SURRENDER: ISHVARA PRANIDHANA
AUGUST 26TH, 2008: I am going on holiday tomorrow. There are so many things out of my control on this trip so I have been meditating a lot about surrender. I want it to all go perfectly for my partner, even more than for me. Yet it really can only be what it will be and nothing more. So I have been repeating this mantra: “I feel my heart opening as the weight of my life lifts off my shoulders.”
On the mat we can really treat challenging yoga poses as microcosms of life's difficulties, and therefore really great opportunities to practice the art of surrender. The cool thing is that the more we practice the more we become able to recognize tension in a pose as a sign; holding and gripping are signs that our connection with our own hearts is lessening. When we see this early warning sign we can then offer our tension back to the Source, emptying and surrendering again. Realizing we don’t have to do this by ourselves you know.
As a result we experience a shift…A deepening of our breath and expansion of our inner strength in even the most difficult of situations. I hope through the power, beauty and truth of this practice you open your heart to grace in every moment, no matter what enters your path! BE COURAGE. BE PRESENT. -Silvia
When you surrender to what is
and so become fully present,
the past ceases to have any power.
The realm of being, which had been obscured
by the mind, then opens up.
Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you,
An unfathomable sense of peace.
And within that peace, there is great joy.
And within that joy, there is love.
And at the innermost core, there is the sacred,
The immeasurable. That which cannot be named.
--Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the Power of NowAUGUST 26TH, 2008:
Namaste - The ancient Sanskrit blessing defined for you
• The life in me sees and honours the life in you
• Namaste” is the beautiful spark in one person recognizing the beautiful spark in another
• This is an especially deep expression of respect
• Namaste recognizes the duality that has ever existed in this world and suggests an effort on our part to bring these two forces together
• Ultimately leading to a higher unity and non-dual state of Oneness
• In other words, it recognizes the equality of all, and pays honour to the sacredness of all.
• The whole action of Namaste unfolds itself at three levels; mental, physical, and verbal.
• I honour the place in you where Spirit lives. The Spirit in me meets the same Spirit in you.
• I greet that place where you and I, WE ARE ONE.
• I honour the place in you which is of LOVE; I receive the free spirit in you.
• I salute the place in you which is Truth, may the life within you be strong.
• I receive the place in you which is of Light
• I recognize the place in you which is of Peace, within each of us is a place where peace dwells
• I recognize that we are all equal. I acknowledge that everyone is valuable in their own way and capable of expanding my horizons.
• When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are ONE.
• We are able to recognize the goodness of others
Instead of clinging to what separates us, Practicing Namaste enables us to feel less alone in the world. We begin to understand that we must treat all people for what they are, family.
May all beings find and hold happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and sickness.
May we all look in the mirror see all others reflecting back.
May we be all with one, living in oneness, one family, one heart, a glowing heart of the brightest light of compassion. NAMASTE
From Wikipedia, freely adapted and edited
WHAT IS YOGA?
AUGUST 24TH, 2008: It is a reunion between the sweethearts of your mind and body. Like longlost love found again...on the mat they find one another and embrace. This is yoga, a sweet union.
AUGUST 22ND, 2008: To me the practice of SEVA is that of examining how we are bringing peace to the world. It starts with simply admitting how much you care about your family, your friends, your world. How may you serve is the mantra that exists in my heart first thing every morning. It makes the rest of my day more meaningful. Here are two quotes that I hope inspire you to see the power in giving of yourself in thought, word and action. Power to all peaceful warriors making the world better!! Silvia
"You do good to somebody, it remains good if you do it in the name of the universe. That is a Seva. If you do it in the name of your own spirit, your own soul, that is Seva. If you do something expecting something tomorrow, you better not do it. It’s not worth it. It’s not Seva. Seva is a conscious and deliberate service to benefit another person. You must serve people. You can only serve people if you are mentally very steady; You can take pressure. Somebody is in trouble and you want to uplift that person. How can you uplift that person if you cannot uplift yourself." - SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa
If you don't see the peace in you, you won't be able to see the peace outside.
