Tag Archives: yoga

Gettin’ sweaty and breathin’ heavy… [part three]

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Continuing on from parts one and two……(click on the highlighted text to check out previous posts).

It has been awhile since the last entry – much has happened.   My yoga practice continues,  the first term of school year is coming to an end, and, yes, it is officially winter.

Lately I have been noticing an important lesson that yoga has taught me.   To my surprise not only do I still find that yoga is an excellent workout, it is changing the way I move through life (off the mat). Moving through my volunteer time at the yoga studio and my yoga practice I have become aware of my pace.  My tendency is to rush through things in a heightened state — sort of an unending panic mode.  Somehow I am moving away from that state and moving into a more grounded, steady, state of being, in life.

Hello, can you say liberating?  [say it with me now… l i b e r a t i n g]

Life is busy.  Many of us seem to revel in the busy-ness of our everyday lives.

You know the conversation, “How have you been?”, ” Oh!? Ohmigosh I’ve been so busy!  Doing this, that, this, that, thisthatthisthatthisthatthisthat…”.  We become lulled into a state of acceptance along with some form of acknowledgement.  Accepting that life is, well, just busy.  And if my life isn’t busy, than what does that say about me? What will others think?  It is as if we feel being busy means that what we are doing is important and that it makes us more important (or maybe more accepted) in this world.   Granted, we all have those times in life when we seem to have a never ending list of little, tedious tasks that we need to get done in order to be able to do the things we want to do.  What I am referring to is beyond the occasional busy day, its the busy – every – day situations.

One of my favorite moments in yoga class is Tadasana (see photo).  When we move through the various poses and into tadasana I feel an energy moving through the pose that comes from within, it feels as if  energy radiates from my centre throughout my body and out my extremities.  The active breath reflects this as I feel as if oxygen is drawn in through my fingers, toes, and head, through my limbs and into my chest.  Exhaling through each pore of my skin.  The tension in my neck melts away and my shoulders ease from the weight of the day.  It is truly a beautiful thing.

In the end, Tadasana does not allow one to be busy with anything else but standing aligned, breathing.  So simple, yet so important to take that moment of time to just stand, in stillness.

Winter has officially arrived, blanketing our city with a layer of sparkling, fluffy, white snow – the beauty of snow is that it dampens the sounds of the city and creates a calm, a silence.  Today, instead of giving in to the negativity that arrives with the limitations that winter can often bring, I suggest that we take our cue from nature.   Stop, listen beyond the dulled sounds of the city, and hear the blanket of snow. Breathe deeply, feel the coolness of the air washing through your body, calming and soothing the racing business of your day.

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Hello, Self?

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Hello, Self?   Um, yeah, this is me – asking you – to get the *@#!&* out of my way.

[If you visited this blog over the summer you are probably aware that  a 30-day yoga challenge was completed.   30-days straight, HOT yoga everyday.  Removing our obstacles was the theme.]

Now the time has come.  It was inevitable.  Time to let go.  Time to stop being the 5’11” obstacle that is most often in my way in all aspects of my life.

The trick? The quick fix?

Not sure its a trick or a quick fix, I am thinking it is more like a way of BE-ING.

  • Being present enough my life to set an intention for each day, each study session, each yoga practice…
  • Being aware… aware of my breath and aware of my community of family, friends, and supporters.
  • Being honest with myself about perfection – it really is futile.
  • Being able to focus on relaxing my face and take in what is coming to me, rather than blocking it with my stress (and that fish face I always make).
  • Being able to allow myself flexibility.  Already I’ve hit a roadblock – my assignments getting in the way of my yoga.   Today, I took 10 minutes to sit and meditate, to be still.  To practice on my own.  It felt great.
  • Be in the moment in order to fully express the moment – whether that is physically, emotionally, or verbally.  Be in the moment to find the stillness in the moment.
  • To allow myself to Be with my creativity, to go with it and trust it.
  • Be committed to my purpose.
  • Be open to challenge rather than afraid of challenge.

My dear self, I do not mean to be rude (after all, this IS Canada) but please, either work with me or get out of my way!

