Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yoga and Money

What does Yoga have to do with money?

Yoga isn't a single event that happens once or twice a week. It isn't even your daily practice. Yoga pervades every area of your life, you just aren't aware of it yet.

The most powerful moment I experienced in my personal practice was when I realized that it didn't end once I left the mat. In fact, the hardest part of Yoga happens the moment I leave the mat.

Money is a real world issue. No matter how much positive thinking you do, no matter how many poses you accomplish, you will still have to make the car payment or rent or phone bill. How can we possibly be happy and fully functioning people if this area is out of balance. Every class offers us a chance to make this relationship.

Worrying about money does nothing. You can worry all day and it doesn't change a thing. Believe me, I have tried to worry a bill paid but it hasn't happened yet.

Worry is an apprehension of things to come. Yoga teaches us to pay attention to the present moment. When I worry about money I no longer am living in the moment which is all that I truly have.

This can be a hard connection. Which is why we need to practice so much. I set aside some time each day where I will practice being in the moment, practice not looking into what benefit I will get or who I may impress. Coming to the mat is a chance to give up worry. We can always use perspective when we start to worry. In Yoga we come to the breathe. In money we come to the breathe?

You won't believe how much that can change your life once you really start to live it. Don't worry just breathe.

If we're breathing, we are alive.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Personal Responsibility

The Dalai Lama of Tibet speaks often about the theory of Universal Responsibility.

I had a hard time with it at first. Not that I don't agree, however I had spent so many years looking for "The Guru" or "The Answer" and was so disillusioned, that taking responsibility for the situation was just too hard and bitter a pill to swallow.

I was willing to give up my own power and give it to someone else freely. I would seek Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Doctors and all kinds of other health as well as spiritual solutions. Only to find that they didn't fix me. I spent years being frustrated by not having the solutions available to heal myself in 30 days or less.

Unable to practice some of the basic postures in Yoga was really starting to bother me. Why can't I do the poses I want to do? Why don't I have enough time to find the right teacher? Who is doing this to me? I was a victim and slave to my own thoughts.

I must admit, I don't learn this lesson easily, and quite often I have to revisit the learning. The big lesson here is, "Until I take full and final responsibility for the way my body, mind, and spirit respond to the challenges of the world, I will be giving up the most important part of my life." I may as well be donating my power (and money) to others while relinquishing any possible benefit that I could gain.

All the health care and spiritual guides can be helpful. They can in fact be life saving, but until we take up the reins of our life we will be a slave to whatever resource gives us that benefit.

The Dalai Lama's theory can be explored deeper. Once we can take full responsibility for ourselves, then we can start to pick up responsibility for our families, our communities, and ultimate the entire world. Imagine for a moment the entire world taking charge of their lives and making a difference. Owning the problems instead of seeking someone to blame, a villain to hunt. If I haven't lost you (I hope I haven't) you can see why this is such a profound theory.

You can learn more about this at the Foundation for Universal Responsibility website.

It is a hard concept to bear. The fact that we and we alone are mostly responsible for our current health, wealth, and happiness. Once you make it through that first tough part though, it is the most freeing feeling you can imagine.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why be Physical

How can a physical practice make a difference in the world?

One of the great problems in the world today is the incredible lack of consciousness. Most of us realize that we are not present very much of the time. We are thinking about our past or our future. Thinking about what we do or don't have. Caught up in the battle to get ahead or just keep afloat. We are dealing with family or customer or money issues. We feel that we haven't made any progress. Worry that we won't get out of our assorted traps. We get concerned that our bodies or bank accounts won't hold up as we age.

So much of our present moment time can be eaten up with this endless mind chatter that we really and truly miss out on what life actual is. Now.

There is a great Yogic saying that Baron Baptiste quotes quite often. "You are either now here or nowhere". The only difference is a little space.

So that leads us to the initial question. Although we can consider that we are not our actual physical body as in "I am not my thoughts, but the thinker of my thoughts". We are in this particular body presently. This body is a tool or vessel that we care for, perform actions with, and receive the consequences from those actions good or bad. The body is very useful for coming into present moment awareness.

Consider how we relate what we feel into our physiology. The way our gut can turn or clench when we feel torn or stressed, we can actually feel a heart ache in our chest. Many of us walk around clenching or tightening certain areas of the body without even realizing it. This all stems from our current levels of unconsciousness.

Time must be taken to reclaim our bodies and therefore leave a space open for reclaiming the present moment. A physical practice such as Yoga (though any physical movement can do this with correct intentions) causes challenges and sensations (sometimes even pain) to come up for us. These are the doors that are unlocked leaving us to choose whether or not to open them. Yoga is particularly good at finding our weaknesses.

Saffron and I talk privately often about what we want to come through in our classes. We deliberate on how much we want to focus on our demonstrations. What Saffron or I demonstrate is only intended as an inspiration, to help you see what is possible. We are not guru's or sages, we are guides pointing out pitfalls and helpful clearings, offering encouragement. You are, however, left responsible for absorbing this. We each have our own personal journey. Our own practice in presence. Our ego's die slow and painful deaths.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what we do as much as who we are while we do it. What is this human being?

If we could leave every class with only one thing, one message or sensation, it would be the ability of each student to truly feel their own powerful presence. To walk out of a class room and really see the world as it is right now.

This is what is needed in the world right now more than anything else.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Biggest Loser

Not that I am a fan of the show, or that I even know much about it.

But I do have some thoughts that I would like to share about the concept of this show and the others similar in form to it.

We are obsessed these days with our weight.

Somehow or other we believe that we need to embark on a pain filled journey to whip ourselves into shape so that we may fit the images we are bombarded with on TV and in other media forms.

We want to be a part of the clinic that sculpted whatshernames body after having a baby only 6 weeks ago.

And what about those that have fallen of the wagon. Oh boy, have they ever let themselves down.

I really believe that the whole concept of 30 - 60 day weight loss or fitness programs is damaging to us.
It takes years to ingrain healthy habits that we can still rely on when things are tough.

What if instead of a complete makeover that lasts one weekend, we really only looked at one thing each year that we could improve (even only slightly) and decided to make that fully a part of our lives before moving on?

We would have some wonderful golden years to look forward to wouldn't we?

Take time with yourself. And enjoy the process.