COMPLICATED OR SIMPLE?
Now recently I had a similar conversation multiple times that went something like this….me trying to explain or them trying to explain to me about the state of our lives. We used, I used, the term complicated. But when I had this word used right back to me I bristled. I didn’t like the way that sounded at all. So I used the thesaurus to see what this really meant. And here is what I found:
COMPLICATED: Thorny, Dense, Convoluted, Knotty, Intricate, Difficult, Problematic
My life is not dense or knotty. But my mind if tired finds the easy way out and I used this word. The reality is that my life is simple. Life is simple. We can choose fear or love. We can see the Shri in the world around us and allow it to reveal itself more and more each day. Shri is contagious beauty and LOVE! It is fully abundant and helps us shine out from the inside no matter what challenges we face from the external world. And the more we choose to view our world through this very simple love prism, then Shri starts to be expressed from the inside out too! We start to look for the good everywhere (especially in ourselves).
And if we see ourselves clearly then we use the correct expressions to describe our state of mind and body. But if exhausted or just a little tired we get a bit hazy and on purpose we make things more complex. Life is likely not that complicated. There is beauty everywhere. Now I’m not saying it’s easy. Believe me I am the very last person to ever say that life is easy. But my last 15 years of spiritual practice tell me, show me that there are good people that sometimes make destructive choices and bad things that happen to good people. But all in all yoga teaches us that our true nature is peace and love.
So my hope is that by the end of every practice you leave having shifted your vibration so you can better describe all the beautiful things you see. That you are able to observe your life not using words like complicated but you more accurately know the facts of your heart. YOU ARE THE AUTHORITY (Adhikara) of your life. Now I have gone back to redo the conversations I’ve had with friends using the word complicated what I came to realize is that I was just plain afraid. Knowing this and giving myself a mulligan, a do over, I could better say what I felt was fear and I chose love. I hope you will use your yoga to find the clarity you need to – it will be well worth the effort.
SELF-ESTEEM, CENTERING, INTENTION: 3RD CHAKRA
The spiritual truth here is that if we don’t like ourselves we won’t make healthy decisions about our lives. People with low self-esteem attract relationships and job situations that mirror and reinforce this. So if you don’t like YOU others will walk all over you, taking advantage and bullying. Your physical and emotional strength to set healthy boundaries are from this chakra, your personal power center. To know if your 3rd Chakra is in balance take a moment and honestly ask yourself: are you choosing situations, people, & things that drain you or empower you?
During class we used poses to build physical strength and core awareness to help all of us strengthen our Third Chakra.
The other aspect that we spoke about in class was how a balanced third chakra aids our ability to feel more centered. When our 3rd chakra is out of balance our thoughts are all over the place. And if our thoughts are unfocused then it is more difficult to handle the crisis that life might put in our path. We used the centering breath to return our minds to that place of peaceful balance, sama breathing, no matter what pose or discomfort we faced in a hip opening sequence. We also learned the solar plexus Mudra called Rudra Mudra with the tips of our thumb and index finger and ring fingers together while extending the other fingers out in a relaxed way. Our mantra was “I rest at my center and draw joy from my center, I love myself.”
For meditation we asked ourselves these questions as part of our practice:
· Where were you last June 2008?
· Where are you now?
· Are you able to see how much you’ve grown and give yourself credit?
· Are you on the right path?
· Where do you see yourself June 2010?
I promise I will check in with everyone June 29, 2010 and hold everyone accountable for deepening their commitment to give birth to the life they really want. That this practice reminded us to set an expectation for ourselves – to our own growth and evolution – and remain centered enough to meet our ambitions. You are all amazing and as we continue paying attention to the health of our 3rd chakra please know you have all come a very long way already and with a courageous sense of self-respect and self-esteem little by little we will travel very far by this time next year! May your thoughts, feelings and actions find alignment.
Love yourself, love your life! Silvia
FREEDOM FOR ALL
JUNE 28, 2009: Martin Luther King said, “In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land. Some may have envisioned it with the wrong ideology, with the wrong philosophical presupposition. But men in every generation thought in terms of some promised land.” This promised land is freedom and yoga teaches us that it is here right now inside us. All that is necessary to FIND IT is to choose love, to allow yourself to feel more and think less.
Get on the mat, feel the breath, feel the sensations and let your mind unwind.
So today have the courage to set yourself free! For Stress paralyzes life; love releases it. Worry confuses life; love harmonizes it. Anger darkens life; love illuminates it. As Augustus William Hare writes, “The feeling is often the deeper truth.” Embrace your truth, embrace what you feel and free your soul for love and peace!
Lokaha Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu (May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts words and actions of my life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all!)
BEING A STUDENT
JUNE 27, 2009: Yesterday I went to the dentist for my annual cleaning. I don't naturally feel comfortable at the dentists. So I practiced breathing and took to heart the idea that good things will happen if I relax. If I just tense up it will only be more difficult for him and for me. So I said to myself don't tense up, relax and breath.
