“The major block to compassion is judgment in our minds. Judgement is the mind’s primary tool of seperation.”
“The major block to compassion is judgment in our minds. Judgement is the mind’s primary tool of seperation.”
Towards the end of today’s practice I asked each student to share one thing that they liked about themselves…..easy question, right? Well, to my surprise not so much……there were puzzled looks, feelings of awkwardness, and a lot of silence. So, I then decided to ask what it is one thing you don’t like about yourselves…….the room filled with laughter, and everyone in that instance realized how it’s become acceptable to focus on, and keep hold of the negative thoughts, perspectives, feelings, ideas, etc. Why is that?
One student, Susan, shared that she didn’t want others to think she was “stuck-up” by saying nice things about herself. Other students admitted they just haven’t given it much thought. What I heard was the concern about being judged from others, as well as having a lack of compassion for self. So, I went around the room again asking what is the one thing you like about yourself? With red cheeks, small smiles, and eyes that glanced towards the floor…….slowly they began to share what they felt was great about their individual selves.
Some liked physical things about their appearance, others liked qualities of their personality, and I enjoyed being a part of a moment sharing compassion without judgement. Mind you, I didn’t share my one thing, but I too had a list of things I could have shared that I didn’t like about me……..and it’s funny, we work so hard not to be judged by others, all the while we are constantly judging ourselves. On that same thought…..while we have compassion for others, we practice little to none for ourselves. Really, stop and think, when’s the last time you said to yourself, “Job well done!” Maybe it’s time to make a shift in thinking. To embrace ourselves for the good, the bad, the fun, the boring, the days of looking fabulous, and the days of staying in our jammies. All of it is us, so embrace it, love it and be glad that it’s yours.
Today, I decided to purchase Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be, and embrace who you are. She has done years of research, as well as her own soul searching on this topic of being vulnerable and loving self. I invite you to view this 20 minute video clip…..it’s well worth your time, and it just might empower you to let go and feel good about you being you! So, the next time you’re asked what it is that you like about yourself……without doubt, fear or hesitation you’ll have an answer, and feel wonderful sharing it. By the way, I’ve given it some thought, and I like my neck and shoulders :).
Well, awhile ago one of our students shared my name with the Lululemon store of Leawood, Ks. They offer free yoga sessions to their clients on Saturday mornings, and they invite local yoga teachers to share thier practice. What a wonderful idea, and concept! I was contacted to share this coming Saturday, June 23 @ 9:00 a.m. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, and feel grateful for being asked to be a part of the “morning squeeze.” Maybe I’ll see some of you all there!
To find out more, follow this link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/lululemonLeawood
I picked up a copy of “Yoga Essentials” this week – an issue entitled “Back to Basics.” This got me thinking about how kids’ yoga is really all about providing the basics of a successful practice, which the students will hopefully continue to build on as they mature. And hopefully, learning some yoga skills – calming the mind, non-competitiveness, honoring the body – will help prevent children from taking on the bad habits of our crazy, fast paced society that is riddled with ill-health and dis–eases. Or at the very least, kids who learn yoga, will have tools to combat the unhealthy habits of “success” that modern life instills.
Hillary Dowdle, the editor of “Yoga Essentials” notes that all that is essential to a thriving practice is the right intention and the commitment to show up on your mat regularly. But it sure does help to have a handle on the basics. There is nothing new or revolutionary or even terribly complicated in a successful yoga practice, she goes on to note, only good solid instruction. And how wonderful if we can start as kids with that good solid instruction! How much sooner, and with how much more ease then, will the asana and the yoga path off the mat, become second nature, a way of life. Some of the questions Dowdle hopes to answer in her issue of “Yoga Essentials” are: “How can I better control back bends? How can I stop wriggling and freaking out in savasna?” (my pet question!) “What constitutes safe inversions?” “How can I heal/treat injuries with therapeutic yoga?”
Though, when teaching children, especially younger ones, we don’t generally give very specific corrections on alignment and physiology, kids’ yoga is a great place to start introducing answers to these concepts, or at least creating an awareness of the questions.
I try to show kids alternatives or modifications for unique bodies and for safety, in poses, and all life situations, in a way that is accessible to young minds and bodies. If a child is wobbling and falling over in tree pose, one might suggest a drishti or gazing point, or come out of the pose, work on understanding the concept of engaging the pelvic floor muscles and then try again. Or just a suggestion of having the hands at heart center rather than overhead, or tipping off a wall slightly, may plant the seed of, “It’s ok for me seek other options, to find a way that works for me, to modify to my unique body.” These insights will translate into a freer, more relaxed, less competitive child in all spheres of life.
I wonder how different my life would have been thus far, if I had internalized ideas on necessary relaxation, stilling my racing mind and managing anxiety through breath control, non-competitiveness and listening to my inner voice at an early age. I’d wager I probably would have had an easier time battling anxiety and depression, an over- achiever’s mindset and burn out.
