Authenticity

Authenticity

“Aspiration is the wisdom of our awoke heart welcoming us home.” Tara Brach

Lately I’ve been contemplating how to reach my full potential, trying to focus on who I am intrinsically and how I aspire to be and exist in this world. When we’re not true to ourselves we tend to feel off kilter and it comes out as we interact with others. We also witness how people who’ve discovered their true essence or focus continually towards being their natural self, have a sense of ease about them. They tend to exude a sense of joy; some expressively and some in a quiet manner. Individuals that have this inner joy also have less negative reaction to circumstances around them. I more recently have a better understanding of the importance of why Oprah continually tells others to ask, “What is my truest Intention?”

Using mindfulness meditation is a way to discover what you aspire to be in your heart, but unlike my last two posts on Mindfulness and Self Compassion, that is not my focus for today. Within a yoga teacher group discussion, the question was asked how we as teachers stay authentic online when we’re also using products to supplement our teaching income. Several of us agreed that we needed to be up front if a product we promote or have available on our website may make us money. Additionally, we should make sure the products support our values.

You may have noticed I have t-shirts with designs for my yoga business that I sell for marketing as well as to spread a positive message.  While I am in the process of finding a different on demand print vendor, I’m delighted to have these available for my students to purchase. Additionally, my website has a disclosure that mentions I may make a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. One of these links is prAna.

I discovered prAna when I was trying to find clothing items I could wear teaching paddle board yoga when the water was chilly. I’ve liked everything I’ve ordered, but I like even more that the US company is very focused on sustainability. Their mission is “to inspire healthy, active, and free-spirited living”. I am also fond that the clothing line and products are beyond just yoga. As much as I love yoga, I encourage diversity and variety in your active life. In an effort to be authentic with you, I wanted to take a moment to explain why you will see links to prAna on my online presence. Feel free to check out their products here, with no pressure to buy. I’m happy to simply share prAna’s positive vibes.

May you have less worry and more smiles.

Self Compassion

Self Compassion

Within the last month or so, while teaching a class I spoke to addressing the thoughts of the self critic while practicing. I didn’t even think before I said something like, “Don’t try to push the critical thought aside, accept it and wrap it with a hug” It sounded completely cheesy as it came out, and I just smiled at my own inner critic.
Brené Brown through her writings & presentations recently introduced to me how self criticism is a way that our limbic (animal) brain protects itself from outer threats. It’s a part of the brain that we need to keep us safe and the only thing we can control is our response to it. So instead of trying to stop your inner critic, recognize that it’s trying to protect you and decide you’ll use your thinking brain to figure things out.
So what about those times that you miss this step and over react to an unreal or lower level threat? I’ve recently gained a new perspective on the difference between guilt and remorse. Guilt comes along with the idea that you’re inherently bad, punishment is needed and unfortunately it tends to lock in the negative pattern. Remorse however, comes from empathy and understands that your actions are not in align with your principals. You are more likely to change the behavior when you experience remorse. So it’s okay to have remorse that you didn’t respond to your inner critic very well.
Take a moment to evaluate your own patterns of self criticism and see if this might help you find some ease or direction. Dive deeper by practicing mindfulness meditation. You can find guided meditations on the insight app or podcasts by Tara Brach.

Wishing you more smiles and less worry.

Reliability

Reliability

Another yoga teacher recently responded to my Instagram post where I asked what people do to energize themselves. As a fellow introvert, she commented that she was reading Daring Greatly by the fire. I’m not sure why, but I jumped on ordering the book. It’s the first book in a long while that kept my interest intensely and really hit me in the feels. I’m still digesting everything, but am watching Youtube presentations by the author, Brené Brown, as a result. I watched one that I posted to my Facebook page where she talks about trust. When I had time, I went back and watched it again to take notes. Her translation of her research on vulnerability is providing a shift in me that I have yet to fully take in, but it’s the self evaluation I’m needing.
One of the components she talks about in how to build trust is reliability. I think it’s natural for us to think of someone else and think, yes I don’t trust them because they don’t do what they say they’ll do. However, Brené excellently spins each concept of trust back to oneself. After all, without the ability to trust ourselves, how can we love ourselves. Without self love, how can we expect others to love us. So, can you trust yourself to be reliable? Do you do what you say you’re going to do over and over and over again? Not for others, but for yourself. I don’t. I fail miserably at this. I say I’m going to practice yoga and meditate more often. I say I’m going to start swimming, play on my Indo board….I say I’m going to start blogging regularly. I say, I say, I say. I never looked at this as being reliable to myself. I’m sure many of you can relate. We’re available and reliable to others, but not to ourselves. I don’t know how long the road will be to change this, but I definitely want to build trust in myself so I can enhance my relationships in my life and improve my self love and compassion.
Please share your struggles and successes with being self reliable. We would love to learn and grow together.

May you have less worries and more smiles. (I say this at the end of every class I teach and I mean it sincerely every time)

Our Physical Body

Our Physical Body

Last weekend as part of my training, I was fortunate to participate in learning at a cadaver lab. My previous interest with the brain/neuroscience and medical TV shows had me excited for the opportunity, but I’m sure you can imagine this experience was not quite the same. First, kudos to anyone that has illustrated the body in all its combined complexity as a simple picture in a book. Secondly, kudos to the other books that address the complex emotions we have around our physical body.