As I used the falling out breath in between cleaning efforts by the hygenist I felt myself stay calm and her energy softened up too. What I was really doing was trying to be a really great student of that situation. I new I was there to receive their help and knowledge and all that was asked of me was to be diligent in staying open. So it all reminde me of this great article by Russell Shields about Ten Tips from a Yoga Student on how to get more out of the teacher/student relationship. I went through these things in class durign the practice so we could feel philosophy in motion. If you want a copy of the detailed article email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, really think about today what kind of STUDENT OF LIFE you are? How could you get more out of the relationship between YOU and all the WISDOM TEACHERS that surround you each day? Love yourself, love your life! Silvia
1. Be a Student
2. Be Open
4. Expect Odd Situations
5. Hang in There
6. Do It Their Way
7. You Do
9. Relaxe/Don't Tense Up
10. Honor and Encourage
WHAT IS YOGA?
Donna Farhi, Master yoga teacher and author says, “In its broadest sense yoga is a return to wholeness. There is an uncompromising belief in yoga philosophy that wholeness is our implicit birthright. But most of us forget our wholeness, or in yogic terms we forget our true nature, and we live in a kind of illusion that we are alone.
We suffer from a kind of SPIRITUAL AMNESIA that makes us feel separate from our authentic selves, separate from others, separate from nature. Even as we are taking a breath in, literally taking the world into us, we still think we are the masters of our own separate universe. Yoga is any practice that restores this original wholeness and sense of connection with the world.”
Sianna Sherman, Certified Anusara, with whom I’ve had the pleasure to study and learn from describes yoga as “ an invitation for people to get comfortable being themselves, at ease in their own natural beingness. The media says we have to be a certain way but with yoga we start to fall in love with being ourselves, breathing and moving in our own body with our own breath.”
So I’d love to hear what yoga is for you please email me or call and I’ll collect more testimonials to share anonymously. How’s that sound? A great book of yoga teacher testimonials is called “Yogi Bare”. Check it out. Love the day! Silvia
PATIENCE: DETACHING FROM THE OUTCOME
JUNE 25, 2009: TODAY'S MANTRA: DROP INTO THE MOMENT.
We often don't realize that the obstacles we place before us are not cement barriers, they aren't at all physical, what they are - are our thoughts and ideas. I read in Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert about her divorce that no one has died of splitting up the living room furniture. Yet, in our minds we can get so attached to having just one set outcome be the right way that we can become delusional and actually convince ourselves that will be the case. Can you imagine? I can.
Yoga teaches that detaching from the outcome through patience will bring peace of mind.
This to me is about unconditional love. This is the universal intelligence that embraces us on all sides. This intelligence is working with us. We simply have to allow it. Yoga helps us do this by unwinding our mind that can get all jammed up because of ego.
Love doesn't get overwhelmed by ego. Its the ego that says if this doesn't happen right now in just this one way then bad things will happen. We start to play mind games pushing, pulling, creating anxiety, distrust, stress. All of this is based in fear. Fear is the enemy of peace. Peace is LOVE.
Today through infinite patience may we demonstrate unconditional love for what the world is offering us right now and find peace! DROP INTO THE MOMENT. Love your life! Silvia
GENEROSITY AND HUMILITY
JUNE 22, 2009: 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) often leads to exhaustion. 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. Energetically this can make us feel totally run down not only because of how much we’re doing but more with the fact in our hearts we’d rather be doing something else. That’s the humility part. Do you take time to listen to your heart and bow humbly to its lessons, heeding its advice? Even just a single moment of silence can help you gain the clarity you need. Take 5 centering breaths right now and just listen to the greatest teacher of all, your intuition.
However in yoga I felt like I was coming home, how generosity meant a conscious action of doing more but in the
A Story of Generosity: Stone Soup (From Daily
There are many variations on the story of stone soup, but they all involve a traveler coming into a town beset by famine. The inhabitants try to discourage the traveler from staying, fearing he wants them to give him food. They tell him in no uncertain terms that there’s no food anywhere to be found. The traveler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was planning to make a soup to share with all of them. The villagers watch suspiciously as he builds a fire and fills a cauldron with water. With great ceremony, he pulls a stone from a bag, dropping the stone into the pot of water. He sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious stone soup is. As the villagers begin to show interest, he mentions how good the soup would be with just a little cabbage in it. A villager brings out a cabbage to share. This episode repeats itself until the soup has cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets—indeed, a substantial soup that feeds everyone in the village.
This story addresses the human tendency to hoard in times of deprivation. When resources are scarce, we pull back and put all of our energy into self-preservation. We isolate ourselves and shut out others. As the story of stone soup reveals, in doing so, we often deprive ourselves and everyone else of a feast. This metaphor plays out beyond the realm of food. We hoard ideas, love, and energy, thinking we will be richer if we keep to them to ourselves, when in truth we make the world, and ourselves, poorer whenever we greedily stockpile our reserves. The traveler was able to see that the villagers were holding back, and he had the genius to draw them out and inspire them to give, thus creating a spread that none of them could have created alone. Are you like one of the villagers, holding back? If you come forward and share your gifts, you will inspire others to do the same!
DON'T GIVE UP: FATHER'S UNIVERSAL ADVICE
JUNE 21, 2009: Make yourself comfortable… Let your body weight sink into the seat… Relax your body and close your eyes. As your awareness is interiorized, connect with the Breath of Life gently moving through you… Make all your senses alert to the breath… Enjoy its power and simplicity… Feel the sustaining energy behind the breath... Feel that life force coursing through your cells and thoughts.
