For a lot of people the holidays can be stressful. Extra expenses, jam packed schedules, travel, holiday shopping and parties lead to over stimulation - and this throws off our balance.
During the holidays it's easy to lose track of the things that contribute to our overall happiness. It’s also easy to take on additional things that throw off routines, relationships and environment. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed and over stimulated. We finally stumble out of the holidays in January feeling like a hot mess and needing a month to recover.
When the holiday hoopla starts to feel like too much: Practice. When the days seems impossibly short and cold: Practice. When you are sure you are going to be on the naughty list: Practice. When everyone is getting on your last nerve: Practice. When you are tired, feel bloated, partied too much, spent too much money: Practice.
When things get tough, like they always will, this is what you should do: Practice.
In yoga the teacher plays an important role. The teacher not only sheds light on the subject of yoga - but the relationship itself is foundational. The specifics of the teaching such as techniques and beliefs are not as important as the love and relationship established between student and teacher. Yoga, to yoke, is about connectedness, and that begins with the connection between two beings. Connection is the driving force in transformation.
Good teachers remain heavy in their experience and not swayed. One of the definitions of Guru is heavy.
I think as students we seek to find teachers because we need someone to help us hold what is too big for us all on our own, and hopefully to provide a vision for us beyond what we can imagine for ourselves.
One of the central components of being a good teacher, is to be clear on what you’re teaching. My job as a teacher is to impart my knowledge of asana, but I’m not an asana teacher, I’m a yoga teacher. My job is also to...
The struggle ends when the gratitude begins - Neale Donald Walsh
If you want to create more good in your life, you need to start recognizing and being grateful for the good you already have. People who are grateful lead happier lives - it’s that simple. Being grateful contributes to resilience and the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.
Gratitude puts everything into perspective - you can’t be grateful and angry simultaneously.
You get to choose gratitude now. Gratitude is not just about being thankful for the good things in your lift. Rather, it is about being thankful for everything in your life. Practicing gratitude helps direct energy in a positive direction and away from ruination about what isn’t going well, and often what isn’t within your control.
So, reframe your struggles. You don’t have to wait until you make it to the other side. Look at how you are being challenged and think of how much you get to learn and be thankful.
I’ve had a lot of students come and go in the six years that I have been teaching a daily Mysore program. This can be for a variety of reasons: schedules change, people have babies, jobs relocate. But the truth is, a lot of people never really stick to the practice, or the practice doesn’t stick to them. What I have noticed over the years is that those who make practice a habit are the ones who practice for the long haul.
Our habits shape us and they play a central role in any successful long-term discipline. Once practice is a habit, it is no longer something that we have to think about. You wake up, you brush your teeth, you practice yoga. Boom—it’s done.
But getting to the point where practice is a habit is difficult. We’ve all felt it—showing up is the hardest part. Our minds play tricks on us. They have all sorts of sneaky reasons to try to prevent us from practicing, because the mind knows that with practice, its thought patterns...
Ever consider using visualization in your practice?
Visualization, or mental imagery, has long been used by top athletes as part of training. I figured if Michael Phelps uses visualization, then I probably should too.
Studies show that mental imagery can help both mentally and physically. I tend to use it primarily with really difficult poses. Here are my tips for your visualizing yourself in an asana.
Retreat. Unplug. Step out of the busyness.
Its hard to remember now what life was like before my iPhone. I don’t know when my free spirit became dictated by connection, but it happened.
Constantly being an arms distance from my phone not only means that I am always connected, it means that I am always working since most of what I do somehow relates back to teaching. It gives me the sense that I am being pulled in different directions, that I always have more to do or something better to do than be where I actually am.
My phone triggers me. I’m constantly getting messages, emails and texts from people who want something from me. I seem to never be getting messages from the people I want to hear from and I look anxiously at my phone to see if I somehow missed a text. I check my social media stats and compare posts. When that thing is within arms reach I can’t get any peace.
My meditation teacher, John Churchill, says peripheral vision is physically becoming more...
Fall brings to us a season of transition as we prepare for the colder months. Any time we are in transition is a good opportunity to stay grounded and balanced. Keep reading for my tips to make the most of your fall practice.
Slow down your yoga practice. Make sure that your yoga practice is nourishing instead of depleting. You want to reduce stress and boost immunity. Slowing down asana practice gives you a chance to focus on details that can easily be overlooked when your energy is frenetic. The seasonal transition of fall is an awesome opportunity to be more introspective and reflective. Be more deliberate with your practice – and notice the opportunities that arise when you do so. I suggest using this time of transition to go deeper inside. You can do this by saving time for seated meditation or enjoying a longer savasana.
Fall is a great time of year to let go. In autumn, we watch the leaves change color and begin to fall. So follow nature’s lead....
Several students have recently pointed out to me that waking up in the morning is easy if they can get to bed on time – it’s going to sleep at night that is the hard part.
I can’t argue with that.
Most of you are very aware of the benefits of getting enough rest at night, and the benefits of deep sleep. You’ve also probably heard of the benefits of synchronizing the day/night or light/dark rhythms called the circadian rhythm.
But do you know why going to bed early is beneficial to the body? My friend Annette, an Ayurvedic health coach, explains that the dominant energy between 10pm – 2am is reigned by the subtle energy of Pitta. Before 10pm is the slow, heavy, replenishing energy of Kapha. When you fall asleep before 10pm, you get replenished and nourished. The energy at this time of night is more sluggish, so you may find it easier to fall asleep. When you tune into the Kapha time of day, you’ll notice that your sleep is sweeter, deeper, and...