Favourite quote of all-time
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit” ~ Aristotle
Healthy habits: creating healthy habits and encouraging positive transformation is built into the yogic system
I think I also read ‘we form habits then they form us’. As a Yoga professional, I see Yoga as much more than fitness, it is self-transformation (agree with Joel Kramer)…As a balanced system and practice, gives us tools to substitute comfort for tension, peace for panic, and emotional perspective instead of blockages.
What are some of your healthy and unhealthy habits? Are there any you would like to change? Day to day life loads our system with obvious and subliminal stress which depletes our energy and leads to restlessness and fatigue, among other issues. Asana and pranayama become yogic tools to benefit us by releasing tension and bringing us to a state of conscious relaxation ~ being aware and also, relaxed. In this state, we tend to make better choices. One of the most interesting things I have read is a statement by Gary Krafstow, that “asana practice is not fundamentally about the asanas, but about the practitioner…As a tool of personal transformation, asana can function at many levels of our human system.”
This is a fantastic quote. “Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.” ~ Pema Chodron
I think people tend to come to their yoga practice with expectation, maybe you don’t feel so great in your posture, you have low energy, you feel so stiff that you can’t do simple things around the house, your nerves are frayed, whatever the case. Then you show up for practice and want all that to change. My teacher always said, “you are perfect as you are”. It’s a pretty powerful concept, but I think when you befriend yourself, aches and pains included, it softens your perspective and your grasping for change. No chase is needed. Practice will transform you over the course of your practice.
I believe when the mind is relaxed, all necessary transformation can take shape. Starting from compassion and loving kindness (maitreya) is a good beginning for anyone’s yoga practice; the word “Maitreya” means : ” (Metteyya in Pāli) is derived from the Sanskrit word maitrī (Pāli: mettā) meaning “loving-kindness”, which is in turn derived from the noun mitra (Pāli: mitta) in the sense of “friend”
who are you?
yoga for balance : The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind (I would add, and your breath) . Who are you when you begin your yoga mat time? Do you notice any imbalances or is it just when you start moving? Is there anything you can choose to do in the rest of your day to bring balance of any kind to yourself? We tend to think of balance in yoga as standing on one limb – yes, this is a part of it, however, I think the quote below sums the situation up nicely. In case you don’t know, BKS Iyengar passed away recently. His style is alignment oriented, as opposed to flowing from one posture to another. This is incorporated into the yapana® style, which you can find in my classes or work with me privately.
Balance: Evenness Is Harmony
Through yoga one can begin to develop a perfect balance between both sides of the body. All of us begin with imbalances, favoring one side or the other. When one side is more active than the other, the active side must become the guru for the inactive side to make it equally active. To the weaker side, we must apply attention. We must also show more care. We show keener interest to improve a dull and struggling friend than for an eager and intelligent one. In the same way you have to show yourself this same compassion and act on the weaker side of the body while taking pleasure in the achievement of the active side. ~ BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga
Monday meaningful quotes: A precious human life by His Holiness the x1v th Dalai Lama
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it, I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can”
What I love about these words is the celebratory nature. we spend a lot of time evaluating the good and bad of each day, often times, focusing on the burden or stress of the day, the sloshing of the daily grind, and the tasks on our plate. This goes beyond that.
Who inspires and motivates you to stay uplifted and purposeful? Do you have a morning wake up routine that puts you in a positive frame of mind? I have developed a few practices that are stand-alone or add-on to your yoga practice, your coffee break, your commute. Check out my Yoga Mind cd for a portable window into peace and positivity, two building blocks of a purposeful day. And print a copy of this beautiful piece that is written by someone whose intention is to elevate.
modern yoga wisdom
This is my all-time favourite quote: “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope” ~ Thomas Merton.
I think yoga practice helps us organize ourselves and perhaps teaches us about adaptability. One of my teachers once remarked that water is stronger than steel. Our minds usually want to be in charge, especially when we are faced with unknowns. It is easier said than done to embrace these moments with courage, faith and hope. How do we do that? Sometimes just taking a few moments to relax the wandering mind will calm you down enough to see possibility. Try it by following some of my guided practices. In fact, before you begin, write down one situation where you are stuck – either mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Then take at least 20 minutes to do a relaxation practice. After you are finished, check in to see whether the situation is as acute or slightly diffused.
