Sacrifice

The Many S’s of Yoga

s of yoga

Sacrifice

Sometimes to pursue a dream or just to move forward with our lives we have to make sacrifices. Just the act of growing up is a sacrifice; we have to sacrifice the freedom that childhood offers to take on the responsibilities of adulthood. Yoga is like. You practice and you change. You breathe and you change. You meditate and change. Yoga produces changes in our lives, in our bodies and in our minds. It transforms us and helps us lift the veil around our spirit. These changes, this transformation requires some sacrifice, you may sacrifice time spent with family so you can go to class. You may lose friends who don’t understand what you’re doing or why. But you do sacrifice something to transform from where you are to where you want to be, to live your best life.

Yoga transformations are amazing but sometimes require difficult sacrifices.

 

Om Shanti

Cheryl

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Swinging on a pendulum

So the question is Does God actually have a hand in the direction life goes? Not just the life or death stuff but the everyday stuff, or is everything in life a flip of the coin, chance?

This seems to be how people view life, as only one or the other. Either God has a hand in everything single thing going on in every single life or that everything is happenstance.

Either way you have no control over your life…..If you believe that a power higher than yourself makes all the decisions, bends you, twists you, challenges you, denies you, gives and takes, well then some outside force is controlling your life. Or perhaps you believe that everything in your life is a game of chance, a roll of the dice, there again, you’ve given your power away.

Here’s the problem with living your life at those edges, it’s too easy. It’s easy to say “Well God will take care of that” and so you sit back and wait……do nothing.  It’s also easy to say “Well that was just bad luck, maybe it will get better with time” and so you wait, for the next roll of the dice…..and you do nothing.

When the fact is Life happens on a sliding scale….with a pendulum like motion. Life is fluid; always changing and we have to understand that we have control over all of our circumstances. But when we begin to view the pendulum like motion that life is, we realize that we have choices and that we can step up and make the changes in our lives that will benefits us and ultimately give us control over our own lives.

Make no mistake I believe in a power higher than myself, God, and I believe that power does contribute to my life in many forms. But I believe that we are given the power to choose and that what you believe influences your decisions and prayer and meditation have the power to changes us. I have the power of choice.

But I also believe in chance, sometimes it’s just bad luck; that guy pulls out in front of you causing a crash…a blown out tire…getting fired….a divorce. It’s how we respond to that roll of the dice that matters. How do we deal with life when life has spiraled out of our control?

Life happens on a spectrum, an ever swinging pendulum and sometimes God takes over completely, but never for long and sometimes the happenstance of life forces us to make a different choice.

Always living at one edge of the pendulum, at the far ends of the spectrum, diminishes your life, keeps it small. Remember that life happens all along the spectrum and that it takes a lot of courage to grab hold and swing with that pendulum. Life happens all along the spectrum and it’s not the end points or the length that’s important but that you keep swinging.

Om Shanti

Cheryl

pendulum of life

 

Often times we don’t see it coming. The big event or the one little word that starts us on that roller coaster ride that shakes us, bounces us around and with twists and turns it brings us back to the beginning. It seems that we are trapped  on that merry-go-round of emotions for most of our lives.

These moments or events can cause us to doubt ourselves, to create drama on the inside that doesn’t exist anywhere else. And most of the time its a big fat nothing that causes that shift in our perception, that brings up the old manifestations of negative self-worth. Some rigid idea that we aren’t good enough that we don’t matter as much as someone else. That our dreams are foolish or insignificant. And then we turn that nonsense outward, flinging poo at other people.

Don’t we know who we are. Don’t we know are significance, our value. When we practice Yoga & live by the basic principles yoga can teach us to respond in a manner that is compassionate, that requires Love to dampen that fire of doubt.

The practice of Ahimsa is a kind of self-love that is a cool rain on a sticky August day, it calms and soothes and then we can embrace our dreams and with love and peace we can ignore the outside triggers and we can surrender these old patterns of behavior to the universe, and allow things to happen as they should. No resistance, no misunderstanding.  You learn to recognize that other people are not the ones who doubt, who question, who don’t understand those thoughts are within us. With a consistent yoga practise we become flexible enough to move out-of-the-way of  the slings and arrows of someone else’s discontent, of our own discontent and then we begin to understand our divinity

Quotes About Moving On 0173-175 (Spiritual Quotes) (1).

