Start where you are

One of my students mentioned after class that she had been thinking of starting yoga for a LONG time before she actually came to her first class. Now she loves it and knows that she belongs in our little community.

That got me thinking about my own journey into yoga… How I had read every single word on the websites of the two studios in town. How I had looked through a copy of Yoga Journal magazine a million times. Cover to cover, every word and image was absorbed into my mind.

I had emailed one of the studio owners with questions and had a few conversations with her over the course of almost a year. I had even pulled up in front of her downtown studio to sign up for a class, then for some reason just drove away without going in.

By the time I made it in to my first class, I had been bouncing around with the idea of yoga for probably close to two years.

That is SO UNLIKE me. Usually, I decide to try something and I just do it.

Pretty boutique outfit for my daughter that I can’t afford to buy? I’ll learn to sew and make my own! (Sorry for making you wear that hideous thing when you were little, Briena.)

Gorgeous sweater that can’t be bought because it’s a pattern online? Sure, why not learn to crochet and buy way too much, but oh so fabulous, yarn in the process! (Only to find out that the pattern was for knitting, so let’s learn that, too.)

Someone shared a blog post about homegrown herbs for tea? Sure, let’s tear up the yard and start a garden! (The first few years of which turned into a mountain of weeds before I figured out how to actually care for a garden, but hey that’s ok.)

I could go on, because literally everything in my life is me jumping in head first, no idea what I’m doing… often it involves a phase of regret for jumping in head first, but almost always it ends up being something I’m happy with.

But not yoga

I don’t know why, but yoga seemed so… intimidating. I wasn’t sure if I would belong in that group of people. I wasn’t skinny enough, healthy enough, flexible enough. I certainly wasn’t the “cute mom in nice gym clothes” that you see on the magazines. I was more “frumpy mom who probably has a cheerio stuck to her clothes somewhere and is late for an appointment she forgot about”.

But, I went. The rest is history. It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It changed my life. Radically.

So that got me thinking… perhaps it is the things we are most afraid of that will bring us the most joy, the most needed changes. Perhaps those things we are so afraid of are the very things we need to get out of our ruts, to find our place in this world. Perhaps that fear is simply an acknowledgement of the incredible shift that is about to happen.

So, what are you on the fence about?

It might be yoga. (If it is, come visit me at Prajja Center for Yoga & Holistic Healing in Sioux City!) It might be starting a garden (again, hit me up, I’d love to help you get a garden started!). Maybe it’s starting a new habit, a new hobby, making a big change.

Whatever it is, can you just push through the fear, the doubt, the nerves? Can you talk yourself into just going for it?

The things we get ourselves all worked up about often end up being the things that really don’t matter much in the end. Likewise, the things we wait around on, convincing ourselves that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, wealthy enough, ready enough for… those are the treasures waiting for us. Those are the things that change our lives. That fear will go away. That doubt will fade. What will remain is the gift you give yourself of moving forward despite the challenges.

May you believe in yourself just long enough to make that first jump, and be blessed along the way.

Why do we set New Years Resolutions?

If you think about it, any time of year is a good time to make changes, break bad habits, set goals, start new adventures.

So why is New Years such an enticing time to set Resolutions?

As with most things, Mother Nature is our teacher, our guide. By looking to what’s going on in the world around us we can gain insight into what is going on inside of us.

Nature has been in a state of rest and repose. A time of inner reflection and slowing down to prepare for the next season of growth and abundance. Often, we find ourselves mirroring those behaviors. Feeling drawn towards more nourishment, slowing down, enjoying silence a bit more and surrounding ourselves in comforts like warm blankets and winter foods. This very act of slowing down creates space for us to reflect, to think on the past year and where it has brought us.

This process of reflection and rest starts in the autumn, as nature starts to slow down and settle in. Then, the Winter Solstice comes. A time of equal light and dark, followed by a little more light each day. Though we can’t see it yet, that light is affecting the world around us and nature is beginning to stir. Still resting, but preparing for the spring. Perhaps we are simply feeling that impulse, that intuitive force, when we feel the need to set New Years resolutions. Like a crocus gathering up her beauty in preparation for the spring- we start to focus on intentions and gather our resolve for the coming year.

