The Good Kind of Emptiness
By Laura Mills
With Thanksgiving approaching, many of us are probably thinking about where we’re going, whom we’ll see, what we’ll wear, and what we’ll do the day after. And maybe we’re also relishing how the holiday will be an opportunity to slow our lightning-paced lives and recall the blessings that enrich them. While such activities and remembrances are sweet, this year I challenge all of us to add one more item to our holiday festivities: consideration of the things that are NOT part of our lives.
Think of the locations around the world in which you do not live, for example. Then think of the times in history during which you were not born. Consider your life situation—the many challenges you never had to face, the illnesses and conditions you never had to deal with, the surprises that never turned your life upside down in an instant. Consider all the choices you never had to make, the tears you never cried. And consider so, so much more that never touched your life.
This Thanksgiving, in addition to enumerating our blessings, let’s remember how unfortunate we are NOT. Then we can raise our glasses higher and bow our heads more deeply in the spirit of even more profound gratitude.
GENEROSITY IS BEST HOLIDAYASANA!
How Can You Be Generous?
As a result of practicing yoga I have changed the way I think about generosity. I have learned to give without expectation and to always remain mindful of the quality of my generosity. It's one thing to give away those things you don't like or have tired of but what about giving what you value you most?
As long as ever you can." - John Wesley
And the thing that we all value is "time". So in this season of holiday giving take a moment to think of ways you can be more generous with your time. What good can you do that doesn't mean fancy/expensive? Can you start by being generous with yourself? Can you gift yourself the gift of a yoga class every week, every day this month so you feel the goodness of your own heart.
Once you start practicing generosity with yourself (just like how your legs support your body in a pose or your breath supports your spirit in life) you'll find it easier to share your goodness with everyone. Yoga is community. Sharing time with one another makes the best gift. It's not fancy, but it sure is special.
This week I'll be sharing my time at a fundraiser with all proceeds going to benefit Bikes To Rwanda, an Oregon-based nonprofit organization that provides specially designed "coffee bikes" to Rwandan coffee growers, helping them transport their beans to market and create a sustainable economy. Let's come together in union (yoga) and open our hearts to all the ways we can be more generous with something that is more valuable than currency - our spirit, our positive energy, our kind thoughts, our love, our time.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
*Join me on a Yoga retreat in 2011! www.silviamordini.com or www.alchemytours.com to stay in touch
THANKSGIVING YOGA JOIN RACHEL DEWAN AND LAURA MILLS
HERE IS A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM MY FRIEND RACHEL DEWAN INVITING YOU AND YOU AND YOU TOO TO THANKSGIVING DAY YOGA AT TOTAL BODY YOGA! GET ON THE MAT, BREATH, LOVE, PEACE TO ALL, LOVE TO ALL! SILVIA
Dear Grateful Yogis,
My teacher John Friend says that there are 2 main reasons to practice yoga:
Remembrance - when we forgot our divinity and we come to the mat to reconnect and to remember our connection to something bigger than ourselves
Celebration - when we already remember our connection and simply want to celebrate being alive and part of this grand universe
Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season, which should be about celebration but for many of us holds a mixed bag of emotions. Whether you need help remembering or just want to celebrate I hope you can join me for a special class Thanksgiving Day morning from 9:15 - 10:30am to set our collective and personal intentions to celebrating our lives to the fullest, through the holidays and beyond. And if that wasn't enough to get you there, as an additional incentive I will come bearing gifts!
I hope to see you next Thursday for a joyful, devotional practice to remind us of our own awesome-ness, and to celebrate it the best way we know how! I guarantee it will be a holistic preparation for the holiday season: set the tone for interactions with family & friends, prepare the body for some well-deserved indulging, and open your heart to the real gift of the season - YOU, just as you are. See you there!
Infinite love & gratitude,
Anusara Inspired RYT Teacher
FEBRUARY 22, 2010 "True giving radiant giving comes from the same inner place as deep happiness. It's having the self-esteem to feel that what we have to offer is valuable - our advice, wisdom, expertise, skills, physical labor. The manner in which we give these gifts is a reflection of who we are."
Philosopher Maimonides pictured giving on 8 spiritual levels. The top two are these here that Yoga really gets to the heart of right away.
1. "The motivation for real giving finds its source in the internal self, not in the expectations of others."
2. "Anonymous giving - happy people don't expect a return. They give because it comes from the heart and they believe that joy and happiness are abundant. They aren't going to run out."