Om Shanti

C

Settling in for the changes to come

 

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Well here we are, 1 full month into 2016 how is it going for you? The New Year can bring so many different emotions. For me it’s always a season of change, some new challenge is always waiting for me after Jan 1. Last year at this time I was deep into writing again, something I hadn’t done in a very long time. I couldn’t seem to stop. It was tough to try to get the stories perfect or the articles exactly the way I wanted. It was a challenge, but I loved it.

I have a friend who is the opposite; this time of the year is more about quiet contemplation. About time spent reading or searching for answers to deep questions he asks only himself. But he enjoys this time to rejuvenate because he knows when warmer weather comes his life will be busy. And I know another sweet soul who struggles with the long dark days in the form of seasonal depression. She is a sun worshiper and cant wait for the days to get warm so she can spend more time in the sunshine.

So what is this time of the year like for you? So you feel energized? Do you take this time to cocoon or do you count the days till spring?

Most of you know what my challenge has been this year. The big changes all have to do with The Chattanooga Yoga Centre. I’m so busy trying to figure out the schedule and book new clients and …and…. and… I haven’t had time to write like I want to. So the big challenge is time management. I have hired a new accountant so that will free up some of the burdensome paperwork. And I hope to hire someone to take on the challenge of marketing and doing other paperwork. It a big hairy glorious mess! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So let me know what the New Year has brought for you. Reach out through the blog comments, or come to a Yoga class or workshop or schedule a Reiki session to help you find clarity and focus.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

C

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A new approach

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Lets look at this idea of being mad at pain. We get angry and treat the pain body as the enemy that is to be crushed or beaten, but is the pain really your enemy? Pain is just one of the ways that the body communicates with us.

Only one of the ways.

The loudest way for sure. Pain is like that bully in school who gets their way by pushing others around or the guy at work that always talks in the meeting, never saying anything productive but saying nothing louder than anyone else.

We can get mad and frustrated at the pain and it’s easy to do and understandable. But when we do that the pain gets all of the attention. Lets assume for the moment that it’s back pain, if all you do is focus on the pain you feel while forward folding you forget about the fact that you can do other things really well, maybe spinal extension or rotation.

So let’s try something together, just for now, just in this moment move your awareness from the pain and look for something in the body that’s working………… did you find something? Good. Now for just for right now, nurture that something. Encourage that  part of you that is working pain free.

Nurture what’s working.

When you can do that then maybe you can also begin to nurture what may not be working so well and maybe you can stop being mad at the pain. It may not go away,  especially if it’s chronic pain, but at least you can help to reduce the stress associated with that pain.

I was a skinny, nerdy kid and of course got picked on … A lot. and I remember my Mom always telling me don’t ignore them, but be the first to laugh at yourself and to not let them get to me. She also said to never let them win, and they could only win if they could get to me. It took years for that advice to sink in but she was right, by ‘killing them with kindness’ they eventually left me alone, because they couldn’t win.

Pain can be like that, don’t ignore pain, it’ is the bodies way of saying that something is wrong, but if you nurture what’s working and stop being mad at the pain, at least then the pain doesn’t win.

Nurture what works.

~c

wellness

Your Passion for Life or “What I learned at 14,000 feet”

