Do You Really Need That?
By Laura Mills
My husband, daughter and I recently drove up to Wisconsin Dells where we spent a weekend on our first vacation together as a family. The only other time the three of us had traveled together was when we actually adopted my daughter in China, a trip that had demanded a new degree of packing logistics as we prepared to live with a toddler we had never met for 11 days in a hotel in another hemisphere. Since I had survived that, I figured I could survive any trip…but just like the morning we left for China, the morning we left for the Dells I ran around the house counting diapers, stuffing toys in every spare space, and triple-checking my list to make sure I wasn’t missing a single item. As we left the house that Friday morning, the three of us hefted six bags for a two-night trip during which we’d spend half the time wearing swimsuits and another quarter of the time wearing pajamas.
How often have you traveled with extra baggage? I’ve done it often, and that extra baggage hasn’t been limited to trips by car or plane. Throughout my life I’ve spent a great deal of time “packing”—remembering past upsets, stewing and smoldering over hurts, grasping apathy, holding fear—which has made many steps along the journey not only tedious but also exhausting. Only over the last few years, as my yoga practice has deepened and I’ve grown to appreciate more moment-to-moment, have I tried to eliminate as I go and not bring too much baggage with me along the way. Sometimes I’m successful. Sometimes I’m not. Always I’m practicing.
As my family returned from the Dells that Sunday night, we walked into the house with the majority of our luggage still packed…untouched, unused, unneeded. If we had been flying home instead of driving I’m sure we would have left many items behind—after all, who wants to pay a fee for baggage unneeded in the first place? And goodness knows we pay a great deal for all that extra “stuff” we carry, refusing to let it go just in case, thinking it will somehow serve us….
Happiest New Year to everyone, and as we move forward, may all our travels be light!
April 10th, 2011. To all those friends, yogis that are struggling with life's challenges here is a special poem I meditate often on from Danna Faulds.
She writes, “Let go of the ways you though life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations — Let it go.
Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for.
Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith: the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless.
Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.”
SURRENDER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
April 2, 2011. Count how many times you’ve set an expectation in the last 24 hours? About the weather, your job, your partner, your children, your family? And then compare that to how many times the reality matched your expectation.
How did that make you feel?
When we have decided in advance how someone else is going to act or how a situation is going to be we open ourselves up to suffering when the reality doesn’t match our expectation. In yogic philosophy this attachment to expectation is a root cause of human suffering.
Focused inward another name for expectation is Self-Judgment. This critical prism of judging ourselves in advance of the outcome and again with the result only brings more disappointment.
We would do well to heed the advice of Eckhart Tolle in the Power of Now who writes, “When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. The realm of Being, which has been obscured by the mind, then opens up. Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, and an unfathomable sense of peace. And within that peace, there is great joy. And within that joy, there is love.” This practice on and off the mat helps us to see clearly without making happiness dependent upon our expectations. This acceptance for sure brings about inner peace, joy and love.
So that no matter what the world presents we know we can manage remaining quiet and centered at our center. "Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer." (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth)
Who goes on to write “To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly.” Try it for a week or even a day where you surrender your heavy expectations of yourself and others and live with less resistance to this isness of now and then decide if its worth going back to again living with the burden of expectation for even a day longer. Love yourself, love your day, love your ilfe, Silvia
TODAY’S SWEET PLAYLIST
Gobinday Mukunday, Spirit Voyage Artists
In Another Time, Sade
Miss Teardrops, Felix Laband
Allah Hoo, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Yara Seeli Seeli, Lata Mangeshkar
Express Yourself, Mocean Worker, Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street
Mr Big Stuff, Jean Knight
In The Colors, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
Blind to You, Collie Buddz
Jet Lag, Joss Stone
Butterflyz, Alicia Keys
In A Sentimental Mood, Nancy Wilson with Hank Jones
Shavasana/Deep Relaxation, Shiva Rea
ALCHEMY OF YOGA
OCTOBER 16, 2010. I along with my partner named our company Alchemy Tours because of the combined influence of the book The Alchemist and the practice of Yoga. Really Yoga is about taking the personal growth we experience on the mat as a result of this unique alchemy of yoga into making the changes we want in our lives, in our bodies, in our minds, in our hearts. Anytime you want to transform and move beyond your limitations to me this is the Alchemy of Yoga. And this what I call the life coaching work I do through yoga.
