Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and stretch
Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and stretch
I was attending my usual Satsang in San Francisco Sunday night, it makes me feel grounded with a strong sense of community. The talk given that night was mostly about the 4 types of Yoga, Raja and Jnana, Karma and Bhakti. As the talk continued one thing really remained in my brain. “Don’t let yourself have a ‘yoga life’ and a ‘regular life’. Yoga should be practiced at all times” That phrase really got to me. A lot of the time I think I really have it figured out, when really I have plenty of chances to practice! Yes I can sit through traffic without it affecting my mood one bit, but when Im at work slaving away I begin to feel very unsteady. Yoga is a practice of balance so why do we find it so difficult to stay present in every aspect of our lives?
I was reading a story about relationships where a woman was asking a spiritual teacher for advise on her relationship with her husband. She wanted her husband to be interested and talk about spiritual things, but he wouldn’t. He was very supportive of her but she wanted him to be more engaged. The teacher told her that the issue was not her husband, it was the story she was telling herself about what her husband should do and say. Instead of her being ok with her husband not wanting to engage in spiritual things and be himself she continued repeating her complaints to herself in her head, ultimately driving herself crazy. Have you ever done this? I know I have! And while its easier to notice that habit more every day it doesn’t stop the brain from wanting to go wild! Its that little wicked voice of the Ego telling you “he should do this” or “why isn’t he doing that?”. Its a wild thing, this ego of ours!
So what to do?!
Sit still for a moment, if you can. Breathe. This is tough stuff! To try and slow down the mind and be aware is really difficult. Especially when you’re already in a bad mood, or angry and stressed. But try it, see what happens. Try and figure out what story you’re telling yourself about the situation. Maybe it really is the people or person you’re struggling with, or maybe its not. Just notice.
One thing I find is how deeply this applies to personal and close relationships. Just stop and ask yourself what it is that you’re mad about. For me, I notice that my ego loves to get greedy! “He did this yesterday, why didn’t he do it today?” I have to constantly try and shut that little voice up and try to remain calm, not let it take me away into frustration. Its not always about the other person, actually 99% of the time it’s not about the other person! Now lets be clear here, that doesn’t mean that they might not be doing anything wrong and we should condone bad or violent behavior. There are many instances where other people might very well be doing wrong or hurtful things. Managers or bosses can be bad, governments can be damaging and controlling, mothers can be overbearing, people can be very violent. But the difference is how you respond to that behavior. You can let them upset you and hold you down, or you can keep calm stay balanced and act out of a place of awareness and wisdom.
Just like on the yoga mat, you can choose to blame your hamstrings for being tight and push yourself to the point of pain, or you can surrender to where you are and have compassion for yourself. Your hamstrings are tight, ok lets deal with that. Lets not tell a story about how if you hadn’t married your ex you would have taken yoga class everyday and your hamstrings wouldn’t be this way! No, lets just breathe. In this moment you are perfectly fine.
Same thing with daily challenges. So your boss doesn’t like to follow their own rules, ok lets deal with it. What can you do? Think calmly, think wisely and take proper action. So your boyfriend doesn’t like to turn off his cell phone when you’re trying to have a nice dinner, ok lets deal with it. Stay grounded, don’t allow yourself to get frustrated. Explain why it bothers you and see what happens.
Again people, this is really challenging stuff! We all struggle with our minds. But the great thing about yoga or any mindfulness practice is that its not life or death! If you loose your temper or lost your way, its fine, just bring yourself back to the practice of stillness! This is a life long thing. And you are not perfect, neither am I, and neither is the Queen of England. Everything will be ok. It all really boils down to loving yourself, so much so that you don’t want to hurt others because you know it will hurt you. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you will ever have! Once we figure this out, we will begin to notice that we treat others better because we treat ourselves better. We don’t get as angry because we love ourselves to the fullest. Anger cannot survive where there is love. We don’t get frustrated or depressed during or after a romantic relationship because we know we are perfectly ok on our own. We are our own best friend, we would go to the ends of the earth to make ourselves happy, and no one can do or be that for us. We are whole.
Today I am practicing patience. With others and in different situations too, but mostly with myself. I am important enough that I don’t want my ego telling me I should be angry. I am practicing peace and I am inviting peace into my life in every moment of the day. Anger has no place here, Im kicking it out!
So what type of relationship are you having with yourself today?
To learn more about mindfulness practice I highly recommend visiting eckharttolle.com and reading his book The Power of Now.Read more "Relation with the Self"
I love the idea of making fresh food that has no preparation or planning whatsoever- In the moment cooking!!! I put this together in less than 10min only using what was in the fridge and pantry. Here’s the ingredients in no particular order:
Kale, carrots, sprouts, tomatoes, avocado, raisins, red pepper hummus, chia seeds, quinoa, whole wheat wrap.
The avocado was sprinkled very lightly with salt and the raisins just gave it the right amount of sweetness! The chia and quinoa were added in for a bit of crunchiness!
All ingredients are organic and vegan!
Time to kiss the cook!!!
I’ve always been asked by many people what to do to stay healthy and fit. They ask me so many questions about health sometimes its hard to give them just one answer!
