Saturday, August 28, 2010

being a witness

Another theme I often use in yoga classes is the idea of being a witness...allowing ourselves to just observe our thoughts, our sensations, our reactions without any sort of judgment or attachment or resistance. This can be a difficult task, but I have found the more I open to the idea of witnessing myself, the more I am able to simply witness others. Try it during your next yoga class or if you don't practice yoga, just give it a try in your daily life for a day or two. Notice how this small, yet powerful, shift in awareness makes you feel.

Here's a bit more on the idea of letting go of judgment and simply becoming a witness from Jon Kabat-Zinn's book Wherever You Go, There You Are. (Side note: I am LOVING this book! Not sure why I haven't read it before now.)

"Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your judging and instead to let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as 'good' or 'bad.' This would be a true stillness, a true liberation.

Meditation means cultivating a non-judging attitude toward what comes up in the mind, come what may. Without it, you are not practicing meditation. That doesn't mean judging won't be going on. Of course it will, because it is the very nature of the mind to compare and judge and evaluate. When it occurs we don't try to stop it or ignore it, any more than we would try to stop any other thoughts that might come through our mind.

The tack we take in meditation is simply to witness whatever comes up in the mind or the body and to recognize it without condemning it or pursuing it, knowing that our judgments are unavoidable and necessarily limiting thoughts about experience. What we are interested in in meditation is direct contact with the experience itself--whether it is of an inbreath, an outbreath, a sensation of feeling, a sound, an impulse, a thought, a perception, or a judgment. And we remain attentive to the possibility of getting caught up in judging the judging itself, or in the labeling some judgments good and others bad." --Jon Kabat-Zinn

I have found the moments I able to truly become a witness, I feel so present and alive and connected. It is divine. Give it a try.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

letting go yoga instruction

This afternoon, I've been reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go, There You Are, and there was a great paragraph on letting go which reminded me of a letting go progressive muscle relaxation exercise I like to do at the end of yoga classes right before savasana. So, for those of you who teach yoga, I've written out an example of the wording I use. Feel free to borrow! :) For those of you who aren't teachers, try it on your own. It feels SO YUMMY! Enjoy!

Here's the quote from the book:
"Letting go means just what it says. It's an invitation to cease clinging to anything--whether it be an idea, a thing, an event, a particular time, or view, or desire. It is a conscious decision to release with full acceptance into the stream of present moments as they are unfolding. To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking. It's akin to letting your palm open to unhand something you have been holding on to." --Jon Kabat-Zinn

Here's the exercise in letting go (imagine calm, relaxing music, and my soothing voice):

"Now lying on our backs with our arms straight out to the sides and our legs a little wider than mat distance apart, just allow yourself to settle into this star position. Close your eyes, and let me lead you through this progressive muscle relaxation exercise. For some people relaxing can be incredibly difficult, so this can help. We will actually be contracting muscles in order to more fully relax them. I will cue you, connecting the breath to the movements, and we will hold our breaths just a moment before relaxing fully.

Let's get started with our right leg. Let all your awareness move down to your right leg. Actually begin to contract and tighten all the muscles in the right leg. Squeeze your muscles, pointing your toes on the right foot. Squeeze tightly up into your glutes and maybe even lift your right leg a few inches off the floor. Now let's take a big, deep, full breath in through the nose. Hold the breath a moment, and then completely and totally relax and release the leg heavy toward the floor as your exhale fully.

(Repeat this on the left leg).

Notice how your lower body feels compared to your upper body....Now let's bring your awareness up into your right arm. And, just as sometimes we need to work to consciously relax the body, the same is true for the mind. So, if you'd like, imagine placing anything your need to let go of mentally-anger, fear, anxiety, negativity, anything-into your right hand. Now close your right fist and squeeze tightly. Begin squeezing all the way up the right arm into the shoulder. Take a deep, full breath in. Hold the breath a moment. Now, as you exhale open your fist, release and just...let...go.

(Repeat this on the left arm. I usually say if they weren't able to totally let go, they can put the same thought in the left hand, or they can choose something else they are tired of holding on to.)"

After this exercise, we bring our legs closer together, move the arms inward, and relax deeply into savasana.

Hope you enjoy this exercise in letting go.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

all we need is love

"Deep in the center of my being there is an infinite well of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface. It fills my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being, and radiates out from me in all directions and returns to me multiplied. The more love I use and give, the more I have to give, the supply is endless. The use of love makes me feel good, it is an expression of my inner joy. I love myself, therefore, I take loving care of my body. I lovingly feed it nourishing food and beverages. I lovingly groom it and dress it, and my body lovingly responds to me with vibrant health and energy. I love myself therefore, I provide for myself a comfortable home, one that fills all my needs and is a pleasure to be in. I fill the rooms with the vibration of love so that all who enter, myself included, will feel this love and be nourished by it. I love myself therefore, I work at a job that I truly enjoy doing, one that uses my creative talents and abilities, working with and for people that I love and love me, and earning a good income. I love myself therefore, I behave and think in a loving way to all people for I know that that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world for they are a mirror of what I am. I love myself therefore, I forgive and totally release the past experiences and I am free. I love myself therefore, I live totally in the now, experiencing each moment as good and knowing that my future is bright and joyous and secure for I am a beloved child of the universe and the universe lovingly takes care of me now and forever more. And so it is."--Louise L Hay


Saturday, August 21, 2010

saturday love list

I'm listening to the Eat, Pray, Love soundtrack in preparation for going to see the movie tonight with one of my fabulous friends. It has been a long week, and I have every intention of enjoying this weekend to the fullest!

