By Laura Mills
I recently heard about the passing of a person in his mid-50s. It happened at home; as far as I know, he hadn’t been sick and hadn’t shown signs of trouble before one night his heart just stopped beating. The grief, the shock, the inexplicable emotions of his family and friends, I can only imagine….
We all know that the circumstances of life often defy explanation. We can plan, schedule, and prepare; we can visit our doctors or healers on a regular basis, eat all organic, and never touch alcohol or caffeine; we can bathe in hand sanitizer, run twenty miles a day, and use chemical-free cleaners at home. But in the end, of course, we don’t know. We never know; at some point, no matter what, life WILL take us by surprise and—perhaps, for some of us, quite literally—leave us breathless.
If it’s not already part of your practice, discern what really matters to you today, and embrace it. Then do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Especially as Valentine’s Day approaches…what better time to start gifting yourself with a sincere appreciation of the value of your unique and precious life? And remember: even along the timeline of this one chance we’ve got, it’s never too late to try again. Start now.
By Laura Mills
Twice a year I try to wash my windows, at least the ones most spotted with water marks, dirt, cat nose prints or anything else. And afterwards, I am always amazed at the difference a newly-cleaned window makes to my view.
I've heard several teachers mention it, but I agree that cleaning is a powerful metaphor for yoga as well as many other positive methods we employ to release inner build-up. We accumulate grime all the time: emotions, stress, attachments, and other residues of life. And in order to restore our optimal views, we require elbow grease in the form of a physical practice that focuses our minds. We practice asana on a yoga mat, compose words on a page, play music on an instrument, run miles on a trail, or any of a million combinations of those and many other pursuits. And our ultimate goal in pursuing any of them, I believe, is clarity.
But like windows, we accumulate grime again and again. It's humanly normal, and it calls us back to our practices over and over yogis to their mats, writers to the page, artists to the easel, and so on. The scenery changes with the seasons, of course, but any time we see clearly the view is spectacular and definitely worth the effort.
By Laura Mills
Right now I am sitting at my kitchen table in front of my computer, having just finished my cereal, drinking coffee, listening to classical music. The patio door is open and I’m looking into my yard, and I’m hearing the chirps of crickets and birds. Of course, not every moment of my life is this easily sweet; just this morning before breakfast I dusted the living room, swept the kitchen, and fed and cleaned up after my cats. Soon enough, I’ll head back upstairs to get ready for work. But right now, in this moment, I am exactly where I want to be.
We all experience snippets of life like this in which the immediate circumstances just seem right. We are content to breathe and feel and be without immediately moving on to something else. We think, “Ah, so THIS is happiness.” Our challenge, I believe, as I discuss so often with other yogis, is to nurture the contentment of these moments and apply it to the times when life isn’t so accommodating. Our yoga practices help; with yoga, we encourage our bodies, minds and spirits towards lasting and perfectly balanced peace.
But in the meantime, we relish the peace that comes easily. We sigh, take a deep breath, and give thanks.
By Laura Mills
My adulthood so far has consisted of two phases: “Before Yoga” and “With Yoga.” In the first phase I worked a fine job and maintained my home life and body in the way I thought best for me. The plan worked, for a while, but by my late-twenties I had wedged myself into a meltdown between grief and confusion. In its midst, yoga seemed like something worth trying…and thus began the second phase. Since then, I’ve learned what changes to make and how to make them, as well as how to coexist with all aspects of my life (even those that didn’t turn out the way I originally wanted). I’ve also learned to honor myself ALWAYS as a unique and beautiful being.
Whether or not a yogi’s story involves major life alterations, at some level the practice changes all of us. Even if we only try yoga because it looks fun, or we want to someday balance on our hands, the practice leaves us in a place different from the one in which we began. I consider all the yogi stories I’ve heard since I started my own practice: among many others, stories involving stress reduction and recovery from tragedy or illness; stories of yoga as a hobby, as cross-training for other sports, as a component of an overall fitness program; stories about yoga feeling good, teaching people about themselves, and enabling them to meet their spirituality. I love yogi stories. To me they represent the tremendous spectrum of human experience and the fact that, no matter who we are or where we come from, we all revolve around the same amazing center.
Small but Mighty
By Laura Mills
“Every breath is another opportunity.” It’s one of my favorite things to remind my yoga students; it’s one of my favorite things to remind myself. The words are not mine, at least I don’t think so-I honestly don’t know where they came from, whether I heard them somewhere or read them in something. But one day they rose from the reaches of my memory to the front of my mind, and I said them to my students just before Savasana.
The more I think about the expression, the more I like it. Of course, it applies to the tiniest pieces of a yoga practice: we inhale to lift arms, exhale to bow, inhale to lift half-way, exhale to fold…. But we also inhale and exhale as we roll our mats, find our shoes and leave the studio; we inhale and exhale as we enter our cars, leave the parking lot and turn out at the light into the rest of our day. Every inhale and exhale is an additional moment of choice and possibility—even with regards to the smallest, most seemingly-insignificant things—and as long as we’re breathing, it’s never too late….
Your next breath may be your best yet.
SELF-TALK AS SELF-STUDY
April 1, 2011. Do you talk to yourself? I do. All the time. And if you believe science we all talk to ourselves nonstop. The question beneath the question is more so about the "Quality of communication" you have in your self-talk.
"We all have voices in our heads which ?talks to us on an almost constant basis. ?Our voices give us messages continually, ?and what they say to us affects us." - Juliene Berk
In yoga we actively observe our self-talk and we study ourselves to learn about ourselves. This is known as Svadhaya. For most of us this is a huge paradigm shift. We grow up spending close to 100% of our time studying what everyone else has attempted or accomplished. We learn how to be more interested in what others think about who we are than what we think of our own opinion. I look back at all the hours spent worrying and intensely studying how others talked to me than what I was saying to myself and now realize the emphasis was in the wrong place.
John Lembo says "Every waking moment we talk to ourselves about the things we experience. Our self-talk, the thoughts we communicate to ourselves, in turn control the way we feel and act." In yoga we not only observe our thoughts but we practice talking to ourselves on purpose, with purpose. "Self-suggestion makes you master of yourself." (W. Clement Stone) We learn that what we say to ourselves and how we say it impacts how we feel. We learn that we are responsible for creating our world from the inside out.
“Watch your thoughts for they become words
Watch your words for they become actions
Watch your actions for they become habits
Watch your habits for they become character
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny!”
The other key learning that becomes transportable from our yoga is the way we talk to ourselves is how we talk to other people (our partner, our children, our friends). These are never two separate things. Our communication is practiced with ourselves from ourselves first. Then the more life affirming our self-talk is the more positive we are in how we talk to everyone! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
SENSORIUM OF EXPERIENCE
March 26, 2011. "When we understand sensations perfectly, we will see beyond this conditioned world." - Samyutta Nikaya
Do you know which grows first in the human body? Your heart or your brain? Answer is: Your heart.
