In an ideal world we would always feel happy, at peace and in touch with our own personal power – that is our true nature after all. We were never meant to feel persistently restless, lost, unhappy and/or disempowered and while we might find this hard to believe – we do have within us all the tools and mechanisms to achieve a general underlying state of power, peace and happiness.

Yes – we will experience trials and tribulations – but the trust is that these are tossed in to the mix of life – not take away peace, power or happiness but to strengthen our connection to these elements within us. So even when things are so wrong – they’re just there to bring us closer to being and feeling – so right!

Through my practice and study of yoga, my connection with the peace, power and happiness within me has come to life and strengthened significantly. The practice in itself has gradually opened my eyes and body to my true essence, of love and peace and wisdom and being immersed with the practice and the philosophy has helped me see things from a different perspective…making the not-too-bright sides of life, seem a lot brighter. What is reality but our perception, though, right? When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change (Wayne Dyer).

It as taught me the power of the present moment. We lose touch with reality because we become disconnected from NOW. We live on the basis of what if’s and if only’s and rarely stop to take in the beauty, significance and essence of the present moment. Anxiety is almost always based on something that’s been and gone or something that is anticipated (i.e. still to come – maybe/maybe not/who knows?). Happiness, power and peace don’t coincide with anxiety. They just don’t go together and unfortunately looking at the state of the nation and the world – anxiety – at this stage – is winning.

I have explore my relationship to change and growth. We fear change and base our opinions and decisions on what other will think of us or how we will be perceived. We have become imprisoned by the need to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ and the even stronger need to go against the natural ebb and flow of life by trying to control everything (and each other) to be predictable.

Here are my favourite quotes on the practice, peace, power and happiness that keep me going when things don’t make a whole lot of sense and I can make no rhyme or reason from the curve balls coming my way:

  1. The Promise of the Practice: Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in. Breathing out, I know, As the in-breath grows deep, The out-breath grows slow. Breathing in makes me calm. Breathing out makes me ease. With the in-breath, I smile. With the out-breath, I release. Breathing in, there is only the present moment. Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
  2. A lot of exercise is mindless: you can have music or the radio on and not be aware. But if you’re aware in anything you do – and it doesn’t have to be yoga – it changes you. Being present changes you ~ Mariel Hemingway
  3. You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state of being. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting you natural state ~ Shannon Gannon
  4. Yoga practice is like life. Each circumstance in which we find ourselves, is like a posture. Some poses are hard to hold and others are pleasant. It is how we hold the pose that determines whether or not we will grow or suffer. And whether or not we listen to the drama of the ego or the wisdom of the spirit.
  5. Things aren’t always as they seem (to you): Life lives, life dies. Life laughs, life cries. Life gives up and life tries. But life looks different through everyone’s eyes.”
  6. The willingness to shift perspective – to hold dexterity of perspective, comes from within your body. There must be an opening in your body to lead to an opening in your mind. This is the promise of the practice ~ Elena Brower
  7. Peace from within: Ego says; ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘find your peace, and then everything will fall into place”
  8. It’s easy to get lost in endless speculation. So today, release the need to know why things happen as they do. Instead, ask for the insight to recognize what you’re meant to learn ~ Caroline Myss
  9. Looking behind I am filled with gratitude; looking forward I am filled with vision; looking upwards I am filled with strength, looking within I discover peace ~ Quero Apache Prayer
  10. Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
  11. Being Happy: Spend one minute today to walk outside – look up at the sky and contemplate how amazing life really is.
  12. Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body – George Carlin
  13. Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose ~ C.S Lewis
  14. Happiness is not a state to arrive at but a manner of travelling ~ Margaret Lee Runbeck
  15. Be happy for no reason – like a child. If you’re happy for a reason you’re in trouble – because that reason can be taken from you ~ Deepak Chopra
  16. The reason people find it so hard to be happy, is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be ~ Marcel Pagnol
  17. Power and Purpose: Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. Pivot or persevere.
  18. Being of power is about enabling you to live as that expanded you. The self-actualised you. The you that you know deep down is within ~ Baron Baptiste
  19. When you are inspired by some great purpose or extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. ~ Patanjal
  20. You were born with wings – why prefer to crawl through life ~ Rumi
  21. Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. ~ Winston Churchill
  22. When you no longer need approval from others like the air that you breathe, The possibilities in life are endless. What an interesting little prison we build from the bricks of other people’s opinion ~ Jacob Nordby
  23. Embrace Change: If we don’t change we don’t grow. If we don’t grow – we aren’t really living ~ Gail Sheehy
  24. Everything in life is temporary. So when thing are good – enjoy it, because it wont last forever and when things are bad…don’t worry because it won’t last forever.
  25. There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on ~ Zayn Malik
As a parting thought – this might just encapsulate all of the above:

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think of only the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others…or yourself. Have faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.


 
 