Chapter 2 verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras sets forth how the Alchemy of Yoga actually works. "Tapas svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yoga." Translated to mean that yoga helps us transforms ourselves on three levels:
1. Physical Alchemy - Tapas
2. Mental Alchemy - Svadhaya
3. Spiritual Alchemy - ishvara pranidahana
Tapas helps us ignite the changes we want to make in our lives. It is about the getting fired up, literally heating the body through moving and breathing in the vinyasa
While we are following the discipline of tapas and engaging in physical practice to help move our stuck energy we are watching ourselves. In yoga we study the self to learn about the self. (Different than studying what other people to do to try to learn about you, which many of us have tried in other modalities). Here the mental alchemy is through self-observation. We witness what is going on in our thoughts, what are we thinking, why are we thinking that (but without over analysis) more like an older brother would look after a little sister. In this way we are the actor on the stage starring in our life story as well as sitting front row center as the audience.
As we are doing and watching we let go of the ego of judgment. We move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered to mix together and marinate. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it's doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outisde us. Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural alchemy.
You see when we come to the mat we are like the Alchemist in his laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredients are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts and the mixing it all together creates a result every time. We are always different from the beginning of class to the end. Whether we want to be or not, we are changed, we are free. In that freedom is love. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS This is why and what lies at the heart of leading Yoga Retreats around the world. I want to help facilitate the Alchemy of Yoga, the changes that YOU want in your life. And I am convinced we can make amazing transformations in a long weekend, a week with the right facilitation and life coaching. Join me! Facebook Alchemy Tours. Set intention for 2011 this December 8-12 Haramara Retreat Mexico.
CHEMISTRY OF TRUTH
"Let go of your worries and be completely clear-hearted, like the face of a mirror that contains no images. If you want a clear mirror, behold yourself and see the truth." - RUMI
OCTOBER 10, 2010
The mat serves as a mirror for each of us. The opportunity to let go of anger, fear, stress allows us to open up to our happiest selves. This process requires we see ourselves honestly. Its easy to stay upset and hold on to grudges and muddy up the picture of what we really feel or who we are. So this experiment is quite radical if you're used to masking or hiding from your truth.
There is a Chemistry to Truth. And we have in every moment a choice about how to influence the balance with the chemicals of our thoughts and our breath. If you do not breath out fully you are in fact poisoning yourself. Or if in your thoughts you are self-critical or judgmental this drama is creating a stress and hormones like cortisol are being released.
Writes Donna Farhi, New Zealander yoga teacher, in Holding Your Breath (Yoga Journal, April 1996): "Stress may be real or imagined. Just imagining a stressful event can reduce inhalation volume. When we are continuously exposed to stress, then the body just forgets to relax." Obviously, the breathing pattern changes, and "it just might become a statement about what happened in the past rather then what is happening to us in the present".
Every exhale, every pose can help us relieve the past and be more conscious of the moment we are living. You can by breathing wisely and thinking healing thoughts dilute the concentration of the harsh chemicals in your body. But first the practice of studying yourself, svadhaya, asks that we see ourselves truthfully. You engage when you hold your breath, where you get overly dramatic for no reason, where you are making yourself TOXIC. And the diluting can be accomplished through mantra as well, what you are thinking on purpose. A favorite of mine is the lovingkindness meditation:
Think of yourself, offer healing and a way to let go of sadness, anger, worry saying inside:
May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be loved
Then think of a challenging person, who you need to heal the relationship and say to them inside:
May You be happy
May You be peaceful
May You be loved.
Then think of how to influence the chemistry of the world (of which you are a part of) by saying to all people:
May We be happy
May We be peaceful
May We be loved.
The answer to stress, anger you feel towards a situation or a person or thing is not eye for an eye. Fighting is only going to make it more acidic, more poison will kill us eventually. The only answer is love. Love dilutes the pain, the worry and relieves us of this toxicity. And in that truth we see our best most beautiful selves! Love your day, love your life, love yourself! Silvia
LETTING GO TO CREATE SPACE FOR BEST LIFE
September 25, 2010. Vairagya is the sanskrit for letting go. Or relinquishing attachment to what actions we've already taken directly or indirectly. It is by letting go of the past that we create space for right now our our future intentions. This time of year is an excellent reminder because nature shows us that everything changes and comes to its natural end. The leaves are falling, nights are getting longer, days shorter. It is a unique time where we look back at the year and recognize all that we got done and all that we didn't and have to decide what we want to let go of.
