Love the weeds in your life


eyore ahimsa

In yoga, ahimsa or non-judgement, refers to the state of living in loving kindness toward all beings including ourselves.   And yet, sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do.  Let’s face it extending compassion in every situation — particularly conflict — can be hard. Why dispense love to the guy who cut you off in line when you don’t owe him anything?  Because you owe it to yourself to find the love and beauty everywhere.

As A.A. Milne — Winnie the Pooh author — once said, weeds are flowers too once you get to know them. You never know who’s going to come into your life and present you the opportunity to find love.  In fact, sometimes the universe sends us challenging people and situations for just that reason.

The next time someone really gets under your skin, rather than building up toxic emotion asking “why me”, ask yourself, “How can I extend compassion here? What am I supposed to offer? What am I supposed to learn?”

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Pinterest)

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Look with eyes that you want upon you

eye with a heart iris

Have you ever caught yourself being more compassionate than you thought capable? If there are people near you right now, look around and take note of any feelings or emotions that arise. Do you feel irritated, amused, loved, angry, happy, empathetic, unimpressed, or maybe something else?

I recently flew home for the holidays from the busiest airport in the world. While there were flecks of a short temper that wanted to rear itself, I found myself more often trying to empathize with all of the people that make up the holiday hustle and bustle. We all had the same goal: to get home and see our families. And, we all had similar challenges: reassemble ourselves after the security check; find our seats on the plane; stow our carry ons; wait to deplane. I was tired and irritable, but when I looked around I saw a mix of emotions. I saw some people who looked like I felt, and I softened. I realized that we’re all in this together and that extending a little compassion goes a long way.

It’s easy to cast our frustrations onto someone or something else rather than sit with them, but OUR frustrations rarely have anything to do with the person with whom we’re frustrated. In fact, when you put your irritability and ego out into the world, that tends to be what you receive. Conversely, when you extend kindness, you get kindness. It’s really as simple as that. So why is it so hard?

Let’s let that go. It doesn’t have to be hard. The next time you find yourself rearing up for battle, do the opposite and see what happens. Look through a lense of love.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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(Photo: Wikispaces)

Kindness is always possible

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately.  What does it mean to be kind?  Am I kind? How often do I show kindness to others? As I think about these questions, my mind starts to kicking up dirt, and out of curiosity I Googled kindness just to see what came up.  Along side Wikipedia’s definition of kindness and numerous quotes, I found an article on the health benefits of kindness on a website called, “Pathways to Family Wellness.”   Hmmm.  I’m intrigued.  So I read on.  Here’s an excerpt from the article.

“Being kind has a profound impact in the lives of others but you may not know how much of a positive health benefit it delivers to you as well.

People who perform acts of kindness would agree that being kind to someone else makes them “feel good.” Scientific research shows that it not only can make you feel good but being kind has a significant health benefit, both physically and mentally.

Allan Luks, the former executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of Health and executive director of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of New York City studied kindness and documents his findings in his book, The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others.

Luks’ study involved more than 3,000 volunteers of all ages at more than 20 organizations throughout the country. He sent a 17- question survey to these volunteers, asking them how they felt when they did a kind act. A total of 3,296 surveys were returned to Luks, and after a computerized analysis, he saw a clear cause and- effect relationship between helping and good health. Luks concluded, ‘Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.'”

Interesting.  I knew that it felt good to help others, but I didn’t realize there were actual health benefits.  Bonus.  Another one for my recent post, “Selfishly be someone else’s miracle.”

I continued mining through the returned results from my search, and stumbled up on the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website.  Aaah, sweet inspiration.  Just reading the stories people have posted about acts of generosity and compassion began to fire up my tenderness tapas.  The thing is, random acts of kindness don’t have to be award-winning gestures of selflessness.  Merely being there for another human being in any form IS kindness.  And, sometimes kindness simply means NOT harming another. Not cutting someone off in traffic.  Not voicing your frustration to the customer service representative.  Not winning an argument.

“It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to resist from harming them.” The Dalai Lama

Kindness is always an option.  How will you show kindness today?

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Photo Source: Sara on Pinterest

Always lead with your heart

“Love… it surrounds every being and extends slowly to embrace all that shall be.”

– Khalil Gibran

Always lead with your heart.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Photo credit: Pinterest

Pamper yourself with reckless abandon

Source: google.ca via Willow on Pinterest

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

What Your Favorite Yoga Pose Says About You (3 of 4): Fish Pose

matsyasanaIf you have read any of my other posts, or know me at all, you know that Matsyasana (Fish) is my favorite asana.    For me, fish heals a multitude of ills.  In fact, many ancient texts refer to Matsyasana as “destroyer of all diseases.”  Whether active or supported, this pose relieves stiffness and tension in your neck and back.

This backbend pose also stretches the muscles in your groin (psoas), abdominals, and chest (intercostals),  provides an opening at the heart and throat chakras, and stimulates the thyroid.

For those of us who spend most of our day hunched over a desk at work, or round our shoulders over a mobile device while engaged in a battle of wits playing “Words with Friends,”  matsyasana helps correct our oft horrendous posture.

In my favorite variation of the active pose, I instruct my students to lie on their backs with their arms tucked closely by their sides, and roll their shoulders back and chest open.  Then I have them place their wrists directly under their sit bones.  This little adjustment can bring tremendous relief for carpal tunnel sufferers.   On an inhale, press into the hands and forearms, draw the shoulder blades (scapula) together and down the back, and bring the torso and head off of the floor.  Then, gently, place the head down on the mat leaving a nice arch in the back and open chest. To protect the neck, there’s very little weigh on the head. Continue reading