THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VICTORY – GETTING PASSED STUCKNESS
JANUARY 29, 2010: 9:15am & 6pm Class Themes Today were an opportunity to learn how to use the Psychology of Victory to get passed your Stuckness. Believe it, our thoughts are "trainable" to focus on what we want in life - what you think creates your reality. The world is not created “out there somewhere” and then experienced by us, it is first experienced inside us then that is what is reflected back to us.
“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives” (William James)
This gets pretty radical. Albert Einstein suggested that we cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. So there is this idea within that that “the world has no sadness in it, only people thinking sad thoughts.” (Spiritual Solutions to Everyday Problems)
How this happens is we have to think something, do something or as Einstein says “nothing happens until something moves.” So in vinyasa flow yoga we move and breath in alignment with our internal energies. We are not stuck our humanity is that of flow. Valerie Hunt in her book, Infinite Mind of the Human Vibrations of Consciousness writes, “Motion is more natural to life than non-motion – things that keep flowing are inherently good.” What interferes with FLOW will have detrimental effects.” So the conclusion is that when we stop our flow and as a result of fear or worry or past experience stop the flow we get stuck and this can certainly have negative effects physically and emotionally. Last week Yahoo News reported a story on January 20th titled “Experts: sitting too much could be deadly”
To embrace the flow means we are hugging in to a psychology of victory! That we see we can evolve to ever greater happiness. We have a choice to keep aspiring and growing beyond our fears. Of course we will hesitate but we need not make war with life, that is the ultimate stuckness. Instead take these words to heart from Vivekenanda, “observe the blossoms of the fruit trees. The blossoms vanish of themselves as the fruit grows. The apples do not get into a deep conflict with the blossoms that are in their designated space on the branches of the tree. There is no anger, no fear, no battle between the fruit and its blossoms. As the fruit grows the blossoms disappear.” Allow yourself to life yourself to higher energies and keep flowing, life is too short to remain stuck another moment….as Saint Teresa of Avila advises, “let nothing disturb thee, let nothing dismay thee, all things pass.” Love in all ways, Silvia
THE IMPOSSIBLE IMPOSSIBLE: THE UPSIDE OF FEAR
JANUARY 28, 2010: Yoga helps us to believe in the impossibility of things. That nothing is impossible. This practices helps us to expand beyond our preconceived limitations into limitless possibility. We do this every time we meet the sensations in our bodies and the associated emotions. So tonight we focused on inversions (the upside down pose family). We faced our fears going upside down and if we can do that, gosh we can do anything!
“Don’t worry about making a mistake, you definitely will. Nothing bad will happen to you.” -Rimpoche
So the pressure is off. The upside of facing our fears is that there is nothing left to be afraid of. Once we dissolve the barriers to ourselves our potential is tuned into forever. This is written about in Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras that speaks to how dissolving the 5 Kleshas or veils brings forth the radiance of our most beautiful self.”
- Avidya – our forgetting, because we are forgetting we start to identify with things ever changing rather than the stillness of our HEART. We want stuff and then we get it and these are like snowflakes that melt when they hit the ground instead of finding that inside at our center is stillness and peace always
- Asmita –our self esteem is based on things outside ourselves and other reactions
- Raga – excessive fondness for fleeting pleasures
- Dvesa – excessive avoidance of unpleasant experiences causes disdain
- Abhinivesah – elusive awareness of immortality – instead live in the now.
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.
REALLY LOVE YOUR DAY
JANUARY 27, 2010: I was re-reading a favorite writing from George Carlin and want to share it with you. Tonight we are focusing on building a home practice. I will teach some slow flows you can memorize and use at home so when we lose track of what's important you can practice yoga for 7 minutes and regain clarity and positive perspective. This life we have is a blessing! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
- We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
- We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
- We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
- We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
- These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your loved ones, but most of all mean it.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment.
Give time to love! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
HOME PRACTICE HOW IT HELPS TO REVISE OUR MYTHS
FIRST THINGS FIRST. Think of some myth about yourself you’ve bought into? Like “I’m not strong enough, I don’t have enough time, I’m not old enough, I’m not young enough, I don’t have enough money, I’m not flexible enough, I’m not ____________________________. This practice helps us to unfold our own myth (Rumi). It has us bump up against the myths or self-limiting beliefs we have about ourselves. But as Yogananda writes, “What you are is much greater than anything or anyone else you have ever yearned for. Spirit is manifest in you in a way that Spirit is not manifest in any other human being. Your face is unlike anyone elses’s, your soul is unlike anyone else’s, you are sufficient unto yourself; for within your soul likes the greatest treasure of all – Spirit.”
You see “We no longer have a choice about including practices in our daily lives that create health and spiritual growth. If we want a world worth living in today, as well as one worth leaving to future generations, we must take responsibility to create health in our lives, as well as to support others as they choose healthier lives for themselves. It is up to each of each of us to lovingly transform the world simply by first transforming ourselves.” (Judith Lasater)
But we have to see the myths that hold us back for what they really are. “We are responsible for what we are and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves.” (Swami Vivekananda) Practicing even 5-7 minutes of yoga helps us to not remain victims of old habits, we begin to do the work of washing away the myths. What is required is that we work harder than our pain or made-up limitations.
“Mines of power lie unexplored within you. You use this power unconsciously in all things you do, and you achieve certain results; but, if you learn how to consciously control and use the power within you, you can accomplish much more.” (Yogananda) When it comes to picking out what poses to do you have to begin by asking yourself what you need: self-reflection creates self-awareness and reinforces self-love. Tonight’s class will teach you a (1) Hip Opening Flow, (2) Backbend Flow, (3) Sun Salutation C, (4) Forward Fold/Twist Flow so you have 4 sequences to work on at home when you need them most. Love and light! Silvia
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.
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.
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.
