Start Fresh, Again
By Laura Mills
This Sunday traditional Chinese families will celebrate Chinese New Year, a holiday of abundant symbolism that honors family unity, joy, and peace. One of the customs observed in preparation for the 15-day-long celebration is the thorough cleaning of the family home; sweeping, scrubbing, polishing and painting represent the departure of bad fortune and an invitation to good. In the physical sense the cleaning clears dirt and clutter. In the mental sense it bestows the promise of a new beginning and indicates the first step towards greater things to come.
I adore this tie between literal house cleaning and metaphorical starting over. For one, I have always found activities like vacuuming and scrubbing—while not always enjoyable—extremely therapeutic for stress and sadness, so the idea of cleaning to obtain something more than sparkling countertops really resonates. But also, it’s a very yogic concept. As we practice yoga postures we bend, twist, stretch and invert the physical body; we also inhale and exhale, three-dimensionally expanding and contracting the torso as well as infusing fresh nutrients all throughout. Physically speaking, among other things, this practice strengthens, tones, detoxifies, and heals.
But much, much more occurs with the physical act of putting body and breath through yoga. At the very least, we “just feel good” as we rise from our mats after practice. Yes, body and breath move more freely, but this feeling also includes a lightness of mind that wasn’t present before. Sincere and heart-felt yoga practice graces us with restoration of calm, heightening of confidence, and clearance of blockages that we may not have even known existed. Many of us rise from the mat with fresh perspective and newfound positivity; some of us even rise with a little more self-love.
One might say that yoga invites us towards a new beginning every time we practice. How fortunate we are, really, that peace and joy are only a breath away!
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!
By Laura Mills
I recently had the pleasure of a vacation. As comfortable as one can be at home, itís rejuvenating to take a break from the day-to-day routine of work, errands, chores, and other obligations. Whether one's vacation involves campfire cooking outside a tent in the midst of a majestic wilderness, or gourmet meals at a restaurant across the street from an exquisite hotel, we plan our vacations according to what we believe will interest and entertain us. No wonder we look forward to them so much!
But I don't think it's the fun or simply the change in routine that rejuvenates us while on vacation. I think itís the fact that vacations place us outside our element.The unfamiliar, no matter how entertaining or interesting, still unsettles us at least a little bit. Our vacations may involve sights we haven't seen before or at least not for a while, languages we don't speak, activities we haven't tried before, and food we've never eaten or perhaps never even heard of. We are no longer experts, no longer able to just go through the motions of day-to-day existence. And suddenly, at least at some level, we then look forward to returning to the opportunities we have at home to go to a familiar workplace, eat food we know we like, and talk to people we love. Suddenly, those opportunities seem just a little more special.
I had a great time on my vacation, for sure. But while I cherish the time I had there, itís REALLY good to be home.
BEING A YOGA BEGINNER
February 8, 2011. Living in a new place whether it's a new apartment or new house or new city kind of forces you to be a beginner at everything. You have to learn where the forks go or the dishes and where's the toilet paper let alone how do you get to your favorite yoga studio or find a Pottery Barn. Quite frankly even grocery shopping is a whole new experience because of the volume of options and once inside the plethora of vegetarian choices. I have never felt more beginner in choosing food even after 20 years as a Vegetarian. I normally don't have a lot of options so I am learning all over again. I am the new kid in school everywhere I go these days.
Yogically speaking we aspire to maintain a "beginner's mind" in our poses, remaining curious to every new breath and treating the practice as if we are like a child learning to walk for the first time. The practice of beginners mind translates into our daily life where we can apply a prism of freshness to all we do and feel. As a result nothing in our lives gets stale. I've felt the blessings of this in my love relationships of friends and partner.
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 Galway Kinnell)
To be in that place where we are always blossoming as we walk our own spiritual path moved by an inner sense to see things from a new perspective keeps us excited by life. Or as Roger Housden puts it “you may find, as I have, that we too, are buds, you and I, full of life unfolding into flower.” So after more than 7,500 hours of teaching yoga I am still only a "baby" teacher. I am forever a beginner seeing the poses, the breath, the world for the first time. So as folks ask me if moving has been hard I don't think so. My yoga practice has prepared me how to crawl, walk, run and even fall with delight. As I go around my new home and city I am stoked at being new to parks, beaches, beers even if I keep getting lost on the way to Pottery Barn or Lululemon. And most of all I am grateful to be a beginner again at making new friends!
