Yoga Makes You Well

May you be filled with loving kindness, may you be well,

may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be happy.

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Helpfulness

Posted on January 24, 2015 at 9:14 PM Comments comments ()
I recently needed help.  I asked for it, which was hard.  And I got it.  Which was wonderful.

I was amazed at how the people I know who are helpful to others seem to be the happiest.  

I wonder why that is.

They are not the most successful or the most popular.  But they are the happiest.  Which is a pretty good sign of inward success. 

On the Passing of Robin Williams

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 1:17 AM Comments comments ()
Now that man spread a lot of light while he was here on earth.

I have laughed so hard at things Robin Williams said that I have had water come out my nose.  He made the Vietnam war a topic that could be approached through his healing gift of comedy and his great love for humanity.

He did some amazing things with the spotlight he had on his life.  Having a spotlight on your life all the time cannot be fun or easy. 

I do not know what his mental health status was.  But he seems bipolar to me.  He was certainly manic on stage doing his stand up routines.  And I suppose he dealt with the lows that accompany those highs.

A lot of people I know try to judge if it is right or wrong for someone to take their own life.  I do not know and I do not think it is my place to judge it.  I just know it has to be so sad.

If he was bipolar, I have read that that tends to go along with a very high risk of suicide.  It usually happens in a mixed state.  A mixed state is a manic phase (high) with depression (low) at the same time. 

I am lighting a candle and dedicating my meditation and yoga practice to him to help him transition into a better place in his next life.  That is a Tibetan belief.  Also making things that smell good is supposed to help the recently departed to head toward the light. So I will cook some yummy smelling things, too.  For about a month, that is supposed to do some good.

One reason I study yoga and meditation is that it is so helpful for regulating moods and for helping to get thoughts more organized. 

Yoga is a practice to get the mind stable, basically.  And meditation is too.  The Yoga Sutras (the equivalent of a yoga bible that is 2500 years old) talk about the mind. 

Chapter one, verses 12-14 of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali (translation by Mukunda Stiles):

The vacillating waves of perceptions are stilled through
consistent earnest practice
and dispassionate non-attachment.

Of these two, practice is the continuous struggle
to become firmly established
in the stable state of the true self.

That practice is indeed firmly grounded
when it is pursued incessantly,
with reverence,
for a long time.

Robin Williams, you were a light to many people.  I hope you find great peace.


Opposite Day

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 7:09 PM Comments comments ()

I can gnaw on a thought for a long time.  Like some old pit bull, I can lie around worrying some bone I have to pick with someone for a long time.  I can spend a lot of my life being right. 

The question is this, though, "how much energy am I wasting being right?"  Is it worth it to be right this long?  How much of my life passes by with me worrying, fighting, obsessing, feeling sad and unworthy?  Is there another way?

Yoga offers some wisdom about this.  In the Yoga Sutras (a 2500 year old book of poetry in Sanskrit that is something like a bible of yoga), there is a verse that talks about this.  It goes, "pratipaksa bhavanam".  That means, "think the opposite."  

So what if the next time you feel like you might fail at something, you took this advice and pratipaksa-ed that bhavanam all over the place?  What if you cultivated the opposite thought: "Oh no!  What if I am a great success?!" 

Can't really hurt to try, now can it?

One thing yoga is great at is getting you to move into new positions and feel what it feels like to be upside down, or facing directly into your foot, or some other unexpected place.  It gets us out of our comfort zones.  And we have the chance to look at things from an opposite place, an unfamiliar perspective.  In this way, life takes on three dimensions and so do we, right along with it.

My friend and stellar yoga teacher, Lavonia Elberton (yes, she's a drag queen), is a guest on my yoga channel on youTube, Yoga Makes You Well.  She based her video on this idea of cultivating the opposite thought by demonstrating poses that she really doesn't like.  Check her out at http://youtu.be/4CE-_TsWaIw

New Growth

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM Comments comments ()
Making a Path

Life seems to have a destination, but sometimes the path is unclear.  That perfect relationship, that perfect job, that harmony and ease are over there, always over there, just out of reach.

Play it Loud

I played clarinet in band in middle school.  I remember how terrible we were.  And I remember my teacher telling us to play the wrong thing and go ahead and play it loud!  He was dealing with our angst as we hesitated our way through each piece.  When we started playing and making the mistakes, we got better.

Do Something

When I plant seeds in the garden, after they come up, some of them show lots of growth and some don't.  I weed out the ones that have not grown very big and give space to the others.  There are moments in my life when I have been that spindly plant, wondering which way to grow, not growing very much in any direction.

Follow the Sun

Just like a plant, the way to grow is to follow the light.  There will be some path that just has more of a glow to it than another path.  It might look like a more winding path.  It might seem to disappear at times.  But walking that path feels warm and sunny. 

Keep on Taking Steps

The plants I pick to let grow are the biggest, strongest plants.  They have the most life force, the most chi.  They have established their ability to follow the light.  I don't really care if they have grown a little east or a little west in their attempts to grow. Just like these plants, the direction to grow in is not the most important thing.  Do some every day toward the goal that feeds your inner light. 

Others Get Inspired by You

Sometimes I have made the mistake of thinking that I should not do all I can do because it will make those around me jealous or threaten my relationships.  But in truth, relationships that are threatened by my growth are worth losing anyway.  And those that aren't will just get stronger.  In this way, my life gets weeded and pruned and new growth comes in to nourish.

When to light a candle

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM Comments comments ()
The events of the past few days have left me wondering about our world.  Three young women held hostage and tortured for ten years in a basement- in Cleveland, Ohio? By a bus driver?  This world seems filled up with madness and it sometimes seems like it just keeps on coming. 

I am not a counselor, but I play one on TV

My many years as a massage therapist have helped me listen to others very deeply.  I have taken myself to therapy several times, sometimes for years at a time, in order to become my more authentic self.  It is wonderful work and I am thankful for it.  One thing I have learned in all that time is that things that are overwhelming need to be put in some sort of container.  

The mind is going to worry

It is the nature of the mind to have a problem.  It always has a problem.  That is not something that is likely to change any time soon.  But we can direct that worry.  The beauty of worry is that it is just energy, just like anything else.  It is thought spinning its wheels.  If we let those spinning wheels have some direction, then they might actually get us somewhere.

Time to light a candle

Each day, I spend an hour or two on my computer, either typing up blog posts or watching Netflix or just surfing.  I have a candle behind me on my altar.  Now, for that hour or two that I am on the computer, I light that candle.  I put all the worries I have into it- whether it be someone I love who is ill, or who has lost someone special or some world event.  I let that hour or two have an element of prayer and wishing the best for the situations and people that I put into the candle.  You can bet those three girls and that little girl- and even that man who held them hostage- will be in that candle tonight.

And then it's bedtime

At bedtime, I blow the candle out, asking the best for all those I have wished for. The smell of the candle wafts up to my nose, I see the smoke lift up toward heaven, and I know I will light it again tomorrow.  In this way I find some peace.  I turn off the light, climb into bed, and I sleep.

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