1 NIGHT PLAYLIST LEVEL 2 JANUARY 26, 2010
SUSTAINING WEIGHT LOSS AND YOGA
JANUARY 24, 2010: The healthy link between yoga and weight loss is not so much only about normalizing weight as much as it is about sustaining weight loss. But first yes, one of the most effective and ancient ways of promoting health and effecting transformation is to practice yoga, especially poses, breathing and meditation. Increasing research in the fields of health and well being indicate that the stress-reducing effects of yoga practice are significant and powerful in normalizing WEIGHT. And as Judith Lasater writes, “We no longer have a choice about including practices in our daily lives that create health and spiritual growth. If we want a world worth living in today, as well as one worth leaving to future generations, we must take responsibility to create health in our lives, as well as to support others as they choose healthier lives for themselves. It is up to each of each of us to lovingly transform the world simply by first transforming ourselves.”
Through the practice of yoga, we can begin to feel connected to ourselves, to our body’s rhythm, our breath, and our emotions. We can tune into how we feel about ourselves and to what degree our eating is emotionally based. According to studies the number 1 &2 reasons for weight gain is emotional stress and habit. And then once we’ve gained the extra weight we get dissatisified which may develop elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn ENCOURAGES stress-related eating (known by scientists as FOOD-SEEKING BEHAVIOR). Which results in more weight gain which may fuel more stress and stress–related eating. Gosh that’s the pattern? Yup.
I hope this class helped to make sense of some things. And that you will join me again week after week to maintain this awareness and learn to be the best YOU possible! With love in all ways, Silvia
So how does the Yoga work? Here’s a quick summary we talked about in class:
- Yoga burns calories by doing poses and breathing techniques which make metabolism more efficient (food + Oxygen = fuel)
- Yoga is proven to fight stress (and lower cortisol levels). Cortisol makes conversion of calories into fat (especially fat in the abdomen) more efficient.
- Yoga helps us see clearly. Before you can change something you have to acknowledge it for what it is which can be a problem (Study 1992 New England Journal of Medicine study looked at obsese people who considered themselves resistent to diets they told doc’s they exercised and limited calories but when asked to keep a food journal the patients had on average underestimated their food intake by 47% and overestimated their exercise 51% (They were tricked by their own minds)
- Patterns (samskaras) – the behavior grooves we dig through repeated actions. Many people who overeat are on autopilot. Yoga helps us be mindful of the moment, which helps us notice and savor our food instead of gulping it down.
- Also the mindfulness helps us realize when we are not hungry but simply eating out of habit or emotional neediness.
- Consider this (relapse rate on most diets is 100%). If you lose one ounce/day that’s almost half a pound/week which = 23 pounds in a year. To lose an ounce/day you’ve only got to burn about 250 calories more than you take in. (Breath how it works)
- Many people view food as the enemy. Yoga view of food is that it is a manifestation of the divine, a gift from God. In the Upanishads, food is equated with the divine force in the universe, Yoga would say food is one of life’s great pleasures.
YOGAPOOLOZA – THE DASH POEM
JANUARY 26TH, 2010: To learn to be intimately present to oneself is at the heart of yoga for this practice is a study of oneself. Kornfield writes, “to learn intimacy is not an easy thing. Growing up in a culture marked by our wounds and longing it is hard to be present.” This is repeatedly true on a day to day basis. To just stay awake to one’s life and be present is difficult. In this practice we did a million poses just once to see if we could be totally present in that one time shot to the best of ourselves. No repetition, just one time, that’s it. Then on to the next pose. This is the actual pace of life. We don’t get to do any moment over again. We only get once chance to live to our fullest in that singular moment. It is living to our fullest potential that yoga inspires within us. And maybe, just maybe we realize through this practice that life is how we spend our dash. And quite honestly, as the loss of two beautiful yogi friends reminds me….it goes all too fast. So wake up! Create the reality of your life right now and then really enjoy it….love your day, love yourself, love your life! Silvia
Here is the poem given to me by a loving student that I read at the end of class. It is by Linda Ellis, titled THE DASH:
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
STAYING WELL IN WINTER WHEN WE FEEL LAZY
JANUARY 25TH, 2010: I was out at Target this morning and overheard two ladies one saying to the other: "I'm so over Winter. Yeah I've been over it since it started." Ok. I get that. I'm one of those folks for whom staying well in Winter is hard. My balance is constantly disturbed in the Winter (I’m more sensitive to sound & emotions, more easily agitated, more difficulty concentrating, relationship to food is vastly different – my digestion is more sluggish, I want to eat more but don’t get full, can’t warm up, harder to relax, hold my breath more, tired but not sleepy). Does any of that sound familiar?
For most of my life I thought I was alone. Thank goodness I found Yoga and eventually my studies expanded to include the sister science to Yoga called Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, we are all made up of the 5 elements; ether, air, fire, water and earth. The 5 elements combine to create the three doshas; Vata (air and ether), Pitta (water and fire) and Kapha (water and earth.) We are each born with varying quantities and qualities of the doshas, denoting our unique psychobiological make-up or constitution. One of the three doshas is usually primary, one secondary, and the third least prominent. Health depends on maintaining this proportion in balance.
Here’s the thing. STAYING WELL IN WINTER IS HARDER FOR US IN COLDER CLIMATES.
It is much easier to maintain balance (mentally, emotionally, physically) let’s say in Spring and Fall. So what do we do? Give up? NOPE. That’s not it. If we don’t get off the couch the downward energy and sluggishness INCREASE and we feel worse. Bummer. The answer to maintaining balance (or at least have a shot at it) is to address the high degree of Kapha in all of us this time of year and keep moving. YOGA ENERGIZES: it helps restore energy to a tired body allowing cells, senses and nerves to quiet down. It increases circulation to the adrenals, thyroid and kidneys which are the storehouse of energy. YOGA REDUCES STRESS: it reduces cortisol and other stress hormones which drain the body of energy from being in fight or flight response.
However, the Yoga we should do is a steady slow-flow with some holding of poses and more inversions. So that’s what we’ll offer you. All you have to do to feel your best this Winter is show up for class. You guys we have to keep the momentum going, it’s only January 25th….we have a ways to go until Spring my friends. Just don’t give up! Stay the course.