I realized how ingrained the patterns of our pressing, fast paced modern life are in me, when I arrived at a yoga class this week, anxious, headachy and stressed after a day of sitting still and doing admin work and trying to catch up on mails. After two minutes of deep breathing, I felt like a different person, lighter, more joyous, calmer, rejuvenated. How different would my day have been if I had heeded the quiet inner voice (which I didn’t even think to listen for) and stopped my work once or twice to connect with the most basic of life functions just breathing. How sad that I internalized so many negative patterns of modern life and not this simple, yet essential health habit. And though I teach this stuff to others every day, I still battle to implement it myself. Silly! And, if kept up non-stop, debilitating!
Another essential yoga lesson I see kids learn in little bite size pieces in yoga class, is one-pointedness. It is, in fact, something we all once knew how to do to some extent, but have unlearned. It is one of the eight limbs of yoga – dharana – sometimes translated as concentration. It really means more than concentrating – it means being present in the moment you are in, alert and aware with all your faculties, and not scattering your energies outward every which way. Another bad habit of modern life I have internalized is to be constantly busy (or multi-tasking and efficient, as my ego likes to think of it,) always doing more than one thing at a time – “Just think of the time I’ll save and how much more I can cram into my day if I read my email while I eat breakfast or talk on the phone while I unpack the dishwasher (or drive!)” Yoga teaches us to be fully present in the present moment and harness all the powers of awareness, mind, body and spirit. B.K.S. Inyengar says, “The practice of asana, performed with the involvement of all the elements of our being, awakens and sharpens intelligence until it is integrated with our senses, our mind, our memory, our consciousness and our soul. All our bones, flesh, joints, fibers, ligaments, senses, mind and intelligence are harnessed.” And thus, yoga asana teach us to connect to our body intelligence, our intuition, our inner voice. What could be a more precious lesson?
May we teach all our kids yoga lessons with which to combat the ills of modern life, so that they grow up never doubting the strength of the stillness they have within, and are able to draw on it every day, truly saluting the light within themselves and each other in all ways. Namaste!
“The individual who no longer has a rigid mind has found freedom. Life can be so easy. Refuse to let go and you are a person drowning; the more you struggle, the faster you sink.”
As I was browsing through my Facebook page I found this post, and it just made sense to pass this message forward. Taking the simplest actions in life can bring us the greatest peace. I invite you to read the following Four Agreements, and if they resinate with you as the did with me……please pass them forward, and we will share together the message of being, or becoming our best possible selves. Helping us to find the peace, and the greatness that already lies within.
The Four Agreements:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word:
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in… the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally:
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions:
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best:
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
As I sit to write and share the Summer Happenings at YOUYOGA…..I’ve just realized that it’s almost our 1 year anniversary………that’s sooooooooooo crazy. Things have really evolved and taken on their own shape in this last year. I began this blog with the intention of sharing my passion, voice and love of yoga. There have been moments of wonderful sharing…….and moments of….I have no idea what I’m going to write about this week.
However, I must admit that I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve enjoyed having this outlet to connect with others, and I’m looking forward to transitioning YOUYOGA’s site into an even better resource for yoga, health and wellness for all individuals. Soon YOUYOGA’s site will be getting a new look, and it’s my hope that we’ll have better tools to share our message of yoga with you for many years to come!
Thank YOU for all of the support and encouragement that you have shown YOUYOGA…….it’s given us the courage to push past our limits so that we may continue to grow, while providing you with quality knowledge and support. We wish you a joyful summer, and don’t forget to get your yoga groove on too! Here are some specials and classes that might just be the right tune to make it possible.
Father’s day gift idea:
have you always wanted the guy in your life to experience a yoga practice with you, but they think it’s just for us girls? well, here is a perfect opportunity. share it with him as a gift, and three classes just might just keep him coming back for more.
cost: 3 classes for 24$
NEW student summer special:
any two consecutive weeks of FREE classes during the months of June – August, upon completion of classes, purchase any pass with a 20% discount as a thank you and welcome from YOUYOGA
“HOT” yoga in the park:
join us for a gentle yoga flow practice in the park, located behind the johnson county resource library. it’s a beautiful park shaded by wonderful trees. get your yoga on with some natural light, warmth and fresh air from our planet. please bring yoga mat, towel and water. if weather is an issue class will be held at YOUYOGA location:
9653 W. 87th St., OPKS, 66212
when: saturday, june 23 – july 14 and july 21 – august 11
time: 8:00 – 9:00 am
cost: 4 classes $40, or 8 classes $64
got a class pass? your cost: 4 classes $35, or 8 classes for $59
YOU in stillness on Sunday, June 24 @ 1:00 – 2:30 pm:
need some clam? we got the solution….come join us for a 90 minute restorative yoga practice, and reap the benefits of feeling supported. you’ll experience 4-5 poses with the support of yoga props, blankets and bolsters. you’ll be guided by your breath as you release into a deeper state of calm, and sense of well- being. dress in comfortable loose layers, and feel free to bring additional blankets for comfort. additional classes will be held in july and august.
got a class pass? your cost: $15