FEAR OF BEING HAPPY
MARCH 31, 2009: I have often asked myself the simple but powerful question, "Am I more afraid of being happy or more afraid of Fear itself?" How would you respond?
I can tell you that for many years of my life I have been more afraid of being truly happy. Why? Becaues really being happy day in and day out requires COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, HOPE, INNER STRENGTH and most of all SELF-LOVE. The messages of "I'm not really worthy" or "I don't have time" or "I'm afraid of being hurt again" can show up at any time even in the most spiritually mature person. It's easier to give in to the conditioned response of Fear than face ourselves and change our mental habits.
Yoga offers us a safe place to get strong, mentally and physically. It can help us view our habits and make the change from within so that we choose happiness over fear. And then it is a continuous practice. If you really want to be happy it requires your committment from this day forward. In a way it is like deciding that we want to "Marry ourselves". And part of the vow we take is to promise to at least try to be happy each and every day.
Believe me, its not always easy but lasting happiness is only found a day at a time anyway. So I know you can do it. Face your fears and let LOVE make you strong! Wishing you your own best strength and courage, Silvia
TRUST IN ENOUGH
MARCH 30TH, 2009: I really believe that we are all benefited by words of inspiration. Today I am meditating in my own life in trusting that I will have enough. Enough of what? Well, enough courage, enough inner strength, enough wisdom, enough energy, enough love, enough happiness, enough peace. When life becomes intense it is easy to convince ourselves through the prism of mental scarcity that we aren’t going to have enough of anything. More than anything else, even more than love, what I wish for all of us is that we have Enough FAITH.
Through FAITH we can see that although heartache or hurt exists in the world with Faith we will recover. Helen Keller says it like this, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” How do we trust in enough? Well first it is to accept that Faith is active, it’s something we have to participate in. We can’t expect our healing to happen if we aren’t most interested in ourselves first. I believe Jon Kabat Zinn defines trust as “spiritual and emotional maturity”. Right on. I love that.
At some point in our spiritual evolution we realize we don’t need more and more of anything. Instead having just enough is plenty. So on the mat we do enough and we save a little for next time. We don’t have to do it all. Mostly because aren’t you tired of being perfect all the time? I am. So we appreciate the messiness of life and with just enough faith we let go of unrealistic expectations and let our story unfold. The universe if we have faith enough to trust in her wants us to be happy, to be courageous, to be loved, to be peaceful. So I wish you all enough (not more, not less). With faith in 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.
SEE THE BEAUTY IN LIFE
MARCH 29, 2009: Namaste and happy Sunday to you! Let me ask you guys what was your first reaction when you saw the snow today? Were you filled with childlike delight of oohs and aahs or did you say to yourself holy CRAP I can’t believe this is being done to me? Did you pick a fight with the snow? Or did you see that nature itself is magnificent? Did you see the beauty outside? Because the thing is the Yoga Sutras say there are really 2 ways to see life.
One would be a darker view...that at any moment something could go wrong and the world is making war with you. The other would be a brighter view...what amazing miracle might take place today?! This ability to choose to see the beauty is the practice of peace. We come to the mat to recognize the splendour of life itself.
*The seer dwells in his own true splendour. (Yoga Sutra 1.3)
*At other times, the seer identifies with the fluctuating consciousness (the negative). (Yoga Sutra 1.4)
In today’s turbulent times it is important to keep practicing to stay positive and peaceful, to see beauty. From a peaceful center we can respond instead of react. With a peaceful heart whatever happens can be met with wisdom. It's a choice, we can view ourselves at war with life ("fluctuating consciousness.") Or we can practice the art of peaceful perception, the ability to see beauty and weave the feeling through the conflicts we face. Kahlil Gibran says it like this, "When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things, even in the eyes that are blind to beauty.”
For me then the question is not about the choice in front of us, I get that. But it becomes then why don’t we always see beauty first? Well we get bogged down by stress, negativity and worry (fluctuating consciousness) and this puts a layer of grime over how we view things. The yoga on the mat helps us to clean off the mucky muck so we can reveal the beauty within us for how we see the world is not about what’s “out there” its always about our perspective and how beautiful we see things inside us.