You have to have that peaceful vision, because it is you who sees the world outside.
You have been created to serve others. If you know that, then all your desires become selfless.
We are made to live to serve others. - Swami Satchidananda
AUGUST 20TH, 2008: I was reading about how bullying and adversity made Michael Phelps, eight time gold medal winner, stronger. People made fun of him, the fact he swam instead of played football, the size of his ears, his height, all of it. I love that he persevered! He didn’t give in! He found a way to meditate - to do yoga, his yoga happened to be swimming. Instead of getting bogged down or paralyzed by worry about what others thought about him he kept living his life to the fullest. As a result he is realizing his DREAMS!
Take this practice to liberate yourself, how? Let go of your worries. Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras, “What you’ve already done, you’ve done – LET IT GO,
Now in your next breath just do your best, be kind to others, include more and more folks in “others” and be kind to them too.
And remember the ultimate key to liberation – “Love will set you free” As Michael Franti sings.
ANOTHER EASY WAY TO THINK OF THIS IS:
- Stop giving energy to the things you don’t want.
- Everything begins with a thought. Even Einstein says, “The ancestor to every action is a thought.”
- Once you understand fully that what you think about is what EXPANDS you start to get very careful about what you think about.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
MEDITATION MADE LESS SCARY
· Walking meditation
· Moving meditation: Hasta Vinyasa, Classical Salutation
· Supine Meditation: 3 Part Breath Pranayama
· What is Meditation – Everything
· Asana Refinement as Meditation: Basic Vinyasa Techniques, why this is meditation
· Seated Meditation: Count fingers, Breathing (pranayama) as meditation
· Savasana as Meditation: Not sleep - peace meditation by Deepak Chopra
Also I promised to send a daily meditation for a week to anyone who attended class or if you are reading this and want to be included just let me know. “When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a windless place. In the still mind, in the depths of meditation, the Self reveals itself.” Bhagavad Gita 6:19-22 Excerpted and translated by Eknath Easwaran
I hope that through yoga, which is a form of meditation, that you begin to reveal yourself more fully. This is the way to living the life you truly deserve. Peace in thought, word and action, Silvia
WALKING MEDITATION POEM
Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.
Thich Nhat Hanh,Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh, Parallax Press,
DARE TO CARE
For our birthday, on the Ponte Vecchia in Florence, Italy (the Medieval bridge over the Arno River) as the bells from the famous Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) rang 11 times I made the following prayer: "Dear Goddess of Light, May the 11th year of Anusara be the most auspicious and magical yet. May each day be full of wondrous moments of good fortune and sparkling luck. May our ears always hear celestial music, our noses smell bouquets of the Beyond, our tongues taste the deliciousness of Delight, our eyes see the rainbows of Shri, and our skin feel the winds of Grace gently caressing us with Love".
Eleven is a master number in numerology and serves a magical channel between lower and higher frequencies, so look for this number showing up at times of synchronicity, creative flashes or good fortune. Try performing 11 Surya Namaskars or 11 backbends or saying a positive affirmation or blessing 11 times to invoke special magic.
Light the Sky in celebration of Anusara Yoga! --John”
You can tell how deeply he cares and his honesty in that it has not always been easy. All I wish for each of you is that from this practice you are inspired to CARE MORE about LIFE (your life, the life of the planet, and the lives of all people everywhere). This then stirs the desire to make positive changes for ourselves. And when we decide that it’s time for big changes in our lives, it is wise to ease into them by starting small. Small changes allow us to grow into a new habit and make it a permanent part of our lives, whereas sudden changes may cause a sense of failure that makes it difficult to go on, and we are more likely to revert to our old ways.
Shoulder loop can be one of those monumental, life altering small changes. With all my heart because I CARE A MILLION TIMES OVER, I hope to see you tonight. Love, Silvia
YOGA STRENGTHENS SELF-ESTEEM
AUGUST 18TH, 2008: Two key readings from the ancient writings of yoga inspired me today for our practice.
