Money Yoga

money and life

 

 

Money and Life is a documentary that talks about where money comes from (thin air) and how it’s been turned into the way we live our lives and what we can do about it.

 

 

 

Money & Life Extended Trailer from Katie Teague on Vimeo.

It got me thinking about my recent change in my relationship with money.  In the past two years I’ve let go of a lot of things that most think are big measures of success- my luxury condo, my car and lots of stuff that wasn’t serving me.

 

This isn’t to say that I don’t think that I should move on a commune away from society. But I have shifted my paradigm of thinking when it comes to how I measure my success and what I want to offer to the world. I’m more interested in the inter connectedness of the world rather that trying to squelch someone’s chances of success for my own gain. That kind of thinking works off a thought process that there isn’t enough. When in fact, there is enough. There is enough food, money, success, happiness for everyone.

I’m not talking about Law of Attraction woo woo stuff here. But one thing I have realized is that I used to put a lot of focus on accumulating stuff and not living life. And though my lifestyle has changed drastically from the one that I was living a few years ago- I’m more centered and more content than I have ever been.

I don’t think I’m fooling myself either, because the more I connected with the work I want to do, I created opportunities for myself.

In the beginning of the new year most of us look to cleanse our bodies. But what about cleansing for we spend and live? Life gets busy and our routines could use a shake up. When was the last time you checked in with your kids about how they understand money? Have you taken a look at how you are saving for retirement? Are you spending excess money each week without knowing it? Regardless of how tight you may think you manage, it’s a good idea to check-in.

Beth Kobliner, probably best known for her book Get a Financial Life encourages people to do a ‘money fast’ at the beginning of each year. After paying necessary expenses, can you spend the month with spending any money? It’s a great way to see what’s important and what’s not. It may also challenge your idea of what is important.

If you are serious about jump starting your financial health. Levo League has five great tips to get you started on a 30-day financial cleanse.

1. Introduce yourself to the bare necessities.

Cut out all frivolous spending, so you can get to the bottom of your relationship with money. You can spend on groceries, bills, transportation, and health expenses—nothing more.

2. Convert to cash

When we use cash, we become more aware of our spending. It might sound counterintuitive, but managing your spending habits becomes simpler without a credit or debit card. Either your wallet is full, or your wallet is empty. You see the flow of your money in real time.

3. Monitor your spending

Over the course of a week, you can begin to monitor what you really miss and what you are surprised you can easily live without. You’ll be motivated by the amount of money you’re saving in the meantime, and you’ll likely think to yourself, “This is a lot easier than I thought!”

4. Learn to forgive, in order to learn

Even with all the progress you’ve made so far, you’ll most likely slip up and purchase something you didn’t mean to. It’s very important to forgive yourself.

Like I said, our habits become very automatic and as soon as we let our guards down, we may catch ourselves swiping a credit card on something we are in the habit of buying. Take this moment to truly consider your motivations behind your spending.

5. Reassess your values

Understanding your values and what’s really important to you is the key to financial wellness. Your spending and use of your time should point to your values—meaning, you should be spending the majority of your time and money on things of utmost importance.

If you’re not, you’re unaligned with your spending and have the opportunity to use your money in much more meaningful ways. For example, if family is really important to you, but you spend no time with them and no money on spending time with them, you’re missing out on very fulfilling spending.

You may want to plan more trips with them, or even plan to visit them if they aren’t nearby. I call this putting your money where your heart is.

 

 

 

Check out the entire documentary Money & Life below.  It’s great to watch with the family.

 

 

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Adventures in Meditation – “Life Just Isn’t That Obvious”

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‘Live just isn’t that obvious.’

 

This text came from my friend Kathleen. When you’re friends with poets they drop one line bombs with a quickness and on the reg. She’s more subtle than me.

I would have to follow up the text with:

drops mic

 

 

Fortunately, subtlety isn’t lost on this bull in a china shop. You may think astrology is hooey, but I’m a Taurus through and freaking through.

Anyway…subtle…point…

 

She sent this in response my waxing philosophical about my love life.

I’m the worst when it comes to dating.

The. Worst. Say it with me, the worst.

Work life seemed easier. Get ‘er done. Even when the terrain is difficult like say, navigating a whole new career I can manage to strategize, plan and execute. But a date? Relationship? Smooth.

 

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I made bad decisions and compounded those stupid decisions withworse ones. Antics ensued. It was easier to make work my relationship rather working on my relationships. Yeah, I knew what I was doing. I just didn’t fix it.