I was speaking to a friend who is moving and since I did so in June she asked my advice how to prepare. I advised (1) pack the things you absolutely love and want to take with you first in your best boxes and (2) choose those things that you know won't serve you in your next home and let them go (don't deliberate, just decide with heart). Try not to grip at all of it for that will make the process more difficult and by releasing some things you create space for what you really want that fits your situation today.
This is an art form. This is yoga, knowing your heart well enough to choose wisely.
This practices goes on to challenge us to let go of the emotions associated with those things that didn't go the way you wanted them to. As Teitur says, all my mistakes have become masterpieces. Everything actually becomes the fertilizer for your best life. Instead of replaying old stories or reacting to past issues find a way to let go of attachment and create the space for your best life! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
NAKED YOGA ON THURSDAYS BY GUEST BLOGGER ANDREA HARRIS
Naked Yoga on Thursday's!!
Okay, now pick your jaw up off the floor and get your head out of the gutter! We should all come to class fully clothed as usual. What I'd like us to shed before we come into the studio are the labels, the roles, the responsibilities, or anything else that we let define us. These things, these unnecessary garments, hide the true spirit inside each of us.
We often let the labels weigh us down, and because of them we may experience guilt, the feeling of not being good enough. We make excuses for not being able to live up to some impossible stantards based on who we, or someone else thinks we should be. In the real world, excuses are generally unacceptable. In the studio, they are not even necessary! We don't have to be anything other than who we are-perfect in our imperfections, and loved deeply for what lies beneath our bodies, beyond the roles we play.
When I as you to show up "naked", it means show up as the true you. Come tired, come sad, come sore, elated, complacent, excited, bored, angry, or whatever. Just show up as whoever you are in the moment. We'll work on peeling off our metaphorical clothes in a sweet, self-loving flow that allows our light to shine bigger and brighter than ever. See you guys soon!
Love in all ways,
LOSING THE PAST OPENS THE FUTURE
SEPTEMBER 19, 2010.
Losing the Past Opens the Future. It is such a simple statement and rolls up yogic philosophy so easily....and yet not always that easy to put into practice. Our humanness boasts to us in little mental self talk that of course we can rewrite the past! Why wouldn't we be able to? But we intellectually know we cannot. And until we surrender to our own letting go known as vairagya we cannot fully welcome the best future of ourselves.
The past and the future energies cannot fully occupy the same exact space. How or what happened yesterday is done. All we have now is this moment and the intentions for the next moments. Replaying things past only clutters our minds, leaks our energies and prevents us from engaging life right now. Through physical practice we let go of the old stories stored in the tissues of hurts, frustrations, disappointments and clear the way for our best experiences. And yoga works all day long mentally and emotionally to help remind us to lose the past, whether pleasant or unpleasant, so the world opens us up to the most magnificent future.
it is up to us not to hold ourselves back, to not remain stuck, but to create the space by letting go that opens the future.
I work on this everyday and I've experienced amazing results. it is still often very hard and sometimes easier but nevertheless always really powerful in letting grace and love flow towards my open heart. I wish for all us to find the courage to lose the past, and open to your future. Your best life. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS If you feel like you would benefit from more dedicated time to do the serious work of letting go then join me on an upcoming yoga retreat in Moab, Italy, Oregon, California, Colorado, and more! www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com
FULL MOON, FRESH START, FOR HAPPINESS SAKE
Dear Friends on the Path,
This Friday, September 4th is the Full Moon. This is the time when the moon's energy is the strongest. It is considered an ideal time to start up a new endeavor, to begin again our most honest spiritual adventure. To make space for what comes next I've been working on letting go. Two key areas the practice points out that I need to focus on are: (1) offering forgiveness and (2) letting go of wanting to rewrite the past. Now I understand the teachings: that forgiveness is a form of self-compassion and by forgiving we are making the decision to be happy. Forgiveness helps the ego stop over-exaggerating the pain or tiredness of the past. As Robert Holden says, "Happiness is letting go. Forgiveness is letting go. When you choose one you choose the other."
