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.
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
DOWN WITH PROCRASTINATION ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
SEPTEMBER 4, 2010: From the teachings of yoga a teacher shared with a teacher that shared with a teacher that shared with teacher Pamela Bliss who shared with me, "One of the most profound bits of wisdom shared with me in a teaching yoga is that procrastination is severely detrimental to one's development on the spiritual path." For me the truth of Yoga is that if you practice regularly you see swift changes mentally, emotionally and physically. And if you step away from your practice chances are inertia takes over and it is epically difficult to get back on the mat again. Or as Jon Kabat Zinn says, "not practicing is a form of practice." And the follow up from my friend Dr. Gregg "so how's that working for you?"
"The fault is in the one who blames. Spirit sees nothing to criticize." RUMI
This is not about blaming ourselves for our shortcomings. Not at all. Instead just think of yoga as TRUTH SERUM (SATYA SERUM). The body doesn't lie. When you are on one leg balancing and your mind is in a million places you will fall out of that 1 legged balance for sure. If you are in a warrior pose and your leg is shaking after not practicing yoga all summer well, not doing something has resulted in your muscles responding by shaking when they didn't do that when you took action and came to class 3 times per week. On the other hand your life is not a dress rehearsal so be happy you are pushing all your poses to that point you call the soft edge.
To me there are 2 kinds of procrastinators: (1) those that have gotten off the couch and attempted and (2) those that have never fully tried. Interestingly, just because you might fall into category #1 of procrastinators doesn't guarantee you momentum. For that you have to stay engaged. So whether you've tried a little, a lot, or not at all procrastination in any of its forms will stunt your spiritual development. You will forever stay a Spiritual Baby and never evolved towards spiritual toddlerhood or adolescence or adulthood. The path is sequential.
I have healed myself of procrastination is through yoga and my spiritual practices that support my yoga, because I grew up enough to ask for help from the universe. The reason I would often get paralyzed by procrastination was I was afraid of having to do everything by myself, I even felt like I had to always offer my prayers for others but never for me. "Where did you get that idea you aren't allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe. You're a constituent - you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known. So put your opinion out there. Make your case. Believe me - it will at least be taken into consideration." -Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love
So start now or reboot, or restart today. Stop blaming, stop waiting for everything to be perfect, stop postponing your happiness and just ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT! And keep asking, continue the momentum. And if you want a really easy way to to keep up with yourself and your intentions well then make regular, consistent appointments with your yoga mat and I promise you will see your life blossom beyond your wildest intentions! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS if you need a quicker kick off then join me on Retreat for a 4 day adventure in Moab, Utah or Pagosa Springs, Colorado this Fall come November and December. www.alchemytours.com