Greetings to all my dear yogi friends.
I cannot believe how time has flown. Yesterday marks 7 years my husband and I have been married and just six months ago was the anniversary of Copper Tree's opening just 7 years ago as well. I feel like time just goes faster and faster as we get older and it's is all the more reason to be in the moment and soak up every experience that comes our way.
Excuses seem to flood many of our minds and lives when we feel simply too busy to do things, to connect with important people in our lives and to keep tabs on the important things in life.
Now, yes, yes, you are saying easier said than done, and I would surely agree with that, as each day I am challenged to stay on course and keep the path. Knowing that the path may change at a moment's notice and I will need to make sure I have my head in the game to be able to react accordingly when that happens.
But how do we know if our head is not in the game? Well we get snippy at small simple things that happen, we blame others for wrongs in our lives, we blame that we don't have the help, or the ability or the support to get where we want to be, we reject the ideas of others because they were not our own. We resits rather than persist. Or simply turn unmotivated towards any furthering in our lives.
And from my own personal experiences all I can say to that is, those are merely excuses, and if and when you truly desire to go for a goal and get it done, you can and you will. There is always a way and always time, and always help out there if you choose to step away from the ego and ask that person you are too prideful to ask, work overtime to get those tasks done, or turn away from those time leaches like T.V., gossip, computer surfing etc. My very simply mantra is "less talk and more action".
I hold myself highly accountable to the to do lists I have and the desires and dreams I have. And remind myself that if and when I really want something, I am at the end of the day the only one that can go out and make them happen. Weather that is reaching out for help, a guide, gathering the correct tools I need so I'm not spinning my wheels, or maybe it means I step back from doing so much so I can put my energy into what I really need to be doing. Regardless know and understand that the ball is in your court.
So where do I go from here?
1. Make a list of what it is you are working on, what you you have "to do", moving towards, or have in your scope of dreams.
2. Now write down all the excuses you have said to yourself and others as to why those things are not happening, are not in action. Be honest, this exercise is suppose to benefit you not the ego.
3. Now put these things in order from most pressing to least pressing, or short term and long term. This way you can see on paper where you need to put your energy and where you maybe need to be asking for help or stepping back in life. And if you have the time and willingness look out day to day and week to week and see how these tasks fit in each day and most importantly be realistic.
4. Finally, ACTION! One thing at a time, knowing that life does have it ups and downs and knowing that things to change, so be flexible and willing to roll with those little changes. Work to be more open minded and not so critical or jealous of those around you (yes jealous, I check in with my frustration and ask myself if I am comparing and judging and if so I can spot that jealousy and put it to rest).
Action, noting will happen without action, so go out there and make it happen!
To all my friends out there that have felt this way, need not worry there is light at the end of the tunnel.
1. You find yourself or overhear others say that you are continually doing the same drab thing over and over again.
2. Your cues are monotone and very blah, there is no excitement in your voice and find you are not trying to really go that extra mile.
3. You dread coming in to teach. Yes sometimes family, and other commitments get in the way and we have to step back, but if it’s all in your head then it’s time to address it.
4. You snap at students over simple little comments or questions they have feeling as though they should already know the answer.
5. You are getting sick all the time, sickness is not random our immune system and nervous system react to how we deal with stress or don’t deal with stress, so if you’re sick your body has found a way for you to slow down the only way you will listen.
6. You yourself are not attending classes or giving variety to your personal practice, heck you don’t even have one at this point.
7. You find yourself eating junky food, and not taking the time to do to yourself what you say others should do to themselves.
8. You just don’t show up, and worst you forget or just flat out don’t get a sub.
9. Your body hurts, you are constantly hurting yourself and worse yet you are unwilling to point the finger at yourself as the teacher.
10. Finally, your personal practice is forceful, and angered or boring and unmotivated, leaving you more hostile or withdrawn than you were before.
How to fix it:
1. Cut down on the amount of classes you teach. Ever heard of burn out, well it happens a lot even in you are a yoga teacher. Every six months I have learned I need to take some time to step back and breathe and reevaluate my schedule and if I need to make a change.