As you are drawn to this process, see if you can do more than reflect the rhythm of nature.

Can you embrace it?

The flowers don’t suddenly appear the very day after they begin their preparations to bloom. They take their time, soaking in the growing sunlight, gathering energy and nourishment. Growing momentum. They unfold slowly but with brilliant timing so that their delicate petals don’t wither away in an unexpected frost. This wisdom of nature is wisdom we should all follow.

Can you set your Sankalpa, your deep resolve or intention for this coming year and commit to growing it slowly, steadily, so that it has time to take root before blooming into it’s full spectacular display? Choosing to open slowly into the coming year, new projects and goals, is the same thing as choosing to ensure a greater chance of success.

As you enter this new year and the hopeful energy that surrounds it, my wish for you is that you move ever closer to who you are, to your truth and your light. With patience and persistence, we’ll all get there.

xoxo
Trishia

 

—- 2019 UPDATE, if you’ve found yourself caught up in the rush and bustle or can’t slow your mind down long enough to truly reflect on where you want to go in this journey, I’m offering a 20% discount on my Amethyst BioMat sessions to celebrate the opening of Prajja Center!

BioMat sessions are incredibly relaxing, drawing you quickly into a state of meditative calm. It’s a great way to find peace in your mind while helping to reduce inflammation and increase circulation in your body. Win-win-win!

Sessions begin at $45. Ready to begin? Email me at [email protected]!

A gentle approach to Heart Opening

So we’re at the very beginning of Pitta season. It’s the one Ayurvedic season that doesn’t slowly approach. One day it’s just here. I can feel it’s approach. My body is wanting to take my Ashtanga practice at a slower, more gentle pace… But my ego is saying that’s not good enough. My heart is feeling vulnerable and at risk of closing off again. (Ego probably likes that one.) My students are feeling it, too. Finding a mental desire to push in their practices but intuitively knowing they need to connect with their bodies rather than punish them.

As we enter this season of fire and water, it is so easy to just dive in deep. To take on a rushed approach to life, to power through, to force our plans to materialize just how we want them to. But the problem with too much fire? You get burned up easily.

In the last 48 hours, I’ve had a fellow teacher say she was feeling burned out. A student say she feels her heart closing up and retreating. A teacher in training asking for advice because she’s pushed herself so hard she’s ready to just quit everything. A life coaching client realized that she had been trying to force healing without acknowledging the root of the illness… Everyone is feeling the fire of the season!

There are a bunch of ideas for balancing that Pitta dosha in the summer, but today I’m really thinking and pondering on the gentle heart opening side of it all.

Because with this fire comes anger and frustration. Anger at others, sure. But even more so- frustration and anger at ourselves. When we walk with this anger, we begin to lose touch with our compassion. For ourselves, for others, for life in general. Since compassion is the thing that makes this world go round, it’s kind of important to work on opening to it. But the thing is- if we try to force ourselves into opening up to compassion (and, in turn, to love), we are just stepping into another space of too much fire. Forcing never works for anything really.

So what do you do when you want to open to compassion without forcing it, but the fire of the season is urging to you HURRY UP AND FIX IT ALL OR JUST BURN IT!?

Baby steps, darling.

We commit to gently opening to compassion, to easing the heart open with a single breath at a time. Inhaling softness, exhaling love. Noticing when we are pushing ourselves and stepping back, honoring the process as much as the outcome. Giving ourselves permission to be gentle.

Abstract ideas for sure. Since we are spirit beings inside of human bodies, we struggle with the abstract. So let’s attach physical actions to it all to help our bodies learn. (Our bodies do carry our emotions after all.)

Gentle, supported heart openers. Going into them at maybe 75% and just allowing the breath to take over, waiting for the body to (maybe) invite us to go deeper.