My themes for evening classes this week:
Jan 25th Level 1 at 6:15pm-7:15pm and Basics 7:30pm-8:30pm: Lazy People’s Yoga
Jan 26th Basics 6:15pm-7:15pm Yoga and Weight Loss and 7:30pm-9pm Level 2 Yogapalooza (linking a gazillion poses gently, sweetly to one another)
Jan 27th 6:15pm Level 1 Slow Flow for Home Practice
Jan 28th 7:30pm Level 1 Using Inversions Safely for Healthy Metabolism
Jan 29th 6pm Level 1 Avoiding Stuckness
Jan 31st 4:30pm Level 1-2 followed by 6pm Wine and Cheese Party (Why Do A Yoga Retreat – Benefits of Spiritual Adventure)
So let’s plan a date. Make and keep this appointment with your LIFE, don’t skip Winter, get out there, stay involved and active in your life! Love the day, Silvia (Bonus article below)
”Staying Well in Winter Conditions
Winter brings in a handful of elements that may disturb the healthy balance we maintain during more moderate seasons. Cold weather disturbs, and increases vata. Add the dryness in the air, caused by indoor heat and it increases doubly. Kapha is affected in damp, cold conditions and can also be also exacerbated from not getting much fresh air and natural light.
When the air outside remains cold, it provokes the Vata quality in us all; inside the constant blowing of dry heat can also disturb vata through the quality of dryness; remember that balancing Vata is key to all individuals since when Vata moves, it directly affects the complementary elements, or doshas, for better or worse. Cold, windy and dry conditions can be hard to avoid altogether, and the following actions can counteract disturbed Vata:
* Staying well covered in cold climates - hats, scarves, and gloves
* Nourishing the insides with warming foods, drinks and spices to promote internal fire
*Do more Yoga. Slowly flowing and interspersed with longer holdings an inversions to keep energy moving upward. Make sure to stay warm during the whole practice and cover up during savasana at the end of the practice
* Special attention to skin care in cold/dry conditions - keeping the skin, hair and nails hydrated and lubricated
* Establish and keep to a daily routine - balancing vata in this way will help to keep all the doshas in balance”
ENTHUSIASM IN THE WINTER: STOKE YOUR INNER FIRE
JANUARY 24, 2010: Gosh during the Winter it gets just a tiny bit more challenging to maintain the internal fire of enthusiasm. Ok to be honest it’s more than just a little hard. It is just out right challenging. I’m cold and surrounded by snow what is physically easiest is to CONTRACT. This is the exact reason why during this time of year here in the Midwest we must try harder to remain enthusiastic and light up our lives from the inside. By this I don’t mean reflect on how great summer was or day dream nonstop about Spring for those things take us out of the present. The only time we can be really happy is now. Heed the advice of the Alchemist, “Because I don't live in either my past or my future. I'm interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man.”
Happiness is a direct experience of enthusiasm. It is what we show on the outside to the world about how we feel inside.
This speaks directly to a favorite quote from the Alchemist, “There was a language in the world that everyone understood. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired. We are riding the wave when what we think and what we do are done from love with great enthusiasm and vigor. This happens when we are living in “the present.”
So there is a way here to use the challenge of Winter to help ourselves feel more alive! It is in this way that the emotional challenges of life are an opportunity to feel more human. “Even sadness opens a hidden doorway into being more alive! Just as anger can be a doorway into strength, even sorrow can trigger humility, and other profound spiritual emotions.”
This is why I so strongly encourage us to gently attempt these postures. I know you might say to yourself I can't do them but I’d rather have us face the discomfort of experiencing ourselves as beginners then get stuck or trapped in endless repetition of what we already know whereby our enthusiasm for life diminishes. You see when we give up in the face of challenge, we cheat ourselves of the immense satisfaction that follows from building any skill into understanding. It is not how or when we accomplish something it is that sense during the process of enthusiasm in just trying our best. Today, don’t wait until Winter is over to radiate joy and become interested in your life. Do it now. Life is too short not to stay engaged with ourselves. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
RECEIVING WHAT WE WANT
JANUARY 23, 2010: “When you are more receptive to life itself, the more wonderful your life appears to be.” (Robert Holden)
Today we talked about coming to the mat to shift our energies towards what we want more of in our lives. To use the poses and the yogic breathing to let go of the struggle of focusing on what we don’t want. Really the shift happens when we let go of fear. What would happen if we actually get what we want to receive? Then what? When we are used to focusing on the drama of negative even that can become easily familiar. But it won’t make us happy.
May this practice help each of us remove the obstacles to our true seeing. To help us all be more receptive to the wonders of our lives. Peace to all, Silvia
HELP HAITI: THANK YOU YOGI FAMILY FOR YOUR SACRED ACTIVISM!
Dear TBY Yogi Family,
WOW! What an amazing turn out of close to 50 students coming together in compassion and spiritual activism today 3pm-5pm!
A wonderful way to celebrate Yoga Day USA 2010 and we are still collecting more money tomorrow for The Lamp for Haiti but you should know just in this one class we collected OVER $1,000!!!
Liz Leffert and I themed about the relationship between Giving & Receiving and related viewpoint of Abundance. Along with the importance of realizing the sacredness of all life, listening to your heart and letting that lead you to compassionate action, which in turn brings inner joy, peace, and transformation for ourselves and our world.
I personally want to offer an enormous special thank you to Liz Leffert who as you know is with us only until January 24th and then leaves for her own sacred activism to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand on Monday. She did the most wonderful job teaching the 2nd hour of our session today with great partner poses and restoratives. Just lovely on all accounts!
And the 5 minute letter read by Deb Cunningham from the clinic her family works at in Haiti was heart wrenching. Tears all around. But the letter was also filled with hope too! The medical director (her brother in law) wrote specifically to TBY to tell us of their gratitude, the how and why. Please check them out and keep making an offering at http://www.lampforhaiti.org/ if you haven’t been to TBY face book page recently.