If this morning at 9:15am you were enjoying the snow then join me at 4:30pm today for a really beautiful, rich practice (yes its Level 1-2 but don’t be afraid and get caught up in the darkness, its only a number). Think of yoga as philosophy in motion and today’s focus is beauty. Be the beauty you wish to see in the world! Love, Silvia
PLAYLIST FOR TODAY MARCH 29TH, 2009:
|Talk to You||Tracy Chapman|
|I Don't Care About My Baby||Jackie Greene|
|Promised Land||Grateful Dead|
|Down on the Corner||Creedance Clearwater Revival|
|Feeling Alright||Joe Cocker|
|Stand By Me||Various Artists|
|Let's Stay Together||Al Green|
|Crazy Love, Vol. II||Paul Simon|
|If you Want to Sing Out, Sing Out||Cat Stevens|
|Like A Star||Corinne Bailey Rae|
|Youve really got a hold on me||Smokey Robinson|
|Blind Willie McTell||Bob Dylan|
|You Are So Beautiful||Joe Cocker|
YOGA TEACHER TRAINING
MARCH 28, 2009: Are you thinking about getting to know yourself better? Do you want to commit to spending 200 hours in spiritual training? If yes, then our intimate program might be for you. We accept only 10 students per training group and we begin sessions in January and October each year. And we are only one of 13 programs approved by the national Yoga Alliance in the state of Illinois.
To apply and learn more visit our teacher training pages on this website. For an interview or to learn more call Silvia at 847 772 9642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This program is unique. Our main intent is not about teaching yoga as much as it is about learning and loving ourselves. The best teachers in life are those that are willing to peel back the layers and look inside. This time gives you the opportunity in a safe way to explore yourself more deeply. From there how you choose to apply this self-knowledge to your life whether it involves teaching yoga poses or not is up to you. Peace in your journey, Courage in making your best decision. Love, Silvia
TIME FOR YOURSELF: TODAY IS A GIFT
MARCH 28TH, 2009:
For yesterday I hold no apologies,
For tomorrow I hold no answers,
Today is a gift and I will honor it by fully living in it."
My Healer at Holessence says “If you don’t take time for wellness now, you’ll have to make time for illness later.”
We always have opportunities to be kind to ourselves. When we refuse to take the time to treat our bodies, emotions, and minds with reverence and love, they will often remind us – not so kindly – by failing to respond when we need them. Our ability to think clearly recedes when we aren’t looking after ourselves. It’s weird how we can be super tired and have a really busy mind all at the same time. To bring the frequency of our bodies and the frequency of our thoughts in sync we are obligated to take time for ourselves without apology. In yogic philosophy we call this Ahimsa. The idea of loving ourselves is a way to demonstrate love for all people. But we must start with ourselves. (SUTRA 2.35 EMBRACING REVERENCE AND LOVE FOR ALL (AHIMSA) WE EXPERIENCE ONENESS)
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.”
WHAT DON’T WE MAKE TIME FOR OURSELVES? I’ve come to think that the main reason is that we are worried about what other people think. We actually make the opinions of others even MORE IMPORTANT than our own opinion of ourselves. And when you think about it there will never be a shortage of opinions about us form other people. Yoga teaches us that we are sovereign over ourselves, we can’t be responsible for how others see us all we can do is have the authority of leading our own peaceful life. Why because life itself is a gift! MARK TWAIN says “ A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval”
WE ARE PRETTY AMAZING!
Think about this formula proposed by John Maxwell in his book Talent is Never Enough. Maxwell says that “every person is capable of doing something better than the next 10,000 people.” That something is called your STRENGTH ZONE. From the yogic view we are capable of far greater things than what we often deem possible. We realize our potential only when we see that we are worthy of making time for ourselves and that each breath is another opportunity to dream even bigger dreams.
WE DO ADAPT: IT WILL GET BETTER
MARCH 26TH, 2009: Yoga for me from the beginning, after coming to it seeking physical healing from injury was about self comforting. I wanted to heal. I intrinsically did not want to accept what life had served me as a car accident and major life change. I just was not going to accept limitations! I now know this was the universe whispering to me to dream of optimal health and to not give up.
In the Yoga Sutras HEALING is written about as: A process of rejoining; A rejoining body to heart; A rejoining of spirit to consciousness.
What does HEALING mean to you?
What it means to me is a letting go of hurt or angry feelings, an absence of conflict, relief from pain, and a belief in miracles - that things WILL GET BETTER. Too often we get bogged down in thinking we are alone and stuck in the pain forever, or as Author Alice Walker says "we are being consumed with our suffering." But we don't have to be. Yoga gives us that opportunity to realize the healing for ourselves, to self-comfort. Even right now take 5 breaths and use your thoughts to keep your energy on healing whether it be directed at physical or emotional healing or both.
This will go far to remind us that miracles are happening all the time.St Thomas Aquinas writes "MIRACLES ARE SIGNS NOT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE, BUT TO THEM THAT DISBELIEVE.
So where does healing come from? It comes from that still place inside, in the quiet chambers of our hearts. This time on the mat helps us to hone our visions for our lives. Ultimate healing is that feeling that we are co creating with the universe and are partnered together in all good things. At the end of class we then ask ourselves from our own healing, what do you want to bring out into the world?
