That August Feeling
By Laura Mills
No matter how much I complained about school any given year, I always adored the first few days. Early on, I loved entering my classroom, finding my desk and greeting my friends; later, I was always excited to receive each class’s syllabus and meet teachers and professors. Then as a schoolteacher, I eagerly anticipated getting to know new students and parents as well as diving in to fresh material.
I know I’m not alone in my thoughts about August’s end. Whether we ourselves go back to school, or we have kids that do, or we just nostalgically observe the busses lumbering through our neighborhoods, this time of year is abuzz with starting over. Wouldn’t it be great if we could cultivate that positivity—that “first day of school” excitement—for other, more every-day moments?
This year, as the last few days of August pass, I invite all of us to make this our intention. Perhaps it’s far-fetched, the idea of awakening daily as excited as a kindergartener with a new box of crayons, but I don’t think it’s impossible. True…thoughts of work, chores, obligations, appointments, and everything else often dishearten. And yes: it’s usually difficult to be excited about traffic, bills and grocery shopping. But we can start simply. We can consider each day as a whole, at first, and practice seeing each as a chance to start over. With time, positivity may flow more smoothly into a greater number of moments; eventually, the most seemingly insignificant moments may resonate with newness. And from there, our entire perspective may change….
MYSTERIOUS REMEDY, POWERFUL ROLE BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS
Mysterious Remedy, Powerful Role By Laura Mills
Too many times I’ve attended a yoga class and exited feeling I received just what I needed. Yes, when in the mood for a yogic “butt kicking” I’ve purposely chosen a class that would especially challenge me, or when craving an easeful flow I’ve found a restorative or beginners’ class. But even when I’ve gone to a class without any idea of what I needed, most of the time I’ve still left with humility and gratitude, feeling as if the teacher had tailored the class to me.
When training to teach yoga, short of paying attention to weather, time of year, and events in the news, or else asking students before class, I didn’t learn any mystical secret for determining students’ practice needs. Yet after nearly every class—regardless of day, time or level—at least one student tells me, “That was great, just what I needed today,” or something like that. My amazement never fails; somehow, whatever I plan for a particular class finds at least one person in the right place at the right time. I don’t understand and can’t explain how it happens, but the fact that it does happen assures me I don’t need to understand something in order to experience positivity in it.
And, it humbles me to know I help make such positivity possible for others.
Oh, I knew of yoga’s ability to humble long before I started teaching. Time and again I’ve struggled in my own practice, tiring long before the ends of classes, sweating through head- and handstand preparations and other—to me—scary asana work, struggling through a hamstring injury. The further my practice developed the more help I realized I needed. I asked more questions, accepted more instruction, and with my teachers’ guidance eventually discovered a yoga practice all my own.
But now, as a teacher myself, my humility exists in a whole new dimension. When I look out into the studio before class I see students whom I know are working through physical pain or emotional turmoil or both, and many of whom are daily building deeper practices and incorporating yoga further into their lives. I can’t help but feel tremendous respect for my students, choosing yoga as their means of healing and enrichment, putting their trust into something so powerful and mysterious. And I can’t help but feel small and even a bit scared by the knowledge that, if my own experience as a student indicates anything, as their practices deepen students look to me more and more as their guide. Yes, I’ve trained 200+ hours to teach yoga, but I’m still a student myself, still feel I need yoga for my own ongoing healing and enrichment, still haven’t approached understanding what yoga is and can be in my life’s big picture. Yet in the classes I teach, when I see a student close his or her eyes during meditation, smile during Surya Namaskar, or cry in Savasana, I realize that somehow what I’ve planned for that day is doing just what it’s supposed to do….
No yoga teacher should underestimate his or her impact on students. We consciously write classes to the best of our ability, but somehow a deeper guidance takes place that leads individual, unique students into individual, unique practices where they find whatever they need at a particular moment. This is why all of us have chosen yoga, I think; we can’t explain exactly how it works, but it works, and this ultimately brings comfort and peace to teachers and students alike because it confirms our membership in something greater than ourselves. The contentment I see when I look out into the studio during Savasana confirms this for me, every class…and reaffirms what a tremendous privilege, what an incredible experience, what an utter joy it is to teach.
SHRI IS CONTAGIOUS! LAST DAY TO VOTE LOVE FOR TBY BEST YOGA STUDIO
May 7, 2010: When I started this studio many years ago I built it upon Shri. I would look for the good in every student, celebrate my teaching team and find the best about myself. Well today is the last day to vote for TBY as best yoga studio and so much more! And I have to say I think the Shri, this celebration of inner beauty and goodness has worked out amazingly well!
To think that we are even nominated for Best Yoga Studio by Mindful Metropolis is such a true honor. It shows the power of Shri, that it is contagious beauty and by its nature abundant, ever expanding and growing! This outward expansion inspires, vibes with others so they begin to feel and express Shri from the inside out too. So today think of your most powerful intentions, those things that you want to see blossom and grow (even the most unbelievable!) and dedicate yourself to them. I promise if you in the words of John O'Donohue allow "the breath of light to awaken color, the dawn will anoint your eyes with wonder."