That is a pretty good indication that the energies greater than us want our heart energy to be more predominant than our intellectual capacity to analyze. And at the very least something within our DNA is saying to us pay attention to both. You may also find it interesting to know that your heart & brain maintain a constant and conscious 2-way dialogue. And in this conversation the heart sends far more information to the brain, than the brain to the heart. The heart also generates the strongest rhythmic electromagnetic field in the body & this actually can be measured in the brain waves of people around us.
So then why do we so often try to rationalize the emotional space of the heart? Why do we try to over direct our lives with only our brains? And then wonder why this doesn't feel right?
When we come to the yoga mat we are dialing back into our heart's intelligence. And the gateway into the heart is the breath. The first breathing technique we learn is Anapanasati, awareness of breath: its duration, it's orgination, its temperature, its cadence, its rhythm, is it rough or smooth, easy or labored, where do you feel it and where don't you feel your breath? This renewed sensitivity to our life energy transfers into everything else we do. And as a result we begin feeling more.
"The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist." Lord Byron
And of course the asana are on purpose to help us feel both Sensitive and Fierce sensations. We want to feel the full spectrum of emotion and sensation. Yoga helps us unite our hearts intelligence and intellectual understanding together. “These two teachings, the supremacy of the heart and the uniqueness of each human being are very important to me. They give me the fullest understanding of my membership in the human family.” Robert Muller
The more we feel the more we become expert in our own human experience and then as a result the more expert we are in the overall human experience. We learn to feel what other people feel. And when the constant dialogue of our hearts with one another becomes a way of life then the more gently we live with one another sharing this beautiful planet without war, without fighting, without aggression. Then and only then will peace prevail. So please use your yoga to connect to your sensorium of experience and bring peace on earth. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
"Different winds come from all directions. Some are clear, some carry dusts, some are cold or hot, fierce gales or gentle breezes. In the same way sensations arise in the body - pleasant or unpleasant or neutral. When we see sensations as we do the winds, coming and going, clear or dust laden, fierce or gentle, we will fully understand them and be free from dependence on them." - Samyutta Nikaya
IT’S YOUR LIFE, DON’T MISS IT!
March 25, 2011. The Buddha says we should “practice as if your hair was on fire.” This is such an amazing metaphor to remind us to wake up to our lives. This metaphor in no way implies panic or alarm. It encourages us stop treating life as a rehearsal for the future or ruminating over the past all the while not awake to present experience.
No better reason to come to the mat than to stoke our wakeful energy through movement and breath and by taking risks in experience new poses (like handstand). And what do we use to wake up? Our hearts first and foremost. For in the wards of Annie Dillliard “If we listened only to our intellect we’d never have a love affair, we’d never have a friendship, we’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical. Well that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs ALL the time and build your wings on the way down.” Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
Day-O (Banana Boat Song), Harry Belafonte
Tangled Up In Blue, Bob Dylan
Good Day Sunshine, Beatles
Down on the Corner, Creedance Clearwater Revival
I Want You, Bob Dylan
I'm Outta Love, Anastacia
Rolling In the Deep, ADELE
Gangsta Nation, Nate Dogg
Sita Ram, Girish
Stir It Up, Bob Marley & The Wailers
Simple Twist of Fate, The Format
Ripple, Grateful Dead
Teach Your Children (live), Steve Acho
I'll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy Feat. Faith Evans & 112
Every Breath You Take, Carol Welsman
Peace, George Winston
SILVIA YOGA PLAYLIST FEBRUARY 4, 2011
PLAYLIST FEBRUARY 4, 2011.
Hope (Live for the art of peace), Rush
Hard Sun (Main), Eddie Vedder
Escucha Me, Gipsy Kings
Nogo, Issa Bagayogo
Mahamrtyunjaya Mantra, Reema Datta
High Low (feat. Zap Mama) [Acoustic Mix], Michael Franti & Spearhead
Escaping Arkham, Common Market
No Rest for the Weary, Blue Scholars
Queen Bee, Devendra Banhart
Jesus etc., Wilco
Faust Arp, Radiohead
While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles
Join me for wonderful yoga retreat www.alchemytours.com
SILVIA YOGA PLAYLIST JANUARY 26, 2011
PLAYLIST BACKBENDING CLASS JANUARY 26, 2011
Shavasana/Deep Relaxation, Shiva Rea
Comfortably Numb, Dar Williams
Kind and Generous, Natalie Merchant
Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones
Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?, Rod Stewart
Chaiyya Chaiyya, Sapna Awasti & Sukhvinder Singh
Ya Rayah (Sonar Remix), Dahmane El Harrachi
Nogo, Issa Bagayogo
Tajabone, Ismaël Lo
Joy, George Winston
Jesus etc., Wilco
Something In The Way She Moves, James Taylor
Heart And Soul, Mel Tormé
Light My Fire, Patricia Barber
Thanksgiving, George Winston
Guru Brahma, Shaman's Dream
Samba Sadashiva, Donna De Lory
SILVIA YOGA PLAYLIST JANUARY 12, 2011
JANUARY 12, 2011. Here is a really beautiful, fluid playlist aligned with this snowy winter's day. Enjoy!
Beautiful Friend, Light Rain
Gate To The Silkroad, Mokhira
Ananda, Solar Quest
Deep South, Layo Paskin & Matthew Bushwacka
Nogo, Issa Bagayogo
I Ka Barra (Your Work), Habib Koite and Bamada
Do U Wanna Partner, Clington, Shaan, Suzi Q, Udit Narayan & Wajid
Everything (...Is Never Quite Enough), Wasis Diop
One Step Closer to You, Michael Franti & Spearhead
This is How I Feel, Finley Quaye
MY "BEST" PRACTICE BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS
December 1, 2101 My "Best" Practice? By Laura Mills, in the words of a New Yoga Teacher
When I was little, someone I admired advised me to achieve two objectives with my future: first, I must choose an endeavor that brings me happiness; and second, no matter what the endeavor, I must be my very best at it. Very shortly after I began teaching yoga, I knew this particular role model would be proud, for no endeavor of my past had shown me so much joy. But even now, more than six months into my teaching experience, the second objective trails a question mark.... Am I truly the best yoga teacher I can be at this point? And if not, how can I become so?
It's not a question of spending more time on class preparation. A yoga teacher can literally spend every moment sequencing poses and developing themes. Realistically, of course, that can't happen--and at this point, I believe I've found a place at which I reasonably weave together yoga teaching and practice with the other strands that together form my complete life, including the eating and sleeping, errands and chores, writing and reading, and other pursuits with which I enrich my time.