Until meditation.

Being still allows for thoughts to come and go. Something happens when we look inward. The sense of vastness at times overwhelms me. On some days it’s all I can do not to run away from the infinite potential discoveries. The is so much inside. On others, I find the answers without knowing it. In the abyss is a whisper of hope or encouragement disguised as an inhale or exhale. The is powerhttp://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/yogaxl.jpg in my mantra as I sit- I realize more and more that I know so little.

It allows me to be present even when I’m not meditating. This is great. And shitty. No more pushing things down and not dealing with them.

Recently, I had a great date with someone who didn’t fit what I’d imagined. I began my usual routine of trying to blow them off and a strange thing occurred.

I made a different choice. In fact, I made a choice wrapped in honesty despite my fear.

I called ___ and said, “I owe you an apology. I was being an idiot. I like you and instead of saying that I’m a little concerned that we’re different but I’d like to see I was just trying to push you away. If it’s not too late, I’d really like to start again and have you see that I’m not totally crazy, though clearly I have some issues.”

I was expecting rejection. Second chances are a gift.

And you know what? I got one.

While it did turn out that our lives were in different places- if I hadn’t been paying attention in the moment, I wouldn’t have decided to take a leap.

This is what meditation has done for me. I’m more awake than I’ve ever been. Like I said earlier, this is both fantastic and crappy. But, it is life.

Playing sliding doors for a moment…If I had played out old stories nothing would have changed.

Things don’t have to work out the way you want, but if you are brave enough to be here, now- it seems that things work out the way they should.

And embracing that is what yoga is all about.

It’s a good day.

Namaste y’all.

 

Flatiron Yoga

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I’m sitting outside in the NYC sun. The Flatiron district is bustling with tourists and New Yorkers soaking up the last drops of summer along with cold coffee drinks.

An inversion workshop is happening in an hour. I’m not sure why I’m feeling my nerves go all a flutter. It’s a beginner workshop and after consulting not one but three other teachers about it- I’m sure it will be a blast.

Maybe it’s my horoscope- I know there may be some snickering, but whenever I read it, I’m able to make some connection to my life- which is the point I guess.

Anyway it says that life is changing and I should go with it. Not really- but that’s the gist or at least what I’m taking from it. New shapes and all that. How will I see the world differently when I’m on my head?

Can you imagine the gaping mouths when the Flatiron was going up?

How much changed because of it?

Off to fly and see new things.

Namaste y’all.

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Evolution Revolution aka Birthday Yoga

Evolving

I’m a May baby.

It’s hard not to get reflective around your birthday. On Friday I was walking to class listening to Badu’s Window Seat. This doesn’t make the day unique, I listen to this song a ton, but the weather was finally May warm. Everyone seemed to be rockin’ a lil bit of swag in their steps. It’s awesome when people around you unknowingly are cast in your real life music video.

I love everything about Erykah Badu. She seems to live her life eloquently out loud.

A smile crept on my face…Can I get a window seat, nobody next to me…

I resisted the urge to strip as I walked down Newark Avenue. I was feeling pretty  absolutely great.

I’ve read about women truly becoming who they are when they turn 40, but I was in my 30’s so of course I thought it was utter bullshit.

What we don’t plan for when we are young is our constant evolution as people. I’ve changed so much over the years, each year coming closer to what I believe is my most authentic self.

As birthday 42  up, I realize that I couldn’t be more complete. It’s quite a revelation because for so many years I was always searching.

Searching for the perfect job, partner, weight, look, hair etc…

But as I walked in that warm sunshine, I was exactly where I wanted to be literally and metaphorically.

Ooh-ra.

At first glance it might seem like it’s because of my yoga practice.

To say I’ve met some incredible people because of my yoga journey is an understatement. Yoga people are my people, it’s all good in the hood ( as the kids used to say).

But that’s not the source of my peace.

You might think it’s my physical practice. I’m strong again. I love it. There is a joy my body feels because I practice a few hours each day.

But that’s not the source of the peace either.

As my 108 days of yoga comes to a close I realize that yoga brought me close to me. No matter if you are single or married with 10 kids loving others begins with loving yourself.

My love for self goes beyond the regular self-love that I discovered in my 30’s.

It’s the kind of love that comes with unapologetic acceptance of every inch of your body and soul. I love the good in me. I love the stuff that makes me icky.

