Soup and Then Some

By Laura Mills 

    Something that says fall to me, nearly as much as leaves, pumpkins and Halloween, is soup. In my youngest days I loved good old canned tomato and chicken noodle. But my mom created countless amazing concoctions, too, the ingredients of which varied from pot to pot, and the older I got the more I grew to love what I now think of as “real” soup. Other than opening a can or reheating Mom’s care-packages, though, I have yet to make soup at home. In the past the process—the finding, chopping and otherwise preparing of ingredients, as well as the simmering of them all together—seemed to require more time and therefore more patience than I was willing to spare. But this year I’m thinking differently.

    I need to make soup this year. I think it will do me a great deal of good. 2013 has so far been my craziest year yet; at this moment, as I think about it, my life could be said to resemble an array of cold, odd-sized pieces of different-colored vegetables strewn throughout a kitchen. Some pieces are already beautiful and tasty, but some pieces in their current state are also very coarse, and some are particularly bitter. Unless I allow these pieces to simmer together—slowly—and stir and season them with just the right loving touch, they will remain as they are: cold, odd, and messy.

    So what better way to slow myself down and let things simmer than spending a day making soup? I don’t want a recipe. I’m going to make my soup the old-fashioned way: I’m going to wander around the produce section, choose some vegetables and anything else soup-worthy, prepare at my kitchen counter, and then stand at my stove with a big pot of water and my serving spoon. How reassuring, how healing to watch care and time transform a cold collection of odd pieces into something warm and uniquely delicious...the perfect comfort food, indeed.    

10/10/2013   Tags:  Laura Mills, fall, soup, cooking, patience, slowing down, comfort food Direct Link

Wise Little One

  By Laura Mills

    “Mama—sit!”

    I turned around at the sink and locked eyes with my two-year-old. She sat straight up at the kitchen table, pointing to my empty chair, glaring at me. It was one of those mornings where I had hustled her out of bed and down to breakfast, my plan being to grocery shop and run a few additional errands and then make it home in time to take advantage of her naptime window. I had eaten my breakfast and now, while she scooped the last pieces of cereal up from her bowl, buzzed around the kitchen washing dirty dishes and sorting clean ones. 

    “Mama—SIT!”

    That morning she had told me to sit a few times before, but not quite so emphatically. Each previous time I had answered her with something like, “I can’t right now, I have to finish cleaning the kitchen.” This time, though, I just stopped. Manners, Honey. We don’t talk to other people like that, I thought, and the words were nearly on my lips when I stopped again….

    How many times while teaching yoga had I instructed my students to slow down, to pause, to just breathe? How many times had I preached that what seems important in a frazzled moment may not really matter? How many times had I reminded my students to cherish the blessings of everyday life, to tune in to what’s right in front of them, to remember the spaces between the lines on their to-do lists?

    Holding my daughter’s eyes another moment, now I took a deep breath. I took my teacup from the counter, pulled out my chair, and sat next to her at the table. She held her sippy cup out to me, and I clinked my teacup against it in salute. Never having trained to teach yoga, never having even attended one yoga class…she still knew, still possessed the inherent wisdom I had lost with the years.

    “You’re right, Honey,” I said. “Thank you for reminding me.”  

2/20/2013   Tags:  Laura Mills, children, slowing down, wisdom, being present Direct Link

Lessons From the Slow Cooker

  By Laura Mills

  In addition to holiday decorating, one of my favorite rituals at this time of year is making chili in my slow cooker. The day before, I chop and prepare the ingredients; the morning of, I empty everything into the cooker, add the appropriate spices, and turn the switch to “Low.” Every time I lift the lid to stir throughout the day, a wave of smells spreads across my kitchen, and by dinnertime the chili has transformed from a cold mass into a simmering stew. The whole process—from preparation, through cooking and dinnertime, and even through packing leftovers—proves itself quite the event. It is, I believe, an occasion that sets the mood for a cozy, happy, and festive transition from fall to winter.

  Isn’t that the best thing about comfort food, the fact that we not only enjoy the flavor itself but also the total experience of it? Eating our favorite comfort foods seems to reset our ability to notice things that enhance our existence, like warmth, heartiness, the coziness of settling in, and the closeness we experience with others and ourselves. Comfort food, in a way, is like salt we add to the moments in which we anticipate it, prepare it, eat it, and clean up after it. It doesn’t change life’s flavor, just heightens our awareness of its tastiness.

  So enjoy!  

12/1/2012   Tags:  Laura Mills, holidays, rituals, cooking, comfort food Direct Link

Seasonal Selection

  By Laura Mills

  Recently my husband and I discussed the change in seasons and agreed we’re both partial to the fall—and I know we’re in the majority at least among people we know. Why does fall delight so many? I’m sure the color changes evident in this part of the country are a major source of sentiment, but after considering the question, I thought of a few additional possibilities….

  First, by the end of September more frequent cooler temperatures bring a unique excitement. While winter transitions to spring so gradually I barely notice it, summer transitions to fall seemingly overnight. And it inspires an annual ritual in my house: the digging out of sweatshirts and jeans, socks and blankets. Of course, we do experience that occasional unseasonable warmth well into the season, but overall fall distinguishes itself from summer quite dramatically.

  Second, fall is particularly fun. It involves back-to-school, the culmination of baseball, the beginning of college and pro-football, and of course the anticipation of year-end holidays. Which prefaces the third possibility: fall lends itself to my most favorite comfort foods like soups, casseroles, and various pumpkin and apple goodies. More than at any other time of year, I can taste the effort and nurturing that went into growing and preparing what I eat.

  Finally, and definitely most profoundly, watching the natural world progress into its final yearly stage makes me pause. The act of passing into dormancy, of drawing back into the earth, reminds me of life’s transience. And that in turn, more than anything during any other season, reminds me how blessed I am to be here.

9/20/2012   Tags:  Laura Mills, seasons, fall, transitions, fun, comfort, dormancy Direct Link

Is It Time to Remodel?

By Laura Mills

   With the approach of spring it’s usual, I think, for us to establish a new course for ourselves. Almost like re-opening our lives after a renovation, we set an intention to change our outlook or update our approach. Then, we seal that intention with rituals that refresh: cleaning out closets and garages, rearranging desks and living rooms, scrubbing kitchens and floors, and, of course, shopping.

  As yogis, why not include among our projects a renewal of commitment to our practices? Recommitting honors the distances we’ve traveled towards this moment in our yoga journeys; it also blesses the courses that stretch ahead. And though the prospect of recommitting—whatever it might entail for each of us—might seem daunting, no yogi practices alone. After all, while our individual experiences on and off the mat vary, we all share the openness of heart and mind that brought us to yoga in the first place.

  So whatever your yoga practice is and has been in the past, celebrate it this spring. Be renewed and refreshed as you recommit, buoyed by the knowledge that an entire community of yogis stands behind you.

  Congratulations to us all for arriving here, and best wishes as we move forward together!

3/13/2012   Tags:  Laura Mills, spring, intention, rituals, commitment, community Direct Link

Warm Welcome

Warm Welcome

 By Laura Mills

I recently had the pleasure of a vacation. As comfortable as one can be at home, itís rejuvenating to take a break from the day-to-day routine of work, errands, chores, and other obligations. Whether one's vacation involves campfire cooking outside a tent in the midst of a majestic wilderness, or gourmet meals at a restaurant across the street from an exquisite hotel, we plan our vacations according to what we believe will interest and entertain us. No wonder we look forward to them so much!

But I don't think it's the fun or simply the change in routine that rejuvenates us while on vacation. I think itís the fact that vacations place us outside our element.The unfamiliar, no matter how entertaining or interesting, still unsettles us at least a little bit. Our vacations may involve sights we haven't seen before or at least not for a while, languages we don't speak, activities we haven't tried before, and food we've never eaten or perhaps never even heard of. We are no longer experts, no longer able to just go through the motions of day-to-day existence. And suddenly, at least at some level, we then look forward to returning to the opportunities we have at home to go to a familiar workplace, eat food we know we like, and talk to people we love. Suddenly, those opportunities seem just a little more special.

I had a great time on my vacation, for sure. But while I cherish the time I had there, itís REALLY good to be home.

 

9/29/2011   Tags:  vacation, home, rejuvenate, new, unfamiliar, opportunity, love Direct Link

Cherish This

Cherish This

  By Laura Mills

  Right now I am sitting at my kitchen table in front of my computer, having just finished my cereal, drinking coffee, listening to classical music. The patio door is open and I’m looking into my yard, and I’m hearing the chirps of crickets and birds. Of course, not every moment of my life is this easily sweet; just this morning before breakfast I dusted the living room, swept the kitchen, and fed and cleaned up after my cats. Soon enough, I’ll head back upstairs to get ready for work. But right now, in this moment, I am exactly where I want to be.
  We all experience snippets of life like this in which the immediate circumstances just seem right. We are content to breathe and feel and be without immediately moving on to something else. We think, “Ah, so THIS is happiness.” Our challenge, I believe, as I discuss so often with other yogis, is to nurture the contentment of these moments and apply it to the times when life isn’t so accommodating. Our yoga practices help; with yoga, we encourage our bodies, minds and spirits towards lasting and perfectly balanced peace.
  But in the meantime, we relish the peace that comes easily. We sigh, take a deep breath, and give thanks.     

9/1/2011   Tags:  cherish the moment, cleaning, challenges, yoga practice, balance, peace, bodies, mind, life Direct Link

Yoga All the Time

 By Laura Mills

 

I hadn’t noticed it coming on, but suddenly one day after breakfast I felt “icky”—and within the next few hours I realized I had a bit of summer stomach flu. Physically miserable and mentally frustrated, I had no energy with which to do my typical weekend activities like laundry and housecleaning. And, of course, with which to practice asanas…which particularly irked me. With TBY closed for renovation, I had intended to practice at home. But since the stomach flu is a poor companion to asana practice, I opted begrudgingly to curl up on the couch in what felt like a sloth-like stupor.

Amid my thoughts of how far behind I was falling with my chores and tasks, it also occurred to me that yoga at its simplest is taking care of the self. And I realized that in the state I was in, even though I wanted more than anything to jump off the couch into some vinyasas, the best thing for me at that time was rest. Sure enough, within three days my health and energy returned. I came back to my mat happy because I was once again practicing asanas, but happy also because I knew that even while sick I never really stopped practicing yoga.

 

8/19/2011   Tags:  practice, yoga, stomach flu, health Direct Link

SELF-TALK AS SELF-STUDY

April 1, 2011.  Do you talk to yourself?  I do. All the time.  And if you believe science we all talk to ourselves nonstop. The question beneath the question is more so about the "Quality of communication" you have in your self-talk.   

"We all have voices in our heads which ?talks to us on an almost constant basis. ?Our voices give us messages continually, ?and what they say to us affects us." - Juliene Berk

In yoga we actively observe our self-talk and we study ourselves to learn about ourselves.  This is known as Svadhaya. For most of us this is a huge paradigm shift.  We grow up spending close to 100% of our time studying what everyone else has attempted or accomplished.  We learn how to be more interested in what others think about who we are than what we think of our own opinion.  I look back at all the hours spent worrying and intensely studying how others talked to me than what I was saying to myself and now realize the emphasis was in the wrong place.  

John Lembo says "Every waking moment we talk to ourselves about the things we experience. Our self-talk, the thoughts we communicate to ourselves, in turn control the way we feel and act."  In yoga we not only observe our thoughts but we practice talking to ourselves on purpose, with purpose. "Self-suggestion makes you master of yourself." (W. Clement Stone)  We learn that what we say to ourselves and how we say it impacts how we feel. We learn that we are responsible for creating our world from the inside out.  

“Watch your thoughts for they become words

Watch your words for they become actions

Watch your actions for they become habits

Watch your habits for they become character

Watch your character for it becomes your destiny!”

The other key learning that becomes transportable from our yoga is the way we talk to ourselves is how we talk to other people (our partner, our children, our friends).  These are never two separate things. Our communication is practiced with ourselves from ourselves first.  Then the more life affirming our self-talk is the more positive we are in how we talk to everyone!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

 

4/1/2011   Tags:  self-talk, self-confidence, self, Svadahaya, self-love, thoughts, communication, life-affirming Direct Link

CREATE CONDITIONS FOR YOUR LIFE TO OPEN

March 30, 2011

“Yoga is the practice of creating the conditions for opening to occur.  We learn to relax and open up to more feelings than just those that are comfortable or familiar.  This kind of opening allows us to being to make friends with the variety of our own human repertoire of experiences.” This explanation from Cindy Lee of Om Yoga really hits home. 

I have learned through this practice that I create my reality from the inside out.  Or as James Allen writes "The outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs." I come to the mat to purposefully create the conditions that I want to experience in my life.  If I want more ease then I practice the poses in an easeful way. If I want more enthusiasm then I perform the asanas joyfully! If I need more courage then I face my fears going upside down and stoke my courage.  Whatever I want my world to be more of I try out on the mat so it is reflected back to me when I go out into the world. 

And I have learned that the conditions I create in my mind relate not just to the next moment of my life but sequentially to the moments that follow.  Or as the Buddha says, “All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.” 

Today take responsibility for your life! Create the conditions that serve you best and renew your commitment that this is the day we no longer blame situations or people or things for our happiness but we see the world from the inside out.  I wish you all your own best courage, gentleness and clarity.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

 

YOGA PLAYLIST

Yellow, Jem, Sweetheart

River Flows In You, Yiruma, First Love (Yiruma Piano Collection)

Gobinday Mukunday, Spirit Voyage Artists, Yoga Living Series - Temple Spa

Ardes Bhaee, Mirabai Ceiba, Jamtse - Love & Compassion (An Offering for the Tibet Fund)

Song for You, Alexi Murdoch, Away We Go Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

New People {Empire Remix}, Blue Scholars, New People {Empire Remix}

Hate It Or Love It, 50 Cent & G Unit, The Massacre

Morning Mr Magpie, Radiohead, The King Of Limbs

Karaoke, Drake, Thank Me Later

Still, Wade Imre Morissette, Strong As Diamonds

Gayatri Mantra, Bruce Becvar & Nada Shakti, Samadhi

Chandra (The Moon), Michael Mandrell and Benjy Wertheimer, Anjali

River Flows In You, Yiruma, First Love (Yiruma Piano Collection)

 

3/30/2011   Tags:  hip hop yoga, yoga playlist, vinyasa yoga, commitment, courage, clarity, feelings, creating, responsibility, conditions, beliefs, Direct Link

SENSORIUM OF EXPERIENCE

March 26, 2011.  "When we understand sensations perfectly, we will see beyond this conditioned world." - Samyutta Nikaya

Do you know which grows first in the human body?  Your heart or your brain? Answer is: Your heart.  

That is a pretty good indication that the energies greater than us want our heart energy to be more predominant than our intellectual capacity to analyze.  And at the very least something within our DNA is saying to us pay attention to both.  You may also find it interesting to know that your heart & brain maintain a constant and conscious 2-way dialogue.  And in this conversation the heart sends far more information to the brain, than the brain to the heart. The heart also generates the strongest rhythmic electromagnetic field in the body & this actually can be measured in the brain waves of people around us.  

So then why do we so often try to rationalize the emotional space of the heart?   Why do we try to over direct our lives with only our brains? And then wonder why this doesn't feel right?

When we come to the yoga mat we are dialing back into our heart's intelligence. And the gateway into the heart is the breath.  The first breathing technique we learn is Anapanasati, awareness of breath: its duration, it's orgination, its temperature, its cadence, its rhythm, is it rough or smooth, easy or labored, where do you feel it and where don't you feel your breath? This renewed sensitivity to our life energy transfers into everything else we do.  And as a result we begin feeling more.  

"The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist." Lord Byron

And of course the asana are on purpose to help us feel both Sensitive and Fierce sensations.  We want to feel the full spectrum of emotion and sensation. Yoga helps us unite our hearts intelligence and intellectual understanding together.  “These two teachings, the supremacy of the heart and the uniqueness of each human being are very important to me.  They give me the fullest understanding of my membership in the human family.”  Robert Muller

The more we feel the more we become expert in our own human experience and then as a result the more expert we are in the overall human experience. We learn to feel what other people feel.  And when the constant dialogue of our hearts with one another becomes a way of life then the more gently we live with one another sharing this beautiful planet without war, without fighting, without aggression. Then and only then will peace prevail.  So please use your yoga to connect to your sensorium of experience and bring peace on earth.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

"Different winds come from all directions. Some are clear, some carry dusts, some are cold or hot, fierce gales or gentle breezes. In the same way sensations arise in the body - pleasant or unpleasant or neutral. When we see sensations as we do the winds, coming and going, clear or dust laden, fierce or gentle, we will fully understand them and be free from dependence on them." - Samyutta Nikaya

 

3/26/2011   Tags:  SENSATION, UNPLEASANT, PLEASANT, NEUTRAL, BRAIN, HEART, COMMUNICATION, HEART INTELIGENCE, BREATH, ART OF LIFE, PEACE, SENSORIUM OF EXPERIENCE, BUDDHISM Direct Link

CONNECTION, COMPASSION, COMMUNITY

March 10, 2011.  Dedicated to all those finding their best courage in connecting to each other in a time of serious challenge.  And love to those digging out from the incredible Earthquake in Japan. Einstein said it like this, “A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. But he experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us. Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

So today as we offer support around the world we also recognize internally how important it is for each of us to feel supported.  It is as Earon Davis says, “It takes community to maintain a human.”  Community, communion, compassion all of these and more that the practice teaches us through the vehicle of ourselves and trying to experience democracy and connection there first before taking it into relationship with others.  One of my personal meditations I use is where I ask myself as much as I reach out to others, “can I be reached?”  

So I ask you, “CAN YOU BE REACHED?”   How easily do you accept support from your breath, from the earth, from your friends, from those that are trying to make your life easier?  If its not so easy then come to the mat even more until you feel it possible within your body and heart and this will ignite the trust to connect with others. 

Quite frankly it's easy to disconnect from ourselves and what we are feeling. Yoga brings us back into a state of connection.On the mat we begin the pose with the mind first and then the breath and body follow.  This is why the sophistication in cuing is so remarkable as a way to "work out" our mind muscle and make it less flabby.  How can we even begin to see the connections between ourselves and the world if our mind muscle isn't strong enough to see the communion or connection within our own body?  And really what are we talking about here?  Why bother at all?  Because a strong mind muscle is what keeps us living lovingly and fully!  It is always about LOVE.  Jack Kornfield says it like this:

"Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, ennobles us. Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action.  It makes beauty out of all we touch.  In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of the whole."

So today, know the more you connect to yourself the more you are able to connect to others. The more you share compassion with yourself, the more you have compassion for others.  And once you find this communion with life then everything becomes about love.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

PS Join me on a yoga retreat www.alchemytours.com and stay in touch www.silviamordini.com

3/10/2011   Tags:  connection, community, compassion, love, courage, human, universe, einstein, mind, yoga, union, beauty, communion Direct Link

ANCORA IMPARO I AM STILL LEARNING

Like a bee seeking nectar, seek teachings everywhere.  Like a deer, seek a quiet place to digest all that you have gathered."  -Dzogchen Tantra

February 5th, 2011.  I am a student of life a dedicated love anthropologist.  I wear on my wrist Ancora Imparo words spoken by Michelangelo at the age of 75 years old.  Translated this means "I am still learning".  And anyone who knows me knows I take my love of learning seriously. I am dutifully always trying to live in a way that acknowledges the significance of each precious moment and what it teaches me.

The Yoga is always our best teacher.  It stretches our mind muscle and teaches us how to connect with ourselves and accept the sense things make or make sense of things as they are.  Its like working a puzzle which requires concentration and persistence in our bodies and in our hearts. It is not achieved without interest in our own learning. 

So today start with the answer YES to all questions by opening up to the teachings that flow in your path whether they be good, difficult, interesting, or funny.  Try to learn from all of them my friends! Keep close to heart some final inspiration from Michelangelo  "And I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish." With heartfelt hope for us all to be students of life in the world with the desire to keep learning! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia  

 

PS Join me on retreat this year www.silviamordini.com Moab April 16-19, 2011 and Tuscany June 19-25, 2011 coming up!

2/22/2011   Tags:  learning, yes, michelangelo, desire, accomplish, hope, love, studentship, ancora imparo, love anthropologist, mind muscle, self-study Direct Link

LOVE LIKE HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS

February 21, 2011 To be happy is DEEP WORK, it is not surface stuff.  And the reality of yoga is that it helps us explore ourselves to find out as Anthony DeMello writes, "there is not a single moment in our life when we do not have everything we need to be happy."  

This concept of already having the life we love reminds me of one of my favorites quotes from the book Immunity to Change “Happiness is really freedom from unhappiness.”  So join me in softening our expectations so we can find the:

  • Freedom to be happier than ever before
  • Freedom to try new things
  • Freedom to meet new people
  • Freedom to make happy failures
  • Freedom to not play it all so safe
  • Freedom to do the unexpected
  • Freedom to just see what happens 

In 1948 a study began known as the Framingham Heart Study.  It was the most comprehensive of its kind.  Now 60 plus years later scientists have studied other aspects beyond just heart disease.  One of their findings is related to happiness theory.  And of the factors studied a key part is that happiness is being connected to other people.  We experience happiness through social connections.  And therefore are very much influenced by clusters of other people around us.  Check this out:  a change in one person effects you and all in the cluster, your probability for increased happiness improves 15% if your most immediate friend is happy, 10% if a friend of your friend is happy, and so on until four degrees of separation. 

They are figuring out and measuring what yogis have known for thousands of years:  happiness is contagious.  And of course love is our expression of happiness so Love is Contagious.  Today set yourself free to love more, make it viral. Love everyone, starting with you.  Love yourself more, love your day, love your life! Silvia 

PS When you need to create more space for love try this gratitude breath meditation.

Inhale: I welcome happiness,

Exhale: I am grateful

Inhale:  I welcome inspiration

Exhale:  I am grateful

Inhale:  I welcome love

Exhale:  I am grateful

Inhale: I welcome hope

Exhale: I am grateful

 

2/21/2011   Tags:  love, freedom, 21 Days of Love, peace, balance Direct Link

LONGING TO BE FREE

February 18, 2011.  The choice to be FREE requires an enormous amount of inner strength.  It asks that we be courageous and believe in our own right to be free.  Yoga Sutras Chapter 2.26 talks about how if we believe we are limited, you will be limited; if you believe you are free, you are FREE.  In yogic terms Freedom is known as Jivamukti.  For whatever reason or reasons you feel trapped in your life know you have a choice to free your mind and heart.  It is always there.

Yoga teaches us that we are sovereign over the democracy of ourselves.  Living in a democracy we all can appreciate a thing or two about Freedom.  So ask yourself what kind of freedoms do you encourage in your life?  Are you afraid to stand up for your rights?  Do you promote shared responsibility amongst the constituents of your limbs, breath, mind and heart?  Do you keep yourself shackled to workaholism or do you imprison yourself with worry or self-doubt or critical self-dialogue, do you allow someone outside yourself to run your life?

In my personal work the greatest prisons I've experienced have been those of my own making.  It has been through the yogic practice that I started to place more daily importance on liberation. With time I embraced how crucial it is to find peace and happiness from the inside.  As we study ourselves the yoga helps us explore through movement a freedom in our bodies and a kind of flowing meditation where we can find peace and tranquility in our minds.   

So right now, sit in a way that elongates your spine and let’s your breath travel more freely.  As you free your breath you liberate your mind.  As the mind opens the heart opens.  You being to realize that you can choose to draw upon your own fortitude to free your heart from pain, to free your body from long held tension and to free yourself of unhealthy mindless habits (samskaras).  It is going to look different for everyone.  And it is a constant practice to remind ourselves that we alone are the most responsible in keeping the peace and joy within the democracy of self.  "You see the wider practice of yoga is not about arranging our life so that it is perfect and easy and non-challenging. Rather it is about using the discipline we find in asana practice to be able to remain “easy” in the midst of difficulty. That is the true measure of freedom. When we learn this then everything we do and everything we say becomes an “asana”, a position of body, mind and soul which requires the attention that brings us into the present."  I know what it’s like to feel imprisoned. I also can tell you I know what is it like to break free.  It’s not easy but I believe all of us can do it. So here I leave you with a final poem to inspire you to free yourself, love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

"May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart
...something good is going to happen to you.
May you find harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing that lies at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May you be set free from the prisons of guilt, fear, disappointment and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, 
mind you, and embrace you in belonging."    
-  John O'Donahoe

TODAY'S PLAYLIST:

Flow, Sade

Outta Control, 50 Cent

Xoxoxo, The Black Eyed Peas

Au Pays De Gandhi, MC Solaar

Groovejet (If This Ain't Love), Spiller

15 to 20 (Den Haan Remix), The Phenomenal Handclap Band

Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, KT Tunstall

Every Breath You Take, The Police

Lumière [MAIN], Blue Scholars

Revelation Dub, Kabanjak

Twin Blue, Millions & Millions

Shavasana/Deep Relaxation, Shiva Rea

2/18/2011   Tags:  freedom, jivamukti, choices, COURAGE, trapped, love, breath, hip hop yoga, democracy, strength, yoga sutras, Direct Link

SOFT ON THE OUTSIDE, STRONG ON THE INSIDE

February 11, 2011.  Here on Day 2 of blogging about love for 21 days in 2011 I guess I should explain why I am embracing the Year of the Rabbit.  I met someone.  And when you meet someone you really want to spend time with in one place then the quiet concept of "Love is Patient" takes on a whole new meaning.  My yoga on the mat has served to make me strong enough now so that I want to practice the Yoga of Home and Yoga of Relationship more than ever.  To me after the hardest pose of being ourselves then the next hardest yoga pose is making a relationship with another human being that is calm and content.  What the ancient yogis call Santosha.  Not the New Years Eve fireworks crazy amped up experience but the gentle force of kindness. "Love is Kind" in action. I recently did a cyber interview for Xinalani Resort where I'll be leading a yoga retreat February 26-March 5th.  Part of that interview is here: 

Xinalani: How did the two of you meet?