If I'm already reading, then, perhaps I should read more about yoga and yoga-related topics. Material abounds, for sure; one of the first things that struck me about teacher training, in fact, was the amount of reading material. Books about the fundamentals of yoga poses and the teaching of them, books on yogic philosophy, books on human anatomy, books on how to incorporate yoga into life off the mat...I confess that even now, six months after teacher training's end, I have yet to make my way through every last page. But even after I complete my first pass through this resource library, much more will remain to be read. Not long ago, for example, at a local bookstore I spotted shelf after shelf of translations of the Yoga Sutras (all different from the three I already own), the Upanisads, and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as books on different styles of yoga, yoga for various ailments and ages, and others. Yes, keeping the pages moving will always be an option.
But really, even while a stack of still-unread yoga books is never far away, I know that yoga-in-writing is really only a small part of what's left for me to learn. The more yoga I practice and the more yoga I teach, the more I feel as if I stand only at the beginning of a path that stretches infinitely ahead. Just connecting with other teachers and students teaches me new lessons all the time, like there's always one more way to sequence a class, one more way to incorporate a theme, one more reason why people come to yoga in the first place, and one more inspiration that brings them back class after class. In six months of teaching I have yet to leave the studio with the same mind with which I entered; at the very least, after every class I am strengthened in my knowledge that I don't know all that exists to know about yoga. And that I never will.
And actually, now that I think about it, perhaps keeping this very point at heart--with the greatest humility and the firmest commitment to yoga as a lifelong practice--is the essence of truly being my very best at this endeavor. Yes, I can continue putting my efforts into preparing classes, and I can pursue yoga-related reading whenever time allows. But I can also reaffirm my intention again and again to embrace my own studentship, letting myself just BE TAUGHT as life as a yoga teacher and everything else that I am unfolds. I can keep my heart open to the practice with the faith that, no matter how long I've been teaching, yoga will always have something left to teach me.
THIS PLACE OF MINE BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS
October 12, 2010 This Place of Mine.... (Thoughts of a Beginning Yoga Teacher) By Laura Mills
The need to put things in their place is what initially drew me to yoga. After some difficult years during which my life's flow drastically changed course, yoga proved itself a paddle with which I continued sailing forward. Yoga felt right; it made ME feel right, or at least more right than before...which made pursuing my teaching credentials feel especially right, so I could ultimately help others do the same.
And so, eager to teach others about re-establishing life's peace--about putting things in their place--I immersed myself in a teacher training program. And then, sooner than expected, a teaching opportunity arose, and into my first class I jumped. I'm glad it all happened quickly; if I had had more time to think before I accepted the commitment, I likely would have talked myself out of it. And true to my nature, after I accepted I struggled daily with the thought, "What have I gotten myself into?" Terrified, I wrote my first class, then practiced it at least once a day for an entire week. I mentally rehearsed it again and again. I even took the class plan to bed with me.
Was this what "right" should feel like?
The morning of the class I woke up sick-to-my-stomach nervous, and throughout the early hours I forced myself to stay busy at the risk of otherwise panicking. In fact, up to the moment the class began I focused so intently on NOT panicking that I can't explain too much else of what happened that day--all I know is that after the class I felt a surge of relief. And exhilaration, for it had gone well...which surprised me, because again true to my nature I had expected something to go wrong. Still, even with my initial happiness, afterwards I mentally replayed the class: did I cue everything correctly? Did I make eye contact? Did I speak clearly? Was my music too loud? What's landscape vision again? Was this really the right course for my life?
As my second, third, fourth and subsequent classes passed with the same anxieties and the same questions, something else emerged: a new dimension to the respect I held for my own yoga teachers. The effort in sequencing a class, the thought in developing a theme, the creativity in compiling a playlist...the amount of work involved, which I now undertook myself, revealed my teachers' love of and dedication to the practice. The thought of all they had done for me as their student humbled me. But even more than that, my realization of their faith inspired me anew...faith that, at some point, a teacher just has to let go of each class and trust that she or he has prepared enough and the rest will somehow come together.
The anxieties and the questions began to diminish...a little.
And then, a bit further along, an old feeling arose within me--a really, really good feeling that felt stronger with each class. I hadn't felt it in a long time, but here it was, back again. I recognized it when I realized I felt more excitement than nervousness before class; I recognized it when I realized I greatly looked forward to interacting with my students, many of whom I now knew by name. I recognized it when I realized I wasn't just another yoga teacher working with just another group of students, but part of a unique and beautiful yoga studio family.
And, I recognized it when I realized I was totally overwhelmed with blessings. With my attention lately so focused on yoga, my yoga-related blessings in particular were in mind.... My yoga teachers who enriched my practice and inspired me; my fellow trainees who shared so many of their gifts; my students who put their faith in me to guide them through each practice, each class; my husband who supported me in every possible way on my yoga journey. And God, the Universe, the Divine Being, who made certain that yoga and yoga teaching found me, and thus put me in my place...which is, in light of all this I am growing more certain, the right one.
Wishing you peace in recognizing your place, Laura
DOES WORK INTERFERE WITH YOUR YOGA?
Dear Beautiful Friends,
Why is it so hard to get to yoga class this Fall? No really I'm asking... I've had a harder time than ever building a routine, a regular yoga schedule for myself.
Every day has been so different and unexpected. And if I was really honest with myself the real culprit to consistently getting to group classes is staying at the computer (aka work). Now I had a great summer yoga schedule, really I did! But now? It is all over the board. And doing two classes in one day is no replacement for spreading those out in different days.
Making ourselves a priority is the Yoga of real life. And as a real person first thing I recognize is how much I need yoga. We all need yoga. And the beauty is that it is a practice, we do what we can in any given class and there are never any pre-requisites to be met. Yoga loves us unconditionally. So fire up your Yoga, get the calendar out and make yourself some "yoga dates" and as always I am happy to be your yoga buddy. Invite me along to take a class and I'll be there because I'm first and foremost a student. And if you go I'll go. Heck even Oprah talks about having workout buddies. So why not have a Spiritual Workout Buddy?
Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS. And I love learning from all our teachers at TBY!
THE JOY OF BEING A STUDENT OF YOGA
"Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new." -- OG MANDINO
AUGUST 3RD, 2010 This practice of yoga has taught me above all else how to be a better Student of Life. No matter how you might judge me as a "yoga teacher" or "life coach" I can honestly say that my best skill set is of being an amazing student.
I AM TEACHABLE.
