Archive | April, 2015

Is Yoga a Spiritual Practice?

Sometimes we think of yoga as a physical practice.

There is also a spiritual aspect, and some practitioners of yoga delve into a religious component through Hinduism and/or Buddhism. The history of yoga is vast and sometimes quite strange to me, as well as transforming and peaceful.

Once in a while someone in my class will ask me about this, and wonder about a conflict with their own religious beliefs.

My experience is that yoga can be practiced for many reasons and at many levels.

As for me, I delve into mindfulness and yoga as my path to physical and emotional health. Others focus primarily on the physical benefits. My objective is to cultivate a space that makes it easy for each of us to bring our own belief systems to the practice without imposition.

The closing at the end of my class is meant to remind us to dwell inside in awareness and acceptance, and a way for me to wish us all well.

Here are the words I use at the close of class:

May our hearts be filled with loving kindness.

May we be well.

May we be secure, peaceful, and at ease.

May we always be open to joy.

May each of us follow our path with heart.

“Namaste” means “I salute the spirit in you that is you” (or some variation of that…it is meant as respect for another person).

“Om” is a universal sound of unity. The chanting of it is meant to open our voices and unite us in a positive community.

I hope you all choose your own practice and continue with yoga free of conflict.

Namaste.

No Matter What

My friend Janet Archer recently posted this very sweet story about her mom. I thank her for permission to share it with you.

Janet also teaches yoga, is a life coach, and mindfulness mentor. Read about her at: janetarcher.com

Janet-cross-roads

It’s really interesting, the workings of the mind.

My mom says that she just wants to die, she’s ready.
She fell the other night.
Crawled all the way from her bathroom to her bed
where her life line necklace hangs
because she refuses to wear it.
She says its too heavy
and looks way to ugly to put on.
But she obviously knows where it lives;
on her bed post,
and she knows how to push the button
which is not an easy feat
as I tried to do it once
and didn’t signal anyone because I hadn’t pushed hard enough.
She’s strong.
And in that moment, on the floor, she forgot that she wanted to die.
Last weekend, in the car, she was complaining that she hadn’t slept at all the night before,
not one wink of sleep
and she was afraid that she might get sick.
She wants to die, but she is afraid she might get sick.
You would think that she would want to get sick so her possibility of dying would be increased.
I don’t try to have any of it make sense.
I don’t try to have her see the folly of her thinking and acting.
I don’t make her wrong.
I don’t tell her how it could or should be.
I’ve been diligently practicing minding my own business.
Because the truth is, I don’t know
what should be.
I just know
what is;
my mom wanting to die and wanting to live.
Even though she has dementia,
she’s no different than me;
we both want someone
to hear us and love us,
 and we long to know that we are not alone.
“I’ll be here for you mom,”
no matter which road
you travel down
and no matter how many times
you change your mind.

Choose Joy

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Try it… Smile.

It works. You have found a moment of joy.

Happiness? It’s ephemeral, temporary. I choose joy.

It comes from the inside, from mindfulness, from choosing to see, really see.

Now notice something.

Anything.

A feeling, a sight, a sound.

Notice your reaction to it.

Try not to judge your reaction. Just notice.

“How fascinating.”

Mindfulness reminds us to notice the small things, and rejoice in them.

By choosing joy, you are inviting it into your life.

 

“How fascinating”

Watch a delightful 13-minute video with Benjamin Zander, from whom I’ve borrowed the idea of “how fascinating.” Or just watch the first few minutes.