What makes it hard for me is that I get stuck in wanting to rewrite the past instead of just letting it go. I waste time wishing things had been different which pulls me out of the present. Partly I do this so my legacy looks better on paper, but that's about what everyone else thinks instead of about how I am actually experiencing joy in my life.
"Sometimes in order to be happy in the present moment you have to be willing to give up all hope for a better past."
So this full moon I dedicate to a happy today and a happy future. Yoga teaches us that happiness is our true nature so I am realigning my heart to change the way I think about the past. I am trying to forgive more and make happiness more important today. What's done is done.
Basically this comes down to whether or not we choose the past or the present, the upset or happiness, fear or love. And with immense gratitude for my yoga practice I find the strength to say to myself each day, I CHOOSE LOVE. I choose to be present and enjoy each moment so as of now I don't miss a thing. With lovingkindess, Silvia
WITHOUT ATTACHMENT TO THE OUTCOME
This is the idea that we can practice experiencing each moment, not missing a thing, not missing the pretty colors, people and blessings right in front of us. On the mat we use the body to observe where we are, making sensitive adjustments to stay tuned in, and then allow the unfolding. This keeps us mindful to the moment rather than the goal or outcome. The Yoga Sutras speak to this as vairagya (non attachment), chapter 1 verse 15.
Key things to know include:
Non-attachment is not suppression: Non-attachment is not a mere personality trait that one practices in dealing with the other people of the world. It is very easy to fool oneself into thinking that non-attachment is being practiced when what is really happening is pretending to be non-attached. It is like saying that you have lost your inner craving to some object while inside you are longing for it intensely. Non-attachment is not a process of suppression or repression of wants, wishes, desires, thoughts, or emotions. It comes by the ongoing practice of awareness of the existence of attachments (kleshas, 1.5, 2.3) and gradually letting these weaken (2.4).
Non-attachment is cessation: If attachment does occur (whether attraction or aversion), wherein attention wraps itself around a deep mental impression, the ensuing non-attachment comes from the cessation of mental clinging, not from an act of prying attention away forcefully. It is easy to hear of the philosophy of non-attachment and then mistakenly walk around lying to ourselves, internally saying something like, "I'm not attached; I'm not attached." This is not non-attachment. It is better to see realistically where our minds are attached, and then learn to systematically release that coloring through the external and internal practices of yoga meditation.
Non-attachment is not detachment: It is not mere semantics to say that non-attachment is different from detachment. Detachment implies that there is first attachment, and that you then apply some method or technique to disconnect that attachment. It implies an act of doing something to cause the separation to occur. Non-attachment, on the other hand, means that the connection simply does not occur in the first place. Non-attachment is not a case of doing something, but is instead a non-doing sort of thing. It means that your attention does not grab onto that impression in the mind in the first place.
Non-attachment deepens through all levels: Patanjali explains that non-attachment applies to progressively deeper levels of our being. While we might begin with our more surface level attachments, such as the objects and people of daily life, the practice deepens to include all of the objects or experiences we might have only heard about, including the many powers or experiences of the psychic or subtle realm. We gradually see that even these are nothing but distractions on the journey to Self-realization, and we learn to set them aside as well.
A Meditation on Letting Go
If you let go a little
You will have a little happiness.
If you let go a lot
You will have a lot of happiness.
If you let go completely
You will be free.
I meditate often on the words of Danna Faulds, She writes, “Let go of the ways you though life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations — Let it go. Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith: the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.”
I thought for a long time that Spiritual Seeking meant looking for answers. It does not. It is the experience of life that fulfills the spiritual seekers mission. That experience of the unfolding. On the mat we put this into practice time and again. Each day so different, no reason to be upset with what we can do with our bodies today that is different than yesterday – there is likely exact explanation anyway. Instead enjoy the experience of your soul self as you are. Let that be enough. Love in all ways, Silvia
PS When you forget just say this mantra to yourself:
I won’t wear my effort on my face
I don’t let my effort overwhelm my breath
I pace myself to enjoy my life
EARTH DAY MEDITATION
APRIL 22, 2009: How to Go About Decharging Negative Energy
Negative energy is blocked or excess energy that needs to flow. Negative energy can be stress, frustration, anxiety or anger for instance. Depression is feeling negativity but being unable to decharge that. Nature makes you feel closer to Universal Source Energy, because Source energy is flowing in nature. Nature can heal you!