An incredible day. Thank you everyone for your support in making a difference!!
Peace and gratitude. I humbly bow to all our students.
BELIEVE WITH YOUR HEART: LET YOUR MIND REST
JANUARY 22, 2010: At those times in my life where things haven’t made much sense whether it be the passing away of my Dad at a young 59 years old, or seeing the beloved grandmother of a friend ill with cancer or the injustice of nature made disasters like in Haiti. The torture of trying to understand such things with the limitations of our human mind are not the answer. Consciousness is united in the heart say the Yoga Sutras in the first chapter! Our minds yoga teacher/poet Danna Faulds says “may never find the answers they seek so save your energy to swim with the tide.” If we attempt to solve the incomprehensible with our mind we will simply go in circles maybe into madness. The way to keep flowing, to keep living is to let the mind rest and listen with your heart.
“Go to the truth beyond the mind.
Love is the bridge” (Stephen Levine)
The challenge of our humanity is so often we again forget the heart consciousness and go back to trying to make sense of why things happen with our mind. Here for a moment imagine your mind like a lake. The heart under the surface of the water wants your mind to remain like a quiet lake. But we allow our minds to get highly disturbed and the waters grow so rough that we lose clarity. A smooth surface of water can reflect the outer world clearly (like trees or birds or clouds reflected in the mirror like surface of water). However if the surface is chopped up we cannot reflect the sky nor can we see under the surface deeper within ourselves. The yoga will help you as does all meditation to quiet the water and dive into the heart. That way you can understand not with your mind but with your heart. Then the heart’s wisdom is viewed as the quiet on the surface of the lake in our mind.
Emotional upheaval just churns up the water. But even in the washing machine at some point the machine stops and the clothes get to rest. So my friends come to yoga class and rest your mind. Try not to over understand the why of things happening around you nor trouble the mind by over thinking the decisions you are making for yourself. Instead just listen to your heart.
And remember that all is eternal. We are all but waves…and change is constant. Love in all ways, Silvia
“Not with thoughts of your mind, but in the believing
Sweetness of your heart, you snap the link and open the
Golden door and disappear into the bright room, the
Everlasting ecstasy, eternal Now. (Jack Kerouac)
CHECK YOURSELF OUT EARN A PhD IN YOUR LIFE
JANUARY 21, 2010: This is the year and decade we stop analyzing everyone else around us trying to figure out who WE are by what other people do or don't do. The first chapter, first verse of the Yoga Sutras: “With humility and an open heart and mind we begin the study of Yoga. This study is using the Self to study ourselves first.”
"The proper study of mankind is man." (Alexander Pope) from my new book News of the Universe (Poems of Twofold Consciousness chosen and introduced by Robert Bly). That's what we do in yoga. We are when we come to the practice essentially making a commitment to get a PhD in our own Humanness. Nischala Joy Devi says "As students of life we often need to look at where we have come freom to see where we are going. Our present position has been determined by the past - all those crossroads where we made decisions, each path we've taken that brought us to our life as it is."
Blaming other people for the choices we've made or how we came to be what we are won't help us evolve towards greater happiness. We have to accept accountability and just look inside. Rumi writes:
"If you're lugging a heavy bag,
don't fail to look inside it
to see whether what is inside is
bitter or sweet.
If it's really worth bringing along,
otherwise, empty your sack
and redeem yourself from
Only put into your sack
that which is worth bringing."
When you think about it what do you keep lugging around that is weighing your life down? Unless you start looking inward and stop blaming others for the quality of your life, it won’t change for the better. Maybe in the past you thought “I'm not something enough” to do this important work of self-exploration and self-discovery. BUT NO MORE. Be honest with yourself: you are young enough, old enough, smart enough, rich enough and you have enough time. If it is really important to you to set positive intentions for yourself you have to slow down enough to look inside. Take to heart the words of Rumi: "There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of That don't look outside, look inside yourself and seek That.” Yes, SEEK THAT. In the new year, a time of setting intentions just remember this – it is near impossible to set an intention for your life until you study yourself and where you’ve come from first. Otherwise it’s like trying to get a PhD when you haven’t finished First Grade yet. And in this PhD program, there are no grades, it is simply pass/fail. And this subject (YOU) is not one you want to fail at. Life is too short to fail at being you. So starting today get real, look at your life, study yourself as you really are and ignite the beauty of who you are yet meant to be! Love in all ways, Silvia
CHOICES ALL DRESSED UP AND SOMEPLACE TO GO
JANUARY 20TH, 2010: We have a CHOICE. What we tell ourselves is reflected back to us by the world. How we see ourselves in term of the quality of our thoughts and healthy choices determines how others see us. Our view of self sewn together thought by thought creates the sacred garment we are always wearing around. This garment then is what other people see. So ask yourself what does your garment look like today? Have you arrived into this day wearing something that is torn and beat up because that is the way you are talking to yourself through your inner dialogue? Or have you chosen thoughts and actions with meticulous care like you would choose the best quality fabrics, rich textures to sew together a beautiful costume?
Now I have to tell you when I first started practicing yoga some years ago I would wear to class my loosest crappiest stuff. I figured if I looked like I didn't care then the expectation would be lower from the teacher and other students since I didn't know what I was doing. I certainly didn't want to look like I cared or that I was trying my hardest and really wanted to get it. I know I had a choice but my choices were conflicted. I wanted to make my life a work of art (Thich Nhat Hahn) but I didn't want to admit that out loud. But deep inside was this quiet voice that insisted on trying to be my potential. The more I practiced yoga the louder that inner voice got and the wierdest thing happened...I changed what I was wearing to class. I know it seems trivial but it was indicative of a bigger choice and change going on within me. My self-confidence grew with my self-expression.
