Archives for category: Health

So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately. I realize how seldom I post yoga poses, of myself or otherwise on my social media platforms.

I guess over the years my teaching, as well as my philosophy off the mat have evolved beyond the poses. I used to be defined by my asana performance and get built up by a teacher saying ‘good job Sara.’ Lets face it, it feels great to be acknowledged.

Around that time yoga became more mainstream.

Around that time I had kids.

Around that time I became disenchanted with the abundance of handstands and arm balances parading around the social-media-yoga-scene.

To me, that is no longer what my practice is about.

Don’t get me wrong, I love asana. In fact, I have even more appreciation for it after having 2 children.  I am also more proud of my body and what its capable of after having 2 children than I EVER was before.

But the days that I don’t practice asana FAR outweigh the days that I do because I’m teaching, cleaning, cooking, feeding, bathing, emailing, texting, hugging, snuggling, wifing etc.

So how can your yoga practice continue to evolve if you don’t have time to get to a studio, let alone roll out your mat for a solid hour to do a home practice?

It will be helpful to understand that yoga poses are actually only a small part of a yoga practice or lifestyle. According to one of the ‘grandfathers’ of yoga, asana is only 1 of 8 limbs. Patanjali’s 8- limbed yoga path consists of yamas (ethical discipline), niyamas (self discipline), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (enlightenment). You can think of these as puzzle pieces that fit together to construct a complete practice. I find it helpful to think of them this way because when you are putting a puzzle together there is often no rhyme or reason, yet your effort is spent on creating a whole piece, hence doing a yoga practice or becoming a  yogini.

Through my process of becoming a mother I needed to evolve a way of maintaining my yogi identity. So I pulled away from show-boaty poses and turned my focus to the things I was doing on a more regular basis. By accepting that I couldn’t get to my mat, I started creating opportunities to practice yoga and mindfulness in the daily tasks of motherhood.

Playing with my children became a practice of being present. Packing their lunches- an act of service. Deep breathing with them when they are upset or hurt has become a great way for me to practice breathing as well. When they creep out of bed first thing in the morning, I wrap my arms around them and close my eyes to meditate on the sound of their little angel breath and their warm sleepy bodies.

Mindfulness, breathing, meditation, presence, compassion, all things that show up in motherhood on a regular basis.  Utilizing these tools to extend your yoga practice beyond your mat will help you to evolve and appreciate the time you DO get to be on your mat.  Plus, one of the hardest things to do as a mother is to make time for yourself, so by weaving these practices into your day you will cultivate mindfulness for yourself AND your family. Its WIN-WIN.

namaste.

 

Advertisements

In 2014 I’m looking forward to exploring more of The Middle Way.

After several shifts and awakenings this year, I can honestly say that I think my soul is starting to rub her eyes, inspirate and move. Its a looong, slooow process. Like when my little guy rises with the sun, he jabbers at the dark for a few minutes, then I go in and say ‘good morning’. He then likes to tell me about how he slept and what first came to mind when he woke up, like ‘reach the lights’ (meaning that he can now reach the light switch and turn his bedroom light on… and off… and on and off again… at 5:30.

At times I’ve been reluctant to my own arousal. Maybe even tried to slip back underneath the veil of my ego and chase the things I’m used to chasing. I’ve tried for money, fame, status. All of which have led me back to the same realization. The Middle Way.

lotus-flower.jpg

Its certainly tempting to want to push my career to a place where everybody knows my name. And its just as easy to follow the same trance that so many other people seem to be in: that you should work your life a way, make a bunch more money than you need and attain the stuff that makes you who you are. But again, when I find myself on the ledge that plummets to that same spot, something in my gut always guides me to stillness. And in that stillness I recall contentment and the truth of what MY happiness.

And now, I know, you are just waiting for me to tell you what that is. Like if one more person were to tell you what their happiness came from you could go after it and you would find happiness too… but would you?  So today I refrain from sharing my happiness. With the intention that 2014 be THE year that you find your own sense of truth. That you and everyone around you be guided by that inner voice that guides us all home.

May we all find happiness, and the root of happiness.

namaste.

It seemed to me that September was a month full of enthusiasm, inspiration and creativity. I was thriving! My classes were coming easily, my playlists were fun and impactful, even my own workouts seemed to build me up. I had direction and motivation and felt I had pushed through at least a handful of some of the barriers that I have put in my own way.

Then came October…  SCREEEEEEECH (sound of car coming to a tragically abrupt stop!)

I had been struggling with ev-ry-thing!

I was at a total lack of motivation, I couldn’t seem to keep any kind of pace to keep up with my grueling teaching schedule and at home I was at a total loss for ideas of what to eat for dinner for crying out loud!

I was having a hard time even getting myself to do the things that I would have done in the past in similar type of crisis…. I couldn’t…

What happened??? I felt truly stuck. It was like writers block, but for my whole life.  LIFE block. UGH!

Then, last week I was teaching a class and one of my favorite songs came on and I was reminded of how much I love my life, I love what I do, I love my family, my students, my body, my house, my dog… you get the idea. Something just clicked. It was like a spark of gratitude that reminded me that our reality is built on push and shove.

If we were high on life 24/7 then even that would get old. The buddhists say ‘lean into it.’ Well now that I am working my way out of the dulldrum vortex I get it even more.

I’m taking detailed inventory of the things that provoke me and what might distract me from being my inner light. I’ve noticed for myself that when I don’t get my ME time, thats when the threads begins to unravel. I would even go so far as to say that most instructors are givers in nature. I myself am completely willing to give everything to my students. Then I come home and give everything to my family. I have another cup of coffee and I can then give everything to my house, my emails, my laundry etc. But those things don’t contribute to the spiritual connection with myself that truly fills my cup. What fills your cup? And why aren’t you doing it everyday?!

I think maybe I was gifted with that spark of gratitude last week because I needed to be reminded what it was like to have that passion and clarity and joy in my life. We can do our damndest to create and maintain balance, but the inevitable WILL happen and we WILL be off balance again for one reason or another. If we ‘lean into’ our personal challenges and things that cause disruption from the balance we may perhaps get a clearer view of how to stay balanced for longer. Or better yet, how to lose balance, but not fall completely off the rails.

Besides, no one who goes to yoga wants to have an unhappy, less than glossy yoga teacher. WE are supposed to radiate Bliss… ok, thats another topic all together.