Peace with the Past, Present, and Future – Guest Post

Sometimes the best yoga stories are the simplest to share. This beautifully short story on the peace that a student last Fall found in yoga shows the impact of yoga in all areas of our life….past, present, and future.

Taking yoga this past Fall I have learned not only how to better myself physically, but mentally as well. Ever since I was young, I was obsessed with my weight. This stemmed from my childhood, and how my mother started putting me on diets when I was about seven or eight. With the help of meditation that I learned in yoga, I learned how to ease some of the worries I have about my weight, and how to accept myself as a person despite having a few extra pounds. I plan on using meditation in the future and whenever I need to find peace.

I also learned some great ways to deal with stress and anger. I have always had a short temper; however, with the help of some breathing techniques that I have learned from this yoga course, I can practice healthy ways of dealing with it. I also use yoga breathing for when I am babysitting my nephews. The calming nature of Ocean Breathing lulls them to sleep and lets them rest easy. I plan on using these breathing techniques in the future all throughout my daily life.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Wellness Wednesday #6 – Under Pressure!

It’s been 15 days since my last post. However, I’m not too bummed about it. I’m still being far more regular than I was last fall and that is an improvement by anyone’s measure. The last Wellness Wednesday post was about Eating. That can cause a lot of stress for anyone to handle in the best cases. For me, my eating of late has been all over the place. I find myself choosing and wanting to choose more things that I consider “healthy”….although I hate using that word.

Recently I read a post on Fit is a Feminist Issue about tracking the variety of foods you eat. We are kind of in a rut at our house with meals and produce and other plant based foods. Tonight will be one of our favorites….burrito bowls. This usually consists of rice and beans and avocados and salsa and whatever else we dream to put into the bowl. I know, I know….the last post was about EATING, so why am I still talking about it? Well, because Eating tends to lead to stress for some people and stress is one of our FEELINGS, and that’s the main focus of our discussion today… Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday #6 – Under Pressure!”

Meditation Monday #48 – Paradoxical Yoga

A short post for you today on Tapas….

In the Day 80 Reading Gates writes

The desire that is tapas comes from wanting…a place of lack…yet yoga is about detaching from the outcome (paraphrased p.106)

So, through the practice of yoga we become whole and fill the internal hole.

Sometimes, in my life, there is a disconnect between what I want and what I have…I am always faced with the question of

Can I get what I want or can I be content with what I have?

The answer still hasn’t come to me in all situations, so still I ask.

Desire, ask, believe, receive.

Stella Terrill Mann

 

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?

Meditation Monday #28 – Muscles Gotta Eat

I spent the weekend in Delaware, Ohio presenting the NETA PT Workshop to the fabulous people at Get Fit LLC. My room at the “Quality” Inn left much to be desired…..

Crooked lights, random things in my sink, a shower curtain that wasn't installed correctly the first time, a drain that fell apart, curtains that don't close around the heater....and VALUE!
Crooked lights, random things in my sink, a shower curtain that wasn’t installed correctly the first time, a drain that fell apart, curtains that don’t close around the heater….and VALUE!

Not only did I manage to book myself, essentially, in a trucker motel, but I overlooked the fact that there was no fitness center. This weekend was meant to be my slow foray back into working out after being ill the last two weeks. Instead I opted for my current HIIT routine and only had one person come up to the third floor to knock…..squat jumps are not 3rd floor friendly in a trucker motel.

Maybe we should have more fitness themed hotels?

My favorite statement from the weekend was “Muscles Gotta Eat” because they do….they eat carbs and protein and fat….they are what eats when we’re burning calories. But, more on that later….

I thought about writing today about Gratitude Meditation, but decided instead to go back to the Gates’ book. The Day 74 reading was the last one on Santosha and I felt I needed to explore that theme a little further today. However, I was disappointed. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #28 – Muscles Gotta Eat”

Meditation Monday #25 -Positive Energy and the Authentic Self

I am siting in the airport on Sunday night and writing this on my phone. The airline took my bag and my laptop with it. I guess it was too big for my flight.

I was traveling for NETA again this weekend and taught a Yoga Foundations course to a small group of people in Manheim, Pennsylvania at a fitness center located inside of a retirement community. They were beautiful people who inspired my post for this Monday.

Each time I travel I fear, but only slightly, that the workshop will not go well….that I will not connect with the participants and therefore struggle to present. However,  this was one of the great weekends in which I felt my authentic self shine through and a connection established. Not only does that mean that I am more easily able to deliver the material,  but also that I gain a sense of self satisfaction in fulfilling my Dharma. I have most definitely been called in life to be a teacher. And recently I have been teaching a lot about the Yamas and Niyamas as well as studying them in my personal meditation practice. I have been re-reading Do Your OM Thing and keep resonating on the final Niyama: Surrender or Devotion to a Higher Power (Isvara pranidhana).