  1. Practice yoga – it always comes back to your practice. More problems in your mind and body are solved by simply practicing yoga, than any other means – including thinking, fretting, losing sleep and (low and behold) therapy. Albert Einstein said: we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created it. Your mind got you into the mess you’re in in the first place. Use your practice to get out of your head and into your body begin to tap the wisdom that rests in there.
  2. Be kind – to yourself and to others. Start with yourself and practice this every day. It’s a most unnatural thing to practice kindness compassion and care to ourselves – yet it kind of is a prerequisite to offer the sincere kind of care kindness and compassion to those around you.
  3. Listen to your body – in how you practice yoga, in how you eat, in every day situations. Your body will give you warning signals to let you know when you go too far, when what you’re eating isn’t what it needs (and will cause your death a few years down the line) and way before any situation gets beyond your control. If we can learn to tap into the signals from our bodies we can make better choices for ourselves. We can become proactive rather than reactive and save ourselves so much physical and emotional pain. Even in stressful encounters with other people. Your body will warn you when you are beginning to spin outside of your comfort zone (your centre as we yogis refer to it) and it will bring you back if you allow it. No more saying things you don’t mean and regretting it later. Hotheadedness – be gone!
  4. Eat consciously – no need to be a vegetarian as such but care about what you eat…and who you eat….and how you eat it. Be aware not only of how what you eat serves you and your body, physically, mentally and spiritually, but also how it impacts the environment. Enjoy what goes into your mouth, savour the taste and be grateful for the energy and nutrition it provides. Feel blessed by how the earth nourishes and supports you. Support organic farming for the sake of your body, the farmers, the animals and your earth. Which leads onto the next point…
  5. Care for the world – it’s inhabitants and the environment. You don’t have to be a green peace hippie – but brownie points if you are. Recognise the concept of ‘We are all connected’ and let that bring home to you the need for us all to look after each other and what we leave behind. It might not always feel that you can do much to save a starving child in Ethiopia and sure enough – the ignorance is bliss excuse works a charm for most. But you’re better than that and so is each starving child, each sea animal that dies due to pollution and every cow in a cage, abused and mistreated to provide to mass producers. The world is ours and you’re not as far away from it all as you think. Get on board. Take responsibility. Be kind.
  6. Don’t follow the rules – they aren’t real – or true and they don’t serve us. Who made the rules anyway? You are vast and brilliant and you are free. More so than we ever really allow ourselves to imagine. When you find yourself thinking ‘I should’ immediately interject and ask instead ‘says who?’. The lives we have created for ourselves by society’s rules which were devised to make us all more ‘predictable and controllable’ aren’t making us as happy as we should be. We are more depressed and less healthy than any generation that came before us. The more we fit into boxes the further we move away from our true nature of vastness and brilliance. Don’t succumb to ‘the rules’. Be who you really are and love every minute of it. See how the world will love you back!
  7. Exercise choice – choice in how you expend energy, choice in your responses and choice in how you approach the new beginnings available to you in every single day.
  8. Approach life with an attitude of gratitude – see the lesson in every moment and in every person and be grateful that they came to teach you what you needed to learn. Every situation or person – however unpleasant painful or wonderful, came to give you something to integrate into your being, to learn from and to allow you to become free of the bondage of your mind and everything that doesn’t serve you.
  9. Heart over matter – because that’s where your true power lies. Not in your mind like we have all allowed our minds to lead us to believe for so long. Keep coming back to stillness and finding that place of wisdom, love and peace inside you, and you will never again want for anything. The love and care of the Divine isn’t out there – it’s right here within you. You really never ever need anything more than connecting with that part of your being. And when you do that all of the above commandments effectively fall away because you are in your most natural most perfect state of being.
  10. On your journey to living the Ten Commandments be a caring and considerate studio yogi – don’t get protective of your space in the studio, don’t sweat on someone else’s mat. Don’t turn up late and don’t leave during savasana. Consider your neighbour in your supine twists when space is limited. Don’t judge people who don’t do yoga – they’re way behind you on the journey ? and say Namaste back to your teacher at the end of class. It’s just how it’s done. In the studio the teacher makes the rules ?
Disclaimer: Yoga is not a religion and these 10 commandments are not meant to attempt to replace or override the commandments, rules or regulations of any religious faith. (is there an emoticon for tongue in cheek?)



Read more:  http://mype.co.za/new/the-ten-commandments-of-a-yogi/29580/2013/09#ixzz3dLc9wuel
 
 
Appreciate the downtimes! 

Engaging with and appreciating both the ebb and flow of the cycles of life is crucial to really get the value and meaning of it all. Tara Sophia Mohr says it beautifully in 'The Rhythm'. (From her book: Your Other Names):

In any creative feat

(By which i mean your work, your art, your life)

There will be downtimes.

Or so it seems.

Just as the earth is busy before the harvest

and a baby grows before its birth

there is no silence in you

There is no time of nothingness.

What if,

during the quiet times

when the idea flow is hushed and hard to find

you trusted (and yes i mean trusted)

that the well was filling, the waters moving?

What if you trusted

that for the rest of eternity,

without prodding, without self-discipline,

without getting over being yourself,

you would be gifted every ounce of productivity you need?

What would leave you? What would open?

And what if during the quiet times you ate great meals

and leaned back to smile at the stars,

and saw them there, as they always are

nourishing you?

There are seasons and harvest,

Is only a fraction of them.

There is the rhythm that made everything.

The next time you stand in the kitchen, leaning,

the next time a moment of silence catches you there,

hear it, that rhythm, and let it place a stone in your spine.

Let it bring you some place beautiful

 
 
As we enter the last week of January, 93% of people who have made new years resolutions would have abandoned them. In fact – most of the 93% would have abandoned their resolutions after just one week. It has me wondering if some of us still even remember what our resolutions were.

There is an inexhaustible pile of literature out there about how to set better, more realistic and achievable new years resolutions and this article is not one of them. While I believe its good to want to change things in your life for the better – setting resolutions or setting goals and failing – isn’t very good for your sense of self-worth and belief in holding that belief that you are able to achieve anything you want.

I have not set resolutions for a number of years and it got me thinking about what it is that is different in my life now, compared to five or ten years ago when I bought special notepads and books to write resolutions in – and track them over time? The short answer to that is – I became a yogi.

Adopting a new lifestyle as opposed to adding on bits and pieces to a poorly coordinated and incoherent way of life proved much easier, much more meaningful and undoubtedly, sustainable.

The main areas in which people set new years resolutions are money and success/work; family life, weight control, health and wellness, achievement in activities/hobbies, improving quality of life, feeling better…living better. Looking at this list, the thought of adding tasks in some or each of these areas seem arduous and even impossible. Especially adding that on to a life that is already unforgiving in its demands on time and energy. No wonder we set ourselves up to fail.

In my case a lifestyle change set me free of always failing at adding bits and pieces to an already full and cluttered life. My lifestyle change involved adopting the life of a yogi. It became all my new years resolutions rolled into one sweet package. It made me achieve all those resolutions I, with the best of intentions failed at, and made me forgive myself for the areas in which I would struggle. Nobody’s perfect. I didn’t have to throw the ones I didn’t ‘master’ out, because there is so much room for error and forgiveness, and much less room for judgment. So I work my way through as part of my lifestyle and nothing hangs on me achieving or letting go of anything in the first week or three of January.

So here are my reasons for saying Yoga beats new years resolutions any day – and it will for just about everyone out there.

