What a year! What. A. Year

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Well Yogis we made it! 2020 is in the rearview mirror at last.

I think it’s safe to say we have all had one hellova year. Many of you have been touched by the corona virus in one way or another, either you had it or someone close to you had it, some of you may have even lost a loved one to the virus. Some of you had tornado damage in the spring of 2020, with lots of property damage, some of you losing everything. Living with that trauma for many has been challenging. Some of us have faced economic hardships this year, some losing their jobs and others with smaller business having to close completely. It’s been a tough year, this is true. But here we are, on the other side, although we’re not out of the woods just yet, the virus is still out there, but at least there is a vaccine now,. There are still homes in E. Brainard area with blue tarps and blown out walls, but new roofs are being replaced and new homes are being built and evidence of the hardships of the shutdown are everywhere. Even my business, The Chattanooga Yoga center, has been hit hard but the challenges of this year, to the point where I went back into the world of finance. I took a part-time teller position at a credit union in October. I am very bless though that the business has been able to stay open, but with class sizes very limited and not many new private clients on the horizon I felt it necessary to supplement my income. I’m don’t mind taking a part-time job, I had worked the credit union industry for many years before opening the center and I love the work. And after a unexpected health issue came up in Oct, causing me to have major surgery over the holidays, I am ready to be on the other side of 2020.

But to be fair I think 2020, as a year, is getting a bum rap. I personally have had worse years, trust me. And I bet despite everything challenging that has happened you too can find a few things from 2020 that were blessings, that were bright spots in a year that tested us all.

So name a few of those blessing, post some of your brighter moments in the comments. Lets turn our reflections of dismal and depressing into rays of light that might help others see their way through the challenges. And then give some thought to how you can make 2021 even brighter. But hold on to that thought for the next blog post.

Happy 2021 my friends.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Hello my Yoga loves I guess, like everyone else, I have sort of been hiding under a rock for a few weeks… Ok 2 months, but I just didn’t seem to be anything to write about that hasn’t been said by someone else and probably said better. But as restrictions due to COVID-19 begin to ease I have had many questions as to when I will reopen the Center.

But first let me ask how are you doing? Its been a Helleva ride since the beginning of February hasn’t? First the COVID virus, then everything gets locked down and then as if that wasn’t enough the horrible storms and the tornado roared in forever changing the landscape of our beautiful county and changing the inner landscape for so many individuals. But here we are slowly moving into our new normal. I am certain that your ‘new normal’ is different from mine, and mine is different from someone else’s. I have not been on social media as much lately, I get on to post a few things about work or puppies or kittens or something, mostly to see how all of you are doing, but for the most part I don’t read or scroll the newsfeed much, its sad, depressing and damned infuriating if I’m being honest. The division between us humans is getting scary, what is it about humans that makes us think ‘our way’ is the only right way? Why?

Why when faced with something they don’t believe in or that they don’t totally support, do humans have to be so visceral, so antagonistic?

Why?

Why do we seem to think that a FB meme is the truth just because it supports our particular narrative? And why do we fail to do the right thing, and before we post something so very inflammatory, why do we fail to do the research. Look at many different sources and verify that its correct and reasonably truthful, before posting.

Why?

Why is it necessary to beat up someone or tear them down to get your point across? Is it because you really don’t have a valid argument? Why call names, why create even more hate by spewing garbage.

Why?

Why not instead seek out the truth, read and research and find things that uphold your position that do NOT include hate speech or blatant falsehoods. Why not learn the noble art of debate, why not participate in friendly discourse?

Why not learn how to think for ourselves?

Why not?

Carl Sagan wrote, at length, about critical thinking and while he was mostly writing at the time about superstitious belief, I think we need to look closely at what he called “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection” and learn how to fine-tune our bullshit detectors. We seem to have forgotten how to think for ourselves and we most definitely have forgotten how to be kind.

Here are Carl Sagans rules for Baloney detection.

