Greetings to all my yogi friends!
I always need to be in the right frame of mind when I write each monthly newsletter, and sometimes it takes me longer that others to “feel” what needs to be said, or what I would like to share at that time. Currently in my life I have been poised with much change and transition, something that the old me would have had a panic attach over the person I am now handles it much differently, especially in the last several months.
This current transitional state has allowed me to stay on my toes and not get comfortable, a state we often strive to attain, but my practice has taught me that “comfort” is cloud, a lack of clarity that we are in fact stuck again, repeating the same old patterns, just in a different color. So I ask you, where are you comfortable right now in life. Where are you just sitting around on easy street?
Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a little TLC, a little comfort, but when it inhibits us from striving for our goals and becoming the best authentic version of ourselves, then, I see it as something that needs to be addressed.
Ever wonder why things in your life aren’t working out, why everything seems so difficult? Ever consider that maybe your words do not match your actions? That what you say you want are in fact only words and not acted out in real everyday life? Or maybe it’s all caught in your head swimming like a fish unable to be set free through right words and action?
I have gained great observation skills from my yoga practice and as being a teacher, and one thing I have observed is the need to explain ourselves, the excuses we have and the need for approval for our actions. Like somewhere along in the way into our adult lives, we have been taught that the choices we make need another’s stamp for approval in order for them to be good or right. Nevertheless, the interesting thing I have come to notice is we either need these approvals, or we have these little white lies, excuses and explanations when we do not in-fact trust that the choices we made were the best ones.
Take a moment and reflect on the past day so far, what have you spoken of truth and honesty? What have you taught but not spoken at all, have your actions matched your intentions? If not, then why? What’s the problem? And the old me would blame, blame, blame everyone and anyone under the sun, my parents, my partner, my friends, the weather, the community whatever was within reach, but the hard truth is most of what we need to change, accept, alter, forgive is usually within ourselves. We don’t trust because we lie, cheat and steal, not just things but others time, affection, trust. We struggle to forgive often because we have not been willing to accept forgiveness ourselves or have not yet forgiven ourselves. We struggle to love, be faithful or honesty because somewhere inside we have not yet done that to ourselves.
Don’t agree, that is just fine, but know this, we reject that which we cannot accept, we deny that which is most in need, and we get angered when we have in fact somewhere been hurt or mistreated or misunderstood.
So I want to ask you again, what are you pretending doesn’t need attention in your life, what is angering you or are you lying to yourself and others about, and what would happen if you brought a bit more rawness to your life, a bit more honesty, a bit more compassion, a bit more forgiveness and understanding?
So just for today, pick a few of these to work on each day and see what happens:
1. Wake up in a good mood, even if you are normally a cranky morning person (then maybe you need to go to bed earlier) smile right away and thank God or the Universe for all the gifts you have been given.
2. Take each moment as it comes, do not think too far ahead and just take things in this day as they come, knowing that it is only an allusion that you can control much of anything other than your actions and reactions.
3. Be yourself, have you been hiding behind others, not speaking up; let your voice be heard in a non-harming way?
4. No more lies, for just one day, or at least a few moments of your day, stop the show, the stories, the lies, the excuses, the ego boosting and just be as you are, what is the worst that could happen, people see the real you?
5. Take responsibility for your life in this moment. Have stuff hanging over your head? Well only you can change that, how are you spending your time, could it be spent better?
6. Listen more talk less, we all have a story and maybe today it’s not your turn to tell it, but rather to just listen. When is the last time you just listened without any personal motives?
7. Stop reacting and start acting, do people keep telling you the same things over and over? Well maybe it’s telling you something.
8. Not like what you see in others, check in to see if it’s really a mirror for yourself? And if it is, you know what to do.
9. Finally, reclaim yourself as a person of power for your life, speak highly of yourself and stop wasting so much time on things, people and situations that truly bring no value to your being. Now sure we all have thing we have to do in life but at least see the why and do it with a smile.
Remember we all have to start somewhere and it first starts with awareness!
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 have all been told to "just be yourself' and I have myself questioned what that means, and how to act on that. In this self reflection I have come up with a few things I'd like to share
1. Define your core values, what is important to you, and how you can act on that. Take a few moments or heck a few days and feel out and meditate on what is truly important to you, not just in the hype of the moment when you see someone doing something you too would like to do but, when you close your eyes what holds the greatest value for you. Is it family? Than ask yourself are you acting in a way that values family. Is it your relationship with your partner or your children, for you to be a good parent? Is it your social status and your job? Nothing is bad, just what is important to you?