Jacob: We met on a train in Italy...yes, it was one of those romantic things you read about in books, and yes, we get asked every trip about it. Perhaps that is one of the incentives for coming on one of our trips?

Silvia: The way Jacob tells the story makes everyone cry every single time. It was exactly as Rumi writes, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” In that moment of meeting I was returning from a Yoga Retreat in Tuscany where I had found much healing and growth. I had ever more fully let go of the barriers to loving myself. I was truly awake and more openhearted than ever before.  And that is when Jacob found me.

Through this yogic practice I have been able to get stronger on the inside so I didn't feel like I had to maintain the walls and barriers up on the outside. As a result I got softer on the outside.  In that softness love felt more welcomed.  Although I hesitate I feel I should caution you a bit here: When you arrive at that place where you are willing to be open to grace and be more gentle outwardly you will get hurt.  Some will take advantage of you.  You might wonder so how many times has my heart been broken? Well, more than most.  But would I trade this letting go of barriers to have it any other way? No I would not.  Once you start the practice of yoga the process takes over and what you thought was important before evolves to a whole new level.  You put your energy on creating and deepening the poses of your life and away from holding back or closing off.  It is in that receptivity that the yoga of relationship love will find you as it did me.  So today sweat off the old hardness, knock down the walls and welcome LOVE! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

*Join me on a yoga retreat www.alchemytours.com

2/11/2011   Tags:  barriers, walls, open, receptive, romance, santosha, hardest yoga pose, yoga of love, patience, kindness, love, rumi, closing down, creating Direct Link

SILVIA YOGA PLAYLIST JANUARY 17, 2011

January 17, 2011.  Here is my playlist from class on MLK Day.  Focusing on freeing up our intentions as the best way to show gratitude for all those like MLK that sacrificed so much in order for us to do our hardest pose of all: be ourselves.  That is the ultimate freedom! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia www.silviamordini.com

PLAYLIST

Big Medicine, Mari Boine

Lumière [MAIN], Blue Scholars

Nungabunda, Ganga Giri

Grid Lok'd, Govindas

Just You & I, Dzihan & Kamien

Diarabi, Issa Bagayogo

Pitchblack Darkness (feat. Reazun, Paradox), Kyteman

One Moment More, Mindy Smith

Wonderwall, Ryan Adams

Wash Away, Joe Purdy

Child's Eyes (Jenny's Song), Scott Cossu

The Hill, Markéta Irglová

Samba Sadashiva, Donna De Lory

 

***Still time and room to join me in Puerto Vallarta Feb 26- Mar 5! www.alchemytours.com

1/17/2011   Tags:  yoga playlist, yoga music, vinyasa flow, vinyasa yoga, silvia mordini, hip hop yoga, freedom, alchemy tours, mexico yoga, yoga retreats Direct Link

WHY PRACTICE YOGA?

DECEMBER 4, 2010.  We have lots of new friends in yoga class which I'm totally stoked about! And one of the greatest things about new students is how they teach us to really think about Why we practice yoga?  Taking a step back lets just explain how cool it is that yoga is something we "practice".   We are not trying to conquer it or complete it or perfect the crap out of it, we just show up and practice. That's all.  And what is yoga really? Donna Farhi, Master yoga teacher and author says, “In its broadest sense yoga is a return to wholeness. There is an uncompromising belief in yoga philosophy that wholeness is our implicit birthright.  But most of us forget our wholeness, or in yogic terms we forget our true nature, and we live in a kind of illusion that we are alone."   

As a result we end up suffering from a kind of SPIRITUAL AMNESIA that makes us feel separate from our authentic selves, separate from others, separate from feeling better. Yoga is any practice that restores this original wholeness and sense of connection with the world.” And really the reason you practice or I practice is both the same and different. On the one hand we all practice yoga to feel better.  

And how we go about it is unique and special to each of us.  It could be we practice today for physical reasons (to lose 10 pounds), to relieve physical pain, to alleviate mental stress, to process our emotions or even to practice being more spiritual.  All reasons are welcomed and all are good.  Yoga is exactly what you need it to be for you.  It's like taking a field trip to the ocean and we will all focus on one aspect more than another (the sun, the heat, the sand, the sound, the smell, the water).

My all time favorite definition of yoga that I take on as my own as well is by David Frawley, Yoga and Ayurveda:

“Yoga is one of the most extraordinary spiritual sciences that mankind has discovered.  It is like a gem of great proportions, containing many facets whose light can illume the whole of our lives with great meaning. Yogic methods cover the entire field of our existence – from the physical, sensory, emotional, mental, and spiritual to the highest Self-realization.  It includes all methods of higher evolution in humanity – physical postures, ethical postures, breath control, sensory methods, affirmations and visualizations, prayer and mantra, and complex meditative disciplines.  Yoga understands the nature and interrelationships of the physical, subtle and formless universes into the boundless infinite beyond time and space, and shows us how these also exist within each human individual.” 

So why you show up to practice is yours to cherish and my hope is that by the end of class everyone feels better.  That the yoga works to helps us all feel more comfortable being ourselves.  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

 

Join me on a spiritual adventure www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com

12/4/2010   Tags:  spiritual amnesia, wholeness, why yoga, what is yoga, spiritual science, comfortable, self-love, alchemy tours, Direct Link

ACUPUNCTURE DISCOUNTS UPDATES FROM WILD LAVENDER

Dear TBY Students,

It is the Season of Giving!! Bring in 10 cans of food and/or non perishable items and receive $20 off your acupuncture treatment. Bring in 20 or more and receive 50% off!! This offer is good once per month for both November and December. All donations will be given to the Freemont Township Food Bank. 

It is also time to sign up for the CSA/Simply Wisconsin Food Share summer session.  The earlier you sign up, the more discounts you will receive. Plus, if you sign up before December 15 you will be able to pick the meat you want in your monthly boxes.  I have heard nothing but great feedback from the members who are participating in the winter session.  Take good care of yourself by eating organic and local; take great care of the community by supporting the local farmers!

Acupuncture Happy Hour will soon be replaced by something even better.  Starting in January, Wild Lavender will do Community Acupuncture once a month. Community Acupuncture is similar to Happy Hour.  Each individual wanting a treatment will sign up for one 15 minute session and then have up to 20 needles placed in them.  In order to accommodate multiple individuals in each 15 minute window, you will share a treatment room with others.  This type of treatment allows more people to afford treatments. It also helps those who are nervous about receiving acupuncture and those who have time constraints. In essence, this allows more of the community to receive acupuncture. A whole body/ear acupuncture treatment will cost $35 and an only-ear treatment will be $25.  There will be an additional $20 fee for first time patients for intake and diagnosis.  A treatment will be given free to those returning patients who bring in new patients.  

I want to thank Silvia and the rest of Total Body Yoga for making my first year there an amazing one!! 

Please don't forget you will receive $20 off your next acupuncture treatment for each of your referrals I treat. 

Peace,

Carrie Wilhelm, Wild Lavender

Call 224-280-6228 or email: carrie@wildlavenderclinic.com 

 

 

12/3/2010   Tags:  acupuncture, wild lavender, carrie wilhelm, community acupuncture, gratitude Direct Link

WHAT DO YOU SAY YES TO?

NOVEMBER 20, 2010.  What do you say YES to?  Are you conscious and alert to your Yes choices?  Do you say Yes more than you say No?  Or do you just pick the stuff that is the most convenient?   

We are in many ways organisms of convenience so what Pema Chodran writes hits home, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience.  From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth, when discovery and exploration and curiosity become your path – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.” 

"There is only one way to learn," the alchemist answered. "It's through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey." (The Alchemist To Santiago.)  In Tantric philosophy we start with "yes".  It is our first response.  We say yes to opening, softening, receiving and...

YES IS DOING!

Take to heart this blessing: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Wayne Gretzky is so right on.  Doing something is the Yes. And when you decide you are clear on what you say YES to, then everything is there to support you.  It is as is written in the Alchemist "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."  At the end of the day what you say YES to isn't even as important as just doing something, saying YES is your commitment to living the moment full blast!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia 

Join me on retreat www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com

12/1/2010   Tags:  yes, doing, tapas, action, livin the moment, fullness, alchemist, www. trust, inconvenience, effort, opening, receiving Direct Link

THE CRUCIAL STEP BY GUEST BLOGGER LAURA MILLS

I unrolled my mat and made sure the music I wanted was ready to go. Greatly anticipated, it was to be a quiet hour of yoga with a friend at my home, and thus I took great care in creating the perfect atmosphere and space. As I waited for my friend to arrive, I sat down with a jotted sequence of poses; reading over it, somewhere between Tadasana and Uttanasana the words "I love yoga" floated through my mind. I paused, struck by the words' abrupt appearance, their simplicity, and the fact that my thinking them didn't surprise me at all.

  Indeed, as my practice has deepened, but most especially in the last six months as I've embraced the role of yoga teacher, such incidents have occurred more and more often--not always in the form of an unbidden thought, but definitely in a way that integrates seamlessly with the flow of the moment. One evening, for example, while mentally reviewing a class I was to teach the next day, I found myself suddenly up on my feet, moving from Virabhadrasana I to Humble Warrior to Virabhadrasana I to Plank...with joy, I had sprung out of my chair and into the sequence. With nothing in my mind except the love of the practice, my body had just started flowing.

  And this tendency, for lack of a better description, hasn't restricted itself to acute incidents, either, but sometimes occurs in the form of a new pattern. One of them I notice during my early-morning home practices.... Without fail, every practice, my body and mind fight the 5:30 am clock chime, the first glow of candlelight and hint of incense, the extra effort coupled with the creaks and cracks of those initial stretches. But by the end of the first wave, my body and mind pulse with peace, content with the flow and happy in the practice. And by the end of the 60 or 75 minutes, I don't want to stop.

  Another new pattern occurs each evening, when I attempt to fall asleep. Whereas I used to try to take deep breaths while I replayed the day's events and convinced myself not to let anything bother me, now I settle myself by releasing one long, deep exhale and opening myself to a rush of gratitude. No matter what occurred during the day, I truly believe I am blessed with the privilege of just breathing, of having had another day to live...no mater what. The day's events, whatever they were, don't matter nearly as much.

  I definitely didn't feel this way before.

  When I first started practicing yoga, it was something I set out to do on a regular schedule--go to class, then go home, then pick up the day where I left off. And though I enjoyed yoga from the beginning, knowing I did something so, so good for me in so, so many ways, with time I began to actually feel yoga: the unbidden thoughts, the joy in the practice, the peace in knowing I am, as yoga teaches, only a small part of something much greater. Feeling yoga like this is what, for me, especially since I began teaching, has distinguished between yoga as a hobby and yoga as a defining quality of who I am. And significantly, because of the yoga I love so much, little by little I've learned to love myself so much better. I hope that now, in the role of yoga teacher, I might inspire others to learn the same for themselves.

  May you feel your yoga, too...  Laura 

11/1/2010   Tags:  Laura Mills, love of the practice, beginning yoga teacher, home practice, patterns, gratitude, feeling yoga, loving yourself Direct Link

BEINGNESS

OCTOBER 22, 2010.

A quick summary of the highlights about Pushing and Pulling, Dvesa and Raga.  Take to heart the words of Judith Lasater who writes, “in life we are pulled between trying to get what you want and trying to avoid what you don’t want.  Pulling and Pushing away both limit our freedom.”  What is freedom? To me is about learning to BE. The aspiration is towards beingness.

Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 7

Excessive fondness for pleasant experiences causes longing.  Attachment (Raga) which is PULLING

Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 8

Excessive avoidance of unpleasant experiences causes disdain.  Aversion (Dvesa) which is PUSHING

 

On and off the mat we can be aware of what we are thinking:

Where are your thoughts PUSH energy.  Push thoughts are things like “I don’t want to hold this pose, I don’t want to try this new or difficult variation”.

Where are your thoughts PULL energy.  And pull thoughts might be things like “I want another Sun Salutation, I should be able to do 35 vinyasas per class no matter what. Bring on side 2, I'll take it on.”

And the way this travels with you into your life is how you treat your family, your friends, you partner.

Every time you push your partner, he or she must pull back, and the pressure is now on them to not only react to your pushing, but to do so with accuracy, without overcompensating for the initial push, in order to come back into balance. Think if you just stopped pushing or pulling at your partner how the beingness would be so much easier.

Peace out, Silvia

10/22/2010   Tags:  being, aversion, attachment, yoga sutras, relationship yoga, freedom, pushing, pulling, dvesa, raga Direct Link

BREATH ACCEPTS YOUR IMPERFECTION

OCTOBER 14, 2010.  The breath accepts us unconditionally. It is always all forgiving and accepting.  Think about it, we ignore our breath, treat it with total disregard, prevent it from entering our body by holding our breath out when stressed, we behave casually towards it making little to no commitment.  If we were a lover and the breath was our boyfriend, he'd leave us!  

But not our breath. It lovingly accepts our human imperfection and gives us another chance, and another, and a million and more.  There is a lesson here: when we breath we have another chance to try our best, We are not practicing to be perfect.  We are practicing to make real, to realize the beauty of our humanness.  Yoga philosophy helps us to see that we are perfectly imperfect.  Eventually the more you practice becoming enamored with your breath you allow it to become your best teacher.  And a shift happens.

As the breath accepts you, you start to accept yourself.  Then as you practice this advanced yoga of self-acceptance you become more compassionate and forgiving of others, just as you are towards yourself.  If you love yourself, you know how to love others unconditionally.  And even when other people in your life make mistakes, you appreciate their imperfections and give them a second, third, millionth chance.  

 "You see the wider practice of yoga is not about arranging our life so that it is perfect and easy and non-challenging. Rather it is about using the discipline we find in asana practice (and in the other practices of yoga as well) to be able to remain “easy” in the midst of difficulty. That is the true measure of freedom. When we learn this then everything we do and everything we say becomes an “asana”, a position of body, mind and soul which requires the attention that brings us into the present." And in that present moment there is perfect presence.

Practice breathing on purpose today.  But pranayama is not about belittling the breath or forcing or making it perfect.  The literal translation is below.  And it doesn't say anything about perfect.  It says conscious, deliberate. So we try.

Tasmin sati svasa prasvasaho gati-viccheda pranayama

Pranayama is the conscious, deliberate regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath replacing unconscious patterns of breathing. It is possible only after a reasonable mastery of asana practice.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.49

Our key breath learning in this practice was about chest breathing.  I have included a quick summary for you below.  The greater take away is how the breath accepts your imperfections, it knows you will forget and will welcome you back to try and in that trying may you be PRESENT.  Love yourself, Love your day, Love your life!  Silvia

 

CHEST BREATHING
This is probably the most common breathing pattern in today's stress-filled society. Also known as paradoxical breathing, it is a natural reflex when we are suddenly startled or frightened. We gasp, pull the abdomen in and breathe high into the chest. The lift of the abdomen and pelvic floor prevents the diaphragm from descending completely as we inhale. Chest breathers restrict breath movement in the abdomen, forcing it higher up into the chest, while shoulders move up and down.

Effect on mind/body
Chest breathers rely on weak upper body muscles. Thereby developing chronic tension in thoracic spine, shoulders and neck. Moreover, this tension is resistant to massage or any other relaxation therapy as it recapitulates the moment the person resumes chest breathing, which is an incredible 22,000 times a day! Since we can't breathe in fully, we can't breathe out fully also. So we resort to breathing more quickly to make up for lack of oxygen. Scarier still is the fact that it sets the stage for an even more serious breathing problem: hyperventilation. Chest breathers normally sit on the edge of their seats and exude anticipation in their entire bearing. They never seem to have enough time to do all the tasks they set out on and often experience a chronic, free-floating state of anxiety. Scientific evidence now points to the connection between chest breathing, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Identify it
Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Observe the movement of both. If both your shoulders and chest are rising, you are probably not a chest breather. A chest breather suppresses breath in the lower abdomen, forcing it to move higher up into the body.

How to let go
Relax your shoulders and upper back. Consciously follow normal breathing pattern. Mentally assess yourself without judgement.  Ground yourself in the present.

(If you want to explore deeper learnings join me on retreat, yoga vacation www.silviamordini.com or www.alchemytours.com)

10/14/2010   Tags:  BREATH, acceptance, forgiveness, alchemy tours, silvia mordini, love, stress, present moment, perfect, compassion, yoga sutras, unconditional, Direct Link

SENSE OF ADVENTURE INTO EVERY MOMENT BY GUEST BLOGGER CHRISTINE STOCK

Namaste Yogis, 

I am back from Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon  with a new spark to live life to the fullest, and to bring a sense of adventure into every moment. Adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open heart & open mind.  It's the ability to take a leap into the unknown with mindfulness and grace.  It's the ability to think big about who you are, how you live, and what you can do in the world, whether it's  climbing to the ridge of the Grand Canyon, putting all your $ on red, or flowing through asanas. Please come on an adventure with me tomorrow at 9:15 am.  I will have a new playlist from The Beatles  to Barry Manilow :)

Life is uncertain! Being adventurous means seeing that uncertainty as the gift of possibility!

Peace & Namaste,

Christine

*Don't forget this month refer a friend and they get 30 days unlimited yoga for $30!! And you get entered to win 2 FREE months of yoga

10/4/2010   Tags:  christine stock, adventure, moment, commitment, mindfulness, possibility, yoga music, vinyasa flow, grace Direct Link

FREE YOUR MIND MAKE YOUR HEART A DIAMOND

SEPTEMBER 24, 2010.  As we began class on our backs, breathing, quieting and just coming to be present I offered the story of the lotus blossom and how it grows in murky, dark, hard-to-grow waters, and has to reach for the light and rise above challenges in order to grow.  WE are the lotus blossom; always reaching and rising through the difficulties and challenges of our lives to get to the light, which is our true happiness.  

And the driver of what moves us in spite of the challenges to grow towards the light is our hearts. But our hearts get dirtied up with all our mental clutter.  On Friday's it seems to often be at its worst.  Our minds are just overly polluted with the worries of the week.  So to practice on Friday gives us that opportunity to free our minds and clean the clutter.

When you think about it our hearts are like a diamond, and the light is happiness, shining through the diamond/our hearts.  The diamond is like our own potential, multi-faceted, shiny, so the light shines through it.    And just like a diamond, this practice is meant to restore our real brilliance. The diamond equals our happiness, and if we can get clean the polluted mind light can shine through us, just like a diamond.   So today, give your heart a break and allow it to let go of whatever you are facing for even just a little bit.  Restore your brilliance and the clarity you need to make better decisions will be revealed!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

PS If you feel like you need more time to devote to cleaning the  mental clutter then join me in Moab November 4-7, 2010 or in 2011 on a Yoga retreat in Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Italy and more! Like Alchemy Tours to keep up to date on great trips!

9/24/2010   Tags:  happiness, lotus blossom, adversity, diamond, heart, alchemy tours, moab yoga, yoga and mountain biking, Direct Link

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A YOGA STUDENT ADHIKARA BABY!

SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

Super Duper Namaste,

During the month of August I devoted myself to Adhikira.  Adhikara translates as studentship. So this means I made a full-hearted effort to be a student of yoga.  Martha McQuid says, “In Sanskrit, adhikara refers to being spiritually open, or ready, for spiritual study (in Sanskrit, Sadhana). It also implies a level of ownership and willingness to take responsibility, as well as dedication, for the subject that is being studied.  (*More on adhikara below)

During that month I explored a wide variety of studios and tried over 20 teachers!  I know we say that yoga is non-comparative, that on the mat we don’t compare ourselves to others, but how do we know without trying different teachers what we like a little bit better or what suits our tastes or personality. The point is to keep trying and give everyone a shot. Being a student of yoga means that you are open, dedicated and willing to try other teachers.  It doesn’t mean that everyone’s style or personality is going to suit you. You might find some teachers more to your liking. But don’t stop trying, don’t refuse to have the pleasure of learning from someone new.

That’s the most important part. To be a student of yoga means to embrace everyone and be open to the holistic experience of what is possible.  And to me it also means that each of us as students is responsible for making that class the best one of our lives!  Being a great student of yoga is co-creating right along with your teacher the most delicious alchemy where we become yoga (yoked, in union).  It is then when we are living our Namaste: the light of what is good in me sees and celebrates the light and goodness in you, and together we celebrate the beauty and love that exists within us and outside us!  From my heart thank you to all the teachers at TBY that subbed for me, and special maholo, love and respect to all the students at TBY who opened their hearts to new teachers.  I NAMASTE YOU!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

 

*ADHIKARA CONTINUED  “Thus, a student that is brand new to yoga wouldn’t begin a practice in an advanced level class, despite excellent physical conditioning, or a background in dance or gymnastics. There is a linear rhythm to learning anything - music, mathematics, language. We always begin with simple ideas and then move forward into the complex. For example, when you learn a musical instrument, you don’t start by trying to play a Mozart concerto. We begin by learning the notes and where they fall in the musical staff, then fingerings, then scales, then simple tunes and over time with dedicated practice, Mozart! A newer student who pushes too hard can get an overload of this energy and not understand it or be able to contain it. In order to prepare the body to receive this energy, we take a methodical approach to practice. In yoga philosophy, this idea is supported in The Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali 1:14 which is translated as ‘steady practice over a long period of time.”  Now apply this to a new yoga instructor.  They are trying their best, and the only way they can get better is if you allow them to practice and grow. I promise you they will exceed your expectations if you just give them even just a little while to evolve. 

 

9/16/2010   Tags:  adhikara, studentship, yoga student, comparing, trying, yoga teachers, yoga, learning, practice, sadhana, silvia mordini, namaste, Direct Link

DOES YOGA MAKE YOU SEXY?

SEPTEMBER 11, 2010 NEWSLETTER

Salutations Friends on the Path!

This week the hot yoga topic in some circles has been about the marketing of yoga to make you slim and sexy. My first concern as a yoga instructor is not so much about sexiness as it is teaching folks that yoga is really about the Science of Happiness. I know that with consistent, regular practice you will reconnect with what you're feeling, learn healthy stress-reducing techniques (like breathing on purpose), appreciate your life more and generally engage the world in a kinder way. 

As yoga teacher Donna Farhi says, "What the world needs are kinder, more compassionate, generous people." The time on the mat is our opportunity to cleanse the mind of all its distractions that make us less attractive.  And as I often say in class, the biggest obstacle to a happier life is our own busy mind, and yoga is for the mind (which we access through the vehicle of the body). 

Does yoga make you sexy?  Well I guess so.  When we are feeling peaceful and centered our faces do look prettier.  And when we are kinder and move more fluidly we are more attractive.  And the yoga does slow us down to make more heartfelt connections to other people. So if you come to yoga for the mental or physical reasons it doesn't matter you are a complete package as a human being and you will receive ALL the benefits: happiness, sexiness, calm.  And most importantly you will naturally engage more unconditional love into your life!  So love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia   

PS Don't forget sign up now for Moab Nov 4-7th, get $500 OFF and next person who registers gets FREE Private with me1

9/11/2010   Tags:  happiness, kindness, compassion, love, yoga and mountain biking, yoga retreats, donna farhi, mindfulness, sexy yoga, attraction, calm, peace, moab yoga Direct Link

OVERCOMING FEAR WITH DAVID ROMANELLI

Super Duper Namaste! I hope you can join me October 2 and 3 for some wonderful inspiration from my friend David Romanelli, author, yogi, all around good guy.  He brings new topics and chocolate.  What's not to like. Can't wait to see you next to me in class.  Peace! Silvia

Yoga for Overcoming Fear (with special guests: chocolate by Vosges, and tunes by Sinatra) 

"Think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived." -- Anna Quindlen 

Would you rather 100 bland bites of mediocre chocolate or 1 deliciously amazing bite of an exotic truffle? Would you rather live for 80 years of so-so happiness or 57 years of ecstatic joy? Would you rather 10 so-so Savasanas or 1 deep, yummy, soul-scintillating Savasana that stays with you for weeks to come? This workshop will encourage you to stop stroking yourself with promises about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Pack all of your flavor and all of your love into one tiny little moment. This one. As goes the Chinese proverb, "Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think." David's vinyasa flow yoga class set to great music (from Sinatra to Sublime) will be followed by a tasting of exotic Vosges Haut-Chocolat truffles. You will finish meditating on the gentle reminder: life is short...we best slow down and savor it. 