“It is better to fail at yourself than it is to succeed at being someone else.”
Bhagavad Ghita Chapter 3 that the yoga is about being true to who you are. It talks about being authentic.
“Objective of yoga is to remove the divisions within yourself so that you can immerse yourself in the infinity that is you. sthira, sukham, asanam”
Yoga Sutras Chapter 2 Verse 46
We started by doing our Favorite Pose. Then we all did our Least Favorite Pose. Then we paused to contemplate: HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF RIGHT NOW?
Key Learning Points From This Practice:
· We always have opportunities to be true to ourselves
· You don’t have to do anything heroic
· THE GOAL IS AWARENESS!
· Sometimes we end up not being true to ourselves in our work, in our relationships but when you want to shift YOGA WILL HELP YOU FIND YOUR STRENGTH to be authentic. And then life gets a lot better and a whole lot easier.
· The shift is towards who we really are were we can let go of self-imposed limitations and negative self-talk:
1. I’M NOT STRONG ENOUGH
2. I LOOK RIDICULOUS
3. I FEEL CLUMSY
4. I CAN’T DO THIS
5. EVEN DELUSIONAL THOUGHTS, I’M GOING TO DIE, THIS POSE IS GOING TO KILL ME
So you see it is vitally important to be who you are fully because there is not failure in being you. (We could only ever be the second best anyone else anyway). And when you are not being true to yourself and try to hard to please others it takes you away from your heart. Which isn’t worth it as the words of Hafiz remind us, “It is all just a love contest and there are no losers.” I hope you stay the course and allow the practice to help you build your self-esteem in ways you never thought possible! Love, Silvia
KING OF THE CASTLE - RESTORING PEACE TO OURSELVES
AUGUST 17TH, 2008: We are sovereign over our domain. We are each Kings and
Out of a great need
We are all holding hands
Now loving is a letting go.
The terrain around here
We need to come home to ourselves and hold our own hand first and foremost so we can transform any negative energy into peace and joy. The Buddha put it like this, “The object of your practice should first of all be yourself. Your ability to love another person, depends on your ability to love yourself.” May this practice help you restore the peace you deserve. Shanti Om, Silvia
OPENNESS AND FREEDOM FROM CONFLICT
IMPORTANCE OF SAVASANA
AUGUST 15TH, 2008: The practice of savasana is an interesting one especially today where we are all so good at promoting constant activity. Even watching TV is an olympic effort with picture in picture, scrolling on top and bottom, and the main show that we're trying to watch somewhere in the mix. Generally we are very good at getting new projects started and
Savasana helps us in key ways:
1. To be ok with the non-doing which we talk about in yoga as BEING PRESENT
2. To embrace endings with as much gusto as we embrace beginnings. Art of CLOSURE (Pratikryasana)
3. To learn how to relax and self-comfort (this is the antidote to fight/flight response)
4. To recognize and admit to ourselves everything has an EXPIRATION DATE (Even beer!)
So then what? How does savasana apply in every moment, every pose? It helps us notice that life is right now. There is no need to keep waiting to be happy, to keep looking for more or better but instead start enjoying the sweetness of our life right now. Ok so here's the thing I love lying down and being still. So maybe I was born to practice savasana but I think we all are, we just have to practice. I hope you can through savasana learn to be more present, put closure to open elements of your life so you can stay with the flow, learn practical ways to relax and make the most of this moment! LOVE LIFE AND IT WILL LOVE YOU BACK! Silvia
AUGUST 14TH, 2008: This morning when I was pulling out of the driveway the mailbox door was open. I had in my bag next to me my Netflix to return (which I usually hold on to for an extra 2 weeks). But today I stopped the car. I read this as the sign it was – to return my Netflix so I can get more movies. Profound! Well maybe not world changing but you get the point. Everything in our path is there with great purpose all we have to do is open our minds and hearts. At the same time it is important not to get caught up in the pitfall of asking why, after why, after why. Who are we to think we should understand the bigger reasons behind why things happen? Maybe we just need have faith. Once I surrendered to moving beyond the sudden death of my Father at the age of 59 years old to trusting the universe again my life got softer, I got softer. So today I wish you your own best strength, don’t lose trust even when you’ve been deeply hurt. Keep the faith and it will all be as it should be. Trust life, love life, love yourself….Silvia
TODAY’S INSPIRATION - Here is a quote from Unmistakable Touch of Grace by Cheryl Richardson
Every event we experience and every person we meet has intentionally been put in our path to help raise our level of consciousness. When we awaken to this fundamental truth, life becomes a true adventure, a spiritual adventure. The person who smiles at you while you are walking down the street is no longer a stranger. The phone call from an old friend who crossed your mind is no longer a surprise. The failed relationship that left you broken hearted is no longer a source of bitterness and pain. Instead it’s seen as a blessing in disguise, a gift that makes you stronger, more conscious, and ultimately, more alive.
