I put my heart on the line, time after time, so raw and open and pure
It has broken before, for those it adored & will break again I'm sure.
Precious heart, it won't be long
Precious heart, be so strong
Precious heart, stay true to you.
Fall in love, don't give up, or give in to the lure
of cold, hard sadness,
the seclusion of madness,
the illusion of a cure.
You are your own, you've always known- you're different, so don't be thrown.
Even if they stare, they sneer, they tear at your tender heart, please don't succumb.
They'll never see, and they'll never be able to be the one- who fills you with light, who rejects the night, who cradles you in arms of love.
For He lives in you, strong and true, always there when you need a friend.
So cry your tears, but never fear, your heart will thrive in the end.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Sunday, September 9, 2012
When I notice pain or discomfort in my body today, I know it means something. I don't ignore it like I used to, pretend it's not there, or drive through it, hoping it will magically go away. My body has become one of my greatest teachers and I take the time to stop and truly listen to what it is telling me now, rather than letting my monkey mind override my intuition and run the show. I have been so disconnected from my body for most of my life and it wasn't until I took a meditation training course with Lorin Roche and Camille Maurine that I suddenly had an epiphany about my own personal mind-body connection.
For the longest time, I have treated my body as the enemy. Constantly punishing it with little or no food, lack of sleep, crazy diets, eating disorders, diet pills, alcohol, drugs, verbal and emotional abuse, and a total lack of love and respect. I don't blame myself now because I didn't know any better at the time, I was doing the best I could with what resources and tools I had access to; which was close to none.
When I became fully present in my life and started progressing on my yoga journey, I came to realize that although my body is not my identity, I still need to treat it with the care, love, and attention that it deserves. This was difficult because the #1 rule I had learned growing up was: "Be Skinny & Be Pretty at Any Cost." This belief system lead to an all-out internal war; pitting my mind against my body- mind being the unceasingly torturous dictator. My mind would never allow my body to be skinny enough or pretty enough for me to feel happy with myself- and thus, over time, I grew to despise both.
Through the gradual process of a steady Yoga practice and mindful meditation, my rigid attitude slowly softened, but it wasn't until the meditaion training weekend that I really accepted and began to love my body as the incredible and miraculous physical manifestion of life form that it is. Lorin and Camille have a very different type of meditation philosophy than I had ever experienced before. On this particular weekend, they instructed a form of meditaion that involved incorporating body and mind together as one. It was not just sitting on a pillow, closing my eyes and focusing on my breath, but really, truly, and fully experiencing how meditation can be felt in every cell of my physical being.
As this weekend came to a close, I came to the realization that I had to accept and love myself exactly where I was, and in my body as it was, in order to heal. No more waiting for the attainment of the perfect weight, the right length of hair, the absence of blemishes on my skin, or even a fresh manicure or pedicure. I learned to love my body in any and every state and form, and with any condition or crutch; because my body is the vehicle for my Spirit, which has no template to adhere to and only desires freedom from suffering, love and to be united with the Universe and all it's glory. If that's not the most amazing reason to love myself where I am and for exactly who I am in this moment, I don't know what is.
"Like the sky opens after a rainy day, we must open to ourselves...Learn to love yourself for who you are and open so the world can see you shine."
Friday, August 3, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
and all living things
is part of our practice.
When we know how to listen deeply
and how to breathe deeply
clear and deep.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Monday, June 4, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Arm’s length distance between you and me
But a vast expanse, worlds away, in my heart
No hope left to go back to the start
Where were we then? What happened to us? Why this path?