On this Father’s Day and Summer Solstice I think of my Father Enrico who encouraged me never to give up. As the heat of the summer rises we may find ourselves falling more lethargic or tired. In those times think of the father sky energy that exists everywhere around us supporting us. This the breath itself. What my Father, Papa, was trying to say is same as what Einstein says Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
Don’t give up. We all want to be understood, we all want to be loved, remember always you are loved.
Didn't I tell you?
I am an ocean, you are a fish; do not go to the dry land,
it is me, who is your comforting body of water.
Didn't I tell you
not to fall in this trap like a blind bird?
I am your wings, I am the strength in your wings,
I am the wind keeping you in flight.
Didn't I tell you
that they will kidnap you from the path?
They will steal your warmth, and take your devotion away.
I am your fire, I am your heartbeat,
I am the life in your breath.
Didn't I tell you?
They will accuse you of all the wrongdoings, they will call you ugly names,
they will make you forget
it is me, who is the source of your happiness.
Didn't I tell you?
Wonder not, how your life will turn out,
how you will ever get your world in order,
it is me, who is your omnipresent spirit and protector.
If you are a guiding torch of the heart,know the path to that house.
If you are a person of spirit (God), know this,
It is me, who is the chief of the village of your life.
So today enjoy these poets words from all those that have served us a father figures, whether they are still of this earth or those that have gone beyond like my Papa. “I see you are a pioneer. You are full of courage and power. You are a transformer of reality. Transform the reality that no longer serves you. As you do, link with others who know Me and recognize the family of Life. When you recognize in someone what you know inside to be true, seek to expand that truth, for as light is shared and love is grown so shall the world change. You are my feet and hands, my eyes and voice. You do not live alone nor shall you die alone. The world is yours to craft as you
choose. Choose freedom. Choose the way that creates the best for all; children; men; women; bodies of water; mountains, the land; and all planetary species. I gift you with Life and the ability to care for it. Embrace the gift.”
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEANING OF LIFE AND MEANINGFUL LIFE
JUNE 19, 2009:
Are you Looking for the meaning of life or a Meaningful life?
As I looked out at the Tuscan countryside with but an occasional car driving past, not even a street sign or visible way to distinguish the drive to our farmhouse I was surrounded by waves of grass blowing in the wind. It was here I contemplated what am I doing with my life? Am I looking for the meaning of life or a MEANINGFUL LIFE? As a spiritual seeker I learned long ago that seeking is different than finding answers, it is the freedom to ask more meaningful questions. Quite frankly just asking the questions can be more than enough.
Victor Frankl who wrote of his time in a concentration camp says, “Freedom is not something which can be given to you by someone else. It is something that you have inside of you, a way you choose to be.” So we can all choose a MEANINGFUL life where we declutter and determine our spiritual well-being. This requires us to be bold and courageous.
Why? Because meaningful lives are messy. Getting all the answers is a way to live life propholactically where we are hyper careful not to make any mistakes, erroneously thinking that if we only “get things right” “live our lives right” that it will all be ok. But who wants an ok life? A meaningful life is MORE! It is a philosophy of living life BIG AND BRIGHT without limitations. Now of course we can't control everything that happens around us or the choices that others make but this need not limit us. You have in a sense a "magic wand' that can transmute even the greatest challenge into an opportunity for greatness.
In the book Geography of Bliss Eric Weiner writes, “Most of the time I keep my imagination on a leash.” Are you the same way? Do you keep yourself so tightly wound up and leashed in that you’re literally drying out from the inside out. Wouldn’t your life be more meaningful if you let out your imagination again?
So join me in aspiring to choose a more meaningful life rich with adventurous questions! Don’t just stand at the shoreline of life looking out but afraid to get messy, just dive in and get involved with making a meaningful life. Big love to each of you! Silvia
SIMPLE BUT AMAZING: Using this as life philosophy, in Italian "l'arte d'arrangiarsi")
JUNE 18, 2009:
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo DaVinci
This way of living complicates our lives instead of making them easier because we lose our center. The multitasking dumbs us down.
So today try to simplify the practice by choosing just one thing to focus on. Let your breath be that ever most simple thread that connects one moment to the next but can only ever be enjoyed singly at a time. Befriend the breath to let go of the complexities of your life and hone in to the core of who you are.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. ~E.F. Schumacker
More than anything I hope this practice helps you simply the monkey mind that up and down all over sort of feeling so you can savor just the richness of each moment individually. May you find the ease life is waiting for you. Try it this week: eat simply, live simply, dress simply. Love the day, Silvia
Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter. ~D.H. Mondfleur
THE UNIVERSALITY OF LOVE: WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT LOVE IN ITALY 2009
JUNE 17, 2009: I consider myself a LOVE ANTHROPOLOGIST. I have been studying love all my life. While I was in
Instead it was all open armed embracing. You can sense folks love themselves. So right now bring your right hand to your belly and your left hand to your higher heart. We all have within us two hearts, the beating heart and the intuitive heart. So feel right now the energy of these two hearts with your hands. Through that connection and self embrace feel the flow of love first for yourself and all the beautiful things you love about yourself, then expand that love for others until everyone is hugged in.