Pre-registration is required by email help@totalbodyyoga.com or call 847-266-9642 (YOGA) 

TIME: 4:30 - 6:30pm

COST: $40 

9/10/2010   Tags:  david romanelli, yoga and chocolate, vosges, vinyasa yoga, yoga workshops, fear, total body yoga Direct Link

PLEASE SUPPORT MY INTENTIONS TO MAKE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

Super Namaste!

Happy National Yoga Month! What a perfect time as we head into Fall and re-establish healthy routines of school, work, family and daily yoga to recommit ourselves to living our best lives ever.

So to celebrate guess what I‚m doing?  You guessed right! I'm doing a whole lot of yoga. And great news is that at TBY we have more classes and more awesome events than ever before!

Here's my personal yoga schedule of fun yoga stuff I am signed up for and hope we can enjoy together (PS I need a partner for partner yoga if you‚re thinking of coming but wondered if you should come on your own)

 9/11/2010      (Saturday)    2:00PM   Healing Crystal Bowls Concert

9/17/2010 (Friday)           6:30 PM      Eat, Pray, Love Workshop

9/18/2010 (Saturday)      2:00 PM      Partner Yoga Workshop

9/19/2010 (Sunday)        6:30 PM      The LifeLine Technique

9/25/2010 (Saturday)      2:00 PM      Yoga For Runners

10/2/2010 (Saturday)      1:00 PM      Teaching Yoga to Kids

10/2/2010 (Saturday)      4:30 PM      David Romanelli Yoga for Overcoming Fear

10/2/2010 (Saturday)      11:00 AM   Mommy and Baby Yoga

10/3/2010 (Sunday)        12:15 PM   David Romanelli Yoga for Social Network Slaves

10/25/10   (Sunday)                         Tuscany Yoga & Cycling Retreat

11/4/2010 (Thursday)                       Moab Yoga & Mountain Biking Adventure

And of course I am gearing up for Teacher Training starting October 13th! And the more Yoga I do the more clear I become on what my intentions are for the Best Life ever. A fundamental intention I am rededicating myself to this Fall is participating more directly in making the world a better place.  As such I am donating part of the proceeds from all my classes this week to an event I am participating in virtually, Bike MS, sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They remind me that it takes only 1 person to inspire hundreds!

Every hour of every day, someone hears the words "you have multiple sclerosis." So for many personal reasons this is something very close to my heart.  And my Team Mile'n for Myelin is working hard to meet our fund raising goals so no one else ever has to hear the words, "You have MS." If you'd like to donate $5 to me directly please visit here http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/WASBikeEvents?px=8721783&pg=personal&fr_id=13100

This Fall as you set up your intentions as part of your Spiritual Routine (lose weight, sleep better, decrease stress, exercise more, be more patient, gossip less, love more) I encourage you to think about being more involved with your community because to me the most important thing you can collect at TBY is friends, not poses. Please take a moment to check out all the great stuff we are offering to help you connect with yourself and with others. May this earth be blessed with your peaceful contribution!  With lovingkindess, Silvia  

9/7/2010   Tags:  yoga, yoga newsletter, routine, intention, Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS, Bike MS, community, manifestation, mile'n for myelin, silvia mordini, yoga workshops, Direct Link

POWER OF WORDS

AUGUST 12, 2010.  I have a full library of books on communication.  As a love anthropologist I am fascinated by why people use certain words versus others to convey the same thing.  And this interest in words has grown ever more engaging as face to face communication has decreased.  And quite frankly my desire to understand has increased as I receive really harsh sometimes downright mean emails on an almost daily basis.  The proverbial "why" is there lingering in the background.(as in "why would someone say that and be so nasty for no reason?")

What I have realized through yogic and spiritual awakefulness is that much of what is behind the angry words chosen is a disconnect to their impact.  I believe that when someone is intentionally hurtful in words they are not completely in tune with the long term impact of what that energy does to the world.

"If we are unconscious of the power of words, we run the risk of creating a noisy disturbance."  - Unknown Author

Getting on the mat makes us more mindful of what we think, say and do.  And when what we are thinking is in alignment with our actions we are in a state of natural happiness.  So today, before you send an email reread it, take a lap, pause and be awake to what you are saying and how you are saying it.  Yup the concern is whether this will take up more time?  YES it will. But that extra 60 seconds will change the world.  And its up to you.

Love yourself, love your day, love your ilfe!  Silvia

8/12/2010   Tags:  communication, words, language, change, mindfulness, yoga, happiness Direct Link

FREEDOM JIVAMUKTI

Today I meditate on this poem about Freedom. In yogic terms known as Jivamukti.  For whatever reason or reasons you feel trapped in your life know you have a choice to free your mind and heart.  It is always there.  Wishing you courage to choose wisely.  Love and peace, Silvia

"May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart
...something good is going to happen to you.
May you find harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing that lies at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May you be set free from the prisons of guilt, fear, disappointment and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, 
mind you, and embrace you in belonging."    
-  John O'Donahoe

8/7/2010   Tags:  freedom, jivamukti, choices Direct Link

THE JOY OF BEING A STUDENT OF YOGA

"Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new." -- OG MANDINO


AUGUST 3RD, 2010  This practice of yoga has taught me above all else how to be a better Student of Life.  No matter how you might judge me as a "yoga teacher" or "life coach" I can honestly say that my best skill set is of being an amazing student.

I AM TEACHABLE.

I never for a moment assume I know too much. Actually ever year of this practice I learn more and realize how little I actually understand. My time on the mat reminds me to stay thirsty for knowledge.  It inspires me to get off my mat and apply this "TEACHABILITY" off the mat.  And I do.  Of course not without some lifted eye brows and sometimes harsh criticism from some folks.  

I take great honor in saying every year I take time off from teaching and go to study with my teachers.  I sit in the SEAT OF THE STUDENT an open vessel soaking in the open hearted wisdom of my teacher.  This last week has been an amazing experience studying Vinyasa Yoga with a great teacher of yoga and life.

I have been inspired, and challenged and prodded and supported in new ways.  I want to say thank you first to all those that would judge me for making time for myself to be a student.  You too have been some of my greatest teachers. For without your friction I would not have had to dig deep to still do what I knew was best for me.  And to all my students, friends, clients who have kindly supported me every year to keep learning I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my root chakra when it would get shaken and I'd wonder should I make time for me or not?  

There are wisdom teachers everywhere and as Students of Life the point is to be open to seeing the teachings that surround us every day of our lives both formally and informally.  Sometimes our most difficult teachers are our best teachers.  And that's ok: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral.  It's all good.

And finally what I hope everyone learns no matter your opinion is to step outside your comfort zone and KEEP LEARNING. Do not atrophy.  REMAIN TEACHABLE.  

Teachabiilty and being lovable are intimately linked as sweethearts.

May you all find the courage to expand your knowledge!  With compassion and peace to you all, Silvia

PS - Join me for my certified yoga teacher training program starting October 15th, 2010 at total body yoga

8/4/2010   Tags:  student, teacher, yoga teacher, teachable, teacher training, teachability, courage, knowledge, Student of Life, living your yoga, wisdom teachers, learning Direct Link

PLAN YOUR YOGA AUGUST THRU DECEMBER 2010

SAVE THESE DATES FOR UPCOMING FUN AT TBY!

Call 847 266 9642 or help@totalbodyyoga.com to register

 

Date-Time-Event

7/28/2010 (Wednesday)-5:30 PM-Third Eye Threads Trunk Show

7/31/2010 (Saturday)-11:00 AM-Reiki I - Learn to Heal Yourself

8/9/2010 (Monday)-Morning-Kids Yoga Camp with Mary Scudella

8/13/2010 (Friday)-7:15 PM-Hula Hoop Dance, Yoga, Fun!

8/14/2010 (Saturday)-11:00 AM-Reiki I - Learn to Heal Yourself

9/4/2010 (Saturday)-12:30 PM-Mommy and Baby Yoga with Rachel Dewan

9/11/2010 (Saturday)-2:00 PM-Yoga For Runners with Rachel Dewan

9/12/2010 (Sunday)-2:00 PM-TBY Intro Workshop with Mara Campbell

9/17/2010 (Friday)-6:30 PM-Eat, Pray, Love Workshop with Sandra Coyner

9/18/2010 (Saturday)-2:00 PM-Partner Yoga Workshop with Liz Leffert

9/25/2010 (Saturday)-2:00 PM-Anusara Yoga 101 with Mara Campbell

10/2/2010 (Saturday)-4:30 PM-David Romanelli Yoga, Miracles and WINE

10/2/2010 (Saturday)-12:30 PM-Mommy and Baby Yoga with Rachel Dewan

10/2/2010 (Saturday)-1:00 PM-Teaching Yoga to Kids with Mary Scudella

10/3/2010 (Sunday)-12:15 PM-David Romanelli Chocolate Covered Happiness

10/17/2010 (Sunday)-2:00 PM-Family Yoga with Mary Scudella

10/24/2010 (Sunday)-7:00 AM-TUSCANY YOGA & CULTURAL RETREAT

10/24/2010 (Sunday)-2:00 PM-Yoga for Skiers and Snowboarders with Kendra Charts

11/4/2010 (Thursday)-12:00 PM-Moab Yoga, Hiking and Mountain Biking Retreat

11/6/2010 (Saturday)-12:30 PM-Mommy and Baby Yoga with Rachel Dewan

11/13/2010 (Saturday)-12:00 PM-Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Rachel Dewan

11/14/2010 (Sunday)-12:00 PM-Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Rachel Dewan

12/4/2010 (Saturday)-2:00 PM-Pranayama (Breathing) and Meditation Workshop

12/9/2010 (Thursday)-9:00 AM-Colorado Skiing, Snowboarding, Yoga Retreat

SEE DETAILS AT WWW.TOTALBODYYOGA.COM/SPECIAL-EVENTS.ASP

7/28/2010   Tags:  kids yoga, italy yoga, yoga retreats, david romanelli, prenatal yoga, yoga vacations, partner yoga, reiki, Direct Link

WHAT YOGA BOOKS SHOULD I READ?

JULY 17, 2010:  I get asked all the time what books I recommend for students of yoga. Well the list I personally suggest is as follows:

Yoga History: 
1. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,Swami Satchitananda or Secret Power of Yoga, Nichala Joy Devi (ALL TIME FAVE!)
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Practice: 
2. Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Eric Schiffman 
3. Jivamukti By Shannon Gannon and David Life 
4. Yoga for Wellness, Gary Kraftsow, Penquin, 1999 
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Professional Ethics/Connecting the Heart of the Student: 
5. Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship, Donna Farhi
6. Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual, John Friend 
7. Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, Judith Lasater 
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Anatomy/Physiology: 
8. Anatomy of Movement, Blandine Calais-Germain 
9. The Anatomy Coloring Book - Kapit & Elson 
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Pranayama and Breath: 
10. The Heart of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice, Desikachar
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Recommended Books: 
Yogi Bare by Philip Self 
The Language of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman (to learn how to pronounce stuff)
Yoga from the Inside Out by Christina Sell 
A Path With Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life & Wherever You Go There You Are by Jack Kornfield
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7/17/2010   Tags:  yoga, yoga books, living your yoga, teacher training, yoga history, pranayama, yoga anatomy, Direct Link

JULY PROMOTIONS AND SPECIAL DEALS

JULY PROMOTIONS:
Buy 1 month unlimited $80!!
36% OFF, SAVE $45! Must buy by July 31st, Good for 30 days!
Alchemy Tours on Facebook "Like Us" by 7/31 to enter to win $200 Gift Certificate (Good on any retreat in 2010!)

SUPER DUPER NAMASTE!
We are having a heat wave, gosh when we devoted the month of May to stoking the fire of designing our Best Lives Ever who knew it would create so much heat you guys!  Well, I love it. 

Keep doing the yoga on the mat so you can explore and experiment with how transportable yoga is off the mat. Quite frankly that's why I love to go on retreat. I get to see first hand how the courage, freedom, guts we cultivate on that mat impacts every other area of our lives.  I see YOU changing every time you come to class from beginning to end. I see the miracle of YOU realizing how powerful you really are in living the life of your dreams. 
And because of YOU everyday I am inspired to keep dreaming even bigger for myself and for the world.  With immense gratitude and love, Silvia



PS Thank you everybody for voting us Best Yoga Studio as part of Mindful Metropolis 2010 Readers Choice.

7/9/2010   Tags:  yoga, alchemy tours, mindful metropolis, promotions, yoga retreats Direct Link

PERSISTENCE AND PERSEVERANCE

JUNE 9, 2010:  Today is our birthday!  Good gosh when I started the studio 8 years ago the question I got asked for 2 years straight was “why would I leave a comfortable job in the corporate where I was overpaid to start a yoga studio?”  Most folks didn’t think it made sense.  And at the time I thought that was challenging but then as the years progressed I have come to realize the beginning of things is not the hardest part at all.  The most challenging part of our human experience is the spiritual practice of SUSTAINING.  To keep the fire stoked and burning bright, to stay inspired despite the challenges and ups and downs.  Essentially the hardest part of maturing spiritually is to remain persistent in order to persevere no matter what.

To be honest I didn’t leave Total Body Yoga for 7 years.  I taught every single holiday. We are open 364 days per year. I stayed with it from the first moment I woke up each day or as Robert Frost wrote, “First thing I do in the morning is make up my bed, then I make up my mind.” I made up my mind to keep the studio going and teach my heart out whether there was one student in class (lots and lots of those classes!) or if there were 5 or 10 or 25.  I refused to be bullied by my own fears. 

 

Have I ever wanted to give up?  Yes, yes, and yes.  So many times I lost count.  But the point is I didn’t give up.

 

The way of sustaining a determined effort is not to isolate or contract or give in to fear but to maintain a quiet courage, open up to the goodness that is the universe and trust each day to expect the best.  All of this is ON PURPOSE.  Persistence and Perseverance are ACTIVE.  Love is active.

During class we come in with our minds a mess rumpled up and scattered and its hard to stay with something in that state of being, so we breath ON PURPOSE and through conscious breathing (and a sustained interest in our breath) we cleanse our minds and make ourselves stronger.  We leave the practice knowing now again We Can Persevere. We can not only survive but we can thrive!  Our I CAN is way more important than our IQ.

STEP 1:  Determine what is important

So what is it in your life that really matters to you? What will it take to remain interested in that intention and not fall away from it no matter what? Not matter what other people say to you or judge you?

STEP 2:  Stay with it

It’s easy to forget what is important. We get busy. So find a practice like yoga that helps you remember. And when the momentum is lacking then put your whole heart into it even more. Do not hesitate.  You don’t get to do this life over again. This is it.

Please renew your commitment to your best life.  Way too often we give up in our heads way too soon.  We allow our self doubt to steal our energy or let our fears hold us hostage.  But today is different.  We know we can believe in the impossibility of things, we know we can do anything!  If we just stay with it.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

6/9/2010   Tags:  PERSISTENCE, PERSEVERANCE, determination, sustaining, robert frost, commitment, fear Direct Link

IS YOGA SPIRITUAL

May 18, 2010, I have this conversation with someone or many folks quite frankly every week without fail.  Is Yoga Spiritual?  And the first thing I do when I receive this question is ask (as I am doing here with you), What does it mean to you to be Spiritual?

What yoga is and what it isn’t is often hotly debated.  My best friend just sent me a link to a movie called Yoga, Inc which also includes this topic.  Our 6th chakra Ajna sensibility is really about perception. The encyclopedia of events in your life influence how you define the circumstances and attitudes of your life.  To me the key point is that you get to decide what your thoughts are and you are responsible for managing your view of your life.  It’s that old saying:

“Watch your thoughts for they become words

Watch your words for they become actions

Watch your actions for they become habits

Watch your habits for they become character

Watch your character for it becomes your destiny!”

 

My all time favorite definition of yoga that I take on as my own as well is by David Frawley, Yoga and Ayurveda:

“Yoga is one of the most extraordinary spiritual sciences that mankind has discovered.  It is like a gem of great proportions, containing many facets whose light can illume the whole of our lives with great meaning. Yogic methods cover the entire field of our existence – from the physical, sensory, emotional, mental, and spiritual to the highest Self-realization.  It includes all methods of higher evolution in humanity – physical postures, ethical postures, breath control, sensory methods, affirmations and visualizations, prayer and mantra, and complex meditative disciplines.  Yoga understands the nature and interrelationships of the physical, subtle and formless universes into the boundless infinite beyond time and space, and shows us how these also exist within each human individual.” 

So I guess there you have it. You now know for sure I believe this is a spiritual practice, or at least it is for me, and can be for you if you want to make it such.  And if you don’t believe yoga is spiritual you gain all these amazing benefits anyway.  So I say, let everyone do their own yoga. And if it makes us all nicer and kinder than regardless of anything more, we have succeeded in making the world a better place right now.  Love to you all, Silvia

5/18/2010   Tags:  spiritual, self-study, freedom, ayurveda, yoga, practice, what is yoga, destiny Direct Link

LOVE IS YOGIC: GUEST BLOGGER FROM ELEPHANT JOURNAL

Love Is Yogic

By Dylan Barmmer on May 7, 2010

I have always been deeply and madly in love with Love.

I was named after a romantic poet. I was raised by a would-be Priest and heart-on-his-hairy-sleeve hero of a father. I started falling in love with girls when most boys were pulling their pigtails and screaming about “Cooties”. I listened and felt and sometimes cried to The Cure, The Smiths, REM and U2. I thought John Lennon was the baddest rebel lover ever – even if my Catholic Programming suggested I should condemn him for “imagining there’s no Heaven.”

An ex-girlfriend of nearly four years even told me I was too in love with Love – after insisting to her other lover and I that we had never made love. But that’s Another Story for Another Day (!).

I’m listening to Enigma while writing this. And chatting with a friend about the beauty of Unconditional Love. And hoping and dreaming I catch a good case of The Cooties soon.

What can I say? I’m a Hopeful Romantic. I’m a Leo. I’m a poet.

I guess it’s like Osho says so beautifully in “Emotional Wellness”:

“If you are rational, really rational, you will become a scientist. If you are really emotional, you will become a poet.”

But I wasn’t always so good at loving myself. In fact, sometimes I was downright terrible at it.

Yoga changed all that. And continues to do so.

I’ve tried a lot of different things to patch that hole in my Old Soul through close to 36 years of living this life on this beautiful earth, and I can’t say I’ve ever found anything that makes me as happy or alive or truly in love – not just with the idea or feeling of love, but with life and truth and beauty and others – as my yoga practice.

But most importantly, yoga has taught me to love myself. Unconditionally. Without judgment. Without fear. Without reason. Without boundaries or borders or limitations. All ways.

Always.

And it’s not just because it’s honed and toned and sculpted my 30-something body into the best it’s ever looked (though that doesn’t hurt). No, it’s way beyond that. It’s more about how I feel inside. How present I am. How aware. How passionate. How compassionate.

I’ve always been highly passionate, tactile, affectionate and sexual (I am a Leo Man, after all). And I’ve always been fascinated with living and loving at the intersection of The Sacred and The Profane. The link between The Divine and sexual passion has also always fascinated me (consider the use of bedroom talk like “Oh God that feels good!” or “Jesus, that’s it right there!”). The one Truly Tantric sexual experience I’ve had (thus far) literally rocked my world, and opened me up to a whole new dimension of Love and Freedom and Expression.

Anyway, my mom might be reading this (if so, Happy Mother’s Day. I love you!). So I’ll stop there. The point of all this is that yoga, at its very core and elemental essence, is really all about Love. Love of The Divine. Love of all other beings. Love of life. Love of service. And, most of all, love of self. Because it all starts from within – and radiates outward. You know, kind of like the sun.

So I wrote this poem – after a yoga + poetry class I had the honor to help create and facilitate with my amazing friend Cindy Sitara Lee at my beloved Yoga Swami – called “Love Is Yogic.” And I’ve been performing it more and more lately.

You might even say I’ve fallen in love with it.

Following are both the written form of the poem, as well as a link to a videotaped performance prior to a class in the Yoga Swami yurt (home to a true Abundance of Love). Enjoy. And tell your mother you love her on Sunday – and beyond!

Love Is Yogic

Love is an asana
it comes and goes, ebbs and flows
how long can you hold it?

Love is a sutra
it binds and holds, folds and unfolds
connecting at The Source

Love is a mantra
it is O! O! Ommmmmmmmm…
waves of bliss, an endless kiss

Love is a journey
it starts within and where it ends
is entirely up to you

 

5/8/2010   Tags:  love, bliss, yoga, dylan barmmer, romantic, poetry Direct Link

FULL MOON SALUTE: 18.6 YEARS TO REVEAL SELF

April 28, 2010 Today is a full moon! The moon as you know is a reflection of the sun. The moon's trajectory is very complicated. It follows the Sun's trajectory, only 6 months later; the full moon in winter comes as high as the Sun in the summer. And it takes the Moon 18.6 YEARS TO FULFILL ONE COMPLETE ORBIT!  

Gosh if we were only so patient with ourselves.   

We all have stuff hidden inside us.  Who are we to think we are going to reveal this all in one yoga class or two or 10 or even 100. Heck the moon takes 18.6 years!  But yet often we come to the mat as the quick fix. It's not going to work like that. Heed the words of Tantric scholar Christopher Tompkins, "Don't try to fix shit during yoga, just try to be with how you are now."  

There is plenty of stuff to uncover by the time we start yoga.  There is stuff of the past we need to heal and let go of, there are the future plans or goals we are afraid to actually speak out loud, there is actually being yourself as you are today.  There is so much that I strongly encourage you to take your time.  Allow what is embedded or hidden to be reflected as you feel comfortable doing. And believe me if you stay with this practice it will come out...it just takes time my friends.  Quite frankly, let's all agree right now to give it 18.6 years at least.  

Love and light, Silvia  

4/28/2010   Tags:  moon, hidden, revealing, truth, self, patience, shit, sun, comfort Direct Link

SIMPLICITY

MARCH 30, 2010:  “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” -Dr. Seuss

 

Dr Seuss is a stud for sure. As you know I’ve been selling my house. I have bombarded myself with ever more complicated questions related to why no one comes to see my house, why I can’t sell it, why did I pour a gazillion extra dollars in this last year to prepare it, why did I list it lower than I wanted to…and on and on. Well bottom line is that complicating my life with too many why’s and questions is only hurting me. The answer here is simple.

 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  ~Leonardo DaVinci

 

I am now trying to learn from this whole thing as it has been a really challenging form of yoga for me. I have come to realize that just like collecting poses doesn’t make you happy, well collecting too many chairs, tables, and “stuff” hasn’t made me happy either.  So now I am simplifying.  I am learning what Vernon Howard means “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”

On the mat we look for ways to conserve energy, to become more efficient and simple or subtle in the practice of asana. Therein lies its beauty or Shri.  And the more we practice simplicity in class the more clear headed we become to recognize and seek that off the mat. We certainly don’t come to yoga to practice being more complicated!  Which I looked up means Thorny, Dense, Convoluted, Intricate, Difficult, Problematic

Ugh. That’s not anything I want. I aspire to Lao Tzu description “Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” That is true abundance.

The reality is that life is simple. We can see the Shri in the world around us more easily with less stuff in the way! So may we all be satiated with what we have, not over stuffed and with courage may we will simplify those areas of our lives that feel thorny, dense or difficult.  Peace in all ways, Silvia

PS THE ANSWER?  It is love. 

3/30/2010   Tags:  love, simplicity, complicated, challenges, abundance, shri, beauty Direct Link

THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES: BY DR GARY CHAPMAN

March 12, 2010:  From www.5lovelanguages.com and the book by the same name.  Check it out! "After many years of counseling, Dr. Chapman noticed a pattern: everyone he had ever counseled had a “love language,” a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own.

Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive—everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

Since The Five Love Languages debuted in 1992, over five million copies have been sold, making The Five Love Languages a perennial New York Times bestseller.

30 SECOND QUIZ: Which is your love language?

  • I feel especially loved when people express how grateful they are for me, and for the simple, everyday things I do.
  • I feel especially loved when a person gives me undivided attention and spends time alone with me.
  • I feel especially loved by someone who brings me gifts and other tangible expressions of love.
  • I feel especially loved when someone pitches in to help me, perhaps by running errands or taking on my household chores.
  • I feel especially loved when a person expresses feelings for me through physical contact.

 

Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

Physical Touch

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

3/12/2010   Tags:  five love languages, love, communication Direct Link

YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE

March 12, 2010:  In the book The Five Love Languages Dr Chapman talks about figuring out your primary way of expressing and interpreting love.  Cool concept. I was told about this NYT best seller 2 years ago or more. Finally yesterday I read the book.  What really came through to me from a Yogic perspective is this understanding of how we communicate is the practice of Svadhaya or self-study/self-observation.  If you don't know who you are or what language you're speaking gosh it's going to be a bit more difficult to ask someone else (whether it be a friend or family member or partner) to speak your same language.  And from becoming more expert in your own humanity you learn about other humans.  