Thought I’d never give up, us against the world, no looking back
Breaking my heart to think of life without you
On my own, half of what I thought was whole, only one - not two
But to go on living a lie is killing me
Mistakes were made, prices were paid, no one knows as good as we
What the pain was like, the thousands of tears cried, the times no one could see
True love breaking down, moment to moment, day by day, year after year
Until nothing is left but what we started with- our brokenness, our baggage, and fear.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
First off, let me tell you that I have NO prior teaching experience whatsoever. I mean, I taught my brother's boy scout troop how to do the Roger Rabbit when I was 12, but I'm not going to count that ( even though it was awesome). I may have mentioned before that after I started yoga teacher training, I quickly acquired an entirely new respect for all yoga teachers everywhere. It is a lot of work! Creating sequences for your classes and then adjusting them if they don't fit, picking out the right music for the style of class, giving your students the most succinct cues, helping with proper assistance in the poses, keeping students safe, giving directions and walking around at the same time while not actually doing the poses yourself, not getting the right and left sides mixed up- for heaven's sake, it is crazy how much work, coordination, and effort goes in to this endeavor- not to mention, keeping classes fresh and new every time and speaking for an entire hour to an hour and a half pretty much non-stop!
OK... maybe it's because I don't have much teaching experience, I'm somewhat lazy and, even though I love being social, I don't really consider myself an extrovert or enjoy the thought of public speaking. Well, that's not true- I actually don't mind public speaking because I can use notes; using notes to teach a yoga class is practically unheard of and I imagine, heavily "frowned upon". I've never actually experienced a teacher using notes in class myself but it seems like it would definitely be no bueno.
I had my first teaching experience last week. I was more nervous than I think I've ever been in the history of my existence, but one of the greatest lessons teacher training has taught me is that doing the things that I fear the most usually produces the strongest and most satisfying sense of fulfillment and reward. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what I want to do with my life, this is my passion. I can feel it in the depths of my pelvic floor, my root chakra, my uddiyana bandha- whatever you want to call it- I have a knowing like I've never had before that this... is... it! So am I going to let a little (ok maybe more than a little...a lot more) fear stop me? HELL NO!!!
I prepared as best I could, said a little prayer before the class, then I went in there and did my thing. Time flew by like I had never experienced before, I could not believe when I looked up at the clock, that an hour had passed and we were almost done! After class, the students did not rush up and regale me with how amazing my teaching was and say that it had changed their lives forever (as I had secretly fantasized about in the deep recesses of my colorful imagination) but I did get some good feedback- some very positive feedback actually. One person also told me that I sounded like I was nervous...which I was. Ok- I can work on that, but the best realization I received from the overall experience was that I didn't have to have the positive feedback to feel ok about how I taught. I knew in my heart I did the best I could and I felt great about it. It is my hope that the students enjoyed the class and left feeling more centered, calm, and relaxed, but ultimately- I have no control over their experience. All I can do is be the best teacher I possibly can and attempt to relay my love, appreciation, and knowledge of Yoga to others in the most effective way possible for them. It's not about me at all actually, it's about helping the students have an experience with Yoga that will ultimately bring them closer to their true selves. After class was over, I felt like I was walking on sunshine, floating on marshmallow clouds and riding a pink unicorn in a glitter-filled sky (their goes the ole imagination again) and all I could think about was how I could not wait to do it again!!! Finally... finally, after years and years of searching and wondering and waiting, I feel like I'm doing what I was born to do. Let the journey continue...
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Well my friends, the day has arrived!!! I have my final yoga teaching exam today at Prana Yoga Center and graduation is tomorrow evening! I am so excited, thrilled and beyond eager to start teaching after I get my certification. Enrolling in yoga teacher training is probably the BEST life decision I have ever made and I can say that with full knowledge and confidence of everything I have accomplished in life thus far. I'm not one of those people who has known from a very young age what she wanted to do. In fact, I have NEVER been sure of what my passion was, until now- Yoga is it for me. I finally feel as if I have a purpose and there is no grander feeling in the world. Today I dedicate my practice to all those in the world searching for their purpose- that they may discover a world of opportunity, creativity, imagination and abundance in their life's passion and that they find it right when they need it the most. I would LOVE to hear about your life's passion and purpose as well if you would like to share!
