TRUST, UNCONDITIONAL GRATITUDE AND LETTING LOVE IN
April 9, 2011. "If I knew that everything I believed and more was true-I'd wake up and let life take me as its own." 9:30am and 12pm at hauteyoga Queen Anne focused on Trust, Unconditional Gratitude and Letting Love in. Danna Faulds goes on to write, "I'd welcome whatever came next and know that love could change me forever if I let it." I have a confession to make, I have trust issues. One example started when I was run over by a car as a pedestrian over 10 years ago. Since that point whenever I'm walking I still feel my breath tighten and my skin constrict as I get ready to walk across the street. The fact of the matter is that when I was involved in this hit and run accident (as the one that was hit) I was a step away from the curb on the other side of the street. I saw the car coming on a sunny Sunday morning. And I didn't feel afraid because there was no way they would drive on the WRONG side of the street and hit me. I was so close.
Anyhow, the reality of the matter is that the car did cross over. And ever since I work on trusting that even if I have the right away as a pedestrian that the car will stop for me. Living in Seattle has brought me great healing towards rebuilding my trust because the law and the culture here are pedestrian, cyclist friendly. Even if a car has been stopped at a stop sign and you start walking they still give you the right to walk safely. And everyday I heal this trust issue I have between cars and people a little bit more. But its not easy and I still have to remember to keep breathing through the mental inconvenience of changing my thought patterns and old belief. In any spiritual practice we all have to make the choice to trust in what is important to us and believing in something doesn't make it easy.
Pema Chodran writes, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience. From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.”
"If I knew that everything I believed and more was true...." So what it is that you trust as true? If you've had your heart broken will you take the steps to try again even though putting yourself out there is inconvenient? If you've attempted an arm balance and it didn't work the way you thought it would can you reestablish trust in the Earth to hold you up? Today find something you trust, even if it as fundamental as air and earth and from there keep expanding your circle of trust. "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too." - GOETHE
When trust is difficult I practice Unconditional Gratitude inspired by the book BE HAPPY by William Holden who defines Unconditional Gratitude as follows:
- "Gratitude based on a faith that everything that happens or doesn’t happen in your life is for your own best interests. That we live in a purposeful universe. Life is always for you; it is never against you. It is a fact that blessings sometimes come wrapped in fear, pain, and tears. In choosing to practice unconditional gratitude you are choosing to trust the process, to honor your feelings and to place your faith in an outcome of inevitable grace."
And why bother healing the trust issues we develop in life? Because if keep constricting through mistrust then love can't come in. Either we trust everyone and everything that happens to us whether difficult or easy or we don't trust anything. We either trust the process and believe the universe knows what it's doing or we trust nothing. Learning to trust and when necessary rebuilding trust opens our hearts and allows love in. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS IMPRESSIONS OF A NEW YOGA TEACHER
Practice Never Perfect…Thank Goodness By Laura Mills
My first yoga teacher suggested I practice balance daily, even if only to lift one foot an inch at a time. But at the beginning of my yoga life, I barely practiced anything outside my once-a-week class. I tried to fit in a little balance here and there, but only after many random and frustrating foot-lifts did I successfully incorporate it into every day. Eventually, as my yoga life progressed, I understood that balance isn’t something to be learned once and then mastered, like tying a shoe, but instead is a process that continues throughout one’s life. As is yoga itself, so much more than a “thing to do” on a daily basis. I still get frustrated on occasion—with balance as well as other aspects of yoga—but now I recognize those frustrations as merely steps along the way on which I travel.
When I consider my own yogic frustrations, my heart goes out to my students, both beginners and seasoned yogis alike. Occasionally I notice a look cross a face; I know the look well, and I wonder what particular frustration causes it. Perhaps it’s frustration with a constantly-chattering mind or a certain pose. Speaking from my own experience: very likely.
On such occasions I wish I could tell the student my own yoga story, but in a 60- or 75-minute class those details have little place. If time allowed, though, I would share how I’ve always struggled to quiet my mind, and that even now both on and off the mat I often can’t do it. I would share how I couldn’t always touch the floor in Forward Fold or bend my knee 90 degrees in Warrior 2, and how even now on some days doing either of those seems impossible. And, while many students have already heard about my tight hamstrings, here I would add how last year those hamstrings forced me to pull back from my practice and learn modified techniques while they healed from an injury. I would also divulge that I haven’t taught Handstand yet, since I just did my first one less than a year ago, as well as that no student should expect to learn Headstand from me since in anything beyond Tripod I have yet to lift my feet off the ground.
But still, while frustrations occur, the difference between me at the beginning of my yoga life and me now is I understand that no end point or final level exists, and as a result today I am much more content in my practice. Though I continue to struggle with certain aspects of yoga, I realize that doors open and roads unfold constantly—as long as I keep practicing.
I’ve been wondering, then, how best to teach the yogic process to my students. We already convey the idea when we teach preparatory poses before full or more challenging versions, for example, or when we focus on one particular sutra or limb out of many as a class theme. And we always encourage students to “begin where they’re at” and move forward from there. Little by little, even as frustrations occur, all dedicated students grow in their practices. But in the midst of chattering minds and challenging poses, do they realize they are growing? I didn’t realize it, at least not right away.
But, thanks to my first teacher, I started to learn.
And I’m still practicing…balance, and everything else besides.
My best teaching method might then be to continue being myself—as I believe my first teacher was, and as I believe most of my teachers since have been. Like them, I am someone who adores sharing yoga with others and someone whose life yoga has changed. I have faith in yoga, and its process, with my entire being. And with this faith I practice; alongside my students, I grow while doors open and roads unfold.
AFRAID OF BEING AFRAID
SEPTEMBER 12, 2010. Some years back I as talking about how yoga helps us to face our fears (remember that first time doing crow pose or kicking up into a handstand or feeling the sensation of pigeon or even just standing still in mountain pose). After class a student came up and told me I should never talk about fear and if I do she will never come back to class. Guess how that made me feel? Yup, I was totally afraid of her. I was afraid of what she'd say or do or tell people and I was afraid of what if one day I forget and she was in class and I said the word what would she do. I resolved not to talk about Fear at that point because I WAS AFRAID OF BEING AFRAID. That went on for over a year. Then the more spiritual reading I did and the more Anusara Yoga became part of my life I realized there was something inauthentic about denying fear. Anusara teaches us to embrace the full spectrum of who we are, even when we are afraid.
Mariann Williamson says, "Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts." So first thing we do when we come to class is as Baron Baptiste says, "drop everything you know." From there we heed the sage advice of Yoda in Star Wars, "YOU MUST UNLEARN WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED."
Interesting enough this works hand in hand with what positive psychologist (and favorite Harvard professor) Tal Ben-Shahar's lectures talk about that drills down into this: "to be a happier person give yourself permission to be HUMAN." Otherwise when we suppress what we feel it creates more problems. This is what "he refers to as ironic processing, which promises that suppressing an emotion will only ensure its clear announcement later." Yoga is the science of happiness and encourages us to practice unconditional love for ourselves and what we practice on our own lives we know how to share with others. You can't teach what you don't know. You can't live what you don't know. In great part the reason I teach is to be that spark to explain how yoga works so you too don't stay stuck in non-life affirming qualities of your humanness and realize that once you accept who you are, you can unlearn what you know and expand into your happiest life ever. I want that for me, and I really want that for you. Love yourself, love your day, lover your life! Silvia