In the corporate world I used to tell my staff to apply a variation of the Golden Rule. I said to them don't communicate and treat them the way you want to be spoken to but communicate with them the way THEY want and need to be related to.  This was at the heart of my efforts to teach/coach or otherwise inspire my staff to build relationships with both clients and fellow staff.  Many times they'd come back to tell me a story of how they applied this to home life too and it worked!  

When we come to the mat we have a chance to figure ourselves out a bit and ultimately refine the primary language we speak and practicing in a group we can look around and see maybe the people around us have their own yoga, speak another language.  It is not enough to come from love. We are all hopefully doing that.  We have to take that next step and learn the love languages of our friends and loved one's too.  If I keep speaking Italian and don't ever attempt to learn Japanese which my partner speaks then likely we are not going to be able to connect on a deeper level.  So enjoy this 7th Chakra Namaskar (Salutation) which asks us to unify our energies from 1st through 7th chakras.  And some of the great flow music I choose today I've included below too.  I will offer a second posting about this book all on its own for your non yoga friends to share in if you want to pass it along.  Here's to all of us speaking the languages of Love!  Blessings, Silvia  

 

LOVE LANGUAGE PLAYLIST

Gobinday Mukunday, Spirit Voyage Om Padme Om, Wah!, Ananda, Solar Quest Diarabi, Issa Bagayogo Nogo, Issa Bagayogo High Low, Michael Franti, Spearhead feat. Zap Mama Nobody Right, Nobody Wrong, Michael Franti Aja Uttama, Dave Stringer Ganesha Windmix, Jai Uttal Guru Ram, Mirabai Ceiba Ahimsa, Baird Hersey & Prana    

7th Chakra Namaskar

Start standing in Mountain with HASTA VINYASA – “Conductor arms”

 

INHALE – Reach arms down and out lift left knee Crane

EXHALE – Arms to sides and reach forward Flying Lunge

INHALE – Low Lunge circle arms out and up

EXHALE – Half Splits circle arms down and out

INHALE – High Lunge circle arms forward and up

EXHALE – Prepare

INHALE – Warrior 3 circle arms down and out

EXHALE – Crane circle arms forward and up, lower foot to Mountain

Side 2 begins

INHALE – Tip Toe Pose

EXHALE – Forward Fold arms sweep back and up

INHALE – Tip Toe Pose

EXHALE – Plow

INHALE – Tip Toe Pose

EXHALE – Forward Fold arms sweep back and up

INHALE – Jump to Vajrasana

EXHALE – Camel (Flow circular arms)

INHALE - Plank

EXHALE - Chatarunga

INHALE - Up Dog

EXHALE - Down Dog

3/12/2010   Tags:  yoga poses, vinyasa, flow yoga, love, yoga playlist, communication; five love languages Direct Link

INTENTION SANKALPA GROWTH AND EVOLUTION

MARCH 10, 2010:  As you know I just put my house on the market. As part of this process the experts encourage you to simply, streamline, neutralize and otherwise declutter your living space. So I had this big indoor plant that got moved into the garage, then a week later I felt bad so moved it into the basement from the garage (mostly because you know plants do like light) well then I forgot to water it because it was now in the basement. This all went on for a month, just last night with the help a dear friend finally moved it outside in our 60 degree temperatures today. It finally got light, water and is not forgotten. 

This plant had a strong intention and desire to LIVE! After all I put it through and changed about its surroundings it kept steadfast to the intention of surviving and thriving.  I have to believe that if a plant can stay single minded in its intention we can too. So today ask yourself:  HOW DOES THIS CLASS INSPIRE YOU TO BE MOVING TOWARDS MEETING YOUR EXPECTATIONS? 

When we begin class and take our hands together at our hearts we create SANKALPA MUDRA a Mudra of internal commitment, a gesture of commitment in outer form and everything that goes into it is our intention.  Intention is defined as setting an expectation for yourself, an expectation to your OWN GROWTH AND EVOLUTION.  

Take a moment to think about deepening your breath into the commitment you've made to grow.   The breath expands our connection to this promise we have made ourselves.  And what I wish someone had told me a long time ago was to expect that there will be times that will be a little challenging – this is part of the growth process.  Spiritual maturity comes as a result of using our expectations as little markers demonstrating our progress.  And we have all COME A LONG WAY ALREADY.  So on the mat we keep breathing to deepen our commitment and our intention whether the poses are easy or hard or whether we hold them a breath or a long time.  We stay focused on experiencing ourselves. 

The power of our intention is that focus on one clear thing. Not 50 things at the same time. It is like the Buddhist parable of how to dig for water: it is not fruitful to dig 100 holes when instead we should focus and dig 100 times in the same place and then for sure we'll strike water.  So we took time to think about one pose from this practice that we woudl want to develop mastery of and promised to do it for 1-2 minutes per day for 28 days, a minimum of 28 minutes total to see if we could develop mastery in this pose and stay with one intention for this period of time.

So today, refocus your promise to yourself and the kind of life you want for yourself. And with Spring approaching let's really grow in our lives what is most important to us, to our health, to our hearts, to our peace of mind.  Love the day! Silvia

PS - My plant is doing great!

3/10/2010   Tags:  intention, sankalpa, growth, evolution, expectation, promise, breath, commitment, Direct Link

YOGA MAKES ME HAPPY, SO DOES WINE AND CHOCOLATE

MARCH 4TH, 2010:

Dear Chicagoland Yogi Friends,

I have the perfect way to warm up this weekend! Join us at TBY to be inspired through laughter, awesome music, wine and chocolate with my good friend David Romanelli, recently written up in the New York Times.  So I've been asked a ton of questions about this weekend so here's the inside scoop:

1. If you're dying to learn how to balance on one finger in a pretzel like position then know we are NOT doing that this weekend.  No super funky poses so that means it is open to ALL Yogis of all abilities. The only prerequisite is a sense of humor.

2. If you want to learn 25 new seriously strict alignment principles then this weekend isn't it.

3.  If Yoga makes you happy, (or for that matter wine or chocolate) and you really just want to have a great time laughing out loud with a bunch of easy going yogis.  Then YES! this weekend is perfect!

Ultimately why I love having David here each year is that he helps create an atmosphere of friendship.  When you get on the ride with David its going to be a good time and we can all use more fun in our lives just like last week where I said Yoga is like recess for Adults. 

My greatest intention for TBY is that it be a place where strangers become friends.  I DON'T WANT YOU TO COLLECT POSES.  I'D RATHER HAVE YOU COLLECT FRIENDS THROUGH YOGA.

So come have some fun, peel off a layer or two of seriousness. I promise, it's good for you! Love, Silvia

 

Yoga + Miracles: Friday, March 5th Time 7:30pm

With Wine, Anything is Possible

This event is perfect for:

--people whose health is always a bit off 
--people who love amazing stories about human potential to beat the odds, overcome adversity, take the bull by the horns, and kick ass!
--people who have been soured by the bad economy and could use a shot of faith and hope

 

Yoga + Eternal Youth: Saturday, March 6th Time 12:30PM

Who Needs Botox when We've Got Chocolate

This is just the right workshop for people who:
--want to embrace aging with grace...not to mention great chocolate
--might have a wrinkle or two on the outside but feel like 32 on the inside (if not 25)
--love to have fun and think serious yoga is for the dogs

Yoga + The Grateful Dead: Saturday, March 6th Time 4:00PM

Living each day as if it could be your last

This event is perfect for people who:
--love THE GRATEFUL DEAD b/c rockin' Dead tunes will play throughout
--need to slow down and savor the moment before life slips through your fingertips
--are squeezing too tight and stressing too much

 

Chocolate- Covered Happiness:  Sunday, March 7th Time: 2:00PM

--Do you feel like you could use more laughter?
--Do you sometimes wanna just say WTF, kick back, and enjoy?!
--Why is it that people in the most primitive and extreme conditions can find happiness while us Westerners struggle to crack a smile?
--Do you just wanna eat more chocolate and everything will be ok? This is a perfect workshop for you!

3/4/2010   Tags:  DAVID ROMANELLI, YOGA, GRATEFUL DEAD, HAPPINESS Direct Link

YOGA TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN 10:45AM TODAY BASICS

FEBRUARY 24TH, 2010:  Good morning friends! I am subbing for Mara at 10:45am Basics and will teach a class focused on something I know personally all too well....Back pain. When I was hit by the car this was the biggest souvenir I had.  I tried everything to feel better! I would have paid any amount of money, gone anywhere in the world, done anything if you could help me make my back pain be less loud! Finally, I found yoga.  And happily as I practice yoga every day in all these years since the accident I am back pain free. This is not a short term fix. This is a lifestyle choice where you have to make the commitment to work harder than your pain and try some yoga poses and breathing for every day of freedom.  Join me to learn more! Here is a great article to read...Love the day, Silvia

 

Back pain is an on-going problem for the majority of adults in most industrialized countries.  Low back injuries usually heal within weeks, but long term healing is often more difficult to achieve.  Rehabilitative exercise is often the key to developing a strong healthy back.  And, according to a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, yoga is more effective for the treatment of back pain than traditional exercise. 

 

Why is Yoga an Effective Way to Treat Back Pain?

 

1) Yoga helps increase strength in very specific muscle groups and works to strengthen all major muscle groups that support the spine.

 

2) The stretching postures in yoga increase blood flow to the tissues that support the spine, improving the health of the intervertebral discs and muscles along the spine.

 

3) Yoga increases flexibility in your shoulders and hips, which decreases demands on your back, and yoga increases flexibility of the muscles in your back and along your spine, allowing your spine to rotate properly.

 

4) Yoga's focus on breathing and connecting breath with movement improves body awareness, making you more conscious of movements that may contribute to back pain.

 

5) The "spine lengthening" poses in yoga promote good posture and proper alignment of the vertebrae.  When the spine lengthens, it naturally moves towards correct alignment.  Having proper posture ensures that you are not placing undue stress upon your back.

 

Understanding Your Back

To take care of your back or to heal it, you must understand it.  Back problems do not occur in a vacuum.  The spine is not an isolated body part. 

The mechanical function of your spine is affected by the alignment, flexibility & strength of many parts of your body including:

  • Foot, knee, leg alignment
  • Muscle strength of legs, buttocks, back and abdominal wall
  • Abdominal protrusion (as with pregnancy, or a beer belly)
  • Hip flexibility
  • Position of the pelvis (tilted forward, back or to the side)
  • Shape and flexibility of the lumbar (lower back) spinal curve
  • Shape and flexibility of the thoracic (upper back) spinal curve
  • Shape of the cervical (neck) spinal curve
  • Shoulder carriage and mobility
  • Position of the head in relation to the shoulders

The state of your back is also influenced by:

  • Your genetic heritage, Your home, work, transportation, play, community, Your emotional state
  • Nutrition, body weight and fat distribution, Prescription and recreational drugs

 

Key Poses That Heal:

  1. 1.       Standing Hip Circles - Loosens low back and hips, Strengthens back
  2. 2.       Squatting – Opens the pelvis, Stretches hips and lower back, Tones abs, Stretches feet
  3. 3.       Kneeling Low Lunge –Stretches hip flexors, Relieves low back pain, Stretches thigh muscles
  4. 4.       Cat/Puppy – Increases suppleness of spine, Stretches muscles of the back & neck, Improves posture
  5. 5.       Child’s Pose - Relaxes the back & neck, Stretches the spine, Provides a gentle massage to abdominal organs
  6. 6.       Cobra – Strengthens the back, Tones the buttocks, Stretches the chest and abdomen, Increases circulation
  7. 7.       Knee to Chest – Stretches Lower Back
  8. 8.       Spinal Twist – Strengthens abdominal muscles, stretches hips
  9. 9.       Bridge (And Pelvic Tilts) - Looses muscles of the low back, Strengthens abs


Spinal Anatomy and Function

The spine is a series of interlocking spool-shaped bones called vertebrae, supported by a complex system of muscles and ligaments.  The hollow spinal canal protects the nerve tissue of the spinal cord.

The arms, legs, chest all attach to the spine, via the shoulder girdle, pelvis and ribs.  The weight of the head is perched on the end of the spine.  Therefore, the spine affects and is affected by every movement your body makes.  For example, if your head is not properly balanced, the natural curve of the neck becomes distorted.  If the arms or legs don’t have full range of motion, the spine must compensate by extra bending and twisting.

Inter-vertebral discs are thick pads of cartilage that separate adjacent vertebrae.  The discs serve as shock absorbers and allow for greater motion between vertebrae, and they distribute weight over a large surface when the spine bends.  When discs degenerate, this weight becomes concentrated on the edges of the vertebrae, resulting in bone spurs.  Discs have no blood supply of their own and are dependent on sponge action for attracting and absorbing nutrients from adjacent tissues.  During non-weight bearing rest, discs expand as they soak up fluid.  In weight-bearing activity, this fluid is squeezed back into the adjacent soft tissue, to be replaced by fresh fluid during the next rest period.  If these normal healing mechanisms are inhibited by poor posture and loss of flexibility, the discs become thin, brittle and easily injured.  This condition, called degenerative disc disease, can lead to bulging or herniated discs.  The movement principles of yoga – “spreading” (creating space in an area), “soaking” (deep breathing during the stretch) and “squeezing” (compressing fluids out of an area) – use the physiology of the disc to help in healing.

Muscles that Act on the Spine

Running parallel to your spine are the erector spinae muscles, deep muscles of the back that support the spine in the upright position.  The erector spinae rotate the spine, bend it backward and sideways, and influence posture by helping create and maintain the proper spinal curves.  If the erector spinae are too tight, they contribute to swayback.  If they are too stretched out, they contribute to a flat back.  If they are overworked, they can go into painful spasms.  Yoga helps maintain back health by both stretching and strengthening the erector spinae.

The lower back is also significantly influenced by three sets of muscles that attach to the pelvis or the lumbar vertebrae: the hip flexors (which raise the thigh toward the chest), the abdominals, and the hamstrings (long muscles on the back of the thigh).  These muscles can create a forward or backward tilt to the pelvis, leading to an increase or decrease in the lumbar curve.  For example, because hip flexors attach to the front of the pelvis, tight hip flexors will tilt the pelvis forward, creating sway back.  Tight hamstrings will tilt it backwards, creating a flat back.  Weak abdominal muscles will allow the pelvis to drop forward and will fail to support the lumbar spine from the front.

Each of your joints is controlled by at least two sets of muscles: the flexors (which bend the joint) and the extensors, which straighten it.  In addition, a number of joints have rotator muscles that twist, turn, or rotate the bones.  Good posture can only exist when the flexors, extensors and rotators are in proper balance.  But often the muscles acting upon a joint are out of balance.  For example, the flexors may be tighter or shorter than the extensors, so that the joint can not be fully straightened; or the muscles that rotate the joint in one direction may be stronger than those that rotate it the other way.  These unequal forces make the joint weaker and more vulnerable.

Many people with back or neck pain suffer from imbalances of the flexors, extensors and rotators of the spine, arms and legs.  With an intelligent program of stretching and strengthening (as with yoga) the muscle groups can be brought back into balance.

 

2/24/2010   Tags:  back pain, freedom, tapas, yoga poses, yoga Direct Link

YOGA FOR BETTER SLEEP

FEBRUARY 23, 2010:  Better sleep has been touted for years as one of the benefits of yoga. 

  • Today we learn about Yoga for Sleep and improved emotional well-being since there is a link between inability to sleep and anxiety. What is Anxiety?  It is how we manage stress.  What is Stress? The opposite of relaxation.
  • Insomnia—the inability to get to sleep or to sleep soundly—can be either temporary or chronic, lasting a few days to weeks.  It affects a whopping 54 percent of adults in the United States at one time or another, and insomnia that lasts more than six weeks may affect from 10 to 15 percent of adults at some point during their lives
  • If you've ever had trouble falling asleep at night or staying awake during the day this meets the practical definition of insomnia.  This can be caused by a number of factors.  Yoga offers you a number of ways to relax the parasympathetic nervous system. 

1.       The poses work to reduce muscle tension which can impact our ability to get to sleep and the quality of our sleep. This in turn lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

2.       The breathing techniques raise levels of carbon dioxide a natural sedative as well as melatonin levels. Both of these helps us sleep.  The other mental payoff from deep breathing is that it increases levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter associated with happy, calm feelings.

3.       The breath linked movement known as vinyasa is a form of meditation that focus the mind through self study known as "Svadhyaya".  Observing what we're thinking and feeling gives us the opportunity to shift our perspective which is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy.  We learn in yoga class techniques to break negative thinking patterns (samskaras).  Simply put you can learn how to worry less by thinking happy thoughts.  And as Deepak Chopra says, "Happy thoughts create happy cells that create happy souls."

BREATHING:  At the core of most anxiety is the breath, or the lack of it.

When you are anxious, natural breathing is inhibited. The diaphragm freezes, failing to move air downward as you inhale, which means that you don't let your lungs fully expand and fill with air. "And when you don't get enough oxygen, the brain receives a 'danger' signal, which perpetuates your mind-body state of anxiety," explains Jonathan Davidson, M.D., director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at Duke University Medical Center. "Your breathing quickens and becomes even more shallow; in an extreme case this can lead to a full-blown panic attack, in which the person begins to hyperventilate."

POSES:

According to Baxter Bell, inversions help people switch from the sympathetic nervous system (which includes the fight-or-flight responses) to the parasympathetic nervous system (which handles relaxation) by sending the body a signal that the blood pressure has gone up. In response, the blood vessels constrict and the heartbeat and breathing begin to slow, which causes the mind to relax.

  • forward bends such as Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend). You can do them supported if you wish, on blankets or bolsters, and they should be held for five minutes.
  • While all of these poses should help, the most important of all is Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand). When practiced immediately before bed, it prepares the body for sleep. And if done during the day, it may help compensate for some lost sleep. You can also practice it supported on a chair. All inversions—such as Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand), Halasana (Plow Pose), and Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)—are helpful to practice when you can't get to sleep.
  • Finally, don't forget to practice the very important Savasana (Corpse Pose), unless you do Sarvangasana just prior to sleep. 
2/23/2010   Tags:  better sleep, insomnia, yoga poses, breathing, calm Direct Link

THE CURE FOR UNHAPPINESS IS HAPPINESS

Namaste Beautiful Friends,

To be happy is DEEP WORK, it is not surface stuff.  And the reality of  yoga is that it helps us explore ourselves to find out as Anthony DeMello writes, "there is not a single moment in our life when we do not have everything we need to be happy."  As we study ourselves the yoga helps us explore through movement a freedom in our bodies and a kind of flowing meditation where we can find peace and tranquility in our minds. This in turn allows our hearts to open to our own best adventure. 

"Exploration really is the essence of the human spirit!"

There is this great story in the book "How We Choose to Be Happy" and the individual being studied for why they are happier than everyone else says this, "I tried my hand at a lot of things. Some of these I liked, some I didn't.  And I have no regrets. The point is, I kept moving. Any one of these choices was far less important than the fact that I just kept choosing. 

I have a philosophy: Any choice can be reversed, but not choosing at all is irreversible."  So this Winter please keep choosing to make time to explore yourself more deeply.  And if you can take a break join me for the Spiritual Adventure of a Lifetime in Moab April 15th (here I am at Arches National Park) or in Tuscany June 20th!! It would be so awesome to take this road trip together.  But no matter what keep finding your own best adventure! Big love in all ways, Silvia

"It's better to have traveled and gotten lost than to never have traveled at all."  -George Santayana

 

2/7/2010   Tags:  spiritual adventure, self-study, freedom, moab retreat, tuscany retreat, happiness, yoga retreats, Direct Link

HOME PRACTICE HOW IT HELPS TO REVISE OUR MYTHS

FIRST THINGS FIRST. Think of some myth about yourself you’ve bought into?  Like “I’m not strong enough, I don’t have enough time, I’m not old enough, I’m not young enough, I don’t have enough money, I’m not flexible enough,  I’m not ____________________________.  This practice helps us to unfold our own myth (Rumi).  It has us bump up against the myths or self-limiting beliefs we have about ourselves.  But as Yogananda writes, “What you are is much greater than anything or anyone else you have ever yearned for.  Spirit is manifest in you in a way that Spirit is not manifest in any other human being.  Your face is unlike anyone elses’s, your soul is unlike anyone else’s, you are sufficient unto yourself; for within your soul likes the greatest treasure of all – Spirit.” 

You seeWe no longer have a choice about including practices in our daily lives that create health and spiritual growth. If we want a world worth living in today, as well as one worth leaving to future generations, we must take responsibility to create health in our lives, as well as to support others as they choose healthier lives for themselves. It is up to each of each of us to lovingly transform the world simply by first transforming ourselves.” (Judith Lasater)

But we have to see the myths that hold us back for what they really are.  “We are responsible for what we are and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves.” (Swami Vivekananda)  Practicing even 5-7 minutes of yoga helps us to not remain victims of old habits, we begin to do the work of washing away the myths. What is required is that we work harder than our pain or made-up limitations. 

“Mines of power lie unexplored within you. You use this power unconsciously in all things you do, and you achieve certain results; but, if you learn how to consciously control and use the power within you, you can accomplish much more.” (Yogananda)  When it comes to picking out what poses to do you have to begin by asking yourself what you need: self-reflection creates self-awareness and reinforces self-love.  Tonight’s class will teach you a (1) Hip Opening Flow, (2) Backbend Flow, (3) Sun Salutation C, (4) Forward Fold/Twist Flow so you have 4 sequences to work on at home when you need them most.  Love and light! Silvia

FORWARD FOLDS.  These are calming, quieting in their impact.  They are restful poses to calm you down when you feel agitated or hyper and restful when you are fatigued. 

SUN SALUTATIONS. Energizing for your emotional body and can help lift you out of lethargy, depression, mental fatigue.

STANDING POSES.  These are very grounding as well as energizing.  They immediately engage your body-mind connection and bring you into the present moment.  They are good to do when worried, distracted or agitated.

BACKBENDS.  These are energizing, uplifting poses.  They create more energy when you are tired.  If you are already nervous they can make you over stimulated if they are difficult so you can also practice passive backbends.  These poses also open you up emotionally which may cause strong emotions to arise.

TWISTS.  Cleansing and balancing.  They help release stress from your body-mind. 

HIP OPENERS.  These are very grounding and balancing.  They help release tension and bring you into the present moment. 

INVERSIONS.  These are soothing, balancing and centering.  

1/27/2010   Tags:  vinyasa yoga, yoga sequences, home practice, self-love, rumi, love, responsibility, action Direct Link

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

JANUARY 19, 2010:  This is dedicated to Todd Bauschke, who suddenly passed away at the age of 56 years old on January 18th, 2010.  Todd was a dedicated student at TBY and because he applied himself to the practice he got really good.  In recent times he had to step off of the mat and do his yoga without the benefit of group classes because this last two years his health was suffering and he couldn't even breath.  "He finally got his diagnosis in early November 2009. It’s a rare disease called Amyloidosis. It can attack different organs. It attacked Todds heart.  The irony is that he was scheduled to have his stem cells harvested and transplanted next week. It was to be a three week hospital stay."

Yoga helps us all remember that our time here is brief even in the best of scenarios....and all to short for Yogi brother Todd.  Please stop any all excuses for why you aren't living your best life. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  Get to the mat, and free your heart so you can embrace the life you are meant to be living, right now.

"Your body is free but your heart is in prison. To release your heart, you simply reverse the process which locked it up. First you begin to listen for messages from your heart—messages you may have been ignoring since childhood. Next you must take the daring, risky step of expressing your heart in the outside world. . . . As you learn to live by heart, every choice you make will become another way of telling your story. . . . It is the way you were meant to exist. If you stop to listen, you’ll realize that your heart has been telling you so all along.  (Martha Beck, "Finding Your Own North Star")

What do you plan to do with your one precious life?

If you can't hear your heart talking to you then consider your time on the mat a mini-retreat. A time to refresh your spirit, rekindle your passions, and cultivate balance in what you think, what you say and what you do with your life. This practice peels back the layers to help us move from self-doubt and uncertainty to a feeling of empowerment and a willingness to at least try at our lives.  Like Todd, if we stay with it and practice moving in and out of these poses or shapes we create with our bodies you will achieve things you thought were impossible. This encourages us to see past our self-limiting beliefs and discover the power within us to realize that nothing is impossible! 

