Thanksgiving in May

By Laura Mills    

    The first week of May is one of the year’s most special times for me, being the anniversary of the day I first met my daughter. Two years ago this week I was in China introducing myself to a 17-month-old little girl whom the universe had predestined for my family….  The moment I met her and began my journey as her mommy is the moment of most profound gratitude in my life. And even though the many moments since then—parenting and otherwise—have included innumerable challenges and even great heartache, I can always recall that moment in China and tap into gratitude so big that I can’t help but feel my soul smiling.

    This week, at the beginning of each class, I’ve invited my students to bring to mind something that elicits gratitude within them. From there, we’ve practiced heart opening in honor of that gratitude but also to remind us of our ability to shine out our joy. For big or small, we all keep and cherish our moments of gratitude.  Sometimes they’re in our conscious thoughts and sometimes they’re in our mind’s quiet places, but always those moments germinate joy. By setting an intention of gratitude for our day-to-day lives, I believe we nurture that joy until it literally shines out of us in the form of expressions, words, actions, and interactions.

    Nobody’s life is “perfect” or devoid of sadness and hardship. But everybody’s life, regardless, contains moments of gratitude. Take a moment each and every day, no matter what else is happening in your life, to practice gratitude for SOMETHING. The joy will sprout, grow, and bloom, becoming something beautiful you can then easily give back to the world.

 

5/8/2014   Tags:  Laura Mills, gratitude, heart opening, joy Direct Link

For You

  By Laura Mills

    I dedicate today’s post to you, the person reading this. Thank you so much! Whether you are a first-time reader or someone who has followed for a while, know that I greatly appreciate your attention. I have always felt that the words I write flow so much more easily than the words I speak; just as my yoga mat is the place I best physically express myself, the page (or screen) is the place I best verbally express myself. You honor me by spending time reading this expression.

    Over the years I have written a great deal, in journal after journal, that was for my eyes only. I have also written much that has yet to be read by more than a few: articles, essays, and short stories, as well as two books, all currently unpublished. Compared to the amount of writing I’ve done, the amount of writing that has been widely read is very small. But still, knowing that someone somewhere has spent time reading each particular piece—each expression of myself—humbles me. And even though I will never know exactly how many people read what I write, I believe that each set of eyes brings a positive vibe. I can only hope that my words return the blessing.

    In yoga classes we frequently discuss gratitude. As I try to keep up with my day-to-day life, though, I forget…sometimes I don’t remember until I lay down to sleep, and then it’s usually just one big “thank you” to God. But when I sit down to write this blog, I always remember to be grateful—for my yoga, for my writing, for the opportunity to combine the two, and for the people who read my words. I wish for you the same that I wish for my students on the mat: that something from the experience will make you smile, ease your pain, comfort you, or otherwise help you find what you seek and bring you to a more positive place. Namaste.      

9/18/2013   Tags:  Laura Mills, writing, gratitude, humility Direct Link

Time for Time

  By Laura Mills   

    I keep a notebook on my kitchen table in which I list everything I intend to do each day. It’s a dynamic list, one to which I constantly add and on which I sometimes move items around. Occasionally, I even cross items off. This is my master calendar, my manual for running my life. I keep an abbreviated version of this calendar on my phone, which comes with me everywhere—and which also gets stored on my computer, thus creating a third calendar. I also have a hanging calendar in my kitchen and a desk calendar in my bedroom, neither of which I write on, but both of which I look at to remind me of the day and date when I forget…which is often.

    Having so many calendars, in my hands I can literally hold more “time” than I should ever need…yet more often than not, I feel that I need the day to be at least three hours longer. Sometimes, like when I notice the lingering items in my kitchen table notebook, I feel that I need the week to be another day longer. And when I consider the upcoming classes I need to plan, the gifts for which I haven’t yet shopped, or the stretch of time since my last blog, I feel that I need the month to be another week longer.

    I believe the solution exists in the physical holding of my calendars—my “time”—in my hands. Let the sensation of them remind me that how I spend my finite number of hours is completely up to me; let their presence remind me that the hours I have, as well as my ability to choose how to spend them (even if the only choice is to take a deep breath and carry on), are all gifts as real as any other gifts my hands can hold. And with gratitude for those gifts I will practice peace of spirit, which I know can sweeten a lengthening to-do list any day.

7/11/2013   Tags:  Laura Mills, calendar, to-do list, time, choice, gift of time, ability to choose, gratitude, peace Direct Link

A Few Short Weeks

  By Laura Mills  

    June is nearly over…it’s a fact, but it’s something I’m having trouble believing. I feel like June just started—no, I feel like May just started. Except earlier this week I got invited to a Fourth of July get-together…. The truth is I’ve allowed this summer so far to slip away much more quickly than I’d like. Before I know it, August will be here and I’ll feel the need to start planning for fall and beyond.

    It’s just too easy to get caught up in our “stuff,” isn’t it? Everyday stresses like chores and errands, responsibilities and obligations…and then also not-so-everyday stresses like illnesses, fender benders, disagreements, deadlines…. We all deal with a variety of these things all the time; at any given moment most of us, I believe, have something on our minds that stresses us to some degree. No wonder days and weeks so often blur into one weighty, rolling mass of time.

    Yes, June is nearly over…I need to clear my head before it’s too late and summer is gone! As I move forward, one of my strategies is to more often stop what I’m doing—such as getting out of bed, entering my car, washing dishes—and just breathe for a few moments. Another strategy is to more often whisper words of gratitude when I feel the grace of a blessing—such as when I play with my daughter, set out for a walk, or sit down to eat. Even if I remember to employ these strategies only a handful of times in the next few weeks, I’ll succeed in slowing my summer at least a little. And when August arrives, I’ll have experienced that much more, instead of just passing through as usual.

6/26/2013   Tags:  Laura Mills, summer, passage of time, stress, breathe, gratitude, experiencing, presentness Direct Link

Ready for Savasana

  By Laura Mills

    In my last blog post I wrote about May being the month in which I encounter my most notable life “landmarks,” such as my daughter’s adoption day anniversary and my birthday, and that therefore it’s the month in which I feel the greatest sense of time and change. Now, as May ends, even as I sadly eat the last of the cake, I can’t help but feel relief. It was a fun, happy month to be sure, but the truth is…it’s hard to celebrate constantly!

    In my house May is like a second holiday season, the notable difference being that instead of leading up to one grand holiday at the end, in May we fully celebrate several individual days. Each involves at least one special meal—although usually more, spread out among days before and after—as well as cake and of course presents. And we take pictures, lots and lots of pictures. (I’m still working on organizing pictures from last May.) By the end of the month, though I’ve had a wonderful time, I’m feeling exhausted, stuffed, and overwhelmed.

    Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t change a thing about May. I am beyond grateful that I have so many reasons to celebrate, and I do think it’s cool that so many of them fall within a few very short weeks. But if there’s one lesson yoga lends to this situation, it’s this: one absolutely needs down time in order to receive the most from celebration. On our mats Savasana, after all, is when the effects of all the previous asanas coalesce. Without Savasana, so much about a practice remains un-experienced.