Wish me luck today, I don't think we say "break a leg" in the yoga world but I think "break a sweat" would be completely appropriate! :)
|My teacher helping me in Pincha Mayurasana or forearm balance.|
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
"Your mind's ability is limited in the way it thinks about itself, by the way you think about you. The process of Yoga is one of undoing the obstructions and limitations in your body and mind that inhibit the free flow of the creative life force."
Friday, March 23, 2012
Well, here's another one for the "things I used to hate but now love" list. I think I've had a grudge against Lululemon from the beginning, that is- when I learned how expensive their athletic wear was, in combination with the fact that it seemed EVERY single woman in my yoga classes was wearing head to toe Lululemon.
I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I'm kind of a rebel- at least in my own head. If "everyone's doing it", I want to do the opposite. Sort of like a reverse peer pressure I suppose, or just being a brat, more likely. So I've been living high on the hog (or in this case, low on the hog) and buying my yoga wear on sale at Marshall's and Target, with a few pieces from Sport Chalet which the hubs gifted me for Christmas. All the while thinking- take THAT Lululemon- my yoga wear is just as good and 1/4 of the price!!! Ha!
Then it happened... I actually tried on a pair of their yoga pants last week for the first time and my resolve melted like hot fudge on an ice cream sundae. I have to admit it- Lululemon has THE. BEST. YOGA. PANTS. EVERRRRR. I don't even want to say that but I have to because it's the truth! They are insanely comfortable, the fit is perfection, the coverage is total- meaning no one can see through the pants (a fact I discovered about certain pairs of my yoga pants a little later in the game than I would have liked) and they make my bum look PHE-NOM-EN-AL. When I turned around and looked in the mirror in the dressing room, I had to do a double take because the vision of what I remembered my bum looking like was now a lifted, plumper and perkier version of it's former self.
Lululemon, you had me at "OMG- that's MY butt?" Game over. I bought three pairs.
The first, must-have purchase was the cropped Wunder Under a basic cropped pant that fits like a glove and feels like a second skin.
image via Lululemon.com
the second is the Will Pant- a full length stretch pant with pockets and a higher rise (perfect for my long torso) that can also be folded over. These are SO comfortable that you will want to sleep in them and wear them all the time (and maybe you will for the first week or 2 because you're so excited but that's totally ok because you can do whatever you want- you spent $98 on these friggin' pants!)
image via Lululemon.com
Then to top it off, just for fun, I also bought the Wunder Under Crop *Special Edition which is exactly like the first pair only with a little extra length at the bottom that also houses a secret pocket for cards, keys and/or a phone supposedly- but I haven't tried that yet. All Wunder Unders have a secret pocket in the lining of the waistband as well, and you know how much I love secret pockets!
image via Lululemon.com
Lululemon- I'm pretty sure you have officially ruined me for any other yoga pant for the rest of my life. I spent about $260 ($68, $98, and $78 respectively- with tax) on these three pairs of pants, and I can honestly say without regret, it was the best investment I've made in a while!
Happy First Friday of Spring Everyone!!!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
If there is one thing I've learned thus far in my Yoga Teacher Training, it's how much I don't know. Not only in Yoga, but in life. I have been broken open as far as thinking that my knowledge is enough. It is just a beginning of a long journey of unlearning what I thought was "right" and settling in to being comfortable in the unknown. This is a process I can't quite wrap my mind around yet, but feel in my heart and soul is true. I once heard a statement (from Marianne Williamson I believe), "In my defenselessness, my safety lies." Every time I repeat this mantra, I feel a little more at peace. I no longer feel the need to fight or defend, to argue or debate, to compete or have the desire to win. I have been through enough trauma and pain for this lifetime, to continue to beat myself up as I have. I just want to be open and absorb the good things left in this world- the simple things. Sunrises, sunsets, true friendship, genuine love, honesty at any cost, learning to love myself after years of being my own worst enemy- these are the things that matter most to me now.
"You can enter yoga, or the path of yoga, only when you are totally frustrated with your own mind as it is. If you are still hoping that you can gain something through your mind, yoga is not for you."