But no one can do this for you, you have to take time for yourself.  And if a yoga class isn't enough then do what I do go on a Spiritual Retreat.  Take a time out for 4-7 days where you don't feel so rushed and you can step off the tread mill of your life to really feel and open up to the changes you want to make in your life. If you don't even know how to start then plan to join me in Moab in April or Tuscany in June or find enough space where you can tap into how to express your feelings and reconnect to your own inner wisdom. The insights are there and self-expression evolves to self-understanding.  But really, DON'T WAIT.  This is the year we have all run out of excuses. All you need to live the life of your dreams is a willingness to grow an open heart and a playful curiosity wouldn't hurt either.  What do YOU plan to do with your precious life?  Love in all ways, Silvia

1/19/2010   Tags:  action, heart, freedom, no excuses, rebel spirit, empowerment, self-doubt, uncertainty, passion Direct Link

YOU ARE A TRAVELER PASSING THROUGH: YOUR STAY IS SHORT

 

JANUARY 18, 2010:  What is on my mind is this base on one of the intentions a TBY student wrote on facebook.  It is one of my all time favorite reminders of self of truth of love:  "Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveler passing through. Your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown. None can live without toil and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and weariness will overtake you and you will be denied the joy that comes from labour´s end. Speak quietly and kindly and be nor forward with either opinions or advice If you talk much this will make you deaf to what others say and you should know that there are few so wise that they can not learn from others Be near when help is needed but far when praise and thanks are being offered. Take small account of might , wealth and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten. Instead nurture love within you and strive to be a friend to all. Truly compassion is a balm for many wounds. Treasure silence when you find it and while being mindful of your duties set time aside to be alone with yourself. Cast off pretence and self-deception and see yourself as you really are. Despite all appearance no one is really evil. They are led astray by ignorance. If you ponder this truth always you will offer more light rather than blame and condemnation. You, no less than all beings, have Buddha Nature within. your essential mind is pure. Therefore when defilement causes you to stumble and fall, let not remorse nor dark fore-Bonding cast you down. Be of good cheer and with this understanding, summon strength and walk on. Faith is like a lamp and wisdom it is that makes the flame burn bright. Carry this lamp always and in good time the darkness will yield and you will abide in light."  -Dhammawadaka

 

 

1/18/2010   Tags:  buddhism, impermanence, compassopn, faith, silence Direct Link

THE EXPECTATIONS TRAP

JANUARY 6, 2010:  It is easy to fall into the Expectations Trap this time of year. You know what I mean?  That conversation we have with ourselves where we set up totally unrealistic expectations (resolutions) that would be impossible to keep. This leading us to disappointment. So right now begin to drop the heavy expectations and ask yourself what is most meaningful to you? 

Allow what you care about most to shape and influence your intentions more gently.  And take the time on the mat to soften the hard edges or extremes of expectations you have of yourself pose to pose.  Let your heart feel the lightness and freedom of letting go of the weight of heavy expectations.  This freedom is about soft expectations so we find:

  • Freedom to be happier than ever before
  • Freedom to try new things
  • Freedom to not play it all so safe
  • Freedom to do the unexpected
  • Freedom to just see what happens!

 

This is the decade we hold ourselves more gently and live more fully!  Peaceful blessings to you, Silvia

1/6/2010   Tags:  peace, expectations, intentions, freedom, love Direct Link

YOGA IS LIKE DATING

NOVEMBER 2, 2009:  If the first yoga pose you did you felt uncomfortable would you give up?  It’s like saying if the first person you ever dated you felt a little uncomfortable with would you never date again?

We are really dating the poses, we try them out, some are good fits right away and others take a while to warm up and coax out of their shell.  Just like people.

 

A friend told me this story of when they were in school studying psychology and an assignment was to write out the description of the ideal partner.  Well one guy wrote out a serious paper of 100 various requirements in their ideal mate.  Then fast forward 20 years and they are at a reunion and this guy is there and his class mates have to ask, “So did you find a person with all 100 things you were looking for?”  And he said yes, he did. So guess what did he marry her? Nope, he didn’t feel a fit, even though they had all the qualities…there wasn’t an energetic connection. 

 

Ok well it’s the same with these poses.  You might think you know what you want and then come to realize there is a greater benefit to what you didn’t even know you were looking for but felt right.  So give it time dudes.

 

We will build our practice tonight in a progressive way.  This is like how we might meet or date people in our life that we learn from, might not be our life partner but we take lessons from them and apply to the next relationship. It’s like that with yoga: class to class, pose to pose.  Enjoy it all and learn from each relationship, each pose and embrace your life more fully!  Love in all ways, Silvia

 

11/10/2009   Tags:  yoga, dating, relationships, discomfort, live fully Direct Link

SURRENDER INTO SAVASANA EVERY MOMENT

NOVEMBER 4, 2009:  The practice of savasana is an interesting one especially today where we are all so good at promoting constant activity. Generally we are very good at getting new projects started and working ourselves ragged but how good are you at surrendering?  Can you take a few breaths right now to empty the residue of your day and surrender to what it is happening right now.  The quality of surrender is what we learn amongst other things in Savasana.  So today we practiced Savasana, final relaxation, a number of times during class. 

 

Savasana helps us in key ways:

1.  To be ok with the non-doing which we talk about in yoga as BEING PRESENT

2.  To embrace endings with as much gusto as we embrace beginnings.  Art of CLOSURE (Pratikryasana)

3. To learn how to relax and self-comfort (this is the antidote to fight/flight response)

4.  To recognize and admit to ourselves everything has an EXPIRATION DATE

 

So then what? How does savasana apply in every moment, every pose?  It helps us notice that life is right now.  There is no need to keep waiting to be happy, to keep looking for more or better but instead start enjoying the sweetness of our life right now.  Ok so here's the thing I love lying down and being still.  So maybe I was born to practice savasana but I think we all are, we just have to practice.  I hope you can through savasana learn to be more present, put closure to open elements of your life so you can stay with the flow, learn practical ways to relax and make the most of this moment! 

 

But remember we are only able to find surrender when we cultivate peace within ourselves. Shannon Gannon, Jivamukti founder says, “The practices of yoga create peace in ourselves, and that peace will be reflected in the world around us. If we truly want world peace we must begin by embodying that peace ourselves. The practice of yoga will end war, even wars of which we often are not even aware. Speak out for peace, live peacefully, think well of others, do what you can to uplift the lives of others. Find a way to live so that your own life enhances the lives of others. Give up the love of power for the power of love. Peace will come when we have given up hateful thoughts, cruel words, and violent actions in our own daily lives. Cultivate hopeful thoughts, sweet speech and kind actions. Don't wait for a better world. Start now to create a universe of harmony and peace. It is up to you.

 

Wishing you peaceful surrender, Silvia

 

11/4/2009   Tags:  surrender, savasana, peace, self-comfort, relaxation, forgiveness Direct Link

RECEIVING: WHAT DO YOU WANT?

OCTOBER 29, 2009:  This morning I was having a little talk with myself during morning meditation about giving and receiving. I actually reached out to a dear friend about this topic as it relates to putting on hold things in my life I’ve deferred for a while.  As I wrote to her I realized that what I was focusing too much on was what “I don’t want” when as I’ve said to you all many times “stop majoring in minor things” or “stop putting energy into what you don’t want.”  Oh yeah, that’s right. 

 

As soon as I realized what I was doing then I felt a total shift in energy.  I needed to focus more on RECEIVING.  Spiritual maturity has us focus on What We Do Want, not the other way around.  So I ask you What Do You Want to Receive in your Life?

 

·         Acceptance

·         Love

·         Success

·         Wisdom

·         Grace

·         Joy

·         Money

·         Freedom

·         Peace

·         Healing

·         Inspiration

·         Creativity

 

I bet if I took a survey of us all asking “are you better at giving or receiving?” Most of us would consider ourselves best at Giving. But hold on there...Are we really that good at giving if we so often don’t make time for our own well-being.  We have to learn to be brilliant at giving to ourselves which means we have to allow ourselves to receive.  So instead ask yourself, HOW GOOD A RECEIVER ARE YOU?  Could you be more open to the opportunities, jobs, people, places you experience?  Because the spiritual law is this: when you are more receptive to life itself, the more wonderful your life appears to be (Robert Holden, Be Happy)

 

What we can do to become better Receivers is as Robert Holden writes:

Give up the struggle; to receive is to be willing to give up all unnecessary struggle

Give up resentment: shift happens when you let go

Give up fear: stop worrying about the unknown

Give up pride: release your ego

 

This is not asking us to change anything. This is just a simple recognition (like what happened to me this morning). A realization of asking the universe for what we want and that is enough to make us better receivers and welcome all that we desire in our lives!  Now may we have the courage to Ask for what we want to receive.  Love in all ways, Silvia

 

 

10/29/2009   Tags:  receiving, intention, let go, realization, recognition, love, freedom Direct Link

EXPLORING LIFE ON THE MAT COME RAIN OR SHINE

OCTOBER 26, 2009:  “Exploring life through movement and stillness brings us to our true center!”  Once you make a commitment to yourself this yoga practice keeps us coming back no matter what: rain or shine.  Quite frankly since its been raining so much why not go inside and practice more yoga?  There must be a reason why the universe wants us to go inwards.  As Martin Buber says, All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. 

 

So as much as you do the actions of the poses think of yourself as much a witness of life as you are a participant.  This great journey of life gives us the opportunity to see from both views.  If you think of the practice as taking a photo, we look through the lens and see the details we might not otherwise see.  Through that we hopefully become re-inspired!

 

I was at a Kundalini Workshop with Moses last weekend and he said of the 8,000 kriyas only one is approved to practice at home by oneself. The rest, the other 7,999 are meant to be performed within the love of group practice.  As much as I love home practice every day gosh nothing replaces coming together into a community of yogis and I take classes 6 days per week. I love it!  In the group you experience what Elise Larimer says “I am re-annointed into the diversity and similarity of humanity.  Inspired through these interactions to the planet on all levels, I am refreshed and replenished.”

 

I always hope you feel that the Kula keeps you safe to explore your own adventure and yet the alchemy of being with others also sparks new adventures we haven’t yet thought of by ourselves.  This connection works on so many levels! And truthfully if you make friends with someone in class and you know they are going to show up no matter what, it inspires you to show up too.  We have this unwritten contract with one another as students when we attend regular classes.  We promise to keep the dialogue of our hearts open to one another and somehow no matter what, say to ourselves “I am going on this adventure again today, my friends are waiting for me, come rain or shine.”  So please know I will always be here holding your spot waiting for you to show up and be your most radiant self.  So until I see you on the mat breath and smile!  Love your day, Silvia

 

It’s better to have traveled and gotten lost than to never have traveled at all.”

-George Santayana

 

10/26/2009   Tags:  travel, exploration, adventure, witness, inspiration, kula, community Direct Link

SOUND OF OM BY GUEST BLOGGER MARY SCUDELLA

OCTOBER 24TH, 2009:  This past Saturday we practiced yoga. We also practiced the sound of Om. This is an ancient and sacred sound. It connects us with our inner being, while also connecting us with the universe. It is a sort of hum, so we also practiced Brahmari pranayama (humming bee breath). Patanjali said when we chant the sacred Om, our consciousness becomes “one-pointed: and prepared for meditation.” So, we chant this amazing sound, which may actually lead us to finding our own divinity.

 

The sound of Om is actually made up of four separate parts. The first two sounds are “ah” and “ooh,” which actually form a contraction into the “oh” sound. The “ah” represents our waking state or subjective consciousness. The “ooh” represents the dream state or consciousness of our inner world: thoughts, dreams, and memories. The “m” represents our dreamless state of sleep and experience of ultimate unity.

 

The last part of Om is the silence which follows the sound. It is called the anusvara (after-sound). As the vibration slowly dissolves into silence, we are able to transcend our state of consciousness. The Maitri Upanishad described this silence as the crown of the mantra, “tranquil, soundless, fearless, sorrowless, blissfull, satisfied, steadfast, immovable, immortal, unshaken, enduring.”

 

So, the next time you practice yoga or your just practicing life, consider turning breath into sound. Chant the sound of Om and notice its effects. Don’t forget the silence afterwards. And, see what divinity awaits your discovery.

 

Playlist for Om Yoga practice:

Om

Brent Lewis, DJ Free & Soulfood

Sa Ta Na Ma

Mantra Girl

Charming the Serpent

Govinda

Transform

TJRehmi

Anand (Bliss)

Snatam Kaur

Shambala

Beastie Boys

The Divine Sound

Suvarna

Om Mani Padme Hum

Deva Premal

Vandey Gurunam

Reema Datta

Aad Guray Nameh

Snatam Kaur

Truth

Mantra Girl

Om Shanti, Namaste,

Mary Scudella, E-RYT 200

 

*Information on the sound of Om from a Yoga Journal article written by Richard Rosen.

 

10/24/2009   Tags:  om, sound, Mary Scudella, yoga journal, yoga Direct Link

EXPECTATIONS SPACE TO RECEIVE WHAT’S BEST

OCTOBER 20, 2009:  You can’t run after contentment it has to find you, all you can do is try to create the space for it. Pay attention to what you can let go of” to create that space. What I think Judith Lasater is talking about as is interpreted by the Yoga Sutras is to drop our heavy expectations. You know those expectations that weigh us down because they are so unrealistic and not even about what we personally want. What is our own truth. 

 

So you guys we can begin right now paying attention to our own enjoyment or CAPACITY to enjoy life:  The Yoga Sutras say “enjoyment is the sweetness of noticing your life right now – smell, taste, feeling, sensation”  What do you want that is meaningful to you?  Well ok then can you simply put that out there as a gentle intention allowing it to come to you instead of pulling at it. Also can you receive it if when it does find you it doesn’t exactly look like what you expected?

 

I put out to the universe what I wanted in my life a little over a year ago.  I thought I was ready to receive it no matter what especially since I consider myself pretty open-hearted and open-minded. But then when what I dreamed was finally offered to me I had that initial moment of “hey that’s not exactly as I wanted it because there is too much distance and some aura of complexity involved.” Come on! But the thing is I’ve learned it is exactly in the way I needed to receive it.  The universe totally knew what was best for me and delivered to me the situation that was the healthiest. And I’ve never been happier.  If I had turned my back on what was right in front of me because it didn’t totally match my strict expectations I would have missed out on maybe the best experience of my life.  How sad would that have been?  And how often have you done that?

 

Equally we learn what letting go of expectations is not:  which Sean Corne says so well, “Well what it isn’t is trying to rewrite the past, we can learn something (even from those that have hurt you or things that didn’t go the way you wanted them to) and move on.”  So today really use the practice to quiet your mind by paying attention to what extremes of your expectations you can let go of.  And most importantly can you try to release your mind from constantly wanting your situation to be different.  There is no reason to make war with what you feel, see or experience.  You have the freedom to open your heart to what you might be missing by relaxing some of the armor like expectations that can form around you

 

In closing here is one of my favorites quotes from the book Immunity to Change is “Happiness is really freedom from unhappiness.”  So join me in softening our expectations so we can find the:

·         Freedom to be happier than ever before

·         Freedom to try new things

·         Freedom to meet new people

·         Freedom to make happy failures

·         Freedom to not play it all so safe

·         Freedom to do the unexpected

·         Freedom to just see what happens

 

Love to you all, Silvia

10/20/2009   Tags:  expectations, freedom, happiness, contentment, pay attention, open-hearted Direct Link

YOGA ECONOMICS FREE STUFF WEALTH AND HAPPINESS

Namaste Beautiful Friends,

 

In class recently I was sharing the story of what things were like at TBY when we first opened:  without apology I begged my neighbors and friends to be in class for free so it would look like we had clients but really we didn't have any money coming in for many months; I was working two full-time jobs both a ridiculous number of hours each week; almost every waking moment was poured into fanning the flame of the studio to keep it alive another day, week, let alone month or year. Well that was 6 years ago.  To say I often thought about giving up would be an understatement.  

 

I know that many of you are impacted directly by the financial contraction in the world. I get that. Your team of TBY teachers understands that personally too well. We've had a number of teachers whose partners have lost their jobs, some have faced hardship in losing their home, having to sell their home but not being able to, underselling their home and more.  We yoga teachers are just like you.

 

Mary was sharing a Sufi teaching in a beautiful class this Monday that spoke to my heart: "we don't look in the light because its easy; we must also look in the darkness to find the answer."  You guys when we contract in our relationship to money every part of our life suffers.  So think about this:  "It is interesting that happiness is a state of inner wealth, and the word WEALTH originally meant happiness (although we have to go back to 1250 for that definition). Your money should be a source of bliss, not stress.  A good rule of thumb is: if your money is stressing you out, it's diverting the flow of ALL other goods things to you as well.  Money can't buy happiness, but happiness attracts money.  Find ways to become happier first, and you'll dissolve some of your strongest financial blocks.  Begin to develop a strong state of inner okayness and worth inside of yourself, even if you've still got bills to pay. When you do this, you will open the door for a better financial situation." - Sadie Nardini, Road Trip Guide To The Soul (friend and yoga teacher)

 

This is simple Yoga Economics.  Feel great first and financial abundance will reveal itself.  If you stay feeling like crap you block the good flow.  How do you feel better? Practice yoga! Get on the mat to find that always present sense of calm, quiet inner joy. Let our teachers inspire you back to your best self and your true nature which is to be happy as a human being. We want to help. How? well 6 months ago I started offering FREE unlimited yoga for anyone you know that has lost their full-time job and said if you are struggling financially please contact me so we can work with you.

 

If you stop doing the yoga that reminds you to be happy the life energy draining worry about money will only get stronger.  "Happiness attracts money."  Take time to enjoy some of our FREE events: October 23rd 7:30pm FREE Sun Salutation Workshop with Silvia; November 13th 7:30pm FREE Yoga and Journaling Workshop with Silvia; FREE Acupuncture Happy Hours with Carrie Wilhelm (many dates to choose from); and of course, always First class for new students is FREE which we've given away now over $120,000 of classes to the community and want to do more. If you know of someone that could benefit from rediscovering reasons to be happy tell them to stop by.  We will take great care of them. In our lifetime how cool would it be if Wealth again meant Happiness? And more importantly how great would it be if we were all wealthy in happiness and love?! Wishing you more love, Silvia   

 

For daily inspiration subscribe to Silvia's Blog,

Become Fan on TBY Facebook or Silvia Friend

 

 Shared on October 14, 2009

10/13/2009   Tags:  newsletter, yoga economics, sharing, free yoga, happiness, wealth Direct Link

FAR TOO RATIONAL, ORDERED, ORGANIZED, PREDICTABLE

SEPTEMBER 16, 2009: 

Aren't you tired of being perfect? 

 

I read somewhere once that we are far too rational in our relationships, far too ordered, far too organized and far too predictable in the way we live life.  We get stuck in the mundane instead we should "move into spontaneity and serendipity, a level that includes a greater sense of freedom and risk – an active environment full of surprises which encourages a sense of wonder.”

 

I get tired of being perfect. It is a whole lot more fun being a little messy and entirely more open hearted.  Hey I've lived the abuse of perfectionism and learned that the harder we are on ourselves the tougher we are in terms of our expectations of others.  Through the last 15 years of spiritual practice I've grown kinder, towards myself and everyone else.  Fundamentally we attract the people to us who reflect the relationships we're having with ourselves. 

 

Every day we are asking through our doing.  So what are you asking for?

 

Lately it seems like folks have had a harder time than usual getting back into the swing of this “back to school, back to yoga, back to healthy lifestyle” time of year.  It’s been a tough time getting folks to the mat. The reason may be because our summer was less solar so we are a bit less in our energy. Ok, then we have to live with what life is offering us.  It is not perfect, the summer was clearly a bit deranged and we had irrational weather.  That’s just the way of things, not bad, not good just what was there for us.  So it’s up to us to resolve to find the fun and spontaneity in the scope of the energy we feel.

 

Nature is always our best teacher. A friend shared this story with me today that I share with you here.  It goes like this:

“Today, on my run, I heard some squirrel action.  Do you know the action I am talking about?  It sounded like some pretty intense lovemaking, so I slowed down to see if I could get a view.  They were in a tree about 15 feet above my head, and from the sounds of it, things were quite intense!  Well, sure enough, they were.  The two squirrels were so tightly wound together that it was confusing to see who was who and just precisely what was going on.  The inner voyeur was coming alive in me.  Just as I was thinking I'd best be getting back to things at hand, something slipped--or a small branch broke, or goodness knows what, but the two squirrels came flying through the air at me and landed in a roiling, squeaking, noise of a mess of squirrel ball that immediately separated into two grey streaks and climbed back up the tree to go at it some more!!!  

 

It was pretty intense.”

 

You guys, the squirrels clearly did not over organize their location or over analyze their relationship and instead allowed events to simply unfold, then when things didn’t work out the way they expected they were able to regulate or even co-regulate with one another and get right back to what was important to them. In healthy human relationship our partners/friends help us to co-regulate and resolve to adjust to what life is offering instead of getting stuck in the fact it didn’t work the one way we expected. I’ve been in relationship where the other person could not re-regulate and if something didn’t happen according to the “The Plan” the whole day/week/event was ruined.  The yogic teachings tell us that narrowly defining the outcome of anything in just 1 way is the root cause of our suffering and disappointment.  There is always more than one outcome because life as Emerson writes is life is fluid and volatile. The artist India Arie puts it like this in her lyrics:

 

“Oh God, grant me the serenity to accept the things

that I can not change,

The courage to change the things I can,

The wisdom to know the difference.

And God, give me the courage to love with an open heart,

an open heart, an open heart.

I want to love with an open heart.”  

 

We have the opportunity not to get dragged down in the details of our lives but live in the broad brush strokes. If we fall out of a tree we get back up the tree to keep enjoying our life!  Spontaneity means as my friend Sadie Nardini writes, “If you want love then be love and it will find you exactly as you are experiencing it inside yourself.  You can't treat yourself like crap and get sweet love back, you give crappy love to yourself and you'll get crappy love in return.  Don’t you deserve better than crappy love?” 

 

If you are harsh, overly regimented, and self-critical in how you treat yourself that’s exactly what you’ll get back in relationship and you DESERVE BETTER!  The way you broadcast your life to the world through emotion (lightheartedness, ease, wonder, humor) is then transmitted back to you.  Your heart is the mirror.  Maybe if we all lived like those squirrels our lives would be more filled with spontaneity, sweet surprises, and pure pleasure!  Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

 

 

9/16/2009   Tags:  spontaneity, serendipity, freedom, squirrel story, perfect, self-love Direct Link

WHAT IS REAL WHO HAS IT EASIER THAN YOU?

SEPTEMBER 15, 2009: 
You guys this story from Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner on page 138-139 saved my life today. I was facing a challenge in my mind, and I was letting it start to get bigger and bigger and bigger.  I knew I was standing on the ledge so I phoned a friend. Love to you dear friend, you know who you are, thank you for talking me down.  Unfortunately once off the phone the voices and noise in my head got louder again. I was in that dreaded zone of catasrophizing! I know that zone, don't like to be there and want to get out as soon as possible.  I had used up all my calls it was just me fighting for my life (you know a life of peace, calm and happiness - no big deal.)
 
So I went outside to let the sun and wind help me heal my head that was now causing my heart to want to explode in my chest.  I picked up my book and it fell to this page and I started reading the following:  "I was home listening to NPR when I heard a familiar voice, a colleague who also works as a reporter for the network.  She had woven a small masterpiece. A story that was pitch perfect. My old nemesis, professional envy, kicked in. God, I thought, her life is PERFECT. So together. Everything is going swimmingly for her, while I am drowning in a sea of irrelevance. I sent my friend an email, telling her how much Iiked her story and adding, breezily, without a trace of envy, that I hoped life was good.
 
Thanks, she wrote back, but no, life was not good.  Just yesterday, her three-year old son had been diagnosed with a rare, debilitating disease. 
 
I felt like a fool. I had misread reality, once again failing to realize that as yoga teaches, all of the material world is MAYA, illusion. Things are not as they seem.  We humans do not know a damn thing. About anything. 
 
A scary thought but also, in a way, a liberating one.  Our highs, our accomplishments, are not real.  But neither are our setbacks, our mushkala. They are not real either."
 
Chapter 2.18 in the yoga sutras talks to us about two aspects: the one who sees (the TRUE SELF) and that which is seen (everything else).  It reads like this "When understood as illusory (Maya) nature (seen) and her attributes the gunas exist to serve the self (seer) with both enjoyment and liberation."  Our real problems exist because we can't tell what is real and what is not.  We think that our problems are real.  But even our problems are always changing (someone loves you one second and they don't the next, you have a job and then they let you go, then you get hired by someone else and fall in love again).  The ONLY THING that is truly real is the seer, who we are intuitively on the inside, our real self.  Not what we look like, what we do for a living, how much money we have, everything else in life is always changing.
 
"Once we realize that everything in nature changes, we FREE ourselves from wanting things to be different than they actually are. We ENJOY every moment."
 
YES! Try not to fight what is illusion and instead when the noise starts to get out of control come to the mat and remind yourself the only thing real is the moment we are living right now and it is something of the experience of ourselves on the inside.  Love you, and if you every need to phone a friend call me 847 772  9642.  Silvia
 
 
9/15/2009   Tags:  maya, illusion, change, present moment, freedom, geography of bliss, happiness, yoga sutras Direct Link

FREEDOM REQUIRES ENORMOUS STRENGTH

SEPTEMBER 10, 2009:   The choice to be FREE requires an enormous amount of inner strength.  It asks that we be courageous and believe in our own right to be free.  Chapter 2.26 talks about how if we believe we are limited, you will be limited; if you believe you are free, you are FREE.  Henric Frederic Ameil says “the one who has no inner life is the slave of his/her surroundings.” 