Swami Satchidananda says, “Real love is possible only when you see everything as yourself.”
This is supported in the yoga sutras Chapter 1 verse 23, “Boundless love and devotion unite us with consciousness.” Yoga unifies, it brings us into embrace with all the world. Love begets more love. Or as Neem Karoli Baba says, “love everyone, serve everyone.” This has been my mission. But in
Two key learnings I gained from
So as we ride the waves or windstorms of life if we face it from the heart of compassion we will see others as ourselves or as the Dalai Lama suggests, “Through compassion you find that all human beings are just like you” When I had my heart broken once I remember my friend David saying to me, just know that there are people all over the world same as you having this exact experience of heart break. They too are in what he calls “the pain chamber”. Just being reminded that I was not alone in my human experience made my time in the pain chamber less hard to bear.
Join me in living with more compassion to face the windstorms:
“To love means never to be afraid of the windstorms of life;
Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would
Never see the beauty of the carvings.” Elisabeth Kubler Ross
Please above all else wake up to the love that surrounds you everywhere! Listen with your heart to Rumi’s suggested self-observation:
What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?
What happens indeed? I love myself, I love you all, I serve with my whole heart. Silvia
HUGGING AND KISSING: CONNECTING INTO ONE WORLD
JUNE 16, 2009: One of the key observations I had while in
We as Americans spend so much time in our “heads” that we could benefit greatly from more touch, more massage, more time being in the body. That’s why yoga is so healing. It does that for us. We walk in fragmented, disconnected, awkward and by the end of class our humpty dumpty self is put back together again. Then whether we want to or not we glide out of the practice room inspired to connect more with other people as we now ourselves feel more connected to our own spirits.
When I sit on the mat I feel that embrace of the universal love that exists when we breath the universal breath. To me truly there is nothing more beautiful than people coming together in a compassionate, gentle way. So thank you to classes last night for opening your hearts and practicing kissing each other with the double kiss, and breathing as partners and accepting massage when I offer it to you. This I can promise you, my teaching experience will only include more and more massage and therapeutic healing touch. Grow with me and let’s build a community that thrives on more hugging more love! Jai! Silvia
WITH JOY AND GRATITUDE, MAY I SEE THE BEAUTY OF MYSELF AND OF OTHERS, AS WE REFLECT AND ARE REFLECTED, IN THE RADIANCE OF EACH OTHER - ONE WORLD TOGETHER.
THE ART OF ENJOYING LIFE: IL BEL FAI NIENTE!
Now you should know my Father was born in
But against the backdrop of hard work, il bel fai niente, has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. You don't necessarily have to be rich in order to experience this, either. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich."
So ask yourself how do you define pleasure? Enjoyment? Joy? Are you living life “self-specific” or still making everyone elses opinions more important than your own? For when you live life on your terms you find the flow. You step into the currents of grace. Rumi says, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” For many of us Savasana is that first experience of il bel fai niente. It is as Sarah Powers described her first savasana, “naptime, that she experienced an unusual peace, which she pinpointed to an absence of longing, it was clarity with joy underneath, and she decided she had to come back to yoga, that it would be hard but hard didn’t mean bad.” So I hope you join me on the mat to find the clarity of heart that will move your spirit to enjoying your life more! Love in all ways, Silvia
LIFE IS BEAUTY! BEAUTY IS LOVE, LOVE IS EVERYWHERE
THEME JUNE 14TH, 2009: I wrote to a friend while in Italy (and thank you for letting me share this part with everyone) I wrote "Life here is all beauty!" This inspired me to meditate and bring this more to life in class today. I do want to say the most beautiful part of Italy was the 10 other pilgrims on the path of love that were with me. They started as strangers and we ended up as friends. 108 hugs and kisses to each of you!
What I learned from trip: life is beauty, beauty is love, love is everywhere. In what we eat, drink, do, say, feel. It is as Kahlil Gibran says, "When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things.”
Join me in offering this day or this hour or this month to the alchemy of love and beauty. Let this promise help you further ignite the fire element of summer, associated with the heart meridian promoting joy and celebration and light! Bow in to your own heart so you might be more present to the treasure chest of beauty found inside you. From this awareness we then see more clearly the beauty all around us. As Rumi writes, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
I know taking down the walls or reducing your guard is not easy. Believe me I get that. But we must acknowledge that we have a choice. We can choose to see the beauty in all things. This is especially healing when the fire element is weak and fear of connecting to others has set in. I promise you this, if you make even the most difficult person or circumstance part of your practice saying to them “I believe in the beauty and good in this troubling person or difficult situation and I know by doing so more beauty will be revealed to me.” You will shift into your best VIBRATION. This comes about as our minds quiet and our hearts open and we begin to better see our true most beautiful reflection mirrored back to us in the world!
May we all let beauty from inside be revealed for beauty is love, love is everywhere! With lovingkindness, Silvia
WE ALL SERVE AS EXAMPLES AND WARNINGS TO ONE ANOTHER
Today’s Guest Blogger is Lucy Klaczko
During a recent workshop Rolf Gates expressed how we all serve as examples and warnings to one another. How true this is! I am currently reflecting on my life and decided to do this by going to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.