2. Take a break! Yes, maybe you need a leave of absence from teaching all together to allow yourself the time off to prioritize your schedule and maybe figure out if you still want to teach at all.
3. Prioritize your personal practice. What makes a good teacher is not necessarily the training they take (although a good one surely sets the foundation) but how they continue to stay a student. At our studio we have a once a month rule, we ask that students find time to come to a class at least one time a month at the studio, this helps get their face out there, learn new tricks and keep up their personal well-being.
4. Get involved in other activities, just because you teach the mighty yoga does not mean you can’t enjoy other activities as well, like: walking, hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, camping, crafting, scrapbooking, sewing, soccer, cooking, being a mom or dad. When you find balance you enjoy more of what you do.
5. Stop and eat, yes eat good foods, nourishing foods. When is the last time you actually asked your body what do you want to eat today. Let go of the picture that you need to be a raw foodie or vegan to be a good soulful yogi. Eating what your body needs is more important than restricting foods you think it shouldn’t have, or only filling it with well, crap.
6. Delegate, do you have so much going on that you’re drowning a slow miserable death? Dig yourself out by delegating tasks that you just don’t need to be doing. We often feel we have to do it all, but in all reality doing it all does not allow you to do what you do best to the best of your ability. God gave us all different talents so we can work together as a team.
7. Get enough sleep, harder than it looks many of us simply trade sleep for mindless activities like watching T.V. and then pay for it the next day when we don’t get up early to practice or are crabby because we short changed ourselves the deep slumber we need to recharge our batteries.
8. Practice saying yes and no. Which one do you struggle to say? Work on saying these simple yet powerful words and take note on what you need to work on saying more of. Trying to help everyone else and neglect yourself will only work for so long, so is it yes or no?
9. Establish some sort of daily devotional time. Reading the bible or yoga sutras, a daily devotional book, journal, meditate and or pray. This time will allow you the clarity as to your direction and establish gratitude for your journey, your practice, your teaching and all those who join you.
10. Finally, write down why you love teaching (yoga), why you are passionate about it, and how does it give back to you? If you can’t find anything good to come of it then maybe it’s time to shift directions, and if you have a long list of passionate answers then it’s time to reestablish a schedule and routine that will best serve and honor that.
As a yoga teacher, studio owner, teacher trainer, author and mom, I totally get balance, but I did not at first. And as my duties and life grew fuller, I was unwilling to delegate because I felt so responsible to do it all, than I would get sick, and feel crappy about teaching and was taking it out on loved ones. When I allowed myself to enjoy other things not related to yoga and came to the realization that liking those things did not make me less of a yogi then I was before, part of the burden was lifted. Remember life is always shifting us, and as we grow, things we are doing may need to fall away, teaching certain classes, being a part of certain groups or boards we sit on, friends, jobs, what your personal practice needs, regardless, we must be open to this shift.
We are only fooling ourselves if we think we can do it all, and moreover think we need to, and this goes for everyone. My best moments on the mat are when I am constantly, daily and as a devotee seeking balance in my personal practice, teaching and daily living. Make decisions based on what is best for you and in the end it will be what is best for your students (they just might not know it yet).
We often don't realize it but we put much of our precious energy, thought and action into things that only drain us and give us nothing in return.
When you just focus on yourself and stop comparing, or analyzing everyone elses moves, life gets a lot easier. Focus on you because that is the life you are living. When you think about it, this is really quite easy, we just make it complicated, how?
1. Judging with only half the story
2. Reading trashy magazines like People, US, Star and who knows whatever else is out there (I'm out of the loop)
3. Listening to too much gossip in person and on the radio, internet
4. Watching too much T.V., where we don't realize it but we allow ourselves to believe that what we are watching is how it really is (hello, can you say editing).
5. Caring more about what everyone else is doing and less about what you yourself is doing.
6. Checking Facebook, Twitter and who knows what other site every second, and posting every single thing that you are doing and then watching how many people care.