 

Yoga teaches us that we are sovereign over the democracy of ourselves.  We are the kings and queens of the kingdom of our lives.  So ask yourself what kind of leader do you want to be seen as?  Are you afraid to stand up for your rights?  Do you promote shared responsibility amongst the constituents of your limbs, breath, mind and heart?  Do you keep yourself shackled to workaholism or do you imprison yourself with worry or self-doubt or critical self-dialogue, do you allow someone outside yourself (your kingdom of self) run your life and keep you in prison?

 

So right now, sit in a way that elongates your spine and let’s your breath travel more freely.  As you free your breath you liberate your mind.  As the mind opens the heart opens.  You being to realize that you can choose to draw upon your own fortitude to free your heart from pain, to free your body from long held tension and to free yourself of unhealthy mindless habits (samskaras).  It is going to look different for everyone.  Freedom doesn’t appear to take the same priority.  It is a constant practice to remind ourselves that we alone are the most responsible in keeping the peace and joy within the democracy of self.  This territory you care for is most vitally important to you. 

 

In the end I hope that as we make liberation important we find from the inside the peace and content with ourselves where we discover joy (Santosha) has always been our natural state (sutra 2.42).  It was waiting for us to break free of our chains, our shackles and the prisons of our own making or imposed upon us by others.

 

I know what it’s like to feel imprisoned. I also can tell you I know what is it like to break free.  It’s not easy but I believe all of us can do it.  And if you want more of my story just call or email or sit and chat after class. I’d be happy to share more.  In the meantime here is a final favorite story to take to heart, to free your heart, to live in love!  Silvia

 

A final story I want to share with you from the Secret Power of Yoga “In ancient Egypt after death, the heart was removed from the body to be measured against the weight of a feather.  If the heart was found to be heavier than the feather’s weight, the person was considered not ready for admission for heaven.  The scale, was thought to reveal the degree of emotional heaviness held in the heart.  The LIGHTHEARTED were presumably permitted entry through a special ritual as their physical heart was given a place of honor in the burial plot.”

 

 

9/10/2009   Tags:  freedom, strength, yoga sutras, democracy, liberation, santosha Direct Link

EMBRACE YOUR TRUTH OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

SEPTEMBER 5, 2009:    Om is the Name of Narayana, the flame of truth.”

 

OM NAMO NARAYANAYA

 

This mantra is said to take the sayer to sublime spiritual realms where spiritual questions are answered and great TRUTHS are revealed.  The word for truth in Sanskrit is Satya.  In India the even hold a universal truth ceremony called Satya Narayana Puja.” (Healing Mantras by Thomas Ashely-Farrand)

 

We started class in seated meditation and I sang this mantra so we could all feel the vibration and set the tone for using the practice to delve deeper into revealing our unique truths. I know this concept is not “new” to you.  I too grew up with the idea of honesty. But the way I learned it was fear based this presentation of Don’t Lie or you will get into terrible trouble, no one will like you and you will be sent to a horrible place. As a kid this gave me nightmares and I can tell you I was a very good kid but I didn’t really need to be scared into embracing honesty.

 

So as an adult in my more mature spiritual practice I often dedicate my meditation to the basic TRUTH of my life.  I sit and attempt to “get real” with myself.  It started years ago with just the question “what is real” as I tried to figure out where in my life I might downplay things or where I might overexaggerate stuff.  Through this observation I found the middle path, the truth.  And each day along this path I say to myself “I AM STILL LEARNING” these are the words Michelengelo spoke at the age of 87 and my friend Liz gave me to wear as a bracelet on my left wrist, the receiving side of the body.    

 

This idea of still learning has helped me hold myself more gently.  It has allowed me to be more honest about who I am, what I need, what I feel. It helps me to look at old mistakes, times of self-neglect and even old hurts so I can move forward more honestly but always with love and more love.  Fearful intentions don’t work for me.

 

Spiritual Truth:  TRUE HAPPINESS REQUIRES HONEST SELF-REFLECTION. THE MORE HONEST YOU ARE WITH YOURSELF, THE GREATER HAPPINESS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE.

 

A great exercise I offer you from Robert Holden who wrote Be Happy is this:

 

  1. Self-Awareness. You will always feel like something is missing, you will always feel inadequate until you learn to know yourself better.  Life isn’t about getting more it is about being more of who you really are.  Authenticity is the perfect antidote to split desires and to negative comparison. And the more real you are with yourself, the more you will realize what you really want.  This is important because as Eric Hoffer put it “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”
  2. Self-Acceptance.  For as long as you do not accept yourself, you will always want more than you have.  If you will not accept that happiness is your true nature, you will search for happiness for the rest of your days.  And if by chance you discover some happiness, you will not let yourself enjoy it unless you have learned to accept yourself.  The fact is, more of anything or everything will not be enough until you choose to be happy. 
  3. Self-Accountability.  If you think something is missing from your life, it is probably you.  The idea that something is missing in your life, in your relationships, in your work is a projection. This projection is based on the fact that you are not fully present.  True happiness requires you to participate fully in your life now.  Do a self-inventory based on three questions:

1.)     What am I not being?

2.)     What am I not giving?

3.)     What am I not receiving?

 

 So today my dear friends please take time to reflect on your own truth and through this may you find the greatest happiness within your heart! Let’s imagine a world where everyone is living as themselves and that world is bright with no more war or conflict just pure truth and love.  Sat Nam (in truth and light), Silvia

 

9/5/2009   Tags:  TRUTH, MANTRA, OM NAMO NARAYANA, HAPPINESS, SELF-ACCEPTANCE, SELF-AWARENESS Direct Link

YOU ARE AMAZING OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

SEPTEMBER 4, 2009:  Namaskaram Yogi Friends,

What a great practice today!  For bringing your best self I thank you.  As you know we focused on Om Namah Shivaya.  I shared the story of how last week I brought a friend to their first Kirtan. Om Namah Shivaya was their favorite song.  So this inspired me to share more with you today, starting by singing out 108 rounds of this mantra. 

Om Namah Shivaya mantra uses the universal elements that govern each chakra: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. 

 

That’s all the chakras are: just the elements that you know exist rolled up into various energies of our bodies.  The syllables of Na, Ma, Shi, Va, Ya help the chakras to better utilize the fundamental elements that predominate in the chakra.  When we sing, hear or think this mantra we bring into balance all the chakras, all our energies.

 

This mantra also reminds us of our innate Perfection.  That we are born perfect (siddha) and whole.  And our only job in this lifetime is to remember how AMAZING WE ARE!  The thing is, you have always been perfect and what you are experiencing through your journey is the removal of all the external layers you’ve carried for a long time known as kleshas.

 

This brings us back to our true nature, which is JOY.  Even Abraham Lincoln says “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  If this knowing comes from a man known for his dark depression then I am sure we can all find a way to understand this about ourselves.  Carl Jung once said, “your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart.”  So Om Namah Shivaya brings us back to our selves, we actually remember better how happy we are on the inside in spite of the challenges that might surround us.  Put another way by great Indian Philosopher Pantanjali, “When you are inspired, 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 than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” 

 

All I am asking each of you to do is believe in your own GREATNESS and capacity for ever increasing happiness.  Leo Buscaglia writes in his book Loving Each Other “Joy and happiness are simply states of mind, it is strange that some of the happiest people I have ever known were those who seemed to have no particular cause to rejoice.  They were simply happy.  They seemed to have in common a singular courage, a willingness to risk, to fail and to let go, a believe in themselves, a wonderful resourcefulness, and a trust in their creative uniqueness.” 

 

Be your best self today, OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!!  Big love, Silvia

 

9/4/2009   Tags:  mantra, om namah shivaya, happiness, SELF-LOVE, CHAKRAS Direct Link

WHY PRACTICE YOGA? TO LET GO

AUGUST 24, 2009:  I asked myself today these questions: Why practice yoga?  What about practicing yoga today seemed like a good idea?

I want to share with you what I discovered.  For me I come to the mat sometimes to celebrate, to do some deep thinking, to remember myself, to feel more…but really more often than not I come to the mat to LET GO.   

I practice yoga to let go of the pain caused by someone hurting my feelings so I don’t consume myself with replaying them over and over. I let go of worry (everything from what the weather will be like for the Cubs game on Wednesday to how will the rest of my life turn out). I let go of worldly pressures, to decompress from stress.  The practice helps me let go of the seriousness of meeting life’s challenges.  I come to let go of the complexity of life.  On the mat all we have to do is one pose at a time and breath while experiencing it.  I come to let go of self-doubt and regain clarity. 

 

What about practicing yoga seems like a good idea?  I find my best self and let go of all those things that might cause me to lose sight of how important my life is and that the person who must appreciate it the most – is me.

 

In the Yoga Sutras Chapter talks about what we can do to maintain equanimity and inner joy.  On the mat we let go & practice the following:

1.30 Perception of our true nature (joy, peace) is often obscured by physical, mental, and emotional imbalances.

1.31 These imbalances can promote restlessness, uneven breathing, worry and loss of hope.

1.32 These imbalances can be prevented from taking over our lives by consistently practicing yoga.

1.33  To preserve openness of heart and calmness of mind, nurture these attitudes:

·         Kindness to those who are happy

·         Compassion for those who are sick or struggling

·         Honor and appreciation for those who we admire

·         Equanimity to those whose actions oppose our values.

 

8/24/2009   Tags:  LET GO, YOGA, YOGA SUTRAS, EQUANIMITY, BALANCE, KINDNESS, COMPASSION Direct Link

CYCLES OF LIFE BY GUEST BLOGGER MARA CAMPBELL

AUGUST 19th, 2009:  Hi Total Body Yoga friends, I want to share my theme with you from class yesterday in case you weren't able to join us. I was inspired by the cyclical nature of life. In nature, we see the cycles of the seasons, as we now feel the height of summer beginning to crest and fall into autumn. The moon, the earth, the stars, the tides are all in their own cycles of life. I always loved being a school teacher since you are engaged in a yearly cycle with the students and staff and perhaps you are a parent or teacher about to make a turn into your own school year cycle.

The thing that inspires me about this succession of life is that it never ends. After every ending, there is a new beginning. For instance, when a bone breaks, some of the cells will die but the bone will quickly start regenerating and will actually seek out similar cells to mend. Then the place where it was broken but has come together now becomes the strongest part of the bone! It is the death, that allows the rebirth of a stronger, transformed body. Another example is the prairie, where the burning of fire is necessary to release the seeds that are captured in strong shells.

Shiva, the destroyer is celebrated in Hindu mythology as much as Bhrama, the creator, or Vishnu, the sustainer, since they are connected in a constant loop of life and death and rebirth. A study on longevity found a common thread among those who live long is their ability to endure loss. This shows me it is not the losses that define us but rather how quickly we recover our emotional equilibrium after difficulties and allow the healing cycle to take place.

The inspiration for me comes when we remember this succession of life as we live our yoga. When we are in a challenging situation in life, do we cling to the drama, rehashing it over and over, staying stuck in past and future? We can actually get in the way of nature's cycle by not loosening our grip on our difficulties. I know I do this as I over analyze my life, trying to figure out my next steps or trying to understand the why things happened the way they did. Yet, the gift of the present moment is constantly moving, with or without my connection with it. 

So we practice this on the mat; we present each other with challenges to learn about ourselves and practice the art of staying calm, centered and connected to the present moment. Our breath is there to help us on this journey and we practiced 4-part breath. We moved in circles to remind the brain that life is not a linear race but rather a series of cycles that expand and contract as we live our days.

As Rolf Gates states, We wake up, we are stiff, we are fatigued, our minds wander, we come to the mat, we forget, we loosen up, we relax, we have energy, we remember, we live, we sleep, we wake up, we are stiff, etc.

I hope to see you soon on the mat where we will continue to connect with our unique current moments within the cycles of life.  Much peace, Mara
8/19/2009   Tags:  cycles, change, challenge, attitude, rolf gates, present moment, shiva, bhrama, endings Direct Link

JOY AND FREEDOM BEAUTY IS EVERYWHERE!

AUGUST 16TH, 2009:  Beauty is everywhere!  Meditating today on Yoga Sutra 2.18 this idea that “if we trust our intuitive wisdom of our hearts the truth is that everything can be enjoyable because we have found the MAGIC WAND to convert everything that life brings into joy.” 

 

I was at the Chicago Art Institute yesterday and so inspired by the beauty of the art, the people looking at the art, the kindness and respect of folks enjoying this sharing together.  Just amazing.  But what touched me most was outside the art institute in Millenium Park the tons of folks with an old blanket, bread, cheese, drinks just kicking back and making their experience a feast!  That to me speaks to this sutra that we all have the magic wand to free ourselves from suffering by changing the way we think about what is being presented to us in each moment.  Hmmm I can change the way I think about something? Yes, that’s it.

 

No different than invoking “wonder twin powers” to change the form of yourself into something else but in this case the change is mentally how we think about a person, situation or thing. You wave your wand and presto!! The way you think about it changes your response, your emotions and your reality.  The sutra reads formally “when understood as illusory (Maya), nature (seen) and her attributes the gunas exist to serve the Divine Self (seer) with both enjoyment and liberation.”  Our nature in other words is to be happy.  This is our way of being. The illusion is to delude ourselves into believing that we want things to be different all the time and are in this state of stuckness.  Nope, no need to preoccupy ourselves like that. Instead be with what is and wave your wand turn all things into joy. Turn some bread and cheese into a party!  See that beauty is everywhere inside you, outside you and in all things (difficult or sweet).  Love your day! Silvia

 

8/16/2009   Tags:  BEAUTY, NATURE, JOY, FREEDOM, YOGA SUTRAS, PANTANJALI, MAGIC WAND Direct Link

WITHOUT ATTACHMENT TO THE OUTCOME

AUGUST 11, 2009:   Can we practice our life in a way that if something doesn’t work out the way you want it to we don’t fall apart? Can we appreciate it wasn’t right for us anyway? Can you endeavor to life your best life without attachment to the outcome?  Or as Judith Lasater puts it, “The best practice is that that asks us to believe without proof of the future, without confirmation that the outcome will be what we want it to be. So another name of courage is Faith.  Faith like yoga is unconditional without prerequisites or judgement.  It just is, it is a state of being. A place of being present and allowing the next thing to unfold. Courage is that place of not knowing yoga teaches us.”

 

This is the idea that we can practice experiencing each moment, not missing a thing, not missing the pretty colors, people and blessings right in front of us. On the mat we use the body to observe where we are, making sensitive adjustments to stay tuned in, and then allow the unfolding.  This keeps us mindful  to the moment rather than the goal or outcome.  The Yoga Sutras speak to this as vairagya (non attachment), chapter 1 verse 15. 

 

Key things to know include:

 

Non-attachment is not suppression: Non-attachment is not a mere personality trait that one practices in dealing with the other people of the world. It is very easy to fool oneself into thinking that non-attachment is being practiced when what is really happening is pretending to be non-attached. It is like saying that you have lost your inner craving to some object while inside you are longing for it intensely. Non-attachment is not a process of suppression or repression of wants, wishes, desires, thoughts, or emotions. It comes by the ongoing practice of awareness of the existence of attachments (kleshas, 1.5, 2.3) and gradually letting these weaken (2.4).

 

Non-attachment is cessation: If attachment does occur (whether attraction or aversion), wherein attention wraps itself around a deep mental impression, the ensuing non-attachment comes from the cessation of mental clinging, not from an act of prying attention away forcefully. It is easy to hear of the philosophy of non-attachment and then mistakenly walk around lying to ourselves, internally saying something like, "I'm not attached; I'm not attached." This is not non-attachment. It is better to see realistically where our minds are attached, and then learn to systematically release that coloring through the external and internal practices of yoga meditation.

 

Non-attachment is not detachment: It is not mere semantics to say that non-attachment is different from detachment. Detachment implies that there is first attachment, and that you then apply some method or technique to disconnect that attachment. It implies an act of doing something to cause the separation to occur. Non-attachment, on the other hand, means that the connection simply does not occur in the first place. Non-attachment is not a case of doing something, but is instead a non-doing sort of thing. It means that your attention does not grab onto that impression in the mind in the first place.

 

Non-attachment deepens through all levels: Patanjali explains that non-attachment applies to progressively deeper levels of our being. While we might begin with our more surface level attachments, such as the objects and people of daily life, the practice deepens to include all of the objects or experiences we might have only heard about, including the many powers or experiences of the psychic or subtle realm. We gradually see that even these are nothing but distractions on the journey to Self-realization, and we learn to set them aside as well.

8/11/2009   Tags:  non-attachment, outcome, vairagya, letting go, surrender, yoga sutras Direct Link

ACCEPTING OURSELVES

JULY 20TH, 2009:  Why do I come to the mat each and every day?  I return because I want to make and keep peace with who I am.  I practice in the safety of class radical self-acceptance.  Through that practice I stay present to life and what it is offering me breath to breath, email by email, thought to action to observation. We are all a work in progress but that awareness of letting ourselves be who we are is vital to positive mental, emotional and spiritual health.

 

Think about it you can come to class at any time without having to meet any single prerequisite.  You just come as you are and the power and beauty of yoga embraces you.  I can tell you during times of challenge the mat was the only place I felt like I could be myself. And I mean my real self (not the pretending we do for our neighbors, colleagues, even sometime our family members).  Eckhart Tolle in the book A New Earth says it like this on page 184:

 

"Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer."

 

Finding peace inside through compassionate self-acceptance is not that easy, but the thing is only when we find peace within can we become the kind of people who can live at peace with others.  It is a straightforward spiritual law.  You cannot offer to others what you don’t practice for yourself.  If you don’t have peace you can’t make peace, if you don’t love yourself you can’t really love someone else, if you don’t fully accept how amazing you are, you WILL NEVER accept others.  This is why when I’ve encountered the most critical or judgmental person I feel compassion for them because I know they are only treating me like that because they are first criticizing and belittling themselves.  I don’t want that to be the way of energy exchange for any of us. This is why I want the world to practice yoga.

 

“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there`s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it.” Says Anne Covey

 

And perhaps the greatest misunderstanding of acceptance is that it is apathetic. This is not the case.  Yoga is at its core learning how to accept ourselves in this moment not staying stuck in apologizing who were in the past or hyperventilating about who we might be in the future. As Fulton Oursler puts it, ‘Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.”  When we are allowing ourselves to accept our innate goodness we can learn how to ask ourselves better questions and to listen to the answers (i.e., What do I want? What do I feel? What do I need? How can I give myself what I need right now?) In other words we aren’t trying to fix ourselves as if we were broken we nourish ourselves with self-love.  This leads to a sense of feeling light, freer and healthier.  So today make the choice not to keep yourself in a prison of your own making through self-criticism and harsh self-judgement but instead as Rumi says, “only from the heart can you touch the sky!”  Accept yourself, lover your day, love your life! Silvia

 

 

"You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness." - Page 13 Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

 

7/20/2009   Tags:  Accepting, Self-Acceptance, Self-Love, A New Earth, Be Present, Peace, Compassion, Rumi Direct Link

INCONVENIENCES OF LIFE AND LOVE

JULY 14TH:     “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  Anais Nin (1903-77) France

 

Life is simple not easy says Jon Kabat Zinn. Nothing is promised to us as easy.  Life requires effort and discipline mostly because we have a lot working against us in keeping us mindful and present, more all the time to be honest.  So a certain amount of work is required.  And this is what inspired me today.  When Pema Chodran says Life is so inconvenient I said to myself YES! that’s true. I just never heard it said so straightforward like that before.  The word inconvenient is very different than something like saying life is hard.  And what I’ve also found to be true is that following our hearts, love itself is inconvenient.

 

Pema Chodran writes, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience.  From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth, when discovery and exploration and curiosity become your path – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.” 

 

This single teaching continues to resonate with me, not just the first time but in all the years since.  To read more check out her book The Wisdom of No Escape. 

 

Hey remember when we were kids on a road trip with our parents and from the back seat we’d ask, “are we there yet?”  So why were we asking?  The truth is that it’s easier to just stay home. It’s a lot more convenient, especially for our parents but they took us on the road anyway.  My own parents not only took us around the US but all over Europe and South America too.  We had more frequent flyer miles as kids than most adults!  But what my parents were trying to teach my brother and I was two key things (1) get involved in the journey of life (2) WAKE UP.  This waking up is an essential yogic teaching.  It often starts when we ask ourselves the question “who am I.”  Rumi writes, “All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”

 

The waking up is inconvenient.  Quite frankly waking up to one’s life is very inconvenient.  But Pema goes on to say, “But what spiritual practice teaches is that once you know that the purpose of life is simply to walk forward and continually to use your life to wake up rather than put you to sleep, then there’s that sense of wholeheartedness about inconvenience, wholeheartedness about convenience.  If we choose cozy, safe as our primary reason to exist then this becomes an obstacle for our very existence in trying to live fully where we take chances, offer ourselves to making new choices, take a risk, explore.” 

 

COMFORT ORIENTATION MURDERS THE SPIRIT

 

When we are on the path, involved in our own pilgrimage its inconvenient to be on the road (as a road warrior in the corporate world traveling 70% of the time I know this) but staying home and avoiding life but not engaging it is the death of our spirit.  It’s not easy but certainly it’s worth the inconvenience to dare the difficult. 

 

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare;

It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.  Seneca 4 BCE – 65BCE Rome

 

You guys, really if you think about it there are lots of inconveniences about life. It’s inconvenient to buy groceries, it’s inconvenient to make the bed each day, to brush our teeth, to prepare our meals, to get sick, to lose your job, to have your kids throw up on you, to get divorced, to get married, to clean the house, to get gas, to have a baby, it’s inconvenient to find yourself embarrassed or heart broken too.  Tell me what do you think is convenient?  And is that meaningful?

 

The thing is that if we want to love life we’ll learn that the inconvenience is not the obstacle.  Of course we’re going to get “poked and prodded like someone’s laughing in your ear, challenging you to figure out what to do when you don’t know what to do. It humbles you.  It opens your heart.” (Chodran) And when it comes down to it I’d rather have my heart opened up then live life tight in the bud.  I’d rather have something spectacular on my tombstone when this life ends than to have written, “had great health insurance and lived an ok life”  So please really sit with this and see how it can change your life as it has mine.  Love your day, your life, yourself! Silvia

 

The way of experience

Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;

Let me use danger as material for courage;

Let me use reproach as material for long suffering;

Let me use praise as material for humility;

Let me use pleasure as material for temperance;

Let me use pain as material for endurance.

-John Baillie (1886-1960) Scotland

 

7/14/2009   Tags:  INCONVENIENCE, LOVE, LIVNG FULLY, CHALLENGE, RISK, WISDOM, MEDITATION Direct Link

FREEDOM AND NO REGRETS

Dear Total Body Yoga Friends,

 

Happy 4th of July Weekend! At the beginning of July I’ve always had this feeling of making a fresh start or new beginning - like we are on the threshold of something greater.  Maybe I feel like this because it is my birth month and our birthday’s are like our own new year’s eve or maybe because we’re exactly halfway through the year.  I’m not sure really.  I just know that I intuitively want to think about the choices I’m making.  I use this time to face my fears and celebrate my accomplishments.  In the Alchemist it says “It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the master work.  Now, I'm beginning what I could have started ten years ago.  But I'm happy at least that I didn't wait twenty years.”  The important part is to begin again, just get started and take a small step.  None of us are being asked to jump off a cliff, this is a practice of millimeters that eventually builds quiet momentum. 

As you breath and enjoy this holiday weekend make time to set an expectation for your life this next half of the year.  Are you on the right path so far?  And whatever you decide just know we are all evolving in the direction of happiness. It is our right.  Freedom and the pursuit of happiness is your destiny!  It is like what’s written in the Alchemist, Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”  And when you need time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go join me on the mat where you’ll always discover you have the power, the heart and the energy to achieve anything you want!  Love the day, love your life! Silvia

 

7/5/2009   Tags:  freedom, no regrets, yoga, decisions, momentum Direct Link

EXPECTATIONS AND NO REGRETS

JULY 3, 2009:  At the beginning of July I’ve always had this feeling of making a fresh start or new beginning - like we are on the threshold of something greater.  Maybe I feel like this because it is my birth month and our birthday’s are like our own new year’s eve or maybe because we’re exactly halfway through the year.  I’m not sure really.  I just know that I intuitively want to think about the choices I’m making.  I use this time to face my fears and celebrate my accomplishments.  In the Alchemist it says “It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the master work.  Now, I'm beginning what I could have started ten years ago.  But I'm happy at least that I didn't wait twenty years.”  The important part is to begin again, just get started and take a small step.  None of us are being asked to jump off a cliff, this is a practice of millimeters that eventually builds quiet momentum.