  1. Yoga is a lifestyle: Its not just physical exercise. If you let it, it will ease up on the rigidity you feel you need to employ when approaching life and ‘the way things should be’. It is forgiving, and kind. It allows for a different way of being – rather than an attempt at just doing things differently. A change in lifestyle means you own what you do, rather than try to make lots of new (or old habits) fit into a lifestyle to which it perhaps might not be suited.
  2. Yoga addresses your health needs in a very unique and effective way: Yoga will ease pain and bring newfound health and vitality to your body in ways you didn’t imagine before or during your first class, sweating through a downward facing dog. The physical aspect of yoga alone will do that. The more subtle elements in yoga will make you aware of your body in a way that may seem foreign to you reading this now. You will begin to know your body for what it is and what it needs. You will begin to value your body, respect it and treat it in the way it deserves to be treated. Your health becomes something you care to know about – not something your doctor sorts out during times of dis-ease. You own your body. Its been there from the start and will be till the end. You can’t say that about many other things in life. Yoga teaches you to love your body. What follows is simply beautiful.
  3. Yoga is better for you on a physical level than going to the gym: Imbalance in your body brings imbalance in your mind. Illness and disease are ultimately due to imbalances – physically, mentally, spiritually. Going to the gym isn’t a bad thing in itself – but it doesn’t ultimately give you the foundation for balance that you need. How many people go to the gym and quit after a little while? How many people hurt themselves doing strength training in the gym? How many people have ruined their health as a result of not knowing when to push and when to stop in training of their bodies? How many people feel bad about their bodies when hanging out in the ‘gym culture’? Yoga gives you all the elements of a solid and strong workout without taking away the balance your perfect body needs in terms of flexibility to counter strength, relaxation to counter the high adrenaline, knowledge and understanding and respect of your body to counter the perfect body image you chase in the gym culture. And on a vanity note – Yoga makes your body look great – toned, lean, strong, healthy. Oh yes.
  4. Yoga compliments every other sport you will ever do: Adopting a yoga lifestyle doesn’t mean you stop doing the sports you love. It does mea though, that you enhance your ability to achieve in sports, and limits your potential for injury. Sport is such a wonderful way to stay active, stay connected to people and possibly even with nature if the sport is played outdoors. Many of us practice sports for all those reasons and some practice for achievement, which in itself – also – is great on many levels. Wanting to achieve is fabulous – hurting yourself to get there – not so much. Doing yoga though – will again provide a foundation from which to safely expand your physical and mental boundaries. From a place of self-awareness and respect and care for your body, it is much harder to push through and hurt yourself. If achievement is important why cut playing the short, through injury?
  5. Yoga improves your family life: An interesting line of feedback from students who practice yoga at Heal. Love. Yoga has been their improved family relationships. This is as a result of them feeling much calmer and much more in control of themselves, their responses to stress and their time. Yoga is powerful like that. The concept of choosing how we respond to discomfort in our bodies quickly transcend the four walls of the studio into real life, and the result is a change in what matters most – how we treat and interact with the ones we love the most. Yoga calms the nervous system. This means a calmer, more in touch and real you.
  6. Yoga improves your work life: For the same reasons that it impacts on your family life, it does your work life. Coming to realize that worrying takes your peace away rather than your problems, and that nothing is ever really under your control, is freeing to say the least. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about what happens and shrug your shoulders at responsibility. Not at all. It means the opposite – it means very proactively dealing with what you can, without paralyzing yourself worrying about what hasn’t happened yet and may never materialize. It means choosing how best to spend time acting on your responsibilities to make it worthwhile. Investing energy wisely rather than wasting it… exhaustion, burnout, sick leave = wasted energy.
  7. Yoga helps you to see yourself differently: Much/most/all of our dissatisfaction with life, stem from how we see ourselves: how hard we judge ourselves and how little compassion and care we apply when interacting with ourselves. This naturally transcends to how we see and interact with the world. Through yoga you begin to explore the wonder of you; all that you are capable of when you didn’t even know to try. It teaches respect and admiration for what you are, what you are made of, what you do and mean to the world and why you being authentic and real is important to what happens to the world around you. You matter.
  8. Yoga helps you to experience and see the world differently: Yoga is very much a philosophy of connectedness. We are all connected. Understanding this concept and acting on it translates into a world where you treat people, animals, the environment the way you want to be treated – with care, awareness, and sensitivity. You begin to see the ripple effect your actions can have on things way, way far away from you and begin to take responsibility for yourself and for the world around you. We are all here for a reason – a purpose. You will only begin to realize that purpose once you can realize that you are part of this world and it is part of you. There is no separation ultimately other than the separation that you create in your mind. It is this self-invented separation that causes most of the pain, conflict and heartache in the world today.
It was a tall order to say yoga will incorporate and encompass all of the new years resolutions you could probably ever have…but there you have it. This is on the basis of my own personal experience and I would be very interested to hear your thoughts!

Namaste


 
 
Do yourself a favour this year and don’t allow 2014 to just roll into 2015. Take a few minutes or even better, a few hours, to look back and reflect. You have one life. Make it count. You’re worth it.

Take stock of 2014 without beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t do. Simply use the reflections in 2014 as a platform to set yourself up to be your absolute best – again – in 2015.

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself at the close of 2014 to set you up for a happy, balanced and contented 2015:

1. Where in my life have I not been authentic in 2014?

The most exhausting and unsatisfying thing you will ever do is to live a life trying to be someone that you’re not. It requires constant effort, only to deliver some second or third rate version of the wonderful self that you truly are. When you begin to live an authentic life – things start to flow with ease. You’re being real and that requires little effort. There are often situations or people in which or around whom we feel particularly out of sorts and as if we really need to pretend to be someone we’re not. Can you identify these people or situations and do something about it? You most likely can’t change those people or situations – but you can change your response to them.
Being aware of ‘danger zones’ in which you lose yourself easily is the first step to changing your response and becoming more authentic.

2. If I were to be my most authentic self in 2015 – who would I be/what would I do/ how would I describe myself

It becomes much easier to be authentic when you really know who you are. I’m not referring to your name and surname – I mean who you really, truly are – when the names and labels, pretenses and masks are stripped away. Ask yourself what it is about these people and situations that take you off centre? How would you feel and how would you behave if you were being true to your real self? Are these situations or people perhaps conflicting with your value system, do they make you feel insecure and small, and if so why? Go on a journey to explore your true self that so often remains in hiding. Begin to love who you really are out of hiding. This is the best version of you that you could ever possibly offer – so embrace ‘you’. Take time to describe yourself – and love what you come up with.

3. How did or didn’t I move in the direction I intended to in 2014?

Start by focusing on just two areas in your life. One where you made significant progress and the other where perhaps things really didn’t go as planned. Were you pursuing a direction that was true to your authentic self, or were you trying to achieve something you thought you ‘should’ based on others’ opinions or expectations? What were the things that stopped you from making progress? See if you can exercise compassion and kindness to yourself when evaluating your direction in 2013. Be as understanding about perceived ‘failures’ as you would if your best friend, partner or child were talking about what they didn’t achieve – and give as much praise and encouragement as you would that same person for the progress he/she made. Remember – the reflection is only there to be a platform from where to move forward in 2014. Its not an excuse to judge yourself or be hard on yourself. Credit is due to you for even getting to a stage of reflection. Most never do – so good on YOU!

