Leaning Into Discomfort…

As a yoga teacher I often instruct my students to listen to their ‘inner messages’.  But what do I mean by this?  By staying vague I am hoping that each person will discover what inner messages means to them as individuals.  I can not be inside anyone’s body except my own, so assuming I could have detailed knowledge about what another person’s experience of self would like, would be a mistake.  I do my best to guide from my experience, but work hard to leave room for each person to explore within their own experience.

As yoga practitioners become curious to their inner messages they not only become more familiar with their bodies and how they react to their practice, but they also become more familiar with their cognitions and emotions.  While on the yoga mat an individual can safely explore and observe themselves.  The knowledge gathered can then be applied during their everyday life.  In this way yoga practice becomes practice in being human.  It was on a yoga mat that I discovered that by hiding from my fears I also was hiding from possible achievement.

Yes it is important to listen to messages of pain and to back out of striving, but the answer is never all or nothing.  Witnessing our discomfort, without judgement, can bring us so much wisdom.  Brene Brown states eloquently, “Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain.  When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy.” (The Gifts of Imperfection, p.73)

(image retrieved from)

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Enough

Today, I am going to believe showing up is enough.

-Brene Brown

Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm  Comments (1)  

Be grateful for the power you hold within.

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier.  The way it actually works is in reverse.  You must be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you really want. 

~Margaret Young

(image source)

A friend and student of mine recently lent me a book to read,

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
I am about two-thirds of the way through and would highly recommend the book.  I find the way Brene tackles tough topics like love, belonging, shame and connectedness to be very insightful and refreshing.  Whether or not she knows it she is a true yogi.  To help you understand why I say this let me share a short excerpt from her chapter on authenticity:
“Choosing authenticity is not an easy choice. … ‘Staying real’ is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight.
When we choose to be true to ourselves, the people around us will struggle to make sense of how and why we are changing.  Partners and children might feel fearful and unsure about the changes they’re seeing.  Friends and family may worry about how our authenticity practice will affect them and our relationships with them.  Some will find inspiration in our new commitment; others may perceive that we’re changing too much – maybe even abandoning them or holding up an uncomfortable mirror.”
This short paragraph describes clearly what can challenge an individual when they begin a deep study of yoga.  I have not only experienced this transition myself, but witnessed it in countless students and friends.  It is my belief that yoga has the power to reveal our true natures and in doing so bring us into harmony/homeostasis.  Whether this harmony is Samadi (with a big ‘S’) or not I do not know, but I can say with absolute certainty that with a greater sense of authenticity life will become joyful.  I do not intend to say you will never be challenged, never hit red lights, never feel depressed, or never suffer.  But I literally mean that whatever arises will be seen in a softer light and challenges will help you to grow stronger.  Be grateful for the power you hold within.

Pranayama Smiles

Today I spent all day at a Pranayama workshop.  I feel privileged to have the opportunity to teach what I love.   Fellow Shanti staff member, Lori Tindall, and I were all smiles.

Published in: on November 13, 2011 at 5:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Present Moment

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. Jan Glidewell

We are always getting ready to live but never living. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Chinese Proverb 

Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed. Coria Kent

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Charles Dederich

http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/liveinthemomentquotes.html

Lazy Tummy Muscles

I woke up this morning feeling wretched.  I was racked with nausea and stomach cramps.  I am regularly challenged with the symptoms of a condition called gastroparesis.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gastroparesis is a condition in which the muscles in your stomach don’t function normally.”  Basically I have very lazy tummy muscles and it makes it hard (often times impossible) to digest food.  Having this condition has made eating “the right stuff” a constant pain, literally.

I have spent so much time researching and asking every imaginable expert what I should do.  Results have varied, but unfortunately I still haven’t found myself symptom free.  I recently spent some time on a forum connecting with other people with gastroparesis.  They shared similar stories of mixed results and frustration.  If any of you have resources you think would be helpful I would be grateful to learn of them.

 

Published in: on November 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm  Comments (3)  
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Pucker-up Pinkie

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  ~Judy Garland

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.  ~e.e. cummings

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.  ~Confucius

Are you still afraid of the Neti Pot?

Many of my students have been commenting on allergies and colds.  Not only is weather likely to be effecting your quality of breath, but we are all turning on our heaters again.  Particularly if you have forced air heat, you may want to spend some time cleaning your vents, duct-work and replacing your furnace filters.  This will help cut back on the particulate matter blown into the air within your home.

This is also the time to be making regular use of your neti pot.  If you still feel hesitant to try it out, I highly recommend giving it another try.  To make the experience as comfortable as possible make sure you use plenty of salt and use warm water. It can feel a bit strange the first couple of times you use it, but after that you will wonder how you lived without a neti pot.

“The practice of nasal cleansing – known as Neti – has been used by practitioners of Ayurveda and Yoga in India for thousands of years. Neti is one of the 6 purification techniques performed prior to practicing yoga as a way of preparing the body for the yoga practice.”

The practice of nasal irrigation originated in India, but now many people around the world use it on a regular basis. It can be used daily or as needed. Using a neti pot one can use warm salt water  to gently cleanse the nasal passages. As the water flows through your nose it washes away pollens, mucus, viruses and bacteria. The nasal passage, with its fine hairs and mucus membranes, is one of the ways nature protects us from illness. The neti pot can have an amazingly positive effect on your body’s ability to stay healthy and fight off sickness.

Here in Boise there are a number of places to purchase a neti pot. I bought a very pretty ceramic one at the Boise CO-OP for about $12. They all come with clear instructions and the salt can be purchased right off the same shelf. Below are some basic instructions and a short video to give you an idea of how it is done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFEXjzGagMI&feature=related

Neti pot instructions:

1. Fill the neti pot with warm water and the recommended amount of salt. Hot water is dangerous and cool water is not soothing. You may also play around with the amount of salt you use, to find out just the right amount for your greatest level of comfort.

2. Tilt your head to the side. One ear pointing down toward the sink and your forehead is lower than your chin in relation to the counter.

3. Insert spout of neti pot gently into the raised/top nostril creating a seal between the neti pot and the nostril. Try to relax. If you are too tense the solution just won’t flow. Breathe gently through your mouth throughout the process.

4. Raise the neti pot slowly to develop a steady flow of saline solution through the upper nostril and out the lower nostril.

5. When you’re done, exhale firmly several times to clear the nasal passages.

6. Reverse the tilt of your head and repeat the process on the other side.

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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