But wherever you are, even if you've "done" downward dog a million times try it today as if for the first time. Make it extraordinary! And then go out and take a different route to get to your yoga studio and while you're at it why not challenge yourself this week to begin a conversation with someone new? May we all constantly allow ourselves to BEGIN AGAIN. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! See you in the flow! Peace out, Silvia
*PS join me on retreat www.alchemytours.com
FORCE OF SHIVA - ALL CLASSES CANCELLED FEB 2ND, 2011
Namaste Yogi Friends,
In yogic mythology NATARAJA, literally the King of the Dance of Existence represents the power of Destruction, Shiva, and yet in it's hands it holds in one the power to destroy but in the other the power of Creation. All of us are dancing between endings and beginnings.
Some say this Cosmic Dance of destruction and creation creates this vibration which is the sound of OM (AUM), movement, stillness and then something beyond that.
So when we see Nature, which is always one of our best teachers, dance a dance of destruction with Snow (or anything else) we are reminded to appreciate endings as much as we do beginnings. This is too why we practice savasana at the end of class, we let die a little our petty dramas, our real challenges and well all the rest. And upon rising up, we BEGIN AGAIN. We are creating a new life!
So let's follow the example of nature - we see it is making us pause. ALL CLASSES CANCELED FEBRUARY 2ND, 2011 (our first time ever) Enjoy your families, your friends, yourself and remember you have been born in this body, this heart, this soul to CREATE something beautiful for your life.
And this opportunity won't last forever. Let's all give birth to our best lives ever once the blizzard ends. Make a new beginning! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
PS - I would love to have 5 more Yogi Friends come to sunny Paradise with me! See www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com or email me at email@example.com. Photos at http://www.xinalaniretreat.com/
DO OVER BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS
Do Over By Laura Mills
Whether writing a yoga class or an essay, I never erase. Not that I don’t make mistakes, but when I do I scratch them out, content with the messier route in my urgency to shape what I feel is better work. People who glimpse my notes and journals don’t believe I make sense of them, littered as they are with scribbles and swirls. But somehow I do, moving forward after difficult moments to produce something that satisfies me.
I wish moving forward were that easy for me off-paper.
In eight months of teaching yoga, I’ve frequently finished a class feeling less-than-100%. Maybe the sequence didn’t flow as smoothly as I intended, maybe I left too little time for Savasana, maybe the music didn’t compliment the flow, maybe I philosophized too much. And immediately after such a class, I‘ve struggled not to say to my students, “No, wait! Come back! I can do better!” I want to try again, to produce a better version, and I want to do it right away—but of course, I can only hope the same students attend my next class and see me in what I vow will be better form.
I don’t believe this feeling is unique to new yoga teachers, but I do hope it occurs less frequently with time. I wonder how long I will teach before I rarely second-guess myself. I wonder how long I will teach before the chance is excellent that at the end of my next class I’ll be satisfied. For now, while I grapple with my confidence, I remind myself that when challenged on the mat we slow down, breathe and re-center. It's a familiar, easier-said-than-done practice, one that my own yoga teachers have taught me over and over and one that I now teach my students. Instead of pushing ahead in a hurry, we pause and tune back in, return to our natural rhythm, and then move forward refreshed. This lesson impacted me hugely when I first started practicing, a few years ago at a time when I was urgently—and unsuccessfully—attempting to push my way through the effects of a personal tragedy. Like so many yogis before me, the patience and self-care I met on the mat flowed into the rest of my life, and with time and practice, eventually I was able to gently start again and progress towards the future with a newly-centered spirit.
Now, in my role as yoga teacher, after any less-than-100% class I experience that same initial urgency. I want so badly to serve my students in the best way possible, to live up to the credentials I now possess. When I feel a class falls short, I want to go back and improve it immediately…but instead, like I do on the mat, I know I must remember to slow down and re-center, tapping into that patience and self-care that has served me so well in yoga practice and elsewhere.