    And so, as my off-the-mat equivalent of an exhilarating but two-hour, sweaty, core- and lunge-focused Vinyasa class ends, I’m settling myself for a long, sweet Savasana. That doesn’t mean I’ll be checking out until next May. It means that while I’ll do my best to stay as present as I was during the celebration, I’ll be at peace with the relative quiet, too. This, the everyday stuff, is the reason for celebration in the first place; this, the down time, is when celebration makes sense.

 

5/29/2013   Tags:  Laura Mills, celebrate, celebration, gratitude, down time, Savasana Direct Link

To Yoga or Not To Yoga

  By Laura Mills

 

  “Like a kid at the beginning of a new school year,” I told my friend, describing myself the night before my return to teaching after a two-month leave. “I double- and triple-checked my yoga bag and worried about how out-of-shape I felt. I’d barely done any yoga since April.”

  When I thought about it later, though, I wondered…. True, during my leave I hadn’t practiced asana more than a handful of times. I’d hardly even stretched. And I didn’t meditate at all, or even sit quietly, for that matter.

  Still, I wasn’t idle. I did travel halfway around the world and experience a mind-opening mini-immersion in an unfamiliar culture. I also became a mother through the miracle of adoption. I held my daughter for the first time and unveiled within myself—in an almost frighteningly short period—new dimensions of love and gratitude that I hadn’t known existed. I accepted without question total responsibility for another person, another life. And since our return home I’ve let go of my past and rebuilt my present, moment by priceless moment.

  No, I didn’t practice much asana. But I believe I did quite a lot of yoga during my leave—all without too many Downward Dogs or Sun Salutations.

  When was the last time you did yoga?

  It might be more recent than you think.

7/26/2012   Tags:  Laura Mills, practice, asana, adoption, love, gratitude Direct Link

One of the Finer Things

 By Laura Mills   

   Remember that friend from 2nd grade, that “best friend” who sat next to you and sometimes accompanied you to the park after school? Remember also that friend from high school, that one you sat with at lunch and ran track with, whom you thought had the coolest parents? And then remember that friend from college, that one who studied US History with you and played cards with you on Saturday afternoons?  

   Obviously, our friends and friendships change as we get older and our lives fill with more commitments and larger concerns. We have less time for playing, hanging out, and catching up. We lose touch with many; how many times have we thought, “I wonder what happened to so-and-so…,” or driven home from restaurants thinking, “She sure looked familiar—I wonder if she was from such-and-such….” And even among the friendships we do keep through the years, many of us maintain a large part of them technologically these days and devote less time to in-person contact.  

   It’s almost scary how quickly people pass through our lives, like shells we pass while walking on a beach: they’re there and then gone, with only a few remaining in our pockets for us to treasure long-term. Each particular moment with each particular friend never repeats itself, no matter how significant or wonderful, dramatic or memorable. So take a moment right now to mentally bless a friend. Then make an intention to seek out that person, and when together, look that person in the eyes and say, “Thank you.” 

2/6/2012   Tags:  Laura Mills, friends, friendships, gratitude Direct Link

Yogic Thank-you Note

Yogic Thank-you Note

 

By Laura Mills

 

 

I recently learned I need to replace a water spigot in my garage. It’s never worked correctly, really—instead of ejecting a smooth stream of water, it has hiss and spit at me for the last 12 years. This year, though, the condensation from the old pipe is causing a particular mess in the garage and, from there, the basement…a mess I discovered when I arrived home Monday evening.

It’s at these moments I am most grateful for yoga, these stomach-churning, heart-quickening, mouth-drying moments. While in the past I would immediately fret about what to do or whom to call, now my first action is to breathe. And seriously, the breath carries me over that first panic impulse. I’m calmer, my mind is clearer, and from that place I am better able to see a way forward.

On the mat I frequently experience gratitude for yoga. Practicing Sun Salutations, for example, or working my way into Headstand little by little, or unfolding myself into Savasana, has always made me happy that yoga is an integral part of my life. But I first came to yoga because I needed a healthy way of handling stress. I can honestly say I found what I was looking for, for yoga does me its greatest service by changing my instinctive “ARAAAAHGGGHHH!!!!!” into a grounding “Ohm,” over and over again.

 

 

 

8/10/2011   Tags:  stress, yoga, gratitude Direct Link

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

4/9/2011   Tags:  trust, process, be happy, gratitude, inconvenient, pema chodran, danna faulds, william holden, faith, silvia mordini, honor, truth, earth, unconditional love, unconditional gratitude, love, Direct Link

IN THE WORDS OF A TEACHER TRAINEE JULIA JONSON COHN TELLS ALL HUMILITY, OPENNESS, GRATITUDE

Humility, Openness, Gratitude

By Julia Jonson Cohn

April 8, 2011. Teacher training is over. On our final day together I thought the room would be filled with tears… but instead there was a calm happiness. A knowing that even though this leg of the journey had come to an end, we were about to experience another new beginning. When I signed up for this program, I thought my biggest lessons would be learning the best ways to teach alignment in poses and then putting them together in really smart sequences. I did learn all about that, but there was so much more. I’ve always understood that yoga balances energy in the body/mind… but now I am directly in touch with my spirit as a result of this experience. 

The three qualities that I feel now embody my personal mission statement for teaching are these:

1. Humility. I consider it the highest honor to be one who shares the wisdom of this ancient practice of yoga. I am aware that the participants who step into any class I might be conducting are going to be my greatest teachers. And they already have! I also know that being a non-judging observer of life will not only help me to deepen my own practice, but will help me connect more deeply with those who seek me out for class.

2. Openness. The world seems much less complicated and things more clear now that I have connected with the essence of who I am. I have gained the ability to be much more empathetic with all people… even those who I used to view as the biggest obstacles to my own happiness. Now I know my happiness and peacefulness only depends on me… and not losing my connection to my Self. I pledge to convey this awareness to others and share my personal experiences with students.

3. Gratitude. Being grateful for everything that happens is far from an easy practice. I really do view every tough time and every good time as an opportunity for growth because I am thankful for my life. I used to walk around with a “why me” attitude, but now I think why not me… Every hardship has helped me grow in leaps and bounds. I’m not to the point of saying “bring it on.” However, embracing the dark and the light the ups and downs has certainly gotten easier.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my teachers Silvia and Rachel. You probably don’t even know the scope of how you have changed my life (and certainly many others) forever. Thank you to my fellow students. It was no coincidence the Universe brought us together. This is not the end. I love you all.

4/8/2011   Tags:  teacher training, certified teacher training, rachel dewan, silvia mordini, why me, observation, empathy, obstacles, teacher training graduates, julia jonson cohn, humility, openness, gratitude Direct Link

MYSTERIOUS REMEDY, POWERFUL ROLE BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS

Mysterious Remedy, Powerful Role By Laura Mills

Too many times I’ve attended a yoga class and exited feeling I received just what I needed. Yes, when in the mood for a yogic “butt kicking” I’ve purposely chosen a class that would especially challenge me, or when craving an easeful flow I’ve found a restorative or beginners’ class. But even when I’ve gone to a class without any idea of what I needed, most of the time I’ve still left with humility and gratitude, feeling as if the teacher had tailored the class to me.    