And living yoga helps me move closer to a place where it’s all okay.

This is yoga and it’s always evolving, just like me.

Namaste y’all.

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Adventures in Yoga Teaching- Back on Track

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Friday was beautiful round these parts.

I was strolling home from my community class taking in the sights when I bumped into Daba Briggs, one of my yoga inspirations.

Daba is the kind of teacher the imagination conjures when you hear the words ‘yoga teacher’. She’s knowledgable, humble, talented, giving and powerful.

My mind always get to mull over a nugget of wisdom when I talk to her. On this sunny Friday, we chatted about how my new teaching journey was progressing.

I’m not ready to pursue the next yoga education (formerly) yet. But I’ve been craving- something. So I’ve been reading a lot. I blurted out my concerns, am I moving in the right direction? I feel like I want to fill in some gaps…Am I doing the right things? 

Keep taking classes, teaching classes and exploring self-study she advised. As I meet teachers and go to studios, I’ll know when the right mentor and  teacher training will present themselves.

Daba also mentioned a few studios that offer great classes for teachers. She reminded me that I can always take her classes when I can.

I’d gotten so caught up in my hot yoga practice and trying new disciplines that I’d strayed a bit from the basics. A good practice starts with a good foundation.

Her class provided one of those building blocks. Daba’s focus is structural yoga, where alignment is queen. Her use of props and cues allow a yogi to grow in a pose even if you have been doing yoga for years.

Her prop workshop rocked my warrior world.

My Virabhadrasana I and II have never been the same. Seriously. Standing with my back foot pushing against a wall, I could feel my heel truly ‘root down.’ People have said that before, ‘root down the heel.’ In that moment, I got it.

Huz-zah.

How could I let myself slip out of those great classes? No bueno.

I committed to go to her Saturday morning class. I felt a little exhale and smile rise from inside.

Okay. Feeling more centered.

It’s important to keep reaching out when you start teaching. Shit, it’s important to keep reaching out all of the time.

I’ve never been great at this. Once again yoga is gently nudging me so I can stay on track.

Are these mini revelations yoga?

Methinks so.

Of course her Saturday class was just what I needed. The tweaks and adjustments were an ass kicker. I mean that. My ass was killing me. But more importantly, I had an aha moment as a teacher. There were great adjustments and cues that I could be using in my own classes.

Another smile and exhale.

I enjoy the notion that for every piece of knowledge I glean, the ocean of what I don’t know about yoga (and well everything) gets bigger. So big that I can’t see the horizon.

Exciting stuff.

This is yoga, and it stretches on forever. Maybe.

Namaste y’all.

Pranayama Yo – Things Can Only Get Better

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I have this thought that keeps turning right round like a record. It’s a grand idea, maybe even crazy but I can’t help it, when I’m inspired- look out.

To paraphrase the genius Howard Jones while I do feel scared, I won’t stop and falter. Things can only get better.

To be fair, I get lots of ideas- no delusions of grandeur or anything…Though one time someone asked me if I thought I was the Queen of Sheba. It was said in anger- actually it was said like ‘Who do you think you are? The Queen of Sheba?’

I was being pretty bitchy too so… That doesn’t count, does it?

Sorry. Ideas. Inspiration. Whatnot.

It’s no secret that I think that yoga can save the world. As I really reflect on these early months of teaching, I’ve come to understand that our breath is how we not only live, but prosper.

As yogis we talk about breathing so often breezing over its power can get caught in so many other things.

I took a class last week with a friend  who is a fellow teacher and her husband.

Of course we talked a lot about yoga.

I love that the studio where I teach offers community classes.

I love that Yoga to the People has an outstanding hot class for 8 smackers.

We talked about how folks who really could use yoga to change and save their lives don’t usually have easy access to a studio. Even more often yoga as a concept isn’t on the radar.

This has to change.

And while I do imagine all the people living life in peace, I know that it’s down the road a bit.

If you have talked to me for more than five minutes you have already heard this story, but I will ask you to tune in one more time because it’s worth hearing daily. This September I was listening to the This American Life podcast. There are few things that I enjoy more than TAL. I was walking Dakota and stopped when I heard the story about the kids living in Chicago’s South Side. The affects of consistent violence in a community can affect kids cortisol levels up to a year later. Do the math. If these kids are under a constant barrage of violence these cortisol levels never drop.

So what the hell to do in the meantime?

I want to teach the world to breathe.