“Don’t worry about what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman

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This year I received one of the best Christmas presents that I have ever gotten, my Hubby bought me a gift certificate to Chattanooga Skydiving, Yep an opportunity to Skydive…to jump out of a plane, at 14,000 feet. Oh let me tell you I have always wanted to do it..always! It’s is just one of those things I kept putting off, usually for very practical reason, every time I would get an extra $200 I would think of a bill I should pay or debt I could pay down, or one of the kids (or me) needed tires. So, on the back burner it went, along with the tattoos I have always wanted and that cruise I have never taken. But my wonderful Daughter in law got the same gift certificate from my son, so off we went the day after Christmas and holy crap it was amazing. The anticipation of the event might have been the best part, or the flight up to 14,000 ft or the thrill of exiting a plane at that altitude doing 70 mph, or maybe it was the 60 sec of free fall, or the view as you slowly descend after pulling the ripcord…oh the view! It took my breath away. Ok I don’t know what the best part was, but I can tell you it was the best thing I did in 2014.
It thrilled me, it messed up my hair, and it put a smile on my face that I still can’t get rid of…..
But what it really did was remind me that I am alive. Really alive.
And sometimes we need that reminder. We get caught up in the mundane, the ordinary, the routines of life and we forget to live (with a capital ‘L‘). Too many years of doing that and you forget your passion, your purpose and the reasons why you love life.
So how do you revive your passion, what do you need to do to get your groove back? Well you don’t have to jump from moving plane, (but seriously you should try it)
Here are a few tips to jump (get it, jump…..) start your passion,
Slow down
When we slow down, we are able hear our inner dialogue. Slowing down might mean do yoga, taking a long walk in nature or practicing mediation. It might also mean stopping everything so you can do the one thing you have always wanted to do. Yes even free-falling at 100 mph can be a kind of slowing down.
Change your story
You know the one you tell yourself, about who you are or think you are. If we can understand our self-limiting stories, the ones that foster a negative idea about ourselves, then we can begin to eliminate them by writing new ones. Tell yourself the good things about you and when you do that from a place of confidence you can start to map out strategies for living your best life.
Cultivate that confidence
If we are continually telling ourselves we can’t, then we will never believe we can. There is always a chance you may fail, but if you don’t have the confidence to try you will never know.
Own your uniqueness
Viva la Difference! We are all here for a reason and we are all unique, we have talents, and wisdom born from our struggles, strength and skills we have learned. We all have something to offer.
Look for the patterns
Recognizing the recurring themes in our lives helps us to create a pattern for us to either follow or change. What themes or lessons seem to constantly surface in your life? What are you drawn to again and again? What areas of life seem to be full of discomfort and pain? What areas are full of joy and light?
Write
Don’t worry about writing something for someone else to read, just get your thoughts and ideas on paper. Write without an agenda, write without editing and write without judgments. You might be surprised what comes out & up. You just might find yourself writing about the next chapter in your life.
Do something fun  (like jump out of a plane)
Too often we get wrapped up in the to-do lists instead of what is most important. What do you love to do? What makes you smile? If money were limitless, what would you be doing today?
Do it now
It’s easy to tell ourselves that’s we’ll ‘do that ‘ when we have more experience, more money, or more time, but the truth is, that will never happen. Life is short, do put off till tomorrow what you can do today. I’m not saying break the bank or go into debt to live your passion, but perhaps you can identify & start saving so you can do it soon.
De-clutter your life
All the “stuff” in our lives overwhelms us and paralyzes us from taking action. We have no idea where to start or what to do first. So quite often, we do nothing. And thus everything stays the same. Clearing the clutter of your life is important work. It forces you to take an honest look at yourself and your life to see how you have strayed from the path of becoming the person you want to be.
An abundance of things and unnecessary physical clutter drains us of energy we could put toward living a creative, passionate life. Instead of constantly reorganizing things, cleaning and repairing we could be experiencing and creating something that is deeply fulfilling, fun, and important.
… Oh in case you were thinking ‘she just said that about skydiving to make a point well here is the video to prove I did it!!  And yes it was cold… hence the earmuffs and about 4 layers of clothing.

 

Om Shanti

Cheryl

Happy New Year…Almost 2015

So while the new year still looms ahead, and the old year begins to slip silently into the past, Lets try an experiment.Think back to last January; what were your hopes, plans, goals, resolutions….nay perhaps you set sankalpas? Now fast forward through the year…..How did you do? Don’t stress It’s not a contest just a question. Now look to the future, and see if you can set your sights on 2015. What do you have in mind for the upcoming year? What do you hope is in store for you in 2015? Now lets talk briefly about the difference between a New Years Resolution and a Sankalpa……

There is an old expression ‘If wishes were horses than beggars would ride‘.

Well ‘wishing’, ‘wanting’, desiring change or making empty promises to ourselves in the form of resolutions rarely creates lasting change. What does create those changes you want or need is your intention (sankalpa) behind those wants & wishes.

A resolution is a promise we make ourselves, an action with firm determination; you resolve to make a change….Someday, next week, tomorrow, but soon. Sounds pretty good, right, but then why doesn’t it work. Because It’s a decision based on what we think we need to fix within us (which means we have already judged ourselves as broken) added with the pressure to make it happen (no good diamond was ever created from the pressure put upon an already broken rock). And of course if we don’t accomplish what we set out to do, we feel like failures and that sets in motion the feelings of guilt and unworthiness. It’s a vicious cycle.  Resolutions don’t support what we really want or need, instead it focuses on the outcome and forgets the experience entirely.
Sankalpa (Intention) on the other hand is a physical manifestation of that energy that is the commitment and intent for change. Sankalpa requires us to get to know ourselves better, to truly understand why we do what we do and why we want and/or need this change. This then becomes the intention behind the resolve.

