Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The practice of yoga is available at any moment

As I am working on expanding services that Samya Yoga Healing offers, I'm reminded constantly how every moment is a learning and opportunity to move past limiting patterns, which is the heart of yoga.

I would describe myself as having a tendency towards being an introvert, autonomous, and loyal.  The first surprises most people, but is true.  I am someone who enjoys being alone and being alone helps to recharge my batteries.  When I'm contacting a lot, putting myself out there, I can end up getting tired, more anxious and overwhelmed...even if  I'm having fun.  I tend to want to do things on my own and learn by researching and doing...thus it can be hard to ask for help.  When a person enters my world, I am there to support and empathize.  When I find a service that I love, I tout them to the moon and back.  This can also make it hard for me to change a service, even if it's in my best interest.

These three patterns have had many opportunities to expand and change over the past few years with starting and expanding Samya Yoga Healing.  It's been challenging at times, but once I'm through it, I'm so grateful for my comfort zone being pushed and I feel empowered.

I had one of those times today.  If you go to my website, you'll see that in the future, I will be offering some online courses.  I was so excited when I decided I wanted to pursue this.  I started to brainstorm what these courses would look like, feeling more confident.  Then I came up to the, "how do I actually do this?" I started researching a quickly became overwhelmed as this is a new area for me, especially on the tech side.  In the past, my interactions with technology that is new would lead to feeling overwhelmed. I would be filled with anger and frustration, self-doubt, and wanting to just give it the middle finger. But, in my goals with Samya Yoga Healing, I've learned that this doesn't help and keeps me stuck by not taking any action. 

What's helped me most is pushing the boundary of "I can do it myself" to asking for help so that I can do it myself.  I even used technology to help with a lot of this. Just by using search engines to ask questions and then getting my answer, I've learned quite a lot.  Wow! There are people out there posting so many resources to answer almost any question you could imagine.  This fits well with my tendency to be more autonomous, not having to call or talk with someone to get that answer. 

Today though, this was not the solution.  I had been thinking about contacting the customer support for my website hosting for a few weeks, but all those self-doubt thoughts kept me from doing it.  "What if my question is stupid?  What if they can't help me?  Will I have to change everything and that will be so much work!"   Today, I did it.  I called the number and my self-doubt and fear were quickly shown their predictions were completely false.  The tech support was supportive, helpful, and he's now my contact guy for any questions I have in the future.  He was excited about what I'm doing and looking forward to helping me make my goals happen in a cost effective way.  There's that empowerment feeling again! Also gratitude, and humor at how much my limiting thoughts kept me from doing this before. 

What does this have to do with yoga?  Yoga is the practice of self-awareness to notice how sensations in the body, breath, and mind are either moving us toward or keeping us away from who we truly are and our full potential.  What I went through today, pushing through the fear to ask for help and trying something new, opened up possibilities and gave another experience in how self-doubt is not my truth.  If I had listened to it, I would have continued to be in the misery of wanting to create online courses and being stuck in taking a step forward in making it happen and feeling more and more like maybe it's not possible.  Taking a breath and making that phone call broke through the block and I'm flowing again.

Remember, yoga is not just a physical posture class you go to a few times a week.  It can be a lifestyle and daily practice, at any point in the day, that moves us towards self-transformation and a more content, peaceful existence.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Practice of Gratitude

It's November again and, in the US, this month represents giving thanks and gratitude with the holiday of Thanksgiving Day at the end of the month. 

Gratitude, to me, represents a practice that goes beyond a day or a month in the year.  In our modern world, we are filled with constant "reminders" of what we don't have and what we need to feel complete, which is usually something in the material world: the latest gadget, specific brands, bigger house, more luxurious car...the list goes on and on.  The fascinating thing is when we get these things, the joy and contentment last momentarily and then we are on to the next thing we "need," never feeling complete.  This is the focus on lack. 

This focus also happens on an emotional and spiritual level too.  I live in a mountain community that likes to call itself "Happy Valley." Underneath this facade, things are not so "happy." One example are the suicide rates, which are much higher per capita than the big city down the road.   Why is this?  One thought is that people come here with certain expectations of living the mountain life: where it's beautiful, there's access to so many fun activities, no worries, and if it's a great place to visit, it's gotta be amazing to live here. (Hence the name "Happy Valley").  But, all who come bring their mental and emotional baggage with them as well as the mentality of "work hard, play and party hard," it's a recipe for lack disaster.  All around, the message is "this is the best place to live," "there are no worries here because it's all so good," and "nothing bad happens here."  So, if a person isn't doing well they start hiding it or start trying to do external things to fill the lack that can be self-destructive or numb out. Lack thoughts reek havoc. "There's something wrong with me because I'm not happy."  "I'm not good enough."  "I'll never get ____."The ultimate escape being suicide.  National Geographic has a great article specifically on this topic.

The practice of gratitude is the focus on abundance.  We all have abundance in our lives and regularly reminding ourselves of this can be uplifting, calming and centering.  The world of positive psychology reports that those people who feel more content in life regularly practice gratitude.

So how to do this?  First, picking a time of day to bring it into your daily routine.  Just like we regularly brush teeth, eat, bathe...making gratitude a part of this.  Second, a template.  A great way to do a gratitude is using this template:

  • I am grateful for _______, because ________.
Third, start by writing them down or saying them out loud with a family member or friend.  You can even do both by texting someone your gratitude(s) each day and vice versa.  By doing this on a daily basis, when those thoughts and feelings that come from focusing on lack creep in, you can counteract them by reminding yourself what you are grateful for and what you do have in your life that makes it amazing already.

The big challenge is committing to doing this until it becomes a habit and more natural.  It's a process and it takes time.  Especially since many of us have been focusing on lack for decades.  BUT, the rewards of focusing on abundance are worth the effort and I think you'll find that this simple practice has immediate results.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk about gratitude because it's created more contentment and enjoyment in my life.  Practice gratitude!