How do begin the healing process? Join me tonight on the mat. We will start with the breath, as we inhale we will say to ourselves inside LISTEN, LISTEN and in the exhale we will start to hear ourselves respond with healing intentions. A very sweet practice, perfect for you to realize your dreams of peace. We all deserve a life of serenity and please don't think this excludes you.
Love and peace to you all my dear, dear friends,
HAPPINESS TRAINING - SPRING HAS BEGUN!
MARCH 25, 2009: Now as Spring has started is the perfect time to go back into training if you stopped along the way this Winter. What training you ask? Well, HAPPINESS TRAINING. That's what I like to call Yoga. Just like if we were training to run a marathon happines takes practice and training.
Now although the two have a lot in common where they diverge is that if you practice, then run the marathon it is completed. With happiness training, the training never ends. It lasts a lifetime! Why do we need training in happiness? Because most of us don't wake up happy every day. Even science says that our braings are wired to look for what's wrong. According to Martin Seligman in the book Authentic Happiness this is known as the catastrophic brain. He goes on to say that in neurological testing humans viewing unpleasant images showed activity in the primitive parts of the brain. Humans viewing pleasant images showed activity in more recently evolved parts of the brain.
So we are at the the cutting edge of our evolution! The great news is that you can start training anytime. In the words of Lama Yeshe, "it is never too late. Even if you're going to die tomorrrow, keep yourself straight and clear and be a happy human being today. If you keep your sitatution happy day by day, you will eventually reach the greatest happiness of Enlightenment."
So join me on the mat for continued practice reversing the negative stories we tell ourselves and strengthening ourselves with a positive life perspective. As Thit Nhat Hanh says, "people deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try to see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?"
May all beings be happy, loved and peaceful! JAI! Silvia
RIDE THE WAVE
MARCH 23, 2009: Life is like a wave. A wave may seem to have a beginning and end. A wave might be seen as high or low, big or small, different or not different from other waves.
No matter what we call or title the wave, the wave is at the same time the water. Water transcends the form of the wave, the idea of beginning, ending, high, or low. These notions apply to the wave but not to the water.
All watery things have to do with Second Chakra (circulation, orgasm, tears, urination). Water is always changing it flows and when your 2nd chakra is healthy it allows us to transcend the form of the wave and be the water. This means that we don’t try to force things to be different, who are we to demand to know why stuff happens anyway. Instead, this healthy chakra promotes that we just feel whatever arises and that we accept what is in front of us with grace. You will see for yourself the moment we relax our resistance to life it gets easier.
Just like the moment when the wave realizes that she is water, she loses all her fear and she enjoys much more being a wave. She is free from birth and death, being and non-being, high or low, because when we are able to touch our ultimate dimension, we are no longer subjected to fear-- fear of being; fear of non-being; fear of birth; fear of death; and most of all fear of change.
So together we practiced slow flow vinyasa and did our best to realize that we are not our thoughts, we are not our bodies we are the water. We are spirit and ultimately what we’re talking about is that we are LOVE. So that’s it. Be love, ride the wave. Love to you all! Silvia
YES AND NO TO LIFE: KNOW WHAT YOU'RE SAYING
MARCH 22, 2009: I read this article this morning and it is by a great dear friend and teacher Todd Norian, who I dearly respect. He visits us once/year and will be end of June 2009. Save the date. Basically he takes a verse from the sutras and interprets it from a Tantric perspective. Chapter 1 verse 2 yogas citta vritti nirodah (from April Fit Yoga).
The summary of the article is this: When you say NO to something by doing so you are automatically saying YES to something else.
In class today I contexualized this during the course of the asana practice and brought in my own analogies and examples. Here I offer you the straightforward article and leave it for your own meditation. Just know this, I am always saying YES and will support you if you want to live this way too! Love you all, Silvia
ARTICLE: “We assume you can say “no” to something. But in doing that you are automatically saying “yes” to something else. In tantric philosophy we want to start with “YES”, to open, soften, and receive what the moment is offering. Then, after taking a moment to reflect, we can say “no” as a boundary to what is NOT life enhancing.
Yoga is learning to align with nature rather than resist or control it. Instead of viewing our challenges as separate from you and a problem to be solved, the Tantra sees them as a gift of embodiment, the pulse, the very essence of the flow that arises from desire. Instead of being part of the problem, desire becomes the source of the solution.
The tantrikas believe the universe is made up of desire. The universe desires to be known by becoming you. Everything in this universe is awake, which includes the ripples of the mind, like waves on the surface of a lake. The key is to see beneath the ripples to the bottom of the lake, the deepest essence of self. However the self also appears in the surface waves. Instead of going against the waves we learn how to surf.