I may not be able to find a way fix the violence. But I can teach people how to breathe.
I can show someone how to choose a better breath, one that will help be the calm in the center of the storm.
Inhale more peace. Exhale what’s not serving you….
This is what it’s all about. Teaching people to fish and all that. As yogis we know yoga happens off the mat.
So no more turning it round. Time to figure out a plan. Time to get people on board. Time to walk the walk, or breathe the breath as it were.
And I won’t stop and falter.

This is yoga, changing lives one breath at a time. Things can only get better.

Namaste y’all.

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When Your Yoga Brings You To Tears (aka Free to Be You & Me)

photo credit elephant journal
photo credit elephant journal

 

 

In the third grade I saw ‘Free to Be You and Me‘.

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I don’t remember if it was planned or if some weather induced incident prompted the rolling in of the projector, but we gathered in the atrium.

Do you remember that feeling? The excitement of the projector? Freedom from some schoolwork and the lights turned off during the school day? It was an adventure.

Have you had the pleasure of seeing FtbYM? Have your kids seen it?

It turned 40 last year. Marlo Thomas and friends tackle gender indentity, racsism, sexism and class with songs, animation, live action and of all things- puppets.

Just thinking about it makes me smile. You get to see a teenaged Michael Jackson sing with Roberta Flack about growing up and not changing. (Sort of eerie to watch now)

FtbYM was a landmark album and film by the Ms. Foundation for Women that introduced a generation of parents and kids to a new world order that was not just tolerant, but celebrated difference.

But…the greatest part of the movie for me is Rosey Grier singing ‘It’s Alright to Cry’.

6’5 burly, intimidating Rosey Grier tells us that it’s alright to cry. He croons:

It might make you feel better.

It’s alright to feel things,

though feelings may be strange.

And they change and change and change.

To this day I can’t help but hum the song in my head when I see tears or cry myself. (Imagine, I’m hysterical and still somewhere in my head singing- I accept my weirdness and way my freak flag proudly)

In many ways it was yoga.

Have you every cried on your mat?

I have. I remember once after a particularly bad break-up I wandered to a local studio. I needed to cleanse and didn’t realize at the time that I was in the midst of huge emotion changes. Isn’t that always the way? We don’t recognize change when it’s happening.

When I lifted up to Ustrasana (Camel Pose) a dam burst. Tears streamed down my face. Whoops- who turned on the faucet? I sucked it up and let it out at home.

Knowing what I know now I would have went with it. Pushing it back down wouldn’t have been an option. This actually makes things worse. When you can let a feeling come up and just be, it’s easy to let it change and change and change (Thanks Rosey!)

Releasing emotions is one of the amazing benefits of yoga. In a world that rewards stuffing down feelings, letting go and showing emotion in class at first made me very vulnerable. I got past my urges to ‘just do the poses’. My flow changes with my emotions and sometimes it changes in spite of my emotions. Now when things come up on my mat that make me say, ‘Hmm, I didn’t even know I was thinking about that.’ I can let it go and deal with it or release it if it isn’t serving me.

Turns out when you don’t resist most things aren’t a big deal.

Imagine that shit.

As a teacher I keep an eye out for this, especially with new students. Tears can come up  and it’s crucial that when I see it- I gently leave a tissue and check in with a look or hand on the shoulder to make sure everything is okay. Doing this discreetly is obvious, but for the sake of clarity I’ll mention it anyway. I want to create a safe space.

The point is, it’s alright to cry.

Yoga is my grown up version of Free to Be You and Me.

This is yoga. And it’s free to be whatever I need it to be. For me.

Namsate y’all.

Adventures in Hot Yoga – Half Locust Pose

Tony Parrish has a football yoga workout. This is pretty great for a variety of reasons.

I’ve mentioned that I’m a heat junkie. Can’t lie- it does something for me. The heat makes me pliable and that pliability helps me look deeper inside. With all that is going on with Bikram and his latest stroke of idiocy, it would seem easy to dismiss the practice.

I want to, I really do. The guy seems to have taken the yoga out of yoga. One thing I’ve learned though is that lessons are everywhere, the people we find distasteful can teach us the most.

I’ve learned from Bikram, beware the ego for it will take you over and take everything from you if you aren’t careful.

So hot yoga and I aren’t breaking up anytime soon. With all yoga I love when my body leads me to deconstruct a pose. It’s like learning it again, but inside out, or something like that. ,

Lately I’ve been focused on locust pose (pictured).