Note:   The SITS had a ‘Back to Blogging’ week where they encouraged bloggers  to get back into blogging this fall by posting various things.  I didn’t participate in the actual week, but I liked the idea and the ideas they offered.  This post is essentially a repost of my yoga challenge wrap up – with a twist for the fall!

Fuel Your Karma…

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We have all been there, at those  meetings where the chair/president of a committee asks for volunteers and the room falls completely silent.  Eventually the usual people begrudgingly raise their hands to volunteer for tasks, the rest always seem to sit there looking around as if there are gremlins hiding behind the furniture waiting to jump out and volunteer!    One of those moments when ‘those’ people usually make the decision that they aren’t coming to anymore meetings, hence they be made to feel guilty for not stepping up.  [Dare I admit that I have been one of those people???]

Over the past few weeks I have been experiencing as many yoga classes with as many different yoga instructors as I possibly can.  Each one has had a unique gift and have brought out different qualities in my yoga practice. There was one class in particular that struck me as interesting and encouraging.

“Take a breath of community” the instructor said between poses.   What was that?  Breath of Community.  Each time he said it the room [it was a full house] took a deep inhalation and exhalation together, in perfect unison.   In fact, it felt like the[my] breath became larger and broader with every breath.

Breath = breathing = living.  Breath of Community.   Living in tandem with others who share your interests.

How often do we make an effort to breathe with our communities outside of the yoga studio and the yoga practice? [I wonder aloud.]

How often do we make an effort to lend support [live in tandem] to those within our communities? [ Again, I wonder aloud…]  How often have we lent our negativity to those in our communities?

How many of us make an effort to work with our communities and develop relationships within our communities?  That sounds like an awful lot of work! That is what I thought, and I looked around me and realized that I am a part of several communities… as a student, a [ballet] teacher, a yoga student.  Do I breathe with my communities?  [I hesitantly wonder to myself.]  This summer has actually been more of a community summer for me – taking part in the yoga challenge and the events that go along with it, planning a seminar, volunteering at a conference, writing letters, and even my blogging is a community action.  I feel that I have breathed with my community and it feels great!  Now the question becomes, can I keep it up?

Unfortunately the air these days is very ‘me’ oriented,  we live our lives singly, communicate via ‘social networking’, and breathe simply for our own survival.  It’s survival of the fittest [good old Darwin]!   Our communities have become online communities rather than face to face interactions.  Our communities have suffered.   Economically it is not much of a leap to say that community minded activities are generally voluntary (hence, no paycheque in return), and as such we tend to our fiscal responsibilities first (put food on the table, pay bills, etc.).   On the other side, we are so busy in our lives that we forget the importance of our participation, interaction with living, breathing people.  We have become so ‘me’ oriented,  so competitive with each other,  so afraid to admit that we sometimes need support,  that we forget to support each other.

To quote MC Yogi “what you give is what you get”. When you give of yourself and your time, you receive much in return that has no cash value, no ‘Bling factor’, just the simple the satisfaction of helping your community (someone in your community) to achieve a goal.

  • Community – How do we build it? By getting involved. Offer your skills to your community, whether it is letter writing, making phone calls, organizing, canvasing, etc.  We forget that it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, every little bit is appreciated.
  • Community – Why should I? Because no one can be truly successful in this life functioning solely on their own. We all need help sometimes. The help you give your community today will be returned to you ten fold in the future.  And honestly, doing what you can for your community feels really good. The key is doing ‘what you can’.
  • Community = Karma. What goes around comes around – when you feel good, in turn you are good to others, they are then good to others, and so on (the pay it forward concept, you know?).  We need to move away from the attitude of  “if I do this for you, what will you do for me?”.  I have been there, in that attitude, and it is not a good place to live.
  • Community has been built – now how do we keep it? Be aware of your communities and take the time to reach out and offer a helping hand.  And when people do step up and help you out,  be sure to say thank you.

This week, take a moment to consider your communities.  How do you participate in your communities?  What can you do to participate in your community?  Do you support others within your community in a positive manner?

All together now ‘take a breath of community’.  I N H A L E   aaaannnnnnd  E X H A L E.

Have a beautiful day.