I quickly discovered the beauty of the Eastern part of the US! I never knew it was that incredible! Driving through the Hudson Valley I felt like I had a blanket over me with all the trees. I loved getting away and meeting some really remarkable women—whom I consider my examples and warnings!
I would like to share a few stories with you.
One woman I met was attending a conference to help her cope with the fact that her husband walked out on her and two daughters after 22 years of marriage. Apparently he decided that he wanted to bike across the U.S. on a motorcycle and blog about his experience. His friends do not know that he actually left his wife! As she shared a bit more of her story, I began to see similarities between her situation early in her marriage and the struggles that I’m currently facing. I recalled Rolf’s words about us all being warnings and examples! How true!
Another woman I met had a very similar upbringing to mine. She is a first generation American and when we started comparing our lives, we were both amazed at how many parallels we shared. She comes from an Italian family, while I am Polish, yet there were so many of the same expectations and fears placed on us as kids in terms of how we must live and how life works. She's also trying to find her creative voice and to figure out what direction her life must take now that her children are a little bit older and she has some more time to focus on herself.
The third woman I met is living a life that is a reflection of who she is and wants to become. She too has some of her own struggles, but I was impressed by her dedication to live the life that she loves. She is an artist with a home studio in the Hudson Valley where she crafts fine jewelry and sells it through a gallery in NYC. In addition, she also teaches in NYC and shares her knowledge and passion with her students.
It's amazing that I met these three women -- like the Universe is trying to tell me something or at least show me the various avenues that are open to me!
After these few days away, I can't say that I have all of the answers. I'm really just beginning. One thing I know is that I need to carve out time for myself each week to concentrate on introspection. It's so easy to get back into the grind of daily life and have it take over. I know it's not going to be easy, and I may hurt some people who I care about and love very much, but I’m starting to see that I need to live my life in a way that meets and exceeds my expectations. In doing so, I hope that someday the way that I have lived my life can be an example to someone, rather than a warning.
Sending love and happiness!
NEWLY HUMBLED BY MY RETURN FROM ITALY!
JUNE 13th, 2009: Oh my goodness! I am so happy to be back with all of you my friends. I loved Italy and all my new friends on the yoga retreat but I also missed and love you too. I must say how deeply honored I was to be such amazing folks: strangers when we started, friends when we departed. It was a fantastic experience I will never forget! I return deeply humbled by the goodness and beauty in life and in people. I can't wait to share this with all of you.
Themes for this upcoming week June 13th to June 20th include:
*Engagement, Observation, Participation: How to apply for the best life ever!
*Life is Beauty! Beauty is love, love is everywhere
*Eating as Meditation: take pleasure in the rasa of food
*The Healing Cycle: How to get out of victim mode/hurt mode and move on
*The Universality of Love: What I learned about love in Italy
*Simple by Amazing: Using this as life philosophy
*The Art of Enjoying Life: Hanging out as an art form in Italy "il bel fai niente"
*Kissing & Hugging: Tuning Into Your Hearts Desires
*Happiness is Delicious: it just tastes good!
Today’s Guest Blogger is Chance Olesak
Summertime is here (although the weather this past Sunday night suggests otherwise) and that is the time of year most everyone enjoys. Long days, warm weather, vacation time for us kids!!! Summer is a great time of the year to unwind, a time let go from all that bogs us down in life. However not all of us are kids or young adults in school. We don’t get a guaranteed vacation for 3 months out of the year. Most of us are 9-5’ers with everyday jobs and find it hard to even sniff at a day off for months to years. Everyone needs time off, a vacation……or do we?? Why should we have to travel to exotic places to be free from work, when vacation could be as far as the next step we take?
"…you can live a whole lifetime, without ever being awake" —Way of the Peaceful Warrior
As it says in the Alchemist; "The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity." I’ve read quite a few books the past couple months and all of them are intertwined. They all share a common ideal of living the moment. You can truly be free at anytime, on any given day, anywhere in this world.
"There are no ordinary moments" —Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Being a collegiate swimmer I initially got introduced to yoga for the physical aspect of it. I’d do a DVD yoga session for 5:00 AM swim practice 3 days a week. Burning a sweat and stretching out my 5’4 body so as to help me swim like I was 6’4! My coach cut out the shavasana part of the DVD and figured it wasn’t important; it was a symbol of my life at the moment. I was missing out on the simple beauty and joys’ of life. My swimming career came to an end after a shoulder injury and I needed surgery to repair it. I was lost, torn and didn’t know where to turn for an answer. I came across the book "Way of the Peaceful Warrior". And in the weeks following my mom introduced me to Total Body Yoga.
