Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Land of Not Enough

Have you ever felt like you lived in the "Land of Not Enough?"
I believe that people sometimes portray that message to us either on purpose or out of their own self importance. "Not enough this and not enough that...;" where you imagine that no matter how hard you try; you just never quite measure up. When I read this excerpt from Elephant Journal today, I thought, "Yes, I am enough."

"Today in yoga, standing splits came easier on the right side.
Today in yoga, I fell out of warrior-three… several times.
Today in yoga, I skipped vinyasas and went straight to downward-facing dog.
Today in yoga, I skipped vinyasas and took child’s pose.
Today in yoga, I modified downward-dog with dolphin, when my wrist hurt.
Today in yoga, I wiped sweat off the bridge of my nose, with my pants leg.
Today in yoga, my arms felt tired and strong at the same time.
Today in yoga, I kept breathing.
Today in yoga, I transitioned from warrior-three to half-moon.
Today in yoga, I chuckled when my teacher made a joke about the lunch samples at Trader Joe’s.
Today in yoga, I breathed deeply, smiled, and sweat profusely.
Today in yoga, I was challenged.
Today in yoga, I forgot about my worries for one hour.
Today in yoga, I made it to the mat.
Today in yoga, I did what I could… and it was enough."
I think that is why I often feel complete on my mat. I set my intention to "be enough" just for that hour. Then, when all of the other messages come through that tear at your self-worth, I still hear that quiet whisper, "You are enough." Can you let go of what others say or do today, and just believe with me that God says, "You are enough. You are loved with an everlasting love. You belong to God. You are not finished yet. Nothing can separate you from His love." You matter. You are enough. Let that be....ENOUGH
Today in yoga, I fell out of warrior-three… several times.Today in yoga, I skipped vinyasas and went straight to downward-facing dog.Today in yoga, I skipped vinyasas and took child’s pose.Today in yoga, I modified downward-dog with dolphin, when my wrist hurt.Today in yoga, I wiped sweat off the bridge of my nose, with my pants leg.Today in yoga, my arms felt tired and strong at the same time.Today in yoga, I kept breathing.Today in yoga, I transitioned from warrior-three to half-moon.Today in yoga, I chuckled when my teacher made a joke about the lunch samples at Trader Joe’s.Today in yoga, I breathed deeply, smiled, and sweat profusely.Today in yoga, I was challenged.Today in yoga, I forgot about my worries for one hour.Today in yoga, I made it to the mat.Today in yoga, I did what I could… and it was enough."  Elephant Journal
I think that is why I often feel complete on my mat. I set my intention to "be enough" just for that hour. Then, when all of the other messages come through that tear at your self-worth, I still hear that quiet whisper, "You are enough." Can you let go of what others say or do today, and just believe with me that God says, "You are enough. You are loved with an everlasting love. You belong to God. You are not finished yet. Nothing can separate you from His love." You matter. You are enough. 



He is Enough.  Be still and know.  Let that be enough.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In Loving Silence - Meditation Benefits

Every morning at Kripalu, we arrived to practice yoga at 6:20 because the Sadhana or class began at 6:30 a.m.  The room was totally silent, and the lights were low.  The weather in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts is cool, and we often dressed in layers because of it.  The moment we walked in the outer area, we removed our shoes, turned off our cell phones, and quietly placed our mats on the floor with any props necessary.  The teacher was usually already in place, meditating, and the whole area seemed filled with this beauty of peace.

The early morning classes were my favorite time.  Our teacher would guide us through our meditation, our breath practice, and start our movement phase.  There was this gentle hush throughout the room, and yet, it was friendly and compassionate.  After class was over at 8:00 a.m., I took a vow of silence and wore my badge "In Loving Silence" as I moved towards the breakfast area.  55 people were in this dim lit room plus the teacher and assistants, but we all were filled with the lovely after glow of yoga practice, pranayama, and meditation.

I brought my badge home and took out the "In Loving Silence" paper, placed it on the door of the studio. My hope was that our people would observe as they passed from the place of taking off their shoes, attending to their cards, signing in, and transition to the beauty of quiet in the early morning, mid-day, late afternoon, or evening practice.  Visiting and building a yoga community are an awesome part of Tranquility Yoga Studio in Owasso, but loud talking belong in the foyer area where we check in for the classes.

Yesterday, as our friends were coming to the noon class, one of our yoga people was in tears due to a recent loss, another was upset and needed a quiet place, so I told them about my experience and how yoga is different than gym classes of aerobics, kickboxing, and Pilates.  They were so kind and began to silence their voices, close the windows of their eyes, and come to a quiet, comfortable seat.  It was truly beautiful.  I thanked them after class for their kindness as some were suffering and needed the beauty of a meditative practice.

