The World is Round!!

For more than 20 years I have been working my own acceptance of life as it happens. Can you believe that?  Twenty years? One could say I should have mastered that feat by now.  Perhaps I am one of the few, unique in my own neurosis that struggles trying to arrange all of the little pieces of theuniverse in a particular order that suits me.  Mind you this order has to be precise and specific to my liking if one little piece is out of place watch out.

Can you identify with this idea?  How do you respond to the world when you are threatened or percieve a threat to your personal well being or livelyhood? Do you scramble in an attempt to "fix-it" or do you sit with it and really "feel" what is happening.  It is difficult sometimes to separate the thoughts of fear or percieved threat from what may be really happening because our constructs (the thoughts we create in our mind) may be slightly off center.  You may have heard the terms "centered or grounded" both have differnent meanings but can be used as tools to we can pull out when life is slightly challenging. 

First become centered, coming back to that safe place in your life where feel totally secure, this is a mental movement and not physical.  Mentally through meditation come back maybe to the kitchen with your mother who just baked you cookies and is there to listen to your day, or perhaps it is with your partner who lying next to listens to your struggles and dreams while being wrapped together in a loving embrace, or perhaps it is an active discussion with someone you have 100% trust in, they have your back and you know it, you can open up to them about anything and you know they will support you without judgement.

Second, grounding.  Grounding is becoming clear about what is true, identifying self-limiting beliefs and letting them go and getting present with your reality.  To get grounded first you have to be willing to become centered, then you honor what is true.  To honor what is true you take an honest, fearless look at your life as you know it, bounce that off of someone who really, truly knows you and ask for their feedback.  Once you really know where you are, sit with that in peaceful meditation; I like to pray to God asking for the strength and courage to face the truth. 

In my Yoga Practice the focus on Ujai breath brings this all together.  For me it is a place where I totally empty my mind of all thought by bringing my inner focus on the breath which in turn creates space for sentering and grounding during quiet meditation.  Most important in all of this is to come from an posture of willingness.  Being willing to accept life as it happens, knowing that you will be okay. The truth for me is this; when have I never been okay?  If you know me and know my story you know the answer.


Next up letting go.

Week ??

Where have I been?  With the studio opening and the juggling of a full time job, teacher schedules and community building I have neglected to write the words of wisdom that comes from my inner core.  Last weekend I attended the Baptiste Art of Assisting facilitated by Paige Elenson of the Africa Yoga Project and Kiersten Mooney of Bala Vinyasa located in South Florida.  Going to the training my intention was to check the box of assisting, I had been assisting in the classes I teach for a couple of years; what I received was so much more.  With all Baptiste training's we start off practicing yoga, opening us up to possibility, meaning what is possible for me in this training?  Interesting how this shifts on day three comparing back to day one, I left the training energized and wanting to share this energy with the world.  The world being my community, my teachers, my students.  

Facing the facts.  We are all one.  Sure we live separate lives, each  of us has our own story, for some of us it defines us, it defines how we react or respond to life's events and experiences.  What if you had the power inside of you to positively impact someone else's life?  You do, we all do; the blocks created in our lives keep us from tapping into this energy.  I have suffered, struggled and also lived an incredible life.  I remember as a boy walking through fields exploring nature, stepping barefoot into muddy clay, floating down rivers and streams, I also remember the pain, the suffering that I experienced.  I long not to remember or re-experience the pain and suffering but to let that go and heal.  I long for the walk in the field with the child like sense of curiosity that reminds me how  every experience is new.  What opened up for me during this weekend was the idea that I could change the world using three tools at my disposal:

  1. Smile
  2. Touch
  3. Eye Contact

Notice in your body how you respond when someone smiles at you, now notice your response to touch and eye contact.  I take a stand for contributing to the end of suffering in the world.


Week 3: Reality

In January I was in Egypt my prayers reach out to the people of the region that they may find peace and some level of prosperity.  Last year I had set an intention to teach yoga in Libya, while I traveled there almost one year ago the plan didn't materialize due to the escalating violence; i.e. death of Ambassador Stevens.  So caught in limbo I ended up with a job in Connecticut, at lunch one day I saw a commercial space for rent and said "I can put a yoga studio there".  While that space didn't work out I continued to look and here I am... about to open a yoga studio!!!