When training to teach yoga, short of paying attention to weather, time of year, and events in the news, or else asking students before class, I didn’t learn any mystical secret for determining students’ practice needs. Yet after nearly every class—regardless of day, time or level—at least one student tells me, “That was great, just what I needed today,” or something like that. My amazement never fails; somehow, whatever I plan for a particular class finds at least one person in the right place at the right time. I don’t understand and can’t explain how it happens, but the fact that it does happen assures me I don’t need to understand something in order to experience positivity in it.   

And, it humbles me to know I help make such positivity possible for others.    

Oh, I knew of yoga’s ability to humble long before I started teaching. Time and again I’ve struggled in my own practice, tiring long before the ends of classes, sweating through head- and handstand preparations and other—to me—scary asana work, struggling through a hamstring injury. The further my practice developed the more help I realized I needed. I asked more questions, accepted more instruction, and with my teachers’ guidance eventually discovered a yoga practice all my own. 

But now, as a teacher myself, my humility exists in a whole new dimension. When I look out into the studio before class I see students whom I know are working through physical pain or emotional turmoil or both, and many of whom are daily building deeper practices and incorporating yoga further into their lives. I can’t help but feel tremendous respect for my students, choosing yoga as their means of healing and enrichment, putting their trust into something so powerful and mysterious. And I can’t help but feel small and even a bit scared by the knowledge that, if my own experience as a student indicates anything, as their practices deepen students look to me more and more as their guide. Yes, I’ve trained 200+ hours to teach yoga, but I’m still a student myself, still feel I need yoga for my own ongoing healing and enrichment, still haven’t approached understanding what yoga is and can be in my life’s big picture. Yet in the classes I teach, when I see a student close his or her eyes during meditation, smile during Surya Namaskar, or cry in Savasana, I realize that somehow what I’ve planned for that day is doing just what it’s supposed to do….

No yoga teacher should underestimate his or her impact on students. We consciously write classes to the best of our ability, but somehow a deeper guidance takes place that leads individual, unique students into individual, unique practices where they find whatever they need at a particular moment. This is why all of us have chosen yoga, I think; we can’t explain exactly how it works, but it works, and this ultimately brings comfort and peace to teachers and students alike because it confirms our membership in something greater than ourselves. The contentment I see when I look out into the studio during Savasana confirms this for me, every class…and reaffirms what a tremendous privilege, what an incredible experience, what an utter joy it is to teach.   

4/1/2011   Tags:  Laura Mills, beginning yoga teacher, humility, gratitude, positivity, healing, enrichment, class preparation, teachers as guides, TEACHER TRAINING, teachers impact on students Direct Link

ACUPUNCTURE DISCOUNTS UPDATES FROM WILD LAVENDER

Dear TBY Students,

It is the Season of Giving!! Bring in 10 cans of food and/or non perishable items and receive $20 off your acupuncture treatment. Bring in 20 or more and receive 50% off!! This offer is good once per month for both November and December. All donations will be given to the Freemont Township Food Bank. 

It is also time to sign up for the CSA/Simply Wisconsin Food Share summer session.  The earlier you sign up, the more discounts you will receive. Plus, if you sign up before December 15 you will be able to pick the meat you want in your monthly boxes.  I have heard nothing but great feedback from the members who are participating in the winter session.  Take good care of yourself by eating organic and local; take great care of the community by supporting the local farmers!

Acupuncture Happy Hour will soon be replaced by something even better.  Starting in January, Wild Lavender will do Community Acupuncture once a month. Community Acupuncture is similar to Happy Hour.  Each individual wanting a treatment will sign up for one 15 minute session and then have up to 20 needles placed in them.  In order to accommodate multiple individuals in each 15 minute window, you will share a treatment room with others.  This type of treatment allows more people to afford treatments. It also helps those who are nervous about receiving acupuncture and those who have time constraints. In essence, this allows more of the community to receive acupuncture. A whole body/ear acupuncture treatment will cost $35 and an only-ear treatment will be $25.  There will be an additional $20 fee for first time patients for intake and diagnosis.  A treatment will be given free to those returning patients who bring in new patients.  

I want to thank Silvia and the rest of Total Body Yoga for making my first year there an amazing one!! 

Please don't forget you will receive $20 off your next acupuncture treatment for each of your referrals I treat. 

Peace,

Carrie Wilhelm, Wild Lavender

Call 224-280-6228 or email: carrie@wildlavenderclinic.com 

 

 

12/3/2010   Tags:  acupuncture, wild lavender, carrie wilhelm, community acupuncture, gratitude 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

HAPPINESS MEANS SOCIAL CONNECTION

SEPTEMBER 17, 2010.   

In 1948 a study began known as the Framingham Heart Study.  It was the most comprehensive of its kind.  Now 60 plus years later scientists have studied other aspects beyond just heart disease.  One of their findings ins related to happiness theory.  And of the factors studied a key part is that happiness is being connected to other people.  We experience happiness through social connections.  And therefore are very much influenced by clusters of other people around us.  Check this out:  a change in one person effects you and all in the cluster, your probability for increased happiness improves 15% if your most immediate friend is happy, 10% if a friend of your friend is happy, and so on until four degrees of separation. 

They are figuring out and measuring what yogis have known for thousands of years:  happiness is contagious.  

This means everyday we have the opportunity to save someone's life.  You practice yoga today, so you can practice tomorrow.  What you do to manage your thoughts to create happy cells impacts not only you but those around you.  In this way we are creating our world thought by thought, day by day.  And it can be heaven on earth!  Maybe it is.  The sutras spell out that if we are imbalanced mentally, physically, emotionally which means we are not living our true nature - which is naturally happy then we must practice chapter 2.33 Pratipaksha Bhavana.  Engage happy thoughts.  So simple.  It is our Namaste:  Seek the still point where the words "you" and "I" lose meaning, where we meet and merge as one. 

Try this breath meditation when you need to elevate your attitude. And be the change you want to see in the world (Ghandi). Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

 

Inhale: I welcome happiness,

Exhale: I am grateful

Inhale:  I welcome inspiration

Exhale:  I am grateful

Inhale:  I welcome love

Exhale:  I am grateful

Inhale: I welcome hope

Exhale: I am grateful

 

“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)

9/17/2010   Tags:  HAPPINESS, HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE, GRATITUDE, PRATIPAKSHA BHAVANA, NAMASTE, CHANGE, LOVE, MEDITATION, BREATH Direct Link

TODAY TOTAL BODY YOGA IS 8 YEARS OLD!

Super Namaste and Happy 8 Year Birthday to TBY Today!

8 is my lucky number! I am delighted to be celebrating this milestone birthday together and am so grateful to see so many of your smiling faces in class this week!  What an amazing month: to receive your visible support by way of choosing TBY Best Yoga Studio and now our birthday. WOW, WOW! Blessings are dropping like blossoms everywhere (to paraphrase Rumi).