This is very helpful in navigating the ups and downs of life – learning how to flow with them, embrace them, and know exactly what you’re saying “YES” and “NO” to, rather than pushing them away in the name of freedom.”
MERGERS NOT ACQUISITIONS
MARCH 21ST, 2009:
THE DOOR TO MY HEART IS WIDE OPEN
THE WINDOW OF MY SOUL INVITES THE BREEZE
MAY THIS PRACTICE CLEAR THE OBSTACLES TO MY TRUE SELF
MAY I HAVE THE COURAGE TO FOLLOW MY HEART WHEREVER IT MAY LEAD
So that meditation came to me on its own. It speaks from my heart to yours about the Yoga of UNION. It is spirit saying use the yoga as a unifying force. A coming together. During the Winter many of us hibernate a bit. We don't see our neighbors or friends as much. We're stuck in our cars more and we physically contract from all the cold. The happy news is now that we start to peel back the first layers of Winter we again expand! This is our time to praise the abundance and new beginnings of Spring and reconnect.
As Yogis we are meant to connect. The word Yoga is that idea of merging together, to yoke, the union of humanity as well as the union within our own hearts and minds. In the greater world this is a time of change so perhaps more than at any other moment in our lifetimes this is a time to unify, to come together and be supportive of your friends, family, neighbors and yoga studio (whether your home studio is us or another.) So carpe diem dudes and get yourself to class, make new friends and reach out in happy new directions.
This Spring make a courageous fresh start and come celebrate community and experience the "yoga party" of practicing together! Love unifies! So Love everyone, serve everyone, Silvia
LOVER OF LIFE - HAPPY SPRING!
MARCH 20TH, 2009: On this beautiful first day of Spring I wish you love! I am deeply inspired by my favorite poet Rumi. "For Rumi, to be alive is to be a lover" and all great spiritual teachers say this same thing. (Quoted from Washington Post 2008). Yeah, that's right. For me yoga opened the door to living life more fully.
This is that idea that if you love life, life will love you back! Rumi puts it like this, "Come to my side I will open the gate to your love." Living life prior to fifteen years ago I dreamed of peaceful love but it was like I couldn't find the door or window to unlock to really experience it. My yoga practice showed me that doors, windows, gates are open everywhere welcoming me to love more. I was feelng like what Rumi writes, "I yearn for happiness, I ask for help." Yoga helped me as I hope it helps you feel more, LOVE more.
But over the last fifteen years there have still been days where I have to be reminded not to contract but like the buds of Spring expand and grow. Rumi's words hold great meaning when he writes, "Today, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the BEAUTY WE LOVE be what we do." It is easy to face hardship and stop making music, stop making love with life but "we cannot go back to sleep, you must ask for what you really want." (Rumi)
I just wish someone would have told me that being a lover of life takes raw guts and quiet courage. I know that now and I hope in every single class together I can inspire you to cultivate your greatest inner strength and courage to shine out. I will tell it how it is, living happy, peaceful and loving will ask you to step in with both feet and make a full blast effort. The great news is that this is the perfect time right now to fall madly in love with life! So join me on the path and let's flow together! BIG LOVE, Silvia
"Wake up lovers, it is time to start the Journey!
Let us kiss the ground and flow like a river towards the Ocean.
It is best to travel with Companions on this Jouney.
Only love can lead the way."
YOGA FOR MOOD MANAGEMENT
Yoga is all about Management. This is different than saying control which seems punitive. We are loving managers of our lives, our moods, our relationships both inward and outward and through this we can bring ourselves back into balance when we need to. Life will offer us challenges that take us off our path. But we keep moving forward. Einstein says, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
How out of balance are we? Statistically, 80% of Americans have adrenal fatigue, we suffer from higher rates of anxiety, hypersensitivity, nutritional deficiencies, eye strain, constipation, insomnia than anywhere else in the world. The way yoga fits in is that it restores BALANCE. Yoga makes our whole metabolic system function better, improves our immunity, offers us better digestion, better sleep, it bring more energy and is the great equalizer. Each family of poses can be used to customize what we need more of. So enjoy the handout below. Love your life today! Peace, Silvia
SUN SALUTATIONS. Energizing for your emotional body and can help lift you out of lethargy, depression, mental fatigue.
STANDING POSES. These are very grounding as well as energizing. They immediately engage your body-mind connection and bring you into the present moment. They are good to do when worried, distracted or agitated.