Today, I dress up for yoga class. I bling it out. I make the choice in my thoughts, in my actions, in my words to aspire to greatness. I am not afaid to reveal my choices and the world treats me differently because I treat myself better. Sadie Nardini wrote in her book Road Trip Guide to the Soul "Our biggest mistake as humans is to look at our destructive, habitual patterns adn think we cannot choose again, because we have fallen prey to the illusion that what we have chosen repeatedly is how we are stuck with being. You ALWAYS have the POWER - and the RIGHT - to CHOOSE again."
On the mat each pose is simply part of the creation (shakti) of the garment we are choosing to wear and represent ourselves with in the world. In Vinaysa Flow yoga the breath serves as the thread that sews each pose seamlessly to the next, stitch by stitch. The way we practice our yoga truly becomes the way we live our lives and how the universe is reflected back to us. And the more we take ownership of our choices the more beautiful this energetic garment we wear becomes and we get excited to wear it around. We have purpose. This practice in a real sense helps us get all dressed up AND have someplace to go! Loads of love, Silvia
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
JANUARY 19, 2010: This is dedicated to Todd Bauschke, who suddenly passed away at the age of 56 years old on January 18th, 2010. Todd was a dedicated student at TBY and because he applied himself to the practice he got really good. In recent times he had to step off of the mat and do his yoga without the benefit of group classes because this last two years his health was suffering and he couldn't even breath. "He finally got his diagnosis in early November 2009. It’s a rare disease called Amyloidosis. It can attack different organs. It attacked Todds heart. The irony is that he was scheduled to have his stem cells harvested and transplanted next week. It was to be a three week hospital stay."
Yoga helps us all remember that our time here is brief even in the best of scenarios....and all to short for Yogi brother Todd. Please stop any all excuses for why you aren't living your best life. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Get to the mat, and free your heart so you can embrace the life you are meant to be living, right now.
"Your body is free but your heart is in prison. To release your heart, you simply reverse the process which locked it up. First you begin to listen for messages from your heart—messages you may have been ignoring since childhood. Next you must take the daring, risky step of expressing your heart in the outside world. . . . As you learn to live by heart, every choice you make will become another way of telling your story. . . . It is the way you were meant to exist. If you stop to listen, you’ll realize that your heart has been telling you so all along. (Martha Beck, "Finding Your Own North Star")
What do you plan to do with your one precious life?
If you can't hear your heart talking to you then consider your time on the mat a mini-retreat. A time to refresh your spirit, rekindle your passions, and cultivate balance in what you think, what you say and what you do with your life. This practice peels back the layers to help us move from self-doubt and uncertainty to a feeling of empowerment and a willingness to at least try at our lives. Like Todd, if we stay with it and practice moving in and out of these poses or shapes we create with our bodies you will achieve things you thought were impossible. This encourages us to see past our self-limiting beliefs and discover the power within us to realize that nothing is impossible!
But no one can do this for you, you have to take time for yourself. And if a yoga class isn't enough then do what I do go on a Spiritual Retreat. Take a time out for 4-7 days where you don't feel so rushed and you can step off the tread mill of your life to really feel and open up to the changes you want to make in your life. If you don't even know how to start then plan to join me in Moab in April or Tuscany in June or find enough space where you can tap into how to express your feelings and reconnect to your own inner wisdom. The insights are there and self-expression evolves to self-understanding. But really, DON'T WAIT. This is the year we have all run out of excuses. All you need to live the life of your dreams is a willingness to grow an open heart and a playful curiosity wouldn't hurt either. What do YOU plan to do with your precious life? Love in all ways, Silvia
YOU ARE A TRAVELER PASSING THROUGH: YOUR STAY IS SHORT
JANUARY 23RD 3PM-5PM: FREE DETOX FLOW FOR A CAUSE FOR HAITI
Detox Flow For Haiti: Sweat for a Cause
Kick Start Your New Year Yoga With This 2 Hour Yoga Intensive to Raise Money and Awareness for Haiti. And to support your local studio on January 23rd, Yoga Day 2010. This 2 Hour Class Will Help You Clear The Obstacles Of 2009 And Get Ready For The Best Year Ever!! Team Taught by Silvia Mordini and Liz Leffert 3pm-5pm.
What does the practice look like? Silvia Mordini has designed some fantastic vinyasa flows for all levels of yogis for the first hour and Liz Leffert has prepared some Partner Yoga and restorative sequences for the second hour of deliciousness. Join us, sweat for a cause both local and global and do something good for yourself by improving your circulation, stimulating your digestion, and emerge feeling serene and refreshed. We all have a lot that we want to accomplish in 2010 and you don't want any of your old patterns holding you back. We will take time to write, meditate, recite mantra, rest and sweat it out! Please join us January 23 from 3pm-5pm.
COST: FREE. Toilet Paper Contribution for your local studio, TBY and any donation to Lamp for Haiti whose medical director is the brother and brother-in-law of TBY Students Deb Cunningham and Dan Cunningham. Check them out at http://www.lampforhaiti.org/
MAKING HEALTHY CHOICES BY LIVING YOUR YOGA
JANUARY 13TH, 2010: Yoga is about wholeness, healthy & vital living in the body, mind, & spirit.
The foundation for this is based on fundamental yogic philosophy written in the Yoga Sutras Chapter 1.30 to Chapter 1.33. The sutras speak about the potential imbalances we may encounter on the physical, mental and emotional levels. They obscure the knowledge of our true nature, which is happiness. Offered are various ways to prevent these imbalances as well as ways to regain balance if lost. They show why the peaceful path is often like walking on the razors edge. The most practical advice teaches how to “informally” integrate these suggestions into everyday life in addition to the “formal” practices of doing yoga poses, breathing techniques and meditation.
