Wednesday, April 16, 2014

True Beauty


Being beautiful means believing in yourself. Trusting your inner wisdom, even as you take risks. Beautiful is throwing convention to the wind, and doing it your own way.

This week, I chopped off a bunch of my hair—I went for it, even though I knew it would be different than any style I've had before. And I love it! I feel sexy and unique and playful.


Beautiful is saying YES to opportunities that come your way.

This week I said YES to the chance to teach yoga at my home studio, Leap Yoga in Folsom. I’ll be sharing an hour of asana with my wonderful community and I am thrilled! My intention for the class is to humble myself, to be willing to be seen, and to have fun.


Beautiful is being dedicated to the soulful practices that allow you to love others.

This week, I’m spending time on my mat, meditating, reading, and remembering to take time for myself, even as I serve. In all I do, I seek peace and balance.

In this moment, I feel beautiful. And I think you’re beautiful too!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Teaching Yoga with a Humble Heart

Photo by Cait Loper Photography.

Teaching yoga is a gift. I am so humbled by witnessing a student experience the practice.

That peaceful look at the end of class, it lights me up inside. Sometimes I’ll watch a yogi laying in savasana, no wrinkles in his forehead, the slightest hint of a smile at his lips, and it hits me: I’m doing what I am here to do. I am sharing what I am meant to share.

Yoga is such a gift. I can’t hold onto it. I can’t create it. Even my own practice: I must let go of it.

As I teach, I strive simply to offer myself in service, allowing myself to be seen, encouraging my students. I’m really not doing anything; I’m just helping students get out of their own way, and that’s where the shifts happen.

When we show up over and over again, we are bound to find success.

Practice and all is coming is how Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said it.

Dharma Mittra says, With constant practice comes success.

Thank you, students, for coming to your mat. Thank you, teachers who have gone before me. I bow humbly to you, in gratitude. I bow to the students whose paths will cross mine.


Namaste.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

Photo via Garland of Grace.

Be grateful when you can.

Notice this moment, this breath.

Treat others with kindness.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Daily Yoga Practice (The Yamas and Niyamas)


Often I think of a yoga practice as moving through an hour or so of asana (physical postures) on my mat.

But recently my understanding of the practice has shifted. Transitioning from teacher training (when I was doing tons of yoga) to a period of more stillness and rest (while recovering from sciatica pain) has led me to ask, What is yoga, really? And why do I practice it?


On some days, my yoga looks like this:
  • A ten-minute meditation (dhyana, meditation)
  • Mindful breathing exercises (pranayama, breathwork)
  • Writing a few pages in my journal about my experiences, feelings and dreams (svadhyaya, self-study)

 And on others, my daily practice consists of:
  • Eating a meal mindfully, in silence (santosha, contentment)
  • Writing down my gratitude list (santosha, contentment)
  • Acting kindly toward those I love (ahimsa, nonviolence)
  • Giving myself permission to take rest (ahimsa, nonviolence)
Photo by Cait Loper Photography.


 On some days, my yoga involves:
  • Teaching postures (asana, physical poses)
  • Studying postures and then releasing my attachment to knowing all there is to know about yoga (aparigraha, nonhoarding)
  • Practicing a mantra using my prayer beads, asking the Universe for wisdom and guidance (isvara-pranidhana, devotion to a higher power)


Regardless of the way my daily yoga practice looks, I find the consistent part is that when I do it, I find peace.

When I am in my yoga practice, I am farther from confusion, anger, disconnectedness, and fear.

When I practice, I feel grateful, present to the divine, and aware of my body, mind, and spirit.

I practice yoga because it allows me to love myself and others more. I practice because it allows me to release my attachments to the past and future, and instead to live in the present.

What does your yoga practice look like these days? Why do you practice yoga?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Radiant


I feel joyful today. I spent last night dancing, and it was just what I needed... releasing what does not serve me, laughing, watching people let loose, smiling at the way we all feel the same happiness.

Today I had a reiki/massage session with my healer. I hula hooped in the park. I took a restful nap. And now I'm sitting at the patio of my favorite cafe, enjoying a coffee and sandwich and the way the sunlight feels.

Days like today, I feel radiant with gratitude.


As I walked in to order my coffee, I had this vision of myself sitting on a patio somewhere in Europe, listening to the sea as it moves, the sound of Spanish being spoken. I could picture what it would feel like to open my laptop among strangers, sitting down to do the same thing I'm doing now in a place that is unfamiliar and beautiful.

Walking cobblestone streets, in and out of cathedrals. Being barefoot on the hardwood floor of a new yoga studio, bowing namaste to a teacher whose accent makes me smile. Eating food I've never tried, giving hugs to people I've never met, gathering experiences I will never forget.

Life is beautiful, and precious. On days like today, I love all of it. May I continue to be a blessing to those I meet, and may I continue to travel freely, riding the breeze that is this human experience.

Namaste.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Remembering Who We Are


We are all perfectly imperfect. The practice is just remembering who we have been all along.

This moment, as it is, requires nothing different.


I am. I breathe. I love. This is the true story.

I can choose to allow each experience to be a learning, an awakening, a softening. The practice is simply returning to the present moment.



I surrender to the present. I remember.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Letting it All In

 
 Photos via My Morning Coffee.

I've been having one of those weekends when the little moments take my breath away.

When I look in the mirror and see deep gratitude. I see and feel my own beauty.

It's one of those days when, more than once, I smile with my eyes closed, knowing you're watching, feeling your body breathing near mine.


Sometimes it feels as though my heart is moving in the same slow, perfect way the stars do. Orbiting.

It feels as though every movement I make is itself a dance.


The sound of the rain on the ceiling comforts me. I sleep in the afternoon and let my body tell me when it's time to wake up.

I can be motionless or sipping a cup of coffee or walking in the garden and it's all so beautiful.


Loving deeply. Letting it all in.  Here I am.

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