Four simple meditations to help you feel at peace.Read More
Happy Friday! I hope you're all having a beautiful week, and that you have a fun Easter weekend planned.
Today I am thrilled to share a new post in the Badass Women series featuring my lovely friend Valerie.Read More
Yesterday on Instagram I posted about a topic that I keep coming back to lately...
Right now I'm working on letting go of caring what others think of me.
I had a moment yesterday where I thought, 'You know, today has been a really good day.' And then I listed off the reasons it was a good day, and none of them were related to me; they all had something to do with other people -- granted, people in my life that I love and care about, but not me.
And I thought, 'I want to be happy with myself regardless of what's going on with other people, and outside of their opinions of me.'
This is something I struggle with, that I've struggled with for a long time without realizing it; I constantly look for approval from others.
I base my happiness on the happiness of those around me.
And sometimes, as an empath, I feel my energy merge with that of those who are close to me, and I struggle to separate my experience from theirs.
So, how do I work on this? How do I create my own experience, and develop my own self-worth outside of what's going on around me, or what other people think of me?
My yoga practice is a good starting place. When I'm on my mat, it's just me. I give myself permission to move in my own way, to feel what I feel, to let go of shit, and to be imperfect.
Re-reading this very blog has been helpful lately, too, as I've been writing about the topic of loving myself for YEARS.
This struck me yesterday, actually...I have so many posts about self-love, self-acceptance, and compassion! I have given myself so much advice on this topic! Haha. It almost felt silly to realize I have all this advice and I still struggle to take it in...to practice what I preach.
But, coming back to the theme: LET GO. Be present. Begin again in this moment.
Photos in this post by Tom Huynh.
So, I'm wondering... do you like to set personal goals? What's on your goal list these days?
With 2016 officially half way over, I've been thinking about my goals for the rest of this year (and beyond). A lot has shifted since I moved, and lately my focus has been on spending time getting to know myself and loving myself.
I've also given myself space to rest and to mix up my workout routine (sometimes I even skip yoga! eeps!) :)
Here are some other goals I'm working on (or at least cultivating awareness of):
- Love my body.
- Embrace imperfection; take the pressure off!
- Cook awesomely and digest happily.
- Limit late night snacking and get to bed by 10pm.
- Do my own yoga flow.
- Let go of fears (not being good enough, and fear of failure).
What are your current goals? Do you set intentions and use mantras to manifest what you want?
Or maybe you'd consider filling in the blank to this statement:
2016 is my year for...
I'd love to hear more in the comments below, or you can always shoot me a quick email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. Namaste my friends.
PS You can find more awesome ideas for meeting your goals or setting new habits over at the blog Zen Habits, by Leo Babauta. His blog is one of my favorites!
Today Sponsored Yogini Keyla shares a beautiful reflection on what it means to let go and how it is essential to the practice of Yoga.
Ishvara Pranidhana is a niyama related to letting go and surrendering to the universe.
This has been my theme lately.
It can translate and mean so many things but for me it helps me with faith. For the past month or so, I've been training under someone who was taught by his uncle and grandfather in traditional/classical yoga, to him it's the correct and authentic form of yoga, all 8 limbs, not just asana which is what is mainly taught in most yoga studios. Yoga was something he grew up with the way I grew up with Salsa music and my grandmother teaching me my first steps of salsa in the kitchen. It was just my culture. Yoga is a way of life and his culture.
I’ve been looking for a teacher like him for some time now. I wanted to know what yoga was like for someone that grew up Indian. Something I would probably learn if I stepped into the country but let’s face it, I can’t make the trip right now. The timing fell right in place as it always does and I landed an awesome teacher that has helped my practice dramatically.
Every day I wake up at dawn and practice. I've never done this in my whole journey as a student and It's taught me so much! I remember in my 200 RYT thinking about being a “real yogini” and waking up at dawn like I was supposed to, to practice kriyas, pranayama and chant but I felt like it was so out of reach! I would never be able to do that. Well, I’m finally finding the consistent discipline in my self-practice and it’s been so effortless. It took me to shift a few things out of my life, but it happened gradually and almost magically.
I’ve always practiced but it was very spastic. I would practice at noon, or the evening, and sometimes would practice for 3 hrs. at 3 am. It was perfect for me at first because it worked with me but It was just all over the place. My free-spirited nature became somewhat of an issue though. It caused me to burn out; it lacked order and balance. My practice reflected it. It wasn’t a bad thing, it was just a mirror that I can look back at now and say oooooh, I was all over the place.
My schedule was extreme, and my classes burnt me out. Yoga wasn’t supposed to have that effect on me.
