Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Yoga Day!

Happy Yoga Day 2009! Today Yogis around the country and world are celebrating Yoga. This designated day is a day when yogis alike can come together, breathe peace and joyfulness into the world and practice a few asanas (postures). This day for me brings up memories and smiles of what yoga means to me. In 2007, I lost my yoga teacher. She unexpectedly passed away and I was left confused, hurt, and sad. In a way, I abandoned my practice because of the feelings it brought up for me-especially resentment and anger around losing her. Yes, it was sad and I let a crisis get in the way of opportunity and growth. I did grieve, along with my fellow yogis who practiced next to me in her studio.

It took many weeks for me to get enough courage to come to the mat and I recognized in that first sun salutation that I should have gone to my mat first-immediately after I had received the news of her passing. The mat is the place I can come to recharge, gain perspective, and pause in my stimulus-response driven world. Today, I taught a private with a good friend in his living room while the sun peeked through the windows and his dog sat on the couch content. It was truly a peaceful event seeing the movement being led by the breath and the meditation at the beginning and end of the practice. This is peace. This is purpose. This is community.

Yoga Day is not the only day when you have to dedicate a yoga practice to something bigger than yourself and it does not event take a yoga mat to do the practice. In our yoga, we must learn to take it off the mat and into the world. Seane Corn, a world renowned teacher has started a foundation revolving around this concept-combinging yoga, activism, and leadership to create joy and compassion in the world on a global scale.
http://www.offthematintotheworld.org

In this coming week, take it off the mat or try a yoga class for the first time. Start NOW because it is all we have.

Namaste!

Jen

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Connections Through Conversation

2009 is off to a great and somewhat busy start and I am in Maui right now enjoying the warm air, the star filled sky, and the peacefulness the island of Hawaii has to offer. Unfortunately, this is not another tropical vacation but instead a work trip but this time it is different. I get to travel with another colleague which is a change of pace from traveling alone. We walked the area today-we are staying at the Ritz Carlton, a little above my league in most, if not all areas and we went down to the beach where the surf crashed onto the shore minute after minute where I stood and felt the salty mist hit my sunkissed skin. I smiled. This is what life is and it is in these moments that I feel extremely small, like a "Blip" in the world.

I looked out over the horizon and saw so much expansion, space, natural wonder, and lots of unknown. Lately, I have been thinking about how I can impact the world when me, wee little me is so small in relation to everything. Then it came to me. Through my practice and teaching others yoga and in my goal to create "matterful" conversations with those around me, I can help grow the seeds of compassion and love in the world.

For instance, I have been doing free private yoga sessions with some friends and I am finding that in those moments of teaching, I am truly authentic in my being. I am in love and at peace with the world and with those around me. I am igniting a spark in my life and for once, a fire has been growing deeper and deeper inside of me because of this new path I am embarking on.

It is so inspiring to see the individuals that I teach progress, each in their own way whether it be revolved triangle pose or being able to expand their Udjyi Pranyama breath, or to see them truly let go in savasana. It is in these moments I feel truly alive and at peace and know that the world is on its way to becoming a better place.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thirsty for More

Wow! 2009 has finally arrived. There is always something about the new year that is so exciting...like a clean slate, a blank canvas, a chance to start the game over. It is very common when this time of year presents itself, we want to make resolutions, intentions, set goals for ourselves that we hope to accomplish. Why do we do this? Well many answers come immediately to mind, we strive for continuous self-improvement, to better ourselves, our lives, and those who we are close to and love immensely. For many, it may be the fact that our personal resolutions, goals, intentions give us a chance to work on ourselves which we sometimes neglect and put to the side in our daily lives.

Today, while listening to "The Conversation" on NPR, the topic of the conversation was New Years resolutions and how to really get to where you want to go. It was really interesting to hear what people had to say, both guests and callers. I think the most valid comment made that really hit home was not to be so hard on yourself during the year, post-January 1st. The analogy that was made was view your resolutions and goals like you were coaching a little league team and trying to get all the little kiddies to get their batting average above the norm by the end of the season. If you remain critical and cynical throughout the season and ignore the small accomplishments and are not compassionate during the tough times, you won't get any results.

Key learnings from this analogy: Be gentle...with yourself, be compassionate...with yourself, celebrate the small accomplishments, and set yourself up for success-be realistic, write it down, look at it every day and be proud of every step you take to get yourself to reaching your full potential.

Happy new year and enjoy what this prosperous time has to offer.

Peace and Happiness in 2009!
Jen