I never for a moment assume I know too much. Actually ever year of this practice I learn more and realize how little I actually understand. My time on the mat reminds me to stay thirsty for knowledge. It inspires me to get off my mat and apply this "TEACHABILITY" off the mat. And I do. Of course not without some lifted eye brows and sometimes harsh criticism from some folks.
I take great honor in saying every year I take time off from teaching and go to study with my teachers. I sit in the SEAT OF THE STUDENT an open vessel soaking in the open hearted wisdom of my teacher. This last week has been an amazing experience studying Vinyasa Yoga with a great teacher of yoga and life.
I have been inspired, and challenged and prodded and supported in new ways. I want to say thank you first to all those that would judge me for making time for myself to be a student. You too have been some of my greatest teachers. For without your friction I would not have had to dig deep to still do what I knew was best for me. And to all my students, friends, clients who have kindly supported me every year to keep learning I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my root chakra when it would get shaken and I'd wonder should I make time for me or not?
There are wisdom teachers everywhere and as Students of Life the point is to be open to seeing the teachings that surround us every day of our lives both formally and informally. Sometimes our most difficult teachers are our best teachers. And that's ok: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. It's all good.
And finally what I hope everyone learns no matter your opinion is to step outside your comfort zone and KEEP LEARNING. Do not atrophy. REMAIN TEACHABLE.
Teachabiilty and being lovable are intimately linked as sweethearts.
May you all find the courage to expand your knowledge! With compassion and peace to you all, Silvia
PS - Join me for my certified yoga teacher training program starting October 15th, 2010 at total body yoga
ANOTHER WEEK YOGA SAVES MY LIFE
JULY 11, 2010: The summer is that time of year where it is so easy to get overloaded with solar energy we try to do too much. The hazard here is that we can easily burn out and loose track of what is relevant. And without that we get ungrounded and our Root Chakra weakens.
To me this is yet another way Yoga saves us.
There is not a week that goes by that YOGA DOESN'T SAVE MY LIFE. It saves my soul from hurting for too long it saves my heart from getting stuck in its longing it saves my mind from replaying things that have happened or rehearse the future. This practice saves my life and gives it back to me.
Here you go! No strings attached, no questions asked. And no conditions to be met.
That's pretty marvelous. So be really awake to what you are saying yes to this summer and reground yourself on the mat so you too can return to your center. Because busy and hyper active physically does not mean our souls, hearts or minds are feeling good. They need the care that only comes from slowing down and giving thanks for the breath.
Join me to breath with me, to breath yourself back to groundedness and STAY ROOTED IN LIFE! Love to you in all ways, Silvia
CHECK YOURSELF OUT EARN A PhD IN YOUR LIFE
JANUARY 21, 2010: This is the year and decade we stop analyzing everyone else around us trying to figure out who WE are by what other people do or don't do. The first chapter, first verse of the Yoga Sutras: “With humility and an open heart and mind we begin the study of Yoga. This study is using the Self to study ourselves first.”
"The proper study of mankind is man." (Alexander Pope) from my new book News of the Universe (Poems of Twofold Consciousness chosen and introduced by Robert Bly). That's what we do in yoga. We are when we come to the practice essentially making a commitment to get a PhD in our own Humanness. Nischala Joy Devi says "As students of life we often need to look at where we have come freom to see where we are going. Our present position has been determined by the past - all those crossroads where we made decisions, each path we've taken that brought us to our life as it is."
Blaming other people for the choices we've made or how we came to be what we are won't help us evolve towards greater happiness. We have to accept accountability and just look inside. Rumi writes:
"If you're lugging a heavy bag,
don't fail to look inside it
to see whether what is inside is
bitter or sweet.
If it's really worth bringing along,
otherwise, empty your sack
and redeem yourself from
Only put into your sack
that which is worth bringing."
When you think about it what do you keep lugging around that is weighing your life down? Unless you start looking inward and stop blaming others for the quality of your life, it won’t change for the better. Maybe in the past you thought “I'm not something enough” to do this important work of self-exploration and self-discovery. BUT NO MORE. Be honest with yourself: you are young enough, old enough, smart enough, rich enough and you have enough time. If it is really important to you to set positive intentions for yourself you have to slow down enough to look inside. Take to heart the words of Rumi: "There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of That don't look outside, look inside yourself and seek That.” Yes, SEEK THAT. In the new year, a time of setting intentions just remember this – it is near impossible to set an intention for your life until you study yourself and where you’ve come from first. Otherwise it’s like trying to get a PhD when you haven’t finished First Grade yet. And in this PhD program, there are no grades, it is simply pass/fail. And this subject (YOU) is not one you want to fail at. Life is too short to fail at being you. So starting today get real, look at your life, study yourself as you really are and ignite the beauty of who you are yet meant to be! Love in all ways, Silvia
GNARLY MONDAY WEATHER YES! PERFECT TIME FOR YOGA!
Namaste Monday Friends,
Alright I'm no expert and I haven't quite confirmed the stats but I do believe this is 28th rainy Monday this year. And every Monday I have a little talk with myself in the morning about staying in bed or going out in the rain to take Mary's 9:15am Yoga class. Good news is when the weather is less than stellar why not be inside doing YOGA?
So if you're having that same Monday afternoon work day closing down talk about "should you go to yoga tonight or not" well why not? It's actually a perfect time to do yoga! I can tell you that I have never once regretted dragging myself to class, especially when its dark, cold or rainy outside. We have to keep livin' life to its fullest!
I want to say a special thank you to ALL the amazing Yogis I share mat time with on Monday's. Because I know you'll be there - I feel like I need to show up too. And somehow that makes it easier no matter the rain, the cold (or eventually even the snow).
We are all in this together working towards radiant health, love and world peace one down dog at a time!!
I'll save you spot tonight and every Monday night 6:15pm Level 1 or 7:30pm Basics. Our being at Total Body Yoga together, even if you have to drag yourself there sometimes, is what makes the group yoga practice so wonderful! Come in from the rain, get warm, and breath! Love and light, Silvia
PS - Hey Mary thank you for another FANTASTIC yoga class this morning!! Smiles.
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO BE GOOD TO OURSELVES: LIFE IS INCONVENIENT
OCTOBER 23, 2009:
Namaste Friends on the Path,
Why is it so hard to stay on the path of wellness and optimal health? For instance, why is it so hard to keep a regular yoga practice?
Seriously life is so inconvenient.
"Life is simple not easy" says Jon Kabat Zinn. Nothing is promised to us as easy. Life requires effort and discipline mostly because we have a lot working against us in keeping us mindful and present, more all the time to be honest. So a certain amount of work is required. And this is what inspired me today. When Pema Chodran says Life is so inconvenient I said to myself YES! that’s true. I just never heard it said so straightforward like that before. The word inconvenient is very different than something like saying life is hard. And what I’ve also found to be true is that following our hearts, love itself is inconvenient.
