or next year, or never. But at this moment, here I am.
YOUR LIFE GPS: WHERE ARE YOU GOING THIS YEAR?
February 5, 2011. Just a year ago I used GPS for the first time. I get the idea. You plug in where you want to go and it helps guide you there. The key point being you KNOW where you want to go. Yoga to me has been that which helps us ask the question “who am I” and eventually we get to the “why am I here” and even further down the path “WHERE THE HELL AM I GOING?” So this concept of GPS is pretty vibrant.
If you can get to the point that you know where you want to go then you know your spiritual maturity is evolving in the right direction. Until I finally decide to go to Tuscany on a Yoga Retreat one year I just played at entering a real GPS for my life. Then from that point forward I got clear. I want that for you. Get on the mat, do the practice, get your destination in gear and watch what happens. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PART OF MY PLAYLIST TODAY 2/5/11
Hard Sun (Main), Eddie Vedder
Nogo, Issa Bagayogo
Break Your Heart, Taio Cruz Feat. Ludacris
Vamos A Bailar, Gipsy Kings
Tighten Up ,The Black Keys
Express Yourself, Mocean Worker Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street
Mr Big Stuff, Jean Knight
Dedication, Kirby Shelstad
Join us on an amazing spiritual adventure www.alchemytours.com or come take class with me www.silviamordini.com
NOVEMBER 10, 2010. Jon Kabat Zinn says, "too often our lives cease working because we cease working at life."
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! Yet our least utilized. When we start the practice first thing we do is remind everyone to be conscious of their breathing, to pay attention to the breath: anapana sati breathing technique. Not being bossy just watching it. For as Gabrielle Roth writes in the book Sweat your Prayers, "the breath is promiscuous, and if you don't pay it attention it will find another lover."
Consider how tuned in to your breath you have to be to experience this from Pieree Teilhard De Chardin “The inhale and the exhale. Breathing out carbon dioxide to the trees and breathing in their fresh exudations. Oxygen kissing each cell awake, atoms dancing in orderly metabolism, interpenetrating. That dance of the air cycle, breathing the universe in and out again, is what you are, is what I am.” Wow! All he is talking about is paying attention to the breath.
Then by paying attention to the breath the breath reveals your state of mind and heart. “If you want to know the past, to know what has caused you, look at yourself in the present, for that is the past’s effect. If you want to know your future, then look at yourself in the present, for that is the cause of the future.” Majihima Nikaya
And as we pay attention to breath, we then pay attention to aligning our movements or poses with the breath. There is this really on purpose experience of where we put our hands and feet and energy without judgement, just observation. For what we know and don't know eventually become one. Rumi says it like this:
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend
why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how unknown merges into the known
All that you know, all that you don't know are no longer things to be feared or apologized for or worried about. Just by paying attention the universal intelligence that loves and supports us all is working on our behalf. All we have to do is pay attention and the rest works itself out for our greater happiness. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS And if you need a way to re-establish the ability to pay attention without distraction come on retreat with me. Stretch your mental and physical boundaries! Alchemy tours. Facebook us, facebook me anytime, visit our website www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com
DISTRACTION MOAB MUSINGS FROM ALCHEMY TOURS
NOVEMBER 8, 2010. As I returned from Moab Sunday evening with Carol and Rich we left behind the undistracted energy of the rocks and desert and mountains and as soon as we got off the plane in Denver were hit with the reality of distraction once again. The lights! The noise! The volume of people! The buzz in the air! It hit me with such force I felt a little sick to my stomach for a moment. And a lot confused. I thought hmmmm so that's what we live in day in and day out?
Sometimes we don't know what we don't know until we know something different. To be in Moab on a Yoga retreat with Alchemy Tours (www.alchemytours.com) mountain biking, hiking, bouldering is to be in a new world devoid of all distractions apart from our little tribe. The spiritual progress we make in this situation far surpasses what is allowable on most "normal" days when surrounded by noise, people, business, worry, speed, and anxiety. There in Moab on the rocks, there is quiet and we can all finish the conversations we start with ourselves but never seem to finish while at home because something comes up and distracts us.
"I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." --Hilaire Belloc
Going on a yoga retreat is an experience of fulfillment. It is done with purpose and the guidance we offer is focused whether on a mountain bike or hike or practicing yoga. Whereas distraction is that feeling of being lost. And we've all felt lost before. Using this practice to help concentrate allows us to organize the energies around us, inside us and turn them into undistracted energy which is quite powerful. We need that laser like focus to accomplish our intentions. On the mat we take one part, one stage (krama) at a time to help achieve amazing experiences. We place our hands, lay our foundation in a downward dog, direct our energy from the focal point of our hearts to our legs and arms, feet and hands. It is bringing the macro of our life into the micro of full detailed attention.
While in Moab Geology Joel, our personal friend and ranger, guided us in Arches National Park Fiery Furnace. He had us at the end stop and look at the vista of beauty before us and passionately implored us to not just see the bigness but to get down there and touch feel be part of the detail. And that in and of itself will help us be less distracted or overwhelmed.
