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!
Password: Effort Ease
By Laura Mills
Technology-loving friends chuckle at my techno-phobia. I present a classic case: I understand next to nothing about finer online search strategies and the fancy ins-and-outs of social networking. I longingly remember my box of cherished cassette tapes whenever I attempt to download a new song. As time has passed I’ve found myself farther behind, and I’ve struggled with balancing adaptation to technology with acceptance of my jitters. On one hand I want to keep up with the world, but on the other I’m frustrated that as soon I acclimate to one technological marvel a new, more advanced one appears. (As I type this, my computer is downloading automatic updates and my security software is scanning. Yikes!)
Happily, though, I find encouragement in the yogic idea of combining effort with ease. On our mats as well as off, we are called to find the point at which we have strength and softness, the place at which we can strive as well as let go. The gurus teach us to breathe through sensations until we reach our edge, but then we relax and open to the reality of what exists for us in the pose—or, off our mats, the reality of what exists for us in the circumstance. Easier said than done, I know, but we learn from our yoga practices with time. And with time, just like in our yoga practices, we travel deeper.
We already know the way.
JUMP INTO SPRING & SEQUENCE YOUR BEST LIFE EVER!
April 5, 2011. Ah Spring! A great reminder that it is "never too late, or too early, to consider sequencing your life today for a healthier tomorrow." As anyone that has practiced with me has experienced I think of sequencing as both an art and a science. This practice of Vinyasa Krama is one which anyone can do because we start where we are. All you need is the desire and attention to stay focused from the beginning to the end of how you want to sequence your life.
Western science proves that the best form of exercise involves learning complex movement, including balance and coordination and that this type of MOVEMENT provides physiological release that we need to bring our body back into balance while at the SAME time it is also good for our brain because coordinated sequences of movement help form more connections between the neurons in our brain. Other benefits of learning coordinated movements which in yoga we call Vinyasa include: improved mental well-being; increased neurotransmitters; mood regulation; anxiety control; ability to handle stress better; better socialization; ability to better process more information; enhanced attentiveness and improved ability to choose appropriate responses.
I believe learning new routines (sequences) of yoga poses helps us learn how to adapt to new routines in life. As our yoga poses change we become more open to seeing new potentials and possibilities in our work, family, diet, and even in our travel adventures. This Spring spend more time on the mat to help you learn to sequence your best life ever! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
DOING YOUR OWN YOGA
SEPTEMBER 3, 2010. Can you imagine a world where everyone does their own yoga? It is something I say in class all, all the time. Just let everyone be themselves. Or as Leo Buscaglia says, “The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.”
In a warrior pose for instance this means shorten or widen your stance, bend your knee a lot or a little, hold your arms up in any position or relax your harms by your sides look up, look straight or close your eyes. And the list goes on and on and that's just one pose. Seriously, what if we allowed others to be who they are instead of wanting them to be something different? How would their life be different? What would your quality of life be like? Let me put in perspective like this with a story told to a teacher, repeated by a teacher, told to me and I share with you... imagine the vastness of the ocean and there in the distance you see a single life preserver, just one for the whole ocean. Then imagine under the sea there is a dolphin swimming about trying to come up for air in the exact same spot as there exists the single life preserver. The chances of the dolphin arising out of the water at the one place the life preserver awaits is said to be the chance we have at being born Human.
When you think of how dramatic our winning the lotto of life is by being a human being it is remarkable that we would waste a moment forcing others to be what they are not or gossiping about what they are or doing anything besides just BEING OURSELVES. From a buddhist perspective what distinguishes humans from other beings is that we can realize our own suffering and address it. We can in effect by being ourselves, save ourselves from remaining in a state of suffering and instead enjoying constant ordinary happiness. To me this is the Peace in the world that most of us are aspiring to for our children, and for our children's children.