  • Bhujangasana
  • Anahatasana (the heart chakra is called Anahata, so this pose is literally the pose of the heart chakra. Poetry.)
  • Sphinx with a bolster under the chest
  • Heart opener on a block

Honor your emotions

  • Cry, scream, or even whisper them into a pillow
  • Do a little Soul Writing and just get it all out onto paper as quickly as you can
  • Share what you’re feeling with someone you trust

Chanting

  • Om Mani Padme Hum (invoking the beautiful spirit of my favorite deity, the divine image of compassion, Padma Pani.)
  • or using the Bija for the Heart Chakra, YUM (pronounced You-MMM, chant it repeatedly in a way that you can feel it vibrating in your heart.)

Stones and Colors and Oils, oh my!

  • Any green stones are great for the heart chakra and BONUS, balance out the red of fire
  • Wearing greens for the heart, and soft white clothing to limit heat
  • Sandalwood, Jasmine, and Lavender are great for balancing both the heart chakra and Pitta dosha

Above all, meditate

  • Try diving into Metta (aka Loving-Kindness) Meditation, a favorite of mine for many reasons.
  • Or maybe a simple meditation is more your thing. In that case, sit in stillness and breathe into and from your heart. Envision a soft green light drawing compassion and peace into your heart and your spirit. Sit with those feelings for a bit, then close with gratitude.

Bonus- a Change Me Prayer

(inspired by the Fairy Princess of Divine Love, Tosha Silver)

Change me, Divine Beloved,
Into one who can step into vulnerability.
Into one who feels the walls of her heart softening.
Into one who walks with compassion for myself and others.
Change me, Divine Beloved,
Into one who trusts and believes that my scars are beautiful,
That under my pain lies immeasurable beauty.
Into one who walks with love.
I am Yours. You are Mine.
We are One.  All is Well.

I’m hoping these ideas will help a few of you. As always- please reach out to me if you have questions or would like to schedule a session to work one on one with your healing journey!

May you allow yourself to unfold and open to compassion. May the fire of this season help you without burning you. May you live from a place of compassion for yourself and love for others. xoxo, Trishia

New Moon Rituals

I’ve found that moving in sync with the seasons and cycles is a great way to find a bit more ease, more peace, in my life. One of the easiest ways to start a natural rhythm lifestyle is to begin with the moon cycles. They repeat monthly, so you get many opportunities in the year to refine your practice and meditate on how the cycle impacts your life.

We begin this journey into living in sync with nature under the New Moon. A time of beginnings, a time of renewal, of rooting energy. A time for quiet reflection and self-nurturing. The new moon is the best time to plant seeds and set intentions for what you wish to bring into your life. It is also a time of heightened intuition, which helps us to set true intentions from the heart rather than the mind.

A New Moon Ritual

  • Spend a few moments creating a sacred space for yourself. Turn down the lights, light some candles, add any aromatherapy you may like. Gather up a journal, a cup of tea if you like, and any other elements that bring you closer to your spiritual journey. (Guidance cards, stones and crystals, sage or palo santos, etc.)
  • If you are using sage or palo santos, allow time here to clear your space. If you are not using sage or palo santos, take a moment to visualize a clearing of the space around you- perhaps seeing a bubble or a glowing light surrounding yourself and your immediate space.
  • Draw your eyes closed and focus on your breath, once it is even and slow, count each inhale- just to the count of 10. Let yourself sit in this space for a few moments. Open your journal and begin with “I am ready to receive blessings and abundance into my life. I am ready to receive ______________” Just let the words flow here. Let the blessings pour from your pen. Don’t feel the need to edit or moderate these wishes. Often, our hearts whisper these desires in a way that is easy to brush over. But if we allow those words to come forward, we generally find exactly what we need in this moment of our lives.
  • Once you are finished, gently sit back and focus on the breath again for a few minutes. Recenter, drink some tea, savor a bite of chocolate… Nurture yourself.
  • Here you can return to your journaling. Can you find a common thread through your writing? A recurring theme? This process can frequently lead you to a focus point for moving forward with intention. Focusing on that common theme (abundance, spiritual growth, better relationships, feeling valued, etc.) can help you in everyday choices and big decisions.
  • Take a few more minutes to send gratitude to your guides, your angels, your intuition. Remember that you are always guided by Divine light and surrounded in Divine love.

Repeating this process with every new moon can help you to refocus as the year continues. This also leads you towards learning what is holding you back in your growth so that you can release that heaviness during the Full Moon.