In yogic philosophy the opposite of taking or stealing is giving and sharing (Asteya). And we are either living from a viewpoint of abundance or one of mental scarcity where you are hoarding or rationing for fear you are going to run out. You see these concepts are mutually exclusive. You either are practicing living life from one or the other. This idea that giving comes from a place of deep self-love and happiness has been one of the greatest lessons I take into my everday from this practice. The yoga has strengthened my confidence and instead of contracting when times are challenging I am able to maintain a self-generating self-esteem that reminds me to give with all my heart be it wisdom, love, affection or friendship. Everyday I practice yoga makes me want to open my heart up bigger to do more good in the world, to be a better friend, a more generous partner, a kinder sister, a more loving daughter.
My sincere wish is that you stay with this practice long enough to experience this for yourself. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! XXOO Silvia
1,008 GRATITUDES – THANK YOU IN EVERY LANGUAGE
FEBRUARY 4, 2010: Tonight after all these years is my last Thursday night teaching. I am so deeply grateful for all that you have taught me these Thursday evenings at 7:30pm Level 1 yoga. I am especially grateful for those Thursday nights where you kept your appointment with the mat no matter the snow (one year I remember it snowed every Thursday for 3 months!) or rain or new best show on tv. YOU STILL MADE IT!
“Heartfelt gratitude really is the fastest way to experience happiness now. It is impossible to be truly grateful and neurotic; it is impossible to be truly grateful and not happy.” (Happiness coach Barry Kaufman author of Happiness Is A Choice)
To be honest if I had to summarize what I’ve tried to bring on Thursday nights when we are just about to give up but still need to crawl over the finish line of Friday it’s been to serve you as a Happiness Coach. My themes on Thursday’s have always revolved around unconditional happiness (which now I’ve pulled into Wednesday nights starting last evening). I thank you in every language possible as you know its been my goal to memorize an ever expanding way to say thank you, by the time I leave this earth my intention is to be able to say thank you in at least 50 ways! Here are my favorite 58 so far. And tonight as part of this practice we will begin a list of 100 Gratitudes…so that we keep this happiness training flowing forever! Love in all ways to each of you! Silvia
PS: Beautiful teacher Mary Scudella will start teaching as of February 11th, Level 1 at 7:30pm.
PSS: I teach Monday 6:15pm Level 1; 7:30p Basics; Tuesday’s 6:15pm Basics, 7:30pm Level 2; Wednesday’s 9:15am Level 1; 6:15pm Level 1; Thursday’s 10:45am Basics; Friday’s 9:15am Level 1-2, 6pm Level 1; Saturday’s 9:15am Basics; Sunday’s 7:45am Level 1-2, 9:15am Level 1; 4:30pm Level 1-2
- Afrikaans (Africa) - Dankie
- Albanian - Faleminderit
- Armenian - shur-nur-ah-gah-lem
- Australian - Thoinks, Moite!
- Bengali - Dhannyabad
- Bulgarian - Blagodaria
- Bosnia - Hvala
- Burma(Myanmar) - Jae Zu Din Pa De (Thank you)
- Cameroon (Duala) - Na som (thanks)
- Catalonia (catalan) - moltes gràcies [many thanks]
- Cherokee Nation - Wado (Thank you)
- Cherokee (Eastern) - Skee (Thank you)
- Chinese (Mandarin) - Xie_Xie (shieh shieh)
- Croatia - Hvala
- Czech – Dekuji (deh'-ku-yih)
- Danish - tak (tahg)
- Dutch - dank U wel (dahnk you well) (formal: thank you very much)
- Estonia - Aitäh
- French - merci (mehr-see')
- French - Merci Madame - Thanks (to a woman)
- German - Danke schoen (literally: nicely thank you, outdated)
- Greek - Efharisto (ef-har-ris-tou')
- Hawaiian - Mahalo
- Hebrew - Toda raba (thank you very much)
- Hindi (India National Language) - Dhanyavaad
- Hindi - Shukriyaa
- Hungarian - Köszönöm (kuh'-suh-nuhm)
- Icelandic - Takk (informal)
- Indonesian - Terima kasih (teh-ri-mah kah-sih)
- Irish (Northern) - Nice one bro'r, or Cheers mucker!
- Italian - Mille Grazie (a thousand thanks)
- Japanese - Domo arrigato
- Lithuanian - Achu
- Luganda (Uganda) - Waybale (Thank you)
- Paraguay (Guarani) - Aguije (ah-we-JAY)
- Philippines - Maraming Salamat (thank you very much)
- Polish - Dziekuje (dsyehn-koo-yeh)
- Portuguese - Muito Obrigado (Thank you very much)
- Qatar - Shakkran
- Romanian - Va multumim frumos (great thanks)
- Russian - Spasibo balshoye (big thanks)
- Scottish - Cheers
- Slovakia – Dakujem (deh'-ku-yem)
- South Africa - Dankie ("Dung-Key")
- Spanish - Muchisimas gracias (thank you VERY much) - to someone who was useful to you.