4. Where am I going in 2015?

Pick one – maybe two – areas in your life and decide what direction you want to pursue in that area in 2014. For example you might be thinking along the lines of self-development and moving towards a more consistent life living your true authentic self, prioritising that which truly matters or taking time to look after yourself the way in which you deserve to. You might be thinking of your career or family relationships. Think also about how you would measure progress in pursuing this ‘direction’. What would ‘success’ look like?

5. What was it that I really needed in 2014 and did/didn’t get?

Knowing what you need is very powerful because it allows you to go out (or inside) and get it. So many of us pursue things – sometimes things that aren’t good for us – because we try to fill ‘an unidentified gap’ with whatever we can find. Once you know however what it is that you truly honestly need – it becomes a more meaningful exercise to explore how to fill that gap and doing it in such a way that leaves you feeling content.
So in this question begin to explore the moments that left you feeling you needed absolutely nothing more? When and where and with whom did you feel most empty? No blame to people or places either – just you being honest about where there were gaps that weren’t really filled. What did that look and feel like and what did you do that worked or didn’t work? When you felt wonderful – what was that about? Spend time pulling apart those contented moments. You want MORE of that going forward. KNOW what that is about.

6. What do I need most in 2015 – to be happy, content, on track?

Where did you feel you felt least satisfied or content? From exploring the previous question what can you identify as most important for you to seek and find to have your deeper needs met in 2014? This is your exercise so if your answer here is chocolate – then good for you – I can relate. It may also be that you find energy and strength when you give to yourself more – you are better able to care for others. I.e. when you care for yourself by taking time out when you need it, putting yourself in situations where you feel cared for (nature, immersed in a hobbie etc), and pampered.

7. What do I need to leave behind in 2014?

Most of us carry a heavier load than we need to. We carry things we can’t do anything about anymore, that weigh us down but somehow we hang on for dear life. This may relate to bad experiences, or feelings of guilt, anger resentment, either towards others or towards ourselves. It just simply is not worth it. These feelings and emotions wear you down physically and emotionally. They make you sick. What are they? Let them go. However you need to do that – write it down and burn the paper, call people up and apologise. Whatever it is, just do it…let it go.

8. Letting go is hard to do – how do I build in regular check ins into 2015 to make sure I am not weighed down unnecessarily by carrying things I don’t need.

Holding on to negative emotions is such a common phenomenon and before you know it months or years have gone by and you’re still harbouring these negative feelings. Build in a regular practice of evaluating and letting go. You need to make time to become still and present and notice what is happening for you. Take time for this – meditate, do yoga – whatever it takes. Mindless activity such as cycling and/or running – not thinking about anything – won’t do the trick here. You want something that very much brings you into the present moment and has you very aware of yourself, your body, your emotions and what is going on for you. It’s worth doing this for your own well-being, peace, health and happiness.

9. Looking back – what was my purpose in 2014?

If there was one reason for you to be around in 2014 – what was it? Give yourself credit for that.

10. What is my true purpose in 2015?

You’re here for a reason. Don’t just live aimlessly. What you have to offer is unique and massively important.

Good luck and Namaste till 2015!



Read more:  http://mype.co.za/new/10-questions-to-ask-yourself-at-the-end-of-the-year/32167/2013/12#ixzz3dLcmQAkd
 
 
Practicing Yoga in a conscious and present way is a great way to learn more about yourself and how you interact with and respond to life in general. These lessons aren’t always clear as day but when we begin to let go of the preconceived ideas of what we should be doing or look like in a yoga class and just become very aware of ourselves, our bodies and our response to the practice– as its happening in real time – we begin to be able to draw some parallels with how we respond in life outside of the studio.

One of the very interesting lessons yoga has brought home to me is the way in which I expend energy. Noticing where energy is concentrated or stuck, and then being able and willing to move it around is one of the privileges of the yoga practice – and one of the privileges of being human and exercising choice. The choice comes after awareness of what is actually happening in our bodies and in our lives and so practicing being truly present for ourselves is of crucial importance.

Take for example a high lunge where we’re normally blasting energy through the front leg, carrying all the weight of our bodies and just hanging in there hoping it will be over soon. We tense up holding on to the position, trying to balance and not fall to the side for fear of a domino effect of yogis toppling all over each other (see how worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet takes you out of the present moment?). In this posture there are quite a few other parts of the body to shift awareness and focus to in order to alleviate the tension, i.e. the concentration of energy in that front leg. Moving the energy around will mean your front leg won’t fatigue as quickly and the posture can be held for a much longer period of time – giving you even more of the benefit. Let me illustrate: while in your high lunge, shift your focus to the back leg – pushing the back heel away from you and straightening out the back leg puts strength into that leg that anchors you down and assists in the balancing element of the posture. This in turn means a huge relief in the front leg. Tucking the tailbone down and lifting your belly takes a lot of weight out of the front leg as your upper body now uses its own energy to hold itself up and ‘be light’ rather than bearing more weight onto the legs. Firing up the arms and blasting energy through both hands, also shifts energy away from the legs and helps to give your upper body the feather quality of being light and easy to hold up. Softening your face frees up some energy to expend in more useful places rather than just being wasted on something that makes no difference to the pose whatsoever….to just name a few.

So what does this teach us about our responses in real life?

We all have situations in our lives where we feel our attention or energy is being drawn to certain aspects and pulled away from others. We need a daily reminder that nothing is drawn, nothing is taken, nothing is given – everything is a choice that we make. In the high lunge you place your energy in the front leg and hope it will be over soon…and if the situation lasts the front leg gets into trouble – just as you do, when situations you are ‘drawn’ to don’t resolve and you exercise no choice of withdrawing energy or finding ways of supporting yourself in these situations. Someone grates you, wrongs you, angers you and so your energy is focused on this particular situation/person. The focus of energy is a magnet for more energy meaning that a situation (often negative or difficult) becomes all consuming. Losing sight of the ability to choose whether to invest further in this energy, or to withdraw, move it around, diffuse its intensity – results in lots of dissatisfaction, internal civil wars and general draining of vital energy. This in essence is completely unnecessary and could be prevented if we were able to be very present for ourselves at all times – always choosing, consciously, mindfully, how we will expend energy, and how we can conserve it. If we can consciously be aware of the energy sappers – and taking charge!

