blog

November 5th, 2013

A Step Off Of The Karmic Hamster Wheel

By Manduka Ambassador, Caleb Asch

It’s no secret that most yoga teachers aren’t in it for the money. Like any profession there are those who are the “rock stars” but the majority of us do this because we love it.

Being one of the latter group, I have a family of four and making ends meet at the end of the day is a challenge. We all know that money matters, especially when it deals with survival and is stressful. I have found many ways to deal with the stress. One of the most effective is a healing modality called the “Emotional Freedom Technique (“EFT”), aka “Meridian Tapping” or just plain “Tapping”.

The technique is really quite elegant in it’s simplicity and accessibility. You simply bring up an issue (and it works with ANY issue, especially physical pain), you find the emotional charge underneath the issue (there always is one), and you “tap on it”. The actual tapping itself is done on the acupuncture meridian points around the eyes, cheeks, mouth, collarbones, ribs and top of the head. There are nine points in all. Ergo, if you want to calm down, this technique will get you there. What’s more is the issues that you tap on don’t come back, so the peace you feel is real and lasting. (For more information on “tapping” go to www.thetappingsolution.com)

After having used this technique successfully for anxiety, I opted to try it on my issues around money. The first step is always to see how you feel. Is there a corresponding sensation in your body? In my experience and practice, if you quiet down and be honest with yourself, there is always an emotional reaction to the reality. In my case I was angry and frustrated. I also felt victimized by my circumstances, and was blaming them. Even though I am one of the hardest working yoga teachers I know, I was stuck. There was an invisible ceiling that no matter how hard I worked I couldn’t get beyond. No matter what I did I couldn’t get ahead. The more I pressed, the more it pushed back.

If you pay any credence at all to the “Law of Attraction” then you know that on a vibrational level at least, you attract what you’re focused on. The trick is to become aware of what you’re focused on. It’s not some intensive narrowing down of your attention. It’s different than “Ok now, I’m just going think about a million bucks in my bank account,” and if you do that long enough it “magically” happens. I found that when I wasn’t looking, my mind was always worrying in the background, always anticipating the next breakdown. I realized that I perceived my world through the filter of my own personal scarcity glasses. What I looked out on as my reality gave me back evidence for my beliefs. Everywhere I looked I saw struggle, lack, not enough, and “I don’t deserve” or “I’m not good enough”. And I noticed a distinct lack of joy in my life. True joy isn’t really about anything in particular. There is no reason for joy; it just is, and I had forgotten the last time I felt it!

I looked into my past for more beliefs and ideas I had created around money, i.e., “it’s scarce”, “in order to make money you have to work harder”, or “money isn’t spiritual”. I made a list and I tapped on all of it. Afterwards, I felt much better.

Around this time the studio I work for notified me that I was eligible for medical benefits under their plan. Financially, it wasn’t feasible, so I chose to look at my former professional industry and what was available to me upon retirement. As it turned out, upon my retirement I was eligible for full medical benefits for my family, and additional income way beyond my expectations.

This opportunity has been available to me for the last 4 years and I didn’t know it because I couldn’t see the forest through the trees of my money beliefs. The last 3 years have been the hardest on us to date financially, and the only reason for the difficulty was my coming from my ingrained, limited, world view of there never being enough.

The actual amount of money I own hasn’t changed, but I cannot look out into a world of scarcity anymore.

Since this breakthrough I have “found” over $1500 that’s either owed or coming to me in some way, giving evidence to my belief that my outer reality is a reflection of my inner reality.

When I reexamined these old wounds, and the decisions that came out of them, I was continuing to run on my financial Karmic hamster wheel forever. Letting go of all this past baggage, which had been robbing me of the fullness of my life, has freed me to cultivate trust in my reality as a benign, supportive, and nurturing one. The universe is abundant! Period. I am so grateful.

November 1st, 2013

Let’S Go There – Indulge And Onward

Over the past 8 weeks, we’ve asked you to Go There with us. To that place a little outside our comfort zone, where we boldly dare to let ourselves come out to play, explore and grow. To Go There is a powerful thing, and nearly 1,900 of you did through photos shared on Instagram and Facebook.