  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
  2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  3. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts. ****I would add here that ‘Authorities’ are also Social Media ‘Influencers’, just because you see it on the internet does not make it true. ..again for the folks in the back Just because you see it on the internet does not make it true…CPM
  4. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
  5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will. *** I underlined that part… the pursuit of knowledge, I’m sad to think it’s a dying art CPM
  6. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course, there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
  7. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  8. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.  ***Choosing the simpler does not mean choosing the most simplistic, just because it explains or supports your narrative. CPM
  9. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result. 

Stand by your truths, but there is no need to stand on another human’s throat to prove that your truth should be theirs. I believe there is room in this world for lots of truth, many different beliefs, and certainly many varied opinions. But let’s remember to leave room for kindness.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

 

A Brief History of Us

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Lately, I have been reflecting on how many years I have been teaching and as March approaches I have been thinking about my sweet yoga space, so hop in and let’s take a trip in the way back machine…. In March of 2013, I began the process of leaving the corporate world behind and taking my yoga practice full time. After many years of teaching part-time and working “a real job” I found that I was ready to take the plunge and face the risks that come with business ownership and of being a solo-preneur. So, in March of 2013 I formed my LLC and began seeing private clients at Fit One Gym. I love that place! I spent 4 + years there as the gym manager and stayed as a senior instructor even after I found a part-time job at a local bank. The bank position allowed me plenty of time to see clients and teach classes but still make just enough money to pay my bills. It was awesome. It was also verrrrry comfortable, it would have been easy to stay there, to continue to do just enough, just barely enough. But I had a calling, I really wanted to take my Yoga Therapy practice to more people and for that, I needed more time and space. And that’s when the universe stepped in and with a big dose of Shakabuku (a shift spiritual kick to the head) what I like to call ‘Gods 2×4’, we found out that our bank branch was closing and at the same time a lovely space came open at the Gym. And the rest they say is history.

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By Sept 2013 Cheryl Murman Yoga and Wellness was open for business and I began to change the name to The Chattanooga Yoga Center in 2015. Over the years I have been asked why I didn’t open a more traditional type of Yoga studio, why didn’t I hire more teachers, why didn’t I have many different types of yoga offerings and the simple answer is that’s not what I wanted.

I wanted a different kind of yoga center, a different business model. I wanted a place for people to explore movement and to allow that exploration to seeped deeply into their bodies and their soul. I wanted a space that felt safe, that felt intimate whether there were 20 students in a class or just one client at a time. I wanted a healing space, space where healing could unfold as you needed it to.

And for myself I wanted to be able to explore with my students and clients, I couldn’t do that if I was managing a studio with 30+ classes and a boutique. Many people have come and gone over the years and it seems like many more have stayed than gone. I have always been happy to watch a student grow in their practice and then move on to other styles of yoga taught by other teachers, even at other studios and have been thrilled by how many of my students have gone on to become teachers! That’s humbling for sure. You are all near and dear to me, and I know that I will never make a lot of money doing business this way, but I know that I am far richer than I could ever have imagined.Its-a-wonderful-life-2

So, with the 7th anniversary fast approaching I wanted to take time to thank all of you who have trusted me with your bodies, your spirits and with your healing process. You are all nearer and dearer to me than this humble heart can express. It’s always been a challenge for me to accept compliments but to all of you who have been coming for years, some of you have been on this journey with me for far more than 7 years, Thank you! Thank you for your trust and support.

Om Shanti!

Cheryl

Planning ahead, looking back

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We’ve all seen the posts on social media about whether someone is a Autumn person or spring or summer … you know the ones I mean! Well in my much younger days I thought of myself as an Autumn kinda girl. I Loved the crisp weather, cute sweaters and boots, but dammit I Love summer too, I will always cherish the warmth of the sun on my skin. And let’s be really honest we all like winter at least a little. If nothing else, it helps us to appreciate the return of spring. And come on, Spring is nice too, the new flowers beginning to bud and fresh greens from the garden, the return of longer days and brighter sun.

