Downward-Facing Dad

Yesterday I invited my dad to come to a yoga class with me today, and his answer: “yes!” I was so excited because I know how much courage it takes to go to a first yoga class, and I was able to have a Friday yoga/lunch date with my dad. Going to your first yoga class can be intimidating. No, I take that back, it is without a doubt incredibly intimidating. I remember my first yoga class. I had just moved out to California, (where it seems that virtually everyone is stylin’ and fit) and my college roommate invited me to go with her. I had no idea what any of the words meant that the teacher was saying, let alone I barely knew the meaning of “downward-facing dog.” I was using a borrowed yoga mat and I didn’t know if I was wearing the “right” clothing. It seemed that everyone else in the class had the malleability of a pipe cleaner and they seemed to flow from pose to pose with such perfection while I was a wobbly wooden board. I couldn’t help but think what the rest of them were thinking of me. Over time, however, I learned that the other people in the class didn’t give a rat’s ass about what I was doing or how I looked, because they were on their own yoga journey, while at that moment I was solely concerned about my destination (or lack thereof).

The theme in today’s class was the yogic law of effortlessness and living each pose as a journey instead of a destination. Just wanna give a shout out to my daddy for his courage to try something new and to live each pose and each moment in his life as a journey!

eatsleepdoyoga:

It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between letting something go or just burying it, only to find that it resurfaces at a later time. We hold on to pain. We hold on to it because, well, we’re human and that’s just what we do. But you may find that by acknowledging that it is there, and consciously just letting go of it, you will find a sense of relief from the pain. Imagine holding on to an object with your hand. You can try real hard to let it go but have you let it go? No. Let it go. Yes, it will not be there anymore, which may be a scary thought, but the fact is, is that it is not serving you so open your hand and just let it go.

Originally posted on AlongTheTao:

Source: 27.media.tumblr.com via Meghan on Pinterest

Many of us feel that we suffer due to the pains in life. These pains may be physical, mental or spiritual. They could be due to fears of the future, attachment to pains in the past or desire for things to be different than they are in the present.

Pain in life is inevitable. We will be hurt mentally, physically and emotionally. That is a fact of life. To attempt to avoid pain is futile and will keep us from living life. A few scratches and bruises to our ego, our heart or our mind mean that we are living.

Is suffering from these pains necessary?

Suffering on the other hand is something that we can control and does not need to be a part of our life. Suffering is attachment to outcomes and expectations.

Outcomes are related to the situations in the past…

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You Don’t Have to Do Yoga to Be a Yogi

I found the following in an article from mindbodygreen.com: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4688/Youre-a-Yogi-If.html. Turns out you may be a yogi and not even realize it!
You’re a yogi if…
  • You’ve taken a few deep breaths, and felt noticeably better afterwards
  • You’ve appreciated something beautiful just for its own sake
  • You’ve felt grateful for some aspect of your life, and it brought a smile to your face
  • You’ve physically connected with another person, and during that time lost your sense of self
  • You’ve done a good deed and completely forgot to expect acknowledgement or reward
  • You’ve hugged an animal for at least 5 seconds
  • You’ve gotten mad at or been hurt by someone, but now you’re ok with the incident
  • You’ve experienced a period of ‘flow’ at work, and lost track of the time
  • You’ve been challenged by a person or a situation, and upon reflection, you feel thankful
  • You’ve listened to an amazing song, and totally lost it

Just Say It

eatsleepdoyoga:

It’s so easy to just think it and not say it. But you may severely regret not telling someone something. This wonderful lady and friend has some great things to say about this.

Originally posted on We Are Super Women:

I was talking to a girlfriend today who’s had feelings for a guy and never told him until right before it was too late, giving her no time to develop any of their feelings for each other before he left. And neither did he.couple on seine Both left feelings unsaid – she for fear that he didn’t feel the same, him for fear of what changes the conversation would bring. They both let fear get the best of them, and allowed themselves to delay discomfort for devastating results.

