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Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

Today I had a wonderful meditation practice. I came to my cushion with a light heart and a desire to be still. I wasn’t thinking of it as if it were an item on a “to do” list, or as something I felt obligated to do. It simply was what I wanted to do and so I did it.

In my meditation today, I realized that everything I need to know, I already have within me. Whatever issue that I’m struggling with, whatever concept is difficult to grasp, whatever problem that seems on the surface to be inextricable or insurmountable — I have the solution inside of me. I’ve said it to myself before… and I’ve really worked hard to grasp that concept, but now there is a shift going on inside of me where this realization is becoming more of a part of me. I am only wasting my energy when I struggle or fight with my problems. That gets me nowhere. I don’t need to read a billion books before finding my path or consult a thousand people before making a decision. Obstacles will always come up. Problems will always be there. Difficult decisions will always present themselves to us. But perhaps these obstacles, problems, or decisions exist in our lives in order to prompt us to go to that place of stillness — to go within and discover our truest and best path.

I have recently let go of my attachment to the yoga studio that I love so much, which I believe could be a big part of this realization becoming so real to me. That’s not to say that I’ve given up going there to practice. I do continue to go there, but perhaps a bit less frequently. I also still dearly love all of the people who have touched my life — they truly are wonderful people who have given me encouragement and immeasurable inspiration. The light that they shine was one that I found; and I am so grateful that it has forever changed my life. But I discovered recently that I had become attached and dependent upon them for my growth. When things changed and I felt let down, it was so painful to me… partially because I had been so attached. I continued on in my journey, worked through my hurt, found peace, and suddenly began to find my own way. I’ve given myself time to be quiet. I’ve slowly given myself freedom from so many obligations, chores, attachments, and endless stimulations from activity and have just let myself find stillness. It is the sweetest, most precious medicine to be still, especially in our hectic world. In doing so, I’ve discovered answers to questions that have always been there.

If I spend all of my time only listening to the voices of other people, I will never give myself a chance to hear my own inner voice!

More and more I am beginning to trust myself and the universe that everything is already there, and then allow myself the space (and time) for it to be revealed to me. I’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to meditate every day. Since then, life has become a lot less of a struggle. It’s become lighter and easier. The problems and obstacles, puzzles and questions are still there — and they always will be there. But if you let it, your inner voice will come up to help you find your way.

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First off, I have to say that I love assisting! I was unsure at first if I would get to this point since I was really nervous about doing it when I first began, however now I can see that my assists are really working for the people in my classes. I’ve received feedback that my assists bring the yoga practice to a “different level” by challenging each student to turn off their thoughts, and discover their inner strength to go beyond where they thought they could go. It is so satisfying to see the shifts taking place in their bodies! I feel a connection with them when that happens… almost as if the same shifts are taking place inside of me.

I feel that safety is the most important thing, so I go there first – speaking to the alignment from the ground up, and then applying physical assists (also from the ground up) to the students who may not in their optimal alignment. Just as important to this is my ability to be conscious of what is going on in my class. I find that it is a little more difficult to do this in a larger class, as it may be easy to miss something that someone is doing across the room. However, I have begun the practice of connecting in with each student as they come into the class – I ask where they are in their practice, if they’ve ever done yoga, how they’re feeling, etc. I’ve found this has helped me to bring my attention where it may be needed the most.

I am a very active assistor when I teach or assist in other people’s classes. I generally like being active anyway, rather than just standing around, and I also like to find ways to connect in with others in their practice. I use assisting to do just that. The most powerful feedback on my assists that I’ve received so far has been from Lindsay – she once told me to “do everything with purpose”. Now that I have been teaching and assisting, I can say that my assists have a purpose about them. I no longer feel like I’m experimenting anymore with what I’m doing… I don’t feel the hesitation of thought or questioning as I may have felt when I first began. Now I observe what needs to be done and then just DO it. And I do it with purpose.

How I assist others is a reflection of what is going on inside of me. I think that being grounded is probably the most important attribute to have before going into an assist. It goes back to safety. If I’m off-balance, I’m going to transfer that energy to those I’m assisting and he/she will fall out of the posture. Feeling grounded is sometimes a challenge for me. I work through it by setting my intentions, and doing meditation and breath work prior to class. I have also recently begun an ayurvedic practice in order to balance out my Pitta with a little (or a lot!) more Kapha. It has been a slow process; however I believe that it has been working out great so far!