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."
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
AUGUST 13TH, 2008: As Gratitude is something which none of us can give too much I wanted to tell you how thankful I am for you sharing your time with me. Your support encourages me to work even harder at serving you better. I really want to offer you the most beautiful, caring environment and inspiring classes possible so at the end of when you have a tough day you can regain clarity.
Our Gratitude for you can in the words of Melody Beattie "unlock the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
So from the bottom of my heart and with the utmost Gratitude I wish all your lives be filled with simple joy and happiness. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Silvia
BONUS: Gratitude Exercise to Practice This Week
· Reverse any tendency you have to make comparisons.
· Quit talking about what you don't have compared to what you have;
· Stop whining about how you are doing career-wise, relationship-wise, or any other-wise in comparison to how a friend or enemy is doing.
· The next time you start chattering about wanting something more, better, or different, don't listen.
· Instead, concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover your life will be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul and brings joy!
MOTIVATION FROM WITHIN
AUGUST 10TH, 2008: The more you practice yoga the more you want to practice yoga. It just happens you guys. Really! Ok maybe I didn't believe it at first some 15 years ago but all these years later its true.
But the practice and discipline to practice is from some inner force. It doesn't come from a gold star, bronze medal, trophy, cash bonus, promotion...this drive for excellence in being your best self is deeply inside. The drive far surpasses the desire for wealth and a number on a scale or other such things. And the most surprising thing is that it is very easy going, it's not obsessive at all (or at least it never has been for me whereas other stuff has been).
I love how Dennis Waitley describes motivation as a contraction of motive and action. In yoga this contraction and expansion is known as spanda! He goes on to write, the success of our efforts depends less on the efforts themselves than on our motives. The most successful men and women in almost all fields, have achieved their greatness out of a desire to express what they felt had to be expressed. Often it was a desire to use their skills to their utmost in order to solve a problem. William Shakespeare, Thomas Edison, Estee Lauder, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Sam Walton and Bill Gates - all were motivated by the desire to produce the very best that was in them. So don't delay let the discipline you learn on the mat help you motivate your greatest efforts off the mat! JAI! Silvia
MAINTAINING BALANCE: CHAKRAS AND MORE!
AUGUST 12TH, 2008: How do we find and maintain balance in order to live the best life ever? Well, today we discussed the Chakras and their application. The chakras are the seven main energy centers in the body where we receive, absorb and distribute life energies. They are located along the spine, starting at the base and running upwards to the crown of the head. Each chakra radiates a specific color and energy. Each chakra relates to specific spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical issues. These can become blocked through and as a result a chakra can become either deficient or excessive and therefore imbalanced. Practicing poses that correspond to each chakra can release these blocks and clear the path to more balanced living.
We passed out a handout with a chart of the Chakras and corresponding element, color, healing stones, and specific poses to help balance out excessiveness or insufficiencies within them. If you want a copy just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUST 7TH, 2008: Generosity in yoga is really an interesting learning. To be generous asks that we be open but with a really focused effort. In our Western world we get caught up with the idea of doing more for the sake of more, this more is better idea (even if quality perishes). In the corporate world I used to rage against the machine when it came to an ever increasing aspiration towards mediocrity instead of excellence like when I first entered the workforce 15+ years ago.