Through my reading of a couple books lately and my yoga practice I’ve learned to let go. To not dwell on the past and worry about what the future may hold. I love each day as if it were a blessing; I put 100% into whatever moment is placed upon my path, not wasting any extra energy or thoughts on what may or may not happen. I just go with the flow. Yoga then helps teach us to flow like water. "Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and strong, none can withstand it. "–Saltwater Buddha
Go with the flow my friends. We are all faced with challenges and decisions in life. Decide on a path and go down it. Don’t look back, but don’t look ahead too far or you’ll miss out on everything that is going on around you. Most of all do something because you want to do it. Find the joy in whatever it is you’re doing at that moment and in every moment. "The journey is what brings happiness, not the destination" –Way of the Peaceful Warrior Life is what you make it to be. So make it a good one. Physically we might not be able to get away but mentally we can. Be happy, smile, be free, and be present in this moment.
My Reading List:
Way of the Peaceful Warrior (It’s also a movie available on DVD!!!)
Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment
MELTING THE HEART A JOURNEY FROM ANGER TO FORGIVENESS
Today‘s Guest Blogger is Rachel Dewan
I've been struggling lately with a member of my family who is doing something pretty awful. I've been filled with feelings of anger - sometimes, I'm ashamed to admit, bordering on rage. It's been a long time since i've felt this way and it's really thrown me for a loop. I could literally feel my heart starting to close and harden as the situation in my family deteriorated - it was changing the whole way I saw and interacted with the world. I knew I didn't want to keep feeling this way, but was having trouble seeing my way out of it. I know that the only way to move beyond these feelings is forgiveness, but it felt somehow like if I forgive this person he "wins" - that it somehow condones his behavior. But as I meditate on this more and more I realize that when I find the space in my heart to forgive, I am the one that wins - when I open my heart it may make me a bit more vulnerable, and I might even get hurt sometimes, but it sure beats living in anger and fear.
On the mat we talk about “melting the heart” - the act of softening the space between the shoulder blades and opening across the front of the chest. But that’s really just the gateway to living our lives in a more open, loving way - softening the way that we deal with others and ourselves. It's always a choice, right? We can choose to live in a world where we shelter ourselves so we don’t get hurt, but then we are living our fears instead of living our dreams.
When our hearts are open and filled with love we live from action instead of reaction - we live from a place of softness towards all beings because we recognize that we are all part of the same source. When we honor the darkness we honor the light - different sides of the same proverbial coin. And that means honoring all beings equally – there is no hierarchy for race, sex, financial status, appearance, behavior, etc. It doesn't mean we accept it or condone bad behavior, but, as a friend told me, letting go of our own hurt allows us to move forward in the healing cycle.
Sue Monk Kidd in her wonderful novel "The Secret Life of Bees" gives us a beautiful little set of instructions on how to live in the world - told by a master bee keeper introducing her apprentice to her bees and offering "Bee Yard Etiquette: ...the world is really one big bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places: Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing just wants to be loved."
With love and blessings,
MOVING IS KNOWN AS A PRETTY STRESSFUL EVENT
Guest Blogging Today is Sarah Galla
Generally speaking, moving is known as a pretty stressful event. And what better way to relieve stress than with yoga!
Well, I got to practice what I preach firsthand recently. My husband, Tom, my 7 month old daughter, Sydney, and I all just moved into a new home in Arlington Heights. However, it wasn’t that simple. We were supposed to close on a Friday, May 22nd, and at the closing, the lender introduced new questions and pulled the loan. Needless to say, we were stunned and numerous thoughts ran through our head. Would we lose the home? Would we lose our earnest money? Would we lose our loan completely? Would we lose the time we had spent finding this home? Would we lose our sanity having to live out of boxes for an unknown amount of time? Then I noticed a theme to my questions: fear of loss.
I had absolutely left faith out of the equation. I have done countless classes surrounding this very prevalent theme and now it was time for me to put my yoga into action. The asanas, or poses, while an important part of yoga, they are only a piece of the whole. I needed to turn to my other yogic tools. I needed to focus on my breath, the one element to which I can always return. And right there the tide changed. By focusing on that breath, the inhales and exhales became longer and deeper. This led my muscles to relax. I had to trust that all was as it should be. Even though I knew I had to trust, it was challenging for me to put into action. This was especially true because the obstacles didn’t end there.
The next week we were contacted by the same lender after we had chosen a different lender with whom to work for our deadline of June 5th to hold onto the house. The old lender promised to close us that Tuesday the 26th. Then Wednesday. Then Thursday. Then Friday. Finally, we were done and said unless we were given a firm yes or no within the next hour, we were walking – which was taking a leap of faith right there! Well, it came through and we ended up closing the following Tuesday, June 2nd.
There are lessons for us in everything. Should we choose to take the coursework and learn what it is we need to learn, about others, about ourselves, about life, we can move to the next piece. I can understand that. What I am still grasping is that the learning never ends and I will not graduate from life. There will always be lessons, some more challenging than others. The true test is not the actual lesson itself, but actually it is the way I respond. It is always a matter of choice of perspective. I say this in all truth because these last two weeks were not easy. I had a lot of questions that had to remain unanswered; a tense jaw I had to consciously and frequently release; shoulders I had to purposely drag away from my ears and a breath that had to fight to be taken. Although, these were things to which I could and did consciously work to bring awareness. It was my choice how I responded. I had to trust that it would work out the way it was supposed to. The hardest part of that acceptance was that it may be the way it was supposed to be, but that may not be the way I wanted. For me, for today, I choose to see the perspective in which I can release the fear of loss. Sometimes I can truly embrace my faith in the Universe. This situation was a struggle for me. Yet, it came down to faith or fear. I chose the option that gave me the freedom to breathe.
