Yoga professional, teacher, author of Yogaminute, motivational speaker
Many of you who follow my posts know that I advocate to use yoga to stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit. I use yoga Asana (the physical part), along with Pranayama (the breathing part), as well as the introspection of Svadhyaya, to promote spiritual health. What I have been remiss in writing about is acknowledgement and that's not OK.
To acknowledge a hurt and a dissapointment, even privately, is frowned upon. Children are told, "Don't be a baby"; teens are told, "Grow up"; and adults are told to "Handle it", or "Be a team player". Acknowledgement is not advocated until it becomes out of control.
It's not OK to bury resentment and disappointment. It's not OK to let someone or something control you. It's not OK to be mistreated, maligned, and managed. It's not OK to say you're fine when you're not.
It's not OK to bury resentment and disappointment. It's not OK to let someone or something control you. It's not OK to be mistreated, maligned, and managed. It's not OK to say you're fine when you're not. Click To Tweet
I applaud the women and men who are part of the #metoo movement that is now coming to light. They have shown courage in making their stories so public and I hope the media attention will help them feel vindicated and released from their burden. But what of the people who carry a hurt every day and have no outlet to express it? To those people I say give yourself permission to acknowledge. Write it down, say it out loud, tweet or text it if you want. You have the right to be heard and acknowledged. Not everyone will see it your way, and you might not get the sincere, contrite reaction you are expecting, but just the act of acknowledgement will help you towards the road to healing.
I acknowledge the people and institutions who were unkind and dismissive to me.
I acknowledge the clients and potential employers who did not hire me.
I acknowledge that my body is not 20 anymore.
I acknowledge that there are things out of my control.
What do you acknowledge?
In the next week or two, we will be bombarded with New Year's advice on health, diet, exercise, relationships, and career. At the end of a calorie laden, sugar intensive, holiday season, this seems like a good idea. Start fresh, start anew, improve your life! Yet, for many all these good resolutions disappear by February and become a very distant memory by summer until before you know it, it is New Year's again. Ever notice that the same resolutions show up year after year?
In 2018, let yoga be your guide. Most people know about the asana, or exercise part of yoga, but few think about yoga as a way to change your inner thinking. Setting intentions are part of your yoga practice. Setting intentions is a simple declaration of what you need in the moment. For instance, most people will set a goal to lose x number of pounds. In yoga you would set an intention to eat healthy and what your body needs for the day. Instead of hour long, grueling workouts, your intention might also include moving your body to bring oxygen and blood flow. If your career is at a standstill, your intention could be "getting unstuck" and to be open to new experiences.
How do you set an intention? It doesn't matter where or when, but do stop, be quiet, and take a deep breath. As you inhale say to yourself, "I am" or "I need", and exhale with your one word positive intention. For instance in the middle of my busy day I might say "I am" as I inhale and "calm" as I exhale and I repeat it as many times as I need to.
Once you set an intention, your subconscious will direct you to fulfill it. Your job is to listen. Things will happen, sometimes not what you expect, but they will happen. Tune out those other little voices in your head that says you can't, or it's too hard, or that it will never happen, and listen to your inner wisdom.
It only takes a few moments in the many moments of your day, to let yoga in and transform your life. Start in 2018 and you will experience the difference that yoga can make not only in your body, but also in your mind and spirit.
There is a commercial currently running that features a group of guys in a convertible, running low on gas. One of the guys takes out a birthday card from the glove compartment, takes a picture of the enclosed check, and voila! They can instantly buy the gas they need and are on their way. Clearly they are happy for both the gas and the instant access to the funds. But are they truly thankful?
Little children everywhere are taught to say please and say thank you, and they dutifully repeat these words to get the object of their desire, but we know they are just parroting the words. They do not hold meaning, other than it makes the adults smile, and that is good in their little world.
In our everyday life, we routinely say thank you as well. It is polite, socially acceptable, and a conversation ender. You said it, it's done, on to other things. But saying thank you and feeling thankful are two separate things.