How to stop it:
1. Stop taking so much interest in others lives just to feel better about your own.
2. Do not pick up those trashy magazines, don't even look at them in the isle of the grocery store, stop your subscriptions, most of that crap is photo shopped anyways.
3. Just walk away from life sucking conversations, just smile and walk away.
4. Just turn off the T.V. (and Computer for that matter, being on that thing is just as bad as the T.V. in some respects and maybe worse, remember your mom saying to move away from the T.V., well, look at you now).
5. Start caring more about yourself and hold yourself to the highest standard, not to feel belittled, but rather to see yourself as important and worth a heck of a lot more than all that crap you are allowing yourself to take in.
6. Stop checking Facebook, Twitter, and yahoo every 5 minutes to see what everyone is doing in their lives, and stop needing everyone's virtual approval for every thing you do, the number one person's approval you need, is simply your own.
I have observed my own life and the lives of those around me and really noticed how much time and energy we put into what everyone else is doing, or not doing, or how they are living, or looking, rather than our own.
Are we really that boring? Do we really think so lowly of ourselves that we feel the need to spend our valuable (at least we call it that) time with junk like this? All those things you say you are going to do, or don't have time for, well you are wasting it on all that stuff listed above.
A part of my business is social media, so I try to be very careful not to get sucked into this junk when I am doing my thing.
That being said, we easily get into ruts and find that watching T.V. is an easier "mindless" activity than say reading a book, or sewing, or spending quality family time or going outside. We go on the computer to do one thing and end up killing hours surfing the internet looking and reading stuff that has no real value for our lives.
A few years ago I noticed how much I was reading the covers of the trashy magazines in the grocery checkout, and how afterwards I felt like sh*t about myself. In this discovery I decided to make it a challenge not to look at the covers of those people just like us, beings scrutinized for being too skinny, or too fat or that they cheated on their spouse or drank too much. I see that stuff and think, we are all just as guilty of that except we don't have cameras following us everywhere we go, and cutting and editing everything we say and how we act.
Finally, I spend years having extremely low self-esteem, feeling like I had little to no self-worth and value, it took much of what I have mentioned and more above to see that I was in-fact valuable, I had something to offer, and in recognizing and admitting that I was guilty of much of the above, I was and still am, able to change it.
Namaste, my friends!
We as yogis are versed in "Warrior I.” As a yoga teacher, functional fanatic and lifelong student, I have come across some very interesting variations to the traditional Warrior I.
When I teach the physical postures I try to give students a blue print to go off of. And before a student or teacher trainee learns any other postures with me, they first must understand the concept of neutral or Tadasana. In the West, we have an especially warped concept of good posture. Over the last decade teaching, I have found myself morphing my yoga practice and teaching into a more physically functional approach with a spiritual tradition wrapped in.
Whenever I introduce this concept to the public or new students I try to help people understand that once we can learn neutral, we then can learn un-neutral. A simple example would be a foot pattern besides neutral. Many people already have an external rotation on the foot with a collapsed main arch, so we need to approach postures with an understanding and re-educating of the foot to neutral, and then we can do other things. Understanding neutral can really help us function better in by getting us out of the rounded torso, tight hip flexors, the need for arch supports, fluffy pillow, and get back to knowing our bodies and what they really need.
With Functional Warrior I, students gain better insight into their body from a Mountain Pose perspective or neutral, and begin to see the blueprint of their bodies; what is tight, short, slack, strong or weak. From there, they can begin to heal and gain ground to what in yoga we call balance and what I suggest is finding the imbalances.
To read more on this topic visit MindBodyGreen, where Hope has this article posted.
Do you want to thrive, or survive? Ask yourself this simple question? Without much thought, the answer is obvious. We all want to live a healthy, happy, vibrant life. We all want to drink every last drop we can from this great life and this amazing Earth energy that we possibly can, and grow from it.
