About a year ago, I decided to become more familiar with yoga. I needed and wanted to create a healthier sense of balance in my life. Instead of running miles, I spent more time on my mat. Instead of running from my thoughts, I spent time sitting with them. I was fascinated by the mind-body connection that I experienced when I was on my mat. I felt supported, comfortable and in my safe haven. I continued to go to yoga classes toprepare me for my yoga certification course in July. For three weeks, 12 hours a day, I was living, breathing and falling in love with the practice of yoga. I became so captivated and passionate towards everything that it consisted of. My mind and body were exhausted, but my heart was so full. This opportunity allowed me to grow my practice immensely as well as form inseperable bonds with others. This course helped me to become aware that yoga was beyond a set of various poses, a workout, a way to become flexible, or a way to stretch. It led me to realize that it is practice, a lifestyle and a strategy.
The practice of yoga continuously reminds me that I am seeking wholeness, not perfection. Through pranayama, meditation and asanas, I am able to decrease my suffering. I am able to effectively use relaxation techniques and mindfulness to assist me throughout each day and night (sleep – if you know me, I’m an insomniac). This lifestyle continues to assist me towards presence, enlightenment, contentment, positivity, balance, self-love, compassion, non-violence, acceptance, openness, perspective and a peaceful state of mind. It also assists me to find a greater connection to my spiritual faith. It allows me to release from the negative energies such as self-judgment, hatred, anxiety or anything else that does not serve my mind or my body. I strive to acknowledge and surface any pain or problems that I may be experiencing.
I am aware that yoga will not solve my problems or stop life from being difficult. I still face struggles that are extremely hard to overcome. Although, yoga allows me to embrace my humanness and provides me with the faith that leads me to a happier, healthier life. I will continue to deepen and strengthen my practice each day.
Most importantly, I feel grateful that I get the opportunity to share my passion for the practice of yoga with others. Whether I am working with patients at the hospital, individuals who have developed post-concussion syndrome, or teaching basic yoga to any individual, I am convinced that the healing benefits of yoga are endless no matter what one may be experiencing.
→I wish for every human in this world to find their gift, passion, yoga, something that gives you hope, happiness and healthiness… then share it with others. ←
anicca. /ˈænikə/ noun. (in Theravada Buddhism) the belief that all things, including the self, are impermanent and constantly changing.
I see various examples of the concept anicca every day when I am working with patients in the rehabilitation unit of the hospital. I am currently working with a man who is a writer and has just lost all ability to use the hand that he writes with. He expresses his frustration and that this is the longest he has ever gone without writing. This has become an extremely difficult change in his life at the moment. I can’t imagine one day suddenly not being able to do something that I love or have been doing all of my life.
To me, the concept of anicca is difficult to acknowledge at times. I am living and learning to accept the impermanence that occurs around me each day. I am aware that whether it is our physical state, mental state, where we live, the people around us, relationships we hold, our occupation, and so on, everything in our lives is constantly changing. Throughout the past couple of months, I have taken the time to notice changes as they come and go. The book “Living Your Yoga” by Judith Lassiter suggests to write down everything that has changed in the past three months and later on look back on it to see if those things have now changed. This allowed me to be mindful and notice how frequently various aspects of our lives are changing.
Throughout my yoga practice, I have intended to work towards accepting the concept of impermanence. I have come to the realization that if we cling to the idea of everything staying the same, we will in turn increase our suffering. If we fear impermanence, we fear life. As I focus on breathing throughout my practice, I realize that even no breath is the same as the last. Each breath is different from one another.
All of these thoughts have left me to examine this concept with a more open-minded perspective. Even though we may undergo difficult changes, each breath provides us the ability to start fresh, new and become present. It becomes easier to accept change when we notice that each breath provides us with a second chance to accept, regain, restore and find growth in whatever situation we may be in.
My heart continues to grow each day as I witness patients overcoming the drastic changes they may be experiencing. It is inspiring to see each patient regain their abilities and better themselves each day. Take time to notice the impermanence that is occurring in your life or may have recently occurred. Take the time to be grateful for the changes that have allowed you to start new and led you to happiness. As for the difficult changes, allow yourself to find acceptance or find the ability to grow with a second chance.
As I read the book “The Healing Power of Mind”, I am learning and understanding how powerful the human mind truly is. I have become aware that the true nature of the mind is peaceful, whole and enlightened. I realize that it is the external factors in life that we get caught up in that can cause us to become imbalanced and create suffering.
This perspective on the mind provides me with motivation and leads me to question- if we all started out in a peaceful state, why not find our way back?
