Saturday Yoga – Dream Big Like The G.O.A.T.

Muhammad Ali Boxer (21) (wwesuperb.blogspot.com)

(photo via The Guardian)

 

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough” – G.O.A.T.

Dreaming big doesn’t have to be extravagant- it may scare you to dream of a day when you don’t wake up stressed. It may be scary to dream of a day when you do something that honors your true self. It may be a dream for you to speak your truth regardless of what others may think.

Let’s all dream big. Let’s sit with ourselves in stillness find out what makes us scared shitless and go after it anyway.

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Tuesday Yoga – Stop Shoulding on Yourself

should

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
― Albert Ellis

I woke up this morning at 6 instead of 5:30. I rushed to do a morning sit. I know- rushing to meditate? Doesn’t bode well. I sat on my block and silently began to chastise myself as soon as the bell rang.

I should’ve gotten up earlier.
I should’ve taken a shower first.
I should’ve turned on the washing machine.
Suddenly I remembered what one of my teachers said during my yoga for cancer training.
‘We need to stop ‘shoulding’ on ourselves.’
Peace crashed down. Things were as they were supposed to be, because if they were to be different I would have made different choices. I returned to my breathing. My steady in breath and out breath softened the tops of my shoulders. I began to unhook from tension and eased into the morning. I heard birds. Then a truck backing up. Then a passing bus. And always I came back to my breathing.
What started out as a tight morning resulted in the ability to reclaim the moment. And that’s what meditation is about. When I can recognize what is going on and investigate it I allow for a chance to let. it. go. Sometimes this is the yoga. It’s not about asana. In yoga we talk about Ahisma, practicing non-violence. This means being kind to others and the one’s own spirit.
No more shoulding on myself.
Namaste y’all.

Friday Yoga – Reminders from Yourself

 

minute you choose quote

I received mail from myself. Really. Several months ago, I took a meditation course. One Friday afternoon, we wrote ourselves a letter. It was a reflection on what we have learned so far and to remind ourselves of the power of being present. Emily, our teacher said that she would mail them to us. I had completely forgotten about it.

When I opened the mailbox and saw the chicken scratch a huge smile came across my face. I sat in the lobby of my building and read the letter. I’d never felt so intimate with my thoughts. It’s one thing to have a journal. It’s another to get them via the US Mail.

The last line read-

You have been living more authentically than you have in your life. Don’t stop. I love you.

-Oneika

I placed the letter on my meditation altar. Sometimes we are our own best teachers.

Choose.

Namaste y’all.

Sunday Yoga –

mine of gold

Today I got lost in my sit. This was the intention. I’m meant to stay present, but I wandered deeply into my thoughts. During meditation I have a teacher that says, ‘Notice the vastness of your inner world.’ That is exactly what happened. Inside me seemed never ending. Some areas felt strange, others felt beautiful but it was all mine and so rich. Why hadn’t I seen this before? Spending so many years distracted by outside things kept me from seeing that so much was inside me.

2015 is my year of living mindfully.

Namaste y’all.

Monday Yoga- Make Mistakes

mistakes

 

A few weeks ago a teacher encouraged us to find the very edge of our balance in tree pose. ‘Ir’s okay if you fall.’ Jokingly, she said we wouldn’t be kicked out of class. It’s not about the perfection. It’s takes practice for me to make mistakes instead of ‘getting it right’. Asana, like like isn’t the end it’s the by product of all of the choices I’ve made up until that point. So why not get a little risky? Why not find the edge? If if works out, I get to celebrate and if not, I can just try and try again.

Happy Monday!

Namaste y’all.

3 Things My Meditation Practice Isn’t

shutterstock_154838159

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn , “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.”  When I meditate I’m working on staying with what is happening. When my mind wanders, I draw my attention back to the present. In theory this sounds like a piece of cake or a cake of peace (ouch). The reality is every ‘sit’ (meditation practice) is different. Some days I sit and feel an overwhelming sense of calm. I leave my sit feeling renewed. On others I’m left feeling frustrated and hyper-aware of my environment.