In this last theme, we explored Going There through self-care: INDULGE. An indulgence is a gift. It restores, uplifts and allows us the peace to play. Here are some of your indulgent moments:

Here is the photo from our winner, @annlevine who won a decadent PRO Squared Mat, blocks, and towels.


@annlevine - Winner!

And here are some of our other favorites!


@courtneyvale


@elyzzi


@4om_shanti_


@5panini_


@picturequeen1lv76


@southcoastyoga


@southeryogi

Now we continue onward, to There. Out and beyond, with a special warmth for the THRIVE, VERVE and EMBRACE that helped us on the path. Feel free to share your thoughts about below.

It’s an honor to be part of your practice.

With love,
Manduka

October 31st, 2013

Lead With The Heart

By Manduka Ambassador, Brian Hyman

I was near the end of a 30-Day Yoga Challenge when I realized that something amazing had happened as a result of taking one yoga class every day for nearly 30 days.

One night after class, I got into my car to drive home. The rearview mirror faced downward. I did not move the mirror before I last exited the car. I sat for a moment and contemplated how the mirror could have shifted. I tried to remember if I bumped or adjusted the mirror or hit any large potholes. I was without an answer. I would have let this go, however a strange feeling surrounded this moment and I felt that I needed to figure this out. A few minutes passed. I then realized what happened. The mirror had not moved. I moved.

I had heard to “lead with the heart” often during the Challenge classes. As I sat in my car that night, I realized that this mantra had now inspired me off the mat – my spine was elongated; my shoulders were rolled back; my posture was sturdy; my chest was open; my gaze was focused; my mind was calm. I was content, relaxed, and grounded. I had learned to lead with the heart.

My physical, mental, and emotional states of being forever changed that night. My yoga practice healed my heart that night.

I looked into the mirror. A light shone from behind my eyes. I sat up tall. I readjusted the mirror upward to meet my gaze.

The following lines by Rumi describe what I felt at that moment:

“This is when the power of love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star.”

After I learned to lead with the heart, I began a daily practice of yoga and meditation. I then became a yoga teacher to bring the healing benefits of yoga to others who did not know about it or could not get to it.

When I now lead with the heart, I realize that each day that we are given is a gift; that each encounter with another human being is an opportunity to share experience, strength, hope, and love.

I must now thank Chelsey Charbeneau who completed the 30-Day Yoga Challenge with me. I will be forever grateful for her friendship and guidance. Thank you Daniel Stewart, Claire Hartley, Jen Black, Michelle Goldstein, and the other teachers at Rising Lotus Yoga. Much gratitude to Saul David Raye, who taught me to go deeper into the heart so that I could teach others how to do the same.

How has your practice affected your life off the mat? How do you lead with the heart?

October 29th, 2013

I'Ll Have What She's Having

By Manduka Ambassador Patti Cocciolo

What kind of crazy person decides to become a yoga teacher at 42? Apparently this kind of crazy person does. But to be fair, it was years in the making.

In 2004, I was just a few months pregnant with my first son when I walked into a prenatal yoga class in Mill Valley, California. I was nervous about everything at that point – the changes to my body, my relationship, and my career. I was also completely terrified that I would do something to harm the tiny being growing inside me. As I unrolled my mat, I was immediately struck by how calm all the women were. They seemed to have none of the fear that was controlling my every move. They were grounded and peaceful. They moved about the room fluidly, seemingly unencumbered by their giant, round bellies. They were laughing quietly and smiling. They were gorgeous.

Then our teacher arrived. She looked like an angel to me, with blue eyes that met each student with love. From our first encounter, I imagined that scene from When Harry Met Sally…. “I’ll have what she’s having.” She was, like her students, grounded…yet floating. Over the course of the next hour and a half, she gently guided all of us – from first trimester newbies to full term mamas – through a series of poses designed to put us in touch with the power of our bodies, and specifically, to put is in touch with the power of the prana coursing through our veins. I was hooked.

Two trimesters flew by, and I became one of those mamas. I felt both steady and nimble. I gained more weight than I know (I stopped counting after a certain point…), and yet I felt light as a feather. But more importantly, I wasn’t freaked out anymore. As important as the benefits to my body were, the benefits to my mind and my spirit were literally life changing. What a wonderful gift that is to give someone: to teach them how to use the body to open the spirit. That is some powerful stuff. I thought to myself, what a wonderful way to make a living, to impart peace and calm and kindness into the world – one person at a time.