Through awareness and practice, we can allow ourselves to let go of the worries, stresses, attachments, hatred, desire, illusions and ignorance that have stepped in the way. When we observe and notice what is getting in the way, it becomes easier to let go.
→From experience, when I take the time to step back from the chaos and become mindful, I am at a higher sense of wholeness within myself. In my eyes, every human deserves a whole life. Take the time out of your daily routine to notice what may be getting in the way of your ability to be peaceful, whole and enlightened. ♥ ←
“ahimsa” – absence of violence from ones mind, the act of non-harming.
I was introduced to this word for the first time during my yoga certification course and it has had a strong impact on me ever since. The concept of ahimsa is to be used on and off of the mat. Ahimsa can be used towards ourselves as well as with others. It is simply living to peace.
When using the concept of ahimsa towards myself, I am able to create compassion and freedom. It allows me to release from feeling I am “not doing enough” and become aware of exhausting myself to the point to where I increase harm and lack self enjoyment. It allows me to ask myself “am I serving or harming my body?”.
I decided to revisit the meaning of ahimsa this week because I feel that we can always add this powerful concept into our lives in some way. Whether we are practicing it with ourselves or ANY living being. If we practiced the concept of ahimsa every time we spoke, took action, had a thought, etc. we would be filled with only peace. Unfortunately, this is not reality. From experience, certain feelings we experience can most definitely get in the way of this. So if we want to, we can choose to become aware of this concept and use it to our best ability.
I am eager to try to grow the practice of ahimsa towards myself and others. I plan to start by doing less and being more, practicing asanas at the speed of my body and not my mind, creating an “ahimsa” day and reminding myself of this concept when I am communicating with others.
How can you add ahimsa into your life to add a little more peaceful living…?
The endless curve balls that are thrown at us day by day seem like they are never going away…and that is exactly it. They are never going to go away. I witness this when I am working at the hospital in the rehabilitation unit. I see unexpected drastic life changes happen to people everyday.
This week my yoga instructor touched on the importance of finding softness in difficult situations. After he shared this with the class, I continued to take this with me. I remembered this when I came into a pose that was difficult or uncomfortable for me. I continued to try to find softness and compassion through breathing and opening up to the pose.
After this yoga class, I was eager to take these wise words with me to the hospital. I wanted to find a way to assist the patients to potentially find “softness” during this time in their lives. I decided to schedule an extremely talented piano player to come in for a musical performance. The day of the performance, almost all of the patients attended. As I stood in front of the room, I scanned the room at each patient. I began to get chills watching the smiles form across their faces. As they listened, they became so absorbed in the music.
To me, this was success. After all, the only real success in life is living with an open, loving heart. This musical performance allowed the patients to find a little bit of softness during this difficult time in their lives.
→whether it may be through a couple deep breaths, an experience (in this case a musical performance), or doing something you love…find the ability to find softness each day and let it make the difficult times a little bit easier.←
With a little help from positive self-judgment, we are able to gain the confidence and security among ourselves to stand on our own.
(easier said than done, i know…)
From experience, yesterday i was able to come into a headstand for almost over a minute! (longer than ever before). I was able to accomplish this through positive self-talk within myself. It is quite amazing how much we listen to ourselves the most in life. Buddha is right…”what we think, we become”.
→take the time to notice the self-judgement within yourself. The way that you talk to yourself and approach different situations. Without compassion towards yourself, it is quite hard to create compassion with others. This is something i choose to work on every single day. Through each yoga pose, i am able to notice how effective positive self-judgment is to feel grounded. I realize this is not only in a yoga pose, but in everyday life. ←
I enjoy starting out my day with my yoga practice before a full day of work. Although, this morning I was definitely feeling the Monday blues. I decided that I would try a shorter, more gentle practice because I was not feeling 100 percent.
As I was practicing, I realized that I was flowing through the poses mindfully but at a higher sense of ease than usual. I realized this and noticed it for a minute… why was it that when I was not feeling 100 percent did I feel more at ease flowing through my practice?
I began to notice that this was because I was holding zero expectations for myself. I had zero expectation to do a pose a certain way or do a set specified routine (just like the times we tend to look our best when we don’t have the expectation of seeing others or going anywhere). I was simply allowing myself to let go and let be.
This experience opened my eyes to realize that not only in yoga but in everyday life, when we let go of the expectations, we are allowing ourselves to open up to a sense of freedom. Instead of looking at aspects as how we feel they SHOULD be…simply just let them be.