The truth is there are many different factors that lead to a healthy body and mind. Obviously I will promote yoga all day until my jaw hurts! But thats only one small part of it. While the asana aspect of yoga is very critical to health, its one small branch to the big 8 Limbed tree of Yoga. To break it down though, here are a few things that anyone can take away from the yogic lifestyle. So next time you’re in a jam, ask yourself- What Would A Yogi Do?!
1) Eat Healthy and Mindfully.
Everyone knows to eat their peas and carrots, but have you thought mindfully about this? Meaning, when you bought those carrots did you think about where it came from, who grew it, and how? Doing this at the grocery will drastically change your habits. I promise! You can do your research before hitting the store to be better educated. Watching TED Talks on the subject, documentaries, and doing some google searches on organic food and sustainable practices will enlighten you. Food is so essential to our survival, but just because this side of the world is abundant in it doesn’t mean its safe for you. If you eat meat this can be a life saver. Animals treated and raised properly can have a drastic difference in nutrition. Animals and plants also transfer energy, its the law of physics! Would you rather eat happy chickens or depressed and deprived chickens? Same goes for plants! I myself am a vegetarian, part time vegan, so I promote that lifestyle 100% but that doesn’t mean if you eat meat I wont support you! It is still a good idea to only eat meat once or twice a week, not everyday. Protein is in abundance in many plants so don’t be fooled by the ads! Eat peacefully and quietly, don’t rush. Avoid eating before bed, even snacks, drink tea if you really want something in the tummy.
Meditation is hard. I wont lie to you! But what makes it harder is not doing it at all! Showing up every time, even if you dont want to, is the best way to tackle life and its challenges. Every day people are diagnosed with mental disorders. I cant help but wonder how many of those people could avoid those diagnoses if they started meditating. As a society we are constantly busy, physically, mentally and emotionally. Taking 15, 30, 60 minutes to be still and quiet can seem like wasted time! But I promise you wont regret it, you will see so much benefit. To get started, try lying down on your back and closing your eyes for 15 minutes a day. DONT FALL ASLEEP! Once you can lay there without moving or falling asleep, move on to sitting with crossed legs for 20 minutes. Find a meditation group or go on a meditation course or intensive. When I started I wanted to be immersed so I went to a 10 day silent immersion course! You dont have to do this unless you want a drastic change to your life! I did and it changed, and possibly saved, my life.
3) Throw away your TV!!!
Or at least watch less of it. A lot less! Like almost hardly ever! This will not only increase the time you spend doing much healthier things, but it will change your attitude too! I gave up TV 3 years ago and I will never go back! My attitude went from dramatic to stable within a few months. You will be surprised how you are soaking in all that bad energy from TV shows, ads, and movies. Part of being healthy is being mindful, and you cant be mindful if you are not aware how things effect you externally. If you want a change for the better, toss that TV out the window!!!! But if you want a slow change, only watch shows that are uplifting and educational. Im a big fan of Discovery channel, National geographic, and health shows. Comedy is good to watch in small doses, its very healthy to laugh! But dont laugh at someone else’s expense. Racism, sexism, and violence is never funny and they degrade your mind. Truth.
4) Dont worry, be happy!
Stress is a huge sickness that starts in the mind and ends with decease! Many studies have proved that stress is linked to immune system failures and even cancer! Ever heard of panic attacks and mental break downs? Both caused by stress. Did you get sick but no one else around you is sick? It was most likely stress. A lot of the time we dont see how stress effects us until we are sick in bed or crying for no reason! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Dont worry, everything will work itself out. If you feel overwhelmed by everything, call a friend. Find a community. Meditation helps so much, so does yoga and playing with your pet! Do something positive with your time. Read a book, start a journal or blog, go to the woods and rest! Life is beautiful, you just need a reminder of that every once in a while! Positive thinking is actually a tool many are using now and it does work. Think of it as looking on the bright side! The grass might look greener on the other side, but all yours needs is some water and light and BAM- your grass will be beautiful in no time!
You can follow me on instagram (@elianayogini) and facebook (Facebook/elianayogalife) for more yogi insights! Om Shanti!Read more "What would a Yogi do?"
Study your breath. Is it shallow, is it deep? Is it fast or slow? Is your mind in tune with your breath? Just notice, without judgment.
Sit still and in silence. What do you feel?
Don’t be afraid to feel whatever is in your body and mind. Open your heart, let everything flow. Nothing matters except this moment.
Stay mindful and aware of the body. Notice where your mind takes you. Try and stay present as much as you can. This is consciousness. This is awareness. This is truth, love, and peace.
This moment, as it is.
You are whole.
I will be teaching the next 2 Vinyasa classes at Piedmont Yoga Studio on Thursdays ,10/24 and 10/31! Come get your flow workout with added mental and spiritual elements which relate to daily life. At $14 for the hour, you cant beat it! See you on the mat!Read more "One Hour Flow at Piedmont!"
Learn the unique system of Yoga from the famous Lineage! November 9th from 2pm-4:30pm Cost $18 register by Nov 2nd, $25 after Nov 2nd At YogaLove Studio in West Oakland, CA! Register by leaving a comment below with your name and email or by sending me a messege at Facebook/elianayogalife *Learn the 5 points of health […]Read more "Sivananda Hatha Workshop!"