But what I come to find is that most of us are barely getting by, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are barely functioning inside and out and our insides are not happy. Most people are just surviving, and in this economic drought, most will say they have no other option. But let me ask you this, if a building was burning and you were locked inside would you just sit back and say, “well I have no other option other than to die in here”. Or would you say, “I’m not going to die today; the only way I’m going to die is trying to get out of this burning building”. My point is that when we are truly faced with a crisis we can do anything. And each person reading this right now is faced with a crisis; I’m faced with a crisis at this moment as well.
Most of us are:
To read more on this article by Hope Zvara visit (click on ->) MindBodyGreen.com
- Either over exercise or don’t exercise at all
- Have a distorted concept of what healthy eating is
- Have more negative self talk and thoughts than positive ones in any given day
Summer is off to a great start! Sun is shining, birds are chirping and the yoga mats are unfolding. This past month has been an interesting month for me personally. And in this past month I have been able to really realize again how important my yoga practice and my yoga family here at the studio truly is. Over ten years ago I started my yoga practice, still a teenager; yoga found me at the most critical time in my life EVER.
Now some people say they found God, or that they were saved, or born again, but for me, “I found life again”. And no matter how you say it or what sort of belief system provokes it, I have found through my own kind of crazy (and they have been quite crazy) that you are kidding yourself when you think that it’s a onetime deal. That all you have to do is one day “believe” or feel that feeling and that is it. In my own personal life, I have already proved that to be wrong.
In order to keep living, in order to “keep the faith”, in order to be an incessant part of Creation, it is a constant commitment, a continual trust and something that is not a one shot deal. In my own 28 years of life on this Earth-this time around, I have found that those “moments” are temporary, they get you over a hump, but then afterwards you must follow up, you must keep committing, keep-keeping the faith, you must continue to step onto your mat, especially on the days you would rather not.
I can’t tell you the number of times I “was a changed person” to only go right back to what I was doing prior. Looking back, each one of those experiences was necessary to get me to where I am now, a teaching lesson I wouldn’t otherwise have, but it was not the one “wish” deal I was hoping for.
Life is a continual “action” experience. Now that being said the more in tune you become the easier life gets. But I think what we often forget is that life may not exactly get easier, you just get better at dealing with it, you start to see life differently and you change, and as you change then life starts to shift.
So this last month I found myself a bit personally frustrated with areas of my life and what I was finally able to do with the help of some great people & tools in my life, (which I am grateful to have) was to realize that I need to step out and step up even more, I was at a standstill because life was rolling and I was stopped. And I am pretty sure this happens to us all. Some use the phrase “life happens”, but I don’t think it is quite that way. Sure life happens with or without us, but “our” life is only what we decide to make of it.
So I am humbled at the opportunity to grow out loud, to stumble without hiding, and to admit my strengths and areas of work. And my hope is that all who come to practice at the “Tree” realize that there is no judgment, and the only person we are trying to impress is ourselves and if we are already trying to impress ourselves, we for some reason have already let ourselves down. And that is nothing anyone else can fix. An interesting practice I personally have been working with lately is my ability to “let others grow” and “really be aware that it is ok to make a mistake”.
In my life I have been heavily criticized for all sorts of reasons, some I will never know exactly and it has taken many, many years to understand that all those people are merely teachers for me, that I now thank regularly, and actually welcome (sometimes it’s easier to do than others) what they have to say. Because if they are anything like me, the criticism is usually more about themselves than the person they are saying it to anyway. So in the weeks and months to come, step up and step out, be YOU and welcome what others have to say, now don’t be mean, because remember are you talking with compassion for the other or hatred? But Welcome the opportunities to be a better person, take each instance as life telling you to clean up your act, to refine who you are, what ends up happening is we see these things as threats and instead of growing we burrow down and deflect. So as I work on me I hope that you will work on you. And when I see you on your mat we will help work on each other.