So this year do something different, throw away the resolutions and start a new tradition of setting an Sankalpa.

Just a few of my ‘intentions’ for the upcoming year.

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~c~

“Desire grows by what it feeds on.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Chronicles of Avonlea

Nothing to do with Yoga….well everything is a little yogi-like

Great article and all I have to say is…

Well DUH!……. Children learn how to use their bodies by USING THEM! Why in the name of all that is holy do we think it is ok to imprison kids behind desks all day long. I raised 3 boys (+1) the biggest argument I had with teachers who wanted to have all of them tested (none of them were and they are all fine thank you very much!) was why don’t they have more time to play. It is through play that children learn healthy interaction with others, through play we learn leadership skills ( and ‘follower’ skills equally as important), through play we make our bodies fit & healthy enough to take on the shit that adulthood throws at us.   I chose to homeschool my 3 boys for about 2 years and it was amazing and I wished I could have done it longer (got divorced ect ect ). My middle son would take his books, climb the tree in the front yard and do his reading assignments.  And we took chalk and did math on the sidewalk. We would go to the parks and museums. We were very active and I still made sure they all had a ‘recess’ even my teenager. Bring back recess! Dear God bring back their childhood! Bring back play it is as necessary to their growth as breathing….and folks I can preach about breathin’, yes I can!

Parents set a time everyday for a controlled Blackout…turn off all electronics and kick their sweet, darling little butts outside.

OK my rant for the day is over Now go play in the Yard! And go read the article that prompted my rant.

Om Shanti!

Cheryl

WHY CHILDREN FIDGET

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Asana Practice

“The Asana should be effortless. There should be no effort not only in the body but also in the mind. Absolute ease of relaxation is the sign of perfected Asana. The student should be in a most natural condition in which he is not conscious even of his breathing.”

Swami Krishnananda

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Yoga Asana.

What is it really? This Asana we do. Do we really know what it is, what it means to practice asana?

Obviously Yoga asana are the poses, the physical movements of yoga. What we all recognize as Yoga. Although Yoga Asana is only one part of yoga, one limb of a very diverse tree.

Pantajali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, didn’t say much about the Asana practice only a few things and that has led some to believe that it isn’t a very important part of yoga, or that it is less important than the other limbs. But it is all part of the same process. When we incorporate all the limbs of yoga into our practice, then we begin to cultivate more spiritual awareness.

In the sutras Pantajali  wrote of Asana;

2.46  Sthira Sukham Asanam

  • sthira (Steer-a)  / steady, stable, grounded
  • sukha (Sue-kahm) /With Ease, Spacious
  • asana (As-ana) / posture or pose (also means “to sit”)

Within this simple statement Patanjali provides the perfect guideline for asana practice: sthira sukham asanam or one should be steady and comfortable in asanas. To be more specific, sthira means stability & grounded while alert & active. And sukha means with ease or without suffering.

When we practice asana we are often taught where to feel the pose or how to feel the pose and if we are feeling the pose we must be doing to correctly…perfectly.

Unfortunately that isn’t really it…. It isn’t really about a right or wrong way to do a pose and it is never about perfection. That’s the western way of viewing an asana practice. That we should mimic the pose that our teacher does.  It’s like we exist outside the pose waiting for someone to tell us what to feel while we are inside the pose. That isn’t asana. But where does asana come from and why do we practice it.

Asana means ‘seat’ or ‘pose’ and it first appears in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita (between 800 BCE-500 BCE). Both of these texts asana as meaning a ‘seat’ for meditation and rituals. And In the Yoga Sutras (about 300 CE), we find only three Sutras about asana. And it’s obvious that Patanjali views asana as a preparation for meditation.

Then around 500 CE Hatha Yoga comes on the scene and uses posture (asana) to promote a strong body and good health. The idea being that the body is a temple of the Divine and we must do our best to keep it healthy. Within the last 200 years we saw the development of asana as the main focus of almost all Western yoga practice. In his book, “Yoga Body-The Origins of Modern Posture Practice,” Mark Singleton looks at the history of asana and explains that most of the tradition of modern yoga is from the 19th and 20th centuries in India as a result of the influence of colonial British physical fitness and the rise of Indian nationalism.