If you know me well, you realize immediately that I love to talk, to laugh, to make jokes, and to greet our friends.  That is why I stand at the door of the foyer to greet as they walk in, but when we come to the mat, I believe that the ambience of silence would be appropriate.  Then, after our Savasana, heading out to the foyer, and putting your shoes back on, the conversation restarts.  Many people enjoy visiting out in the parking area for long periods of time after class.  Some people leave quietly with tears in their eyes.   Others hurry out to make their next appointment.  Whichever way, the departure takes place is appropriate, but in the yoga room itself, the quiet is so precious.

My goal is to build a compassionate, kind, non-competitive yoga community here at Tranquility.  We have fellowship dinners in the summer and practices out on the yoga patio that encourage friendship and a sense of family.  Since I am an affectionate person, I love to share a hug or pat on the back with everyone who comes through our door.  People need this type of communication because we are too much into our crazy world of electronic devices, noise, and obligations which often add to the stress we feel each day.

So, come to class with us, practice yoga with our TY family, but please leave your shoes, your cell phones, your conversations in the yoga foyer and check-in place.  Begin to quiet your minds and come to a comfortable seat in the studio.  Breathe in peace; breathe out calm.  Smile. It's all good.  Meditation changed my life at Kripalu, and my hope is that it will change yours, too!








Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Don't Sh....t On Yourself." (Oh, the last full day at Kripalu and the things I have learned.)


This is the last day of my first module of training at Kripalu Institute.  I have met so many wonderful people, have grown by leaps and bounds in my practice, learned more than I ever thought I could, and felt some important life moments were achieved here.
Here are my reflections:
  1. The first day I at Kripalu Institute I was mainly silent and became a people watcher.  I went to meditation classes, yoga practices, and our initial meeting.  I ate by myself.  I tried to get used to dorm living (it has been a long time since OSU).  I smiled a lot, but I kept to myself.
  2. The second day we were assigned to small groups of four (there are 55 of us in my module of training), and the ladies in my quad asked me to eat with them on the lawn for dinner.  I asked a lot of questions especially to the ones who had been here previously or were trained here for the 200 hr RYT.  But, I must admit, I made a poor judgment call; and in our conversation I voiced a critical remark about someone.
  3. "Sorry,"  "I apologize,"  "Please forgive,"... these words have been the long road of my life's journey.  That night during my prayers I felt the need to say something, make a verbal request for overlooking my bad remark to one of the precious ladies from Long Island, NY.
  4. The next morning after practice, I approached this lovely lady from NY.  I said, "Please forgive me.  I should not have said what I did."
  5. She looked me in the eye, and said, "Don't "should" on yourself."  However, not hearing her correctly, I thought she said, "Don't sh#t on yourself."  It really shocked me and my virgin-like Bible Belt ears.  I have found that the people of the northeastern United States don't mince words and the "f" bomb is used quite frequently as if they were asking for you to pass the salt.
  6. I thought all day and all night about what I thought she said.  First, it shocked me.  Then, it caused me to ponder and reflect.  I did a lot of quiet self-study; I thought about how I treat myself and allow others to treat me.
  7. Gandhi said, "I want the freedom  for the full expression of my personality."  Yes, I do, too!  In fact, for far too long, I have basically just asked for forgiveness for being "me."  I am emotionally intelligent, I discern well and read between the lines with good intention of seeing the hidden message, I have a thirst for learning and continue to be a life-long achiever.  I am physically fit; while back extensions are not my best, I continue to work on them, inversions, and I love, absolutely adore, arm balances and push-ups.  I have a 56 year old body, some wrinkles, red hair with some issues, fair skin, lots of freckles, and have made many mistakes in my life; but by golly, I really like myself.  I love what I do. I am tired of making excuses for not teaching elementary school any more because I am so passionate about teaching yoga and truly love it.  I get very attached to my friends, family, and the people I teach so when they go away, I grieve.  Thanks to the rude person who once commented, but "No, I do not need to take valium for that problem."
  8. You see, we all matter.  All of us.  Not just the ones who are popular, attractive, thin, athletic, successful, have money, or never err.  God loves us all the same.  He doesn't judge through Facebook glasses or according to what is the popular fad at the time. I believe God expects us to love generously, be humble, but I don't think He ever meant for me to continuously "@$#&" on myself.
  9. So, if you see me in the future, and I don't apologize, please remember.  This is my new learning curve, and I am going full force into what tomorrow holds.  Hang on, I promise it will be quite the ride.
  10. For all the people who have loved me, accepted me, treasured me, and respected me, thank you. Even when I couldn't give that to myself, you modeled it for me.  Thanks, Jay, for the time you told me, "Mom, stop apologizing."  Truth comes in many packages.  I am so thankful for those of you who have gone the extra mile to help me see the truth.  As my wonderful husband Brian would say, 

But, don't sh...t on yourself.