Tag Archives: heart
Ok, so I love these rules so much that I had to post a blog about them. Here they are, the Dalai Lama’s 20 rules for living:
1.Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s: - Respect for self, - Respect for others and - Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Hey All! Here is my first Yoga Quickie – It’s a quick 5 minute cardio series to energized your body, mind and heart! Spend 5 minutes and change your world!
Like what you see? I make personalized Yoga DVDs that will fit any home practice! Check it out here.
Serving others. What does that mean to you? For yogis, it is a daily commitment that their actions serve their community – and not just close friends and loved ones. The practice of Seva, or selfless service, is one that deeply permeates the yogic tradition. Some examples of the highest Seva practices have been shown in American society by every day people, going to work, doing their jobs, living their lives as best they can.
It can be difficult to be in the mindset of seva. Our culture is so much about me, me, me and I, I, I that we can get lost in what we want for ourselves and completely forget about the person standing right in front of us. The question I pose to you is – how does that benefit you? When you push aside the person in front of you – maybe forgetting about their feelings or so focused on your own needs that you forget the world around you – do you ever ponder the consequences of that mindset? Too often, we can get completely insular about our own needs and forget that one of the most rewarding paths to happiness is through service to others.
This is a funny practice to talk about on tax day – our taxes are a contentious point of service for many people. We can’t change tax day, but we can change how we feel about service in general. So what does seva look like in your actual habitual mind processes? For example, it means stopping and considering how you can best serve others even when your intention is to serve yourself. So how does service fit into your life? Here are some ideas and thoughts about how the concept of service can be incorporated into your life from my own experience:
1. Slow down and take your time. Moving quickly has its place, but to be in service to yourself, when you find yourself rushing, take 5 deep breaths. Really pause and try to open your lungs deeply. If you take a really deep breath, you can feel your belly expand all the way down into your low pelvis. Repeat the mantra, “I am reconnecting to what is really important in my life.”
2. Take the time to express your gratitude. Even writing down 10 things to yourself that you are grateful for can be a helpful exercise. Many people do this once a day, to keep them focused on what they have in their life, versus what they don’t have. Take the time to talk to the people you are closest to in your life, and give 10 extra seconds to the people you don’t – like the cashier at the drug store or grocery store, or gas station. They are in a position of serving hundreds of people a day, often required to have a smile on their face. Make any service industry professional remember why they do their job by being the example of politeness and patience.
3. When emotions overtake the situation, step back and assess what is really important. Do you need to get a problem solved? How can you serve the solution to your problem rather than your emotions about the situation? Taking the emotions out of the driver seat is a great way to see clearly through to solving the problem. Even if you fail a hundred times to make this happen, keep trying. Being clear about problems is the best way to overcome them. Be in service to the answer, not the problem.
4. Let someone else go first. This sounds obvious, but what about when you’re in traffic? Let that person turn in or merge in ahead of you. In the grocery line, allow the person with fewer items go first. Serve others at the dinner table before yourself. Fold your spouse’s laundry with extra care – and cook their favorite dinner when they least expect it.
5. Consistency. Lastly, one of the best ways to promote selfless service in your life is to be consistently supportive of those in your immediate circles. Being stable and consistent in your efforts of service daily, rather than once in a long while, builds positive energy within your community. Small acts of 10 minutes a day, every day, build momentum of positivity in your life and can affect really powerful change over the long term.
What is one way you practice seva in your daily life? Comment here and let us know how you are serving your community today.
One of the fundamental questions of mindfulness practices is: When do you press in and when do you let go? When do you push your limits and when do you gracefully take a back seat? The answer is at the same time more simple and more complex than you might think. I am finding the answer is that I do both, at the same time. Sounds kind of confusing? Yep, it is the concept of paradox in your mindfulness or yoga practice. I’ll illustrate with a few examples to help you understand what I mean:
Asana or Posture Practice
When I am doing a strong yang energy practice (moving, sweating, breathing deeply and generally vigorous poses), I find that softening my intentions and using certain mindfulness cues can help me achieve this paradox. For example, if I am doing a really challenging pose, say Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon Pose, and I am efforting very strongly with my body, if I relax my eyes and think about softening my heart, the whole pose becomes soft yet VERY strong in a way that is subtle yet very real. It’s the same thing in a less strong pose, say Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose. As I inhale and raise my chest, pull my elbows back, engage my belly, etc., I soften in my intentions in the pose. I might repeat a mantra, “I am whole, I am peaceful.” I am still strongly lifting my body into the pose, but the difference is I have softened my mind and allowed more space in my heart to be easy within the effort.
Put the Practice Into Action
Try it right now with a pose of your choice. Arrive at the proper alignment and form for the pose that fits your body best. Once you have arrived in the pose, take a body scan and see if you are pushing yourself to your edge in this moment. Your edge may be different today from all other days – it is today, right now, that is important. Once you are at your edge and pushing yourself strongly for this moment, take your attention to your eyes and literally allow them to soften. Soften your face, ears, nose, throat and back of your head. Allow that softness to ripple down into your heart. Feel space and ease created there. Stay in the pose for 5-10 more breaths, but come out when you can no longer maintain that sense of ease within the effort. Come to a comfortable seated pose and take 10-15 breaths to reflect on the experience. You may wish to write it down.
Meditation or Mindfulness Practices
Meditation practices are by nature, more about letting go and being receptive to what is, in this very moment, your reality. However, they require a strong push of determination, repetition and dedication to form the habit of using mindfulness techniques on a daily basis. You can meditate here and there haphazardly and find some benefits, but the real juice of the meditation realm of practices comes with the push towards doing it every day. This phenomenon of pushing towards change is called tapas in yoga, and it can be translated as heat, discipline or determination. When I focus on doing my meditation in small chunks (10-20 minutes at a time) daily, I find the same paradox exists. I feel the slow transformation of my perceptional abilities start to change over time (months and months), while I get a daily benefit of a more spacious frame of mind and more awareness towards my treatment of others. I find I can let go of things that upset me more quickly on a daily basis, and over the long term, I change my attitude towards those things that upset me completely. I may do a complete 180 degree turn in how I understand something about myself or another, and that can change my whole world view overnight.
Putting the Practice Into Action
Start by finding a comfortable seat. You can sit in a chair or on the floor with a cushion under your sitz bones, but don’t lie down or lean back on a couch. Make sure your spine is straight and your head is positioned over your spine. You can find this out by leaning forward and leaning back, and when your sitz bones sink down into the chair or cushion (like they are getting heavier in that one moment in time), you have found the point where all the weight is over your spine. Now set a timer for 5 -20 minutes. If you are new to meditation, try 5-10 minutes. First, write down a word that describes how you are feeling before you meditate. Now, the pressing in comes from learning to focus your mind during this time period. For today, use this mantra: Inhale: “I am whole.” Exhale: “I am peaceful.” Pause with the breath out: “I hold my own space.” When you are finished with your time period, pause and reflect on how you feel now. Write down a word that describes your state of being, post-meditation. You can take a few minutes to reflect on this, or journal about the experience. The letting go part happens naturally when you bring your attention to the meditation and let go of all other things that are occupying your brain and body. It’s funny – you are doing nothing, yet everything is happening, dropping away and leaving you clearer and more peaceful.
Paradox, Paradox – Are you everywhere?
Start looking for the existence of this phenomenon in your daily life. What do you have to let go of to make other things happen? What do you have to push into to let go of other things? This can be a very rewarding and interesting mindfulness practice in and of itself. Try it for a few days and come back and comment – tell me about your experience!