When I think of the times that I have been truly thankful, it is because someone shared their skill or resources to help me do something I could not do myself. Whether that was a doctor, a fire fighter, a technician, an auto mechanic, a teacher, a co-worker, or a stranger, the times I am truly thankful is when I am in need. I am even more thankful when I see what it costs for the giver to help me. How many of us have received checks in birthday cards from a grandparent or older relative? How many of us realize the actual cost to those sending the check? Do the guys in the commercial think about what grandma went without so she could send a $10.00 check (plus postage?)
Saying thank you is easy. Being truly thankful requires humility, sincerity, and empathy. In our yoga practice, we focus on these things and seek to stay on our path of enlightenment. What are you truly thankful for today? How can you show it?
See also Being Thankful in a Thankless World. Pay it Forward in kindness and truly celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in your mind, in your words, and in your heart.
Are you a door mat or are you a welcome mat?
I was watching Jeopardy the other night and I don't even know what the category was, but the contestant's response was, "What is a welcome mat?" Alex's response was "Correct! Welcome mat or door mat are both acceptable responses." I thoroughly disagree. There is a difference between people being a door mat or a welcome mat.There is a difference between people being a door mat or a welcome mat. Which are you? Click To Tweet
If you tend to be a door mat, than you are unhappy when perceive a job is beneath you. You grumble and gripe when the extra project gets dumped on your desk, when there is a need for extra coverage and you are "volunteered", when there is a family crisis and you reluctantly step up to the plate. Everything to you is a crisis and crazy, and you just don't understand why everyone can't see how mistreated you are.
If you tend to be a welcome mat, then you gladly take on a new project and work the extra hours. You ask for extra responsibilities, listen and learn. You are enthusiastic and humble. You offer suggestions rather than demands, you are respectful rather than condescending, and open to whatever changes might happen.
As I watch another year of graduations take place, I wonder how many of these new grads will be door mats and how many will be welcome mats? Which are you?
Intriguing title, why did you click it? And what four letter word I am talking about?
The four letter word is FEAR.
FEAR keeps us from achieving our goals. FEAR paralyzes us and keeps us up at night. FEAR keeps us stuck in unhealthy jobs and relationships. FEAR leads us to hibernate and wallow, perpetuating even more FEAR, resentment, anger.
What can you do about it?
Replace FEAR with YOGA. Yoga helps to calm your mind. Yoga will help to keep you centered. Yoga will help you realize your self worth. Yoga will help you to set an intention. Yoga will help to get you un-stuck and take positive action. When you learn to tap into your inner wisdom through yoga, you will be able to see a whole myriad of possibilities.
Do you need help? This week I am so excited to be part of the Life Beyond Limitations Free Online Summit with Dr. Molly Casey – starts April 11th, 2017. I will be discussing how to overcome obstacles and live life beyond limitations! Claim Your Spot Now by clicking here. I look forward to helping you achieve your dreams and goals through yoga!
Here is a post that I contributed to.
During the course of your yoga practice you might have heard the term mula bandha. What is this and why is it helpful?
If you study or have knowledge of the chakras, the first one is called the muladhara chakra. In Sanskrit, mula means base, so the reference is to the base or root chakra. The term bandha means lock. So does this mean to lock your root? Not exactly, but it does refer to the perineum, and it can be a very useful tool to help strengthen this area. For men these are the muscles around the perineal body which lie midway between the anus and genitals. For women, the contraction is felt in the area surrounding the cervix. Using the heel of the foot, a soft object, or a specially designed cushion helps to contract these muscles.
Contracting these muscles takes practice, particularly because when you tense one muscle, many more follow. Start by sitting in a comfortable, cross legged position. Concentrate on the breath and you breathe in and out through the nose. Keep the breath following smoothly until you feel the body relax. Squeeze the entire perineal region, being careful not to also stop the breath flow in the ribcage. Repeat until you feel comfortable activating this area.
