February is a month that honors many things – Black History, Women’s Heart Health, and Groundhog Day to name a few. February is also the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day. And whether you are looking forward to February 14th or think it is a ploy created by the greeting card industry, love is something we all need. It is essential to life. And not just the romantic kind of love – though that is wonderful – but the love we feel for our families, our friends, and mankind in general. Love is the thread that unites us all. So why not celebrate it?
SCENE: You finally found that comfortable spot on your mat and are beginning to let the stresses of the day go. You’re starting to get the hang of breathing and maybe even the warm-up part of class is feeling good. Then your teacher says something to the effect of, “Take a moment and set an intention for your practice.” An intention, what is that, you wonder? I intend to get through this class without looking like I don’t belong here. I intend to attempt my first arm balance. What else is there? Why do I need to set an intention for my practice?
Good question. I love Deepak Chopra’s definition of an intention: “a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create.” Read that again. SLOWLY. Let it sink into your soul and uncover what it brings up. Intentions are focused, conscious, and the beginning of a creation. Much like your yoga practice should be. Using your breath to blend your movements and unite body, mind, and spirit, your yoga practice is a manifestation of your true self. Your desires and dreams start somewhere. They start with an intention.
There are many reasons why we set an intention for our practice. When I think about it, the top three reasons are: 1) To focus the mind; 2) To link your practice to something off your mat; and 3) To add meaning to your practice. Continue reading
We are 3 days away from offering a 21 Day Teaching Immersion at our Gotta Yoga University location. I always get childishly excited when we get ready to start another teaching journey. How lucky and blessed I am to do what I love.
Telling the story of how yoga found me is always a first day yoga teacher training ritual. I was 30 years old and just had my second child. I had been a runner my entire life and assumed that would pick up beating the streets as soon as I had that baby girl…after all, had done so after the birth of my son. The running did not feel good in my body so 6 weeks after Eliza was born I walked into my first power vinyasa at a local gym and was so hooked from that moment forward! I quickly developed a 2-3 x week routine of practice and returned super fast to pre pregnancy shape and even a new shape where my upper body, core and back were stronger.
And then there was Eliza…the 2nd child. I believe I knew in the threads of my spirit that something was very wrong during delivery and then holding her in my arms at birth. I also knew in the threads of my spirit that my oldest and youngest boys were perfectly healthy when placed in my arms. Its funny how we just KNOW things right?
By the time Eliza was 6 months old we had 7 specialists on board…she was not thriving, sitting up, cried constantly, could not roll over. Brain scans showed she was normal and yet hypotonia thruout was rampant. Genetics did not have an answer. We just knew we had a handful of different on our hands. Yoga became a place of refuge for me where I did not worry during this time…I was not afraid…I gathered strength and hope. Because off the mat….I was terrified, cried constantly and frustrated that there were no answers.
When Eliza was 9 months old we found out Aiden was in my belly. The husband was afraid…I knew this little boy was going to be healthy and good. I put my head down, practiced yoga, took Za to her appointments, played with Jake my oldest and trusted the Universe to help me be a good mama to 3 littles.
Yoga became my best friend…even my church. My church in the sense that this is where I could be in comfort, in knowing…again, fear seemed to fall away and I could foster peace. I could grow strength.
I love to flow thru Vinyasa…the effortless ease of gliding from one asana to the other with breath. On the mat I am graceful, a superhero with super powers. On the mat I know that I am a good mother, a good friend, and have an overwhelming capacity to love.
In the past few years more than asana – it is meditation that I need as much as I need sunshine. It does not mean that some days there is endless chatter and no clarity anywhere to be found. The meditation and head space is a constant practice where visualization becomes the very essence of my magic…or my super powers.
I teach because I have to. I believe in this path of yoga like I believe the sun will rise and the moon will wax and wane with its rhythms as old as time. Knowing that yoga and meditation has carried me through so many times…has stayed beside me like an old true friend…a mother wrapping me tight in her arms…a spiritual place that offers solace…If I can touch just one person and extend an offering that allows for this tool for peace…then I have made a difference in this precious life that I have been given.
I teach because I have to.
in Articles, Gratitude, Happiness, Life experience by Carol Adamski
October 22, 2012
Life is a song – sing it.
Life is a game – play it.