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, when discovery and exploration and curiosity become your path – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.”
This single teaching continues to resonate with me, not just the first time but every day. To read more check out her book The Wisdom of No Escape. Hey I know it's hard to keep doing things that are healthy for ourselves because "we're just so busy." Ok but what I really think that means is code for "It's inconvenient to make time for myself on the mat." Once we give up the yoga then we don't feel like our best selves: the insomnia comes back, the GI issues return, we feel tired but anxious, we get impatient with our partners or family members and on and on. If you stop loving yourself (even if its inconvenient) you give the world permission to treat you the same way. So stop making war with reality: Life is Inconvenient. Follow your heart anyway. It is simple, just not always easy and that's what makes it all an adventure! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS: Take time to enjoy some of our FREE events: October 23rd 7:30pm FREE Sun Salutation Workshop with Silvia; November 1st 2pm-4pm FREE Acupuncture Happy Hour with Carrie Wilhelm, November 13th 7:30pm FREE Yoga & Journaling Workshop with Silvia
THIS OR THAT? ALL OR NOTHING?
OCTOBER 21, 2009: Just like you my every day provides endless opportunities to make healthy choices. Recently I have been trying to decide whether I should sell my house or not and I could see myself weigh out the options in a growing dualistic way of “This or That”. My thoughts started to overdramatize my reaction to this potential change. I was seeing the change as an All or Nothing scenario where selling my house was going to mean something was taken away from me and I’d end up with nothing. Well as a result of my yoga practice I came to the realization that LIFE IS ABOUT ADDITION, NOT ABOUT SUBTRACTION. Every change we encounter whether difficult or easy ADDS to what we already know and we get progressively smarter. Thank goodness for our humanness whereby each day, each moment adds to our life’s blessings and our story gets richer. We see this in class in how we grow our knowledge of a pose, even something as fundamental as Downward Facing Dog. Yes Dog pose is challenging yes it does get easier but the real blessing is how precious the learning is as we evolve our consciousness in this pose. And to think every pose is like that. You see I was getting stuck thinking I have to keep subtracting stuff from my life when making decisions and the concept of “All or Nothing” was weighing heavy on me. But every experience every choice we make just adds to the All. So in reality, it is not All or Nothing….in a nondualistic way it is always ALL or ALL. I shared this epiphany this increased awareness with a friend and they said this to me in response, “I think you are making progress in your thinking regarding adding things to life...I mean, it is not about complicating so much as enabling more growth.” It is about having the courage to face our lives directly and not make it all this or that but embrace more. That practice of saying to ourselves I will be 10% kinder today or 10% more peaceful or 10% more loving or 10% better Downward Dog. As my friend reminded me “at some point, one would think that you would hit the maximum limitation for kindness, but no, you can keep expanding, growing, increasing.” So today with warrior spirit face your choices, make your decisions seeing that they will only ADD to your life. Even our pains, our limitations and those things that scare us are opening us up to more possibilities. So keep adding, keeping living, keep breathing bigger! Big love in ALL ways, Silvia
OCTOBER 21, 2009: Just like you my every day provides endless opportunities to make healthy choices. Recently I have been trying to decide whether I should sell my house or not and I could see myself weigh out the options in a growing dualistic way of “This or That”. My thoughts started to overdramatize my reaction to this potential change. I was seeing the change as an All or Nothing scenario where selling my house was going to mean something was taken away from me and I’d end up with nothing.
Well as a result of my yoga practice I came to the realization that LIFE IS ABOUT ADDITION, NOT ABOUT SUBTRACTION.
Every change we encounter whether difficult or easy ADDS to what we already know and we get progressively smarter. Thank goodness for our humanness whereby each day, each moment adds to our life’s blessings and our story gets richer. We see this in class in how we grow our knowledge of a pose, even something as fundamental as Downward Facing Dog. Yes Dog pose is challenging yes it does get easier but the real blessing is how precious the learning is as we evolve our consciousness in this pose. And to think every pose is like that.
You see I was getting stuck thinking I have to keep subtracting stuff from my life when making decisions and the concept of “All or Nothing” was weighing heavy on me. But every experience every choice we make just adds to the All. So in reality, it is not All or Nothing….in a nondualistic way it is always ALL or ALL.
I shared this epiphany this increased awareness with a friend and they said this to me in response, “I think you are making progress in your thinking regarding adding things to life...I mean, it is not about complicating so much as enabling more growth.” It is about having the courage to face our lives directly and not make it all this or that but embrace more. That practice of saying to ourselves I will be 10% kinder today or 10% more peaceful or 10% more loving or 10% better Downward Dog. As my friend reminded me “at some point, one would think that you would hit the maximum limitation for kindness, but no, you can keep expanding, growing, increasing.”
So today with warrior spirit face your choices, make your decisions seeing that they will only ADD to your life. Even our pains, our limitations and those things that scare us are opening us up to more possibilities. So keep adding, keeping living, keep breathing bigger! Big love in ALL ways, Silvia
AUGUST 9TH, 2009:
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing” (By
I always keep close to my heart the words of Thich Nhat Hanh who says “each minute of our life is a work of art.” Through yoga and daily time spent on the mat this is exactly how I came to see my life as this beautiful canvas, each pose and each life experience: good, difficult, interesting, all adding colors to the artwork of my story. If you say to yourself the first two lines of this poem you get that same feeling or as Roger Housden puts it “you may find, as I have, that they give you the feeling of wanting to live large again on the canvas of your life. For we, too, are buds, you and I, full of life unfolding into flower.”
We all have this amazing opportunity in each minute to step onto our own spiritual path moved by an inner sense to find greatness of heart to choose our own path, or as Robert Frost says “take the road less traveled”. I also really love how this poem speaks to everyone no matter what, “even those that don’t flower externally can do so from within.” We all want to endeavor to fill the canvas of our lives with bold colors, the way is to look at our own hearts and see that everything we need to make a new beginning to give birth to some new venture lies within us already. Housden says ‘the flower of our life is already in bud even now.” Yes it is. Join me on the mat tomorrow at 7:45am Level 1-2 or 9:15am Level 1 or 4:30pm Level 1-2 to as Swami Vivekananda says to experience that “we are responsible for what we are and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves!”
See you in the flow! Love in all ways, Silvia
MEETING YOUR OWN NEEDS
As you navigate the inevitable life changes that take place for all of us all the time like waves. (*You should know I’m a water sign so the metaphor of waves is a constant presence in my life.) The challenge of keeping yourself focused on the present is supported by having a serious on-going conversation between your loving heart and mind about what Life Appointments are the most meaningful to you. If for a minute you think you can control or fully understand why other people do the things they do or why certain situations present themselves you’re setting yourself up for misery.