2. What do you need to do, incorporate into your life or let go of to help add more value and action to you being you? For me, I know there are things I need to let go of and allow others to step up and do in order for me to truly be myself and follow my path, that me holding on is probably inhibiting those around me from reaching their potential and to be themselves as well. For me I know there are things I should be doing to help create balance in my life and allow me to accentuate the true me, but bad habits and ruts allow me to fall. Me being me is where I do what I need to do not based on others but based on me. And when I follow that honestly and truthfully, it is not selfish, but usually the opposite, it helps pave the way for others to be themselves in a non-harming and less self-absorbed way. Remember old habits and mindsets die hard.
3. Just say what you need to say. Not saying what you think or what you need to share is in the end going to eat you alive and also strain the relationships of those involved. Don’t think so? If I don’t share what is on my heart in a loving and honest way (being a forklift) then not only am I going to get eaten alive inside but all those involved are left in the dark and are too unable to change or see something differently which just might allow them to be a bit more true and authentic too.
4. Stop watching so much of others’ lives through social media. So much of what we see in today’s world is edited, cut and copied to draw the best crowd. And most of the time it leaves us feeling like how we are right now is just not good enough. Now don’t get me wrong seeing others work hard and achieve is very motivating, but much of what we expose ourselves to and our kids to is far from that. We do not always know what is going on behind closed doors, we do not know most peoples entire stories, but rather what we hear or see based on what a third party writes, edits or snaps in a photo. Stop now and ask yourself is who you are now based on you and your desires, your morals and your core values or what you see someone else achieving? What you see someone else accomplishing, what you see someone else working towards.
5. Be you for a day and own it! Yep, just for a day, work to authentically be you. Make choices based on what matters to you, now some may say that is selfish, but the difference between being selfish and taking care of the self is that you are not in the business of hurting others. When a person truly honors the self and acts in a truthful way others do not get hurt, and if at first their ego is bruised well then that is for them to deal with. So just for that 24 hour period test the waters on making choices and choosing activities and creating a healthy language that best serves you as a person.
Just because someone said you can’t do that, or you see someone achieving something a certain way does not mean that is the only way; it does not mean that you have to mimic those footsteps. One thing I am learning right now in my own life is how to not worry so much about how people will react to my choices, and how to honor my own inner desires and life calling, and knowing that when I do this, those around me will actually be more able to follow their own paths, desires and dreams. Because when you do you, others will be able to do the same.
So go out and make your own mold, be your own person, create your own beat and your own drum to play on. There are probably many people out there doing something similar to what you desire or are trying to achieve, but there is only one person equipped for the job of your destiny and that person is you!
I am constantly amazed at how the Universe and the world around me keep me on my toes. As I write this I am on a layover in Dallas, Texas, and just a few hours prior, I was at Madison Airport running back to my car at 5:38am (after a run into the airport because I realized how far the economy parking lot is, and heck I have legs to I can walk, but I don’t want to be late). In just a few minutes the Universe taught me to be even more conscious and do what my Inner Self, that whisper from God telling you to do something and when we don’t listen we may have to do something more complicated than what the initial request was. So that run back to my car I was talking about was because after check in (and my flight being moved from 6am to 6:30am) I went to the bathroom, and after, I had the thought to text my husband to tell him I’m at the airport, but I thought that I’d wait until later because I didn’t feel like taking my phone out of my bag. Well after security check I was searching for my phone and couldn’t find it…it was in my car. And at 5:38am I found myself, with my roller suitcase and handbag running in 8 degrees to get my phone, hoping I won’t miss my flight at 6:30pm.
Lesson here, do what your Inner Self says, and when you don’t there is a silver lining, I wasn’t mad that I had to run back to the car (after running in the first time to get my flight). Because I instantly thought of the fact that before I even made the choice to not look at my phone, God and the Universe already switched my flight to accommodate my choice five minutes later.
I have for many years now believed that being comfortable in life means that you are not growing, and that there are two different kinds of easy: one, easy because you are avoiding life’s challenges so what you come in contact with is never pushing you to be more than you currently are; and two, easy because you understand that you need to be challenged and that all the “problems” you are facing currently are because life is not giving up on you, the Universe and God want very much for you to succeed and that what is currently taking you down, is actually building you back up. The only real challenge is if you choose to listen or not.
Over the years I have had many opportunities to challenge my personal integrity, my belief system and how I act on it, my lifestyle, my truths, among many other personal convictions; and within all of those opportunities I have come face to face several times with the meshing and tangling with others integrity, belief system, lifestyle and personal convictions and what I have come to notice, and turn my awareness towards is my actions and reactions to the interactions with life in general.