So I’ve decided that I don’t have a special season, a time of the year I welcome more than the others and I don’t want one. I much prefer the transitions.

I love to watch the winter slowly get brighter as the days slowly get longer. I particularly love as the summer starts to cool; the days are still warm, but the nights have are cool enough to remind you that winter is coming (a wink to other GOT fans). Have you ever noticed how during the transitions between the season there always seems to be more air movement, more breeze? I think I love the wind on my face even more than the sun…Maybe? The winds of change I suppose.

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Like the transitions during a yoga practice the transitions throughout the year can often times be more important than the season itself. During the transition from winter to spring my thoughts go towards digging into mother earth to plant fresh new life. The transition from summer to fall finds me cleaning and organizing my home and for work I spend time making plans for the new year that is only a few months away. And of course, autumn into winter is filled with holiday plans and plans for your new year’s resolutions.

As you look back at this last year in your rear-view mirror, what transitions or seasons stand out for you? And what plans if any are you making for the year to come?

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Remember that what we see in the rear-view mirror shouldn’t be judged but observed. What lessons did you learn? What expectations were you able to let go of?

Of course, looking forward through the windshield can sometimes seem so broad that the future can feel overwhelming. What can you do to make your plans for next year more “do able” and less overwhelming? By starting now to plan ahead we can have more control as we move forward with life.

Embrace the change, learn from the experiences of from your past and then move forward. Carl Jung said, “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”  Become…..

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Change

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”– Lao Tzu

Life can change in an instant…. One minute your waltzing through life and the next Bam! something happens and things change. Maybe its a big change, a traumatic change, a death of someone close to you or an injury that will take your life in another direction. In my case it’s been an unexpected illness. So no real trauma, but definitely unexpected. I spent 3 days in the hospital and took almost 3 weeks off from work.

I never take off work.

I rarely cancel classes and clients, as a self employed person taking off from work means money out of my pocket. So it had better be a big deal that keeps away from The Centre.

But heres the thing about change it is inevitable. There will always be changes, little changes and big changes and often we dont have a choice about some of the changes that come our way, but how we handle change is a choice. 

I learned a few things as I recovered over the last few weeks, big things and little things.

I learned that Yes I can just sit here on the couch. Oh but my monkey brain really wanted to ‘get things done’ the body on the other hand needed rest and lots of it. So I listened to what the body needed and I complied. I learned that I can be patient. Patience is not my strong suit, but I learned I do have some if I dig deeply enough.

I learned that food isn’t always a comfort. Yea I said it..! Food is not always what the body needs. I had a very difficult time putting anything, and I mean anything on my stomach. Even just little sips of water could make me nauseous. I pretty much just ate what I lovingly referred to as the maternity diet. Soda crackers and Sprite, with the occasional apple sauce thrown in. So maybe I will use this time to reassess my diet, clean it up a bit. Less fatty foods and more fruit and veggies. So maybe positive changes can come from the unexpected changes too.

 The biggest thing I learned though was about me and my relationship to breath…. 

Breathing is my happy place. Pranayama, breathing practices, are at the heart of my personal yoga practice and at the heart of my teaching. But this illness changed my breathing. I found it difficult to take a full breath, and deep breathing was out of the question. Simple little breaths were all I could managed. I sat in the hospital bed and practiced Sama Vritti. Balanced breathing with a deep mindfulness on relaxing….. well, everything. I am only just now getting to a place where my breathing practices are getting back to ‘normal’. But my awareness and my intention well that has changed.

I have had many students and clients over the years that found ‘breath work’ to be challenging and I have always (at least I hope I did)  approached their concerns with compassion and taught them from that place. But I have to admit that I have practiced Pranayama for so very long that for many years I couldn’t truly relate. I didn’t remember what it was like to not be able to breath deeply, efficiently and with a richness that breath awareness brings. I think I have a better understanding now of how difficult changing your breath must be for those new to yoga.