Allowing a concentration of negative energy such as anger or resentment to build up usually leads to some chronic pain, illness or form of depletion – as we all well know. In that sense, redistributing energy and rebalancing attention from our obsessions with things that don’t necessarily serve us, is an act of healing towards ourselves and our bodies. We can also help our bodies last much longer by shifting the energy around, making it lighter, not being so obsessed and focused on one single way of looking at or doing something. Part of this is letting go of the need to manage all qualities of our experience as well as different opinions for different people. Recognising that some of what we want to control is not in fact OURS actually frees up your body and mind of so much unnecessary tension. Someone comes at us and we get so stuck in that place where it hurts that we fail to see any options – least of all letting go of what we can’t control – and taking charge of our response to that which is not ours.

Learning to move energy around in this way, getting unstuck in places where it hurts, places where we hold on to beliefs and ideas that really serves no one including ourselves, is a way of also starting to live more compassionately towards the world. Sharing compassion will result in receiving compassion and hey – what do you know – the world becomes a kinder place. Big change starts with the change in you so don’t underestimate the power and magnitude of this stuff.

So for the benefit of all of us in your world and outside, entertain the possibility of welcoming back into your heart the people you have tossed out, called names, written off. You don’t have to see them or even be with them, but as an option, instead of holding them so far away, release some of that energy you’re using to do so, for your own healing.

When you have hate in your body for anyone, remember that that hate lives in your body…not theirs.

 
 
The most rewarding part of teaching yoga is the amazing responses I get from students after practice. Day in and day out people come through the door – from different backgrounds and with different sources of stress – but they all have one thing in common: through a regular yoga practice they come to realise that you achieve much more when you move with ease, than when you’re all forceful about what you think you need to achieve.

As always with yoga – the lessons on the mat are so relevant to your life out there. Seeing the journeys people go on during their practice really is like seeing their entire lives unfold symbolically. People often come to say that after even a single session of yoga or a month of yoga classes, they have learnt more patience with others (because they learnt to be patient with themselves when they saw how restricted their body was), they have become more relaxed and able to stay calm during stressful periods (because they learnt to use their breath to calm their nervous system), their back feels great and they have loads more energy (because they have learnt to move with ease in the practice instead of force – depleting all energy and tensing up the entire back). The list goes on and on. Most importantly for here and now though – learning the ability to move with ease. Finding ease in a posture and finding ease in the way in which you engage with the world on a day-to-day basis is quite simply one of the most valuable lessons and skills you will ever learn.

Many of my students have fallen out of postures (and some to the ground) laughing, when I – while they are hanging mid air in some obscure balancing pose – reminded or rather, urged them to ‘find the ease in the pose’. It seems such a foreign concept to ‘find ease’ when you are trying so very, very hard to just get into, and hold on to this obscure position. It seems foreign because it is. There is no ease with forcing, no ease in trying too hard and no ease in trying to reach just an end goal with no consideration of what the journey is about. Too many scenarios like this, where we force and push and disregard our ability to achieve whatever we want with grace and ease, and we end up a stress ball, tense and restricted with much less capacity to do all the amazing things we are capable of doing. Finding the ease on the other hand leaves you with tons more energy to expand, achieve more than you expected, and perhaps (shock horror) even enjoy it while you’re at it. Some of my students have found that place – that moment when you just let go in a posture – even when it is tough. They have had the precious moment of staying ‘sweet’, breathing and letting go of the unnecessary tension – and truly seeing what their body is capable of when you let go and let it move. Afterwards these students sat in awe of their bodies, and the dramatic difference moving with ‘ease’ brought to the depth with which they were able to expand in the pose.

The ways in which yoga will help you move with ease and achieve more:

Awareness
Yoga teaches you to be much more aware of and tuned in to your body and the tension that it holds for you every day. We live in a day and age where tension is the norm. Ease (relaxation/softness) has become something we work on and seek to find through classes such as yoga. We might be relaxing in front of the TV or chilling out at home – even when we are sleeping, the tension still sits in our muscles – day in and day out. The result – you and me functioning with tension, effort, a feeling of having to force, try, just see it through, just keep going, shouldering on. This isn’t moving with ease. This is not how we function to our full potential. Recognizing tension in your body will give you the opportunity to purposefully dissolve it – let it go. Perhaps you will learn to do this firstly in a yoga class and then perhaps in your daily life – in difficult encounters at work, in relationships with loved ones. Being able to let unnecessary tension go will free you up to be yourself. Tension isn’t who you are – it’s something the way we live added and it’s not always the most attractive addition. Notice it. Dissolve it. Move with ease.

Moving and responding to how you feel
I always tell my students that your yoga practice is your time – your time to do what makes you feel good. We practice yoga because it makes us feel damn good, remember? I always encourage checking in with the body – how are you feeling – aches, pains, fatigue? Respond to it. Accept that it is there and do what your body needs you to do. It won’t always mean backing off and it won’t always mean working harder. You need to learn to know what your body needs and respond to it in a caring and considerate way. How often do we feel like we live our lives to keep other people happy? How often do we feel we need to suppress resentment for not being able to do what we need, or what feels good for us. We have been conditioned to think that disregarding ourselves and just living for others is GOOD. It’s not. Living with a disregard for what you need will lead to you running on empty. Being empty will make it much more difficult to give to anyone around you. Disregarding your own needs will lead to anger and resentment. Anger and resentment sits as tension in your body and unaddressed tension and unaddressed emotions lead to very serious illness. Learning to listen to your body and fulfilling your own needs is crucial to keep it easy, keep yourself and everyone around you happy, nourished and fulfilled. Not just that – it’s essential to keep you healthy but more on that topic another time.

Learn to soften yourself
Awareness is pointless unless you learn what to do when you gain the awareness. Found the tension – now what to do with it? Yoga will teach you to soften yourself, firstly with your breath – before you’ve even started moving, and practicing to soften yourself when you are engaged in various postures of different degrees of difficulty.
Stress and tension exist. It is there and it is part of life. Practicing ease through your yoga practice is a way to learn to let that tension move in, through and out of your body without debilitating/limiting you. It’s to teach you not to get stuck on tension. It’s to show you that once you noticed the tension as a form of energy – you can move that energy around, dissolve it, reduce the acuteness of it, and return to your natural state – which is ease.
So through sometimes very difficult postures you begin to see that even in this really challenging ‘situation’ coming back to a place of ease helps to access this posture – or enjoy it, or live through it without any major trauma!

Just like you go further in a posture with ease, you achieve more in life when you approach it with ease. Can you soften the tension today and begin to see how much more fulfilling a life without force can be? Take a few deep breaths – repeat all day. You’re softer already ?