I know I have everything I need to teach yoga well; I also know I judge myself more critically than anyone else ever could. As 2011 begins, I will work on tending my confidence and encouraging it to thrive. I will also remind myself with love that every yoga teacher, new or otherwise, experiences difficult moments now and then. Unlike in writing, we can’t erase those moments even if we want to—but if we slow down and re-center we can, at least in a way, scratch them out and make them not matter so much. Then we can move forward, refreshed, into our next class, onto a fresh page.
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.
THE SWEETNESS OF CHANGE (AMADHURYA)
OCTOBER 8, 2010.Yes we are in the season of Change.&nbsp; Everthing around is us evolving from one thing to another and yoga philosophy reminds us that change is an inherant part of life. Life will move forward nonetheless so for us it is a choice as to how we align with that forward momentum or fight what is here now.&nbsp; This transition, as all transitions in life, is more challenging than actually arriving at one's destination. And during times of transition a more easeful yoga practice is helpful.&nbsp; This is when amadhurya, the "sweetness" of universal intelligence, is calling to us to take our experiences and churn them in the beehive of our hearts.&nbsp; While your heart and mind churn the honey in the beehive you can be more gentle with yourself, allowing the practice to nourish you as things change around you and within you.&nbsp;</p></p>
<p><p>I hope to see you return to your yoga practice to nourish the parched places inside and to help you be as elegant as you are in navigating the currents of grace and change herself! Please bring a friend and they will <strong>receive 30 days UNLIMITED yoga for $30 </strong>and YOU get entered to win 2 months UNLIMITED yoga.&nbsp; The more friends you bring, the more lives you change, and the more times you get entered to win!&nbsp; Help us share more yoga this month.&nbsp; Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia</p></p>
<p><p>*And don't forget $350 off trip to Moab November 4-7, 2010, Alchemy Tours</p></p>
PLEASE SUPPORT MY INTENTIONS TO MAKE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
Happy National Yoga Month! What a perfect time as we head into Fall and re-establish healthy routines of school, work, family and daily yoga to recommit ourselves to living our best lives ever.
So to celebrate guess what I‚m doing? You guessed right! I'm doing a whole lot of yoga. And great news is that at TBY we have more classes and more awesome events than ever before!
Here's my personal yoga schedule of fun yoga stuff I am signed up for and hope we can enjoy together (PS I need a partner for partner yoga if you‚re thinking of coming but wondered if you should come on your own)
9/11/2010 (Saturday) 2:00PM Healing Crystal Bowls Concert
9/17/2010 (Friday) 6:30 PM Eat, Pray, Love Workshop
9/18/2010 (Saturday) 2:00 PM Partner Yoga Workshop
9/19/2010 (Sunday) 6:30 PM The LifeLine Technique
9/25/2010 (Saturday) 2:00 PM Yoga For Runners
10/2/2010 (Saturday) 1:00 PM Teaching Yoga to Kids
10/2/2010 (Saturday) 4:30 PM David Romanelli Yoga for Overcoming Fear
10/2/2010 (Saturday) 11:00 AM Mommy and Baby Yoga
10/3/2010 (Sunday) 12:15 PM David Romanelli Yoga for Social Network Slaves
10/25/10 (Sunday) Tuscany Yoga & Cycling Retreat
11/4/2010 (Thursday) Moab Yoga & Mountain Biking Adventure
And of course I am gearing up for Teacher Training starting October 13th! And the more Yoga I do the more clear I become on what my intentions are for the Best Life ever. A fundamental intention I am rededicating myself to this Fall is participating more directly in making the world a better place. As such I am donating part of the proceeds from all my classes this week to an event I am participating in virtually, Bike MS, sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They remind me that it takes only 1 person to inspire hundreds!
Every hour of every day, someone hears the words "you have multiple sclerosis." So for many personal reasons this is something very close to my heart. And my Team Mile'n for Myelin is working hard to meet our fund raising goals so no one else ever has to hear the words, "You have MS." If you'd like to donate $5 to me directly please visit here http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/WASBikeEvents?px=8721783&pg=personal&fr_id=13100
This Fall as you set up your intentions as part of your Spiritual Routine (lose weight, sleep better, decrease stress, exercise more, be more patient, gossip less, love more) I encourage you to think about being more involved with your community because to me the most important thing you can collect at TBY is friends, not poses. Please take a moment to check out all the great stuff we are offering to help you connect with yourself and with others. May this earth be blessed with your peaceful contribution! With lovingkindess, Silvia
HANDBOOK 2010 CHECKING IN ON NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
February 28: Here is a wonderful contribution from Ingrid about New Year's Resolutions. As we finish the 2nd month of the year it is time to revisit these things. How are you keeping up? Love the day! Silvia
HANDBOOK 2010 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants..