“Among individuals as among nations, the respect to other people's rights is peace” Benito Juarez
The single hardest yoga pose to practice is "being oneself." So next time you start talking about what someone in your life (your boss, your colleague, your partner, your kids, your parents) are doing life wrong step back and allow them to be who they are. We can only be second best at trying to be someone else. We can only be best at practicing living life as unique and wonderful as we are. Imperfectly perfect. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
For more about me visit www.silviamordini.com or my spiritual travel company www.alchemytours.com
EXPLORATION INCLUDES THE UNEXPECTED
FEBRUARY 7, 2010: So here's what is at the heart of yoga: Yoga is the practice of revealing yourself to yourself. Our time on the mat is an experience of pure self-exploration. And although we often begin the practice with familiar poses or sequences from there we expand and create something unique and never before experienced. As much as we think we know exactly where we are going, as Martin Buber says, All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
I just got a Mac. I’ve been a PC girl up until this point in my life. I have been very afraid of exploring new territory in this way. I knew it could be better but the mediocrity of how my PC worked was fine. What’s weird is that I’m not like this anywhere else in my life. I will happily travel to new places, try new foods, experiment with creative flow of poses, I’ll seek out the next spiritual adventure! But not when it comes to my laptop. Then I think of RD Laing’s words, “Creative people who can't help but explore other mental territories are at greater risk, just as someone who climbs a mountain is more at risk than someone who just walks along a village lane.”
Life is too short to just keep walking on the beaten path. I know I could see more if I opened my eyes to being at the top of the mountain. Yoga inspires us to reveal our fears or hesitations so we can grow beyond them into new uncharted potential. The way yoga has changed my life is that it made me realize the briefness of our life as human creatures. There is not time to waste. We must keep exploring!
“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it?” – Richard Dawkins
I believe as Neale Donald Walsch writes, “Every decision you make - every decision - is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do.” I came here to make a difference and trying out new poses on the mat during yoga class gives me the opportunity to explore myself more deeply. From there I’ve realized anything is possible.
This combined with the support of dear friends, one of whom in particular was vitally important in encouraging me to adventure away from the PC world into Mac land. They saw before I did my ability to enhance my ways of working, my way of being. And the decision I made to take this risk is a reflection of who I am in the world, just like trying new or challenging poses in class offers me the same opportunity. So don’t hold back don’t get stuck in the SMART goals (specific measurable achievable realistic) break free of that crap. As is written in the book How We Choose to be Happy, “When you step away from the confines of realistic you become an artist painting your own masterpiece, an explorer charting new territories. You are creating new ways of looking at situations; you innovate at work and at home.. It’s impossible to be bored with your life.” Love your life! Silvia
EXPLORING LIFE ON THE MAT COME RAIN OR SHINE
OCTOBER 26, 2009: “Exploring life through movement and stillness brings us to our true center!” Once you make a commitment to yourself this yoga practice keeps us coming back no matter what: rain or shine. Quite frankly since its been raining so much why not go inside and practice more yoga? There must be a reason why the universe wants us to go inwards. As Martin Buber says, All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
So as much as you do the actions of the poses think of yourself as much a witness of life as you are a participant. This great journey of life gives us the opportunity to see from both views. If you think of the practice as taking a photo, we look through the lens and see the details we might not otherwise see. Through that we hopefully become re-inspired!
I was at a Kundalini Workshop with Moses last weekend and he said of the 8,000 kriyas only one is approved to practice at home by oneself. The rest, the other 7,999 are meant to be performed within the love of group practice. As much as I love home practice every day gosh nothing replaces coming together into a community of yogis and I take classes 6 days per week. I love it! In the group you experience what Elise Larimer says “I am re-annointed into the diversity and similarity of humanity. Inspired through these interactions to the planet on all levels, I am refreshed and replenished.”
I always hope you feel that the Kula keeps you safe to explore your own adventure and yet the alchemy of being with others also sparks new adventures we haven’t yet thought of by ourselves. This connection works on so many levels! And truthfully if you make friends with someone in class and you know they are going to show up no matter what, it inspires you to show up too. We have this unwritten contract with one another as students when we attend regular classes. We promise to keep the dialogue of our hearts open to one another and somehow no matter what, say to ourselves “I am going on this adventure again today, my friends are waiting for me, come rain or shine.” So please know I will always be here holding your spot waiting for you to show up and be your most radiant self. So until I see you on the mat breath and smile! Love your day, Silvia
It’s better to have traveled and gotten lost than to never have traveled at all.” -George Santayana
It’s better to have traveled and gotten lost than to never have traveled at all.”