Life is a challenge – meet it.
Life is a dream – realize it.
Life is a sacrifice – offer it.
Life is love – enjoy it.
~ Sai Baba
Life offers so much, we just need to sing, play and enjoy.
Here are 11 ‘tips’ to making the most of life.
Don’t take anything personally.
Take more walks. It’s good for the body and mind.
Be reliable. If you say you are going to do something, follow through.
Learn to really listen. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can offer.
Read more, especially biographies. You’ll have the most brilliant mentors at your fingertips!
Push your personal envelope a little every day. It will broaden your horizons and expand your self confidence.
Don’t give away your power to anyone.
Find your voice. Use it to express your love, gratitude and to stand up for yourself.
Understand that there is something to be learned from everyone. Learn it.
Find things that inspire you and pursue those passions.
Be humble, kind, grateful, loving and curious.
“Let the world kiss you, sister. Let the moment kiss the most raw and tender spot in your heart until you cannot help but surrender, open.”
― Chameli Ardagh
I have been sitting with a myriad of emotions these past few weeks. Of course leading a Yoga Teacher Training for 21 Days…I have been doing all kinds of bodywork, meditation, energy work as well as spinning my big ever changing life at home. Some days I have felt thin…like you could see thru me. Some days I have felt so full that love, joy and the pure act of giving would seep out of pores, fingers and toes. Some days the emotions of anger, hurt and frustration threatened to tear me apart and I knew I could not live in that place.
One of our Teacher Trainees spoke about working diligently on the act of Surrender as his Niyama…he brought this up almost daily. He probably had no idea what an amazing teacher he was to me during this time.
Emotions have a physical imprint…a memory. Some emotions like joy and love we chase with a reckless abandon. Anger, frustration and hurt we seem to stamp down, hide from, assume that it can be nothing but yuck. We meditate to notice the dialog, the constancy of emotions, to become observers and not reactors. If it is those negative emotions– we seek to swim thru them…or some days put on the high waders and tread thru the mud!! Surrendering to that place where we let the hurt flow freely…wading thru, allowing leakage and maybe some serious flooding of the tearducts and nose now and again may show Faith in the cleansing love, light and ease to follow.
“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.”
― Marianne Williamson
So allowing the softness to enter in whatever emotions we may have…that show up on the mat, that show up during rush hour traffic, that show up in meditations. Have been assigning colors to the emotions and softening the colors with my breath…have been wading thru when the yuck is the most and trying to be ok with living in that place….It’s all Light at the end. There is space and ease and love and beauty. The emotion will not tear us apart or cause us to break. Growing is a process and can be painful at times.
I surrender…I can live in this place…It is just a moment::))k
Rule One – You will receive a body. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s yours for life, so accept it. What counts is what’s inside.
Rule Two – You will be presented with lessons. Life is a constant learning experience, which every day provides opportunities for you to learn more. These lessons are specific to you, and learning them ‘is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life’.
Rule Three – There are no mistakes, only lessons. Your development towards wisdom is a process of experimentation, trial and error, so it’s inevitable things will not always go to plan or turn out how you’d want. Compassion is the remedy for harsh judgment – of ourselves and others. Forgiveness is not only divine – it’s also ‘the act of erasing an emotional debt’. Behaving ethically, with integrity, and with humour – especially the ability to laugh at yourself and your own mishaps – are central to the perspective that ‘mistakes’ are simply lessons we must learn.
Rule Four – The lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons repeat until learned. What manifest as problems and challenges, irritations and frustrations are more lessons – they will repeat until you see them as such and learn from them. Your own awareness and your ability to change are requisites of executing this rule. Also fundamental is the acceptance that you are not a victim of fate or circumstance – ‘causality’ must be acknowledged; that is to say: things happen to you because of how you are and what you do. To blame anyone or anything else for your misfortunes is an escape and a denial; you yourself are responsible for you, and what happens to you. Patience is required – change doesn’t happen overnight, so give change time to happen.
Rule Five – Learning does not end. While you are alive there are always lessons to be learned. Surrender to the ‘rhythm of life’, don’t struggle against it. Commit to the process of constant learning and change – be humble enough to always acknowledge your own weaknesses, and be flexible enough to adapt from what you may be accustomed to, because rigidity will deny you the freedom of new possibilities.