It wasn’t the yoga that was the issue. It was me. My yoga practice revealed something very important. I needed balance and change. I needed more than just asana. From teaching 7 days a week for a whole year, I stopped. I dropped my classes, and sadly one class just ended up dropping me. After my favorite studio cutting me out of the schedule, It was time for me to center and work on my own practice. I re-defined my intention.
I started teaching so that I could commit to my own practice, so that I could find more balance. The inspiration that comes from it is like nothing else. Watching people grow around me is what lights me up, and knowing that my light helped a seed sprout fills me up with joy. It is that very exchange that inspires me to move and teach.
It’s been months since I taught at a studio. I’ve come to a place where I was happily practicing on my own but my students have reached out to me. I missed them just as much as they missed me. Honestly speaking, I kept teaching like a mad woman for a whole year because I fell in love with my students and felt guilty for leaving them. Although I felt uncomfortable, and the vibe at a studio was conflicting with me, I stuck around. Then enough was enough. I put in notice and I left without letting my students know. I had no idea how to explain why I was leaving. It wasn’t until I left that students reached out and told me things that explained why I felt as uncomfortable as I did. In that particular situation, Another teacher was talking behind my back. Pure ugliness. What’s funny is that I stayed and thought it was me the whole time. I didn’t listen to my feelings and intuition. I wasn’t centered enough to have confidence in my feelings. I know now that I made the right choice in leaving.
Who will guide them if you don’t? What will they think about you if you gave up on your commitment to them and the studio? What if they follow you? Will the studio accuse you of stealing their “customers?"
After re-evaluating a bit and taking a lot of time, I picked out the perfect little meditation space and am ready to teach now. This time only one day a week, and not worried about numbers at all.
Practicing Ishvara Pranidhana and letting go.
If someone wants to show up, great, and if not, it’s OK. It’s on my own expense and it’s my own class. I have full faith that if it’s for me, things will flow and grow. I found an environment and a system that works for me and it was only until I let go of the fear of failing a studio and students that it fell into place. I re-defined the way that I wanted to teach and I plan to keep my practice as the number one priority.
That’s the only way that I can continue to allow yoga to transform and balance out my life and mind. After all, that’s why I practice.
Thank you, Keyla, for this lovely post! Very inspiring for all of us who are teachers and students of yoga.
Note: In the photos above, Keyla is wearing a shirt from Twin Flame and a pair of leggings from Veda Sundara. Namaste.
Let your asana practice move you closer to healing rather than pride in what you've achieved.
Let the words and actions of other people be their own, not something for you to latch onto.
See if you can surrender even the most difficult days. Allow for patience and self-forgiveness.
Go ahead; procrastinate.
Instead of freaking out, choose to become very present to what's happening around you. Notice your breath. Slow it down. Take a deep, slow inhale... the deepest inhale you've taken all day. Notice how your body is feeling.
Notice where you can soften.
Lose weight, reduce wrinkles, fight cellulite; we’re constantly told to fight a battle to be someone other than who we are."
Through yoga, we become aware of our need to heal, and what practices we can adopt in order to heal ourselves.
Early on in the exploration of yoga, that healing generally manifests physically: we begin new eating, exercise and relaxation practices that help us treat our bodies with kindness. Then, when we don't resist it, yoga will take us to a much deeper place of healing; it offers us a chance to connect with our spirit, and to carry our practice off the mat and into every aspect of life.
Recently I've encountered the stories of two men whose lives were forever changed by yoga, and I'm inspired to share them as part of the Real Men Do Yoga series. I'm encouraged by their humility and strength, their willingness to shed the ego.
"I started in a place of mourning and find myself now in a place of hope and excitement," Kim says. "All of the twists and turns of the past were necessary for me to find my voice as a singer and an artist."
How has yoga transformed your life? I'd love to hear!
As always, if you're interested in participating in the Real Men Do Yoga series, feel free to shoot me an email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. Namaste.
- Witnessing strength and perseverance. There were a few times when my sister looked over at me like I was crazy when I asked her to move into a posture, or to hold for a few more seconds. We were doing reps of downdog extensions into plank with the knee at the elbow (like in Sadie Nardini's supersets), and I glanced over to see just how focused and determined she was, arms shaking, powering through the struggle. So inspiring to see her keep going even when the yoga proved challenging.
- Laughing about yoga farts. It's the best when you can just be honest and down-to-earth in yoga. Yes, it is a serious practice, but it can also lead to extremely hilarious, heartfelt and just generally human experiences. (Cough cough *wind removing pose* cough cough!)
- Feeling energized after practicing together. "I feel kind of woozy," my sister said as we were walking out of the park. "Like something crazy just happened." I laughed and explained to her how yoga can clear stagnant energy in the body, and that she was likely experiencing the result of opening her spine. I was also totally stoked to hear that she felt immediate relief from chronic back pain and can't wait to practice again soon. Success!