And the most important thing I think I learned is not to take your good health for granted and if you don’t have ‘good health’ you should try to get some. It’s never too late to start. Find a health coach, a trainer or yoga therapist who can help you. Changes in our health are probably one of the hardest things we do in life. But I give all the credit to my speedy recovery to being in pretty good health to begin with and that credit goes to yoga and to what I call being Wellness Aware and to a consistent movement based practice and to pranayama and meditation.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” - Wayne Dyer

There is a lot of good advice out there to help you deal with life changes, 

*Know that Change Is Inevitable. …

*Separate Your Feelings from Your Reaction. …

*Practice Mindfulness. …

But for me the simplest  way to accept change that is hard to handle is to try to look at it from a different perspective. Look for something that might be a good outcome from the change. I know, I know…. Looking at something thats well, crappy, in a different way is hard. Who out there remembers the movie Pollyanna? Yea the old Disney version. In the story Pollyanna played a game called the glad game and no matter how disappointed or sad she was she always looked for something to be glad about. She looked for the light. She looked for a something in a bad situation that she could be glad about.

Well folks I am a card carrying Pollyanna. My ex-husband & my oldest son used to call me “Pollyanna” like it was a bad thing. An insult. But its not. Seeing the good in a bad situation makes you resilient, it does not make you an ostrich with its head in the sand. Being able to look ahead and see that this new road maybe taking you in a good or better direction comes from a place of strength. It take courage to look at your current situation, this new normal, and think ‘I can make something good come of it’. And personally I think that makes you more of a realist. Always being fearful of change or resisting it causes pain and keeps you stuck in a present moment that is meant to become a past moment. A memory. 

So remember that change is essential to life, if we always resist changes that life brings, we would never begin new relationships, make new friends and meet new lovers. We wouldn’t take that job we always wanted. We might never go to the new yoga class we heard about…..  Learn to at least welcome change and to meet it somewhere safe, but outside your comfort zone.

Life is all about change and begin open to what comes next. Learn to stay focused on the positives in life. 

Embrace your inner Pollyanna!

Om Shanti

Cheryl

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Happy New Year

 

20160103_171315Let’s talk a moment about your New Year’s Resolution. Do you have one or two? Have you given up the idea of declaring a resolution because buy March or April you’ve given up or even forgotten what it was in the first place. Trust me I feel ya! Setting that resolution and then keeping it so we can make lasting change in our life can be challenging. Let’s see if we can make it a little easier. First let’s change it from a ‘resolution’ to an ‘intention’. Setting an intention encourages us to look a little deeper into the reason for change. So how do you set an intention?

By asking yourself why…. a lot.

Grab a pencil and some paper and write down your intention.

Let’s say your intention is to quit smoking or lose weight (the two most common ‘resolutions’) or maybe it’s to spend more time with your family or save more money, whatever your intention is now ask yourself ‘Why’. (write it down)…. Now ask yourself ‘Why do I want to ____________(fill in the blank).

Let’s use giving up smoking as an example. Your answer to Why might be ‘ I know it’s bad for me’. Ok good start, now dig a little deeper, ‘Why is it bad for you?’ Your answer might be… It’s bad for my health, it costs too much money and it makes my hair smell like an ashtray (Had a BF many years ago who told me kissing someone who smoked was like kissing an ashtray, I like kissing… A Lot. So I quit smoking, but I digress)….Now dig deeper…..Ask yourself ‘In what way is it bad for my health?’ …. You get the picture, you keep asking why, and you keep writing them down, usually the answers are the negatives about the behavior you want to change. But now turn the questions around a bit, dig deeper but in a different direction. Ask yourself about the positives, the good things that can come from making a change…How will quitting benefit my life? And write down all the good that can come from making the change.. ‘I will breath better, I will smell better, I’ll save money I’ll have more energy. I will be healthier.’ You can do this with any change you want to make. Remind yourself about the rewards for stepping out on faith.