Rule Six – “There” is no better than “here”. The other side of the hill may be greener than your own, but being there is not the key to endless happiness. Be grateful for and enjoy what you have, and where you are on your journey. Appreciate the abundance of what’s good in your life, rather than measure and amass things that do not actually lead to happiness. Living in the present helps you attain peace.
Rule Seven – Others are only mirrors of you. You love or hate something about another person according to what love or hate about yourself. Be tolerant; accept others as they are, and strive for clarity of self-awareness; strive to truly understand and have an objective perception of your own self, your thoughts and feelings. Negative experiences are opportunities to heal the wounds that you carry. Support others, and by doing so you support yourself. Where you are unable to support others it is a sign that you are not adequately attending to your own needs.
Rule Eight – What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. Learn to let go when you cannot change things. Don’t get angry about things – bitter memories clutter your mind. Courage resides in all of us – use it when you need to do what’s right for you. We all possess a strong natural power and adventurous spirit, which you should draw on to embrace what lies ahead.
Rule Nine – Your answers lie inside of you. Trust your instincts and your innermost feelings, whether you hear them as a little voice or a flash of inspiration. Listen to feelings as well as sounds. Look, listen, and trust. Draw on your natural inspiration.
Rule Ten – You will forget all this at birth. We are all born with all of these capabilities – our early experiences lead us into a physical world, away from our spiritual selves, so that we become doubtful, cynical and lacking belief and confidence. The ten Rules are not commandments, they are universal truths that apply to us all. When you lose your way, call upon them. Have faith in the strength of your spirit. Aspire to be wise – wisdom the ultimate path of your life, and it knows no limits other than those you impose on yourself.
– Cherie Carter-Scott
Very recently life has thrown big humongo curveballs towards our family…my 3 children specifically. We have been floundering just a bit trying to find the rhythm of a new dance. We cry some, we laugh a lot and are all about some group hugs. Mostly we take deep breaths, look forward and love each other with all that we have.
As my very existence has been shaken…the idea of who I am in relation to family, who to be in this new situation and the loss of a life I dreamed, imagined and had faith in…I have been reaching out to find that precious balance that has always drawn me towards a steady yoga practice. However, many days passed in which I looked at my mat and simply could not face going to this “safe” place as I was positive I would shatter. A well of tears, grief and an essence of Humpty Dumpty brokenness followed me to the mat. Many times this safe place I had always depended on was elusive.
And so…I recently found via Wayne Dyer the concept of “I am” statements. I have always been a huge believer in the power of words but as these last few weeks have rolled over me…The Power I have found is Fantastic. So much so that I tried to explain it to an 8am Hot Power Vinyasa class last Saturday. Poor souls…up early, ready to flow and I am trying to speak to them about the idea of being Divine and Sparking!!
It works like this…at least in my head and heart. We all carry a spark of Divine inside of us…where our faith, love, hope, truth and Light lives. It’s like our Greeting and Ending in Yoga…Namaste. “The Light in me honors the Light in you.” When we say the words “I am….” at anytime we are referring back to this spark. So, imagine the power of statements such as “I am broken”, “I am not good enough”, “I am not pretty enough”, “I am a terrible mother”, “I can’t do anything right.”. Each time those words enter into our consciousness and being it is a desperate wound to our spark that only wishes to light and shine. Lately, in the car, at the swim meet, before class, negotiating with lawyer…the words are “I am love”, “I am forgiving”, “I am worthy”, “i am whole”, “I am Divine”, ” I am beautiful”. Sometimes I have to say it like a mantra over and over again for it to start sliding into my brain and my spirit. As my heart is hurt I have been seeking to rewire the chatter in my brain to support a Beautiful Environment for Healing. And so I am dubbing it the “Yoga of Words”…Right On??
It’s just a continuous lesson that the true Practice of Yoga I believe is in all the moments of every single day. Compassion, forgiveness, love, beauty, awareness…It is a practice. The Asana…well especially with some Tricks ::)) can be quite amazing and the movement of energy front to back and up and down is extraordinarily powerful. But so is the incessant chatter in our brains that we seek to slow down and understand. Maybe in this moment the chatter can lift, and hold, and heal and affirm to Bring Peace.
With Love and Gratitude… I am Kim Z