Meditation Monday #31 – Finding Inspiration for Discipline Everywhere

Yesterday was National Plant a Flower Day….and although I couldn’t plant anything new because of the weather…this tulip persisted!

Happy Monday All! Today is a good one! I made some decisions last week regarding MY BEST BODY Happiness Project and all of the pieces are falling in line. I hope that you find the time to go back and read more about this project and enjoy the process this week and beyond.

Today I decided to get back on the Gate’s book and opened to Day 75 where he was covering Tapas. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #31 – Finding Inspiration for Discipline Everywhere”

Advertisements

TOLT: But I Won’t Do That!

You all remember the Meatloaf jam from back in your middle school days…..I will do anything for love…..but I won’t do that!

Well, welcome to another TOLT hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons. Today I want to expand off of my post from Monday and continue with a series on my own Happiness Project: MY BEST BODY.

I’ve spent a little more time considering my post and my goal and what I will do moving forward and I’ve come up with only three things so far that I promise not to do:

  1. Take before and after photos
  2. Go on a diet
  3. Use exercise as punishment or food as a reward

These are three things that align pretty well with my own living principles as well as some of the tenets of yoga.

Ahimsa – Cause no harm

I, as a fitness professional, know that dieting is harmful to the body. I hate the fact that this simple little four letter word that means all of the food you eat has become something so vile and negative that I have to make a statement about how I won’t go on one. Technically we’re all on a diet…..we all eat. I decided not to harm myself in other ways during this adventure by being mindful of my workouts, checking in with myself on the regular through meditation, and keeping in mind that this is a journey of my whole body getting well….not just trying to get thin.

Santosha – Contentment

I need to remain content as I travel this path. It’s okay that right now I am battling my body, this too will get better. It’s okay that I will never again be a size 2 Juniors. I’m 36 and have two children and care more about being able to someday do a pull-up than to bare my midriff for attention. This is a project and a process, I have to be ready each day to face the challenges with an air of contentment: I AM.

Svadhyaya/Satya: Self-Study and Honesty

I paired these two together because they both also encompass the idea of non-judgement of myself and others by living who I am and by learning about that. This is why I don’t need before and after photos…..I have before and during and after blog posts. I have my meditation journals. I can track my fitness and all of the other measurements I will use along the way. However, as I track I need to go back to Santosha and remember to be content with the progress that does and doesn’t come.

NUMBER THREE

On a side note, I found myself trying to do number three a lot this week. Yesterday I ate a snack with my little guy. I had a super hungry moment (most likely fueled by the Prednisone) in which I ate the snack so mindlessly and then had the thought pop into my head “Thank goodness I’m going for a run now”. Bad me! But I also need to be kind with myself in my thoughts…..I need to avoid falling into the disordered eating traps of rewards and punishments that come with food and exercise. This project needs to be about me being well and functioning.

I can’t guarantee that this is going to work and I’m still in the process of defining my plan, but this was the next step.

Have you ever entered into a Happiness Project?

How do you incorporate the yoga principles into your life challenges?

What won’t you do?

Five Yamas Friday #3 – Back to 530am

So, it’s happening, I’m going back to working out at 530am and I started this morning. Why? Because I’ve been unsatisfied in the way things are going with my schedule of late. This month, so far, I have skipped 6 runs, 5 meditations, and have practiced Garland pose more in my classes than on my own. So, 530am time is coming for ME as a gift to myself. A way to celebrate each day as a present (at least Monday through Friday).

So, now that that’s out there, How has your week been? Are you ready to talk about the Yamas again? I am!

Nonviolence – I haven’t really considered a way to be less harmful this week except for continuing to try and be patient in my interactions. I had midterms to grade this last weekend and I extended some leeway to a few of my students who failed to accept. This was disconcerting for a few reasons, but did not deter my positive attitude toward the students themselves. They are adults and will make their own choices, I just have to trust their judgment is the right thing for them.

Honesty – Owning up to my lack of ability to commit to the goals for this month is about as honest as it gets. It’s also about being realistic with myself and realizing that my heart may not be in some things from time to time and therefore I need to prioritize the things in my life that truly make me happy.