Today, do something that draws your energy back to you. Take time to calm the chaos and move from distraction to center. And in that center is love. So love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
FOR FUTURE TRIPS TO MOAB WITH ALCHEMY TOURS PLEASE VISIT www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com save the date of April 16-19 2011 Moab, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Yoga Adventure or Oct 27-30, 2011 Moab Mountain Biking, Hiking, Yoga Adventure
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
POSSIBILITIES FOR YOUR LIFE
SEPTEMBER 14, 2010. "The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. The possibility is always there. ~Monica Baldwin
Nothing has expanded, bloomed or grown from contemplating the impossibility of things. If you tell yourself something is impossible the law of attraction will deliver this to you. This practice reminds us to be careful for what we ask for in our thoughts and even more fundamentally that you are responsible for the quality of your life, the quality of your intentions. This currency of believing in the impossibility of things sets humans apart from other creatures. And the fact that all in all we don't have that long in this earthly body is a pretty solid boundary. Robert Braul says it like this, "Life is short, God's way of encouraging a bit of focus."
"Waste not the smallest thing created, for grains of sand make mountains, and atomies infinity. Waste not the smallest time in imbecile infirmity, for well thou knowest that seconds form eternity." ~E. Knight
When we practice breathing and moving through the poses we start from small and simple movement to larger and more complex recognizing how we can create art, movement, sensation, and emotion by our own efforts. And the more heart and practice we put in the more we expand and we see the changes within us. The back of our eyes start to see the external world as filled with potential. For how we experience the world is based on how we see it on the inside first. And then all of our breaths become yoga whether on the mat or off. And then from there the eyes of our hearts open slowing and we proudly stand up in the world with heart wide open to the possibilities that exist to "make a new happy ending."
I used to say I could never bend my knee parallel to the ground in Warrior poses. Then the universal intelligence that is embracing us had me see that I was doing it. And just like that my disbelief vanished!
“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” -Frank Lloyd Wright
I stopped backing off from life and realized how precious it is to have this one chance. And that being human like this, right now may never come again. And every time I step on the mat I am reminded of this gift. I hold to the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." And how do I translate this yoga into the yoga of life? I kiss more, I hug more, I enjoy the beauty of food more, I explore more and I say I love you more. I keep expanding....and the thing is I want that for you too. So what are you waiting for? Start now. Believe in the endless possibilities for living the life of your dreams! It is possible. Anything is. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia (PS Read the book A Year to Live by Stephen Levine)
DIRECTING AND ALLOWING YOUR LIFE
“The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mood of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change, for happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up” - Unknown author
AUGUST 30TH, 2010. Today my meditation focused on what combination it takes of Directing and Allowing in your life to achieve ordinary happiness. To me it is like Alternate Nostril breathing. The inhale is a directed effort but then we allow the exhale to empty and there is that pause at the end of the out breath that purifies that allowing. You must wait for it to occur for extraordinary change is within that pause. Now at the same time we surrender to the changes that are outside our control we exert effort in directing our lives. This is a nondualistic happening: one not more important than the other. Directing and allowing, allowing and directing. Inhale, exhale.
"One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular." -Tony Robbins
The challenge is the constant sensitive adjustment necessary to manage especially the directing side of life. It is too easy to let life be done to us and give up all control of plans for the best life ever. I know this, we get on the treadmill of daily life (work, home, sleep, work, home, sleep) and convince ourselves to not make time to focus our attention. The time on the mat in yoga class or going on retreat is that period of directing our thoughts and processing what we are allowing for in our lives. So today engage more directly with yourself. You are the audience and the actor on the stage of your life and this is on a daily basis the performance of your life! "In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently." -Tony Robbins
And just like we learn to refine our awareness of breathing we can refine the consistency of how we direct our lives. Go big, dig deep and go for it! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
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
DECEMBER 2, 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 similar 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. It is such a blessing that we get to choose where we place our attention so we might as well pay attention to our strengths. Today DO YOGA. TRUST YOUR STRENGTHS. AND LOVE EVERYONE! Peace to all people everywhere, Silvia
A philosopher said, "In a civilized world, if our strengths are not determined to be valuable, we spend our life shoring up our weaknesses."
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.
AUGUST 7TH, 2008: Generosity in yoga is really an interesting learning. To be generous asks that we be open but with a really focused effort. In our Western world we get caught up with the idea of doing more for the sake of more, this more is better idea (even if quality perishes). In the corporate world I used to rage against the machine when it came to an ever increasing aspiration towards mediocrity instead of excellence like when I first entered the workforce 15+ years ago.
However in yoga if felt like I was coming home, how generosity meant a conscious action of doing more but in the RIGHT WAY. QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY, you know? Giving what is needed when it is needed rather than just what makes us feel good. We recently had our community give to the Iowa Anusara studio that flooded out and I honor the studio owner that set forth for us what they actually needed most so we could then be the MOST generous. I love that! Thank you for setting the example. May we all find ways to take that first step. How can you be more generous with yourself today? As I often say at the end of class: as much as I want this practice to be everything you want it to be I hope more that it be everything you NEEDED it to be. Peace. Silvia