- Sundanese - Nuhun
- Swahili - Ahsante (ah-sahn'-teh)
- Swedish - Tack (tahkk)
- Tahitian - Maururu
- Thai - Khop Khun Mak (Thank you very much)
- Tibetan - Thuk Ji Chhe
- Turkish - Tesekkurler ( teh-sheh-keur eh-deh-rim)
- U.S. & Canada - Thank You
- Ukranian - Dyakuyu
- Vietnamese - Kam ouen
- Wales/Cymru - Diloch yn fawr (thank you very much)
- Yugoslavia - Hvala
- Zulu - Ngiyabonga
HELP HAITI: THANK YOU YOGI FAMILY FOR YOUR SACRED ACTIVISM!
Dear TBY Yogi Family,
WOW! What an amazing turn out of close to 50 students coming together in compassion and spiritual activism today 3pm-5pm!
A wonderful way to celebrate Yoga Day USA 2010 and we are still collecting more money tomorrow for The Lamp for Haiti but you should know just in this one class we collected OVER $1,000!!!
Liz Leffert and I themed about the relationship between Giving & Receiving and related viewpoint of Abundance. Along with the importance of realizing the sacredness of all life, listening to your heart and letting that lead you to compassionate action, which in turn brings inner joy, peace, and transformation for ourselves and our world.
I personally want to offer an enormous special thank you to Liz Leffert who as you know is with us only until January 24th and then leaves for her own sacred activism to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand on Monday. She did the most wonderful job teaching the 2nd hour of our session today with great partner poses and restoratives. Just lovely on all accounts!
And the 5 minute letter read by Deb Cunningham from the clinic her family works at in Haiti was heart wrenching. Tears all around. But the letter was also filled with hope too! The medical director (her brother in law) wrote specifically to TBY to tell us of their gratitude, the how and why. Please check them out and keep making an offering at http://www.lampforhaiti.org/ if you haven’t been to TBY face book page recently.
An incredible day. Thank you everyone for your support in making a difference!!
Peace and gratitude. I humbly bow to all our students.
TO DO LIST REPLACES TO BE LIST
What we can control is showing up to our lives. The outcome however is still beyond our jurisdiction. So let’s focus on what we can control and that is HOW WE ARE BEING. How we are being is the only that we can do something about.
So today I invite you to create a TO BE list.
Say to yourself “how am I going TO BE no matter what gets done, or the outcome of this situation.”
When we focus on a TO BE List it is giving ourselves permission to do the hardest pose of all which is TO BE YOURSELF. And I can promise you that being yourself is the coolest decision anyone can make. However if you’ve been used to trying to be who everyone else wants you to be there is a paradigm shift there and sometimes being ourselves means we will temporarily disappoint those people. Especially if they are used to us focusing all our time and energy on To Be Lists as a way to prove our self-worth.
You are wonderful the way you are. And when in a state of being present, where we are being ourselves we slow down and get quiet enough To Be more human. This place of quiet helps us be with the opportunities and love surrounding us or as the poet writes, “When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, its sound is often no louder than the beating of your heart and it is very easy to miss it.”
So today practice making a To Be List. And don’t forget on it to include a moment of gratitude for Mother Earth herself, who always serves as our best example of being still and present. Love yourself, love your day! Silvia
“Let us bless the imagination of the Earth. That knew early the patience to harness the mind of time, waited for the seas to warm, ready to welcome the emergence of things dreaming of voyaging among the stillness of land. And how light knew to nurse the growth until the face of the earth brightened beneath a vision of color. Let us thank the earth that offers ground for home and holds our feet firm to walk in space open to infinite galaxies. Let us salute the silence and certainty of mountains their sublime stillness their dream-filled hearts. The humility of earth that transfigures all that has fallen of outlived growth. The kindness of earth, opening to receive our forms into the final stillness.”
HOW TO RECEIVE BEFORE WE GIVE
So today what can you do to receive more?