However in yoga if felt like I was coming home, how generosity meant a conscious action of doing more but in the RIGHT WAY. QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY, you know? Giving what is needed when it is needed rather than just what makes us feel good. We recently had our community give to the Iowa Anusara studio that flooded out and I honor the studio owner that set forth for us what they actually needed most so we could then be the MOST generous. I love that! Thank you for setting the example. May we all find ways to take that first step. How can you be more generous with yourself today? As I often say at the end of class: as much as I want this practice to be everything you want it to be I hope more that it be everything you NEEDED it to be. Peace. Silvia
KICK START YOUR DREAMS!
AUGUST 6TH, 2008: Every time you come to class, send me an email, or call me, you make my dream come true. My greatest aspiration is to help you articulate your dream and encourage you to go for it! I wholeheartedly believe in the words of Don Miguel Ruiz, “Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art. And this is the main art that we have: the creation of our story.”
VOICE YOUR DREAM – YOU HAVE CHOICES!
In every pose we have choices to make…how we breath, how we unite breath with movement into a happy marriage, how we place the body, how much effort we make, how efficient the effort, how much we let go at the same time we make the effort. We constantly get to choose for ourselves. Are you making the most of your options? Are you open to choosing what might be deemed by some as "mission impossible."
Today do me this favor: Create a list of one or more dream projects that you would love to complete. Then take the first step in your own great adventure – BEGIN. In Yoga we call this your "intention" or Sankalpa. As sweet motivation take to heart the inspiring words of Louisa May Alcott “We all have our own life to pursue, Our own kind of dream to be weaving, And we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.” So my friends I hope the time on the mat gives you each the opportunity to further refine your dreams and strengthen from within your resolve to become immune to the opinions of others so that you never, never, never give up! BIG LOVE! Silvia
MANAGING YOUR ENERGY: WHY AM I SO TIRED?
AUGUST 5TH, 2008: Do you remember Justin Timberlake last year or so had a new album and song about “bringing sexy back” I want to bring ENTHUSIASM BACK – LIVING with passion, vitality, zest!
Did you know that the single most common symptom amongst all disease is fatigue? This class tonight will demonstrate how the multiple causes of fatigue are interrelated and how you can experience more energy through yoga.
· One in four Americans complains of enduring fatigue, and blames everything from a lack of sleep to that general bugaboo: stress.
· Approximately 20% of Americans claim to have fatigue intense enough to interfere with their having a normal life.
· 80% of American women & men suffer from Adrenal Fatigue at some point in their lives.
· Approximately 20% of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue
· The average working mother spends 44 hours/week at work and 31 hours on family responsibilities per week in effect holding almost two full time jobs.
· The average working father spends 47 hours/week at work and 15 hours on family responsibilities
CAUSES: Fatigue is caused by a wide range of medical conditions so of course always see a doctor if the condition has existed for a long time.
A - Adrenal Fatigue – Affects up to 80% of the population! If you are most tired between 3pm – 5pm AND have suffered a number of shocks, or blessings, within the past couple of years, you could be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
A - Anxiety - "The on-switch for every negative picture that you've ever had about yourself." -Dr. Harriett Lerner
Physical symptoms: Fatigue, sweating, headaches, irritability, need to frequently urinate, insomnia, feeling easily startled and overwhelmed, difficulty breathing and intensification of PMS and menopause symptoms.
C - Constipation - Constipation feeds fatigue, literally. Because toxins aren't being eliminated properly, they are in fact building up and demanding more of your body's energy to process and store. If you do not regularly have 2-3 bowel movements a day, you are constipated.
E - Eye Strain - Spending all day staring at a monitor, watching the road while driving, needlepoint, T.V.
H - Hypersensitivity: A trait that makes about 20% of the population more aware and affected by all kinds of subtle messages from the outside and inside. "It's not that our eyes or ears are sharper. It's that we process more deeply the information we receive." -Dr. Elaine N. Aron, author, The Highly Sensitive Person
N - Nutritional Deficiencies
P - Perfectionism: Did you know that perfectionism is the ultimate form of self-abuse and is a major source of stress and fatigue, especially in women.