Instead we focus on the fact that each of us has a steady choice of what appointments we want to keep for our lives that are the most life affirming. We must think about meeting our own needs through the use of YES to the appointments, events or occasions that are the most important. What happens outside of this is what it is. If seems selfish to meet your own needs then get over it. From 15 years of corporate travel I learned quickly the emergency procedures on the airplane said put the oxygen mask on YOU FIRST, then take care of seniors and children. They don’t apologize for this in an emergency and we shouldn’t in living our daily lives!
Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid
Torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want
To make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it
On to the future. George Bernard Shaw
I love the quote above because it serves as a reminder this is not a rehearsal. We do not get to do today over again. If we wait for someone else to make us happy, peaceful or feel loved we have wasted precious time. We must look after our own needs, practicing being true to ourselves and choosing wisely the appointments that grow our lives. Love the day, Silvia
IMPERMANENCE AND ONENESS: LIFE AND HARMONY
JULY 17, 2009: Einstein says that “is there not a certain satisfaction in the fact that natural limits are set to the life of the individual, so that at the conclusion it may appear as a work of art?” Spiritual practice reminds us that life is very brief. No matter how many years we have in this body we know that it is impermanent. Pema Chodran speaks to how impermanence heightens that feeling of preciousness and gratitude. A fundamental Buddhist teaching says that once you are born, you immediately start dying. Now if that doesn’t put things in perspective I don’t know what will. Mortality is not scary dudes. The way I look at impermanence is that it reminds us we are all ONE. There is this yoga uniting all spirits, all nature. Our visit here is vitally important and so why not aspire towards harmony and use this trip we’re on to unite and celebrate one another? Do we really need to spend any of our time fighting, destroying, rehearsing, dividing? Is it worthwhile to battle even the difficult people or situations in our life knowing what we know, that life is fleeting? I’ve spent time fighting against life by working too hard, climbing the corporate ladder too hard, accumulating stuff with almost militant gusto, then my Dad passed when he was only 59 years old. That changed me forever. There is no need to push at life. As I have always said, nature is my best teacher. And I find great healing in the lessons that trees share with us by their existence. We live because they live and vice versa. Trees seem to me the symbol of this synergy of oneness and harmony. We live in all things, and all things live in us. “I believe in the absolute oneness of God and therefore also of humanity. What though we have many bodies? We have but ONE soul. – Ghandi “We live by the sun We feel by the moon We move by the stars We live in all things All things live in us We eat from the earth We drink from the rain We breath of the air We live in all things All things live in us We call to each other We listen to each other Our hearts deepen with love and compassion We live in all things All things live in us (By Stephanie Kaza, Earth Prayers) During the course of the practice we get to try different poses. Some we can see as favorites and others as lessons. The spiritual practice is to embrace all of them as they symbolize difficult and easy people in our lives. So in the words of Indian philosopher Krishnamurti, “love the whole tree”. Love your whole life, be grateful for everyone, celebrate each moment for it never comes again. This is not a rehearsal, the state of harmony we allow ourselves determines the quality of our one life, right now. Love not the shapely branch, Nor place its image alone in your heart. It dies away. Love the whole tree; Then you will love the shapely branch, The tender and withered leaf, They shy bud and the full blown flower, The falling petal and the dancing night, The splendid shadow of full love. Ah, love life it its fullness. It knows no decay. (
JULY 17, 2009: Einstein says that “is there not a certain satisfaction in the fact that natural limits are set to the life of the individual, so that at the conclusion it may appear as a work of art?” Spiritual practice reminds us that life is very brief. No matter how many years we have in this body we know that it is impermanent. Pema Chodran speaks to how impermanence heightens that feeling of preciousness and gratitude. A fundamental Buddhist teaching says that once you are born, you immediately start dying.
Now if that doesn’t put things in perspective I don’t know what will.
Mortality is not scary dudes. The way I look at impermanence is that it reminds us we are all ONE. There is this yoga uniting all spirits, all nature. Our visit here is vitally important and so why not aspire towards harmony and use this trip we’re on to unite and celebrate one another? Do we really need to spend any of our time fighting, destroying, rehearsing, dividing? Is it worthwhile to battle even the difficult people or situations in our life knowing what we know, that life is fleeting? I’ve spent time fighting against life by working too hard, climbing the corporate ladder too hard, accumulating stuff with almost militant gusto, then my Dad passed when he was only 59 years old. That changed me forever. There is no need to push at life.
As I have always said, nature is my best teacher. And I find great healing in the lessons that trees share with us by their existence. We live because they live and vice versa. Trees seem to me the symbol of this synergy of oneness and harmony. We live in all things, and all things live in us.
“I believe in the absolute oneness of God and therefore also of humanity. What though we have many bodies? We have but ONE soul. – Ghandi
“We live by the sun
We feel by the moon
We move by the stars
We live in all things
All things live in us
We eat from the earth
We drink from the rain
We breath of the air
We live in all things
All things live in us
We call to each other
We listen to each other
Our hearts deepen with love and compassion
We live in all things
All things live in us (By Stephanie Kaza, Earth Prayers)
During the course of the practice we get to try different poses. Some we can see as favorites and others as lessons. The spiritual practice is to embrace all of them as they symbolize difficult and easy people in our lives. So in the words of Indian philosopher Krishnamurti, “love the whole tree”. Love your whole life, be grateful for everyone, celebrate each moment for it never comes again. This is not a rehearsal, the state of harmony we allow ourselves determines the quality of our one life, right now.
Love not the shapely branch,
Nor place its image alone in your heart.
It dies away.
Love the whole tree;
Then you will love the shapely branch,
The tender and withered leaf,
They shy bud and the full blown flower,
The falling petal and the dancing night,
The splendid shadow of full love.
Ah, love life it its fullness.
It knows no decay. (
CHOOSE LIFE - CHOOSE LOVE! BE FREE!
So take to heart the words of Joseph Campbell who said, “Life is not about the meaning. It’s about the feeling.” The Feeling of life even the hard stuff is the beauty. Tantric views ask us to accept the full spectrum of who we are, denying none of our feelings. So on the mat we practice feeling the poses. And the poses are not easy. Yoga is challenging but as we embrace the feeling of life (even the anger, the fear, the worry) we come alive again and realize the key is in our hand to free ourselves from suffering. Pain is part of life but we don’t have to suffer endlessly.
Feelings really are more powerful than thoughts and it is through feeling we are one step closer to freeing our hearts. Those of you who are on the razors edge deciding whether to stay in the prison of your own making or come out the other side please know this, The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain.” Kahlil Gibran. You know then you have the capacity to be joyful and FREE!