————— Want to move even deeper with your intentions and learn how to use meditation and yogic tools to reduce anxiety and depression? Join Trishia for Just Breathe, a workshop series at Evolve Yoga this September!

Finding your Roots

healing the chakras

I’ve been meditating a lot on the Root Chakra- Muladhara. It’s the first of seven chakras (energy centers) in the body and one that SO many of us need to reconnect with. At the most basic level, this chakra is associated with safety and security as well as feeling centered and grounded. We can look to this chakra for healing if we are feeling off balance, out of sync, confused, or insecure. While all chakras are important in the large picture of who we are- the root chakra is our foundation. Without a solid foundation, everything on top becomes shaky and the entire structure is without security.

I thought I’d share a few practices with you that I use in my chakra work for this first energy center of safety and security!

Journaling

-In what areas do you not feel safe?
-In what areas do you feel there is not enough?
-In what areas do you feel like you have no control or choice?
-Where are you missing healthy boundaries?
-Do you trust that life supports you?
-Do you trust yourself to make supportive, healthy decisions?
-Are you able to easily make decisions?

To bring healing to the root chakra, we must first examine our First Tribe- our family. Did your family make you feel safe and secure? Accepted without judgement? Do you agree with the beliefs and world views of your family? If not, have you accepted that you are still a part of your tribe even if you do not share the tribal beliefs? In exploring these questions, we can begin to find our sense of place and belonging- even in the absence of matching their beliefs and views 100%

All the Pretty things!

Colors, smells, and actions can influence our path towards healing the root chakra. The color red is well associated with the root. As is deep, earthy scents and oils like frankincense, cedarwood, and myrrh. Meditation on the ground, or earthing (walking barefoot outdoors) is also helpful with the root chakra. Surround yourself with deep crimson red- jewelry, clothing, artwork, pretty things! Put on some amazing earthy oils (I love love love frankincense and cedarwood, both are so clean but earth infused). Then, get outside and wander around!

Sounds like heaven…

Challenging Beliefs

growing past comfort zones

So this post is really overdue. I had an experience this summer that I meant to share, but life got in the way. It’s on my mind again though, so Better Late than Never, right?!

This past summer we had a Yoga Retreat at the home of a fellow teacher. I was blessed to not only help with the event, but to have a lot of time to just be a part of the retreat. Time for chilling on a hammock, time for sitting around with friends old and new, and time for yogi playtime (which is the best!). There was one part of the weekend that I really wasn’t looking forward to, though. Painting. In particular- painting with a whole group of people. I am not an artist in that way. Sure, I make jewelry and crochet a single repeating stitch blanket, I even play with paper crafting from time to time. However,

I am not a painter. I cannot draw a straight line to save my life. I do not know what to do with a paintbrush.

So when I found out that part of the retreat was painting, I wasn’t really that excited. I was nervous. I was apprehensive. I was considering skipping that part of the afternoon by staying in the hammock and taking a nap. But… Molly, the art therapist who was running this session, is an absolute doll. Seriously, I love her to bits. At that point I’d only really had one conversation with her, but I already adored her and knew she was one of those people I’d be close to. So I felt bad skipping her session.

So, I went. I sat down next to the canvas (which was HUGE) in a circle with a bunch of other people. I chose a brush. I mixed paint. And then it came time to make that first mark on the canvas. The premise of the painting was for everyone to take turns sharing their truths- then for the rest of us to paint what those truths made us feel. Molly shared a truth, I painted a line. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing. Another person shared their truth, I painted another line. And then a swirl of lines. I was feeling better about the process but was still embarrassed about my section of the canvas when I looked over to other peoples spaces. They were painting lines and swirls, too, but theirs looked WAY better than mine somehow.

Then we had to get up and move around the canvas- moving to whatever space felt right. Adding in our color where we felt it should go, in a design that matched the feelings evoked from the truth statements everyone was making. I’m not sure when or how it started, but something happened in that space. I suddenly felt the urge to put the stupid paintbrush down. To use my hands. To feel the paint and let my body convey the emotions of the statements.