The Yogic model proposes that the four keys to an open heart and calm mind are to nurture these attitudes:
- Kindness and friendliness to those who are happy
- Compassion for those that are suffering or less fortunate
- Respect and honor for those that who embody noble qualities
- Equanimity for those whose actions oppose our values
At first these four keys to help enable us to retain our inner peace in all circumstances seem easy. But applying these in day to day life is more challenging than we think. We often fool ourselves into believing we are kinder than we really are and can use this practice to really see where our actions are not aligned with what we believe ourselves to be. Most of all this teaches us that we are responsible for co-creating our life. We have the four keys to our happiness. Love in all ways, Silvia
YOGA IS A DISCIPLINE THAT MAKES MY LIFE WORK.
JANUARY 11TH, 2010: So tonight at 6:15pm Level 1 and 7:30pm Basics this was our philosophical focus. We used the poses and the breath to speak for themselves as they contributed to our ordinary happiness. I think we all want to on some level make our lives work a little or a lot better. This is part of our innate human spirit to evolve our happiness. Many times students come to TBY wanting to make changes, aspiring to create meaning in their lives but they're so gosh darn busy keeping up with the day to day detail jam packed into their lives they can't see how to make them work any better. So we just keep going along in CHAOS.
Coming to a group class is where we can receive an inspiration talk, expert instruction and get back into our own bodies. We move from a state of chaos back to a feelign state and thinking state where we are once more in alignment. Upon leaving class after this "tune-up" our lives work better. Think of it like this: the student is like a piece of metal and the teacher and/or other students are like a magnet. And then it's just plain science:
“In a plain piece of metal, all the molecules are in chaos facing every which way. A magnet is a similar piece of metal in which all the molecules are perfectly aligned – the north pol,es facing one way, and the south poles facing in the opposite direction. Because of this alignment, the magnet gains the power to attract and hold other objects. If you stroke the ordinary metal and the magnet together in one direction only, the magnet will align all the molecules in the plain metal with itself, causing a second magnet to emerge. The power to attract and hold has been transmitted from one to the other, while amazingly enough the initial magnet retains its full strength. As we align our energies this way through regulating our breath we maintain calm through the ordinary emotional rollercoaster rides we encounter each day. We find that when we are upset, everything around us reflects the same disturbance, as if it is somehow contagious. When tranquility prevails, it magnetizes everything with the same sense of calmness.” (Story from The Secret Power Of Yoga.) Love and peace, Silvia
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM GUEST BLOGGER MARA CAMPBELL
January 11th, 2010:
Dear Basics Students,
Happy New Year! I want to formally invite you to Wednesday Basics classes at Total Body Yoga with me at 10:45am or 7:30pm!
Personally, my new year started out a bit rocky as a sinus infection and double ear infection came to my body. I tried hard to kick it by myself and as I trudged to the doctor's on Friday, I felt badly that I needed help. But perhaps this was the lesson I needed to learn. We all need help sometimes. The holidays is a time of giving but also receiving and could I gracefully receive the wisdom that my body was telling me, even if I didn't want to listen? I was reminded of this sweet idea at Family Yoga with Mary Saturday night where we "helped" each other lift into side plank. Oh, so much easier and sweet when someone gently lifted my hips! Finally, one last reminder at a therapeutics training yesterday where Noah Maze helped me with a hip pop that I've had my entire life. 5 minutes with him and it completely went away! So I need to remember these reminders when my pride gets in the way saying "I can do this alone! I don't need anyone!" It's our true nature to be connected to one another and to make things easier and sweeter for one another not harder.
So connect with me and other yogis this Wednesday! To help make our poses a little easier and less painful in the upper body, we will be examining the 5 arm positions and correct shoulder alignment in:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing dog)
Parsvakonasana (Side-angle pose)
Correct alignment in the shoulders and the torso can make our poses so much more light and comfortable. Yoga doesn't have to be painful in wrists, elbows, neck or shoulders (or really anywhere!). There is never the need to "push through the pain." Pain is our body telling us where we are out of alignment and where we need some shifts in the body. So please don't be shy to ask in class when something doesn't feel right. When we learn correct alignment of the upper body, we have more freedom and grace in the poses so that we can shine out to express our own unique spirit!
Hope to see you on the mat this Wednesday!
With gratitude, Mara
WHY DO I DO YOGA?
JANUARY 10, 2010: I just read the coolest quote that totally says what I feel. Check out February Yoga Journal Great Article about Winter Olympians doing Yoga. My fave quote from Shanon Bahrke, US Freestyle Ski Team when asked What surprised you most about Yoga?
ANSWERED: "I love it in class when there's a supergood vibe, and everybody's energy is working as one. Maybe you came in with a bad attitude or had a tough day, but now everyone's energy lifts you up. That's just incredible."
Right on! See you on the mat let's raise the vibration even higher this year! Love in all ways, Silvia
JANUARY 9, 2010: Today we talked about the body as a container. There is a boundary of who we physically are and the truth of who we are spiritually. Recently when I saw Jersey Boys for the first time I saw that they allow beverages into the actual theater during the performance, as long as you put a lid on it. So you see folks walking around with cups of wine and lids, beer and lids, soda and lids....like adult sippy cups. I get it. The lid is helping to keep a healthy boundary so the beverage doesn't spill on you or anyone else. It informs us of what is really inside. On the mat we use this practice to turn inwards to restore emotional equilibrium. We examine our breath for its beginning, middle, end noticing that even the breath has a boundary of when it starts and when it ends and that every ending is making way for a new beginning. There lies the premise behind why bother setting healthy boundaries to begin with. The body serves as a container to hold our spirit, and energies of thought and emotions. If we can learn on the mat that even our emotions can be contained with beginning, middle and ending we rediscover our balance.