And what I have come to find is that all these encounters force me to put life into actual action. Now as you read this you are probably wondering ‘life into actual action’, isn’t life actual action? But hear me out; life is only living when you chose to be an active part of it, faith is only faith when you choose to attest to it and walk in its footsteps. Yoga is only yoga when you take it off the mat and into every day life. Now readings this ask yourself a few simple questions: one, do I agree, two, if I don’t agree, why, am I not living up to my potential, three, am I consciously choosing to only do what is comfortable and the norm, only what others say is right or correct living.?
If everything is a mirror for right living, for ourselves to get a real glimpse as to what is really going on inside of us, then this is the question I ask myself is: “what is my mirror showing me today?” I don’t always like the mirror because it tells me that what I am doing and what I know I should be doing and am capable of, are different. When we accept the mirror in all aspects of life we allow another opportunity in- to grow and become the person the Universe and God intended us to be.
There is no drug, surgery or amount of money that can replace what the mirror can do for us. We live in an age of politically correct action; we are trying to save everyone from harm’s way, from hurt, from consequences to help them from seeing the mirror that is in front of them. I often times wonder if removing the mirror from people’s lives is really the right decision. As a yoga teacher, I tread both heavy and lightly on these grounds because we are all at a different place in life and within our own personal convictions.
I have a bit of abhorrence when my awareness kicks in and each night when my husband wants ice cream I want to pretend that I should have some too and it won’t affect me later. I dislike greatly that my mirror kicks in and shows me that I would be a lot less stressed, less tired, and more ready for the day if I just go to bed earlier. The list goes on, in the past I came to realize that my food choices were base on what I felt I should be doing rather than what I need for me, my body image was based solely on what I thought others thought of me. My self-worth was entangled in the worth of those around me. And what I believe in and acted on in faith was knotted in with was drilled into my head without reason why, and was in-fact faith without action. Sure I went to church and prayed and did my fair share of volunteering (which I love and would probably be a missionary if I wasn’t a yoga teacher) among other things.
But looking back in that part of my life what I needed was to be shown that all the things I needed were inside of me. That by accepting the Self is actually accepting the Universal Consciousness (however that manifests for you). And the self-hate I had towards myself and the lies, self-mutilation and anger I had was not an action in Universal Consciousness or of God, and although I did a pretty good job of looking the part and doing all the right things and even the work I was doing was supposed to “save me” the only thing that really saved me was when I realized that I had purpose, I was in-fact a part of that Universal Consciousness and that God was actually inside of me rather than some big scary thing in the sky that was going to punish me for wrong doing. My God is my mirror, showing me everything I need to know about myself, life and living, doing work and living honestly to the best of my ability.
My yoga practice (which has very much floated over into how I live) will not be all you expect: my family eats meat, I like an occasional cup of coffee, I am guilty of a late night snack, I own a T.V., you might be amazed at the fact that I don’t’ agree with all environmental actions taken that is currently taken to make the environment a safer place; which I think may actually be causing more toxic harm; and sometimes I even shop at Wal-mart (remember those people that work there chose to work there and need jobs, which this establishment has provided).
No one is perfect and if you are projecting yourself to be, I’m impressed and need to know your secret. But more important is that yoga is teaching me that I should be pure in all that I do, that I should be honest, compassionate and live to be happy, and share happiness with others. That it’s not talking the talk, but walking the walk.
I am thankful that my yoga, the yoga I know and live and teach and walk by is my mirror, both on the mat and off the mat, and when I approach that ready to listen, ready to learn and ready to do the work, I am amazed because I never know what is going to happen. The old me would have either ran or got defensive, but in understanding what the real point of a yoga practice is I thank God for my mirror to be able to see things as they actually are and know that what and how things come into play in my life are an opportunity for me to learn, grow and truly live.
In respect, Namaste.
Got tension, stress, worry, or doubt? We all do, and when we offer ourselves simple techniques to help eliminate and lessen the effects of them, we feel better and become better people. The Tension Release breathing technique is meant to help one to release negative psychic tensions built up within the subtle body. These tensions can hold us back in our spiritual growth and create a very heavy energy. This practice was created by Swami Rudrananda to better enhance his spiritual life.
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There are 30 trillion cells in the human body, more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels, 88,000 chakras, and 72,000 nadis. And that's just the beginning.
Awareness is a funny thing. Usually, until something is brought to your attention, you do not realize it exists, is important, or needs to be changed. When I first started a formal yoga practice over ten years ago (I’m pretty sure my shoulder stands in my living room at age eight were a sign yoga was in my future), I had no clue what awareness was. Growing up I was told to pay attention, but I don’t think I really knew what actual awareness was.
