November 1st, 2012
By Caleb Asch
Enlightenment hit me this morning while I was walking the dog. It wasn’t a dramatic thing. I didn’t stop drinking my coffee or walking the dog. It was a quiet realization that I had stopped my compulsive, repetitive, and incessantly negative thoughts.
Let me back up. I woke up having overslept so I couldn’t do my sitting practice, and while I wasn’t late, if I didn’t get sidetracked by anything I could get to the morning yoga class that I teach – on time. I noticed while in the shower how irritated I was with everything; I wasn’t getting what I wanted pretty much everywhere in my life. I was listening to my imaginary story about how I was being screwed over by everybody, and furthermore how they would continue to screw me over until I gave them my ultimatum and walked out! Oh what I would say to these people! Who do they think they are anyway! I could even hear my father’s voice in my head yelling, (he’s ALWAYS yelling) “THESE @#$%@ JUST WON’T LET US LIVE!!!”
So by the time I had gotten through the shower, shave, brushing my teeth, putting on my clothes, kissing my wife and daughter, pouring my coffee, and last but not least, walking the dog, I had a pretty good head of steam going. (Now I know where that expression comes from) I would master my domain by sheer domination. I am the Shadow Warrior! (my signature pose) I would lay to waste any fool that was stupid enough to happen into my way. Oh, and why is the Chihuahua sniffing around too much and peeing too little? Doesn’t he get that I have somewhere I have to be? C’mon, c’mon Melvin let’s get cracking here. I have students to decimate, c’mon get the lead out!
Finally the noise in my head got so loud and had so much momentum that I could step back a little and witness it. So simple a thing to do. So elegant. I am so grateful. The moment I could simple observe my thoughts like they were some body else’s they stopped! I couldn’t not see how self-righteous and angry they were. How self – perpetuating and at war with reality they were. How much of the time I live in that mind set. Blaming everyone and everything else for what’s not working in my life. It’s no wonder I feel like a victim most of the time. That’s the quality of conversation that’s going on in my head!
This morning I witnessed the noise and it dissolved. The noise just ceased. Peace. Freedom. How much easier it is to see just how much I have to be thankful for when it’s quiet. How shimmering blessed this life really is. How I am the source of my experience and no one else. How friendly and totally supporting this reality is.
This moment was brilliant and fleeting. The nature of experience is instantaneous. A pristine moment of now. The trap is to try to re-create it or live it again. To live in the past. Now that I’ve had an experience I know that it’s possible for me. Up until now I had only read about it. (And secretly coveted it) The pitfall here would be to grasp onto and identify with the past, which doesn’t exist and guarantees failure of ever having similar experiences.
Now my practice is to stay “the vigilant guardian of my inner space”. To cultivate and maintain the witness consciousness, and to trust the same process that led me to that moment to begin with.
October 29th, 2012
Theresa started yoga 11 years ago to help ease the process of quitting smoking. Little did she know that yoga would also eventually lead her to quit her job.
After spending decades as a reporter covering murder trials, Theresa had quite a hardened shell around her. But the consistent yoga practice she developed had started to chip away at the walls she had built up to reveal a softer, more open side of herself. She slowly started to realize that she wanted a major career change – one where she could help people and truly make a difference. After years of practice and training, she is now a Yoga Therapist in her very own studio. Her life now feels light and happy.
Theresa remembers a moment during her Adaptive Yoga for Disabilities training where she watched her instructor align a paralyzed student into Tadasana on her back on the floor, and actually seeing the student experience the pose, even though she couldn’t feel it in the traditional sense. That moment affirmed for Theresa the power of the inner-body experience of yoga. .
We loved learning about Theresa! And we want to learn about you, too.
Tell us about yourself on our You Series page: Manduka.com/You
October 23rd, 2012
Have you ever literally felt the weight of the world on your shoulders, or that lump in your throat when you are upset, or the pang in your heart center when you are sad or embarrassed? The chart below, courtesy of elephantjournal.com, shows exactly where emotions are stored in the body. Learning where emotions are stored might help reveal what your body is trying to tell you – a chronic pain or ache could be your body trying to send you a message:
October 22nd, 2012
Doctors told her she would have back pain for the rest of her life. That she would need to attend regular physical therapy sessions and wear a bulky, uncomfortable back brace for always. That's how it was supposed to go.
Camille attended many therapy sessions for her scoliosis, but shortly after each session the pain always came back. She wanted another solution and thought back to the few yoga classes she had tried years before and how they made her feel — relaxed, recharged. She decided to go back to yoga, more seriously now, with more intention. After developing a daily practice, her back and neck spasms completely went away.
While yoga gave Camille relief from her pain, it also taught her how to relax as her most authentic self. Yoga helps her feel the most like who she truly is — and breaks down the walls she puts up around herself keeping her from who she's supposed to be. To do that, Camille says they key is to relax.
“I can’t tell you how much I resisted “final relaxation” when I first started yoga. You have never seen anyone fidget about so much! I was attached to the idea that only action was worthwhile. In the end it finallyclicked that my Type A personality really, really needed to learn to switch off and relax. That relaxing is not 'doing nothing,' it’s actively doing a thing, a very valid thing that our body needs as much as food or water, and that is resting and recharging."
Camille is proud to be a young, African American female in the yoga world and looks forward to welcoming more yogis into an increasingly diverse community. We are all already connected, and this practice reveals and belongs to everyone.
We loved learning about Camille! And we’d love to learn about you, too. Tell us about yourself on our You Series page: Manduka.com/You
To learn more about Camille, check out her blog: www.cammieyogaom.blogspot.com
October 15th, 2012
She's on a mission to make yoga work for everybody and every body. All shapes, all creaky joints, and especially people who don't think of themselves as belonging in a yoga studio. Yoga started as a way for her to get out of her body and out of her head, now it's her tool to show "the misfits" how perfect their "fit" already is.
Helping others find their practice is important because of all that yoga has done for Amber. She's increased her range of motion – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Amber says: “My yoga practice has grounded me and stabilized me enough in my own identity that I could start to explore the parts of myself I don’t think align with my authentic self, and start to work on those. The yogic system has gotten me to this place through a journey of awareness, curiosity, and finally acceptance and love.”
Before yoga, Amber equated her accomplishments (or what felt like a lack thereof) with her self-worth. She felt that if she could just work the longest, have the cleanest house, have the best resume, or always buy the most expensive gifts, that she would be worthy and loved. Eventually she realized that instead of feeling fulfilled and loved, she felt resentful and tired. Since starting yoga, Amber now puts more trust into herself and has begun to believe that she is enough, just as she is. We think she's perfect. Learn more about Amber at bodypositiveyoga.com.
We loved learning about Amber! And we’d love to learn about you, too. Tell us about yourself on our You Series page: Manduka.com/You.
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