This is accomplished by remember the self, Vairagya chapter 1 verse 15. Enjoy this excerpt from my favorite book by Nischala Joy Devi, Secret Power of Yoga. "As our focus turns toward remember the true self we naturaly identify less and less with external desires or wants. This perspective reveals that we are merely the temporary caretakes of whatever we possess. With this attitude, nothing binds us. As life bestows gifts upon us, we are delighted. With their revocation, we may feel momentarily upset, but with the grace of remembering our self, our emotional equilibrium is quickly restored. Through remembering the self we become lucid and virbrant like a diamond. Millions of years of pressure on a simple lump of solid coal transforms it into a pure, transparetn diamond that reflects and refracts light. This prismatic effect showers rainbows of colors on everything without discrimination. The diamond also appears to take the color of any object nearby. But once removed, it is perfectly colorless again. Likewise, when our minds and hearts clearly reflect our true nature, we may acquire many things, but nothing permanently taints our clarity. With this lucidity, we enthusiastically adopt that which enhances the light, and redirect that which dims it. As we bcome free, we become more and more comfortable with the naturel flow of material things. Much of what we yearn for comes to us. We enjoy the treasures of the world while they are with us, knowing full well we will not bind to them, nor they to us. This concept has its greatest challenge when we are separated from our friends or loved ones, especially without our permission or when it seems permanent. Our heart feels a vast emptiness where it was once filled with love. At these times ti takes great strength to restore and sustain our equalibrium. By securing a place within our hearts to hold their love and by continuing our practice our balance is more easily restablished."
RESISTANCE GETS A BAD RAP
JANUARY 8TH, 2010: I was feeling bad for resistance. I think it usually gets a really bad reputation when maybe we aren’t giving it enough credit. In chapter two of the Yoga Sutras there is all this talk of working towards balance and harmony in our lives. One example for instance of using the breath is that it has the same “effect as combing our energy” on the inside just like we have to comb our hair on the outside when we wake up. Nischala Joy Devi says “with rhythmical breathing we align and comb our energy, it becomes smoother, calmer, and more focused.”
So it occurs to me in order to brush my hair I have to use some muscular energy in holding the brush and sometimes really work hard to get all the knots out and retame my long hair in the same direction. The use of the brush is an example of positive resistance. The chaos of the hair needs to be focused otherwise it is all over the place. We use the poses and the breath in the same way on the mat. They teach us there are consequences. Rolf Gates when visiting TBY last year said something like "if we avoid our consequences we won’t wake up and we wouldn’t love as well.” In life even difficult people serve as a form of positive resistance to help us align our energies in a more focused way towards love and peace.
Another great example comes from nature. You’ve heard or seen stuff about Biodomes right? (And not the movie with Pauly Shore). Well tree’s inside the biodome won’t stay upright without any wind. They NEED the wind to be held accountable. In a really great harmonious ecosystem there are consequences. Some negative resistance might serve as warnings while positive resistance serve as examples. This is like listening to someone who has a teaching story to tell about how they went wrong, we learn from this and better appreciate why it’s important to comb our energies in a loving way in order to avoid those same consequences.
I especially can relate to this story from The Secret Power Of Yoga. I hope you get as much out of it as I always do! Love and peace, Silvia
“In a plain piece of metal, all the molecules are in chaos facing every which way. A magnet is a similar piece of metal in which all the molecules are perfectly aligned – the north pol,es facing one way, and the south poles facing in the opposite direction. Because of this alignment, the magnet gains the power to attract and hold other objects. If you stroke the ordinary metal and the magnet together in one direction only, the magnet will align all the molecules in the plain metal with itself, causing a second magnet to emerge. The power to attract and hold has been transmitted from one to the other, while amazingly enough the initial magnet retains its full strength. If you now take the two magnets and stroke them so the repelling poles are facing each other, the strength of each will diminish. The power to attract and hold is gone. We can see the benefit of being with those that support us rather than neutralize our power (satsang). As we align our energies this way through regulating our breath we maintain calm through the ordinary emotional rollercoaster rides we encounter each day. We find that when we are upset, everything around us reflects the same disturbance, as if it is somehow contagious. When tranquility prevails, it magnetizes everything with the same sense of calmness.”
BENEFITS OF DOWNWARD FACING DOG
JANUARY 8TH, 2010: Great times had on teaching a mini-workshop on the practice of Downward Facing Dog. And we then took apart the Basic Vinyasa (Downward Dog, Plank, Chatarunga, Upward Facing Dog, Downward Dog). It was an extravaganza of practice, props, partnering together leading to an amazing experience! Love to you all who braved the snow, Silvia
Benefits of Downward Facing Dog
The role of downward facing dog is vast. Done properly and consistently, the most noticeable benefits include:
- Stronger hands, wrists, low-back, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendon
- Decrease in back pain by strengthening the entire back and shoulder girdle
- Elongated shoulders and shoulder blade area
- Decrease in tension and headaches by elongating the cervical spine and neck and relaxing the head
- Deepened respiration
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased full-body circulation
For the regular person or yogi, downward facing dog elongates and lengthens the back. Think about how critical this is for someone who works in an office who is hunched over at a desk all day. As a matter of fact, most people--from office workers to drivers, teachers and moms--are in a constant forward bend all day and would benefit immensely by stretching and lengthening the back shoulders and front body. Additionally, downward facing dog is a mild inversion since the head is lower than the hips, and inversions are great for increasing blood flow to the brain and eyes. And because it stimulates the nervous system, it also helps with memory and concentration.
For the athlete, this pose is essential for assessing postural needs and imbalances. It is an important habit for athletes to check themselves frequently for problems. This pose is a gentle way for athletes to open the hamstrings for quickness and speed, stretch shoulders, and keep wrists strong and supple--for grip strength in baseball and for pushing on the offensive line. Keeping the lower back open and strong, complimenting a strong core is important for agility on fields from soccer and football to tennis and golf, this is especially important for Cyclists too. Finally, the pose helps to stretch toes, calves and arches, and feet--and having flexible feet translates directly to speed in any sport that involves running.
THE EXPECTATIONS TRAP
JANUARY 6, 2010: It is easy to fall into the Expectations Trap this time of year. You know what I mean? That conversation we have with ourselves where we set up totally unrealistic expectations (resolutions) that would be impossible to keep. This leading us to disappointment. So right now begin to drop the heavy expectations and ask yourself what is most meaningful to you?