Nonstealing – We are currently under a water usage restriction in my town due to the flooding in NC from Hurricane Matthew. I know that this means that every time I choose to use more water than I need I am stealing from those most in need. It also means I run the risk of a $500/day fine, so we’ve been taking quick showers (even when I feel like I need to stand in the water longer) and flushing our toilet less. I know that sounds kind of gross to some people, but imagine those without the option to shower at the moment! I can stink a little more for their sake.

Moderation – I’ve been trying to sleep a little more this week because I feel like I don’t need as much tv time at night and I need more rest instead. Moderating the way I’m spending my time also provides me with more energy which means I’m not stealing from myself and I’m being honest about what I need and not harming my body.

Nonhoarding – Honestly (again) I haven’t gotten rid of one thing I need to at the moment. I’m not intentionally holding on to anything, but I just haven’t gotten to the point of clearing out spaces at this time. Trying to keep tackling that list that I am slowly crossing off and feeling, little by little, the weight lifting from my shoulders.

How did you do with the Yamas this week?

Do you have any tricks/tips to help me get better at my practice and/or organize my life?

What do you think of 530am exercise?

Meditation Monday #21 – Not Ready for Santosha

Santosha is one of the Niyamas (observances) in yoga. It really means being content with our lives as they are in this moment. This contentment asks us to play on other aspects of our yoga practice, but for me, today, I am not ready for Santosha.

Why?

Although the 8 Limb Path of Raja Yoga is not a step by step path in which you master one element before you move on, there is something that I do need to do before I can move on to contentment. That is to deal more thoroughly with the first of the Niyamas – Saucha (cleanliness). Continue reading “Meditation Monday #21 – Not Ready for Santosha”

Five Yamas Friday #2

How has your week been? I know it’s only been since Wednesday, but it feels like I’ve been away from the blog for so long….and yoga, although I taught this morning. Something has had to give this week and for the next three days I have “CATCH UP” written on my schedule so that I can clear my lists. That and grade midterms. This is always one of my favorite times of the semester because I get to know my students a little better through their midterms.

The main theme of the midterm is to reflect on their yoga journey thus far this semester. I do this on the regular with meditation, the blog, and my teaching. I even wrote a whole series this spring about my yoga journey (12 Years of Yoga). But today I’m here to reflect on the week past and specifically the 5 Yamas.

  • Nonviolence – I have been careful with my body this weeks as I have still been suffering from allergies. With that mostly in check I tackled my Wednesday run like nobody’s business and dropped time and felt free. The run went great and even better was the workout after. However, my knees spoke to me the rest of the day and into Thursday’s teaching. I went back to my knee stretches and did some more supported deep squats and that took care of the pain for me. I was able to teach this morning pain free. I feel like my patience with others has also been high on the nonviolence scale this week. I’ve just been trying not to let too many things get to me and being as calm and understanding as I can in my interactions. Sometimes that means just shutting my mouth and walking away from a situation and other times I’ve lost my temper a bit in order to “Set the record straight”.
  • Honesty – If I’m truly being honest though, the “record” is subjective to the person speaking it. Things don’t always happen the way that you feel or remember them. I think that part of honest is realizing that your truth is only yours.
  • Nonstealing – I have tried to stay on top of my 30 minute work cycles this week so that I am not wasting my time. However, it has stolen a few other things from my schedule and this has not made me feel as satisfied with what I have accomplished as I had hoped. I stole away yesterday, twice, to take my kids to the park…..I mean it’s almost 80 degrees here in OCTOBER! Why wouldn’t we celebrate a cool 80 degree day at the park?
  • Moderation – I have tried to spend less time sitting down this week so that I feel like I’m getting stuff done, but it’s also led to a few early bed times. Moderation doesn’t mean go, go, go all the time….it also means I need to rest and I’ve been glad to recognize that going to bed before 10am once in awhile is not the end of the world.
  • Nonhoarding – I had to let go of the idea, this week, that I had some things figured out. I read a great thing in the Gates’ book about clutter in our physical lives and our emotional lives. I put a few things in the donation bag when I cleaned my room this week, stopped myself from adding more things to the schedule until after other things are completed, and let go of the idea that I have to have it all.
I feel like this painting today, but when I try to go to the blogspot that it was posted on I end up on spam, so don’t click on it.