 
 
I’ve always said that one of the most valuable lesson from travelling is beginning to understand that there really is space for (many) more than one way of thinking, doing and being. What one culture accepts as paramount for survival, is completely irrelevant in another – rendering our ideas of what we ‘have to do’, ‘have to have’ or how we ‘have to be’ completely subjective and open for scrutiny. There are very few of our absolute beliefs that – if we let them go – will have us DIE. We hold onto them because they are valuable to us, define who we are, and give us a sense of identity. But when push comes to shove – they’re not really a matter of life and death. Others live and survive perfectly happily without them. Which means that while they are important to US – they’re not ‘universal’. ..and so in essence – they’re not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’: they’re just ours.

Travelling and becoming immersed in other cultures bring this idea home quite strongly. And without having to question or abandon one’s own belief systems or ideas – it just allows a sense of openness and acceptance around the fact that not everyone thinks, acts or believes as we do – and that’s okay. They’re not wrong – we’re not right. We’re just different. And on this beautiful earth – there is space for all of us. You might find what others do offensive – it still doesn’t make you right. Build a bridge – and get over it.

In the yoga community we ‘pride’ ourselves in our philosophy of openness, acceptance and non-judgment. We claim to not be attached to ideas and emotions on our path to ‘enlightenment’. That is unless, of course, someone tells us that they hate yoga…or prefer one style over another. It also doesn’t count when people question our vegetarian, paleo or vegan diets. Oh and we also become quite dogmatic about organic and non-organic, or the question about whether is yoga a religion or not – then we really get our backs up and you will hear a word or two about being offended and a be prepared for a pretty well worded argument as to why how we see it is RIGHT.

So in this philosophy which is really all about connection and oneness – we have also allowed our need to grab on and hold on, very rigidly so, onto a new set of beliefs – when all we perhaps wanted was to get out of the dogma around other beliefs we were brought up with. The notion of becoming dogmatic over things is rife everywhere – we become dogmatic about raising children, political parties, education, sports, potjiekos and so much more.

Disagreement is one thing. Failure to accept that someone might be different than ourselves, and making them wrong for it, is another. Disagreement keeps open the possibility of connection. Belittling and judgment shut that down.
In yoga, when we chant ‘om’ – it is to bring us back home to the idea of connectedness. The fact that we are all connected, to each other, to the earth, to God. Yet what we do by judging and drawing parameters around what and who is right and who is wrong – is bring separation.

So as yogis, and as humans, we need to begin to become present enough, so that we can identify when we are jumping on the dogma train and the demon of self-righteousness is lurking. To be blunt – it makes us nasty and insulting. It creates barriers, NOT bridges.

We practice yoga to practice becoming present. It’s a way of learning how to connect with ourselves in a different and meaningful way. We practice seeing ourselves for what we are with all our self-imposed limitations, the beliefs we hold that don’t serve us and hold us back, and the ways in which we feed unhealthy patterns and habits in our lives. It prepares us then to begin to connect with others: the yoga teacher, the other yogis in the room, the family members who think yoga are pretzel like postures, the co-workers who have no idea where its come from but who appreciates the calmer, more open, accepting, and non-judgmental you.

This is important because connectedness is what we really need. That is what really matters in your life, in PE, this country and the world. That is what we’re here for. Diets, political systems, cultural values and beliefs aside – we need to be connected to each other to be safe, to be happy, and to make the world the place it was intended to be.

So let’s drop the idea of being ‘right’ and pointing out the others’ ‘wrongs’. Our energy is best spent working at connectedness rather than winning a debate or argument. That is truly living the yoga philosophy.





Read more:  http://mype.co.za/new/being-right-is-far-inferior-to-being-connected/32560/2014/01#ixzz3dLO9J0Ek
 
 
While I appreciate the fact that most people who come to yoga, do so for reasons related to fitness, strength building, improving flexibility, and sometimes relaxation, I always think it so important to emphasize that the physical aspect of yoga is really just a very small part of the practice. I know – its GREAT to feel the physical changes in your body when you practice yoga regularly. Who doesn’t love to lose weight, see their body getting stronger, toned, more supple and not to mention being able to physically do things you never thought you’d be able to do. There is a huge sense of satisfaction and reward in that and I don’t want to take away from that element at all. I have personally patted myself on the back a few times for the physical changes that yoga brought to my body– especially during pregnancy – a time when most women have a sense of loss of control over the shape and loss of strength in their bodies.

Looking and feeling physically better is fabulous. But here’s the thing…this is why yoga is so amazing…not only do you look and feel so different – you actually practice things during your yoga that you hardly ever (or never for most of us) get to do elsewhere. You practice attitudes and habits that change your life to a more peaceful and happy place to be.

This is what you really practice when you practice yoga:

1. In yoga you practice ease in body and mind. For most of us, ease doesn’t come ….well, easy. We live a life of tension. We ‘try’ to do lots of things and the act of trying creates tension. We are consumed with thoughts around what we should and shouldn’t do or be able to do, and are constantly pacing and chasing. This manifests in our yoga practice – we come in and try to be flexible. We push ourselves to try to get into positions and postures – still plagued by the thoughts telling us – you should be able to do this – why is this so *&%&^% hard? It’s hard because your body is hard and your mind is rigid. You’re plagued with tension, everywhere.

In yoga you practice to ease up, let go of the tension in your body and in your mind. That’s why you feel so great when you practice yoga. It sets you free.

2. In yoga you practice being curious about your body and your abilities. From a young age we are measured against the developmentally appropriate milestones we are ‘meant’ to reach at certain ages. We are constantly bombarded with – this is what you should be able to do now – this is what good enough looks like, this is what not good enough looks (and feels) like. We learn to look at ourselves in that way. Measuring ourselves against some external source that may well be so far removed from who we truly are, that it really is like comparing apples and pears.

In yoga – once you get out of your mind which constantly harasses you with ‘you should’ and ‘you must’ and ‘you could/couldn’t’, you learn to look at yourself and your body and its abilities with a fresh pair of eyes. Like seeing yourself for the first time you can allow yourself to be curious. The good thing about this is that once you allow yourself to be looked at in this different way – your body just about always blows you away. It surprises you with what it is capable of when you meet it with acceptance and kindness. Your own ability to be open, be different, be fresh, be who you really are, surprises you as its so much better than all the expectations that you place on yourself, which doesn’t really mean anything to you. Being curious, like a child, is a refreshing, and life-altering bonus to what your yoga practice brings to your life.