This brings me to, what is for me, the most challenging assists: balancing posture assists. I truly believe that this is a reflection of me – perhaps I have some imbalances in my own life from which I am in the process of growing. I know that I tend to take on a lot of stuff – and I get very busy in the process. Finding ways to balance my own life — and all of the responsibilities that goes along with it – is a point of focus in my life right now. Before I go into my class, I drop all of that. I get present, and I practice feeling my feet planted on the ground, squeezing my toes into the mat and then releasing. I feel the rebound of the earth respond to my stance from the bottoms of my feet to the top of my head. Only then, when I get to the point where I feel connected with and grounded into the earth, I am able to assist others …especially the balancing postures.

This process of assisting yoga classes has been, and still is, a process of discovery. Assisting others is as much a journey of connecting in with others as it is an inner journey of self-discovery. I feel that I’m on a great path by continuing to assist yoga students the best way I know how! And I can tell that they are landing with them – I not only see it and feel it when I assist them, but I hear about it too. I can’t remember a class in recent months where I haven’t gotten positive feedback on my assists. I think that this is a good thing. I am happy to continue using the assists that I learned in the 200-hour teacher training to support others in their practice! Thanks go out to Sid and Lindsay from Sid Yoga Center for teaching me this wonderful and powerful gift!

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To see things as they are is to know yourself. Knowing yourself is more than looking into a mirror and seeing your reflection. It is more than simply identifying characteristics or traits that are linked to your daily routine or habits. Those things may be part of who you are, but they are not all of who and what you are.

To know yourself means that you know, and understand, the nature of yourself and the things around you. Only one who knows herself can truly, genuinely be herself.

To know yourself means that you understand your nature and its relationship with all that is around you. When you meditate, you begin to see that you are not quite as separate from the things that surround you as you might think. You realize that you are very much a part of your surroundings – as much as you realize that your surroundings are very much a part of you.

It is not always easy to be yourself. It requires taking a moment to breathe in, and breathe out; to take in your surroundings; and to feel your skin and the beating of your heart. You recognize that all of these things are with you, part of you, just as they always have been. It is easy to lose sight of this awareness — to get lost in perceptions that are not in keeping with the true nature of things. I have often struggled with my perception of my relationship with those around me. I have felt anxiety and a pressure within me to entertain others and hold their attention in some unique way. I believe that this anxiety and pressure stems from a feeling or perception that people are separate from me. They are unique individuals, that is true, but they are also a part of me and I am a part of them. We are all a part of everything!

Our ego causes us to see things differently than they really are. Ego causes us to see ourselves as separate from our surroundings. We may feel that we are better than others in some way. We may snub them or ignore them and act as though the world revolves around us. Or we may feel that others are better than us, causing us to be racked with anxiety at the thought of disappointing them or embarrassing ourselves. Both perceptions are misconceptions that stem from our ego of being separate, or the only one in the universe. Both perceptions cause us to be separated, in our minds, from others. As a result, we also lose sight of ourselves.

Looking only at ego, rather than our true nature, we miss out on the true experience of life. It is as though we are ignoring reality and, instead, opting to decipher it by looking at it through a rusty, warped carnival mirror. We see what we think is reality, but it is only a misshapen representation of the real thing. The result of our attention to ego is that we get further and further away from ourselves… until we might even get to the point where we completely lose sight of who we truly are. Our true self is lost in the din of the ego — unable to find its expression in our hearts, minds, words, and actions.

These misconceptions melt away when we come back to ourselves. When we step back, take in the air, and sit quietly in meditation, listening to the hum of the universe in and around us, we come back to ourselves. We open the door to the true expression of ourselves, giving it room to surface again. We clear away the clutter of our thoughts and perceptions and find peace in the miracle that is life. People around us are no longer separate. They are no longer beneath us, nor are they intimidatingly larger than life.

There is no need to be nervous or anxious about who and what you are. Seeing things as they are, you see the nature of all things. You are free, at last, to be yourself — genuinely and joyfully. It is through meditation (sitting, walking, standing, singing, reading, skipping, working, exercising, eating… however you may mindfully go about your life) that you will be able to discover who you are. When you know who you are, only then can you truly be yourself.

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