Here is my Saturday love list (all those things I'm grateful for and loving right now!):

*Eat Pray Love soundtrack (great variety of music)
*Ira & Abby (watched this movie last night--very, very quirky, but I really liked it (even though it got a C+ rating!)
*CND Shellac Nail polish (seriously, the BEST. STUFF. EVER!)
*my sweet husband (I ran out of soy milk this morning, and my coffee was way too strong (boo!)--so he volunteered to run to the store to pick up some milk)
*Cool Tropical Breeze candle from Bath & Body works
*Going to bed to a thunderstorm and waking up to sunshine

Hope your weekend is full of love!



Saturday, August 14, 2010

3 requests

Over the past 4 months I've watched in amazement as the number of blog followers has almost tripled. Wecome to all of you! I never dreamed there would be this many people interested in reading what I have to say, but I am honored you are here! I wanted to write this post to let you know I would really like to hear from you! Please don't be shy about leaving comments! I have 3 requests for you today, and I thank you in advance for taking the time to let me know your thoughts!

First, please let me know what brought you to this blog--either how you found it or what you liked about it enough to follow it.

Secondly, please let me know if there are topics you would like me to focus on more or address. What do you most like reading about?

Lastly, let me know if you have any questions for me--about yoga, life, counseling, or pretty much anything! (I'll try to answer as many questions as I can in upcoming posts, but please be patient if I end up with a load of questions!)

Once again, thanks for stopping by. Wishing you many blessings and a fabulous weekend!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2 fab yoga resources

This morning while listening to Yogapeeps podcast (resource #1--Hear great interviews with all types of yogis and yoginis), I found out about I haven't yet bought any classes or memberships, but I have been really enjoying watching the free vignettes. It's always so good to see and hear how other instructors cue and explain yoga postures. All you yoginis out there hungry for some more yoga resources, definitely check these out, if you haven't already!

Hope you enjoy!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

august intentions

I've decided I'm going to start writing down intentions each month. I like the idea of intentions instead of goals for two reasons: First, goals technically are supposed to be measureable and objective, and most of my list will not be either. Secondly, I like intentions because by stating an intention, it is declaring want I want to focus on and the direction I'd like to go without the pressure of feeling like I have to reach my goals, and the feelings of guilt that will ensue if I for some reason don't meet one or more.

So, here is my list for August:

*Host a Happy Hour Housewarming party for co-workers
*Guest teach yoga classes at Element
*Have a play date with Hayley--see Eat, Pray, Love & go to dinner
*Play the piano at least 3X's a week
*Get my knitting needles out and finish my Sweet Husband's scarf
*Celebrate my Grandpa's birthday with family
*Finish reading You Can Heal Your Life & Women, Food, & God
*Practice lots of self-care during a very, very busy month-eat healthy, get a massage, practice yoga, laugh a lot, etc.
*Spend a weekend at my Momma's with family
*Take photos with our new camera (that's really months old, but hasn't been used much)
*Get photos printed and put them in albums

What intentions do you have for the month of August?


Monday, August 2, 2010

cleanse & morning ritual

It is that time of year when my body is feeling very ready to cleanse and detoxify, so I am eating raw for 2 days and clean the rest of the week (minus Wednesday's my 5 year wedding anniversary with Sweet Husband and we will be going to dinner. I'm thinking sushi, so it shouldn't be too terribly unhealthy!). I am also planning on doing gentle yoga every day this week to work out the kinks my body is absorbing while at my desk and computer.

This morning, my first day back to work from summer break, I was actually able to complete a morning ritual (Yay!) before leaving the house at 7:00 a.m. I got up, wrote my morning pages (check out The Artist's Way, fab book by Julia Cameron for more information on morning pages), said a morning prayer (one I wrote myself and will share below), and chose a mantra/affirmation from my homemade affirmation cards (see photo) to focus on throughout the week. I'm hoping to keep this ritual up throughout the school year--it's really a great way to begin the day!

My Morning Prayer:

"Dear God

Thank you for waking me to this beautiful day filled with possibility. Help me stay fully awake all day to your wisdom, presence & love.

I place my trust in you knowing you will guide me & fill me with creative energy, prospering ideas, & open me to unlimited abundance & goodness.

I surrender all my worldly worries & anxieties to you. I believe with all my heart you will take care of me & help me create a life beyond my own limited imagination.

Lord, let your peace & light radiate through me & shine brightly on others always.



Sunday, August 1, 2010

summer break 2010 review

Today is my official last day of summer break. There is always a small part of me that mourns the end of this wonderful time and the return to getting up at 5:30 a.m.; however, this summer has been incredible. Here's my summer break 2010 review:

*sold house
*moved into a new home (& all that goes into that!)
*saw Sex & The City 2 with friends
*went to winery with Sweet Husband & friends and then headed to see Eclipse
*saw Inception with Sweet Husband
*Italian dinner night with family and friends
*pool day with my Momma
*watched Lovely Bones at home with my Sweet Husband, Momma, & step-dad
*movie night with Sweet Husband--we watched The Book of Eli
*BBQ w/ Sweet Husband's parents
*lunch with friend at Kampai
*lunch with friend at Addisons
*lunch with friend at The Macaroni Grill
*Girls' Weekend--dinner at Baxter's & mini-golf at the Lake
*July 4th party at Little Brother's house
*lots of Houlihan's Happy Hours
*deck warming party at friends'
*fajhita night with Sweet Husband
*started art journal
*began playing some tunes on the piano again
*started learning guitar
*Grandpa's Lake house for Dad's day celebration
*BBQ at our house for another Dad's day celebration with my Dad & Little Brother's family
*reading & internet browsing at Starbucks
*yoga at local studios
*books read: Carrie's Diary & Best Friends Forever
*books in process: You Can Heal You Life, Women, Food, & God, Wherever You Go, There You Are, & Fly Away Home

Goodby summer break. I will miss you, but I know good things are still to come!