What is awareness?
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- Yoga is not a fashion show. It can sometimes appear that yoga is in fact a fashion runway where people are able to show off the latest trends and styles via their yoga mat. The only problem is when someone can’t afford those expensive duds (as most yoga clothes are) they can feel less than perfect. A few years back, I remember hearing about a yoga fashion show happening, and I had to step back for a moment and ask myself, “Is this even yoga anymore?”
- Yoga is not a workout. Now I bet you are thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” But hear me out. Yoga in the West is mainly physical, and that being said, many treat it like an exercise routine; something they use to cross train with, and that is great and wonderful. However, asana is only one of the eight limbs of yoga, so really, when yoga is a work out, then you are simply asana-ing.
- Yoga is not a fad. Now, many use yoga coupled with other practices to make it sound trendier, more hip, and what they end up doing is taking the yoga out of yoga. I giggle at the phone calls I get from time to time from prospective students, very explicit about the kind of yoga they are looking for; they don’t really know anything about yoga itself, just that the kind they are looking for includes a buzz word and sounds very difficult.
- Yoga is not boot camp. It seems a little oxymoron to me to put boot camp and yoga together; you might as well call it military yoga. What I hope people are realizing is they are buying into buzz words, or spiking terms, that promise to give them results fast, and a boot camp has that appeal. If you want yoga to kick your butt, then find a teacher who is capable of truly teaching you what you are doing and what it means to practice yoga.
- Yoga is not a religion. Contrary to what some may still think, yoga is not a religion. It is something to help enhance your belief system and spirituality, but not a practice that deems a particular faith. Yoga is without a doubt a science of consciousness. Some say religion creates walls, well then yoga cultivates a communion of consciousness together as One.
- Yoga is not competition. I heard this past year that the Olympic committee was considering putting yoga in the mix of other sports for the Olympic Games. What?! Yoga as a competition totally defeats the entire purpose of a yoga practice in the first place. Focusing on the physical only, and then worrying about beating someone else and being judged on your form, posture and approach; someone might as well follow you around all day and flip up score cards as to how they think you are living your life.
- Yoga is not about your teacher. I heard the term “yoga celebrity” a few years ago and I was saddened to hear such a term. Can you really be a celebrity of yoga? Apparently so, and yes, a good teacher is hard to find, but what makes a good teacher is not fame and living on the Cali coast. As your teacher, I would want nothing more than to truly help you understand what living a yogic lifestyle means, not just to teach you asana. And in those teachings, a yoga teacher’s aim should be, to in the end, have a student that is ten times better than she (or he) would ever be.
- Yoga is not a destination. Yoga is quite simply a journey. A journey that can lead to an endless array of possibilities. We often get fixed on mastering a pose, and then once we have mastered that pose, we realize that it wasn’t the pose at all, but the journey to the pose that gave us such joy and accomplishment.
- Yoga is not a quick fix. I hear it all the time from students, “What can I do for this issue?” And to be quite honest, even on a physical level, it is not that simple. Our bodies took years to get to where we are, and to be able to un-do something in two simple moves is ridiculous and simply not possible. It takes time to truly understand the body, why we are the way we are and, most importantly, to heal. Yoga is a lifelong practice, one thing leading into the next, much like a dance. Think of all the old-time dances; they took time, there was precision, purpose and mindfulness involved. Sounds like yoga to me!
- Yoga is not something we do. Yoga isn’t something you do, it is a state of being. Yoga is what some call a complete union of all things consciousness, but more importantly, yoga is you, me, the trees, air, your breath, a smile, a pose, the sound Om. Yoga is the beginning and end of everything, yoga is all that is in existence. You can never really ever do yoga; you can only practice yoga. Much like you can never really do life; you can only live life. Yoga is the action of life.
Hope in her backyard in Dancer Pose
We have all said it to someone, had someone say it to us or even said it to ourselves in a moment of self realization: You need to take better care of yourself, take more time for you and maybe even learn to say no.
We do in fact get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday living that we forget that if we do not pay attention to our personal needs and well-being there will quite simply be no us, no you, no me. Within this honoring, this mindfulness we are in-acting towards ourselves it has been very apparent to me that this act of selflessness needs to be coupled with an intention, awareness and consideration of those around us as well.
We often times get too caught up in our own "stuff" we forget that what we do, the choices we make and the things we say affect those around us.
Consciousness of who we are, what we are doing and how we live is something we must choose to do each day and then act or react accordingly.