Before getting in it the teacher instructs, “Put your mouth to your mat”.

I always end up trying to sneak in a pucker- is that weird? Bear in mind you are already covered in sweat- this is the downhill part of class as far as I’m concerned.

After you ‘put your mouth to the mat, you roll onto your arms until they disappear underneath you. Doesn’t sound so hard- but- wait for it- your palms are facing down. If you don’t think this hurts- I’m not judging but you’re crazy. It was so painful at first I looked up at my teacher and I swear horns were sprouting from her head.

Mouth to the mat.

Roll on your arms so they disappear.

Palms down.

Lift one leg up.

Hold.

Then the other.

Hold.

Then- both. The first time I tried this it felt like my legs were glued to the floor. And I’m no punk. I can get my legs up much higher now- but one day I’d really love to look like the photo.

The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) has an article about Carpal Tunnel treatment and yoga. This pose is mentioned. Pretty cool.

Every time my practice deepens- I discover another little nugget about the world and myself. I’m less shy than I was and engage in conversations with strangers more often. This may sound strange coming from a yoga teacher, and frankly when I tell people I’m shy I get eye rolls and ‘Oh yeah, sure Oneika, you’re really shy.’ But I am, seriously.

I guess my point is that living and teaching yoga is a daily practice both on and off the mat. I love it and I love what it has done for my mind body and spirit. I feel different, I look different, I act different.

I am different.

But I do wonder if I’m starting to replace yoga for other things, like dating. Normally I’d obsess about it. But I’m not going to worry about it right now. I’ll let my yoga take me there.

This is yoga, heated up stretched out and lifted.

Namaste y’all.

 

half locust

Thank You to the Lovings – Love Yoga

Love Is Grand

I need to give HBO some major love. Amazing programming aside- what they do really well, is the documentary.

HBO explore topics with what I call ‘objective passion’. They celebrate Black History Month in PBS fashion. Last year they premiered, The Loving Story.

Many know the story of the Lovings. He was White, she was Black and Native American.

Boy meets girl. They fell in love and got married.

In 1958 this was against the law in most states. Miscegenation was the ‘crime’. The Lovings nuptials were in Washington, DC. When they returned to their home in VA they were awakened at 2am and arrested.

The documentary explores all angles of this historic court case and celebrates two love warriors. Laws against mixed marriages were more about sex than love. These laws were written with fear and hate. The Feb 26th issue of the New Yorker also celebrates the Loving couple. Lovings at Home has some wonderful rarely seen photos of the couple and their family.

After I saw this I thought about a series I read in the Coil Review- Memoirs of A White Man. This is an adorable tale of ‘standing the rain’. I

t’s not because Alex is White. It’s because he helped his woman through a very scary transition. There’s a lesson in here about love and friendship that transcends race. My favorite quote was when Alex gave his Black girlfriend a pep talk about her hair. She’d been frustrated with relaxers (chemical straighteners) and was seriously thinking about doing the Big Chop (cutting off all of the processed hair).

He says:

“This is your birthright. Be bold. Let your hair enjoy its natural curliness that is your heritage as a beautiful woman of African descent.” Pretty good, huh? She was apprehensive. But, then, I could see the notion had some appeal. I could see that she was imagining it. Really doing something bold. Flipping the script.”

Part II explores that notion ‘It’s about the hair, but it’s not about the hair.’

This section’s most memorable stand up and cheer moment

Going natural, it seems, is considered by some to be “unnatural.” So by doing this, she was making a statement with her hair, a really big statement: a statement about parting with a hairstyle taught to her by her mother; a statement that she wasn’t going to just go along with what other women or women’s magazines said was “in” or “looked good,”; a statement that you don’t need a luxurious weave (yes, I learned a little about those too) to be a good-looking woman. She was saying, for all the world to hear, that a woman doesn’t have to have straightened hair to have “good” hair. And, for the moment, making this statement was taking its toll. It was (at least for the moment) leaving her feeling lost, confused, and upset.

 Love Is Grand

Lots of times our boyfriends and husbands don’t connect with the struggles over hair. Lots of times they have very strong opinions about hair. In the case of Alex and his girlfriend, their cultural differences allowed Alex to see something that maybe his girlfriend hadn’t noticed before.

That is what love can do- turn a scary moment into a moment of fearlessness.

To the Lovings and all other couples (friends and otherwise) who stand the rain- Happy Valentine’s Day.