We all have the same parts (not differentiating between gender organs here), yet each of us is unique. I know that might not seem profound to some, but it matters. Many of us push our bodies beyond their limits attempting to achieve goals; in sports, in vanity, and in health. We need to recognize what standard we are using and its origin. I would love to say my reflection of my experience at the cadaver lab left me glowing with appreciation for my body and all that it can do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m amazed by our biology, but I also have to acknowledge my frustrations with my own body.

At first I thought my frustrations may be age related, but I can think back to the ridiculous amount of ankle sprains and feelings of frustration in my youth. Next I can remember how not coping with a great deal of stress severely impacted me physically (hair loss, weight loss, insomnia, etc). I was also discontent while I was attempting to “run through” what have now developed into Morton’s Neuroma in both feet. Recently, I’ve been frustrated having 6 lithotripsies in the last 8 months (kidney stones). I know I’m not alone when it comes to being annoyed by my body.

So with each frustration we have to remind ourselves to remember where we are, not where we used to be. It does us no good to ignore what’s going on as much as it’s not good to long for something in the past. Next thing is to focus on what we can do for improvement (drink water, practice yoga, breathe deeply, etc). And lastly, we need to practice gratitude for the awesome things that are working grandly in our bodies. They truly are amazing vessels.

Kind Regards,

Sandy

Yoga and Family Finances

Yoga and Family Finances

Integrating Family Finances

My husband and I are trying to correct our bad habit of not talking regularly about our finances.  Most times we have the discussion we will get into a heated debate or two (or three or four). We both came together as very independent individuals from very different lifestyles and backgrounds. I was a divorced single mom of two boys and he had never been married. When he moved in, we pieced together our finances very slowly, and now 2.5 years after our daughter was born, we’re still trying to fully integrate them.

Aparigraha in Financial decisions.

You may be wondering what in the world this has to do with yoga. A yoga concept that we all need to practice is Aparigraha or non attachment.  It is difficult to practice non attachment in family finance discussions when relationship struggles tend to be heightened/reflected. While debating and negotiating family finances, my husband and I both struggle to realize where we could better practice non attachment. We talk about how money spent will truly bring value to our lives. Ahh.. the subjectivity enters and suddenly we forget about practicing Aparigraha. We both believe in investing in life experiences, but don’t always see eye to eye. Or sometimes we do, but we’re too attached to different concepts of the same thing and suddenly we’re arguing on the direction to take. And of course this is not just about spending money on ourselves, but for our family as well. We get attached to getting our way, attached to being disgruntled about past finance decisions, attached to being right, attached to recreating a great vacation, attached to our dream of living at the beach, and attached to trying new experiences. It’s amazing how hard it is to not only practice non attachment, but actually recognize your attachments. One thing I know for sure is to stay present in family finance discussions and truly notice what you’re attached to. It may just allow room for concensual decision making.

 

How to practice Non Attachment and why

There is an ever present theme in practicing yoga to be present. Being present means just being here, not being attached to the past or the future. So that’s a difficult thing to comprehend when going over family budgets, but the best approach is to realize that everything is impermanent so focus on what works now. The good and the bad wont last forever. You’ll feel lighter and have more clarity when you can practice Aparigraha.

Kind Regards,

 

Sandy

How did yoga find me?

How did yoga find me?

Finding My Sanity

Young adult life was a blur. Divorced with two kids at 25, I needed calm in my life. A sign was posted offering evening yoga at my sons’ before and after care program. Part of the building was warehouse like; half set up as a small indoor skate park, the other half set up for gymnastics. My sister and I both signed up with about about 8 other women. I think it was one night a week for 6 weeks at $60 . The teacher was a gentle soul who calmly brought us through poses I knew nothing about. It was the calm and relaxation that I needed. One night the teacher couldn’t figure out how to turn the lights on so we practiced with dim lights practically in the dark (who knows maybe she started yoga glow). As the 6 week session came to an end, the owner said he would be in touch about the next session. Impatiently I kept asking and finally he replied that the teacher was not responding and joked she must have gone off to live in the woods somewhere. Hopefully she moved onto teaching somewhere more suitable for her, but I was so disappointed. I fell in love with yoga and it was gone like that.

Yoga Ever After

So next was practicing yoga by DVD (possibly VHS – but I’m not sure). My younger sister bought me a Karen Voight Yoga DVD that was more difficult than what I was used to (power yoga?). I committed to doing it every day. It took me 6 months until I practiced with ease and was in the best shape of my life. I moved, and suddenly life with kids got in the way of my daily practice, but I would still go back to practicing when I could. I started prescribing yoga to everyone for everything. Along with my home DVD practice, periodically, I took yoga at the gym where I had a membership, and eventually joined a local yoga studio. And now here I am excitedly helping yogis with self exploration of their own journey. Here’s to hoping yoga finds you.

 

 

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