BACKBENDS. These are energizing, uplifting poses. They create more energy when you are tired. If you are already nervous they can make you over stimulated if they are difficult so you can also practice passive backbends. These poses also open you up emotionally which may cause strong emotions to arise.
TWISTS. Cleansing and balancing. They help release stress from your body-mind.
FORWARD FOLDS. These are calming, quieting in their impact. They are restful poses to calm you down when you feel agitated or hyper and restful when you are fatigued.
HIP OPENERS. These are very grounding and balancing. They help release tension and bring you into the present moment.
INVERSIONS. These are soothing, balancing and centering.
DHARMA: DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT?
MARCH 18TH, 2009: We sat in Vajrasana, rubbed our hands together like to two sticks of wood to create friction/heat and then cupped our eyes. We used this as an opporturnity to open our eyes and look at our hands which acted as a mirror. Asking ourselves in our outward reflection what did we see? Who is the person staring back at us? Then we closed our eyes in the warmth of our hands and turned our gaze inwards to view the inner reflection and ask what is our purpose? Who are we?
And this means it is something more than the role we play at work, the labels we wear like son, daughter, partner, parent. As a human creatures who are you? As Stephen Covey writes, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” So as a human being what is your Lifes Purpose or Dharma?
For its more than what job title we have on our business card or the label people know us by. Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the
For that’s the practice knowing our Dharma and contributing in a positive way to the world. So we partnered in handstand tonight to help us experience this directly. We also used a variety of flowing poses to help us face our fears such as balance poses and hip openers. Because that is the harder practice to keep coming back to our purpose and living our Dharma not just for one day, or one week or even one year but forever, in spite of the fear we sometimes face.
Best said is motivational speaker Earl Nightingale who says, “Don’t let fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” So go inside, see your dreams, believe me when I tell you that you already have all the time, money and energy you need to make these dreams a reality and shine out your Dharma to the world! Love to all, Peace to All, Courage to all! Silvia
THE BOUNCE BACK FACTOR
I love folks that have jovial, bright attitudes about life. No matter how down things get they are able to see the uplift in any situation. I am one of those people. Well, let me say it like this, Yoga has helped me become one of those people who have this “bounce back factor”.
So I ask you today what is your BOUNCE BACK FACTOR? Do you look for the uplift in situations or get pulled into negativity and stay there? Do you bounce back, reregulate, recalibrate quickly or not so much? How long do you stay mad? How long do you stay upset or sad? Do you let something unexpected ruin your week, or your weekend, your anniversary, your vacation? If you are not yet a bounce back person, the answer could be as easy as practice more yoga!
Why does this work? It’s the big MO. Each small victory in not freaking out or getting out of whack for less time is exciting and lets us take larger steps to our highest best self. Each little victory creates momentum. When you throw a ball you need momentum to make it go farther right? Well its like that. More bounces, less effort. As I always say WE GROW GREAT BY DEGREES.
Now the bounce back factor also requires that we see ourselves as co-creating with the universe as well as recognizing that true happiness is an inside job. Basically its like this what we say to ourselves on the inside is what we see on the outside. The world is not created out there and then experienced inside us. It's the other way around. What you see on the outside is the reflection of what you've created on the inside through your thoughts. what we say to ourselves on the inside is what we see on the outside. The world is not created out there and then experienced inside us.
Especially essential in promoting a stronger bounce back factor is accepting that there is NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE. There is only experience and observation of our experience. We just can’t get bogged down in fear or negativity. "Don't move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move." Thit Nhat Hanh says, “People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”
Ultimately bouncing back is like the practice of contentment not for wimps. We have to engage some tapas and put some effort into it, just like throwing a ball. So together, let’s practice and you will get stronger, more steady, and your ability to bounce back will improve exponentially! GO BIG, LOVE BIG, DREAM BIG! Silvia
For me the word on my life ticket was FREEDOM. This means a number of things to me such as:
Freedom to be happier than ever before
Freedom to try new things
Freedom to meet new people
Freedom to make happy failures
Freedom to not play it all so safe
Freedom to do the unexpected
Freedom to just see what happens
So as you close your eyes and turn inside to your most loving self what sense of freedom to you experience in your breath right now? The breath, the air element that of the fourth chakra. This is the heart chakra and perhaps that’s why one of my favorites quotes from the book Immunity to Change is “Happiness is really freedom from unhappiness.” What does FREEDOM mean to you?
