Are the holidays stressing you out?
Here is my favorite holiday recipe:
20 minutes of morning meditation
1 cup of coffee
60 minutes of moving your body
1 large helping of doing your best
1 huge dose of giving up assumptions
1 large splash of integrity
1 heaping of not taking things personally
1 large scoop of gratitude
1 handful of dark chocolate
Mix all these ingredients together. There is no right or wrong order.
Set your timer for 20 minutes. Sit down. Be still as you can be, when sensations and distractions arise, just sit with them. When thoughts come up, just acknowledge them, don’t try to label them or make them right or wrong, just be aware of them. When you want to move just stay still.
Enjoy a warm beverage coffee, tea, or warm water and lemon. Savor it. Sit down with it. Taste it, enjoy how it feels moving through your body. Don’t guzzle it down!
Move your body. Asana, take a walk, go for a hike, hit the gym but move your body.
Allow yourself to release some endorphins.
Do your best, at whatever you do. Don’t worry if it's not as good as yesterday or better, just make it your best for that moment and be content with it. Your best is constantly evolving as are you! Each moment brings a new opportunity.
Give up the assumptions. Start communicating. Ask questions. Get clear. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and need.
Be of integrity. Be honest. Be truthful. Accept responsibility for your actions.
Don’t take things personally. Notice that when you give this up what happens?
Mix in as much gratitude as you can. Gratitude brings so much sweetness into life.
Don’t forget to top off your pie with dark chocolate. A powerful antioxidant that provides just the perfect amount of sweetness to complete your pie.
Enjoy and reap up the benefits!
In yoga class I often state “less is more”. This philosophy is outlined throughout the 8 limbs of yoga. Especially in the yamas and niyamas. These are the first two steps in Patanjali's 8 limb system. These first two limbs outline ways of ethical living and thinking in order to achieve happiness and peace in one’s life. The yama Aparigraha talks about non-possessiveness. For me this can be interpreted as not hoarding or taking what you don’t need. This can relate to things, food, time, or energy.
When we first arrived at the Extreme Hotel/Yoga Loft in Puerto Plato we were introduced to the facility by a very friendly young women Victoria. She handed everyone the key to their room and showed us toward the stairs where we were to locate our rooms. No elevator, no bellman, just two flights of stairs to carry are bags up to. The facility was simple. Clean without any frills. The initial reaction by some when they first arrived was uncertainty and maybe a little confusion. The rustic appeal was not what I believe most were accustomed to. The rooms were simple. Two beds and bathroom. No A/C, just a fan, and a window. The bathrooms were outdated, but clean, very basic.
My first gut reaction was oh no! Are people going to be disappointed, will they be upset?
To my surprise no one complained!
Slowly we made are way to the yoga loft (the hut where we would practice our daily yoga). The view was spectacular, the space was perfect!
The week was filled with amazing farm to table food, great people, fun adventures, yoga and meditation with an amazing view. Most importantly simple living.
As the week came to an end, I came to realize that everyone in the group appreciated the simplicity of the facility. The lack of extras were not missed, and the ability to completely unwind from life was much appreciated.
It made me start to contemplate how I can practice Aparigraha more here at home. How can I cultivate more Island like living everyday? What could I let go of to create more space for more simplicity in my life.
Is there one thing you can let go of today? Commit to it for 40 days, and if you don’t miss it, don’t invite it back into your life. I am committing to turning off from all electronics each day by 9 pm. To spend this time either connecting with loved ones or enjoying some quiet time with myself. What are you committing to? Share with me and we can hold each other accountable for creating a space for peace in each others lives.
For me I have decided disconnecting from technology and connecting more to nature and people, making the effort to turn off the phone and spend more time being with myself and others. Taking more time to appreciate good food, great conversations, and my surroundings.
My first memory of experiencing anti semitism was in Kindergarten. I was riding the school bus and another child started shouting to the kids on the bus that I had horns, because I was Jewish. I was scared and confused. I didn’t understand what he was saying. He said Jews have horns because they are “bad and ugly”. From that point forward I believed I was different, and not in a good way. His words were hurtful and unkind and impacted me in more ways than he will ever know. I struggled through elementary and middle school feeling like I didn’t fit in or belonged. Even in High School when I had a good group of friends I still felt as if I was different. As I look back now, I realize this separateness I created in my mind was from one stupid comment by another child who probably was just repeating something he had heard from another child or worse, a parent. Separateness comes from within, when we feel not good enough or incomplete. When this feeling overcomes us, I believe is where hatred and anger is brewed.
When i heard the news of the Pittsburg shooting I was so angry. It seems like in 2018 that antisemitism should no longer be a problem. Unfortunately there are still so many people in our world who live from a place of fear and separateness. I believe it is from fear and lack of self belonging that this deep form of hate is born. Fear of what is different, what feels threatening. From this fear, separateness is created.
Yoga means union to yoke together body, mind, soul, and spirit. I believe that when we feel unified from within we begin to feel more connected and less separate from others. As angry as I am I also feel sorry for the shooter. I don't’ believe we are born with intense hate, that events in our lives mold who we become. Our upbringing and environment plays a large part in how we view the world and most importantly ourselves. When we are left feeling less than, unlovable, not good enough disconnection occurs.
Yoga asana teaches us to connect to our bodies, to feel the feet on the floor, the muscles contract to the bones, the expansion of the breath through our chest. Through this powerful connection I was able to start to connect first to my body, then to my thoughts, from this I have been able build more awareness of those thoughts that are not serving me, and a deeper connection to my emotions, and the ability to stop before I react. The power of connection is magic. As I was able to develop an internal sense of self-connection I was able to let go of the lie that I was separate or different. Giving up this false belief has given me the power to speak and lead large groups, be vulnerable, and form beautiful friendships and to find true love.
I began to think if yoga was part of our schools curriculum from early on, kids that may not be exposed to concepts of connection, unity, or union at home could now be exposed to a new way of thinking, different then the way they are being brought up in. If all individuals can feel personally connected, then it seems to me that it is possible to reduce the amount of hate and separateness in our communities. So we can eradicate anti-hate crimes