And the greatest blessing is you!  We needed every single student to ignite the flame, to stoke the fire and to sustain the amazing energy at TBY all this time.  We've grown up together, we've seen many of you make some tremendous life changes and how great to know the best is yet to come!  To make it 8 years is a visible demonstration that YOGA WORKS! Yoga is love, love is always the answer, love unites, love inspires, love is fierce, love is real, love is the way.  


So dear students, thank you for bringing your best selves and creating such a loving environment for us to teach in.  On behalf of all the teachers and supervisors and team at TBY.  Gosh, we are deeply grateful and can't wait to begin another awesome year starting tomorrow!
Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

www.totalbodyyoga.com www.silviamordini.com

PS: I'll be guiding the Tuscany Yoga Retreat June 16th-July 1st with alchemytours.com, teaching pretty much until the moment I get on a plane.  :-)

6/9/2010   Tags:  silvia mordini, total body yoga, gratitude, yoga, Direct Link

CAN YOU BE HAPPY IF DOING WITHOUT?

May, 23, 2010.  I have found selling my house an opportunity for continuous spiritual growth.  The last 3 weeks I went without hot water, not even warm water. All I had until yesterday was COLD (no make that Very Cold) water.  The first couple days showering like this was ok.  Not the end of the world, but as week one became week 2 and then 3 it was liking camping indoors except I wasn’t doing it on purpose.  Then with the help of friends finally I had hot water again! YES! I was so grateful. 

During the time my house has been on the market I moved my unsightly microwave to a dark corner of my basement on the ground for that was the only place I could figure to plug it into an outlet.  I don’t rely heavily on microwaving, actually am trying to break myself of the habit 100% but being merely human yes I succumb to its ease. Except during the last 3 months in order to warm anything up I had to travel long and far into the nether regions of my basement to sit on the floor to open its little door and sneak my food in. It was very much like being Alice in Wonderland, I’d be small then once warmed I could grow big again and return to the land above ground.  Not the end of the world, but gosh as each month wore on it became a chore.  This weekend my house sold and I was able to return my microwave back to the kitchen, on the first floor and stand up while using it.  YES! I was so grateful.

Many years ago I was run over by a car by a very sweet apologetic 80 year old man while I was walking from my garage to my townhome after church on a sunny Sunday morning. One moment I was mobile and easily walking, moving, breathing and then next (since the car was bigger than my petite frame) I was lying on the ground.  Eventually through yoga and the love and support of doctors, family and friends I recovered to a place of healthy even beyond what I had before. YES! I was so grateful.

So I have been asked many times over the years why or how did I begin teaching.  The main reason is that I don’t want you to experience having to lose anything and do without in order to get the lesson that GRATITUDE unlocks the fullness of life. As Melody Beattie says and goes on to say “It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."  Sometimes all it takes to reconnect to active Gratitude is coming back to the mat to gently remind us of how fortunate we are in this moment.  You don’t have to be without Hot water to give thanks when you shower each day of what a cool blessing it is that you just turn a faucet and out it comes.  You don’t have to loose mobility to realize how awesome it is to walk onto the mat of your own volition.  When I need a simple kick in the pants I return time and again to the words of the Buddha:

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn't die;
so, let us be thankful.

No matter who we are or what our situation is, we can always find something for which we are grateful. It is most often when we work too hard, or stretch ourselves too thin that we have a tendency to feel impoverished which Trungpa Rimpoche called, "poverty mentality."   If unsure just breathe and remember to be grateful that you were chosen to be alive today!  Gratitude is a form of meditation and promotes an elevated attitude to any negative thoughts. This is known as Chapter 2.33 Pratipaksha Bhavana.  A simple favorite of mine is:

Inhale: I welcome happiness,

Exhale: I am grateful

Inhale:  I welcome inspiration

Exhale:  I am grateful

Inhale:  I welcome love

Exhale:  I am grateful

Inhale: I welcome hope

Exhale: I am grateful

My sincere hope every class I teach is that the gratitude meditation becomes part of us and we never have to lose something to recognize how grateful we are to have that person, that situation or that circumstance in our life.  From this point forward say thank you to everyone you meet for every kindness they offer you.  It will change your life!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia


5/23/2010   Tags:  gratitude, love, silvia mordini, breath, meditation, happiness, buddha Direct Link

FIRST AGREEMENT TRUTH LOVE INTEGRITY

APRIL 5, 2110: This is according to the author the most important one and most difficult to honor. It is to be impeccable with your word.  He writes, "through the word you express your creative power. It is through the word you manifest everything. Regardless of what language you speech, your intent manifests through the word.  What you dream, what you feel and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word."  

What I want to point out is that we are not talking about just verbal language here. Although it is curious that of all animals on earth we are the only one who speaks.  But think of internal dialogue that becomes external expression. 

"The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The words is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think and thereby to create the events of your life."   "The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human; it is a tool of magic.  But like a sword with two edges your word can create the most beautiful dream or your word can destroy everything around you.  Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself. If I love myself I will express that love in my interactions with you, and then I am being impeccable with the word, because that action will produce a like reaction. If I love you, then you will love me.  If I have gratitude for you, you will have gratitude for me."   

"Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of TRUTH and LOVE for yourself."  

In yoga this concept is known as Satya.  When we are able to live with integrity always speaking with loving truth to ourselves and to others we will immediately realize an experience of lightness and ease. Every pose on the mat is a chance to practice being honest with ourselves. The power to live in truth is the same as the power to live in love.  So may you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be loved! Sat Nam, Silvia (In Truth and Light)

4/5/2010   Tags:  Satya, truth, integrity, love, gratitude, dreams, creativity, power, peace Direct Link

HOW TO SAY THANK YOU 60 WAYS UPDATED!

Thank you to all who this week contributed to making my list of ways to say thank you longer and better. Much love to you all! Silvia