3. In yoga you practice loving your body and yourself: With the practice of being curious, almost inevitably, comes a new sense of appreciation for what you and your body is really about. As a world of possibilities open up in terms of what you are capable of, both physically and mentally, you learn to appreciate who and what you truly are. Getting to know yourself in a way that is different from how you were ‘brought up’ to think about what is good and bad and correct or not so correct according to society’s rules, is liberating and once the acceptance of the amazing, yet different being that you truly are sets in, there is so much more room to love who you are and what you are about. ‘My body is mine and its not only perfect – its amazing’ is not a common frame of mind in this day and age. In yoga you practice to believe and inhabit that space in your mind.

4. In yoga you practice gratitude: Hand in hand with loving your body and who you truly are, comes a sense of gratitude. You are able to be grateful for your body, how it shows up and functions for you every day – despite years of potentially being beaten up by bad habits or negative thoughts. In yoga you practice functioning from a place of gratitude. Every difficult posture teaches you something else about yourself. These lessons improve your life, it helps you learn about how you can choose to change and improve. You therefore learn to be grateful for the ‘discomfort’ – on the mat and out there in life. The discomfort and the challenges shape you and that’s something to be grateful for. You learn to be grateful when the challenge comes…and grateful when it ends.

5. In yoga you practice being kind: You will often hear sayings in yoga like ‘listen to your body’ and while this is a well-intended saying, it can also serve as a cop- out – a get out of jail card – an opportunity to take it easy. Yoga is definitely not part of the no-pain-no-gain- break-your-body-down-before-you-build-it-up-again-its-cool-to-break-your-body-because-that-means-you’re-working-out-properly mentality. Thankfully. It is also not a place to shy away from that which you really need to face in yourself or in your body. So rather than saying – listen to your body – think ‘honour your body’ – with kindness. Honouring your body puts you in a place of knowing what your body needs, and responding in kindness. Listening to your body might sound like have a big slice of lemon meringue at Mug and Bean (because they are biggest and sweetest), but honouring your body might sound more like stay in side plank for 5 more breaths because you need to wake up the fire meridians in your body to cleanse, detoxify and renew and even transform! You approach your body and its needs with kindness and care. You know this is the only body you have. You know that this body has been there from the beginning and will be till the end. You know that when you love something, you care for it with kindness. This is VERY difficult for most people in yoga to get their heads around, because they are consistently plagued by the mentality of not being good enough, strong enough, flexible enough and resenting themselves and their own bodies for not being able to do things. In yoga you practice the opposite. You practice acceptance, and kindness to yourself – all the time and under all circumstances.

6. In yoga you practice compassion: In order to be kind to your body you have to begin to cultivate the most beautiful quality out there: compassion. We lack compassion so much in our daily lives towards each other, because we lack compassion for ourselves. In yoga you practice being compassionate. Your body is tired today? You’re body is restricted, and even paralysed by tension? You don’t condemn and judge yourself, make yourself out to be less than average. You practice compassion….

Your body has been holding tension for you for years. While you ignored it and pretended it wasn’t happening, your body held onto it for you. Have compassion. Have compassion for yourself. Have compassion and know that everyone out there is fighting and inward battle…it’s not always easy. We all deserve a little compassion.

7. In yoga you practice patience: Yoga postures, and the qualities they aim to instill in each of us who take to the mat, don’t come easy. You will always have good and bad days. You will always with the best of intentions not fully get to where you want to be. You will fall out, your mind will wander, you will get angry when you ‘should’ feel compassion and you will get frustrated by slow progress. Certain postures may elude you for years and you will doubt yourself. In yoga you practice patience with yourself. When you learn to be patient with yourself you become patient in general. The world needs more patience.

8. In yoga you practice being present: any good yoga class invites you to take the time to become still and present. 99.9% of our daily lives is spent either in the future – worrying, or in the past, contemplating. Neither of those (the future or past) serves you, as the past is gone and the future might never happen. Being present is a place of freedom, of joy, of pure and utter bliss and release from tension. Because it is NOW – it is what it is – free from anticipation, regret, or worry. It just is what it is. It’s a funny thing to get your head around and we spend years and years trying to learn and appreciate the value of staying present. In yoga you have a great opportunity to be present. Through connecting with your breath and giving yourself permission to let go of everything else out there, you connect to the present moment. Freedom. You begin to see where your mind goes when it does wander. You begin to feel what it feels like, when you do let go, even for a moment. You create a space free of tension in body, mind and soul for your body, mind and soul to be free to be limitless as they were intended to be.

9. In yoga you practice how you want to be: Bringing your body to stillness and then moving in and out of postures with varying levels of difficulty, and addressing various aspects about yourself, and your life on the mat brings you face to face with what you’re really like. How you respond to challenges, how you respond to failures (perceived or not), and success. What motivates you? Are you driven by what others see in you or can you bring your motivation inwards and be your own driving force in a kind and compassionate way? How do you limit yourself – do you give up before you’ve tried and can you overcome your fear of failure and allow yourself to be vulnerable. In yoga you practice being how you really want to be. A softer, easier, kinder, more compassionate, patient and present person.



Read more:  http://mype.co.za/new/what-do-you-practice-when-you-practice-yoga/34140/2014/02#ixzz3dLaQysHw
 
 
In yoga – you should never TRY to be more flexible. It is completely counterproductive. Achieving flexibility comes with letting go – NOT trying/controlling. Trying causes you to tense up. It means you’re holding on inside– thinking that by working and trying so hard – you control the outcome. It’s the furthest thing from the truth…. ever. You will never get more flexible by controlling how your muscles work. You need to let go for flexibility to kick in. I repeat – you need to let go….

The first month of 2014 has held one resounding, persistent, annoying, message for me: too much of my energy is going in to controlling every single detail of my business. Simply put – I am a complete control freak where my business is concerned and while its causing me unnecessary stress, it is, more importantly taking me off my yogic path and not actually helping my business grow in the way that I really want it to.

There I said it.

This last week I reached breaking point and I decided that I could keep going down this route, or do something about it. Simple as that. I have the power to choose right? So this is me, putting it out there – my resolve to journey on the path of releasing my controlling tendencies for the purpose of my own health, happiness and the ongoing success of my business. Putting this out there will motivate me to keep to my resolve and it may motivate one or two others with the same annoying, and very powerfully destructive tendency!

A bit of background to make my case:

I opened up my yoga studio as a tentative venture to see if yoga could take off in the selective and unforgiving market that exists in PE. My one-man-show got off to a rocking start and I’ve been living the dream ever since: no one to answer to, full creative freedom, complete independence. I couldn’t have asked to have it any better.