Pacheco highlights in her book that a) Yoga is not a religion and b) that the higher power can also be one’s Best Self. I have always reiterated the first of those things, but tend to seek something outside of myself such as the good of all humankind. This weekend I did a free writing exercise meditation to clear some negative thoughts from my mind. In doing so I came to one major conclusion: I really like my authentic self. However, something else struck me in my writing and that was that I think my authentic self is hiding in parts of my life where I need it to be expressed most.

My authentic self is naturally positive and caring and happy. I am happy with my children, my work, my friends, my yoga practice, but I don’t always live as if I am happy with those things. I don’t always devote myself or give over to my best and authentic self. This negates a few more of the yamas and niyamas.

First, your authentic self is living your truth (Satya). Second, the opposite of a happy and positive person is a negative one. When I exude this negative energy into the world around me I am leaving reverberations for others and infecting them with this negativity  (Himsa – causing harm). Finally, I hoard these negative thoughts and feelings (violating Aparigraha) and pollute my mind, body, and soul (negating Saucha).

I could go further yet and find that this leaves me ill content  (not experiencing Santosha) and this steals my own happiness as well as that which belongs to those around me (Asteya). But I have decided that I want always to make ripples of positive energy in my world because I felt them this weekend in my workshop. I felt them leave me and enter others and I felt them rebound back in a way that brought me peace and joy and fortified my spirit of myself.

How would you describe your authentic self?

Do you keep him/her hidden away?

What are the reverberations of your thoughts, words, and actions on the world?

How are you doing with the Yamas and Niyamas these days?

Meditation Monday #24 – Signs

Yoga is surrounding me lately in my work and my personal life. It is lifting me up and moving me forward….as long as I pay attention to the signs it is showing me.

I am re-reading the Rebecca Pacheco book Do Your OM Thing again and I’ll give it another once over on the blog here soon. But last night I read,

Happier people do not have easier lives, with less hard work, grief, divorce, or financial strain than the rest of us. They’re simply more grateful for what they have and choose to be conscious of their contentment more often. p.37

And today in Gates:

Who among us has not spent months or years believing that when this or that happens, we’ll be content, only to find that contentment we seek is somehow beyond our grasp? p.99

Yoga, I see the signs. This is my path.

Meditation Monday # 23 – January 2nd and Finding Contentment

Happy 2017! Today I decided to stick to my plan of just doing what I can do each day. I put a minimal amount of things on my schedule for today and I’m slowly taking care of each of them. One was to try and get this post in and that meant also doing a meditation today. It couldn’t have been a better one!

Gates’ Day 72 post opens with:

Gates asks, “What else is there, after all, than the stuff of our daily lives?” (p.98) So, I too asked myself that same question. Today I had alone time with my oldest at breakfast and as I drove him to school. I love how smart and kind he is in the way he sees the world. Today my youngest asked me to watch him as he did ABC Mouse, then helped me with my workout. He and I had a tickle fight over whether or not he’s wearing pants today. I love that he is crazy and sweet in his interactions. And today I ate food that tasted great without concern for what it was; I wrote and meditated; I worked and exercised and cleaned and organized…..I did my regular daily tasks, but truth be told….I’m happy to be back to the mundane from the holiday season.

It may be raining here today, but I am enjoying my work, my life, my days that I have been given.

How has your 2017 started out?

What makes you most content in the world?

Meditation Monday #22 – Love that Moves the Sun

The publication of this post was delayed due to my poor scheduling habits and stomach flu suffered by my children. I’m behind again, but I’m taking a different stab at it this time around….I’m not stressing and I’m moving through my list as it was written instead of jumping around and falling further behind.  Without further ado…..Expanded Meditation Monday, this time on Thursday!

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about my meditation on Santosha this month, and then the thing happened last week and I wrote something and my meditation changed. It changed in two ways. First it stopped and then my perspective shifted. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #22 – Love that Moves the Sun”

5 Yamas Friday #4 – A Difficult Week

I am writing this post very late on a Friday night, in my hotel room in Columbia ,  MD , on my phone. My computer is having WiFi connectivity issues at the hotel and it’s just one more thing this week that has put me out of sync with my life.

I don’t know if it’s the strep throat recovery? I don’t know if it is traveling two weekends in a row? I don’t know if it is the time change? I do know that part of it is the fact that I’ve only run once this week. I do know that part of it has been this election coming to a head. And I do know that yoga has helped me again this week to be a better and stronger person.

I have tried my hardest with the Yamas this week than I have at any point in my life. I have considered others and avoided the protests that are taking a turn from peaceful to violent. I have chosen my words wisely so as to be both truthful and nonharming. I have been respectful of the values of others around me so as not to steal away their rights of expression , their right to their own beliefs, their right to choose. And I have worked hard to let go of anxiety, sadness ,  regret, and fear.

The world is going to be what it is going to be and I have no control over Internet connections, the seasons, and other people. I do have the ability to be the best me that I can be, perpetuate the values that are important to me by raising my children to be open minded and caring individuals , and to practice respect for those around me while working for a better tomorrow . Each moment is here and gone….I am contented to be able to be in it.

What have you done with the Yamas this week?