On the mat you can practice by saying to yourself “How does this pose help me? What gifts does it have, am I receiving them with an open heart?” Allow each pose to be your teacher and before you know it you will find that you grow better at receiving. And with time we all learn to just feel grateful for this immersion into receiving and giving. That the universe is working on our behalf to offer us love and help inside every moment. And as my healer Laurie at Holessence says, “If you don’t take time for wellness now, you’ll have to make time for illness later.” So today begin with yourself as sutra 2.35 encourages us to embrace love for all, starting with ourselves. And as we learn how to receive we then fully realize what it is to Give. Big love to you all, Silvia
GROUNDING - HOW TO STAY CALM DURING THANKSGIVING
So we devoted today’s practice grounding. Grounding serves us as a simplifying force one which helps us plug back into ourselves and allows us to be fully present. This empowers us to find clarity through stability whereby forming a strong foundation for our lives. We feel in the flow of grace. We used standing poses and props to help us achieve the security that comes from connecting our nervous system to the earth and we all left the practice with our inner stillness intact once more. Ready to be the rooted influence in our families and friends. May you stay grounded and at home in your heart. This week of gratitude through our grounding may we bring harmony to the earth, where we are all in this together. Love and light, Silvia (PS see cool utube clip on my person facebook page)
GENEROSITY AND HUMILITY
JUNE 22, 2009: 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) often leads to exhaustion. 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. Energetically this can make us feel totally run down not only because of how much we’re doing but more with the fact in our hearts we’d rather be doing something else. That’s the humility part. Do you take time to listen to your heart and bow humbly to its lessons, heeding its advice? Even just a single moment of silence can help you gain the clarity you need. Take 5 centering breaths right now and just listen to the greatest teacher of all, your intuition.
However in yoga I felt like I was coming home, how generosity meant a conscious action of doing more but in the
A Story of Generosity: Stone Soup (From Daily
There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets—indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.
This story addresses the human tendency to hoard in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out others. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing so, we often deprive ourselves and everyone else of a feast. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, love, and energy, thinking we will be richer if we keep to them to ourselves, when in truth we make the world, and ourselves, poorer whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The traveler was able to see that the villagers were holding back, and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to give, thus creating a spread that none of them could have created alone. Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If you come forward and share your gifts, you will inspire others to do the same!
ACCEPTING SUPPORT: CAN YOU BE REACHED?
This support group we form for one another was made even more profound this afternoon. You may or may not know that the world lost a great peaceful warrior today. Sri Pattabhi Jois or Guruji as he was known to his students passed from his earthly body today. His life demonstrated to all what an amazing difference just a single person can make on mankind. The key message that I have taken from his teachings is: practice more. And if we practice more, we love more. (More about this Master Yogi, “Guruji, as he was fondly know all over the world, was one of Sri T Krishnamacharya's earlier students in
So today as we offer support around the world to the family of Sri Pattabhi Jois, we also recognize internally how important it is for each of us to feel supported. It is as Earon Davis says, “It takes community to maintain a human.” YES! Community, communion, compassion all of these and more that the practice teaches us through the vehicle of ourselves and trying to experience democracy and connection there first before taking it into relationship with others. One of my personal meditations I use is where I ask myself as much as I reach out to others, “can I be reached?” So I ask you, “CAN YOU BE REACHED?” How easily do you accept support from your breath, from the earth, from your healthy friends, from those that are trying to make your life easier? If its not so easy then come to the mat even more until you feel it possible within your body and heart and this will ignite the trust to accept support from others. Make Rumi’s words come to life! “Stay with friends who support you. Talk with them about sacred texts, and how you are doing, and how they are doing, and keep your practices together.”
Stay the course, love in all ways! Silvia
GIFTS AND THEIR MEANING
DECEMBER 23-24TH, 2008: It may not be pc to say but I LOVE GIFTS! I really do. I love the gift of your time over tea, I love your gift of a sweet email, I love your gift of friendship, I love your gift of being in class, a great book, a hug, music, a kind word.
Being in yoga class is a way to learn to gift ourselves the time to be with our own hearts and desires. As we all know there is a balance between giving and receiving. We are both. We are Shiva and Shakti. We are givers and we are receivers. We even see this pattern in nature. When we breath in we are receiving clean air from the trees on the earth. When we breath out we give trees life as they are the lungs of the earth. When we find the balance between giving and receiving all is good!
And the hardest part is not about finding this balance but about maintaining it. So in this time of the year with great focus on gift giving consider are you giving back to the Earth as much as we are receiving from her? How meaningful are the gifts you've prepared for loved ones? I would love to hear your favorite stories about gifts you've received! Just email me at email@example.com
My favorite gifts this year are when I received the gift of something well-loved, worn, experienced and then shared. It was really a REINVENTED gift which I loved because it was just like how yoga Renews, Refreshes, Reinspires, Renergizes us. It was wonderful! Another amazing gift I received was a dear one's master storytelling over a cup of tea about a grand adventure they had culminating in a vivid description of sunset at the Grand Canyon. And of course my all time favorite gift, a HUG. So more hugs for everyone this year! And thank you deeply with all my heart and soul for all of your gifts and loving intentions. I love you guys! Silvia
A hug is a perfect GIFT, one size fits all, and nobody minds if you exchange it." - Unknown