 

As you breath and enjoy this holiday weekend make time to set an expectation for your life this next half of the year.  Are you on the right path so far?  And whatever you decide just know we are all evolving in the direction of happiness. It is our right.  Freedom and the pursuit of happiness is your destiny!  It is like what’s written in the Alchemist, Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”  And when you need time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go join me on the mat where you’ll always discover you have the power, the heart and the energy to achieve anything you want!  Love the day, love your life! Silvia

 

7/3/2009   Tags:  expectations, no regrets, freedom, choices, happiness, alchemist, beginnings Direct Link

CHOOSE LIFE - CHOOSE LOVE! BE FREE!

JULY 1, 2009:  Now I understand what its like to live life like a prisoner of your own fear, your own mind.  Years back I kept myself trapped in a prison of my own making (I separated myself from love and from this direct experience I promise no good comes of that). I also have some sad examples in my own family of this same thing. I think of my Uncle Victor who was a lover of FREEDOM and a lover of life yet became trapped by his own fears and anger.  Life is not always fair.  You can get sick, cancer can eat your brain, it can take over your organs, you can get run over by a car, you can lose your dad at the age of twenty-five, you can love and lose love but none of this is an excuse to give up and throw away the key.  We do not have to imprison ourselves let alone sentence ourselves to solitary confinement.  This only serves to punish needlessly thereby moving away from the very thing we long for…FREEDOM to love more and find mental peace.

 

So take to heart the words of Joseph Campbell who said, “Life is not about the meaning. It’s about the feeling.”  The Feeling of life even the hard stuff is the beauty.  Tantric views ask us to accept the full spectrum of who we are, denying none of our feelings.  So on the mat we practice feeling the poses.  And the poses are not easy.  Yoga is challenging but as we embrace the feeling of life (even the anger, the fear, the worry) we come alive again and realize the key is in our hand to free ourselves from suffering.  Pain is part of life but we don’t have to suffer endlessly. 

 

Feelings really are more powerful than thoughts and it is through feeling we are one step closer to freeing our hearts.  Those of you who are on the razors edge deciding whether to stay in the prison of your own making or come out the other side please know this, The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain.”  Kahlil Gibran.  You know then you have the capacity to be joyful and FREE!

 

Will we have sometimes sorrowful days, months, or years, maybe. But it’s been my experience that even that demonstrates to us that sometimes its necessary to love peace so much that you are willing to sacrifice for it.

 

So today have the courage to set yourself free!  For Stress paralyzes life; love releases it. Worry confuses life; love harmonizes it. Anger darkens life; love illuminates it.  As Augustus William Hare writes, “The feeling is often the deeper truth.”  Embrace your truth, embrace what you feel and free your soul for love and peace!  With humble gratitude for life, Silvia

 

 

7/1/2009   Tags:  life, choice, kahlil gibran, trapped, freedom, tantric Direct Link

COMPLICATED OR SIMPLE?

JUNE 30TH, 2009:  We are halfway through the summer believe it or not and it’s an easy time of year to get run down. We charge out of the gate of summer all haste and fire then we get halfway and we’re still racing like we’re going to run out at any time.  At times when we get run down yoga can be excellent as a means for strengthening our immune function and getting us back into alignment. 

Now recently I had a similar conversation multiple times that went something like this….me trying to explain or them trying to explain to me about the state of our lives.  We used, I used, the term complicated.  But when I had this word used right back to me I bristled.  I didn’t like the way that sounded at all.  So I used the thesaurus to see what this really meant.  And here is what I found:

COMPLICATED:  Thorny, Dense, Convoluted, Knotty, Intricate, Difficult, Problematic

My life is not dense or knotty.  But my mind if tired finds the easy way out and I used this word.  The reality is that my life is simple.  Life is simple.  We can choose fear or love.  We can see the Shri in the world around us and allow it to reveal itself more and more each day.  Shri is contagious beauty and LOVE!  It is fully abundant and helps us shine out from the inside no matter what challenges we face from the external world.  And the more we choose to view our world through this very simple love prism, then Shri starts to be expressed from the inside out too!  We start to look for the good everywhere (especially in ourselves). 

 

And if we see ourselves clearly then we use the correct expressions to describe our state of mind and body.  But if exhausted or just a little tired we get a bit hazy and on purpose we make things more complex.  Life is likely not that complicated.  There is beauty everywhere.  Now I’m not saying it’s easy. Believe me I am the very last person to ever say that life is easy. But my last 15 years of spiritual practice tell me, show me that there are good people that sometimes make destructive choices and bad things that happen to good people. But all in all yoga teaches us that our true nature is peace and love.

 

So my hope is that by the end of every practice you leave having shifted your vibration so you can better describe all the beautiful things you see.  That you are able to observe your life not using words like complicated but you more accurately know the facts of your heart. YOU ARE THE AUTHORITY (Adhikara) of your life.  Now I have gone back to redo the conversations I’ve had with friends using the word complicated what I came to realize is that I was just plain afraid. Knowing this and giving myself a mulligan, a do over, I could better say what I felt was fear and I chose love.  I hope you will use your yoga to find the clarity you need to – it will be well worth the effort.  Om Shanti, Silvia

 

6/30/2009   Tags:  COMPLICATED, SIMPLE, SHRI, adhikara Direct Link

FREEDOM FOR ALL

JUNE 28, 2009:  Martin Luther King said, “In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land. Some may have envisioned it with the wrong ideology, with the wrong philosophical presupposition. But men in every generation thought in terms of some promised land.”  This promised land is freedom and yoga teaches us that it is here right now inside us.  All that is necessary to FIND IT is to choose love, to allow yourself to feel more and think less.

Get on the mat, feel the breath, feel the sensations and let your mind unwind.

 

So today have the courage to set yourself free!  For Stress paralyzes life; love releases it. Worry confuses life; love harmonizes it. Anger darkens life; love illuminates it.  As Augustus William Hare writes, “The feeling is often the deeper truth.”  Embrace your truth, embrace what you feel and free your soul for love and peace! 

 

Lokaha Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu (May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts words and actions of my life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all!)

 

With lovingkindness,

Silvia

 

6/28/2009   Tags:  freedom, martin luther king, truth, breath, meditation Direct Link

BEING A STUDENT

JUNE 27, 2009:  Yesterday I went to the dentist for my annual cleaning. I don't naturally feel comfortable at the dentists. So I practiced breathing and took to heart the idea that good things will happen if I relax. If I just tense up it will only be more difficult for him and for me.  So I said to myself don't tense up, relax and breath.

As I used the falling out breath in between cleaning efforts by the hygenist I felt myself stay calm and her energy softened up too.  What I was really doing was trying to be a really great student of that situation.  I new I was there to receive their help and knowledge and all that was asked of me was to be diligent in staying open.  So it all reminde me of this great article by Russell Shields about Ten Tips from a Yoga Student on how to get more out of the teacher/student relationship.  I went through these things in class durign the practice so we could feel philosophy in motion.  If you want a copy of the detailed article email me at silvia@totalbodyyoga.com.  In the meantime, really think about today what kind of STUDENT OF LIFE you are?  How could you get more out of the relationship between YOU and all the WISDOM TEACHERS that surround you each day?  Love yourself, love your life! Silvia

1. Be a Student

2. Be Open

3. Overlook

4. Expect Odd Situations

5. Hang in There

6. Do It Their Way

7. You Do

8.  Eitquette

9. Relaxe/Don't Tense Up

10. Honor and Encourage

 

 

6/27/2009   Tags:  yoga, yoga student, teacher, yoga teacher, wisdom teachers Direct Link

PATIENCE: DETACHING FROM THE OUTCOME

JUNE 25, 2009:  TODAY'S MANTRA:  DROP INTO THE MOMENT. 

We often don't realize that the obstacles we place before us are not cement barriers, they aren't at all physical, what they are - are our thoughts and ideas.  I read in Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert about her divorce that no one has died of splitting up the living room furniture.  Yet, in our minds we can get so attached to having just one set outcome be the right way that we can become delusional and actually convince ourselves that will be the case.  Can you imagine?  I can.

Yoga teaches that detaching from the outcome through patience will bring peace of mind.

This to me is about unconditional love.  This is the universal intelligence that embraces us on all sides.   This intelligence is working with us.  We simply have to allow it. Yoga helps us do this by unwinding our mind that can get all jammed up because of ego.

Love doesn't get overwhelmed by ego.  Its the ego that says if this doesn't happen right now in just this one way then bad things will happen. We start to play mind games pushing, pulling, creating anxiety, distrust, stress. All of this is based in fear.  Fear is the enemy of peace. Peace is LOVE.

Today through infinite patience may we demonstrate unconditional love for what the world is offering us right now and find peace!  DROP INTO THE MOMENT.  Love your life! Silvia

 

 

6/25/2009   Tags:  detachment, outcome, patience, unconditional love Direct Link

WE ALL SERVE AS EXAMPLES AND WARNINGS TO ONE ANOTHER

JUNE 13

Today’s Guest Blogger is Lucy Klaczko

During a recent workshop Rolf Gates expressed how we all serve as examples and warnings to one another. How true this is! I am currently reflecting on my life and decided to do this by going to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.

I quickly discovered the beauty of the Eastern part of the US! I never knew it was that incredible! Driving through the Hudson Valley I felt like I had a blanket over me with all the trees. I loved getting away and meeting some really remarkable women—whom I consider my examples and warnings!

I would like to share a few stories with you.

One woman I met was attending a conference to help her cope with the fact that her husband walked out on her and two daughters after 22 years of marriage. Apparently he decided that he wanted to bike across the U.S. on a motorcycle and blog about his experience. His friends do not know that he actually left his wife! As she shared a bit more of her story, I began to see similarities between her situation early in her marriage and the struggles that I’m currently facing. I recalled Rolf’s words about us all being warnings and examples! How true!

Another woman I met had a very similar upbringing to mine. She is a first generation American and when we started comparing our lives, we were both amazed at how many parallels we shared. She comes from an Italian family, while I am Polish, yet there were so many of the same expectations and fears placed on us as kids in terms of how we must live and how life works. She's also trying to find her creative voice and to figure out what direction her life must take now that her children are a little bit older and she has some more time to focus on herself.

The third woman I met is living a life that is a reflection of who she is and wants to become. She too has some of her own struggles, but I was impressed by her dedication to live the life that she loves. She is an artist with a home studio in the Hudson Valley where she crafts fine jewelry and sells it through a gallery in NYC. In addition, she also teaches in NYC and shares her knowledge and passion with her students.

It's amazing that I met these three women -- like the Universe is trying to tell me something or at least show me the various avenues that are open to me!

After these few days away, I can't say that I have all of the answers. I'm really just beginning. One thing I know is that I need to carve out time for myself each week to concentrate on introspection. It's so easy to get back into the grind of daily life and have it take over. I know it's not going to be easy, and I may hurt some people who I care about and love very much, but I’m starting to see that I need to live my life in a way that meets and exceeds my expectations. In doing so, I hope that someday the way that I have lived my life can be an example to someone, rather than a warning.

Sending love and happiness!
Lucy

6/13/2009   Tags:  Rolf Gates, Omega Institute Direct Link

POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS YIELDS POSITIVE OUTCOME

May 31, 2009:

 

The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

 

It is a Fundamental spiritual belief yogic or otherwise that we are meant to enjoy ourselves in this lifetime, right now.  Our natural state is to love and be loved. 

 

So ask yourself what attitude do you have about your life?  What does this attitude say about you?  I think we all understand that without stop we have a running commentary in our head. This mindstuff reveals what beliefs we have about who we are, our attitudes about life.  My friend Sadie Nardinin says “The biggest mistake we make as humans is to look at our destructive thought patterns and think we cannot choose again.”  I’ve known that feeling of being stuck.  The thing is you guys YOU are not stuck.  Choose again. Take back your attitude. Give yourself permission to get back to your natural state.

 

We do this by having POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS for a POSITIVE OUTCOME. 

 

Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event.” Brian Tracy

 

We can check in with our attitude all day long:  Are you focused on your limitations right now or on your dreams?  Are you expecting the worst of best from life? Simply put, are your expectations positive or negative? 

 

Through yoga learn how to live like life is not being done to you but for you.  This is a gift with a limited shelf life so enjoy it! Transform your life by expecting the best.  If you are in a downward spiral or just feeling “ok” there is no need for you accept a flat lined life.  Your attitude is your POWER TO HEAL yourself.  Our best feature as human beings is our super hero power of positive expectation:  determination, living with integrity, strength of character, compassion in the face of suffering, creativity, growth, renewal.  You create your life and no one else does it for you.  Start today, start now.  Life is fleeting don’t miss the pretty colors.  Love your day, Silvia

 

When we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations. Shakti Gawain

 

5/31/2009   Tags:  positivity, positive expectations, outcome, power to heal, healing, transformation, thoughts Direct Link

BUMPING INTO OUR LIMITATIONS

MAY 19, 2009:  Without apology I hope this practice bumps you into your limitations!  I really want that it pushes your buttons and makes you uncomfortable at times. What are examples of discomfort? Frustration, risks, the unknown, adventure! It is through that we meet our real selves. Once you see yourself as you truly are then you remove the veils, kleshas and you dream your best dreams.  You start living life on your terms.  So through this practice use your discomfort open the door more widely so you can DREAM WILDLY!  Let the poses show you what you are capable of becoming! Don’t focus so much on what you are now but more so let this spark within you something greater, your potentiality for beauty, for love, for amazement!  Time in life is short.  Dr Wayne Dyer says, "Let no doubt into your dreams and intentions. The dreamers are the saviors of the world.” 

 

Now we have a choice. We can stay in the “comfort” zone a little apathetic or not totally turned on by life. What a friend once had described to him as “flat lining” one’s life.  You know how this feels. Everything is just OK.  Spiritual practice implores us to live life more than OK.  That we need not give up when we meet uncomfortable situations for that’s exactly when we are about to break free.  The author Jaimal Yogis says, “the story you’ve been telling, you know the one, about the way you have to compromise that dream.  Bend that rule. Cut the cornerstone of logic for breakfast. That story is old and tired. Do you see how FREE you are without it?

 

Please don’t compromise your life, this one life any longer.  Be uncomfortable. Face the fear, the discomfort to live your life heroically.  It is really the only way.  As I wish myself my own best strength I offer you the same.  Let’s all just go for living the adventure of life! Love to you, Silvia

“A man practices the art of adventure when he heroically faces up to life; When he has the daring to open doors to new experiences and to step boldly forth to explore strange horizons. When he is unafraid of new ideas, new theories and new philosophies. When he has the curiosity to experiment--to test and try new ways of living and thinking. When he has the flexibility to adjust and adapt himself to the changing patterns of life. When he refuses to seek safe places and easy tasks and has, instead, the courage to wrestle with the toughest problems. When he has the moral stamina to be steadfast in the support of those men in whom he has faith and those causes in which he believes. When he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints. When he has the nerve to move out of life's shallows and venture forth into the deep. When he keeps his heart young, his expectations high and never allows his dreams to die. When he concludes that a rut is only another name for the grave and that the only way to stay out of the ruts is by living adventurously and staying vitally alive every day of his life.  By Wilfred Peterson. Source: The art of living, Albert W. Daw Collection

 

5/19/2009   Tags:  limitations, discomfort, uncomfortable, apathy, Ok, hero, dreams Direct Link

ACCEPTING SUPPORT: CAN YOU BE REACHED?

MAY 18, 2009: There is within each of us a light (Yoga Sutras Chapter 1 verse 24.)  This light illuminates who we are from the inside out.  But sometimes from doing too much giving and not making enough time for receiving our light gets dim.  Albert Schweitzer says it like this, “Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  This is true for any of us coming together in a Kula, community of the heart, to practice yoga.

 

This support group we form for one another was made even more profound this afternoon.  You may or may not know that the world lost a great peaceful warrior today.  Sri Pattabhi Jois or Guruji as he was known to his students passed from his earthly body today.  His life demonstrated to all what an amazing difference just a single person can make on mankind.  The key message that I have taken from his teachings is: practice more.  And if we practice more, we love more.  (More about this Master Yogi, “Guruji, as he was fondly know all over the world, was one of Sri T Krishnamacharya's earlier students in Mysore. He has been instrumental in spreading one of Krishnamcharya's methods, which is now popularly known as Astanga Vinyasa Yoga. He has been one of the most influential teachers of our time. It is our great privilege to have shared this earth with a master of his caliber. Kausthub Desikachar, Krishnamcharya Healing & Yoga Foundation”)

 

So today as we offer support around the world to the family of Sri Pattabhi Jois, we also recognize internally how important it is for each of us to feel supported.  It is as Earon Davis says, “It takes community to maintain a human.”  YES! Community, communion, compassion all of these and more that the practice teaches us through the vehicle of ourselves and trying to experience democracy and connection there first before taking it into relationship with others.  One of my personal meditations I use is where I ask myself as much as I reach out to others, “can I be reached?”  So I ask you, “CAN YOU BE REACHED?”   How easily do you accept support from your breath, from the earth, from your healthy friends, from those that are trying to make your life easier?  If its not so easy then come to the mat even more until you feel it possible within your body and heart and this will ignite the trust to accept support from others.  Make Rumi’s words come to life! “Stay with friends who support you. Talk with them about sacred texts, and how you are doing, and how they are doing, and keep your practices together.”

 

Stay the course, love in all ways! Silvia

 

5/18/2009   Tags:  receiving, giving, relationship, Sri Pattabhi Jois, Light, kula, community, compassion, communion Direct Link

APPRECIATION OF THIS MOMENT

MAY 16, 2009:  Everyday we are working on our PhD on how to be a better human being. We are all doing the best we can.  So right now for 5 minutes can you let go of what you thought was supposed to happen, just breath and let things be.  Can you appreciate your life just as it is offered to you in this moment? 

 

There is that tendency we have to want things to be different than what they are but spiritual maturity impresses upon us to learn how to find a way to be content with what is in the present for it is a gift.  To help with this growth simply listen to your heart as you watch your thoughts.  This study of oneself will open up channels of stuckness in both the physical body and channels to deep reservoirs of clarity and wisdom within our minds.  This cultivates appreciation.  And there is an inherent gentleness when we practice appreciation for who we are.  Please make your observations not from a place of judgement but of understanding, compassion and self-love.  Know that you dissolve negativity through appreciation for this is the real enemy of love.  Practice appreciation and love triumphs!

 

So today take time to appreciate your breath, to appreciate your feelings (whatever they may be – joy, sadness, peace, frustration, love), appreciate being in your own skin.  I know this is not easy.  Just like the poses we practice on the mat are not easy.  They are often very uncomfortable. 

 

So I’m asking you to be uncomfortable. To actually stay with the discomfort of your reactivity until you can turn it into a loving response.  With time you’ll find the action of appreciation gets easier and this is the answer to dissolving the negative from all areas of your life.  And as luck has it life is going to keep giving us opportunities to evolve this practice.  From one perspective what we are talking about here is Santosha, to be with what is and find the good, experiencing contentment within the situation, with the person instead of getting angry or having to change the thing, situation, weather or person.  Now that’s the advancing of our spiritual selves.  Let the door of appreciation open the way.  Love you, love serving you! Silvia

 

 

5/16/2009   Tags:  appreciation, santosha, contentment, discomfort, meditation, self-love, breath Direct Link

STOP THE NOISE: COURAGE TO CHANGE

MAY 12, 2009:  I had this illuminating conversation with an old returning client this morning.  They had been away from yoga for 6 months and were coming back today to take one class.  I bow to their quiet courage to begin again. The first step towards changing your life is the most difficult. I know this.

 

At the same time you guys I asked why not make a bolder decision and see themselves of deserving of one hour per week from this day forward, whether it’s yoga class or a cup of tea or reading a book. From my heart I tried to encourage them to see that they are deserving of at least this I am sure they didn’t believe me (yet).  Because the gosh honest truth is that if you want to STOP THE NOISE in your head and find clarity, more importantly MAINTAIN mental and emotional clarity well you need to make a commitment of more than one hour every 6 months. 

 

It does take courage to change your life.  And no matter how badly I want it for you. You have to do it yourself. You must take action.  This is karma.

 

You must stand up for your rights as Bob & Ziggy Marley sing. If there is anything worth committing to it is your right to be peaceful and happy.  It is your choice.  Rascal Flats in this utube clip below puts it like this, “I hope the day comes easy and the moments pass slow and each road leads you to where you want to go and if you're faced with the choice and you have to choose I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_zi4OxJpY0&feature=related

 

The key thing here is to make the commitment to yourself to turn inside so you can stop all the EXTERNAL NOISE long enough to realize what changes we want, which choices, which roads mean the most to us.  I truly hope we can all find the courage within ourselves to heed the advice of the Yoga Sutras that ask us to observe within our hearts are we  “running away from the life we’re afraid of or are we running towards the changes that bring about the peace and health we want instead.”  STOP THE NOISE, get on the mat. Make healthier choices through your courage to change! Love yourself, Silvia

**Rumi says STOP THE NOISE**

5/12/2009   Tags:  CHANGE, RUMI, HAPPINESS, courage, choices, commitment Direct Link

BE A PIONEER: INVOKE NEW EXPERIENCE

May 1, 2009: 

"Like a bee seeking nectar, seek teachings everywhere.  Like a deer, seek a quiet place to digest all that you have gathered."  -Dzogchen Tantra

 

How do we open up?  We start by saying to ourselves I choose LOVE.  From there everything softens.  Then say to yourself, I AM OPENING INTO ______.

 

“We all have unknown territory in our lives.  It’s one thing when the unknown territory is the forest, the mountains or even the craziness of the city. But in our world of constant distraction, I wonder if the present moment is becoming a kind of unknown mysterious forest teeming with life, treasures and visions. For those who view the moment as exotic, unknown territory, let’s step back and chart the lay of the land.” Says David Romanelli in his new book Livin the Moment.  I like everyone have wrestled with fear of the unknown of what comes next.  And the more new and fresh the experience to me used to be the most scary.  Then funny thing, the more I practiced yoga, tried new poses that were just crazy to think I could ever form I became more confident in trying new things in life.  I opened up to the multitude of fresh discoveries just waiting out there.  We are, as the sutras say, all evolving in the direction of happiness, that happiness includes trying new things. Having the experience and delighting in it rather than conquering it is what expands our happiness too.  So open up, open out, take a risk and move into the unknown! You’ll be glad you did!  Wishing you bold courage, Silvia

 

 

5/1/2009   Tags:  new, experience, david romanelli, open up, expand Direct Link

LOVE & SURRENDER

April 14th, 2009:  My totem recently changed, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the space of surrender. In the practice it is the space of OM.  It is not the ending or the beginning but the space between. This is said to be a sacred space, right before the unknown.  When we come to class, class itself is the space of om. It is in between work and home or doing and being.  Om itself means unlimited, untapped, universal human potential.  We get the opportunity to live in that space between our breaths.

 

Space itself equates to time.  Of which we have ample amounts.  I used to say Time is Big, still like that, but also like the feeling of saying that we have ample time.  So today take your time (on the mat or not) to be inspired.  Ask yourself: “What are my passions” “When am I happiest” :What would make me happier” “What do I really want”

 

In the practice today we breathed in, we breathed out and then we held the breath out in every pose. This helped us to slow down and appreciate what it is we really need to be in order to be in love with our live’s.  As we know from the law of attraction as my friend Sadie Nardini says, “we attract the people to us who reflect the relationships we’re having with ourselves.”  If you say what relationship??? That’s it exactly, you have to make space in order to have the relationship to yourself.  The whole practice is designed to help us promote self-love.  This means loving ourselves unconditionally. Once you figure this out you realize the universe wants to love you back, spirit loves you, nature loves you and then you are free of all mental tortures.  Ultimate freedom and surrender is yours!

 

Well it makes sense. Now the question is how do you surrender enough to slow down and meet yourself.  If you’re in a funk what do you do to get back to loving yourself?  One way is to chant 50 Om’s which is said to remove distraction and makes the mind serene, light and focused.  All you have to do is relax your mental space, regardless of the tone of your voice and repeat the Om with feeling. This brings us into that place of absolute consciousness where we realize we are infinite and love is ours each moment! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

 

 

4/14/2009   Tags:  LOVE, SELF-LOVE, SURRENDER, meditation, OM, Time, Happiness Direct Link

FREEDOM

MARCH 16TH, 2009:  The first week of the year I passed out raffle tickets and during meditation I asked what single word came to mind.  That would be the focus of our practice and our intention for the year.  So tonight we checked back into this.  How are we doing? 

For me the word on my life ticket was FREEDOM.  This means a number of things to me such as:
  • Freedom to be happier than ever before
  • Freedom to try new things
  • Freedom to meet new people
  • Freedom to make happy failures
  • Freedom to not play it all so safe
  • Freedom to do the unexpected
  • Freedom to just see what happens

So as you close your eyes and turn inside to your most loving self what sense of freedom to you experience in your breath right now?  The breath, the air element that of the fourth chakra. This is the heart chakra and perhaps that’s why one of my favorites quotes from the book Immunity to Change is “Happiness is really freedom from unhappiness.”  What does FREEDOM mean to you?         