  1. Afrikaans (Africa) - Dankie
  2. Albanian - Faleminderit
  3. Armenian - shur-nur-ah-gah-lem
  4. Australian - Thoinks, Moite!
  5. Bengali - Dhannyabad
  6. Bulgarian - Blagodaria
  7. Bosnia - Hvala
  8. Burma(Myanmar)  - Jae Zu Din Pa De (Thank you)
  9. Cameroon (Duala) - Na som (thanks)
  10. Catalonia (catalan) - moltes gràcies [many thanks]
  11. Cherokee Nation - Wado (Thank you)
  12. Cherokee (Eastern) - Skee (Thank you)
  13. Chinese (Mandarin) - Xie_Xie (shieh shieh)
  14. Croatia - Hvala
  15. Czech – Dekuji (deh'-ku-yih)
  16. Danish - tak (tahg)
  17. Dutch - dank U wel (dahnk you well) (formal: thank you very much)
  18. Estonia - Aitäh
  19. French - merci (mehr-see')
  20. French - Merci Madame - Thanks (to a woman)
  21. German - Danke schoen (literally: nicely thank you, outdated)
  22. Greek - Efharisto (ef-har-ris-tou')
  23. Hawaiian - Mahalo
  24. Hebrew - Toda raba (thank you very much)
  25. Hindi (India National Language) - Dhanyavaad
  26. Hindi - Shukriyaa
  27. Hungarian - Köszönöm (kuh'-suh-nuhm)
  28. Icelandic - Takk (informal)
  29. Indonesian - Terima kasih (teh-ri-mah kah-sih)
  30. Irish (Northern) - Nice one bro'r, or Cheers mucker!
  31. Irish Gaelic is "míle buíochas" Mike Lawler
  32. Italian - Mille Grazie (a thousand thanks)
  33. Japanese - Domo arrigato
  34. Lithuanian – Achu
  35. Luganda (Uganda) - Waybale (Thank you)
  36. Yá'át'ééh (Navajo) for Thank You for all you do. 
  37. Paraguay (Guarani) - Aguije (ah-we-JAY)
  38. Philippines - Maraming Salamat (thank you very much)
  39. Polish - Dziekuje (dsyehn-koo-yeh)
  40. Portuguese - Muito Obrigado (Thank you very much)
  41. Qatar - Shakkran
  42. Romanian - Va multumim frumos (great thanks)
  43. Russian - Spasibo balshoye (big thanks)
  44. Scottish - Cheers
  45. Slovakia – Dakujem (deh'-ku-yem)
  46. South Africa - Dankie ("Dung-Key")
  47. Spanish - Muchisimas gracias (thank you VERY much) - to someone who was useful to you.
  48. Sundanese - Nuhun
  49. Swahili - Ahsante (ah-sahn'-teh)
  50. Swedish - Tack (tahkk)
  51. Tahitian - Maururu
  52. Thai - Khop Khun Mak (Thank you very much)
  53. Tibetan - Thuk Ji Chhe
  54. Turkish - Tesekkurler ( teh-sheh-keur eh-deh-rim)
  55. U.S. & Canada - Thank You
  56. Ukranian - Dyakuyu
  57. Vietnamese - Kam ouen
  58. Wales/Cymru - Diloch yn fawr (thank you very much)
  59. Yugoslavia - Hvala
  60. Zulu - Ngiyabonga
2/5/2010   Tags:  thank you, gratitude, love Direct Link

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

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.  
2/4/2010   Tags:  gratitude, proactive gratitude, perfection, happiness, faith, unconditional gratitude, love Direct Link

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

 

  1. Afrikaans (Africa) - Dankie
  2. Albanian - Faleminderit
  3. Armenian - shur-nur-ah-gah-lem
  4. Australian - Thoinks, Moite!
  5. Bengali - Dhannyabad
  6. Bulgarian - Blagodaria
  7. Bosnia - Hvala
  8. Burma(Myanmar)  - Jae Zu Din Pa De (Thank you)
  9. Cameroon (Duala) - Na som (thanks)
  10. Catalonia (catalan) - moltes gràcies [many thanks]
  11. Cherokee Nation - Wado (Thank you)
  12. Cherokee (Eastern) - Skee (Thank you)
  13. Chinese (Mandarin) - Xie_Xie (shieh shieh)
  14. Croatia - Hvala
  15. Czech – Dekuji (deh'-ku-yih)
  16. Danish - tak (tahg)
  17. Dutch - dank U wel (dahnk you well) (formal: thank you very much)
  18. Estonia - Aitäh
  19. French - merci (mehr-see')
  20. French - Merci Madame - Thanks (to a woman)
  21. German - Danke schoen (literally: nicely thank you, outdated)
  22. Greek - Efharisto (ef-har-ris-tou')
  23. Hawaiian - Mahalo
  24. Hebrew - Toda raba (thank you very much)
  25. Hindi (India National Language) - Dhanyavaad
  26. Hindi - Shukriyaa
  27. Hungarian - Köszönöm (kuh'-suh-nuhm)
  28. Icelandic - Takk (informal)
  29. Indonesian - Terima kasih (teh-ri-mah kah-sih)
  30. Irish (Northern) - Nice one bro'r, or Cheers mucker!
  31. Italian - Mille Grazie (a thousand thanks)
  32. Japanese - Domo arrigato
  33. Lithuanian - Achu
  34. Luganda (Uganda) - Waybale (Thank you)
  35. Paraguay (Guarani) - Aguije (ah-we-JAY)
  36. Philippines - Maraming Salamat (thank you very much)
  37. Polish - Dziekuje (dsyehn-koo-yeh)
  38. Portuguese - Muito Obrigado (Thank you very much)
  39. Qatar - Shakkran
  40. Romanian - Va multumim frumos (great thanks)
  41. Russian - Spasibo balshoye (big thanks)
  42. Scottish - Cheers
  43. Slovakia – Dakujem (deh'-ku-yem)
  44. South Africa - Dankie ("Dung-Key")
  45. Spanish - Muchisimas gracias (thank you VERY much) - to someone who was useful to you.
  46. Sundanese - Nuhun
  47. Swahili - Ahsante (ah-sahn'-teh)
  48. Swedish - Tack (tahkk)
  49. Tahitian - Maururu
  50. Thai - Khop Khun Mak (Thank you very much)
  51. Tibetan - Thuk Ji Chhe
  52. Turkish - Tesekkurler ( teh-sheh-keur eh-deh-rim)
  53. U.S. & Canada - Thank You
  54. Ukranian - Dyakuyu
  55. Vietnamese - Kam ouen
  56. Wales/Cymru - Diloch yn fawr (thank you very much)
  57. Yugoslavia - Hvala
  58. Zulu - Ngiyabonga
2/4/2010   Tags:  gratitude, love, giving, receiving, happiness, teaching yoga Direct Link

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.

Silvia

 

1/23/2010   Tags:  gratitude, giving, sacred activism, haiti, yoga day usa Direct Link

GRATITUDE

NOVEMBER 9, 2009:  I wake up each day and begin with a gratitude meditation.  The meditation follows my breath and goes like this: 

Inhale: I welcome happiness,

Exhale: I am so grateful

 

Inhale:  I welcome inspiration

Exhale:  I am so grateful

 

Inhale:  I welcome love

Exhale:  I am so grateful

 

Inhale: I welcome clarity

Exhale:  I am so grateful

 

"Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life." Says Christiane Northrup.  So begin now, ask yourself as you breath what you are grateful for and if you experience any struggle with this then hold close these words of the Buddha:

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn't die;
so, let us be thankful.

You see gratitude changes our attitude and helps us to stop feeling victimized by life.  This is Yoga Sutras Chapter 2.33 “When presented with negative thoughts or feelings cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana.” If feeling down, hopeless, worried, doubtful then to bring the glow of positivity back all you have to do is practice gratitude.  And watch for those habits that detract from a gratitude habit such as:

·         Reverse any tendency you have to make comparisons.

·         Quit talking about what you don't have compared to what you have;

·         Stop complaining about how you are doing career-wise, relationship-wise, or any other-wise.