Now I have a great many loose ends and yesterday was feeling anxiety so what did I do?  I said to myself: "At this moment everything is as it should be" over and over and over and over again. The anxiety passed, then I had a thought; what in the hell are you doing?  Wouldn't it have been easier to just keep doing what I've been doing? Well yes it would have.  But I have this inner drive and I wouldn't have been happy not knowing what I know now.  I have met some incredible people, people have come out of the woodwork to support me, imagine moving to somewhere where you know no one!  What is one of the most important assets of a yoga studio?  Teacher's; this is a shout out to the teaching staff at Manipura Power Yoga, thank you for reaching out and paving a new path for your journey.




At This Moment Everything Is As It Should Be

I have a lot going on in my life, it is filled with things I need to do, people I need to help, some I have to take care of.  This can weigh me down along with the ins and outs of day to day life.  Continuing from the last blog post what I do to take care of myself when I experience these feelings is to go back to the recorded meditation I added to my last blog post. This is a great way to overcome anxiety and fear but it is also a pathway to radically accepting where I am today, right now.  If I practice this meditation daily, maybe twice a day, the acceptance that doesn't yet exist will show up.  This in turn creates space for other feelings as well as compassion and a desire to help others.  So take a moment to listen to the embedded meditation in the last blog post. Let us know what you think.

Link to last blog: 


Fight or Flight

What is your reaction to intense sensation or feelings? Do you run like hell? Do you fight? Do you fight, wound, maim or kill and then run? Think of this in the application of your relation to the rest of the world. Most of us dislikes suffering, being hurt, or causing hard feeling towards another, however often through misunderstandings or perceptions this occurs. Now go back and ask yourself, how do I respond to this? Is it my way or the highway? What I have learned is that most often my desire to be right outweighs all other desires, while my intention is to relieve suffering. The challenge that I often encounter is that in my attempt to relieve suffering individuals may not be ready to or open to relieve them of this burden. It boils down to the saying when the student is ready the teacher appears, this is when it is right to give space. When I allow for the transformative process to take its own shape and its own path it generally works out.


Do these feelings of anger or perception of pain really serve you? Do you relish these feelings? What I have found that works (I write this to remind myself) is to Pray for the ability to forgive, to let others have their own experience and that they may find the peace that I have found.  Then I go about helping another, there is no greater satisfaction in my life than doing something for someone else.


If you are dealing with periods of stress and anxiety I offer this simple meditation:

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, focus on breathing in, exhaling out… now begin to say to yourself: “At this moment everything is as it should be”  Repeat this process for 10 -15 minutes.

Coming into your Power

Yoga and fitness go hand in hand. When you add Power to yoga it changes from a sedentary type of stretching exercise to a physically demanding, fat burning workout designed to bring you into your body.  What does it mean to say “bring you into your body?” This statement is a key aspect of becoming aware of what you are experiencing at any given moment in a posture or pose.  For example to master the posture “Ardha-Chandrasana” a student will need to flex and open the toes of the raised foot, this in turn engages the core which enables the stacking of the hips.  Try this on in your next class, really focus and shift your vision internally and remember… breathe!


YOGA for the Brain

Yoga for the Brain: The benefits of yoga as it relates to the brain and the sympathetic nervous system.

1. Yoga reduces the levels of the hormone cortisol - the stress hormone that wreaks havoc on the body. This, in turn, "removes a barrier to effective immune function," thus helping to prevent illness.
2. Yoga boosts the levels of feel-good brain chemicals like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. All responsible for feelings of relaxation and contentedness.
3. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which calms us and restores balance after a major stress situation occurs.
4. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, “our bodies can better extract nutrients from the food we eat, and more effectively eliminate toxins because circulation is enhanced. With parasympathetic activation, the body enters into a state of restoration and healing.”

And Paula R. Pullen, PhD, Research Instructor at the Morehouse School of Medicine, studies yoga's effects on inflammation by looking at what's happening in the bodies of heart failure patients who enroll in yoga classes.  "...patients taking yoga have significantly improved levels of biomarkers like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6)."

She goes on to say "Yoga balances the body, the hormonal system, and the stress response. People tend to think of yoga as being all about flexibility – it’s not.  It’s about rebalancing and healing the body.”

We summarized this article from Forbes/Forbeswoman by Alice G. Walton. It's the first in a two-part series she's writing called "Penetrating Postures: The Science of Yoga" - check Forbes out for the entire series. And then check Indigo out for all the benefits of yoga!