JUNE 5TH, 2009: So many of you have asked about what might be included in this Yoga Retreat I leave for today that I thought I'd share a little summary. Ciao! Silvia
Monday, June 8th
Morning Excursion and Lunch:
Aperetivo and Dinner Excursion: In Montalcino, famous for its production of Brunello wines, one of the two most respected Italian wines in the world (the other is the Barolo of Piedmont). In 2007, Wine Spectator selected a Brunello as the ‘best wine in the world’. We will start with a pre-dinner aperetivo at Bar Le Logge, to experience this custom of meeting friends for a drink and finger food at your favorite local bar prior to heading out to dinner. Then we will take a short walk to Osteria di Porta al Cassero, where we can select from the regular menu local favorites prepared owner Piero and his wife. Daughter Sylvia helps wait tables. This Osteria, the most popular in town is a small, loud Italian equivalent of the American ‘diner’ where one can get good ‘home-cooked’ food at a very reasonable price. There are a number of other restaurants in town, however, only the pizzeria will be cheaper.
Tuesday, June 9th
Morning Excursion and Lunch: Wander a bit around Montalcino in the daylight, go to the museum of medieval art, visit the cathedral, shops, fortress and enotecas (wine bars), and enjoy the amazing hilltop panoramas of this 13th century walled city, the last to fall to the hated Florence in 1566 after a 5-year siege. Montalcino still marches at the head of the Siena Palio parade in tribute to the town’s archers’ valor and courage in defending
After lunch, excursion continues with a visit to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, founded by Charlemagne, and a wine tasting at the cellars of Banfi, and American Producer whose investment in wines in Montalcino makes them the largest producer with over 20% of wine production in the commune. (Free)
Evening Excursion: Dinner in the nearby ancient
Wednesday, June 10th
Morning Excursion/Lunch: Chianti. We will drive straight to Dievole, one of the quality producers of fine Chianti wines where we will be given a tour of the facility and a brief talk while we taste some of their wines prior to a top-shelf lunch in their dining room. This is a meal and tasting no one will want to miss, with host Dario Castagno, author of the comic reminiscences of a Chianti tour guide, “Too Much Tuscan Sun.”
Evening Excursion/Dinner: Beautiful hilltop town of
Thursday, June 11th
Morning/Lunch Excursion: A walk around the town of Montepulciano known for its very drinkable and reasonably priced Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, it is a larger ancient hill town with lots to explore and exceptional views of the surrounding countryside not far from the Chianciano terme hot springs where European aristocrats flocked to get the liver cures from soaking in the waters. Beyond, on the road to Chiusi is an area filled with ancient Etruscan tombs and on-going excavations for clues to the origins and demise of this pre-Roman civilization that remains a mystery to this day. Pure Tuscans are said to be of Etruscan stock and even the word “Tuscan” is thought to have derived from the word “Etruscan”. D.H. Lawrence wrote about his experiences tracking down Etruscan ruins closer to
Evening Excursion/Dinner: We’ll head to the small backwater town of
CHANGE AS GROWTH
Most folks when they think of yoga think flexibility. I would agree there is that but not just the physical flexibility that develops but more importantly the emotional flexibility that grows if you let it (all of this held in quiet strength too). You see the thing is we can’t always control the situations that arise in our lives but we do have in our power the way we respond or adapt to these changes. We can learn to think differently even perhaps positively about the circumstances of our lives. We can look for the good in every situation. I’m not talking about in a Pollyannaish way because that’s inauthentic, so more along the lines of ok there’s that, now what can I do to find a learning here. "But personally to me the most important part is that we STAY INVOLVED in the process. It’s too easy to check out and engage in a victim mentality. Brian Tracy puts it like this, "Resolve to be a master of change rather than a victim of change "Resolve to be a master of change rather than a victim of change".
So we learn from Mary Engelbreit, "if you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it". We gain new perspective from the changes that flow our way maybe stretching our emotional muscles in a way that mirrors our physical stretching. For sure the mind muscle is the most difficult one to tone but worth the effort. It is certainly a lot more productive than resisting or letting tension consume us. So today come to the mat, let the flow of the poses encourage you and inspire the changes you want from your life. May we all find together that change really does bring about new opportunities for spiritual evolution. So bring it on! Let happiness flow!
Love the day, Silvia
TRUE TO YOU: IS YOUR LIFE A WARNING OR EXAMPLE?
He said that “our lives either serve as an example or a warning to one another.”