So I did.

You have to understand, I’m fairly reserved. Not because I don’t want to do fun wild things- because I’m frequently worried about what other people will think. So to put down the brush and use my hands… well, that was a BIG step for me! I went from tentatively running my hands through the paint to reaching my arms out and pulling my hands back through the paint. To placing dots here and huge lines there. I could feel the painting. I could feel myself losing some of that inhibition and fear. I quit looking at what other people were doing and just allowed myself to feel. Feeling the emotions and letting them out with the movement of my hands through paint. At one point I wanted to paint myself instead of the canvas. So I did. Then I painted Jackie, and she painted some more on me. Soon we were painting everyone and everything. It was a freaking painting orgy. It was insane. It was ridiculous. It was fantastic!

try new things

To shed ones inhibitions like that- to truly live freely in a moment- is such a blessing. Whether it is saying what you think, doing what feels right, or choosing for yourself- we all have things we hold back on for various reasons. Usually those reasons are what others will think or what we think we are “supposed” to do. So my challenge to you-

The very next time your soul cries out for something different, do it. Let go and just do it.

For me, painting with a group was an incredible experience. One that I never ever ever would have signed up for on my own, but one that I am so grateful for. About a month after that, Molly hosted a similar workshop at the home of another teacher. I not only willingly signed up for it- I jumped at the opportunity! I brought my mother and my daughters with me. It was just as beautiful as the first experience. And now- Molly is offering the same workshop at Evolve. Can you guess if I’ll be going or not? I’ll be there. Maybe I’ll even put the brush down again and paint with my hands if the urge strikes 😉

xoxo,
Trishia

finding yoga along the way

my journey to yoga

My first introduction to yoga wasn’t actually yoga in it’s entirety. Because my grandma Judy, who you’ll likely hear a lot more about in the future, was hospitalized quite a bit for issues arising from lupus (SLE), an I worked at the hospital at the time, I was often there during her treatments and sessions with hospital staff. It was a physical therapist that taught my grandmother hand mudras (ways to hold your hand to help focus, lower stress, etc). He called it yoga though, and I started looking around to see what more I could learn. And there it was, on the cover of my first copy of Yoga Journal- a beautiful and graceful image of a woman in a standing balance that continues to be one of my favorites to this very day. I didn’t care about mudras anymore, didn’t care about the purpose or the benefits, I just wanted to be able to do what she was doing! (My first attempt, in socks on my linoleum kitchen floor was not so very graceful!)

So I followed the home practice plans from Yoga Journal, I bought yoga dvd’s, eventually started practicing with the help of online videos. This wasn’t a daily practice, or always a weekly practice, but it was a random constant- I kept going back to it in random intervals and felt like the term “yogi” applied to me.

Somewhere along the way I realized that there was more than just a feeling of physical balance that was bringing me back to the mat. There was a calm, a sense of focus and wellbeing that had worked its way into practice that was strangely addicting.

Then life got kind of ugly, as lives can sometimes do, and I lost any desire to do anything, let alone clear a space on the floor for a yoga mat and space in my mind for a solid 30 minute practice. Really, I lost my desire to do pretty much anything. Cleaning was kept to the bare minimum required to survive, interaction with my kids was reduced to prompting them to get ready for bed at night, leaving the house was for grabbing groceries and getting home as quickly as possible. Looking back, I was depressed- bad bad depressed. But when you’re in it, it’s hard to see it. There were a bunch of reasons for my depression that I’m not going to go into here- but a lot of little factors played into the depression, a situation that seems pretty common for most people who suffer from depression. That’s why there is no one quick fix answer. It’s a battle that can’t be won until you realize you are fighting it. And even then, it is a lot of trial and error coupled with a tiny little light of some kind to focus on.

Included with the depression was my long lost friend, stress induced anxiety, who had always stopped by for short visits when I was super stressed but had never stayed for long. This time she had packed 5 bags and a trunk. No matter what the reasons are for suffering from anxiety (chronic stress, being attacked, just a general tendency towards it), it all ends up in the same place. Heart palpitations, crappy skin and hair, feelings of lethargy, and a state of foggy, slow thinking. Keep at it and you end up in critical condition- a point I was walking towards every single day. Somewhere along the way I cleared out of the fog of depression, but anxiety wouldn’t leave so quietly.