Next, contract the perineal region, maintaining a steady breath, and hold the contraction for about 8-10 breaths. Think of the area as an open purse, and when you are contracting the muscle, you are drawing the strings closed on the purse. With practice, you will be able to contract this area without engaging the anal muscles. Don't rush it. A few minutes of practice a day will do it.
Once you can hold the contraction without also holding your breath, you are ready to engage in the mula bandha lock for your meditation and breath work (Pranayama). Ideally, the mula bandha should be held during the entire yoga class to "lock" in energy and allowing you to hold a pose for its maximum benefits. NOTE: Sorry, this is not for pregnant women!
Why is engaging the mula bandha important? For women, it helps menstrual and menopausal maladies, nourishing this area and providing blood flow and circulation. For men and women, it helps to regulate breathing and lower blood pressure and also increases digestion. For all yogis, bringing your attention the the root area, helps you feel grounded and supported physically, mentally, and spiritually.
January is the time that many people are looking to get started in a fitness regimen. Cardio and weight training used to be the norm, but in the last few years, more people are asking me about yoga to meet their fitness goals. I am happy to see the spread of yoga into the mainstream, but since the practice of yoga has been westernized and commercialized, there are some misconceptions out there that I'd like to address.
First, there are many types of yoga and you need to find the tradition that suits your personality and fitness goals. If you are looking for a vigorous workout, try a vinyasa flow or a power yoga class. If you are recovering from an injury, look at hot yoga or restorative yoga. If you like routine, try a bikram class. If you are looking to deepen your practice with meditation involved, go for hatha or anusara.
Second, find a class with trained instructors. Looking good in leggings and sporting an "ohm" tattoo does not a good instructor make. Investigate by asking for recommendations; look at an instructor's reviews on their website, Facebook, or Thumbtack; and check out the directory at www.yogaalliance.org which is the premiere certifying organization for yoga professionals.
Thirdly, realize that the movement (asana) is just one facet of yoga. If that is your main goal, then you probably can find a yoga class at your local gym or Y. But if you are looking to incorporate the deeper practice of a yoga lifestyle, than you would be better served in a Center that specializes in yoga.
Finally, realize that nothing in yoga should ever hurt or make you feel uncomfortable. Choosing the yoga practice that reasonates with you might take some time, but it is so worth it. I have had students who have started with me go on to other practices and then loyal students who have been with me for years. I cherish both because their experiences make me a better instructor.
I hope that you consider adding yoga as part of a healthy lifestyle and find the practice that enhances your enjoyment and quality of life. It is so worth it!
Sadly, we have to say good bye to our Leominster location. Thankfully I was able to reserve additional space for classes at the Dragonfly Wellness Center on Devens. For those of you who have already been there, you know what a truly beautiful space this is and for those of you who haven't been there yet, you are in for a treat! And along with the space, wellness services, and other fitness modalities, comes the Natural Health Cafe, where we can relax after yoga with a tasty treat and beverage. I am grateful to Anne at Dragonfly for making room for us to add another class there, but mostly I am thankful to all of you who will join me on a journey to another new location. Initially, I will offer two classes there: Monday at 4:30pm and Saturday at 9:00am. The first class will be January 7, 2017. You may prepay online or in person and use your credit/debit card too. Many thanks for your comments and patience.
For those of you not joining us in our new location, I wish you well and hope that you will continue your yoga practice. It has been an honor to serve you.
Here's my contribution:
#53. ANITA PERRY
Author and Blogger
What are my 3 best fitness motivation tips for 2017?
Acknowledge and accept change-change in your body, change in your relationships, change in your career. Know that you have the power within to become a better you.
Find Your Goals
Set an intention to be healthier. Once you set an intention and send it out into the universe, you have set the ball the rolling. Follow through by making a plan for your eating and movement.
Surround yourself with positivity, cut out the negativity. Sometimes we hold on because it is convenient but not in our best interest. Keep what serves you and your goals, discard the rest.
Please read 99 more tips here. Thanks to Cathy Scarlett @ garagegymplanner.com for compiling!