In order to stay healthy, we must take a more holistic perspective, recognizing that the body works in an infinite series of energetic, chemical, and physical interactions amongst systems. And instead of dwelling on fear of illness, frailty, and breakdown, remember that you are adaptable, resilient, and fully capable of living in good health.
To everyone that has helped me physically, emotionally, financially, energetically, or in any other way imaginable, my gratitude runs deep and untempered. No gesture was too small or forgotten. I am so fortunate to feel this kind of gratitude because I know that it will only move me to do as much as I can for as many people as I can in the future. You have taught me what support looks like, and it looks like love.
Sitting with and accepting internal conflict is what allows me to wholeheartedly experience gratitude without a side of cynicism, guilt, or shame. I think of it as “peace in paradox.”
There are no sides to take in this conflict -- only the decision to speak and act from a place of hate or from a place of love.
It may seem completely normal for a yoga teacher to guide a meditation practice, but in reality I have spent years on the contemplative struggle-bus.
November is now in full swing, meaning the holidays are upon us. If you watch enough movies or enough media, holidays are a time when we are full of gratitude, joy, generosity, love, forgiveness, and all things peppermint or pumpkin-flavored. Our only care in the world is whether or not Starbucks should put reindeer and snowflakes back on their red cups, right?
It’s easy to feel the vibration of sound at a concert or at the movies where sound in focus, but there are subtle sounds everywhere that contribute to the overall vibration of nature, and when we pay attention, we can feel this vibration and begin to align our breath, mind, and movement with the world around us. If we do this on a regular basis, we learn how to ground, and how to work with natural rhythms instead of expending the energy it takes to fight them. It turns out that vibration is a powerful way to connect with our inner selves and with our natural world because it is audible but also tactile. The more senses we can use to experience something, the more it can be used to turn our focus inward.
Our bodies are powerful healers given the right conditions, but we must remember that, ultimately, our health is our own responsibility, and we know our bodies best. Therefore we play an essential role in healing. No doctor can do it all for us. And no one person has all the answers, so we must be invested learners, seekers, and advocates for our own well-being.
There is something truly special about experiencing yoga in a studio setting—breathing and sharing energy with those around us, and having the opportunity to separate from our everyday chatter. But some days we can’t get to the studio, whether it isn’t in our budget at the moment, or perhaps class isn’t at the right time to suit our schedule.
The Inner Beauty Shop turned the light on, making me self-aware in a completely new way. Once awareness is piqued, it cannot be easily buried, and in this case, awareness breeds discernment. I alone am responsible for the way I feel about myself and speak to myself, and the way I feel about myself informs the way I speak, behave, and treat others.
Living our yoga has to be more than saying “namaste” and drinking green smoothies while we pay lip service to loving everyone. How can we expect shifts to happen in our communities and in our world if we cannot own up to our own insecurities and ego-driven behaviors? Every one of us is human and experiences the full range of emotion, but in yoga we are taught to be aware of our emotions and accountable for how we behave in response to those emotions.
During the holiday season—and let’s face it, throughout the year as well—stress can outweigh our joy to the point where even copious amounts of pie and carols fail to lift our spirits. Depression is not shameful, and does not indicate weakness or frailness, but it is conditional, and help is available.
This past weekend, my 6-year-old kids spent a day separating out toys they no longer use for donation. They ended up with about four boxes full of perfectly good things, and they were unfazed. As an observer, it got me thinking a lot about non-attachment, or Vairagya, as it is termed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.