Believe in the impossibility of things, look for the good in you, in your potential, in others and the viral expression of Shri will help you manifest the best life ever. It has for me and I love all of you for voting for us. We will find out May 21st if we won but we have already won in celebrating the coming together in a community of the heart. Love to you all in all ways, Silvia
NOVEMBER 9, 2009: I wake up each day and begin with a gratitude meditation. The meditation follows my breath and goes like this:
Inhale: I welcome happiness,
Exhale: I am so grateful
Inhale: I welcome inspiration
Exhale: I am so grateful
Inhale: I welcome love
Exhale: I am so grateful
Inhale: I welcome clarity
Exhale: I am so grateful
"Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life." Says Christiane Northrup. So begin now, ask yourself as you breath what you are grateful for and if you experience any struggle with this then hold close these words of the Buddha:
Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn't die;
so, let us be thankful.
You see gratitude changes our attitude and helps us to stop feeling victimized by life. This is Yoga Sutras Chapter 2.33 “When presented with negative thoughts or feelings cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana.” If feeling down, hopeless, worried, doubtful then to bring the glow of positivity back all you have to do is practice gratitude. And watch for those habits that detract from a gratitude habit such as:
· Reverse any tendency you have to make comparisons.
· Quit talking about what you don't have compared to what you have;
· Stop complaining about how you are doing career-wise, relationship-wise, or any other-wise.
· Instead, concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, saying to yourself from morning to night “I am grateful for…”
And I promise you will discover a life filled with gratitude wakes up and nurtures your soul and brings quiet happiness to even the most challenging days. And know I am grateful to each of you deeply and truly. Love, Silvia
From the Book A Year to Live by Stephen Levine – Essential Gratitude Meditation
“How very fortunate we are to have this moment in this body. Even with the difficulties, even with the confusion, how blessed we are to be here. Grateful for the kindness of loved ones. Grateful for the moments of joy. Grateful for the clarity that arises even during pain. Grateful for the blessings, great and small. Grateful that our pain is no greater than it is. Grateful for our inheritance of happiness, that joy is our birthright. Grateful for the sense of presence. Gratitude for simply being. Gratitude for the process.”
ALLOWING THROUGH POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS
This philosophy of positive expectation is fundamental to yogic and spiritual teachings. Our attitude has the power to heal. And what attitude we have about life says a lot about whether we are expecting the worst or the best from life. Are you focused on your dreams or on your limitations? This means that we take some level of responsibility to co-create with the universe the best life. There are elements than of:
- Positive Expectation
- Allowing Life to Happen
Today say to yourself:
“I can be the creator of my life, I give myself permission to be happy, I will engage in fun, I will be playful, I will listen with total attention to my experience, I will relish each sensation, I will love every minute of being with myself today! When we set this tone for our day for our life we no longer see life as something being done to us but rather life is being done FOR US. This belief is based in self-love that attracts love from the universe. It’s about loving life! If you are in love with life then you expect the best. In the Alchemist its written “When you are in love, things make even more sense, When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you.” THAT’S THE ALLOWING.
I understand maintaining a positive expectation is not easy. I have like yourself given in to the pain, self-doubt and hopelessness. I learned the hard way that didn’t help. But I won’t kid you, to remain upbeat in the face of life’s challenges requires enormous strength of character. Good news is that we all have it. From there, all we have to do is work harder than our pain.
How? Well Shakti Gawain says it like this, “When we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations.” Keep your attitude focused on positive expectations and what you tell yourself will change how others see you and how the world responds to you. This allowing brings you the calm that comes with knowing all we have to do is have positive intention, the universe will take care of all the details. Love you all! Silvia
Love after Love
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the others welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life. ~Derek Walcott
POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS YIELDS POSITIVE OUTCOME
May 31, 2009:
It is a Fundamental spiritual belief yogic or otherwise that we are meant to enjoy ourselves in this lifetime, right now. Our natural state is to love and be loved.
So ask yourself what attitude do you have about your life? What does this attitude say about you? I think we all understand that without stop we have a running commentary in our head. This mindstuff reveals what beliefs we have about who we are, our attitudes about life. My friend Sadie Nardinin says “The biggest mistake we make as humans is to look at our destructive thought patterns and think we cannot choose again.” I’ve known that feeling of being stuck. The thing is you guys YOU are not stuck. Choose again. Take back your attitude. Give yourself permission to get back to your natural state.
We do this by having POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS for a POSITIVE OUTCOME.
We can check in with our attitude all day long: Are you focused on your limitations right now or on your dreams? Are you expecting the worst of best from life? Simply put, are your expectations positive or negative?
Through yoga learn how to live like life is not being done to you but for you. This is a gift with a limited shelf life so enjoy it! Transform your life by expecting the best. If you are in a downward spiral or just feeling “ok” there is no need for you accept a flat lined life. Your attitude is your POWER TO HEAL yourself. Our best feature as human beings is our super hero power of positive expectation: determination, living with integrity, strength of character, compassion in the face of suffering, creativity, growth, renewal. You create your life and no one else does it for you. Start today, start now. Life is fleeting don’t miss the pretty colors. Love your day, Silvia
“When we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations.” Shakti Gawain
HOW TO RECHARGE YOUR ENERGY
MAY 2, 2009:
What do we put in our cars to make them run?
What about ourselves? Oxygen, chi, Qi, laughter, life force, love, hope, passion, vitality, prana, food, water
What is energy?
What kind of things drain you of energy? Fear, Negativity, Worry, Doubt
What kinds of things can you do to give you energy?
· Practice breathing
· Practice yoga
· Listen to great music
· Be out in nature
· Do something you really enjoy – try something new
· Say something nice to strangers.
· Send thank you note once per day
· Love more
So the question is do you take more time to recharge your car and keep its energy strong or yourself? What can you do to limit the things that drain you of energy and do more of the things that recharge your spirit? Sending you love to boost the positive flow of energy into your life! Silvia