Overall I have felt like this week has exemplified a lot of what it means to me to be yoga.

How did you live your Yamas this week?

Five Yamas Friday #1 – Delayed by Hurricane Matthew

I’m writing this post on Saturday instead of Friday for the simple fact that I decided to move my children out of the direct path of the hurricane yesterday. It’s “only” a Category 1 storm now, but I didn’t want them to have to sit in the dark for hours on end and wonder about if the water was going to come inside. So, we traveled north and west to family and are now just sitting through rain. It’s a horribly gloomy day.

But, time for reflection on the week past and the 5 Yamas that I am trying to live a little better each day….

  • Nonviolence
    • I did some good things for myself specifically this week. If you check in on my runs this week I had a great plan for going the distance. However, Wednesday afternoon my tonsils and sinuses revolted as a part of this impending storm and allergies. I ended up not running that day. I thought I could teach yoga on Thursday, but chose to rest instead. By Thursday night I thought maybe I could run, but listened to the fact that things were still not clear in my head and waited until Saturday (because of travel yesterday). My run this morning was also strained and I’m still living on allergy meds, getting green stuff out, and feeling the pressure in my face. Have you ever had your upper teeth hurt with each bite?
    • For others I have been trying to be more patient and to continue to choose good things to think about the choices that others make and to say nice things about them and to them as well.
  • Honesty
    • I can’t think of anything specifically in regards to living an honest life, but I have been more honest about myself with myself. Understanding the things that are important to me and making sure that I prioritize those. Sometimes what you want is more important than what you think you should do.
  • Nonstealing
    • I’m trying very hard not to get distracted by other things and not allow myself to steal from my own time. I wrote earlier this week about distractions and mostly I’m sticking to not allowing things to take all of my time and to staying focused on one thing at a time.
  • Moderation
    • This is a big one for me in so many ways. I’m watching my calendar fill up and trying to make sure that I’m choosing to be more moderate as it goes. I am getting done with projects and not taking on more. This is also something that goes in regards to the way that I eat and exercise. Having a plan has been helpful in allowing me to remember that I don’t have to do it all each day. I can choose to eat mindfully (I don’t always remember to do this) and know that it’s okay not to eat the M&M’s just because they’re sitting on the counter…..but man that sounds good to eat right now. 😉
  • Nonhoarding
    • Letting go has always been my biggest struggle and this week I would love to finally get rid of a few things on my plate. I had to remind myself at a meeting this week that I am not responsible for everyone. Let go of that need to take charge of everything, to put everything on my plate, let go of control.

Each little step in the right direction is like a drop of water falling into the pond…..the ripples reach outward to making bigger and bigger changes in my life.

How did you live your Yamas this week?

Days 10-12: Fear of Letting Go

I spent a little more time on meditation with the Gates’ book this weekend. I am still in the section of the Yamas regarding Aparigraha and I’m coming to realize a few things about myself. Last weekend, at the end of my meditation, I wrote down:

I am not the hoarder you think I am….I am worse

Maybe not the most positive thing I’ve ever thought, said, or written about myself, but truth none the less. Why is this truth? Continue reading “Days 10-12: Fear of Letting Go”

Days 3-6: Aparigraha

For Saturday-Monday of the long holiday weekend I chose to turn back to the Gates book and spend some time in meditation for my 30 Days of Yoga challenge. I gave myself at least 5 minutes each day to reflect upon the ideas at hand and I picked up where I left off the last time I attempted to finish this book. I was in the section of the book still on the Yamas and Aparigraha or the precept of non-hoarding. I’ve written about this concept many times and about the idea of letting go in yoga before. It’s one of the main things I preach about in practice. Be here. Be present. Let Go…..

However, this weekend I felt a little deeper. Continue reading “Days 3-6: Aparigraha”