Many years, another son, and a move to Los Angeles later, I finally did something about that long nascent thought. Six years after donating my beaten-up old mat to Goodwill, I took a yoga class. And while the room was different, and the practice was different, I had the same wonderful feeling I had all those years ago: I’ll have what these people are having.

I immediately signed up for an intensive, four-week 200-hour teacher training. (Ok, to clarify, I am also a person who signed up for a marathon as a way to lose my last bit of baby weight…) It was the hardest, most terrifying, humbling thing I have ever done. I was the second oldest person in the room. I was a marathon runner, but I was waaaaay out of yoga shape. My ego was taking a serious beating. I was missing my children terribly. Yet as hard as it was, something kept me there. And it was this: not only was I getting back in touch with my practice, I loved teaching. I was finally living my secret dream to follow in the steps of my yoga teacher from all those years ago. I was in heaven.

It’s been two years since I finished that training, and I’m now a yoga teacher. Our family has moved back to Marin County, and I often teach in the very same rooms where my teacher first inspired me to make yoga a way of life. I am grateful to all the teachers who supported, loved and inspired me along the way. But every day, I think about you, Zoe Collier Rolland, and how you completely changed my life. Thanks for giving me some of what you were having, and allowing me to indulge. I’ll do my best to pay it forward.

October 24th, 2013

Letting Go

By Manduka Ambassador, Dana Damara

With this season change I am again reminded of the law of impermanence. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. As I watch the leaves turn, and feel the change in the air, I quickly remember that we are no different than the trees and we too yearn to flow with nature and its’ faith in what is.

This past summer I moved my children from the Pacific Northwest to live with me in Northern California. And while my ex-husband and I both knew that theoretically, this was for the best, it still sidelines us every now and again. The longer nights will certainly give us all an opportunity to go inward and take inventory with what just happened!

All summer we played, we hiked, met new people and enjoyed each other. Being the momma bear that I am, I strived to make things as “normal” as possible for them. But the reality was that it wasn’t normal; the minute they stepped foot on California soil, everything changed. Some days that change is like a gentle breeze that blows through our life. And on other days it’s like a tsunami and we all get pummeled to the ground.

As I watch them navigate new friends, new schedules, new sports teams, new EVERYTHING … I am proud of them. Their openness, strength, and honesty, their trust in me and in their dad, and their trust in this Universe inspires me. But even the bravest of souls cry out when things get a bit like a dust storm.

It’s change … it’s transformation… it’s NEW. Some of us thrive in it and some of us hunker down, clinging to what was because it’s familiar and feels comfortable. Now to be fair, transformation and change, letting go, doesn’t have to be a radical event. You can let go of something small … you can change your life 2 degrees and create a brand new path for yourself.

I guess the depth of your change depends on just how much you have accumulated and how much you cling to stuff… people or even ideas…

So how do you navigate through change and letting go – especially when it involves other people?

1. Just sit. Sit in the uncomfortable-ness. Sit in the grief, the pain, the fear … feel all of it. Just be with it all because it will move through you. Don’t try to fix anything and don’t try to stuff it down.

2. Appreciate. Look outside your box of life and see what’s waiting for you to embrace, to love, to cherish and to be grateful for. Sometimes we cling so desperately to what we thought was ours, we miss out on what’s sitting there, just waiting to be recognized.

3. Look for the lesson. And there is one… for your growth and evolution.

4. Let go of Scarcity. Subscribe to the belief that there is enough… enough money, enough time, enough love… enough of everything and when you let go, more will come. It’s a law.

5. Let go Gracefully … with love, gratitude and compassion for what was (even if it hurts), what is and then be open to the miracle of what comes next.

6. Trust. Trust that the Universe is handing you everything you need but if your hands are full you can’t receive right?

So after your tantrum of wanting something and not getting it, wishing circumstances were different or trying to change things to your liking. After the tears have subsided, take a breath and look around you. Be with what is … be in your stuff and you will witness such beauty and grace it will astound you.