 

Ultimately freedom means that we are living on purpose or as Robin Sharma writes, THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS A LIFE OF PURPOSE.  Everytime we come to the mat we have the right and freedom to explore ourselves more deeply.  This cultivates an intimate connection with who we really are and can we live with what life is offering us right now.  For its about whether life gave us what we wanted today but the fact we have the freedom to respond rather than react. We don’t have to struggle, fight or become disappointed.  We can empower ourselves to make the experience (even if it is painful).  In the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Robin Sharma writes, “People who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened.  Those we are truly enlightened know what they want out of life, emotionally, materially, physically and spiritually.  Clearly defined priorities and goals for every aspect of your life gives you direction.  The real source of happiness is stated in the word Achievement – lasting happiness comes from steadily working to accomplish your goals and advancing confidentily in the direction of your lifes purpose.

 

Here’s the coolest part!  You get to choose your life’s purpose.  And you can readjust as your intentions evolve.  So take to heart the words of John Wood from another all time favorite book “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” who writes, “If you are thinking about making some adjustments in your life my heartfelt recommendation is not to spend too much time thinking about it. Just dive in. I know that all kinds of practical considerations make this advice difficult to embrace. The need for advice from friends and family, and the desire to write a business plan. I am not saying you should not do any of these things – just that you should not spend too much time on them or you will lose momentum.  The biggest risk is that a lot of people will try to talk you out of your dream.  The world has too many people who are happy to discuss why something might not work, and too few who will cheer you on and say, “I’m there for you.”  The more time you spend navel gazing, the longer you give those negative gravitational forces to keep you in their tether.  So sometimes, it’s really important to just dive in.  If there is something out there that you want to do, don’t focus on the obstacles. Don’t ask for permission.  Just dive in.”   FREEDOM MEANS YOU CAN DIVE IN TODAY! Wishing you courage to do so, Silvia

 

 

3/16/2009   Tags:  Freedom, Happiness, Robin Sharma, John Wood, obstacles, courage, intention Direct Link

BREATHING ROOM

MARCH 8TH, 2009:  I mediate often on the power of freedom and what this means in relation to having room to breath.  Some years ago I read the book by Thit Nhat Hanh Peace in Every Step. In the book there is a story titled "Breathing Room".  Sorry to say I didn't read the story until recently.  But just the title had a huge impact on me. 

What does that mean to you "breathing room"? 

So you can interpret it in different ways.  I took it literally, like wouldn't it be cool to have a room where we breath.  That is in many respects the sacred space of the asana room at the studio.  Interesting enough this is also what Thit Nhat Hanh is suggesting as follows: 

"We have a room for everything - eating, sleeping, watching TV - but we have no room for mindfulness.  I recommend that we set up a small room in our homes and call it a "breathing room", where we can be alone and practice just breathing and smiling, at least in difficult moments.  That little room should be regarded as an Embassy of the Kingdom of Peace.  It should be respected, and not violated with anger, shouting or things like that.  When a child is about to be shouted at , she can take refuge in that room. Neither the father or mother can shout at her anymore.  She is safe within the grounds of the Embassy.  Parents sometimes will need to take refuge themselves.  Therefore, that room is for the benefit of the whole family.  I believe that every home should have one room for breathing.  Simple practices like conscious breathing and smiling are very important.  They can change our civilization."  (the rest of this story is found in the book Peace Is Every Step)

Please enjoy this and look around your own home is there a closet, a corner, a room that you could designate as your BREATHING ROOM?  I know there is.  Why?  Because we all had this as children except we called it a tree house, under our bed, secret spot by the big tree...you still have that available to you now (it just might be fancier).  Wishing you freedom in breathing forever! Big Love, Silvia

3/8/2009   Tags:  BREATH, Peace, MEDITATION, Thit Nhat Hanh Breathing Room Direct Link

WORDLESS MESSAGES

MARCH 1, 2009:  I’m Italian, we naturally speak in an animated style with lots of gestures and intonation.  It is in effort to be really heard amongst the chaos of other voices.  Maybe your family is like this too?  With Yoga practice it anchors us to our body so we don’t slip into constant chaos of mind.  This improves our ability to listen.  In each pose we ask ourselves how can I use this pose to be more: accepting of myself, to practice being less reactive, to respond appropriately to what I feel and hear.  Remembering always that the healthiest person is not the one who goes farthest in the pose but is the person whose mind is so quiet they can listen to what their body is saying and honor it. 

Yoga is the greatest environment to quiet the mind and listen to yourself.  And undoubtedly whether you want it to or not when you practice stuff comes up, judgement, criticism, frustration, competitiviness  and it becomes this great opportunity to listen and let go of what you feel, reducing tensions that might poison our ability to communicate.  We take this ability to listen to the other languages of wordless messaging into our life.  Just think of how as human creatures we talk to each other with smiles, with handshakes, with hugs, with laughter, with eye contact, with touching, holding, enfolding, and a myriad of gestures.  These TOO are languages.  Some of which may speak louder than words.  Today witness the messages from your inner self through your breath moment to moment in order to become more responsive to your needs. Hear your unique gifts.  Or as RUMI says "Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around all."  Love in all ways! Silvia

3/1/2009   Tags:  communication, langauge, listening, mantra, rumi Direct Link

LET GO - LIBERATE YOURSELF!

FEBRUARY 15TH, 2009:  Believe it or not Spring starts in about a month already.  WOW! So this is the perfect time to shed old aspects of ourselves and our lives that no longer serve us.  This allows us to make room for the new growth that comes with the longer days of Springtime. 

Today we devote to Liberation (Jivamukti!) to clear space for change.  What is the ultimate key to liberation? Well it's as Michael Franti sings, "Love will set you free."   Take this practice to liberate yourself, how?  Let go of your worries. Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras, “What you’ve already done, you’ve done – LET IT GO, MOVE ON.”  Now in your next breath just do your best, be kind to yourself. Enjoy these three favorite pieces of inspiration that motivated me to do the work of letting go that changed my life forever and does to this day! Patience and courage to you all! Silvia

 

Let It Go By Danna Faulds

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations — Let it go.  Save your strength to swim with the tide.   The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. 

Let go.

Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.  Take this on faith:  the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless.  Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.

 

A Meditation on Letting Go By Ajahn Chah

If you let go a little

You will have a little happiness.

If you let go a lot

You will have a  lot of happiness.

If you let go completely

You will be free.

 

"Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be."
-Karen Ravn

 

 

2/15/2009   Tags:  FREEDOM, Letting go, Ajahn Chah, Meditation, Danna Faulds Direct Link

FREEDOM TO BE HAPPY: HONOR MARTIN LUTHER KING

JANUARY 19TH, 2009:  I was reflecting on what it means to be balanced. So I looked up Balance in the thesaurus and it said:  stable, steady, together, middle, centered.  The opposite is unbalanced, unequal, uneven.  I might say that this describes freedom too. Coming together. 

So today in honor of Martin Luther King let’s honor this balance and freedom to deeply commit ourselves to coming back to our essential nature which the sutras say is JOY.  Now this at first might seem difficult but we must take the first step, or as MLK Says, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”

 

FREEDOM IS FOR US NOW. 

 

In every age and every generation, men have envisioned a promised land. Some may have envisioned it with the wrong ideology, with the wrong philosophical presupposition. But men in every generation thought in terms of some promised land. –Martin Luther King.  This promised land is freedom and yoga teaches us that it is here right now inside us.  All that is necessary to find it is to love peace, to allow yourself to feel more and think less.  Take to heart the words of Joseph Campbell who said, “Life is not about the meaning. It’s about the feeling.”  Even science can measure the infectious nature of positive emotion on ourselves and others.  So on the mat practice feeling the poses.  For when you come from a peaceful and relaxed feeling, you are one step closer to the promised land, to FREEDOM.  And ultimately you regain your joy!  Now will it be easy, not always.  Will we encounter challenge, of course.  But keep on going and heed this advice from George Bernard Shaw who said, “Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.”  Wishing you your best courage!  Peace, Silvia 

1/19/2009   Tags:  HAPPINESS, Freedom, Peace, Joy Direct Link

HEART HEALTH WITH YOGA: STRENGTHEN YOUR MIND MUSCLE

JANUARY 13, 2009:  The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience.  Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around.... Throughout history, "tender loving care" has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing.  ~Larry Dossey 

It's easy to disconnect from what we are feeling. Yoga brings us back into a state of connection.  Life surprises us sometimes with interesting challenges and this is when we need a strong MIND MUSCLE the most!  And just like working out a bicep you have to do it more than once to see results.  How is the mind muscle related to a Healthy Heart?  We begin with what we are thinking and then our breath and our body follow.  Our disposition and how we manage our mental muscle in dealing with life impacts our health and it is nowhere more evident than with our heart. 

From personal experience in losing my Dad at the early age of 59 I know firsthand that heart disease is the number one killer in the modern world (and its not just men that are affected).  It is the  leading cause of death in both sexes. According to the book Yoga as Medicine it says, “In predicting heart attacks, science has uncovered strong evidence for possible contributing factors such as type A behaviors, a sense of urgency about time, job dissatisfaction, loneliness and an unhappy marriage. There appears to be an unhealthy synergy involving risk factors for heart disease. They don’t add up – they multiply.”

 

How does yoga fit in?  “Because the stress response affects the heart in a number of harmful ways, yoga’s proven ability to fight stress is a big part of the explanation for how yoga benefits people with heart ailments.” 

On the mat we begin the pose with the mind first and then the breath and body follow.  This is why the sophistication in cuing is so remarkable as a way to "work out" our mind muscle and make it less flabby.  How can we even begin to see the connections between ourselves and the world if our mind muscle isn't strong enough to see the communion or connection within our own body?  And really what are we talking about here?  Why bother at all?  Because a strong mind muscle is what keeps us living lovingly and fully!  It is always about LOVE.  Jack Kornfield says it like this:

"Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, ennobles us. Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action.  It makes beauty out of all we touch.  In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of the whole."

In the end, when we look at our life, the questions will be simple:  Did I live fully?  Did I love well?

I can say that I believe my Father, Enrico Mordini, could respond YES to both these questions.  And maybe its not the length of time we have on this earth and in this body that makes the difference but what we have done with this time that counts.  Please, strengthen your mind and open your heart.  Love, Silvia

1/13/2009   Tags:  Community, Connection, Love, Heart, 4th Chakra, Mind Direct Link

FOR THE LOVE OF KULA! (COMMUNITY)

JANUARY 5TH, 2009:  What inspired today's practice is CONNECTION - COMMUNITY - COMPASSION!

I love practicing yoga with others!  When I’m a student I will snuggle up my mat right next to the folks around me (I know you’re thinking, you probably like to talk to people on airplanes too). Yes, you’d be right, I do!  Without apology I enjoy making connections. It feels like to be the most compassionate act we can take is to get along.  And when we’re in class practicing something as straightforward as a sun salutation it gives me great hope for all mankind that we can get along and sync our energies in other ways too. 

 

Einstein said it like this, A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us. Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

 

Now on the mat the connecting vinyasa in the sun salutation is what my teacher Shiva Rea calls, the “Basic Vinyasa”.  If we were cooking a meal together at some points we’d have to mix ingredients together.  The Basic vinyasa, or connecting vinyasa, is that mixing.  Also when preparing a yummy meal we’d have to let some stuff marinate or simmer to let the juices of flavors come together.  That’s exactly like when we hold poses and really settle into them.   You see each class serves a full multi-coursed meal.  And our job as students is to taste each course but then make personal decisions about what we choose to indulge in a little more.  You have to trust yourself and the connection within the community of your own body as to what parts of the class, or meal, make sense for you to have more of and when to say ok that’s plenty. 

Finally when we lie down in Savasana we can both reflect energetically on how great the meal was, what good choices we made and then just BE with ourselves as we are so we can contemplate the deliciousness of coming together in community for the next meal or practice!  I embrace all of you with my heart I consider you all my family and I just wanted you to really know that.  Thank you for spending time with me in fellowship, in Kula (community) I am forever grateful, Silvia

 

1/5/2009   Tags:  KULA, COMPASSION, COMMUNITY, YOGA, Trust, Direct Link

YOGA IS INVISIBLE

NOVEMBER 30TH, 2008:  When I think about the main message I want to give folks about yoga it's this: JUST HAVE FUN.  Find pleasure in the practice.  ENJOY IT!  I don't want you to get all worked about about what you look like, how you practice and whether you're doing it perfectly.  I really don't want your yoga to be another opportunity to practice the self-abuse of perfectionism.   

Just be YOURSELF. This means if you want to cry or laugh or both at the same time, that's just you being you without conditions.  Just like your breath is unconditional.  It will breath us no matter what.  I remember a time in my life where I was not given permission to breath or to be myself, flaws and all, and it felt like I was a prisoner.  YOGA SET ME FREE.  I want it to do that for you too.

Remember REAL YOGA IS WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE.  IT IS INVISIBLE.

So while I know you will find deep benefits from the practice including  greater clarity and a more peaceful demeanor I hope this is achieved while you are enjoying your time on the mat.  That it becomes for you what it is for me, FREEDOM, LIGHTNESS, RECESS FOR ADULTS.    Let the yoga work for you, takes its lessons to heart but msot of all HAVE FUN!  Wishing you all great joy! Silvia

12/1/2008   Tags:  pleasure, fun, joy, freedom Direct Link

FIND PLEASURE IN IT!

NOVEMBER 30TH, 2008:  When I think about the main message I want to give folks about yoga it's this: JUST HAVE FUN.  Find pleasure in the practice.  ENJOY IT!  I don't want you to get all worked about about what you look like, how you practice and whether you're doing it perfectly.  I really don't want your yoga to be another opportunity to practice the self-abuse of perfectionism.   

Just be YOURSELF. This means if you want to cry or laugh or both at the same time, that's just you being you without conditions.  Just like your breath is unconditional.  It will breath us no matter what.  I remember a time in my life where I was not given permission to breath or to be myself, flaws and all, and it felt like I was a prisoner.  YOGA SET ME FREE.  I want it to do that for you too.

Remember REAL YOGA IS WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE.  IT IS INVISIBLE.

So while I know you will find deep benefits from the practice including  greater clarity and a more peaceful demeanor I hope this is achieved while you are enjoying your time on the mat.  That it becomes for you what it is for me, FREEDOM, LIGHTNESS, RECESS FOR ADULTS.    Let the yoga work for you, takes its lessons to heart but msot of all HAVE FUN!  Wishing you all great joy! Silvia

 

 

11/30/2008   Tags:  PLEASURE, joy, freedom Direct Link

YOGA FOR HEALTHY BACKS: FREEDOM!

NOVEMBER 18, 2008:  So here's the thing you guys, you know my history, Run Over By Car, Back Pain Result, Yoga is Medicine, No More Back Pain.  It's a short story.  Now as I've often said in class the physical pain is nothing compared to the emotional toll illness/injury take upon us.  I've been there.  If feels like you're TRAPPED.  Like you can't get out. If feels like what I imagine prison to be like.

So tonight we talked about Freedom as it relates to a healthy back. It was powerful for me and I hope it was for you too.  You see I totally believe in FREEDOM: Freedom from physical pain, freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of feelings, freedom to love, freedom to be yourself.  But really for me it started as a desire to be FREE of back pain, then it moved into a desire to be free of emotional pain.  So here in a nutshell are the key points from tonight's practice. ENJOY!  BE FREE, LOVE FREE! Silvia

Yoga Poses help back pain by improving circulation that brings nutrients to the intervertebral disks while removing toxins..  Disks don't have independent blood supply therefore they depend on movement of surrounding structure to aid in the delivery of nutrients.  Movement causes the disks to be compressed which squeezes out stale disk fluid and then to expand bringing in fresh supply.  Be sure to stretch all major muscle groups around the hip joints: adductors, quads, rotators, hamstrings. When Hip rotators are tight they hold the pelvis too much and the force of movement transfers up to the low back putting strain from there on up the spine. 

 

Best Yoga Pose Focus:  Move spine in all 6 directions (flexion, extension, rotation, lateral flexion); Puppy/Cat Tilt on all fours and in Bridge Pose; Hip Rotator Stretches (Supine Pigeon, Seated Pigeon, Pigeon, Standing Pigeon, Warrior Poses; Gentle Twists (Triangle); Safe Forward Bends (Wide Legged or Supine on your back)

 

Yoga Breathing: Slow deep breaths help ratchet down an overactive stress-response system, which leads to muscle relaxation because it triggers the "relaxation response" the antidote to flight or flight. The focus on all three parts of the lungs (especially deep abdominal focus on exhalations) helps bring in more oxygen.  The wave like undulation of deep inhales and exhales gently massage the spinal column which brings nutrients to spinal disks.

 

"Yoga done right gets more interesting over time.  Good poses don't just improve the functioning of the physical body, they engage your mind.  Bringing your attention to what you are doing, and precisely how you are doing it, builds the ability to feel your body's signals.  This greater proprioceptive awareness (your felt sense of your body position) also allows you to notice changes-this serves as an EARLY WARNING SYSTEM when stress, poor posture or other factors may be leading to back pain."  - Dr Timothy McCall

11/18/2008   Tags:  Healthy backs, Freedom Direct Link

WELCOME NEW TBY TEACHER TRAINEES!

OCTOBER 3RD, 2008:  I am deeply touched by the amazing welcome of our TBY teachers to our newest teacher trainees.  I want to share with you a welcome letter from one of our senior staff members, Mary Scudella:

 

Namaste Teachers,

I’m very excited that you all have found the path of enriching your experience of yoga through the TBY teacher training. I know you will all learn so much about yoga practice, life, and yourselves over the next several months. Please know that you are traveling a path that is beautiful and right. Wherever this path leads you, enjoy the journey, the moments, and the light within.

 

During my teacher training, I attended a workshop led by Todd Norian in Wisconsin for yoga teachers. He began the practice with a poem that still touches me today. It gave me the courage to teach and affirmed my dedication to the practice and to teaching. I’d like to share it with you.

 

Together

 

We call down grace,

and gaze without wavering

into the fires of creation.

 

We find the place where

love embraces fear, and

tears taste like faith.

 

We let our radiance

be revealed in laughter

and in longing.

 

We hold the whole of life,

sweet grapes and bitter,

healing herbs –

 

We hold until we overflow

and offer back the gifts

that we’ve received.

 

The vessel never empties.

The glowing love between

us keeps it filled.

 

~Danna Faulds

 

Om Shanti. Namaste,

Mary

10/3/2008   Tags:  teaching, poetry, community Direct Link

LIFE PHILOSOPHY: LOVE EVERYONE TELL THE TRUTH

SEPTEMBER 15, 2008:   My personal philosophy formed from these last 15 years of yoga practice is “LOVE EVERYONE AND TELL THE TRUTH.”

To me these things go together and if you tell the truth you not only have fewer conflicts but those that do arise are more easily able to be resolved.  

When we tell the truth we want to love more. 

When we love more we find it easier to tell the truth


So today we dedicated our practice to TRUTH.  Acknowledging this asks that we try to be ourselves: that we breath honestly, we do the poses truthfully and we start peeling back the layers of truth in our lives.  So right now bring all your attention to yourself and let your body be calm as you go into your own heart where truth is always waiting.  Know the universe is on your side and that you are doing your BEST!

 

So we start with what is UNTRUTH.  When we aren’t honest we feel unsteady, anxious, uprooted.  Who wants that?  Instead truth influences us in amazing ways:

 

1. One of the most beautiful qualities of the truth is that it is very grounding.  A sense of calm enters our life.

2.  The truth reveals, there is something that is uncovered, a place of freedom, something is discovered (we have nothing to hide).

3.  Truth transforms, once you move into the calm, it begins to reveal the beauty based in your heart then you shift to your best life ever! 

9/15/2008   Tags:  TRUTH, SATYA, FREEDOM, GROUNDING Direct Link

EVERYONE NEEDS COMFORT

SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2008: 

9/11/2008   Tags:  COMFORT, COMPASSION, PEACE Direct Link

LIBERATE YOURSELF

AUGUST 20TH, 2008:  I was reading about how bullying and adversity made Michael Phelps, eight time gold medal winner, stronger. People made fun of him, the fact he swam instead of played football, the size of his ears, his height, all of it.  I love that he persevered!  He didn’t give in!  He found a way to meditate - to do yoga, his yoga happened to be swimming.  Instead of getting bogged down or paralyzed by worry about what others thought about him he kept living his life to the fullest.  As a result he is realizing his DREAMS!

 

Take this practice to liberate yourself, how?  Let go of your worries. Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras, “What you’ve already done, you’ve done – LET IT GO, MOVE ON.”

 

Now in your next breath just do your best, be kind to others, include more and more folks in “others” and be kind to them too.

 

And remember the ultimate key to liberation – “Love will set you free” As Michael Franti sings.

 

ANOTHER EASY WAY TO THINK OF THIS IS:

  1. Stop giving energy to the things you don’t want.
  2. Everything begins with a thought.  Even Einstein says, “The ancestor to every action is a thought.”
  3. Once you understand fully that what you think about is what EXPANDS you start to get very careful about what you think about.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

8/20/2008   Tags:  liberation, freedom, thoughts, einstein, michael phelps, michael franti Direct Link

OPENNESS AND FREEDOM FROM CONFLICT

AUGUST 16TH, 2008: It is written in the Yoga Sutras Chapter 1, Verse 13, The practice of yoga is the commitment to become established in the state of freedom. This means that yoga can help us find freedom from chit/chat of our mindstuff (citta). Mindstuff is where we think too hard you know Like when we use our thoughts to torture ourselves, to agitate and so on. It is possible however to move to state of yoga where we allow attention to disengage from all these fluctuations.
8/16/2008   Tags:  freedom, yoga sutras, conflict resolution Direct Link

GENEROSITY

AUGUST 7TH, 2008:  Generosity in yoga is really an interesting learning.  To be generous asks that we be open but with a really focused effort.  In our Western world we get caught up with the idea of doing more for the sake of more, this more is better idea (even if quality perishes).  In the corporate world I used to rage against the machine when it came to an ever increasing aspiration towards mediocrity instead of excellence like when I first entered the workforce 15+ years ago.

However in yoga if felt like I was coming home, how generosity meant a conscious action of doing more but in the RIGHT WAY.  QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY, you know?  Giving what is needed when it is needed rather than just what makes us feel good.  We recently had our community give to the Iowa Anusara studio that flooded out and I honor the studio owner that set forth for us what they actually needed most so we could then be the MOST generous.  I love that!  Thank you for setting the example.  May we all find ways to take that first step.  How can you be more generous with yourself today?  As I often say at the end of class:  as much as I want this practice to be everything you want it to be I hope more that it be everything you NEEDED it to be.  Peace. Silvia  

8/7/2008   Tags:  GENEROSITY, focused efffort, idiot compassion Direct Link

WHAT IS INTEGRATION? PERMISSION TO BE REAL

AUGUST 1ST, 2008:  So I was talking to a student last evening and they shared how much of a difference TBY had made in their life.  And they gave me one of the nicest compliments they said I was a very INTEGRATED indvidual.  I was truly touched and grateful and humbled all at the same time.

Then I went home to look up what this means....Just kidding (kind of), I did go to my old journals to see what I've written in the past about Integration and to see what it means to me today.  Here is what I found:

INTEGRATION = global effort; = democracy; = yoga; = it represents the community of the body, how we use all parts of the body to support each pose just like all parts of our lives should support our personal intentions. (If we just dare to be ourselves and admit what we want out of life)

So what does this mean?  I think to be integrated (or in a STATE OF YOGA) we are REAL (scholastically, professionally, and in relationships with others). We stop hiding behind masks, we stop pretending to be less than we are or more perfect than we are.  My greatest teacher in this respect was my Papa, who until he passed away at 59 years old was always himself: eccentricities and all.

When we practice YOGA we have the opportunity in a sweet, safe environment to take off our masks and really be ourselves physically and emotionally and embrace who we are.  So what is it be integrated?  Well you guys it means what we do, what we say, what we think and how we act is in ALIGNMENT.   I wish you all the courage to make this discovery.  May You Live Strong and Align with your highest intentions!  Peace, Silvia

8/2/2008 2:17:53 PM   Tags:  Integration, Yoga, community, alignment, courage Direct Link

SWEETNESS! MADHURYA

JULY 9, 2008:  In yoga, there is a word for the sweetness of honey called “madhurya”.  This idea of being able to really taste and savor all of our life experiences.  To me it is the practice of falling in love with being ourselves over and over each day.  I have not always easily embraced this as a life practice. There were certainly times growing up that being a little different (with parents that spoke English as a second language) that I was not comfortable being myself. 

My yoga practice has put me at ease with being in my own skin.  I credit in great part the movement of breath connected to asana as having changed me.  I love the poses in all they have taught me about acceptance, patience and self-inspired self-confidence.

Keep seeking out the newness of experiences in your life.  You are a love anthropologist and astronaut all at the same time! 

One way I showcase my comfort in me being me is my musical tastes in class playlists as well as playful choreography.  For sure I hope you enjoy the sweetness of both as I offer them to you from my heart! 

7/10/2008 12:02:51 AM   Tags:  madhuraya, sweetness, acceptance, comfort Direct Link

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