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need...
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it..
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.
YOGA IS SPRING BREAK FOR ADULTS!
FEBRUARY 20, 2010
During the Winter we are simply more in our heads than in our bodies (if you live in colder climates). I remember when I was working an office job during the Winter I'd end up working longer hours. If for no other reason then it felt like it was too cold to be outside. I'd literally run from my car to the Metra station to wait inside or run to the bus to go to my office. In an effort to avoid being in the cold I'd eat more lunches at my desk. At some point (about now) I'd start to feel the Stress growing bigger and bigger. I'd get more tired, more stressed from working extra and go home and crash. My balance would get lost.
Thank goodness yoga offered me a healthy solution. In our Chicagoland Winter's we NEED yoga more than ever. Otherwise we get stuck in our head's working too much & thinking too hard when we need some play time too. Yoga is like recess for Adults.
Hey you don't have to wait for Spring Break (like we did when we were kids). YOGA CLASS IS SPRING BREAK!
So get back to moving and breathing your body. Come have some fun, take a break from work, home, and all the seriousness of life. Instead be a serious student of FUN for 2-3 hours per week. Yes, you heard me right, I'm proposing you give yourself more than one yoga class per week in the Winter. Come warm times then by all means, walk from Union station to your office, stand outside the Metra station and do jumping jacks, hike, cycle, run outside. But for the next couple more months of colder weather don't just lose your balance accepting you'll just feel lousy and cranky when the solution is right here. Do something! Come spiritualize every aspect of your life by staying tuned into to the blessing it is to be alive. And then plan to join me for your summer vacation for the Spiritual & Cultural Adventure of a Lifetime in Tuscany June 20th-26th!! But in the meantime, play more now! Love your life, Silvia
NEW YEARS DAY YOGA!
11:30am—1pm Level 1-2 Detox Flow with Silvia
Come celebrate with your Yogi Friends! Festive Vinyasa Flows, breathing techniques and mudras have been designed to improve your circulation, stimulate your digestion, and help you let go of any of the old stories and non life-affirming thought patterns that have held you back. You will leave feeling refreshed and totally excited about your life! So join me to get fired up about your greatest as of yet untapped potentiality! This is the most important decade of our lives so take time today to detox, clear space and set a powerful intention for yourself for 2010 and beyond.
"Pilgrim, pilgrimage, and road - it was but myself toward my SELF, and your arrival was but myself at my own door." - RUMI
1:30pm-3pm Restorative Yoga and Live Music with Mara
CANDLELIGHT YOGA NEW YEARS EVE 6PM-8PM WITH SILVIA:
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
YOGA ECONOMICS FREE STUFF WEALTH AND HAPPINESS
Namaste Beautiful Friends,
In class recently I was sharing the story of what things were like at TBY when we first opened: without apology I begged my neighbors and friends to be in class for free so it would look like we had clients but really we didn't have any money coming in for many months; I was working two full-time jobs both a ridiculous number of hours each week; almost every waking moment was poured into fanning the flame of the studio to keep it alive another day, week, let alone month or year. Well that was 6 years ago. To say I often thought about giving up would be an understatement.
I know that many of you are impacted directly by the financial contraction in the world. I get that. Your team of TBY teachers understands that personally too well. We've had a number of teachers whose partners have lost their jobs, some have faced hardship in losing their home, having to sell their home but not being able to, underselling their home and more. We yoga teachers are just like you.