How yoga fits in
· YOGA HELPS WITHOUT HARMING: Gentle asana practice stretches muscles, keeps us limber, releases tension in muscles without straining the body the way overly vigorous aerobic exercise can.
· YOGA BRINGS AWARENESS: where are you Leaking Energy? (Tight jaw, Wrinkled forehead, Pursed lips, Hunched shoulders?)
· YOGA HAS NO PRE-REQUISITES: Yoga and breathing exercises can be done no matter how tired you are to help rejuvenate you. It can be practiced anywhere. It is transportable
· YOGA ENERGIZES: helps restore energy to tired body allowing cells, senses and nerves to quiet down. It increases circulation to the adrenals, thyroid and kidneys which are the storehouse of energy.
· YOGA REDUCES STRESS: Yoga reduces cortisol and other stress hormones which drain the body from fight or flight response
· YOGA BRINGS BALANCE: Yoga makes the whole metabolic system function better, with increased immunity, better digestion, better sleep, regulation of hormones, it brings energy/vitality and is the great equalizer.
· BENEFIT comes from consistent practice over a long period of time
· Yoga EMPOWERS us to take back control. You are actively involved.
· Yoga teaches STILLNESS. To hear what is going on, to listen to the answers instead of replaying worry tapes over and over.
· SLOW DOWN people breathing: When you are anxious, natural breathing is inhibited. The diaphragm freezes, failing to move air downward as you inhale, which means that you don't let your lungs fully expand and fill with air. "And when you don't get enough oxygen, the brain receives a 'danger' signal, which perpetuates your mind-body state of anxiety," explains Jonathan Davidson, M.D., director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at
HABITS: CHANGE YOUR BODY - STILL YOUR MIND
To be honest human beings are very much creatures of habit and routine. We can easily freeze in the rhythms of our lives.
Last night we were talking about playing rock paper scissors when we were little or freeze tag or monopoly and then reflecting on the habits we had as children (did you choose the same monopoly piece each time, did you play the same way over and over, did you pick your nose, bite your nails, procrastinate, brush and floss, eat your vegies). Which habits were healthy? Which one’s were unhealthy. And now as adults what are your habits today? Really most of life is habitual. If we don’t pay attention through yoga and meditation we’ll find that yes we do the same things today we did yesterday, the day before and every day for the last month or our entire lifetime.
Habits, good or bad, make you who you are. The key is controlling them. If you know how to change your habits, then even a small effort can create big changes.
From a yogic perspective a personal hero of mine famed yoga instructor Judith Lasater speaks to this when she writes: THE BODY CRAVES CONSISTENCY; THE MIND CRAVES CHANGE
My interpretation of this is that if we don’t control this key habit then our minds stay hyper active and our bodies get weak or develop patterns of holding tension in the same way promoting imbalance that leads to a lack of ease, “disease” and pain. Through our yoga practice last night we worked the body in fresh ways circling around the mat so as to bring newness to our bodies while staying really focused and consistent in our minds. We can retrain the mind to keep steady on the breath like when we are in svasana and choose the habits that are most healing for our lives! Love to you all, Silvia
I WISH YOU ENOUGH
AUGUST 3RD, 2008: When I first started practicing yoga I dressed like an Eskimo. I was all covered up, dressed head to toe in black. In the corporate world I had similar “armor” I wore with the black power suit, serious glasses, hair, briefcase (for those of you who remember briefcases). Then as I practiced I started to let go of my own defenses and relax a little bit being “me”. It was not easy taking off my external layers to experience the freedom of not hiding behind any barrier whether it be job title, clothing, or lifestyle. But it changed my life.
As we practice yoga it is important to remember that we are not practicing to be perfect. We are simply practicing as we are in an effort to reveal our most real selves. In each time on the mat I wish you enough so that you not expand too far to fast. Take your time, don't rush it. Love, Silvia
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough.
