Broken Windows

March 11, 2013

One of my favorite blogs, The Happiness Project, recently posted about the theory of broken windows.  Loosely, this theory tells us that if a neighborhood allows petty crimes like broken windows, graffiti, etc. to go unpunished, then more serious crimes are likely to be committed.  These small signs of disinterest or lack of awareness show others that we aren’t being mindful.  That we don’t care.

In the original post, the author translates this theory to the idea of our own personal broken windows – those small things that make us feel disorganized and out-of-control.  Things like letting the mail pile up, not washing the dishes or staying in PJs all day…

If we look at this idea through the lens of yoga, can you see how the idea of conscious mindfulness comes into play?  When we are feeling out of control, instead of letting these little windows break, can we take a breath, a pause, and make the bed before tackling the next project?  One step at a time – even a step as small as throwing away the junk mail- shows our body, mind and spirit that we are home, that we care, and that we won’t check out when the going gets tough.  These small steps can help us to stay present in both calm times and chaotic times.

This weekend as my husband and I frantically shopped for a new car (our old one died last week) that we weren’t planning on purchasing, I could feel the stress of the situation pulling me away from mindfulness.  I left dirty clothes on the floor; I ate foods I normally try to avoid – all because we were “busy”.  We “HAD” to buy a new car THIS WEEKEND.  And, then I remembered the original blog post about Broken Windows.  I took a breath.  I meditated for 10 minutes.  I threw the dirty clothes in the hamper.  And, then we found a car to buy.

Yesterday, I took an Acro Yoga workshop at Sacred Thread Yoga.  This was only my second experience with Acro Yoga – the first time was a few months ago at a yoga event.  There was a teacher doing demonstrations and everyone was lining up to fly on this guy’s feet.  Everyone except me….

It wasn’t that I couldn’t see the fun in this; it was just that this was a direct hit to one of my weaknesses.  Letting go.  Yeah, I was supposed to just hang out and trust this person not to drop me, injure me or make me look like a fool.  Pretty challenging for some of us.  But, because my focus this year is LETTING GO I gave it a shot (ok, it took a bit of bullying from my friends and this teacher but I caved and I’m grateful!).  And, while it was totally fun, even more so it was an awesome eye-opener to the things I miss out on when I hold on too tightly.

 

That's me Letting Go...

That’s me Letting Go…

So, when STY announced a twice a month Acro Yoga workshop (the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month, in case you wanna join the fun) I decided I was gonna go!  No more holding back; hello Letting Go.  It was not surprising that I was way more comfortable being the base (the person on the ground, the person with all the control) than I was with flying (trust, trust, trust) but I gave them equal attention and I had a fabulous time.  In the end, I felt strong and surprisingly carefree afterwards – kind of like that feeling you get after finishing a big project or test…  It made me wonder what else I was missing by letting my weaknesses hold me back?  What are you missing?

We can see this in our yoga practices as well.  Some of us are super strong and find it easy to engage our muscles in poses.  Others are more fluid and flexible in poses.  In yoga, we need both – strength & softness, to be solid and spacious at the same time.  In sanskrit, this is called Sthira & Sukha.

Sthira can be defined as firm, solid, strong, unfluctuating.  Sukha implies have space at the center that allows function; easy, pleasant, gentle, mild…  In our practice and in our lives we must find a balance in these two opposing forces: going with the flow and standing up for what we believe is right.  Being the base and flying high.

This week in class we’ll play with finding this balance and opening our eyes and hearts to both sthira & sukha.  Do you know where your work lies?

Power + Pranayama

February 14, 2013

Tuesdays 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.

Location: Sacred Thread Yoga, 828 Ralph McGill Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30306 (www.sacredthreadyoga.com)

Nadi Shodana

Nadi Shodana

A powerful flow class, Power + Pranayama incorporates traditional Pranayamas (breathing techniques) into a strong practice to grow and shift our energies.  Practitioners can expect to learn breathing techniques such as Kapalabati, Agni Sara, Anuloma Viloma and Kumbhakas during class.  These techniques will be tied into our flow to increase energy, strength and concentration as well as tap into the underlying emotions of our practice.  Get ready to breath, sweat and soar!  Previous yoga experience recommended.

A Rosy View

February 14, 2013

A glass of Rose

In celebration of Valentine’s Day I’m drinking in the pink!  It isn’t often that I throw cabbage into my juices but this is truly tasty and beautiful.  Put it in a wine glass and toast to juicy health & self-love!

Valentine’s Day Rose

Purple Cabbage, 1/4 head
1 pear
1 apple
1 lemon, peeled
1 in. knob of ginger

Put it all in the juicer and voila!

Recommitment to…

February 4, 2013

Recently, I was asked to teach a class for a group of students who focused on recommitting themselves to their goals.  To stay committed to a goal overtime takes incredible focus, dedication and a continual emphasis on being mindful – pretty powerful stuff to build a yoga class around.  As I sat with this idea and brainstormed how to teach this class, I looked at my own commitment to my practice: how it is has ebbed, flowed and changed overtime.  I saw the times that I eagerly got on my mat, full of enthusiasm and curiosity, and I saw the times that my mat hid in its corner as things far more tempting then sitting for meditation called my name.  What did it take to get back on my mat?  What did it take to pass by the call of the TV, Facebook and a million other distractions?  Renewal.  Excitement.  Possibility.

When things feel stale, difficult or tiresome we can look to Patanjali’s very first yoga sutra for encouragement:

Now this is Yoga observed in a tiny moment seated in the world

This verse reminds us to stay present – it isn’t about the end game or results.  It is about sitting up and taking notice right here, right now.  How is this Triangle pose different and important from all the other Triangle poses you’ve done?

As we mindfully pull ourselves into the present moment, can we see the beauty of possibility in each of these moments?

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

~William Blake

Recommit to your goals in this moment with the fullness of potential inside you.

Your Wake Up Call

January 21, 2013

Two recipes in a row from Whole Living magazine. Can you tell I read this publication every month? I have a serious addiction to magazines… Anyways, I just had to share this awesome concoction to spice up your morning. Starting your day with a mug of warm lemon water has dozens of fabulous benefits your gorgeous bod but this recipe adds a bit a zing and little more fun to this morning ritual. Even if you are still gonna have that cup of Joe (I still do), try to sip this elixir first…

Golden Elixir from Whole Living Magazine

Ingredients
1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground ginger (*note, I just drop a slice of fresh ginger in my cup instead of using ground)
Cayenne
Honey (*note, I leave out the honey. Not a fan of sugar first thing in the a.m. but to each their own!)

Directions
In a mug, stir together water, lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne and honey to taste until combined.

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