Ultimately freedom means that we are living on purpose or as Robin Sharma writes, THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS A LIFE OF PURPOSE. Everytime we come to the mat we have the right and freedom to explore ourselves more deeply. This cultivates an intimate connection with who we really are and can we live with what life is offering us right now. For its about whether life gave us what we wanted today but the fact we have the freedom to respond rather than react. We don’t have to struggle, fight or become disappointed. We can empower ourselves to make the experience (even if it is painful). In the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Robin Sharma writes, “People who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened. Those we are truly enlightened know what they want out of life, emotionally, materially, physically and spiritually. Clearly defined priorities and goals for every aspect of your life gives you direction. The real source of happiness is stated in the word Achievement – lasting happiness comes from steadily working to accomplish your goals and advancing confidentily in the direction of your lifes purpose.
Here’s the coolest part! You get to choose your life’s purpose. And you can readjust as your intentions evolve. So take to heart the words of John Wood from another all time favorite book “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” who writes, “If you are thinking about making some adjustments in your life my heartfelt recommendation is not to spend too much time thinking about it. Just dive in. I know that all kinds of practical considerations make this advice difficult to embrace. The need for advice from friends and family, and the desire to write a business plan. I am not saying you should not do any of these things – just that you should not spend too much time on them or you will lose momentum. The biggest risk is that a lot of people will try to talk you out of your dream. The world has too many people who are happy to discuss why something might not work, and too few who will cheer you on and say, “I’m there for you.” The more time you spend navel gazing, the longer you give those negative gravitational forces to keep you in their tether. So sometimes, it’s really important to just dive in. If there is something out there that you want to do, don’t focus on the obstacles. Don’t ask for permission. Just dive in.” FREEDOM MEANS YOU CAN DIVE IN TODAY! Wishing you courage to do so, Silvia
ARE YOU HAPPY?
MARCH 15TH, 2009: We began with a type of meditation called Japa, repetition of a mantra. This has three stages and it begins with choosing a mantra. As the focus of our practice was answering the question for ourselves, ARE YOU HAPPY, we used Anandamaya Namaha.
However any variety of mantras can be used for meditation in japa meditation. No matter the mantra its sacred sound can help us move through three stages of japa practice which are:
1. link the mantra sound with the flow of breath
2. next let go of the breath and focus your attention on sounds of the mantra alone
3. as the mind becomes familiar with the sounds of the mantra it will naturally begin to pulse more quickly and effortlessly. This then turns it into ajapa japa as the mantra gains momentum. It becomes like a pulsation of energy.
We used Anandamaya Namaha as our japa. This translated means "We observe & celebrate the bliss, the state of happiness held within us!"
MAKE DEPOSITS INTO YOURSELF TODAY
MARCH 14, 2009: Today we're going to the Bank. The Spiritual Bank where we make deposits into ourselves and our capacity to love and appreciate who we are so we can life more fully. How do we make these deposits? The answer is simple - by meditating on GRATITUDE!
So you might ask, what is my role in this? Well, in the words of Albert Schweitzer "sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. each of us owes our deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light." I have had the patient support of many friends through the years that in times of challenge where my deposits were low or I had overdrawn my spiritual account helped stoke the fire. I pass this light to you when you need it most.
Today as you ground down lift your heart and align to making the commitment to breathing in a way that encourages you to expand. Be grateful for what is available in your body on this day and let it be enough. This will help us make the deposits of love into ourselves that we take with us the rest of the week. Or in the words that came to me in meditation last night, we leave the yoga mat with pockets full of love (like hundred dollar bills stuffed to overflowing). That way we have a little extra to share with our friends and families. Love in all ways! Silvia
Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn't learn a little,
at least we didn't get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn't die;
so, let us be thankful.
FAITH IN YOURSELF
MARCH 12, 2009: When you think about it we grow great by degrees. It’s the little wins, turning off the tv, eating well, getting enough sleep, surrounding ourselves with positive people that demonstrate our faith in making good choices. The big stuff falls into place pretty much from all the little day to day, moment to moment decisions that we make. This clearly reminds us that it is the quality of the journey not the place we arrive to that counts. For we will get there, ultimately we all end up at the same finish line anyway.
We are destined to rise to life’s highest ideal if we just keep the faith and trust in ourselves. This is like a promise we keep to ourselves, the most important kind of promise for it’s the promise of happiness. Now what I like most about Faith. Trust, Confidence in ourselves is best offered in the words of Sharon Salzberg a favorite author of mine who says, “In Pali, faith is a verb, an ACTION, as it is also in Latin and Hebrew. Faith is not a singular state that we either have or don’t have , but is something that we do. We ‘faithe”. It is the willingness to take the next step, to see the unknown as an adventure, to launch a journey. Faith is what gets us out of bed, opens us to the possibility that our lives can be different. Though we may repeatedly stumble, afraid to move forward in the dark, we have the strength to take that magnitude of risk because of faith.”