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
...How it seems like yesterday I never thought I would ever be able to practice a pose like Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. Yoga is funny like that, you practice and practice and practice and then one day...your body says, ok- I'm ready, let's do this...
When you understand who and what you are, your radiance projects into the universal radiance and everything around you becomes creative and full of opportunity.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words
What if the temple was the earth
If forests were our church
If holy water- the rivers, lakes, and oceans
What if meditation was our relationships
If the Teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being.
for the Rainforest Benefit
NYC April 1998
Friday, February 3, 2012
Finally! A moment to breathe, meditate and reflect on the adventure that is yoga teacher training thus far, these are some of the notes I've taken from the first week...
Exhilarating, exciting and a little scary. Didn't realize how much time, effort, and commitment (aka- discipline- an area I tend to fall short in) this would take... but I need this challenge. Having never been able to finish anything in my life- I am diving into this journey head first, acknowledging that it will be tough at times, knowing that I will want to quit but committing to staying present throughout and meeting the trials with honesty and awareness.
Wondering...can I do this? We've already started "practice teaching" each other in class and it is incredibly intimidating. I don't know what I was expecting but it appears as if I am not a "natural"- if there even is such a thing. I start giggling, laughing and apologizing when I get the cues wrong and/or completely forget the instructions altogether. It's more difficult than I imagined to coordinate the breath with movement and to remember what posture comes next (let alone which side of the body) when I'm not actually performing the sequence myself.
I find myself feeling uncomfortable when attempting to do adjustments (helping people correct their alignment by putting my hands on them to guide them into the best way to hold a posture to accomodate their individual bodies) but realize how healing and important they are for students, myself included- I love adjustments. I'm afraid of doing something wrong, hurting someone or knocking them over (something I almost did while adjusting another trainee).
Fear, it's all just fear...which only exists in my mind and is not real. I need to remember to tune in to my intuition, tune in to what the student needs. Let God guide me rather than my fearful ego.
I am humbly reminded of how important breath is in the Vinyasa yoga practice- of course I've always known this but putting it into practice and fully utilizing my Ujjayi breathing throughout the entire class is a different story. It's all goes back to mindfulness and discipline once again.
"Vinyasa" means combining breath with movement, so for every inhale and exhale there is a movement that follows- a chaturanga, upward facing dog, downward facing dog, etc., unless holding a particular posture for several breaths. This sounds easy in theory but in practice, if I am not mindful, I find myself breathing completely out of sequence and getting out of breath because I'm actually holding my breath when I don't even realize it or attempting to do a pose that I want to do but probably shouldn't because my breathing is labored. The breath should be slow, even and steady throughout.
Lesson learned- in order to get the most out of my yoga practice (and this teacher training for that matter), my ego is going to have to take a backseat. Once again, I'm reminded that slow and steady wins the race...or in this case, gets to practice a lifetime of healthy yoga without injury.
A quote from one of my textbooks that pretty much sums it up for me..."Yoga is an ancient science of health for the physical body and balance for the mind and emotions that provides the foundation for the spiritual journey whose destination is self-knowledge."
Let the spiritual journey continue...
|via Google Images|
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
After a beautiful hour and a half Vinyasa Flow with one of my favorite teachers/mentors this morning, I took a shower and decided to lay out in the sun. Living in Southern California definitely has it's benefits- one of them being experiencing temperatures in the mid 70's in January. I normally stay out of the sun due to it's potentially damaging properties and the sensitivity of my skin, but today I treated myself to about 20 minutes of uninterrupted alone time with the sun. No reading, no music, no desire to "tan" even, or to get something out of the sun for my own benefit. Just lying beneath it, appreciating it's warmth, it's vitamins, and it's constant and unwavering presence in my life.
Thank you Sun for the wonderful time together :)
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I am eternal; this image will fade, but I am infinite. I am here temporarily for a reason. I will be passionate about ALL that I do.
When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest. This gesture, called Abhinandan, Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana, can also be performed wordlessly and carries the same meaning.
"I salute or recognize your presence or existence in society and the universe."
excerpt taken from Wikipedia