Allow what you care about most to shape and influence your intentions more gently. And take the time on the mat to soften the hard edges or extremes of expectations you have of yourself pose to pose. Let your heart feel the lightness and freedom of letting go of the weight of heavy expectations. This freedom is about soft expectations so we find:
- Freedom to be happier than ever before
- Freedom to try new things
- Freedom to not play it all so safe
- Freedom to do the unexpected
- Freedom to just see what happens!
This is the decade we hold ourselves more gently and live more fully! Peaceful blessings to you, Silvia
REBEL SPIRIT MANIFESTO 2010
JANUARY 5TH: A reminder of my personal manifesto I've made the focus of my new years intentions every year since it first formed. I hope it inspires you to try to life your life more fully this year! Love, Silvia
MANIFESTO "There is no such thing as failure. Please trust this. You can’t really fail at anything. If you go up to bat and miss the ball it’s not a big deal. You produced a result so then act upon that result and try again. This is why I love Vinyasa Yoga, (1) anyone can do it and (2) you can’t do it wrong. There is no failure. Now that’s a big shift coming from a reformed perfectionist. This goes to show the yoga works to inspire a REBEL SPIRIT in all of us and reduce our fear because through this practice the self-abuse of perfectionism is diminished.
There is no failure. Maybe there are some happy mistakes? But as the song by Teitur goes, “All my mistakes have become masterpieces.”
Now you’re probably asking how do I engage my REBEL SPIRIT? Well lift your heart up and shift your mind down (let it rest). Don’t think but feel. If we convince ourselves to decide only with our minds we will talk ourselves out of the best experiences of life. It is possible to over analyze any situation or decision all the way into procrastination or fear. However, if we let our heart consciousness take an active role we’ll find we become more decisive and present.
I know this is scary. Feeling is always more vulnerable than thinking. But making decisions from the inside is the only way. Rumi says “If you want to find the greatest treasure, don't look outside, Look within, and SEEK THAT." We can collect opinions from others but they will always be only opinions. No one can decide for us what actions to take in our lives. We can try to give up our choices to others but this will only lead to frustration in the end. No one else knows our hearts the way we do so know its ok to be afraid. Susan Jeffers writes, “Feel the fear and do it anyway!’
So get started on your life now with a Rebel Spirit. "All glory comes from daring to begin." (Eugene Ware) The key to raising your vibration to this level is to stop worrying about the outcome. Just try to be patient and trust that life keeps flowing and keep going up to bat! Don’t be afraid to keep going “dream like you will live forever, live like you might die today.” (James Dean)
Flow, flow, flow! And remember on the mat and off. “It is you who must raise your sails – the winds of grace are blowing.” (Tagore) May this inspire you to find your own Rebel Spirit so you love yourself more, so you love your day more, so you love your life more!"
WHO AM I? WHAT IS MY DHARMA? WHY AM I HERE?
And this means it is something more than the role we play at work, the labels we wear like son, daughter, partner, parent. When we get onto the mat it is a special time to rediscover ourselves. Or for many of us, to discover ourselves for the first time. Through these poses and conscious breathing we learn to gain control of our emotions and harness the power of our mind to direct our 60,000 daily thoughts towards our great purpose. But first we have to know WHO WE ARE before we are able to give direction. It’s like using the GPS on the car, you have to know the destination. This practice breaths life back into us or as Rumi writes, “I was dead, then alive, weeping then laughing. The power of love came into me!” With every physical sensation we feel our humanity. As Stephen Covey puts it, “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 Life’s Purpose or Dharma?
So right now say to yourself, “I AM THE CREATOR OF MY LIFE. I will listen with total attention to my experience, I will relish each sensation, I will love every minute of being with myself today.” You see the poses are the QUESTIONS. They are not the answers. They help us to be aware of our attitudinal alignment. For instance they ask us the fundamental question of whether or not we are focusing on our limitations or on our DREAMS, are we expecting the worst from life or the best from life? To co-create with the universe means we are taking responsibility to know who we are and are actively sharing our unique contribution with the world. Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States said it like this, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.” So how do we do this? We get to work on the mat, anchored in our body to try to peal back the layers to look inside where all the answers already exist. As the Buddha says, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
It is not always easy. But we have to work harder than our fear, we have to work harder than our pain to make the truest discovery of WHO AM I. And the answer only comes from within, no one else can tell us who we are and why we are here. I know it’s sometimes scary (like doing a handstand against the wall) but through the poses we break down the self-doubt and grow more determined to live as who we really are. Eventually by the end of the practice we meet ourselves or as Derek Walcott puts it, “The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the others welcome, and say, sit here. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life.”
So this year face your fears, do not let them stand in the way of discovering the answer to WHO AM I. Best put by 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.” Love to all, Peace to All, Courage to all! Silvia
GRACE AND COORDINATION
JANUARY 2, 2010: On the beautiful winter day after the beginning of a new decade I have been meditating about the relationship between Grace and Coordination. As we aspire to remain graceful in the way we coordinate our lives we will achieve that perfect balance. This is really what the Sutra 2.26 talking about Sthira and Sukha is getting at. That we find a peaceful way to effort and forward our lives. So on the mat we practice rhythmic breathing coordinated with movement to help release blockages or stuckness. This allows energy to flow in an optimal way and we feel mentally and physically balanced. We know what happens when we hold our breath from stress: our nervous system goes on red alert, there is a distress signal set off in the body/mind. However gentle flow of breath coordinating easy and even in and out makes us more relaxed.
One of my favorite definitions of how Hatha Yoga works is “Hatha Yoga increases energy by aligning our physical and subtle energy bodies, through physical poses (asana) and enhancing our life force through breathing practices (pranayama) and encouraging our sense inward through deep relaxation (pratyhara)." You see to live gracefully is whereby we keep returning to our center, that balance point. But it requires a great deal of spiritual courage to coordinate the sensitive adjustments required to maintain this. The sustaining part is the most difficult.
So here’s to the new year and wishing all of us much Grace and Coordination to find and KEEP to our center! Love, Silvia