Once you've learned how to feel the energy during meditation, you can begin using the Earth element to decharge. A good way of decharging using the Earth element is to use a plant for decharging excess energy. Take a plant, point your fingers near it and say the mantra, "Oh Spirit, my heart is open to you, please come. I know you are in this plant. Please use this plant to decharge my negative energy. Thanks". Do this for about 15 minutes.
Depression, anxiety and stress will flow out of your fingertips into the Earth. As you do this and repeat the mantra a lifetimes worth of negativity may flow out. You have a second chakra in each fingertip for giving or sending out energy. Don't worry about the plant. The plant takes this energy and uses it in a positive way. It's not bad for the plant in any way. Having a channel to the Earth brings huge peace and happiness. Although you may have problems you no longer care about them. The Earth also helps open your heart. It allows you to live on Earth happily. The Earth radiates huge energy and can magnify any type of emotion. When you purify the Earth element in you, the magnetism of the Earth will automatically suck out your negative energy.
LET GO - LIBERATE YOURSELF!
Today we devote to Liberation (Jivamukti!) to clear space for change. What is the ultimate key to liberation? Well it's as Michael Franti sings, "Love will set you free." Take this practice to liberate yourself, how? Let go of your worries. Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras, “What you’ve already done, you’ve done – LET IT GO,
Let It Go By Danna Faulds
Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations — Let it go. Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for.
Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith: the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.
A Meditation on Letting Go By Ajahn Chah
If you let go a little
You will have a little happiness.
If you let go a lot
You will have a lot of happiness.
If you let go completely
You will be free.
"Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be."
LETTING GO: MAKE SPACE FOR WHAT YOU DESIRE
ANXIETY BE GONE! LETTING GO OF FEAR
SEPTEMBER 18TH, 2008: "Anxiety is mostly caused by two emotions: anger and sadness," says Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., author of Conscious Breathing: Breathwork for Health, Stress Release, and Personal Mastery (Bantam, 1995). "People get anxious about not being able to control their anger or about not knowing how to deal with situations that make them sad. And that is what fear is—the inability to solve the problem that is making you angry or sad."
At the core of most anxiety attacks, though, is the breath, or the lack of it. When you are anxious, natural breathing is inhibited. The diaphragm freezes, failing to move air downward as you inhale, which means that you don't let your lungs fully expand and fill with air. "And when you don't get enough oxygen, the brain receives a 'danger' signal, which perpetuates your mind-body state of anxiety," explains Jonathan Davidson, M.D., director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at
To use the breath to combat anxiety, though, is something we know intuitively. Frequently the first words we say to someone who speaks too fast or appears physically distressed are "take a deep breath".
Inhale breath in the gift of life the universe offers you
Exhale with gratitude
It is no accident that we are breathing, we’ve been chosen because we are vitally important to the universe. Breathing is a celebration a way of saying YES to life! And if we love life, appreciating our breath life loves us back in return even more. This removes fear from our life.
RELEASING LEADS TO FREEDOM
JULY 21ST, 2008: I was meditating on remaining light hearted by letting go of the way we think things are supposed to work. Lately I've had a lot of practice...For instance, I was organized to go away on holiday for my birthday, didn't work out so we rebooked for the week after, still didn't work out. Everytime I drive Route 60 or the Edens the time it takes is always different due to the heavy construction. I just never know how long the drive is going to be. So what can we do? Get mad, get sad, give up? NOPE.
We face the challenges headon and promote even more change by letting go and releasing our expectations. Summer is a perfect time for this: just like we shed clothes, we clean out our garages, we change purses, we wear new nail polish colors and hopefully we learn to release past emotions that no longer serve us. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes not so much.
But no matter how it all happens the more we are able to LET GO the more space we create for new stuff, new ideas, new feelings, new friends, new thoughts, new love! At the heart of all this space there is FREEDOM. So today whatever has bogged you down endeavor to courageously clear the clutter of stubborness or frustration or sadness so you have the FREEDOM to explore your life more fully. In this space we gracefully evolve towards recognizing our highest potential!