·         Instead, concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, saying to yourself from morning to night “I am grateful for…”

 

And I promise you will discover a life filled with gratitude wakes up and nurtures your soul and brings quiet happiness to even the most challenging days.  And know I am grateful to each of you deeply and truly.  Love, Silvia

 

 

From the Book A Year to Live by Stephen Levine – Essential Gratitude Meditation

How very fortunate we are to have this moment in this body.   Even with the difficulties, even with the confusion, how blessed we are to be here. Grateful for the kindness of loved ones. Grateful for the moments of joy. Grateful for the clarity that arises even during pain.  Grateful for the blessings, great and small. Grateful that our pain is no greater than it is.  Grateful for our inheritance of happiness, that joy is our birthright.  Grateful for the sense of presence. Gratitude for simply being. Gratitude for the process.”

 

11/9/2009   Tags:  gratitude, yoga sutras, positivity, thankful, breath, meditation Direct Link

PERSPECTIVE: YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR LIFE IS UP TO YOU!

OCTOBER 24, 2009:  “Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.” (John O’Donohue)  What an amazing practice and I thank each of you from 9:15am for your honest beautiful sharing related to how you see the world and what you are grateful for right now.  I mentioned how in talking to a friend I had said to them “gosh I am so lucky, then they responded that they felt lucky too. And together we then created this feeling of gratitude for each others friendship.  Our perspective was that we were fortunate to know each other in this moment and by recognizing and seeing the other we were both totally present.

 

This yogic practice discussed in Chapter 2:26 “The means of attaining cessation is the unceasing vision of discernment” challenges each of us to SEE what is HERE right now in front of us and INSIDE us.  However, we often go so fast speeding up life or making unimportant things important that we can’t hear the secrets of our own hearts from the inside and as a result are blind the blessings in front of us. 

 

We can even have a perspective of majoring in minor stuff!

 

When we do this it means we are clinging to a singular view and we end up limiting ourselves from seeing what is before us.  Judith Lasater in her book Living Your Yoga says it like this “Enlightenment in fact is nothing more and nothing less than a radical change in perspective.  Life will continually challenge us. If we pay attention those challenges can broaden our perspective.”  So this means that if our perspective is one where there is only one “right answer” or one singular outcome and then this doesn’t happen we feel like a failure.  The reality is that none of us can control the outcome of any situation and whatever happens happens and if its hard well then use that challenge to broaden your perspective.

 

On the mat that’s why we move and breath and then we pause to step back and reevaluate.  As much as I love being in the water, swimming around we all have to come up for air.  Funny thing is that when you are the bottom of a pool looking up through the water it is a totally different perspective than when you are floating on top of the water looking up at the heavens.  So your life is as it is, how you feel about your life is up to you, no matter what life is serving you for dinner tonight.

 

“May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love!”  Own your perspective live in love, Silvia

 

10/24/2009   Tags:  Perspective, blessings, yoga sutras, reality, gratitude, be present Direct Link

WHAT WOULD YOU NAME TODAY - THE 10 BLESSINGS GAME

OCTOBER 7, 2009:  We start with a sweet exercise called “The 10 Blessings” by Dr William Holden.  It goes like this, look over the last week of your life and write down 10 blessings you experienced in the last seven days.  It’s not much to ask because all we need to do is find one blessing per 16.8 hours of life.  And if you think about 10 ways you blessed others lives that’s consciously thinking of goodness every 8.4 hours. Now do the math and consider if you could somehow multiply that by 2 so you think of 40 things every week: 20 blessings received and 20 blessings offered that’s something every 2.1 hours. 

 

This helps us keep the focus on the important questions like:  How can you enjoy the miracle of existence today?  How can I enjoy this moment more? 

 

The more you are willing to enjoy the moment the more beautiful each moment of your life will be.  Essentially it means you are choosing life. And life only happens one moment at a time.  The more you give yourself to each moment, the more each moment gives something back to you! Please starting now don’t miss a thing! Think about waking up to your life and start naming your day something beautiful!  Love and light, Silvia

 

 

 Blessing For Presence by John O’Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us)

“Awaken to the mystery of being here

And eneter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

 

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

 

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to

follow it’s path.

 

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Soul.

 

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek

No attention.

 

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven

Around the heart of wonder.”

 

 

Navajo prayer to enjoy

“Happily may I walk.

May it be beautiful before me.

May it be beautiful behind me.

May it be beautiful below me.

May it be beautiful above me.

May it be beautiful all around me.

It beauty, it is finished.”

 

10/8/2009   Tags:  GRATITUDE, BLESSINGS, MEDITATIONS, BE PRESENT, CONSCIOUSNESS, joy Direct Link

GRATITUDE

AUGUST 23, 2009: 

Gratitude is the state of mind of thankfulness.

Every day I practice some form of gratitude meditation. I just start off saying to myself inside my breath I am grateful for…and then as part of a stream of consciousness I let it flow from my heart.  It has taken years to find the ease in this flow. For a long time I would over think it, or rank some things as less or more meaningful than others.  Finally I realized through spiritual practice Gratitude is a constant state of being. It is a way of seeing the world and there is no ranking necessary, all things big and small matter equally when practicing gratitude.  

 

Gratitude increases our appreciation for life.

So many days it starts by being grateful for my life, for my breath. This awareness that just be breathing we won the lotto today! That not everyone in the world was chosen to breath on this day.  That’s pretty powerful eye opener.  When I was at the Chicago Field Museum yesterday I stopped by the Man’s Evolution section and amongst all the cool stuff there was a statistic that said “in the last 24 hours 33 species have become extinct.”  Hmmm it doesn’t take much to appreciate we are still promoting our legacy. But for many species of the world each and every day the experience of breath ends, that’s it.

 

Gratitude is a form of acceptance. 

Just as we are grateful for our families the more gratitude we experience for others happiness the more our gratitude grows.  Stephen Levine says “As gratitude is cultivated, we experience an increase in our sympathetic joy, our happiness at another’s happiness (this growing sense of gratitude for whatever happiness, great or small, that comes to those around us.)”  Through gratitude we accept the good in all. 

 

Gratitude is a return to balance

It brings balance to those parts of ourselves that are disconnected, or attached to suffering.  Gratitude changes our attitude and helps us to stop feeling victimized by life.  This is Yoga Sutras Chapter 2.33 “When presented with negative thoughts or feelings cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana.” If feeling down, hopeless, worried, doubtful then to bring the see saw of our life back into balance we practice gratitude.

 

Gratitude is love.  Try this easy to remember breath meditation

Inhale: I welcome happiness,

Exhale: I am grateful

 

Inhale:  I welcome inspiration

Exhale:  I am grateful

 

Inhale:  I welcome love

Exhale:  I am grateful

 

 

From the Book A Year to Live by Stephen Levine – Essential Gratitude Meditation

How very fortunate we are to have this moment in this body with some intuitive acknowledgement of that which goes beyond our understanding. 

Even with the difficulties, even with the confusion, how blessed we are to be here.

Grateful for the kindness of loved ones. Grateful for the moments of joy. Grateful for the clarity that arises even during pain.  Grateful for the blessings, great and small. Grateful that our pain is no greater than it is.

Thankful for our Great Heart and the capacity to become whole.

Thankful to be living in a world and time, in which the value of compassion cannot be overlooked. 

