Category Archives: Self Study
On October 29, 1998, John Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space at the age of 77. We have an interesting relationship with aging in our society: we’re often told to respect our elders and listen to their wisdom while at the same time we are bombarded with media and advertising that tells us 40 is over the hill.
Yoga teaches us to let go of attachment to these labels. We often let our labels define us. How often have we looked around and compared ourselves to others thinking things like, “I can’t do this pose as well as her because I’m too fat/old/inflexible…”? Too often, the ways we define ourselves limit us.
I invite you to observe your thought patterns this week and really examine how you label yourself. When we build awareness, we can let go of limiting thoughts and actions and let our true inner Self shine through.
The 3rd of three annual Emancipation Days of Respect, Dream Day Quest and Jubilee honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by promoting unity, respect and remembrance. Held on August 28th to mark the anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Delivered in 1963, the speech calls for the end of racism in the United States. You can read the full text here or listen to it here.
Unfortunately, racism is all too alive in America. We need to own up to that and we need to do what we can to fix it. Mindfulness can help us build self-awareness but should also help us be aware of others’ experiences. We are all in this together and we are all one.
I have a dream that someday MLK’s dream can be realized and that I will have the courage to help it come true.
In peace and unity,
July 3rd is National Compliment Your Mirror Day. Many tips for the this day involve doing something to improve your appearance or update your look. But today should be about looking beyond the surface and seeing the truly beautiful essence of the pure self. You are strong, you are unique, you are enough just as you are. Remind yourself of that today.
How often do you take stock of your life? We should regularly practice self-study. Today especially, at the midway point of the year, take a little time to celebrate your successes and make plans to change the things you aren’t happy with in your life.
National Pretzel Day is a great day to get free pretzels, but it also makes me think of the number of times that people tell me they’ve never done yoga because they “aren’t flexible enough” or they “can’t do those pretzel poses.” I usually have two responses to that: 1) saying you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath, and 2) I’m not flexible either.
Yoga can be about doing incredible looking poses, if that’s what you’re into. It can also be about learning what your body and mind are capable of. It can be about whatever you want it to be. Just get on your mat and see what you find.
Yoga and gardening, aside from being two activities I enjoy, have a lot in common.
- A garden only thrives when we tend to it. The same can be said for our health. A yoga practice can help us maintain our physical and mental well-being.
- In gardening, you quickly learn that there is a connection between all systems. A plant only does well in the right soil, with the right amount of water, with the right sun exposure, and so on. Our bodies are the same way. An injury or imbalance in the hips may lead to back and/or knee pain. Stress can show up as tension in our shoulders, shortness of breath, and headaches. You have to work with more than one system to find balance.
- Yoga and gardening can reveal something new every day. Each day in the garden brings changes to plants, both good and bad. You might have plants suddenly budding out or you might have weeds suddenly popping up everywhere. In our yoga practice, you can do the same pose every day and every day there will be something different about it; some days it may be easy and some days it may be hard. I love that.
- If you’re a gardener, you likely know to prep your soil before starting. But do you prep your body for the physical exertion you’re about to do? A little yoga before, during, and after gardening won’t keep all aches and pains away, but it will likely help them go away faster. Click here for some gentle before-gardening poses (and watch this site for some during and after poses later this month).
Meet you in the garden,
Slow Art Day was established in 2010 as day to encourage people to visit their local art museums and galleries and take time to really look at and see the art. The idea is to look at 5 pieces of art for at least 10 minutes each and open yourself up to whatever you might discover. Don’t worry about what you are supposed to see or feel; just let whatever comes to you come.
To participate, you can go to one of the official venues or visit any gallery, museum (like the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, where I teach yoga on Mondays) or sculpture park. You might be surprised at what you notice.
With eyes wide open,
April 4 is the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 2009, Victims of Violence Holy Day was established as the 2nd of three Emancipation Days of Respect that honor those who’ve sacrificed to the change the laws of segregation in America as well as supporting those who’ve suffered at the hands of slavery and violence.
While we think of slavery and segregation as something in the distant past, racism and slavery (especially in the form of human trafficking) are all still very real today. It is up to each of us to examine the misguided fear of “others” that we all feel sometimes and remember that we are all more alike than different. We cannot let fear and intolerance overtake us.
In peace and unity,
You may be familiar with the expression, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” The saying points out that we are often envious of what others have — or at least what we think they have. Perceptions are not always reality, especially when social media allows people to put forth the best version of their lives rather than the total picture. “The grass is always greener…” is a reminder to work at not being envious of others.
The Grass Is Always Browner on the Other Side of the Fence Day takes the idea a step further. On this day, we should try to stop comparison with others altogether and practice svadhyaya, or self-study. Today is a great day to see ourselves clearly and be content with who and where we are. Let today be about gratitude and contentment.
Here are some tips to celebrate:
- Keep a gratitude journal,
- Express gratitude to others,
- Meditate, or
- Repeat one of your favorite affirmations.