Yoga for movement : This quote is so motivational! “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward”.
The way yoga fits into this quote for me is that, as a yoga therapist, I meet and teach a bouquet of students, all kinds of bodies, and all kinds of mindsets. I watch transformations and “ah-ha” moments. I believe that the less we chase a yoga pose, the more it evolves for us. I believe in stages and steps and that each place we are at is where we are supposed to be.The skills you learn in yoga practice are huge, and hugely transformational. People tell me they stand up straighter, they drive with more ease, walk with less pain.
Maybe you are one of the people who think you aren’t flexible enough. I hear this excuse a lot. Guess what? Gains can be made in terms of mobility and agility at any height, weight and age. Take the heart of this quote to your consciousness.
The beauty of using yoga as therapy is that there is always a “can” do whether you need to modify, or adapt, and then you can relax where you are. If you are not sure what this means, a private yoga lesson will clarify
Guru – today’s blog will focus on the word, guru. If you do a google search for the word, even Wikipedia will tell you there are multiple uses or connotations. It is really interesting to see before you look up a word, what weight you already give it in your mind.
Traditionally, the meaning of the word, guru, is “teacher”, or “master. I have chosen this photo today because the imagery is beautiful at reminding us not to ignore our inner teacher, our inner guidance system. Rolf Sovik says, “The guru is the living light that dispels the darkness of spiritual ignorance. The light is none other than the Self within us”.
Truly powerful words. We live in a very visual and digital age where so often the search for looking ‘right’ even in asana, takes precedence over how we feel in what we are doing. I say give up speed and go with mindful movement. I am a fan of explicit cues as a teacher, but also like to leave students with inquiries so that each student can find their yoga with their own navigation system as much as with good alignment and understanding that it is my job to provide.
yoga and health quotes: “Happiness is the highest form of health”. What are your thoughts on this ? I think the Dalai Lama is reminding us that inner happiness is the most nourishing lifestyle choice. He is not referring to constantly seeking outside oneself, but rather, to feeling a sense of peaceful fulfillment. Negative thinking steals joy and robs us of our health. The yogis were smart, promoting the breath as link between mind and body, realizing and steering us to calm our minds, improving our mood we seem to improve our health.
In the yogic system, the word for contentment is ‘santosha’ which is one of the niyamas. The path to health is a blend of balancing or re-balancing your body, calming the mind, and learning to breathe calmly through challenges. There is also the personal component to health, making the most nourishing choices, and organizing your life to be meaningful to you. I like this quote because it emphasizes that happiness is with (in) reach.
Cultivating contentment, as I have written before is an art form. I think, at the level of asana, one can be very mindful about how one moves, sensitive to creating conditions for comfort and ease rather than over doing, or, over-stretching. Yesterday at Base, we broke down upward facing dog pose, and the response was great. By breaking the challenge into simplified steps, we found an uplifted backbend instead of a shortened and compressed one.
Your peace: No one Can Steal Your Peace Without Your Permission: Life has packs of drama…and we need to cope. I find much of my work as a yoga therapist is to help people find mindful strategies, especially to work with recurring postural habits. As Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do”. If you commonly droop your shoulders, for example, it will show up in your swimming, golfing, walking, sitting, sleeping. Some habits cause pain.
Yoga practices bring us back to our baseline of peace, like in deep dreamless sleep.You become more in tune with your inner self, and more mindful of when something is chipping away at it. At the end of a day, it is just all around better for us to let go the day, consciously and with gratitude – rather than getting dragged into replaying each moment – but if you are having a hard time, download one of my guided practices, that is what I created my CD for
There are tracks where you can learn how to breathe well, and also tracks which will help you navigate the relaxation process. Learning these tools is where you have access off your mat, during stressful times, to ways that bring you back to your peace.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” ~ Anais Nin
This quote points out a really great reason to relax and let your nervous system rest and digest…And if you are one to stay away from the quieter aspects of yoga why not try on this holiday weekend? I see many students, even those who are really revved up, learn to let go with purposeful instruction from a private yoga lesson. And then, there is always just taking a good old-fashioned nap! Enjoy the Memorial Day long weekend