As life goes though, things change and evolve. The dream of having a proper, big yoga studio, that serves many, many people: with different physical abilities and emotional needs, with different schedules and of different levels, offering workshops and trainings in many interesting and related fields and becoming a household name in yoga communities, was still alive, if a little pushed to the side while enjoying my comfort zone. Just as I started getting really comfortable with where things were at – thinking – I could cruise along like this for ages….things started happening to push me in a different direction:

1. I became pregnant – well that’s quite a serious and strong message along the lines of change

2. Things in my previously calm and comfortable studio, turned what I can only for now describe as ‘psycho’ – and I needed to move – another pretty strong sign that times they were a changing!

I considered moving to Canada and allow my partner to take care of me. I considered kicking back and living a conservative life off proceeds from the UK. I considered packing a backpack and hitting the road until something else popped up as the next thing to get my teeth into. India came to mind as it did lead to life changing events the last time I went – but I didn’t fancy tempting fate with delhi belly while being pregnant.

My responsible side – as well as the fact that I really, really liked having a yoga studio and I LOVED my clients – kept me looking for new studio premises.
It was the only option that brought any peace in my soul.

Bigger premises, that were more beautiful, more accessible with more exposure, with more opportunity to expand and grow into all the areas I had originally envisaged when I manifested this dream to begin with – soon became available. It came easily, without any fuss or battle – just like it was meant to be. It was just waiting there for me to find it…and since I have been there, its welcomed me in every day arrive there. I feel at home – more than I ever did in the seemingly ‘comfortable space’ just around the corner, where this yoga journey started.

With bigger and better – not just in regards to the studio, but also concerning my waistline – came the need for expansion by way of finding the right people to support the functioning of the studio and the expanding dream (aka expanding budget). This was where I hit the brickwall – hard and fast.

I don’t really want ANYONE else around because I don’t really want to relinquish control in that way. This is my BABY after all. My first born and its not even 8 months old. What kind of mother leaves her first born in the care of someone else – even for a few minutes – when its not even 8 months old?

Of course I know I’m crazy – lots of mothers leave their kids – safely – in the care of others…and all entrepreneurs feel like their businesses are their babies…but they too learn to let go for the benefit of the business.

It was when I recognized how ridiculous my thoughts were that I realized I needed to get a grip. I was losing sleep (and weight while I was pregnant) because of all these little irrational thoughts and beliefs about myself, my responsibilities, what I could and couldn’t do, and also the capabilities of people around me.

The time for change is now.

Why we control:

1. We’re worried about what will happen if we don’t control it – i.e control is based in fear
Fear is a very powerful emotion and is always based outside of the present moment. ..i.e. its not real – its perceived. We fear how things may or may not turn out and affect us. Only some, but often none, of our fears materialise. So it is a ‘false’ state of being. It’s energy wasted on something that may or may not happen.
2. We’re attached to a specific outcome, and the way to get achieve that outcome. We think, we what the best route and outcome is for us (as if we always know best).
The reality is that things often don’t pan out as planned – but that they then in fact turn out better. How many times have you had to look on as things – with or without you trying to control them – unfolded as they should and in a way you never ever imagined or fathomed – better than your expectations? Different to what you anticipated isn’t necessarily bad, or worse….it may in fact be better.

3. We lack trust in others and ultimately in the Universe/God.
Lacking in trust that whatever is, is best, is good, is meant to be, is safe and beautiful and perfect for you – is living in a place of fear, pessimism, cynicism, and limitations. Einstein said: “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe”.
We don’t expand and experience abundance when we only allow ourselves to trust what we can see and touch …and control. We often learn not to trust right from early childhood and what needs to be addressed here can be painful and complicated. It is worth it though…because the truth is, our lives have the potential to be completely limitless. WE are limitless. We hold the power and freedom to every bit of happiness and success out there – and we hold the keys to lock up that potential forever.

This is some serious stuff.

What I am doing about it:

1. I am going to give everything I can in terms of equipping people with the tools to carry out the business activities in line with my business model, integrity to yoga philosophy and practice– and then I am going to allow them to be free to bring what THEY have. That which is special and authentic about THEM.
My affirmation – the diversity and depth of experience that others bring enrich and grow my business every day.

2. I am going to draw inspiration from and match my thoughts to leaders that I have encountered in real life/literature/movies and whom I admire for their integrity, success, and ability to inspire rather than control
My affirmation – the best leaders out there made it by inspiring rather than controlling. Inspiring leadership has far reaching effects. Controlling leadership has ever tightening boundaries and limitations.

3. I am going to monitor my thoughts and controlling tendencies and open up to understanding where they come from – insecurities, fear, lack of trust etc. I will stay in the present moment – dealing only with what is happening here and now, accept my insecurity and fears for what they are but not allow them to dictate my thoughts and resulting behaviours. One day at a time – one thought at a time, one act at a time.
Affirmation – I am the beautiful product of everything this life has given me to grow and evolve. Every part of what I am has purpose – even the fears and insecurities. I accept them, and I release the need for my behaviour to be governed by them.

4. In yoga one learns to be curious. Curious about your body – what it can do and what the journey to doing things different brings up. I am going to apply that principle to my business and opening the doors to others to contribute and add to the picture. I am going to be curious about different ways of doing things and alternative routes to where we want to be. The most direct or most efficient way might work sometimes and other times the scenic route brings up meaningful and inspiring things. I’m opening up to those possibilities
Affirmation – I am open to suggestions and learnings from others as their ideas are just as useful and meaningful as mine. I accept all offers and stay curious about an attitude of openness can deliver.

5. I am setting out on a journey of mastering the art of Surrender: the complete acceptance of what is and having faith that all is well, even without my input. (My throat slightly contracted even as I wrote that). I have to remind myself that this does not mean – ‘do nothing’. It means – do something from a place of sweet surrender. Doing something without demanding a certain outcome. Doing something without force or feeling like it is a struggle.
Will Blunderfield sings: “There is a river that I’ve discovered. It flows downstream to everything I desire. I paddled so hard against the current, I did not know, that all I needed was to let the oars go, and just flow.
Affirmation: All is well in my world. I breathe and let go of the oars

As I conclude this article I face my first challenge: part of me thinks I can’t submit this because what I am asking of myself here is impossible (i.e. I don’t feel I can control the successful outcome of what I put out there). Funny that. There is another part that just keeps saying – let the oars go…The energy right now is magical….and unbearable. Here goes….