Will we have sometimes sorrowful days, months, or years, maybe. But it’s been my experience that even that demonstrates to us that sometimes its necessary to love peace so much that you are willing to sacrifice for it.
So today have the courage to set yourself free! For Stress paralyzes life; love releases it. Worry confuses life; love harmonizes it. Anger darkens life; love illuminates it. As Augustus William Hare writes, “The feeling is often the deeper truth.” Embrace your truth, embrace what you feel and free your soul for love and peace! With humble gratitude for life, Silvia
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEANING OF LIFE AND MEANINGFUL LIFE
JUNE 19, 2009:
Are you Looking for the meaning of life or a Meaningful life?
As I looked out at the Tuscan countryside with but an occasional car driving past, not even a street sign or visible way to distinguish the drive to our farmhouse I was surrounded by waves of grass blowing in the wind. It was here I contemplated what am I doing with my life? Am I looking for the meaning of life or a MEANINGFUL LIFE? As a spiritual seeker I learned long ago that seeking is different than finding answers, it is the freedom to ask more meaningful questions. Quite frankly just asking the questions can be more than enough.
Victor Frankl who wrote of his time in a concentration camp says, “Freedom is not something which can be given to you by someone else. It is something that you have inside of you, a way you choose to be.” So we can all choose a MEANINGFUL life where we declutter and determine our spiritual well-being. This requires us to be bold and courageous.
Why? Because meaningful lives are messy. Getting all the answers is a way to live life propholactically where we are hyper careful not to make any mistakes, erroneously thinking that if we only “get things right” “live our lives right” that it will all be ok. But who wants an ok life? A meaningful life is MORE! It is a philosophy of living life BIG AND BRIGHT without limitations. Now of course we can't control everything that happens around us or the choices that others make but this need not limit us. You have in a sense a "magic wand' that can transmute even the greatest challenge into an opportunity for greatness.
In the book Geography of Bliss Eric Weiner writes, “Most of the time I keep my imagination on a leash.” Are you the same way? Do you keep yourself so tightly wound up and leashed in that you’re literally drying out from the inside out. Wouldn’t your life be more meaningful if you let out your imagination again?
So join me in aspiring to choose a more meaningful life rich with adventurous questions! Don’t just stand at the shoreline of life looking out but afraid to get messy, just dive in and get involved with making a meaningful life. Big love to each of you! Silvia
KEEPING YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH LIFE
If we view our lives not as this experience of obligation (not so much I should do this which feels like we’re in trouble for not doing it already) but instead what appointments are you keeping for your life that are the most valuable and life affirming it makes it all easier. All hard edges seem to soften.
Thich Nhat Hanh says it like this: “We have an appointment with life, and that appointment takes place in the present moment. If we miss the present moment, we miss our appointment with life, which is serious.”
While we’re busy coming up with reasons not to keep our appointments, spin your perspective and make real (realize) that they are moving you in the direction of your best life. So time on the mat gives us that opportunity to check in with ourselves and take stock of how we’re doing for the sake of our health and over all well-being. But it begins by acknowledging which Life Appointments are the most vital. What are they for you? How are you doing keeping your appointments? Is YOGA a life appointment you want to keep? If yes, then join me on the mat. I will always support you! Love and light, Silvia
*You'll be happy to know I do make time for my dentist appointments because it matters to me.
*You'll be happy to know I do make time for my dentist appointments because it matters to me.
DISCOVER THE TRUTH OF WHO YOU ARE
May 3, 2009:
Ok you guys, I’m a little embarrassed to admit I used to be one of those people that would take forever to order food at dinner. I’d be at the table waiting for everyone else to order first because I didn’t have the confidence in the truth of my first instinct in what to order for myself. Now this may not be a big deal at dinner but it’s a tough way to go through life being indecisive or confused to the TRUTH of who we are (starting with what we want to eat). Why didn’t I order what I wanted to? I was too afraid of disappointing someone at the table because they wanted me to order something different than what I wanted or I felt guilty ordering something too expensive. Really in all honesty I was just afraid of standing up and being myself, declaring to the world “Yes, this is what I want based on who I am.” This is me remaining true to my truth.
This is how I was living life at the time. I felt constant guilt over what everyone else wanted me to be. So I tried desparertly to be who they wanted me to be by wearing that costume. I never felt like myself inside the costume and the longer I wore it the more itchy and uncomfortable it became until I just couldn’t deny any more that the costume was NOT ME. My soul was sweating and dying inside from not revealing the true me. So my spiritual practice evolved and I stopped trying so hard to be who other people wanted me to be.
I realized that I was trying to be a photocopy of someone else and as we all know photocopies are never as good as the originals. I would only ever be the second best someone else. The only person I could be the best at being was ME. In Yoga that’s known as Satya, “Truth and authenticity” of acknowledging our unique humanness. I don’t to want to be a PHOTOCOPY PERSON. Do you? Because take it from me, you don’t have to be.
In yoga we peel of these outer layers or costumes, masks we wear to rediscover our TRUE selves. It’s not always easy work, there are tears, laughter, sweating, sometimes even a bit of pain. But overall it’s a whole lot easier than trying to wear an ill fitting costume the rest of our lives. And it makes ordering dinner much easier too!
So how do we maintain it? Well what we are talking about here is a daily spiritual practice (known as Sadhana) where you make time to stay connected to your own truth otherwise the resistance monsters of fear, doubt, guilt come back. And it is achieved through self-love, seeing who we are is just perfect (without condition) we are each vitally important to the world as we are true. This is where we found ultimate freedom from mental torture and stress.
Does this seem a little self-centered? Of course, it should. As Sadie Nardini says, “spiritual disciplines like yoga are built around this concept of moving into and from our center.” The cool thing is by being more authentic we give everyone else around us permission to be themselves. There is no pretending and relationships deepen. It’s a neat way to live, really the only way to live.
The alternative it seems is to keep wearing the costumes, building really great “Life Resumes” as if you were trying to apply for the job of your own life. I did that. I put together a Silvia Resume (didn’t really feel totally like me because I was trying to impress everyone else). Then through yoga funny thing happened. As the true me was allowed to shine out I realized I already had the job of being Silvia. And I was only going to get this one chance, this one lifetime to enjoy remaining true to my own truth.