Grateful that among the billions now on this planet our hearts are so drawn by the possibility of liberation. Grateful for the path that has brought us each so far. Grateful for the love and the grace the spontaneously emerge from our true heart.

Grateful for our inheritance of happiness, that joy is our birthright.

Grateful for the sense of presence.

Gratitude for simply being.

Gratitude for the beneficent process.”

 

 

8/23/2009   Tags:  GRATITUDE, MEDITATION, BREATH, ACCEPTANCE, APPRECIATION, THANKFULL Direct Link

GRATITUDE HABIT

JULY 14, 2009:  As Gratitude is something which none of us can give too much I wanted to tell you how thankful I am for you sharing your time with me by coming to class.  Your support encourages me to work even harder at serving you better.  I really want to offer you the most beautiful, caring environment and inspiring classes possible so at the end of when you have a tough day you can regain clarity. 

 

Is Your Soul Asleep?  I REMEMBER WHEN MINE WAS.  THIS PRACTICE OF YOGA WOKE ME UP.  IT WOKE ME UP TO MAKING GRATITUDE A HABIT.

When your soul is in charge your life becomes a LOVE STORY. 

A love story between you and yourself, between you and everybody else, between you and the divine…...I’d love to seduce you into wondering about your soul; the way it moves, how it smells, feels, tastes, speaks, acts, even what it wears.  And most Importantly how it is part of you that makes you a fascinating, mysterious individual.  (By Gabrielle Roth – Sweat your Prayers)

 

A healthy Gratitude Habit can in the words of Melody Beattie "unlock the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."  Sometimes all it takes to reconnect to our Gratitude Habit is coming back to the mat and reigniting that inner light through gentle reminder of how lucky we really are.  "Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light." (Albert Schweitzer)  So this week join me in taking the gratitude habit from the mat into the world. How?  Try this:

 

·         Reverse any tendency you have to make comparisons.

·         Quit talking about what you don't have compared to what you have;

·         Stop complaining about how you are doing career-wise, relationship-wise, or any other-wise.

·         Instead, concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, saying to yourself from morning to night “I am grateful for…”

 

And I promise you will discover a life filled with gratitude wakes up and nurtures your soul and brings quiet joy!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

 

“Gratitude is confidence in life itself.

Gratitude gladdens the heart.

As gratitude grows it gives rise to joy.

Like gratitude joy gladdens the heart.

We can be joyful for people we love,

for moments of goodness, for sunlight and trees,

and for the breath within us. 

And as our joy grows

we finally discover a happiness without cause. 

We can rejoice in life itself, in simply being alive!”

 

—From “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindess, and Peace” By Jack Kornfield

 

7/13/2009   Tags:  gratitude, gratitude habit, soul, love story, fullness, soul, joy Direct Link

YOU MATTER!

Hi You Guys,

I want to thank you for all the amazing conversations I have each day with you.  Please keep the emails and calls coming.  I thoroughly enjoy every interaction! And I wanted you to know that I recognize what it takes to reach out. I see the effort on your part to talk, to get to class, to write a note.  Every single one of us matters.  Sometimes we think we don’t but we truly do matter.  And I am paying total attention. 

 

Yoga teaches us that we are all looking for something that will connect us more deeply to ourselves and through that knowing the truth of the spirit self (Atman) there is a recognition that we all leave an imprint on everyone we meet.  When you think of it, in all the random meetings we have with folks each day we can be the ANSWER or BLESSING for another person.  That’s a powerful responsibility.

 

What imprint are you making on the world?  What is your legacy?  Can you take five minutes today to make a conscious effort to consider how you can connect to others in such a way that you can make a positive difference?  I would love for you to join me for FREE tomorrow night July 9th, 7:30pm-9pm for Yoga and Journaling where we’ll have time to reflect on the things we’ve done this week to uplift another person (an email, a call, a card, a compliment, giving up your parking space etc).  This time to meditate on how we effect others, the “ripple effect” speaks to our greater Intention or personal mission statement.  And every time we align better with our intentions we magnify our efforts.  Moving the body and then journaling is a wonderful way to connect to our true desires, passions and dreams!

 

You deeply inspire me, your life stories make me cry, make me laugh, humble me to no end.  And for all of that I thank you for letting me serve you.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life!  Silvia    (2009)

 

7/9/2009   Tags:  yoga, inspiration, gratitude, yoga workshop, blessings, intention Direct Link

POSITIVE CHANGE

MAY 27, 2009:  Change is happening all around us.  We need not push or shove or pull at change but learn how to get along with it keeping our hand on the tiller so to speak but with the inner knowing we can’t control people or situations outside ourselves.   So we practice gratitude for all that we have. Try it now:

 

INHALE THE GIFT OF THE UNIVERSE, YOUR LIFE ITSELF

EXHALE WITH GRATITUDE

 

Now with a more clear mind really feel that the changes you seek, which I call “dreams” are all around you like ghosts waiting to be seen.  So through this yogic practice love the gentle flow and let it lead you back to yourself.  Use your thoughts to keep your energy on positive changes while knowing we are always moving so there is no rush. Slow down, SHANI.  I understand more than you know how attached we can get to despairing thoughts that we want to run from. It only slows us down to be running from our suffering so take it easy, remain with your breath and let the river help you flow away from past pains.  And know this, you are not a prisoner. Everything is change, all is impermanent even the pain so keep flowing my friends.  This will keep your heart open and clear.  In the Alchemist its written,

 

“Continue in the direction of the Pyramids”, said the alchemist. “And continue to pay heed to the omens. Your heart is still capable of showing you where the treasure is.” 

 

“Is that the one thing I still need to know?”

 

“No”, the alchemist answered. “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream.”

 

It will not only get better but as we progress mindfully towards positive changes, dreams we have for our lives we learn many lessons along the way. These are gifts as well, so slow down and be in the process.  With heartfelt love to all beautiful minds & hearts, Silvia

 

5/27/2009   Tags:  change, shani, breath, gratitude, alchemist Direct Link

MAKE DEPOSITS INTO YOURSELF TODAY

MARCH 14, 2009:  Today we're going to the Bank.  The Spiritual Bank where we make deposits into ourselves and our capacity to love and appreciate who we are so we can life more fully.  How do we make these deposits?  The answer is simple - by meditating on GRATITUDE!

So you might ask, what is my role in this?  Well, in the words of Albert Schweitzer "sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. each of us owes our deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light."  I have had the patient support of many friends through the years that in times of challenge where my deposits were low or I had overdrawn my spiritual account helped stoke the fire.  I pass this light to you when you need it most.

Today as you ground down lift your heart and align to making the commitment to breathing in a way that encourages you to expand. Be grateful for what is available in your body on this day and let it be enough.  This will help us make the deposits of love into ourselves that we take with us the rest of the week.  Or in the words that came to me in meditation last night, we leave the yoga mat with pockets full of love (like hundred dollar bills stuffed to overflowing).  That way we have a little extra to share with our friends and families.  Love in all ways! Silvia

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn't die;
so, let us be thankful.
-The Buddha  

3/14/2009   Tags:  spiritual seeking, meditation, gratitude, buddha Direct Link

THE TEACHERS ROLE IN YOGA

FEBRUARY 25TH, 2009:  Tonight we talked about how yoga reveals our true nature, which is that of JOY!  We all have the right to be happy, to be loved, to be peaceful.  There are no conditions to meet or pre-requisites.  Do you believe you deserve to be happy?  Most of us come into the practice not really buying this completely, or at least that's been my experience this last 15 years of practice and teaching. 