So as many of you know, I tend to write about my own personal experiences and my life. And as I continue to grow and evolve with the rest of the “willing” world, I am continually awed at the notion of what growth is. Many of us like the idea of growth, but what we often leave out is that we like it on our own terms. We prefer it to be how we see fit, how it “makes sense to us”. I say HA! You wish, heck, I wish! It can’t be growth if you are controlling it. A great teacher of mine says that “you can’t engage in anger and frustration and still expect to grow spiritually, you are just kidding yourself. The only thing that grows is your ego to thinking you have grown”. Frustration simply put, is mental confusion. And so, when I get frustrated am I always able to stay cool and calm, not 100%, but what I am really working on is noticing that when I do get frustrated it’s usually not the other person, but me that needs to learn something (well them too but that is for them to see). And so we have a choice. Do I stay as I am or breathe, and see if there is a different way to look at what is in front of me?
There is a big world out there and you will only be holding yourself back if you continually pride yourself on remembering every little thing someone did to you and that you are older and wiser that everyone else. Wisdom is not counted by the number of years on this earth in this lifetime, but rather if you have taken the knowledge you have and applied it to life, you have actually “learned”. Rudi, a great Swami says in many of his books, that a teacher will want to be on your level with you and grow with you, not want to be above you or put you below him or herself, but rather be side by side. And I think of this only because I was just talking about Kids Yoga classes with a instructor friend and I told her the number one thing to remember is “play with the kids” their whole life is people telling them what to do, you can reach them in a much better way if you become a child, and simply maintain a understanding that you are leading the group. For me this is something I often try to implement into my teaching and life. So to all my yogi friends, my hope is that we walk side by side rather than in a single file line. That when growth is stunted we are all a big enough person to look to ourselves first, that at the end of the day real growth has to do with the total annihilation of your limited definition of self. So grow to your potential, because you are the only one holding you back.
In the midst of frustration what else are we to do but lash out. Why would we rather have to figure out coping strategies to lessen the blow or better yet not be able to take it out on someone else? And like a food addiction we can so easily become addicted to anger, out bursts and worse off abuse. We say it’s not going to happen again, that it was just this once-because we were stressed out, annoyed or out of our element, but really we fear change. We fear that we will be different and that we will possibly have to work at it alter our lifestyle somehow and in some way. Wouldn’t it simply be easier to just give me a pill or zap me a few times and make it all better?
Isn’t that is so much our society-quick fix without the effort. So I ask you now to STOP! Stop with the lies, the anger, the violence towards yourself and all those around you. If you are to the point where you are hurting others in any way, I can guarantee you that you have been hurting yourself for years. So the change will have to be gradual and will put you in positions that will challenge you to go back to your ways or to challenge them and turn away. It comes down to your choice. We complain that we have no choices in life yet the ones we have control over, we’d rather not have. So in the midst of frustration here’s the thing, you can choose to change, alter your life, ruffle your feather in the hopes of a new look at the horizon. Or you can keep down the same path you have continually gone down over and over and over again with zero success, but it’s comfortable and easy and you basically don’t have to try.
Life is full of bumps and bruises, tears and laughs, questions and very few answers but this does not have to stop you from living, from the opportunity of change, from the life you keep saying you want and wonder why you never have. I know more people that I can count on all my hands and feet that say one thing and NEVER FOLLLOW THROUGH-heck I use to be one of them. But I’ve learned to say no, to admit when I am wrong (and boy is it hard), to speak up and go after what I know I am capable at in life. Why watch everyone else live the life you want because you simply don’t want to put the work in. Really that is what it comes down to. Give me all the excuses you want, I’ve heard them all because I’ve said them all and simply put-it’s all a load of crap. Am I perfect no, but, do I try my damdest and hardest to follow my heart, my gut my passion and you bet your bottom dollar I see my work paying off. And am I afraid to fall; no because I have told myself enough now that falling is part of the game, no shame, just necessary and a requirement in life.
So that anger, that frustration, it’s not your computer (would be an easy fix though), it’s not your Mom or Dad, your boss, your scale, your partner, your date book….it’s you. You have to step up and step out and welcome fear that makes you start living the life you have been dying to live. That fear, that worry that doubt is just a wake up that you need to keep moving, keep praying, keep believing and keep WORKING your ass off until you see yourself on the other end. There is no other way. I’ve been to the point in my own life that I chanced death all to many times, held death in my arms and still came out above it. So step up, step out and be somebody—YOURSELF!