I have had this experience when I traveled all the time and woke up in strange hotel rooms at first afraid, then comforted myself that I was fine and this kept me calm while my eyes adjusted. I have had this experience in therapy, where all that was asked of me was that I show up. The showing up was sometimes kind of difficult for the journey towards continued healing can be ripe with challenges. But I believed in the possibilities of myself and kept going, kept healing. These life experiences as well as time spent on the mat in poses facing myself that as much as others want good things for us we have to trust in ourselves first. We have to want it, we have to believe in our own intuition based in love and all will be as it should. BELIEVE, TRUST, FAITH – make these active day to day! Big Love, Silvia
MARCH 10, 2009: Inhaling we breath in the gift of the universe, life itself. Exhaling with gratitude for this gift.
By focusing on your body and the life giving air you breath into it, you will help to heal your life as a by-product. It is the easiest way to give thanks for our many blessings. When we are worried our breathing changes and we often become short of breath, denying the most important blessing of all. Our life giving breath. Today we won the lotto of life! Not everyone was chosen to breath today so let us give thanks and really really mean it.
Emerson put it like this, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”
SWEET WHOLENESS WITHIN US
MARCH 9TH, 2009: Today we started by asking ourselves how would we describe our complete selves to someone that didn't know us in just a few words? We silently told this to the person to our right, then our left. For some of us this was easy, for others of us this idea of explaining our complete selves posed a difficulty. We are often really good at describing a part of us, a body part, one aspect of our personality, just our role at work but when asked to describe the sweet WHOLENESS of us we get stumped.
When a hero of mine, Donna Farhi was asked "what is yoga" she responded "In its broadest sense Yoga is a return to wholeness. There is an uncomprimising 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."
Now I've never had amnesia but I understand how it works I think. And forgetting who we are or how our parts go together is like not remembering. When we are on the mat coordinating the democracy of ourselves together into a pose we regain this connection, we practice remembering to remember wholeness is us. The experience of wholeness is like a coming home after experiencing a lot of different things like a bee visiting flower to flower, a real sweetness (mudhurya) exists here. My hope is that through anchoring our selves back into our body we can use the Yoga to restore this feeling of wholeness and ultimately our sense of connection to the world. Give peace a chance, give your whole life a chance and help me seek to bring a sweet wholeness back to our families, communities and world! Love to you all, Silvia
MARCH 8TH, 2009: I mediate often on the power of freedom and what this means in relation to having room to breath. Some years ago I read the book by Thit Nhat Hanh Peace in Every Step. In the book there is a story titled "Breathing Room". Sorry to say I didn't read the story until recently. But just the title had a huge impact on me.
What does that mean to you "breathing room"?
So you can interpret it in different ways. I took it literally, like wouldn't it be cool to have a room where we breath. That is in many respects the sacred space of the asana room at the studio. Interesting enough this is also what Thit Nhat Hanh is suggesting as follows:
"We have a room for everything - eating, sleeping, watching TV - but we have no room for mindfulness. I recommend that we set up a small room in our homes and call it a "breathing room", where we can be alone and practice just breathing and smiling, at least in difficult moments. That little room should be regarded as an Embassy of the Kingdom of Peace. It should be respected, and not violated with anger, shouting or things like that. When a child is about to be shouted at , she can take refuge in that room. Neither the father or mother can shout at her anymore. She is safe within the grounds of the Embassy. Parents sometimes will need to take refuge themselves. Therefore, that room is for the benefit of the whole family. I believe that every home should have one room for breathing. Simple practices like conscious breathing and smiling are very important. They can change our civilization." (the rest of this story is found in the book Peace Is Every Step)
Please enjoy this and look around your own home is there a closet, a corner, a room that you could designate as your BREATHING ROOM? I know there is. Why? Because we all had this as children except we called it a tree house, under our bed, secret spot by the big tree...you still have that available to you now (it just might be fancier). Wishing you freedom in breathing forever! Big Love, Silvia
MARCH 6TH, 2009: Interesting enough, children laugh 300 times or more per day while adults laugh an average of 17 times per day. We clearly have lots of catching up to do according to Heather King. When it comes to yoga it is as my idol Judith Lasater who says, "yoga practice is important but not serious. Practice is too important to be serious." RIGHT ON! Life can appear pretty serious so as a result it can be easy to take it and ourselves way too seriously.
That’s how yoga can help. It works to maintain our balance by really finding the FUN on the mat through playful practice. This idea of Lila Tandava, “the playful dance of life” helps us to find the humor in even the most ridiculous and most challenging poses on the mat and off. We discover there is always play even within the most serious moments – this is how we thrive not just survive difficult situations. Even if you walk into class and don’t feel very playful it still works to help us soften our edges and be a little less rigid. Yoga helps make us feel lighter!
