I’m a huge music fan. I love music of all kinds, and am always looking to discover more music to please my ears. So, of course I’m a huge fan of Pandora and Spotify as a way to find long forgotten hits or to find that great new sound. Even though I love finding new bands or songs to obsess about, I do have my favorites, so there’s always a temptation to skip over a song I don’t know to find the one I can sing along to. I was doing this incessantly until my own personal playlist was just a repeat of the same five or ten songs; a perfect metaphor for how we often live our lives. We’re on autopilot, always skipping forward to the next weekend; the next holiday; the next something. Skipping over the unknown for the comfortable. So, I broke the cycle for fun. Continue reading
As yogis who are after more than just the physical practice of yoga, we are spiritual seekers. As spiritual seekers, we are open to new ideas, concepts, and most definitely introspection. As introspect-ors, we begin to examine ourselves under a microscope, study ancient texts, and try to make heads or tails out of this mortal coil. As we dive into ancient spiritual texts, we learn that non-judgement, non-violence, suffering, and non-attachment as philosophical principles illuminate what might once have been darkness.
Many new yogis get so caught up in consciously adhering to what’s written, that they create a new kind of tension. Rather than allowing the transformation to happen by meditating, and bringing awareness to our actions, we can quickly get caught up in a cycle of self-judgement for not being “the perfect yogi.” Not to mention any added shifts in energy and selflessness you experience as a yoga teacher, reiki healer or yoga therapist. Continue reading
It’s only natural to want to shy away from conflict or avoid facing issues that cause emotional discomfort. However, facing your fears head on first thing in the morning may be exactly what you need to do to break the cycle of suffering.
In addition to my daily yoga (asana) and meditation practice, I recently added a ‘wake-up’ meditation and body scan. Several months ago, after I’d started my regular morning practice, I noticed that I still had some bouts of anxiety during the day that I couldn’t figure out. So, I began to practice awareness as soon as I awoke, and found that it was just the ticket for quelling anxious feelings I didn’t even realize I was harboring.
Stress and anxiety are both natural states, and part of being human, but there is a simple remedy to ensure you start your day in as relaxed a state as possible — by greeting you with gratitude.
Too often, we jump out of bed, head straight for the shower, turn on the television, or down a cup of coffee. Our body is in fight or flight mode and it hasn’t even had a chance to acclimate. No wonder, there’s so much tension in western society. Tomorrow morning, try something different. Set your alarm for about five minutes earlier than usual to allow yourself time to feel what it’s like to wake up, instead of feeling like you’re under attack.
Before you even open your eyes, just softly bring your awareness back to your environment. Gently wiggle your fingers and toes. Reach your arms overhead for a nice stretch, and rub your hands together vigorously to make some heat before cupping them over your eyes. Then, just lie there and notice. Notice if you have any tension anywhere in the body. Notice if you feel dis-ease as soon as you come into the world, and welcome whatever sensations you experience. Say thank you to any physical or emotional feelings good or bad. This different type of awareness, one of gratitude, can quickly dissolve feelings of angst. Treat your morning wake up as gently as you would a long, restorative savasana, and you’ll eventually arise with calm.
Just yesterday, I was talking about this new practice to my mentor from teacher training, and she even suggested bringing your hand to that place on the body in which you’re feeling turbulence, and saying, “thank you.” I love this concept of truly connecting with the self through touch, presence and thankfulness.
In Buddhism, there are four central teachings known as the four noble truths. One of these is dukkha or suffering. The belief is that humans share a bond of suffering, and that living a life of dharma protects us from suffering. And, embracing suffering for the teacher that it is, with gratitude, is the first step toward peace.
We can’t all be boddhisattvas on day one, but when we begin to notice that we are experiencing dukkha at the hand of our own thoughts, and welcome all that is, we begin to live a life of presence — a life without suffering. So, don’t bury your head in the dirt to avoid pain, face it, embrace it and leave it.
- Your Charmed Yogi
My proclivity for drinking coffee stems from an innate hatred of mornings. I like the nightlife; I like to boogie - so while most people are bounding out of bed yipping about sunshine and lollipops in super-chipper voices, I'm calling the alarm clock a filthy name, hoping I don't break yet another snooze button.
Summer is my favorite eating season. Fresh watermelon, tomatoes, and corn are creeping their way into Whole Foods, and local vegetable markets here in Georgia are bursting at the seems with fresh white and yellow peaches. No matter how you slice it, I’m a vege-aholic in the summer. But you’ve got to have something from the grill to complement your fresh fruits and veggies.
Did you know that May is hamburger month? I didn’t until I read this awesome article on the Mother Nature Network on veggie burgers. Continue reading
I've often received the question "is meditating the same as praying?". When I came across this quote, it made the answer very clear.
Some people choose to pray during meditation, but it does not mean you are praying if you are meditating.
Meditation is about listening. It's about observing yourself and your mind. There is a tremendous sense of calm that meditation can bring into your life, a connection with life that you might miss by being…
I’ll admit, I’ve become a bit of a yoga gear junkie. When I discovered yoga more than a decade ago, I towed around my $10 Gaiam mat, and it served its purpose. As I grew as a student, and eventually became a teacher, my desire to expand my horizons in the yoga mat department grew exponentially. Yes, I’m a yogini, so I’m supposed to be using less, and I do. However, as anyone who practices yoga with any regularity can tell you, finding the perfect mat that can evolve with you, is like dating. And, let me tell you, I get around. So, thought I’d provide my own experiences in yoga mat courtship. Continue reading
Bear with me for this post, it follows on from my last post on letting go of expectations and I'm hoping it proves cathartic for me. Recently I upset a friend, I told her the truth about a situation and her reaction was not what I expected, it didn't fit my framework of how an adult and a friend should react in that particular instance.
As a yogini and a teacher, I always bring my practice back to opening the heart as a way to end suffering. Everyday, we may not even be consciously aware of what we’re doing to sabotage our own happiness. Things like attachment, aversion, and fear creep into our lives when we aren’t even looking.
Opening the heart happens off the mat and on through asana, spiritual practice, meditation, and nurturing our creativity. During my classes, I often end class by reading an excerpt from a meditation book I’m reading, or poem by Rumi or Hafiz, or something I’ve written myself that speaks to the moment. Continue reading