And that’s okay. Meditation isn’t supposed to be bliss. This journey of learning to be more present has been a more difficult and rewarding journey than my asana practice. However, without my asana practice, I wouldn’t be where I am now. It’s like Pema Chödrön says everything we do is on the path to enlightenment. I get lots of questions about my practice. How long do I do it? Is it hard? Do I feel better? Do I see God?

Here are three things my practice isn’t.

1. My practice isn’t easy.

squirrel

I am distracted easily by shiny objects. This is part of the reason why I do yoga. My mind can wander during meditation. But when it does I come back to the breath.

2. Fun

On some days my meditation practice leaves me with a sense of peace. On others, not so much. There have been times that in connecting with my breathing buried emotions arise. When this happens, I’ve learned to deal with what has come up.

3. Inconsistent

I sit on most days. I feel the diffenrece when I don’t sit for two days in a row. The homework for my meditation course requires a daily body scan of forty minutes. I didn’t do that this week. But I did wake up every morning and sit quietly for 20 minutes before I started my day. That’s progress. Mindfulness requires commitment. Commitment takes times.

There are no short cuts. It’s only recently that I’ve begin to appreciate this. When there aren’t ways to get ‘there’ faster, there’s no place to be in this moment. As a woman in her 40’s I’m in no hurry to run the clock down. Paying attention on purpose provides a new respect for the notion of time. Try this experiment. Stand firmly with your arms down by your sides for 3 minutes. Resist the urge to fidget or tug at your clothes. Keep your eyes open and gaze soft. Notice the fluctuations that happen in the mind. Notice the things you begin to say to yourself. After the three minutes set the time for three minutes and resume what you were doing. It’s funny how fast time flies when we aren’t present. And listen, I get it. We are busy. It’s not possible to be present every moment of every day. But imagine the rich texture life can have when we take moments to stop and be here now.

2015 is my year of living mindfully.

Namaste y’all.

Do you have a meditation practice? Have you just started one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Adventures in Meditation 5am

cold street

At 5am there isn’t a lot of noise on my typically busy city street. But today as I sat in meditation it was my mind that was full and endlessly moving. At first, it was connecting with my breathing. Noticing how the air was moving in and out of my body.

Staying steady. Holding. Being. And then a distraction.

An announcement of the next stop from the bus outside.

I came back to my breathing. Noticing the expansion and contraction of my diaphragm. Another distraction. My dog’s breathing. And a thought. Is she asleep? A new sensation rose up. Heaviness and tingling in my eyelids. I think I am sleepy. Gently, I bring myself back to my breathing.

I notice the inhales and exhales, how the air moves inside my nose. My nose is dry I think. It must be the heat. And then another thought. Is it cold outside? Gently I bring myself back to my breathing. A sensation, this time in my belly. It feels soft and I feel a pang of shame. My stomach is not flat enough. Pretty enough. And a surprise. Instead of another thought there is another sensation. Tightness. In my chest. And a thought which is expected. I am not enough. I am not doing enough. I am not successful enough. 

More tightness. And then something changed.

I came back to my breathing and decided to stay with this emotion. I noticed the tightness and shame and stayed with it.

Breathing. Letting this be as they were. No changing. No shifting. No squashing down.

Things dissolve. Tightness lifts.

Just because I feel shame does not mean I will die from it. And if I sit with the feeling it will pass.

More thoughts and feelings came and went. And each time I came back to my breathing.

In 35 minutes the bells chimed indicating that my meditation was over. Normally, I feel a sense of completion. But today, I felt something new. A sense of renewal, that this was the start of something new.

Something present and mindful.

It was a challenging sit. However, I felt more like myself than ever before. Pena Chödrön says that mediation is a way to befriend who we already are.

I beginning to see the glimmer of something. 2015 is my year of living mindfully.

Namaste y’all