The first part of my adult life was a warning. I worked too hard 76-80 per week, didn’t make enough “me time” was constantly striving to meet everyone else’s expectations (parents, partner, boss, colleagues). I didn’t eat well, I didn’t sleep well, my health suffered and I was lost. My creative powers of being TRUE to who I am were dwindling away to nothing. However to the outside world everything looked great! According to the title on my business cards I had achieved a high level of status in the corporate world at an impressively early age and I was making an embarrasing amount of money at the time. It looked like I was on top of the world. A number of situations “woke me up” from my stupor. Including a 25 year old staff member in
The second part of my adult life and the rest of life for that matter is dedicated to serving as an example. I have taken an oath that I will be true to being me. It started for me by making “dates” with the yoga mat to go to class. This was the me time I needed to come back into my creative power and erase the doubt that had plagued me and had kept me living life for everyone else. Being honest with oneself is not easy. I won’t kid you. It’s hard work. It requires immense amounts of courage. You will experience failure and heart break (or life experiments as I call them). But if you stay the course saying to yourself day in and out, “I WILL NO LONGER DOUBT MYSELF” then life will no longer feel like its being done to you but instead it will feel like its for you.
We are all here to contribute honestly by enjoying our gifts and sharing them with the world. Or Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the
Remember this the universe is on your side and wants you to be at peace with the truth of who you are. So today acknowledge that you did your best, you made an honest effort at breathing, loving and living and that is all any of us can do. And then quietly ask yourself, is your life as you are living it right now serving as a warning or as an example? The honest choice is yours. And the sweet reward is a happier more peaceful life on YOUR TERMS.
Sat Nam (in truth and light), Silvia
GUEST BLOGGERS WHILE I'M AWAY IN ITALY
DOSHA CLASS: ROOT OF STRESS
Is this class for you? Well, if you experience stress in your life understanding Ayurveda can only help. Why? Because Ayurvedic theory takes nearly every conceivable stress influence into consideration—from seasonal changes that affect our well-being to what we eat and how we move that can all lead to disease. It also sheds light on the thought patterns and physical tendencies that can make stress a constant stumbling block or a non-issue, depending on how well we understand ourselves. To put it in most simple terms Ayurveda boils down to one basic idea:
Trace stress back to its roots, then find lasting ways to change the patterns that cause it.
According to Ayurveda, each of us has a unique mix of three mind/body principles which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called 'doshas'. Most of us have one or two doshas which are most lively in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less significant. The three doshas are known as: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
So join me to learn more about how to Balance Your Dosha, address the root causes of stress instead of the symptoms. All in an effort to live in peace and happiness. Yours with blessings, Silvia
INTRODUCTION: · Philosophy is the love of truth · Science is the discovery of truth through experiment · Spirituality is the experience of truth and application of it in daily life · Ayurveda is the science of life – both systematized knowledge and practical wisdom, an art of living healthy that ecompasses all phases of life, body, mind and spirit. It includes practical and theoretical aspects. · Ayurveda building blocks – 5 elements (Space, air, fire, water and earth) exist in all matter both organic and inorganic. Man has all 5 elements within him as we are part of nature. Our 5 sense and how our bodys function related to the 5 elements. · These 5 elements combine into 3 basic energies or principles which are present to some degree in everyone called doshas. · Space/air make up vata · Fire and water make up pitta · Water and earth make up kapha · Doshas govern our choices biological and psychological. When in balance they generate noble qualities such as understanding, compassion & Love. · When out of balance due to stress, improper diet, environment they give rise to negative emotions such as anger, fear and greed. · All three are in everyone but just like our fingerprints are different and unique everyone has an ENERGY PRINT · Health depends on maintaining this proportion in balance. Balance is the natural order of things, imbalance provokes and reflects disorder. · Health is order, Disease is disorder · You can learn to see that self understanding is the foundation of life. Habits and tendencies are related to our constitution. · When you can anticipate the kinds of illnesses and imbalances you are likely to have, you can take precautions to PREVENT THEM FROM ARISING. You can adjust your lifestyle daily routing, diet, amount of sleep, type of exercise to keep your DOSHAS IN BALANCE and health at its best!
· Philosophy is the love of truth
· Science is the discovery of truth through experiment
· Spirituality is the experience of truth and application of it in daily life
· Ayurveda is the science of life – both systematized knowledge and practical wisdom, an art of living healthy that ecompasses all phases of life, body, mind and spirit. It includes practical and theoretical aspects.
· Ayurveda building blocks – 5 elements (Space, air, fire, water and earth) exist in all matter both organic and inorganic. Man has all 5 elements within him as we are part of nature. Our 5 sense and how our bodys function related to the 5 elements.
· These 5 elements combine into 3 basic energies or principles which are present to some degree in everyone called doshas.
· Space/air make up vata
· Fire and water make up pitta
· Water and earth make up kapha
· Doshas govern our choices biological and psychological. When in balance they generate noble qualities such as understanding, compassion & Love.
· When out of balance due to stress, improper diet, environment they give rise to negative emotions such as anger, fear and greed.
· All three are in everyone but just like our fingerprints are different and unique everyone has an ENERGY PRINT
· Health depends on maintaining this proportion in balance. Balance is the natural order of things, imbalance provokes and reflects disorder.
· Health is order, Disease is disorder
· You can learn to see that self understanding is the foundation of life. Habits and tendencies are related to our constitution.
· When you can anticipate the kinds of illnesses and imbalances you are likely to have, you can take precautions to PREVENT THEM FROM ARISING. You can adjust your lifestyle daily routing, diet, amount of sleep, type of exercise to keep your DOSHAS IN BALANCE and health at its best!