CLAIM YOUR DREAMS POWERED BY SOLAR ECLIPSE
AUGUST 2ND, 2008: How cool is this from my Yogitoes Friends which inspired my meditation today? Solar eclipses occur when the orbital paths of the moon and the earth align precisely enough for the moon to block the light of the Sun. For a few moments, the normal flow of solar radiation is interrupted... Energetic matrices are opened, reorganized, and reconfigured, creating new patterns and pathways.
New Moon - 5:12 AM CST
Total Solar ECLIPSE - 5:21 AM CST
Because of this total eclipse of the sun the new moon in LEO this month will be exceptionally POWERFUL. As you may know the ruler of Leo is the SUN...
The star at the center of the universe that encourages our creativity, self expression, and authentic heart felt desires!
So, this new moon time is an amazing opportunity to CREATE our hearts desire! But it takes courage, willpower and heart (just like the lion in the wizard of oz) to walk our own unique path to our ultimate destiny! So this month is a great time to fiercely claim your dreams, creative inspirations, and soul intentions... and the universal power of the eclipse will move you forward at quantum speed!
WHAT IS INTEGRATION? PERMISSION TO BE REAL
AUGUST 1ST, 2008: So I was talking to a student last evening and they shared how much of a difference TBY had made in their life. And they gave me one of the nicest compliments they said I was a very INTEGRATED indvidual. I was truly touched and grateful and humbled all at the same time.
Then I went home to look up what this means....Just kidding (kind of), I did go to my old journals to see what I've written in the past about Integration and to see what it means to me today. Here is what I found:
INTEGRATION = global effort; = democracy; = yoga; = it represents the community of the body, how we use all parts of the body to support each pose just like all parts of our lives should support our personal intentions. (If we just dare to be ourselves and admit what we want out of life)
So what does this mean? I think to be integrated (or in a STATE OF YOGA) we are REAL (scholastically, professionally, and in relationships with others). We stop hiding behind masks, we stop pretending to be less than we are or more perfect than we are. My greatest teacher in this respect was my Papa, who until he passed away at 59 years old was always himself: eccentricities and all.
When we practice YOGA we have the opportunity in a sweet, safe environment to take off our masks and really be ourselves physically and emotionally and embrace who we are. So what is it be integrated? Well you guys it means what we do, what we say, what we think and how we act is in ALIGNMENT. I wish you all the courage to make this discovery. May You Live Strong and Align with your highest intentions! Peace, Silvia
QUESTIONS ARE COMPLICATED - ANSWERS ARE SIMPLE
JULY 30TH, 2008: It never ceases to amaze me how good we all are (and I mean gold medal good) at making the questions of life super complicated. The good news is that regardless of how complex we make the questions, the answers are simple. So I pulled together a simple list of 5 of these answers based on my lifetime of yogic readings and experience to share with you.
The teachings of yoga include a view called parinamavada, the idea that constant change is an inherent part of life. Therefore, to proceed skillfully with any action, we must first assess where we are starting from today; we can’t assume we are quite the same person we were yesterday. Emerson says it like this, “There are no fixtures in nature. The universe is fluid.”
In life, change is constant. Things are always beginning, dissolving, dying. And we are usually most aware of life’s ever-changing nature in the gut-wrenching moments…loss, death, heartbreak. In a nutshell we can respond to change in 2 ways.
- One response is to race against time in an effort to accomplish as much as possible. When you realize “life is short” and no marriage, no person, nothing lasts forever, you want to squeeze it all in. This response is fun and exhilarating but ultimately can wear you out. “Time--when pursued like a bandit--will behave like one. Always remaining one county or one room ahead of you…slipping out the back door just as you’re banging thru the lobby with your newest search warrant.” (Elizabeth Gilbert)
- The yogis prescribe another approach to best ride life’s ever-charging flow. By learning to relax, surrender, and let go, you realize that stillness is a magnet for contentment. As the German author Frank Kafka said, “..be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
2. IT’S OK TO ADMIT WE DON'T KNOW
In reality, we DON’T KNOW WHAT COMES NEXT. Just like there are poses in this practice we don’t understand, can’t yet do, may never be able to do or if we can perform have no idea why or how…
· When we practice Yoga we are really acknowledging that we are on the ROAD OF LIFE. The path unfolds in this moment and in every moment while we are alive. And we don’t know what comes next.