Another thing you can do is to frame your intention in the here and now. “In this moment I am healthy”. “I am living a smoke free life”. And remind yourself often of your intention. In yoga we call this a Sankalpa, I have written about Sankalpas before. Having a Sankalpa can be a powerful concept.

Here are some other things to keep in mind that will help making change easier .

* Hang out with the right people. Do your best to avoid the places and people that may tempt you, keep good company; in yoga it’s called Satsanga. Spend time with others that are making the same changes as you. There is a reason that groups like AA have such a great success., they are like-minded people coming together to support each other.

* Cultivate what’s good for you. Instead of putting all the focus on what negative thing in your life you’re trying to change, remember the good things you’re doing and cultivate those habits and attitudes.

*Begin a gratitude practice and if you already have one take it one step further and write down the things you are grateful for. Daily! Everyday write down 5 things you are thankful for.

*Meditate. Sit quietly, let the mind be still, give yourself those quiet moments to de-stress, to calm and quiet the mind, the body and the spirit. When we are stressed, when the body, mind and spirit are filled with anxiety then those old habits are often the things we turn to. Like comfort food they calm us but only for a moment and in the long run they cause more turbulence. Taking time every day for meditation gives us clarity and peace.

* Be joyful! Know that you are making your life better not only for you for those around you.

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Change is hard. But when you learn the different techniques you can use then change is not only easier but joyful as well.

Om Shanti!

Cheryl

BTW My intention is to blog more. How am I doing so far 🙂

Happy Tuesday! Start your day with grati

Start each day with gratitude.
When you can be grateful for what you have, what you have becomes enough, when you have enough then you have abundance, when you have abundance you have more than you need, when you have more than you need you have something for giving…So it is from a Grateful heart that Forgiveness flows.
Shanti

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Daily Cup of Gratitude………. Working

I am grateful I have a job (several actually), we live in economically precarious times, as I write that previous bit the little voice in my head ( aaa shud’up, you have one too) pipes in with ‘but havent we always’, and yes I suppose we have, but the situation seems much worse now, economic collapse, high unemployment, retirement funds derailed, wow I have to stop watching the news. But I digress, yes I have several jobs, I teach yoga in a few different places, I train a few private clients and I work part-time at a bank. And I am grateful for each gig.

I am grateful that I am able to work, I know there those, who for one reason or another can’t work, So I am grateful my body is healthy enough to allow me to work.

I am grateful that I love what I do, yep folks I’m one of the lucky ones. I actually LOVE what I do, I love the folks I work with at the bank and the job allows me just enough freedom that I don’t get bored (the kissofdeath for me),  and Iconsider myself blessed to have the opportunity to teach yoga and to use what I know to help people get out of pain.

Nothing is perfect, no job is perfect, and no body is perfect. We just have to get up everyday and look for the joy, the laughter and at least some bliss in the things we do. If you have a sense of humor and an attitude of joy, then joy will find its way to you. In all that you do.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

PS having said all that I am sharing a very funny ‘Cat in the Hat’ poem about work 🙂 That should make you smile.

Daily cup o’ gratitude………… Sunshine

Grateful for sunshine in January, for even here in the south the winters are usually cold, wet and gray. Winter is the season for reflecting inward quiet meditations, for snuggling, hunkering down and taking things slow.  Winter gives us the opportunity for Sundays spent watching 2 movies back to back, reading a novel in 3 days, baking cookies and making vats of warm soup. For organizing closets, pantry’s and photographs. But….

Oh when the sun shines it reminds us that spring is just around the corner, that soon it will be time to play in the yard, hike in the hills and work in the garden. In that winter sunlight is hope, light and a peace that comes from knowing we can appreciate where we are and where we will be.

Om Shanti

Cheryl