Too often we leave things unsaid. Both to ourselves and to others. Not only do we not tell others what we think and what we want, we don’t give time to tell ourselves. Allow yourself time to reflect on things that have happened and more importantly

. Love .

how you feel and…

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Walks, Perfumes & Chocolates

Today (4.28.12) was a day filled with love and gratitude. In the early part of the afternoon I spent it walking my dog. It is such a joy to take her on walks because it is the one time I really see her happy and enjoying life. When she is not distracted by enjoying all the new smells outside, however, she is in great pain with arthritis, deafness, blindness, and dementia. She is 14 years old, and I am sad to say I will have to put her to rest 2 days from now. Just being able to see glimpses of her happy in her final days fills me with joy, and with gratitude for all the special years I have spent with her. Even when I know she will not be with me in such a short time from now, just enjoying these last special moments I have with her is a joy and a gift. She will always hold a special place in my heart, as she was my first dog and I grew up with her.

Someone else who holds a special place in my heart is my mother, who I had the joy of spending the later afternoon and the evening with. We went out for a late lunch where we chatted and just enjoyed each other’s company. We had some time to kill (and by kill I mean enjoy) before we went out to see a movie, so we walked over to Whole Foods where we smelled all the different tester perfumes on display and looked at all the different kinds of chocolates. I ended up buying some lavender blueberry dark chocolate. So yummy. Enjoying the sweet smells and sweet tastes before enjoying a lighthearted and funny movie with someone I love so deeply was just what I needed today. It’s the simple things in life where there is so much joy, beauty, and gratitude–that is if we choose to see it.

Photo courtesy: stjoefarm.wordpress.com

Risky Business

Photo taken in Ireland last summer

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

- Anais Nin

It’s safe in that bud. It’s cozy in that bud. Bees won’t bug you when you’re in that bud. On the other hand, you don’t have anything to offer those bees when you’re in that bud. I like staying safe. I like staying comfortable. This way, I can’t get hurt, I don’t risk losing something, I won’t fail, and I don’t risk looking like a fool in front of everyone. But what am I missing out on? Perhaps I’m missing out on success. Perhaps I’m missing out on love. Perhaps I’m missing out on enjoyment, fulfillment, and happiness. Perhaps others are missing out on what I might be able give. Fear holds us back from experiencing life. So what does it take to blossom? I guess Anais said it perfectly: The day comes with it just gets too painful to continue living a life of fear. So let’s ask ourselves, what am I going to do today to blossom?

Think Well, Be Well

Think well, be well. Think ill, be ill. This was the reminder in last night’s yoga class. Our state of mind is ultimately what and how we are. We cannot rely on our circumstances to make us happy or give us wellbeing, because many times life throws us some pretty sh***y curveballs. If you think you are well, you will be well. If you think you are ill, you will be ill. Thinking of things that make you feel well, rejuvenated, and inspired even amidst your most difficult circumstances just might give you a sense of wellbeing. I’ll let you in on a secret though, it ain’t easy. It’s like working out a muscle, but when you build up to it, that state of mind is easier to reach. It’s so easy to get caught up in a negative state of mind, especially when it’s a habit. Here are a few things to try when “thinking well” doesn’t seem so easy:

1. Smile. Yep, that’s the last thing you want to do when things aren’t so great but it is the best thing. Force it, fake it, but you will feel at least a teensy bit better. You might even trick yourself into feeling happier.

2. Do a good deed even if it is for selfish reasons of feeling better. Brightening up another person’s day will brighten up yours too, guaranteed.

3. Go for a walk. Getting some fresh air and just getting the blood circulating to your head will get your body and your mind functioning better again.

4. Try something you’ve never done before. You just may gain some new perspective on something you never thought was possible. Or you may learn something about yourself that you never knew was hiding underneath your fear, pride, or laziness.

5. Dance. Express your humanity and the fact that you’re living! Turn some music on and get that booty bumpin’!

6. Laugh at yourself. Whatever your circumstance may be, just remember deep down you’re a goofball for sitting on your a** sulking about whatever it may be, when you were one of billions of other little swimmers on a very long journey to that egg. They all lost and you, yes YOU, won! Just keep swimming!