Mary was sharing a Sufi teaching in a beautiful class this Monday that spoke to my heart: "we don't look in the light because its easy; we must also look in the darkness to find the answer." You guys when we contract in our relationship to money every part of our life suffers. So think about this: "It is interesting that happiness is a state of inner wealth, and the word WEALTH originally meant happiness (although we have to go back to 1250 for that definition). Your money should be a source of bliss, not stress. A good rule of thumb is: if your money is stressing you out, it's diverting the flow of ALL other goods things to you as well. Money can't buy happiness, but happiness attracts money. Find ways to become happier first, and you'll dissolve some of your strongest financial blocks. Begin to develop a strong state of inner okayness and worth inside of yourself, even if you've still got bills to pay. When you do this, you will open the door for a better financial situation." - Sadie Nardini, Road Trip Guide To The Soul (friend and yoga teacher)
This is simple Yoga Economics. Feel great first and financial abundance will reveal itself. If you stay feeling like crap you block the good flow. How do you feel better? Practice yoga! Get on the mat to find that always present sense of calm, quiet inner joy. Let our teachers inspire you back to your best self and your true nature which is to be happy as a human being. We want to help. How? well 6 months ago I started offering FREE unlimited yoga for anyone you know that has lost their full-time job and said if you are struggling financially please contact me so we can work with you.
If you stop doing the yoga that reminds you to be happy the life energy draining worry about money will only get stronger. "Happiness attracts money." Take time to enjoy some of our FREE events: October 23rd 7:30pm FREE Sun Salutation Workshop with Silvia; November 13th 7:30pm FREE Yoga and Journaling Workshop with Silvia; FREE Acupuncture Happy Hours with Carrie Wilhelm (many dates to choose from); and of course, always First class for new students is FREE which we've given away now over $120,000 of classes to the community and want to do more. If you know of someone that could benefit from rediscovering reasons to be happy tell them to stop by. We will take great care of them. In our lifetime how cool would it be if Wealth again meant Happiness? And more importantly how great would it be if we were all wealthy in happiness and love?! Wishing you more love, Silvia
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Shared on October 14, 2009
DECISION TO FORGIVE IS NONRATIONAL
"Imagine we wake up and find that everyone has forgiven everything there was to forgive and has found the courage to say sorry for any wrongs that even individuals had forgiven one another every injustice and instead of recycling the past, could at last live FULLY in the present?
We would all breath a sigh of relief. The atmosphere would be happier and many people would discover the wonder of living in the present moment instead of constantly investing huge parts of themselves in recriminations and accusations, reliving events that are long past.
Relations between people would be open. And all the energy poured into blame, hatred and revenge would instead circulate freely towards love.
Forgiveness is possible. It is NOT the same as condoning. It means not feeding anger for a wrong or slander. Forgiveness is the inner act of making peace with the past and of finally closing accounts.
The decision is not easy. On the contrary it is nonrational because accounts do not balance. We do not even need to see forgiveness as the absence of resentment- an emotional void.
Rather forgiveness is a positive quality. It contains joy and faith, generosity of spirit. It frees us and whoever forgives feels uplifted."
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
JULY 20TH, 2009: Why do I come to the mat each and every day? I return because I want to make and keep peace with who I am. I practice in the safety of class radical self-acceptance. Through that practice I stay present to life and what it is offering me breath to breath, email by email, thought to action to observation. We are all a work in progress but that awareness of letting ourselves be who we are is vital to positive mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Think about it you can come to class at any time without having to meet any single prerequisite. You just come as you are and the power and beauty of yoga embraces you. I can tell you during times of challenge the mat was the only place I felt like I could be myself. And I mean my real self (not the pretending we do for our neighbors, colleagues, even sometime our family members). Eckhart Tolle in the book A New Earth says it like this on page 184:
"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."
Finding peace inside through compassionate self-acceptance is not that easy, but the thing is only when we find peace within can we become the kind of people who can live at peace with others. It is a straightforward spiritual law. You cannot offer to others what you don’t practice for yourself. If you don’t have peace you can’t make peace, if you don’t love yourself you can’t really love someone else, if you don’t fully accept how amazing you are, you WILL NEVER accept others. This is why when I’ve encountered the most critical or judgmental person I feel compassion for them because I know they are only treating me like that because they are first criticizing and belittling themselves. I don’t want that to be the way of energy exchange for any of us. This is why I want the world to practice yoga.