Of all the ways that yoga has saved my life. Without a doubt it is the Sacred Fun of the practice that has helped me live life more fully and with greater enjoyment. I implore you then today to waste not a moment longer stand up, wiggle, sway your arms, dance, move, breath. Reconnect to the kid inside your adult body! And feel how this helps you in the words of Tagore “attend the birthing of the radiant light within you.”
SHANI MEANS SLOWING DOWN
I personally slowed down this week by making more space to let the story of my life unfold on its own without too much over organizing. I made my To Do List but then crossed off all but 3 things on it each day. I put down my IPHONE and stopped to breath more. I took more yoga classes, practiced more pranayama and hung out more. It has been a wonderful week as I slowed down enough to enjoy each moment!
One of my all time favorite ads for the lifestyle/yoga company prAna was where there was a picture of the middle of the woods and posted on a sign it said, "Slow Down, People Breathing." Think how different the world would be if from this point forward everytime you approached a stop sign there would be a sign underneath it saying this same thing, "slow down, people breathing." The thing is this signpost is in our mind.
So today enjoy the sunshine, stop multi-tasking so much, slow down and BREATH MORE! Love in all ways, Silvia
REVEALING THE TRUE SELF
MARCH 4TH, 2009: “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” -- Chinese Proverb
Svadhyaya is the yogic term that means 'self-study'. It is one of yoga's five Niyamas and fundamental yogic philosophies. Svadhyaya, as much of yoga is intended, is an effort to allow the sadhaka (practitioner) methods for greater insight into their own true nature. While on the mat we realize things about ourselves. If you break down the word 'realize' to 'real-ize', we see that it means to 'make real'. Svadhyaya is the practice of realizing that our life is really real; it is a practice, but not a dress rehearsal.
The process feels something like this: 1) time in quiet contemplation allows you to reflect on all that you’ve learned up to this point in your life. Every event of your life has offered its lessons. We see what has shaped us so that we stop being prisoners of our pasts and instead become architects of our futures! 2) Anchoring in our bodies helps us to be present to ourselves, to ask the right questions, to listen to the answers: what do I want for my life? What do I need? And this is what forms our intentions for making real what our dreams are. "Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives."
A wonderful Rumi writing to continue to inspire you to see yourself as you really are and not settle for less, not a moment more! Love, Silvia
All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
And I intend to end up there.
This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place I'll be completely sober.
Meanwhile, I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
But who is it now in my ear, who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes?
What is soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home!"
FINDING & HOLDING OUR TRUTH (SATYA GRAHA)
MARCH 3RD, 2009: “Satya” is the Sanskrit word for “Truth.” The word “Graha” means “holding to.” Through yoga we anchor ourselves in the body to reduce the fluctuations of the mind in order to appreciate our feelings, emotions and sensations more honestly. It is really easy to disconnect from our truth. It is easy to deny ourselves pleasure or happiness or even freedom. But in all honesty the more we turn inside to the seat of our strength and where our peace lies then the more we can be our real selves without apology. Being ourselves by grounding into this inner sense of truth may be the most courageous act of all!
So as you breath today feel how the universe is trying to support you, how the earth and gravity allow you to walk freely in any direction you choose, how grace herself is breathing you when you forget. 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. Sat Nam, Silvia
NURTURING AS NOURISHMENT
Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself- if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself- it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it's clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice. [Shambhala Sun March 2006 ]
We all deserve to love and be loved. Love is a form of nourishment. It requires action in thought or word or movement. If you look up Nurture in Webster’s it defines it as a “form of nourishment” and to “educate”. These are both spot on with the philosophies of yoga. In class teacher to student we are educating how to self-comfort. We hope to create such a safe and nurturing environment that as students in the kula it is easier for us to nourish ourselves with breath, poses and observation. All of this leading to greater and greater self-growth! The sweetness of life is YOU! Love, Silvia
Yoga is the greatest environment to quiet the mind and listen to yourself. And undoubtedly whether you want it to or not when you practice stuff comes up, judgement, criticism, frustration, competitiviness and it becomes this great opportunity to listen and let go of what you feel, reducing tensions that might poison our ability to communicate. We take this ability to listen to the other languages of wordless messaging into our life. Just think of how as human creatures we talk to each other with smiles, with handshakes, with hugs, with laughter, with eye contact, with touching, holding, enfolding, and a myriad of gestures. These TOO are languages. Some of which may speak louder than words. Today witness the messages from your inner self through your breath moment to moment in order to become more responsive to your needs. Hear your unique gifts. Or as RUMI says "Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around all." Love in all ways! Silvia
"Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around all." Love in all ways! Silvia