I have found myself lately in situations that have been teaching me about my own consciousness and how I am in fact playing into others lack thereof. I ultimately care so much about my foresight has been that I will sacrifice myself for others to move forward. But I have noticed lately, more than ever, that there is seldom a return on this (when you are not truly honoring your own being). Now I know some of you will say “sure there is”. But what I have ultimately found is that the self sacrifice I am referring to is the one where we are in fact enabling those around us to stay stuck, even though they may get what they need: a ride, some money, help, or a hand out with our having asked, but within that process we end up sinking our own beings to help them stay afloat with nothing in return.
Many times we (the enablers) make choices and act in such ways because we feel we may be inconveniencing others and in return they may not want to buy something of yours or come to your party or help you when you are down and out. What we often times forget is that in doing such this, with these intentions and mindset no one wins. Sure that person is down on their luck, in a bind or struggle but if you keep helping them how will they learn, and if you keep helping them how will you learn? When we act I this way we are actually holding the other people involved back from growing, we are enabling their karma to never fully meet with them face to face because we feel bad or we want to help because we feel guilty or they pull out the victim card on us. And as much as we are trying to help them honor themselves by assisting them in making the right choices, helping them heal from a crisis, we need to turn that around towards us and ask ourselves if we are doing the same thing?
The truth is we all have problems; we all have rough patches, bumps and mishaps; now some come in the form of cancer, dis-ease, financial loss, martial or family problems, and self insecurities that may in turn become horrible self destructive addictions. But these are purely learning lessons, some very difficult, some sudden, or seemingly unfair, but if you can step back from them a bit and trust that everything is in its perfect place and a learning opportunity we will only move forward leaving no one accountable for our actions except ourselves. My life has screamed this for as far as I can remember. As a young child I felt the need to fix everything, in my teens I struggled with a paralyzing eating disorder and then early into recovery our first daughter Faith at 28 weeks gestation was diagnosed with a irreversible condition that left her with a short life spent in my arms (and my husband’s). I had to choose each time to not see myself as a victim, to not blame everyone around me and to not blame myself. I choose at each moment (literally) to see what the silver lining was, to see that life was teaching me, Faith chose this life and chose me and my husband as part of her path and we to hers. She gave me personally many great things that I am grateful for and she would have not given me them any other way. Just like your current life and situation is giving you something right now to grow from, to help change your life and work through your karma.
So when we learn to honor ourselves, and act in a self-less way, we need to ask ourselves this “am I helping or hurting”, these choices should hold us accountable to our actions, words and thoughts. Remember the lady in McDonalds with the coffee, I believe that this episode paved the way for people to believe that self integrity, self responsibility and accountability will not get you what you want, we now live in a society that would rather divorce than admit that they were wrong, sue every company, person and organization than step up and do a little hard work and grow. Much of the ownership in today’s society comes in all the wrong forms. Respect is bought, stolen, or cheated, we are taught that honesty will not get you far in life, and we are taught to be enabled from early on.
Simply put, when we learn to respect ourselves, see the greater good in ourselves and lead by example what seems so hard, unfair or impossible only becomes the biggest stepping stone in your karmic journey. Sink or swim, look around is anyone really pushing you under? For me (during my eating disorder) I found I was letting myself drown, and manipulating those around me to keep me afloat just enough not to have to change.
So go out and take better care of yourself, but in that process seek awareness and understand that we are only given what we need and have asked for ourselves through our own choices and actions.
Core strength isn’t just about looking thin; your core is your identity center and connects all your movements. For these reasons and more, having core strength will improve your mind, body, and soul.
1. Learn deep abdominal breathing (DAB). Most people in today’s society are chest breathers, and this kind of breathing leads to a slew of side effects like anxiety, asthma, sleep disturbances, stress, poor digestion, and constipation just to name a few. Distance yourself from chest breathing by practicing deep abdominal breathing before you get out of bed in the morning and when you lay down to go to sleep. DAB is a great technique to help bring more awareness to your core, the center of your being. Here’s how to practice it:
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- Place one hand on your lower abdomen and one hand on your upper belly, now take a moment and relax into the bed or floor.
- On the inhalation consciously move your breath into the upper hand and then begin to consciously expand your breath into the lower hand.
- Exhale and allow the breath to fully complete itself, do not worry about how the breath leaves (bottom to top or top to bottom), and try to make the exhalation slightly longer than the inhalation.
- Pay attention that the exhalation fully completes itself and that nothing is forced; your body will accept the breath as you continue to work.
- Work with this for at least three to five minutes or until you fall asleep (at night).