Judith Hanson Lasater says “We stay with the practice of yoga asana because it is a powerful non-verbal expression of the sacred. And practicing and living the sacred part of life is often sadly lacking for many people in the West today.  The expression of this sacredness has to do with the nature of asana practice itself. No matter how many times one has practiced a certain asana, when it is practiced now it is absolutely new.”

“A powerful non-verbal expression of the sacred” The first time I read that I was like YES! That’s it! Asana has always been for me a meditative practice. Erich Schiffmann’s famous book ‘Moving into Stillness” is a wonderful book and I love it. But for me it has been more about ‘Moving with stillness’ and yes that sounds like an oxymoron I know, how can you be still if you are moving, but the stillness is on the inside. When I am moving in asana, my mind can’t be anywhere else, it has to be still, focused and quiet. And the stillness can be the pose itself. Being able to hold a pose in that steady, comfortable state gives you the opportunity to observe the feelings that come up. Do you feel anxious or uncomfortable and why.

So in our modern practice we try to combine both the ancient & the modern ideas of asana, of being
steady and Comfortable. This is the principle of balance. We seek to harmonize strength and steadiness with comfort and ease.

When we are doing asana remember the yamas & niyamas. Consider Ahimsa (do no harm), I talk about this all the time in classes. Never move into physical pain or practice asana in a way that disturbs our mind or spirit. If you are doing something that physically hurts are you honoring that expression of the scared?
Practicing asana from a place of Satya (truth) means being honest about where we are in the pose and why. Rather than thinking about how it should look, we need to discover our own yoga, not the yoga coming from the teacher or from other students or from the cover of a magazine.
We should practice asana with tapas (heat and intensity), svadhyaya (study of the Self) and Isvara pranidhanani (devotion). These are the concepts help us to forge our asana practice in the way that you would forge steel, to become strong and resilient.

So in our asana practice, it’s important to focus not just on what our body is doing, but on how we’re doing it. Come into the pose(s) and hold them long enough to become steady and use the feeling of comfort as a guide and know that steadiness (sthira) and comfort (sukha) have more value that moving so fast that you become lost in the routine and your goal is to simply  finish X number of poses.

Also watch your breath. Observe it. It can be the best indicator of how you are feeling in a pose. It too should be Sthira, and Sukha. Using the Ujjayi breath is calming to the mind and can provide focus, helping to create that calm, steady state that is meditation.

Scan your body for any tension, holding a pose doesn’t and shouldn’t create tension, such as clenched jaws and scrunched toes. Try to achieve that state of relaxation with alertness and if we are straining and gritting our teeth through a yoga class, there is no ease.

I could write all day about asana and still not speak so eloquently about the subject as Mr. Iyengar does in one small paragraph.

“The body is the temple of the soul. It can truly become so if it is kept healthy, clean and pure through the practice of asana. Asanas act as the bridges to unite the body with the mind and the mind with the soul.
“Patanjali says that when an asana is correctly performed, the dualities between body and mind, mind and soul, have to vanish. This is known as repose in the pose, reflection in action. When the asanas are performed in this way, the body cells, which have their own memories and intelligence are kept healthy. When the health of the cells is maintained through the precise practice of asanas, the physiological body becomes healthy and the mind is brought closer to the soul. This is the effect of the asanas. They should be performed in such a way as to lead the mind from attachment to the body towards the light of the soul so that the practitioner can dwell in the abode of the soul.”

B.K.S. Iyengar

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Om Shanti

 

Cheryl

fear less Love Strong

fear or love 2014 cpm

It is true that when you face fear it vanishes. Because there are only 2 actions/reactions                                                                                         Fear or Love                            when fear vanishes Love is all that remains

I fear my words are powerful                I fear my words are useless

But I do not fear the unknown              I fear what I have always done and that it will continue

I fear judgment                                            I fear being unable to articulate my thoughts, my beliefs my loves & fears

But I Love that I am able to speak & that no one speaks for me                 that when I speak I speak authentically

I Love that I can use my words to help & to serve

I Love that I am sure of my truth of my thoughts, my loves & my beliefs

I Love that I am calm & peaceful in those truths so that it no longer matters how well I articulate them only that I live them

In that moment of living my beliefs, loves & thoughts I will begin to move away from fear and no longer worry about the judgment of others

C

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