“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there`s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it.” Says Anne Covey
And perhaps the greatest misunderstanding of acceptance is that it is apathetic. This is not the case. Yoga is at its core learning how to accept ourselves in this moment not staying stuck in apologizing who were in the past or hyperventilating about who we might be in the future. As Fulton Oursler puts it, ‘Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” When we are allowing ourselves to accept our innate goodness we can learn how to ask ourselves better questions and to listen to the answers (i.e., What do I want? What do I feel? What do I need? How can I give myself what I need right now?) In other words we aren’t trying to fix ourselves as if we were broken we nourish ourselves with self-love. This leads to a sense of feeling light, freer and healthier. So today make the choice not to keep yourself in a prison of your own making through self-criticism and harsh self-judgement but instead as Rumi says, “only from the heart can you touch the sky!” Accept yourself, lover your day, love your life! Silvia
"You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness." - Page 13 Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
MAY 22, 2009: Some of us cannot afford to travel far away places for spiritual retreat but yoga class provides us the same benefits right here in our backyard. So travel with me to a place where we can refresh from the events of this week. Ok? So what does it mean to find renewal? To better understand this we must first ask ourselves how do we define Health? Do you have health? Do your work colleagues or family members have health? If you know what Health is then what is WELLNESS? Are they the same?
The WHO (World Health Organization of the UN) defines health as “not only the lack of disease, but also the physical, social, spiritual, and mental well-being of the human.” So to me this sense of renewal we realize from yoga is to move us not from disease only but toward radiant well-being. There is a continuum of wellness. And it is on-going and in process. We don’t just get it and stop because we’re done.
This is why renewing our spirits, our sense of hope on the mat is vitally important.
If we eat dinner on clean dishes and then tomorrow try to eat on those dirty dishes it wouldn’t make sense. We would understand that we have to wash them and we’re not done there, if we use them we’ll have to wash them again and again. Same goes with keeping our spirit refreshed. We have to work at it. Each day we find ourselves making withdrawals from our spiritual reserves so each day it is crucial we make deposits and renew our commitments to our improved wellness. So join me on the mat day in and day out for your own Spiritual Renewal so you can feel renewed enough to think more clearly and figure out the right course of actions to take next. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
NEW MOON, OPEN TO GRACE
MAY 9, 2009: Today is the New Moon. Energetically it is a day of contemplation, inward focus and meditation. This is the perfect experience of renewal and hope. Giving time to thinking about the bad habits we want to let go of, the qualities that are not part of the person we want to be.
And we begin with a sense of NEWNESS to make positive changes in our lives. So join me today for a series of shoulder openers and forward folds to give time and make space to let out the old and welcome the good! Love your day and the next chapter of your life! Silvia
BE A PIONEER: INVOKE NEW EXPERIENCE
"Like a bee seeking nectar, seek teachings everywhere. Like a deer, seek a quiet place to digest all that you have gathered." -Dzogchen Tantra
How do we open up? We start by saying to ourselves I choose LOVE. From there everything softens. Then say to yourself, I AM OPENING INTO ______.
“We all have unknown territory in our lives. It’s one thing when the unknown territory is the forest, the mountains or even the craziness of the city. But in our world of constant distraction, I wonder if the present moment is becoming a kind of unknown mysterious forest teeming with life, treasures and visions. For those who view the moment as exotic, unknown territory, let’s step back and chart the lay of the land.” Says David Romanelli in his new book Livin the Moment. I like everyone have wrestled with fear of the unknown of what comes next. And the more new and fresh the experience to me used to be the most scary. Then funny thing, the more I practiced yoga, tried new poses that were just crazy to think I could ever form I became more confident in trying new things in life. I opened up to the multitude of fresh discoveries just waiting out there. We are, as the sutras say, all evolving in the direction of happiness, that happiness includes trying new things. Having the experience and delighting in it rather than conquering it is what expands our happiness too. So open up, open out, take a risk and move into the unknown! You’ll be glad you did! Wishing you bold courage, Silvia
FAVORITE QUOTES A NEW EARTH
"If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace. If peace mattered to you more than anything else and if you truly knew yourself to be spirit rather than a little me, you would remain nonreactive and absolutely alert when confronted with challenging people or situations. You would immediately accept the situation and thus become one with it rather than separate yourself from it. Then out of your alertness would come a response. Who you are (consciousness), not who you think you are (a small me), would be responding. It would be powerful and effective and would make no person or situation into an enemy."