So how do we move from a state of disbelief to believing the best is possible, joy is here for us?  The role of the teacher mentor is that of someone who wants to facilitate helping you rediscover your fullest potential.  I see in you your greatest capacity for love and peace. I will believe in you until the day you believe it for yourself.  Then we will celebrate this together!

The best explanation of the teacher's role is from Donna Farhi who puts it like this, "the teacher mentor assists the birthing of the student's dreams, visions, and hopes, and most important, what the student has not yet dared to imagine.  A mentor moves the student from disbelief to belief and in the process continually affirms the student's self-worth."  I want to make your learning easier by sharing with you all that I know. Now I can only make part of the journey with you. The deepest places you must discover within yourself are places only you can travel.  In the meantime, I will do my best to make the journey FUN, PLAYFUL, INSPIRING and SAFE.  That is my promise.  I love you all my dear students.  Peace, Silvia

*Reference Yoga Sutra 1.40

 

2/25/2009   Tags:  Gratitude, Love, Self-worth, Donna Farhi, Yoga Sutras, Joy, Happiness Direct Link

THE GENIUS THAT YOU ARE!

FEBRUARY 16, 2009: Every single one of you is vitally important to the universe.  You are genius!  The world needs your genius now more than ever before.  In yogic terms all human beings have within themselves the same essence of consciousness and one attribute of consciousness is genius.  Yoga asana and pranayama help us remove the mucky muck that impedes our alertness to our inner genius.  As Buckminster Fuller says, “Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”

 

So this practice performed regularly helps you reveal your best self. It will help you live more fully realizing your greatest potential.  Yoga is a process of helping you become who you really are.  As Dr Dyer writes in power of intention, “If you bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you don’t bring forth what is inside you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you.”  Whether you want to or not life is moving forward.  Leo Buscaglia writes, “The easiest thing in the world to be is what you are, what you feel. The hardest thing to be is what other people want you to be, but that’s the scene we are living in. Are you really you or are you what people have told you you are?  If you are interested in really knowing who you are because if you are, it is the happiest trip of your life.”

 

In class we talked about the shared characteristics of those whom we all honor as bringing forth their genius into the world like Jonas Salk, Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, Madam Curie. More was offered in class with the poses serving as the true contexualization of the philosophical but in brief qualities such as trust in your inner wisdom, optimism, spirituality, simplicity, appreciating the genius in others, joy for life, love for what you’re doing, self-love, love for what makes you unique and special (honor your funkiness).  Finally at the end of practice we pulled this together by practicing a gratitude meditation.  Gratitude is where what you know and what you intend for your life merge. I hope the written journaling you did at the beginning and end of class on your immediate and longer term intention offered each of you great insight.  May we all be grateful for gratitude expands us! It is in the state of expansion that our genius will surface most easily.  You are wonderful you guys!  Love to you all, Silvia

 

 

 

2/16/2009   Tags:  gratitude, meditation, genius, fullness, leo buscaglia, dr dyer, love Direct Link

GRATITUDE

FEBRUARY 13, 2009:  It is really impactful to think that we have been chosen to breath today on purpose. That not everyone got picked to breath and so in a sense we won! the lotto of all lotteries.  The most fundamental cause for gratitude is life itself!  I start every morning with a gratitude meditation that is pretty sijmple:  you say to yourself "I am grateful for...." then fill in the blanks for a few minutes or however long you comfortably can.  Two of my favorite inspirations about gratitude are below for you to enjoy!  Peace out, Silvia

“Gratitude is confidence in life itself.

Gratitude gladdens the heart.

As gratitude grows it gives rise to joy.

Like gratitude joy gladdens the heart.

We can be joyful for people we love,

for moments of goodness, for sunlight and trees,

and for the breath within us.

And as our joy grows

we finally discover a happiness without cause.

We can rejoice in life itself, in simply being alive!”

 —From “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindess, and Peace” By Jack Kornfield

 

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."  ~ Melody Beattie ~

 

 

2/13/2009   Tags:  Gratitude, Jack Kornfield, Poetry, Meditation, Joy, Love, Happiness Direct Link

GIVING BIRTH TO OUR REAL SELVES

DECEMBER 26TH, 2008Yoga is a journey into revealing the truth about who we are, what we are capable of and how our actions affect our lives.  We start each practice inhaling the gift of the universe and your life And exhaling with gratitude. 

Jon Kabat Zinn, a favorite writer of mine, says “too often our lives cease working because we cease working at life.  The idea of wherever you go, there you are” which is the title of a book of his I highly recommend.  He says, “You can think if you change location, change partners, change circumstances that everything will fall into place, you can start over, have a new beginning. This is very romantic.  However, we carry our same patterns of thinking, living, breathing with us.  Transformation and discovery of who we are is right in the middle of what is here and now.  In the long run there is no escaping form ourselves.”

 

So when we come to the mat we might as well ask ourselves Where We Are In Life, Who Am I?  Try to get behind the I DON”T KNOW.  That doesn’t serve.

 

And it may be like what Gabrielle Roth writes in Sweat My Prayers, “GIVING BIRTH TO OURSELVES.”  I hope this practice gets you moving, breathing and contemplating why you have been chosen to move and breath.  This alone I am certain will birth your greater purpose.  After that it is as Swami Vivekananda says, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT WE ARE AND WHATEVER WE WISH OURSELVES TO BE, WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE OURSELVES.

 

Love yourself, Love your life, enjoy the ride!  Peaceful blessings to all, Silvia

 

12/26/2008   Tags:  Strength, Responsibility, Path, Journey, Jon Kabat Zinn, Breath, Gratitude Direct Link

ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

AUGUST 13TH, 2008:  As Gratitude is something which none of us can give too much I wanted to tell you how thankful I am for you sharing your time with me. Your support encourages me to work even harder at serving you better. I really want to offer you the most beautiful, caring environment and inspiring classes possible so at the end of when you have a tough day you can regain clarity.

Our Gratitude for you can in the words of Melody Beattie "unlock the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

So from the bottom of my heart and with the utmost Gratitude I wish all your lives be filled with simple joy and happiness. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Silvia

BONUS:  Gratitude Exercise to Practice This Week

·         Reverse any tendency you have to make comparisons.

·         Quit talking about what you don't have compared to what you have;

·         Stop whining about how you are doing career-wise, relationship-wise, or any other-wise in comparison to how a friend or enemy is doing.

·         The next time you start chattering about wanting something more, better, or different, don't listen.

·         Instead, concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover your life will be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul and brings joy!

8/13/2008   Tags:  gratitude, clarity quote. Melody Beattie, Gratitude Direct Link

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