Today, even for a little while take off the costume, be your funky self! So you’ll love yourself more, love your day more, love your life more! Silvia
DO YOUR BEST
FEBRUARY 23, 2009: My teacher Shiva Rea says, "The teachings of yoga include a view called parinamavada, the idea that constant change is an inherent part of life. Therefore, to proceed skillfully with any action, we must first assess where we are starting from today; we can’t assume we are quite the same person we were yesterday." So when we step into the current of grace how can we manage to do our best – no more, no less, keeping in mind that doing our best is never going to be the same like our breath. The Yoga Sutras suggest each pose be Sthira Sukham Asanam, steady and pleasant. More importantly in the incessant changing stream of life can we just keep trying? The more you practice yoga the more you will respond YES!
The great thing is that when we DO OUR BEST then we give no reason for self-judgement, blame, guilt, negative self talk of any kind. There are no regrets.
To me doing our best is kind of scary. From a western view it pulls us into that “no pain, no gain” mentality that life must hurt. But that’s not it at all. Doing our best means we are living our lives fully, in the present moment with enormous intensity because we want to be good to ourselves. We want to make life all it can be aspiring to co-create with the universe for our optimal productivity. Doing our best makes us connect to our innate happiness! Why? Because it demonstrates our LOVE for life!
LOVE IS ACTIVE,
YES IS ACTIVE
DOING OUR BEST IS ACTIVE (INACTION IS THE WAY WE DENY LIFE)
Today we keep making the soil of our souls more fertile by contexualizing through asana practice the theme of "Always Doing Our Best.” I hope this inspires you to make sensitive adjustments as you enjoy each and every breath. All of this to make the space for the dreams you wish to hatch come the first day of Spring, March 20th! My dear friends you were born with the right to be happy and as Deepok Chopra suggests why not then make Happiness the Goal of ALL other goals, and just do our best with this. Please love your life, don’t let another breath pass without making it your best breath. Love to you all, Silvia
YOGA REVEALS OUR HABITS
FEBRUARY 9, 2009: Today is the full moon. The moon reflects the sun. As BKS Iyengar says in Light on Life, “The meaning of Hatha Yoga is Sun (Ha) and Moon (tha), Yoga is which Sun is the Soul and Moon is Consciousness. Consciousness can be compared to a lens. Its inner surface faces the soul itself, and its outer surface comes into contact with the world. Inevitably a degree of grime attaches itself to that outer surface and obscures our vision. In fact prevents us from seeing clearly what is outside, and it equally prevents the light of our soul from shining out. If our house is gloomy because the windows are dirty, we don’t say there is a problem with the sun; we clean the windows. Therefore yoga cleans the lens of consciousness in order to admin the sun (soul).”
We all form habits as we go through life. Yoga teaches us that even our good habits keep us from growing spiritually. This is because habits are by definition an attachment to a pattern of behavior, or a form of dependence. So a key principle of yoga is to break our attachments. This includes not just our attachments to material objects (like needing a hamburger and fries to be happy), but also attachments to only seeing things our way rather than being open and accepting of other’s opinions.
Our time on the mat is important because it gives us a chance to examine our behavioral patterns or habits. When we realize that we are creatures of habit and that those very habits, even the good ones, keep us stuck in patterns and we begin to break those habits and to try different things, then true spiritual growth begins. Alex Levin puts it like this, “habits allow us to not think about what we’re doing . . . giving us the illusion of ease.” When we are under the illusion of ease, not thinking about what we’re doing. Breathing the same old way, moving the same old way, thinking the same old way we check out of the present, out of happiness itself.
I invite myself all the time to step (think) outside the box. For example: I emptied my bedroom of furniture and rearranged everything. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Friday for the first time in years, I am going to a movie tonight at 9:30pm instead of during the day. Even my trip to
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost .... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH LIFE
The words of Thich Nhat Hanh spoke to me, he says it like this: “We have an appointment with life, and that appointment takes place in the present moment. If we miss the present moment, we miss our appointment with life, which is serious.”
I get it. If we put more value on our oil change appointments, dental appointments, business appointments, hair appointments than we do on our life appointment something is amiss. We aren’t really living life. John Lennon says, Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans. Dude that’s it. So a favorite inspiration I handed out in class this morning is below so you can all enjoy and remember. Life is now. Keep your appointment! From my heart, Silvia
From A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen, 2000
You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at your desk, or your life in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your HEART. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broken, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the check X ray and it doesn’t look so good.
Take a moment: Think about your resume, your resume of heart.
So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: GET A LIFE. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Get a life where you pay attention. Keep still. Be Present.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time I look at my diploma, I remember that I am still a student, still learning every day how to be human.
MAINTAINING BALANCE: CHAKRAS AND MORE!
AUGUST 12TH, 2008: How do we find and maintain balance in order to live the best life ever? Well, today we discussed the Chakras and their application. The chakras are the seven main energy centers in the body where we receive, absorb and distribute life energies. They are located along the spine, starting at the base and running upwards to the crown of the head. Each chakra radiates a specific color and energy. Each chakra relates to specific spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical issues. These can become blocked through and as a result a chakra can become either deficient or excessive and therefore imbalanced. Practicing poses that correspond to each chakra can release these blocks and clear the path to more balanced living.
We passed out a handout with a chart of the Chakras and corresponding element, color, healing stones, and specific poses to help balance out excessiveness or insufficiencies within them. If you want a copy just email us at email@example.com
WHO'S LIFE IS IT ANYWAY? 2ND CHANCES
JULY 31ST, 2008: When I was in High School we did a play by the name of "Who's Life Is It Anyway" which was later made into a movie. In the movie Richard Dreyfuss plays an unforgettable role as the exuberant and creative sculptor who becomes paralysed from the neck down after a car accident and argues for his right to be discharged from hospital so that he can end his life. Although the movie is about the right to die, it is not at all depressing. It is a movie filled with raw emotion, love and humor.
The title has stuck with me all these years. How I apply this to practice on the MAT is as it relates to responsibility. The most challenging thing when we first start practicing is to take back the responsibility for the way we feel, the way we move, the way we breath. Rather than seeing life being done to us and treating it as a prison sentence with no option for parole - we TAKE CHARGE. Who's Life Is It? It is yours. However in this case it is not about the right to die it is about your RIGHT TO LIVE FULLY!
As I often say in class you have to want it more than I want it for you. However, at first and for a very long time perhaps, I WILL BELIEVE IN YOU MORE THAN YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Then the coolest thing happens, somewhere along the way there is an internal shift. I love when this happens! This is super important because you then go about authoring your own life (and it will keep you safe on the mat as well so you never get injured). So Who's Life Is It Anyway - YOURS - you have an opportunity today to write your own happily ever after! If in doubt then give yourself a 2nd chance, or a 3rd or 4th until you are living your own life on your terms. LOVE LIFE.
"No One Is Wise By Birth, For Wisdom Results From One's Own Efforts" -Krishnamacharya
To change one's life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions. -William James