· This means in part, even at most crucial times, acknowledging that we really have NO IDEA WHERE WE ARE GOING OR EVEN WHERE THE PATH LIES.
· We are not meant to understand why all things happen, we may never understand. All we can do is keep flowing forward…
3. BE PRESENT
"We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow."
What’s so important about being in the moment? Yoga teaches us that the present moment is the source of healing, love, inspiration, passion, creativity. In fact, the purest form of strength is that which is found in the present moment. The yogis call this power of presence shakti. But to reap these benefits, one can’t just have fleeting moments of presence. We have to stay long enough in the present moment that we can really soak in its cleansing, healing, loving energy.
4. LIVE FULLY NOW
“You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.” ~Ruth E. Renkl
Steve Ross, LA Yogi and Author puts it like this: "You are always already happy. The reason you don't experience it is that it's covered up by layers of suppressed emotions and negative thoughts. Shift your attention and your inherent happiness flashes forth."
5. GET ALONG – SEEK HARMONY
A human being consists of 75 trillion cells each with a very specific task necessary to sustain one's life. Scientists and doctors are likening the 75 trillion cells to musicians in a giant symphony. The conscious human being could never possibly conduct this symphony, but the conscious human being is absolutely responsible for providing a harmonious environment in which the symphony can play without interruption. The paradigm for health is already shifting. We can see it moving its priority from "fit body" to "open heart." The truly great workout of the future will not be "How far can I run" but "How best can I serve?"
My favorite advice is from Sri Swami Satchidananda
"Whatever you do, let it be a perfect act. What is a perfect act? It harms nobody, it brings at least some benefit to somebody. If you have control, you can use anything and everything to achieve some good purpose. Keep that in mind as your goal. Whatever you think, whatever you say or do, ask yourself: 'Will it harm anybody?' The answer should be, 'Absolutely no.' The next point is, 'Will it at least benefit somebody.' The answer should be 'Yes.' If it is not benefiting anybody, it is a waste. So, no harm to anybody, at least some benefit to somebody."
WHO'S LIFE IS IT ANYWAY? 2ND CHANCES
JULY 31ST, 2008: When I was in High School we did a play by the name of "Who's Life Is It Anyway" which was later made into a movie. In the movie Richard Dreyfuss plays an unforgettable role as the exuberant and creative sculptor who becomes paralysed from the neck down after a car accident and argues for his right to be discharged from hospital so that he can end his life. Although the movie is about the right to die, it is not at all depressing. It is a movie filled with raw emotion, love and humor.
The title has stuck with me all these years. How I apply this to practice on the MAT is as it relates to responsibility. The most challenging thing when we first start practicing is to take back the responsibility for the way we feel, the way we move, the way we breath. Rather than seeing life being done to us and treating it as a prison sentence with no option for parole - we TAKE CHARGE. Who's Life Is It? It is yours. However in this case it is not about the right to die it is about your RIGHT TO LIVE FULLY!
As I often say in class you have to want it more than I want it for you. However, at first and for a very long time perhaps, I WILL BELIEVE IN YOU MORE THAN YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Then the coolest thing happens, somewhere along the way there is an internal shift. I love when this happens! This is super important because you then go about authoring your own life (and it will keep you safe on the mat as well so you never get injured). So Who's Life Is It Anyway - YOURS - you have an opportunity today to write your own happily ever after! If in doubt then give yourself a 2nd chance, or a 3rd or 4th until you are living your own life on your terms. LOVE LIFE.
"No One Is Wise By Birth, For Wisdom Results From One's Own Efforts" -Krishnamacharya
To change one's life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions. -William James