So anyway, after a lot of re-reading her website and basically stalking her facebook page, I finally worked up the courage to call Erin at Evolve Yoga and Wellness Center and basically laid it all out on the table and asked if I could join her classes. (You don’t actually need approval to join yoga classes, you can literally just walk in at the start of one and join. I’m not sure why I felt that I needed to get permission, but Erin was great about it.) And the rest, as they say, is history.

I brought yoga back into my life, but in a more solid way this time around. I do my best to follow the whole of Yoga (the physical practice of yoga is such a small part of the whole. There’s an entire 8 limbs!) and I’m learning as I go. There are still days where I have to guide myself gently into breathing, but they come less often than they had in the past. I’m calmer. I’m happier. I’m actually interested in trying new things, going places, and just being a human being. It feels wonderful.

So wonderful, that when Erin reached out to find new yoga instructors, I jumped over that cliff with zero insight as to what lay ahead. And I’m grateful every single day that I did.

the mind body connection as a tool

conquer fear, change your life yoga

So if Pinterest or Instagram has anything to say about it, all yogi’s live, work, and play in handstand. Some of them may even scrub their stoves and fold laundry while in handstand. While this (obviously) isn’t true, a lot of people do seem to be focusing on this one asana. I’m not sure about others reasons, but I do know why it is part of my practice. You see,

I am terrified of handstand.

Let me back up. I didn’t always know I was terrified of handstand. I didn’t really even think about it being part of a yoga practice. But the first time my teacher Erin suggested that maybe we’d get into handstand during a class, I had an instant whole body reaction. Like total fear consuming my body. And then I had to gently guide myself away from the edge of a panic attack all graceful like- thank goodness breathing super slowly is the norm in a yoga studio.

The next time she mentioned handstand, it was to get us into prep work for one during a class. Basically you come into Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), walk your feet forward a bit, and practice kicking your legs up in the air. I went into a mode that I haven’t gone into since being forced to play basketball as a kid-

Faking effort while actually half-assing my way through it

So there I was, with little baby kicks that were guaranteed to keep me close to the ground and keep my body nice and safe. A picture of calm and chill, albeit lazy, effort. But inside? Inside was a conversation between fearful me and mean me, it went something like this:

 

“It’s obvious I’m not even trying. Erin is going to notice and come see if I need help and I don’t want to do this and why am I panicky over this and-”
“Yeah well it doesn’t matter, I’m not strong enough to get up anyway.”
“If I’m not strong enough to get up then I could probably kick a little harder, right?”
“Yeah, until I kick too hard and my weak arms give out and I end up flipping over before breaking my neck. I’m not strong enough to do this. My arms are weak. Always have been, always will be.”

It went on and on and on for what felt like ages. Kicking feebly, willing myself invisible so I wouldn’t be noticed, completely out of my yoga zone and talking like crap to myself.

Anyone want to guess what the theme of that days class was?… Satya

The practice of integrity and honesty in thought, speech, and action. Specifically, the integrity with which we speak to ourselves. In other words- making an effort to do exactly the opposite of what I was doing with my mental battle of fearful me vs mean me.

So- driving home that day I was thinking about how my arms are weak and my “core” is weak and how I should quit being lazy (more mean talk) and start doing something to make them stronger- like lift weights or something. And then I thought about how that-would-hurt-and-I-hate-hurting-and-how-maybe-I-would-never-be-strong-enough-for-handstand-or-any-other-things-that-require-arm/core-strength-and-maybe…

Suddenly in the midst of this rambling self depreciation and doubt a new thought came to me- all calm and wise like:

Huh, you thought you weren’t strong enough to raise 5 kids alone, either. Seems you were wrong about that, maybe you’re wrong about the handstand thing, too?