Be Here, Be Now: Not There, Not Then

The past and the future can evoke various positive and negative emotions: excitement, joy, anxiety, guilt, sadness, anger, etc. Living in the present moment is a concept that’s been showing up a lot lately in my life. I heard about it all the time when I first started doing yoga, but never really truly knew what it meant. As human beings, it is inevitable that our mind will drift–we are excited for the weekend or we reminisce about something in the past, even if it was the recent past like something that happened yesterday or this morning. It is important to remember the past, but be careful that when you’re remembering it, you’re not living in it. When you live in the past or the future, you are blind to the potential beauty that surrounds you, even if you are not where you necessarily want to be, such as the workplace. Being present to your life in this moment might even take any physical or emotional pain you are feeling because you’re completely engulfed in the “now” and not the “then.”

I am so appreciative of having the ability and lifestyle that allows me to practice yoga because it helps me with the difficult process of living in the “now” both during practice and in my day-to-day life. I am also appreciative of it because sometimes I get the opportunity to spend it with my beautiful aunt ;) I used to spend almost my entire yoga practice looking forward to the final pose of relaxation, savasana, but ironically I was missing the whole point of yoga–being in the now. Sometimes I’ll catch myself being mad at the yoga instructor for making us do yet ANOTHER crescent moon or yet ANOTHER 4 more sets of “wheel.” I’ll think, “Really? Isn’t it time for frickin’ savasana now?! (If you’re reading this you know who you are!) But really, I come to find that being present to that pain and that fatigue actually takes it away and WHO KNEW?!–I can actually enjoy those poses even while my muscles are shaking with weakness and I’ve been sweating out nearly half my water weight for the past 55 minutes. Anticipation can bring up a lot of positive and negative emotions, but don’t forget about the life you’re missing out on right here and right now–after all, that is where your life is.

Try this (It takes 32 seconds): Wherever you are, close your eyes (obviously not now because you want to read the rest), sit up straight, and inhale 4 counts of breath, then exhale 4 counts. Then, inhale 6 counts, exhale 6 counts. Then, inhale 8 counts, exhale 8 counts…

Focusing on just your breathing helps you stay present, so maybe, just maybe, you experienced a teensy bit of that present moment. But don’t get too excited about that past moment! You can always do it again, right now…

What Shape Are Your Molecules?

The words we tell ourselves make up our reality and even our physical being! Love and accept yourself for being perfect in your imperfection. Love and accept yourself for who you are in this moment and you will blossom. Leave those unkind words that you tell yourself behind, and let them go. They do not serve you. You are beautiful despite what your small mind tells you!

The above quote reminded me of a scene in “What the Bleep Do We Know.” The pictures below show the difference between two water crystals: one is a part of a cup of water that received positive words and the other is a cup of water that received negative words. If it can do that to a cup of water, imagine what it is doing to your own molecular structure. What shape are you making your molecules?

On “shoulding” all over yourself: It’s gross

Lately I have been more aware of how much I “should” on myself and “should” on others. We have ideas about how we “should” behave or what we “should” do in a certain type of situation, as well as make judgments about what other people “should” do. But let me ask you something: Where does that get you? Has it ever caused you fulfillment? For me it hasn’t. Let me give you an example. I’ve been practicing yoga for almost two years now and a lot of times I’ll catch a voice in the back of my head saying, “Geez Megan you should be able to do tripod headstand by now.” By telling myself I “should” do something it keeps me in a state of powerlessness and I dwell on something that does not exist, which steals away time from experiencing the beauty of the present moment. So I tell that voice, “Thank you for sharing, I’m going to continue with where I’m at in my yoga practice right now.” Sometimes that voice will come back a little softer and say, “Ok practice in the present moment so that one day you will be able to do tripod headstand.” Again, “one day” is not HERE RIGHT NOW so let it go. I find that accepting myself with where I am at gives me power, even though my ego may be a little hurt.

Another example. I grew up with music, mainly piano and singing, but I’ve also picked up a little bit of guitar. Whenever I go to a concert I’ll see the musicians up there and I’ll catch that voice again: “Geez Megan, you’ve been exposed to music your whole life. And why aren’t you doing anything about it? Shouldn’t you be up there?” Then comes the dwelling and the envy of others and all the other nastiness that results from “shoulding” all over myself. Because I’m shoulding all over myself I don’t get to fully enjoy the music that I came to listen to. Guess what voice?  Thank you for sharing, I’m going to enjoy the music now.

I’d love to hear any of your experiences about what happens when you “should” all over yourself!