Things I Learned from Students

Joy
I have learned so much from my students.
Oh I knew that yoga gave me Joy long before I had students, but to see that joy reflected on their faces doubles my joy. To just spend a little while in peace, quiet and tranquility. It is refreshing like water on a cold day.

Wishing

Two weeks ago Kat at Peerless Panther tagged me. I was supposed to share the tagging and went on a week long vacation and am just now getting around to tagging someone. I take Sarah L. at Beer With a Straw. I tried to pick a difficult quote. We’ll see how I did.

1. Don’t wish for perfect health. In perfect health, there is greed and wanting. So an ancient said, ” Make good medicine from the suffering of sickness.”

2. Don’t hope for life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy ind. So an ancient once said, “Accept the anxieties and difficulties of this life”.

3. Don’t expect your practice to be clear of obstacles. Without hindrances the mind that seeks enlightenment may be burnt out. So an ancient once said, “Attain deliverance in disturbances”. Zen Master Kyong Ho [ 1849-1912], in Thousand Peaks

Peace

“Peace of mind is attained not by ignoring problems, but by solving them.”

~ Raymond Hull

This is from Peerless Panther for the quote Challenge. If you want to read her blog drop her a line.
Peace of mind? Like a lot of things that phrase seems simple on the front end but its actually difficult. Why? Well, there are things we have no control over. And those things can’t be solved by us. We can only fix our perspective on those things. Our peace of mind should never depend on circumstances.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

The obvious answer here is if we are being chased by a rabid dog or bullied, or have an issue we need to deal with, that we turn and confront our attacker. Then we sleep at night because the threat is gone. Often just confronting the issue takes the teeth out of the fear and makes it recede. Sometimes though, the dog bites or the bully doesn’t go away or refuses to accept responsibility. The choice then is how to deal with those new circumstances.

What about those things we can’t control? The things people say? The car wrecks, the broken water pipes? The people who don’t do their jobs, cut us off in traffic, are rude to us in stores? the people who just don’t like us? the people who are just nasty and unhappy and see the glass as half empty and get angry because we don’t? what about them? is peace of mind really obtained by solving those things? Or by solving ourself?

The practice of Yoga helps one obtain the mind/body/soul connection helps you balance yourself and then peace of mind comes. Your perspective shifts and you are content regardless of the circumstances around you. You realize that the only thing you really have control over is yourself and your reactions to what happens. This can happen in an hour, and if you do enough yoga you can take this practice with you every day.

the rest of the Serenity prayer?

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.


I’ll take reasonably happy. and the hope of supreme happiness over trying to strive for control that was never meant to be mine in the first place. the problems? I can’t always solve, because they aren’t mine necessarily to solve. And yes when I get sucker punched I still have to struggle to find my footing, my peace, again. Because I’m on a journey, I haven’t yet arrived.

Aloha

P.S. I’ll tag someone and give them two weeks to answer due to several people being gone next week.

What Matters Most

The other day a friend said, “I hope we don’t forget what’s most important while focusing on what is least important.” I’m still not sure what she was specifically referring to.  But then this weekend I read this article from Bill Phillips about attitude and it fits in with that same sentiment.

Please, while you are on your journey, don’t forget what matters most while focusing on what matters the least. (and I hope you know the difference)

Bill Phillips is awesome btw, he understands the mind/body/spirit connection and uses that teaching to change people’s lives.

Enlightenment

“Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness” Terry Pratchet

From Cormac comes this quote challenge. (I’m going to play along as long as I can make it “fit” the theme here, not always able to).

So

I’ve got this to say:

One. You know when a bulb burns out and you are lazy and don’t change it for a while? or you get right on it and put in a newer brighter bulb? You know how BRIGHT it suddenly is? you see the cobwebs, the dust, the things you thought would go away if ignored? Well That’s what flamethrowers do, for a minute, then you burn your hand, drop it and move on.

Two. When you shine that bright flamethrower on the darkness? You temporarily blind yourself. As in you do not see clearly.

Three. Examine Your Eyesight. (this comes from a lovely set of Tavis Smiley Empowerment cards, A card a day and woot! you retrain your thoughts. It goes on to say  take your focus off how others see you. Don’t be obsessed with the need to impress. Keep your concern on the vision in the mirror and don’t allow the approval of others to obstruct your view of you.

Four. Own it. The Darkness and the Flamethrower.  Both are means to an end.  Name it. Claim it.

Five. Its not the darkness or the light that will get you in the end. It’s how you react to them. That attitude is the light from inside that cannot be hidden or the darkness that will drag you down.

Sadhana

The act of doing the same thing every day, reverently.

This concept is so much bigger than me.

But I’ve heard it described as simple as the act of lighting a candle everyday and then blowing it out. Just purposing to do this every day, with reverence. It’s been said that the moment you purpose such a thing, all the reasons not to will surface. And its true.

I’d be a super athlete if I had that discipline. And the fact I can’t stick with a plan, probably explains a lot. Physical, mental, spiritual all go hand and hand.  Mind, Body, Spirit. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Hmn.

So this year for Lent I decided to purpose somethings. 1. To give up three not so nice things. (time wasters, vocabulary and continuing to stamp on old bad habits, nothing major) 2. To add in their place, more spirituality. To Wit, Sadhana, getting/waking up early and doing yoga practice and meditation.  And “good works” giving to charity money that I would have spent on something else, and being more mindful of my spirit.

And of course, my self wants the things I gave up, has a million reasons not to wake up early. I’ve spent time counting my blessings and being thankful. I’m balancing a too full plate and all that wants to fit on it.

So far? Waking up early has brought such joy and peace, but I miss my bed, in fact one morning’s meditation was actually snuggling in my nest of pillows and praying.

That was a good day.

Yoga for Weightloss

So someone is always asking, “can you really lose weight doing yoga.” Someone asked that in my Monday night yoga class a couple weeks ago and before the teacher could respond,  a student raised her hand.

“I want to answer that,” she said. “I’ve lost 60 pounds in the last year and yoga has been my only form of exercise. ” Now if you are a body builder who runs 20 miles a week, adding yoga might not get you a 60 pound weight loss. But if you are right now, not working out at all, and you start a 3 or 4 a week yoga routine? yep, you will see results.

My yoga teacher confirmed the woman who had lost 60 pounds by saying in the last several years the only exercise she has gotten is yoga.  And she is firm and tight and in better shape than 4-6 years ago. (yep I’ve been going to that yoga teacher that long)

So, add healthy weight to the benefits of yoga. right up there with healthy spirit I hope.

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