 

 

Well then…

So long story not (quite) as long- I decided to conquer handstand. Not because it’s trendy or to prove anything to anyone else- but to continue peeling back the layers to find who I am at the core. You see, the mind/body connection goes both ways. The mind can teach the body, and the body can teach the mind. So by conquering my physical fears, I’m teaching myself to conquer my mental fears as well. Because fear has overstayed it’s welcome in my life. I’ve given it free room and board as well as a voting majority on all decisions for way too long. I don’t want to make choices (or avoid them) out of fear any longer. I don’t want to miss opportunities or follow paths that don’t sit well in my soul. I don’t want to let fear dominate my life. Simple as that.

Anyway, on to the reason I as motivated to write this post- today. Today I saw a huge step forward in my practice. Today I took my toe away from the wall in a handstand-against-the-wall. Only for a second, but considering all that I’ve had to overcome in my own body and mind to get to that point- one second of trusting myself in a scary place is a huge accomplishment 🙂

Staying on My Own Mat (or, my biggest challenge in yoga)

intention in yoga practice

Today I’m going to stay on my own mat.
I’m here. I’m on my mat. I’m going to stay on it.
Stay on my mat.
Just be. In this moment. For this hour. On my own damn mat.

 

 

At the start of yoga class we are asked to find an intention to focus on during practice. Mine is very often a variant of those above. I love days when our teachers remind us a few times throughout practice to remember our intention and reconnect to it. Because without those reminders I often disconnect from my intention and find myself wandering.

For those of you who aren’t really sure if I’m talking about falling off the mat or what- it isn’t a physical thing. It’s harder than that, it’s a mental thing. And depending on the day the reasons for leaving my mat mentally can vary. Sometimes it’s worrying about my kids, family members, or friends. Sometimes it’s going over my to do list a million times trying to figure out what that one thing that I forgot was. But most often: it’s comparing myself to the other people in the room. Berating myself for not going as deeply into a pose or not reaching as high or not whatever. Who said yoga isn’t a competitive sport?

So I’m writing this post for a few reasons. One- you, my fellow mind wandering classmate or student, are not alone. And two, yoga is not a skill that, once developed, stays forever in perfection. It is a practice. One that you work at each and every time you come to your mat. One that you remind yourself of and make a new commitment to multiple times over the course of an hour class.

So, I’m going to practice. Again and again and again. I’m going to stay on my own mat. And if I wander a bit like the confused old crazy cat lady, I’ll just gently guide myself back. Because when I get through a practice where I’m (mostly) 100% on my mat- a light starts glowing inside that just makes the rest of the day feel like bliss.

Yoga will Ruin your Life

life changes with yoga

Just something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately…

My teacher, MC Sweet, shared something with us that her teacher Richard says.

Yoga will Ruin your Life

 

 

(Um, what!?)

Pretty much it goes like this- in yoga you start to learn to pay attention to your body, honor yourself, and find gratefulness for where you are and where you can go. Because it is nearly impossible to segment things and isolate lessons from one area of life from another, we start to see things outside the studio in a different way.

  • We start to question the foods we use to nourish our bodies.
  • We start to wake up early to get some yoga in (or at least we start to think about how awesome it would be to do that).
  • We start to question the work we do for a living, or the reasons we stick to work we don’t find pleasure in.
  • We start to question the people we spend time with.
  • We start to see the tough changes that need to be made, and we start to make those changes.

So in short, things start to snowball and what we learn in yoga just ruins a lot of what we had before. But is that a terrible thing?

In the hindu world the god of destruction is Shiva. He is committed to destroying things that are no longer of purpose, things that no longer serve him. We do this also when we allow yoga into our lives. We destroy old eating patterns. We destroy old friendships that have become more drowning weight than positive lift. We destroy toxic relationships.

But Shiva is not just the god of destruction. He is also the god of creation. The god of destruction is the god of creation? How does that work?

Well, we have to destroy that which doesn’t serve us to make room for things that will serve us. We have to destroy old habits to make room for new habits. We have to destroy old eating patterns to make room for new eating patterns.

Destruction and Creation are part of a circle, both feeding each other. Yin and Yang, Shiva and Shakti, Death and Birth

 

 

So yes, Yoga will Ruin your Life. But in doing so, it will make room for a better life. That’s the kind of destruction I can sign up for!

Jai Shiva!