Posts Tagged ‘health’

5 tips to refresh your commitment to yoga

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Time to move on – not away from yoga
You have trained long and hard, practiced diligently and now you have doubts – about yourself, your teaching and commitment. What is happening?
The answer is: you are practicing yoga. Self-inquirytrends in yoga, reflection and doubting your intentions are the manifestation of a deeper relationship, that can withstand and flourish through inquiry and emotional turmoil.Compare your relationship with yoga with other meaningful relationships that endure through change and even conflict. If they are strong, they will develop and strengthen. Yes, flaws may be revealed and that relationship may change, but the underlying love will endure and prove richer in the long-term.

Where, when and how you discover yoga will determine the start of your journey. This may be a route that takes us into a practice, or even teacher training that requires commitment to a certain style that later in life, may not nourish and support your growth. An acceptance and even ultimately a rejection of a particular school of yoga is neither a reflection on the practice, but merely an acknowledgement that it is time to move on. The body and mind evolves during our journey through life. Yoga may keep us flexible, strong and active in the physical body, but our aims may change, as we recognize and nurture other areas of our practice.

Physical injury, health concerns and natural aging also determine the suitability of any practice and may mean changing or adapting your practice. One of the many comforts in yoga is that there is always something that you can do – either softening your practice until recovery allows you to return to your previous choice, or moving into different areas such as pranayama or meditation.How do you move forward?
• Firstly, it is important to accept and be open to change. Drawing back and observing your intentions may at first contribute to feelings of loss and even anger. To ‘let go’ of a rigid practice can also cause feelings of guilt as you release yourself of the commitment and possibly regular practice that has become part of the pattern of your daily life.

• Remember, you are only recognizing changes in yourself. Recall how well the practice suited you in the past – what you have learnt and how it has supported you. Let go of guilt and be thankful for the experience.• Have a break and encourage the body and mind to rest and find the space for observation, inquiry and introduction to other aspects or styles of yoga. This may even result in a refreshed interest and commitment in your previous practice.

• Talk to your teacher and other students. You will discover that these doubts and feelings are not unusual. Your teacher may suggest other classes or training that will support your growth. If this is ‘farewell’, a respectful parting will prevent any bad feelings.

• Observe other areas of your life and how they may be contributing to your confusion.  It can be tempting to use yoga as a crutch to support other areas of life that are out of control, or even to be disappointed in yoga no longer gives you the feelings of strength, stability and calm that it provided when you first started.

• Do not rush! Any decision should be taken slowly and calmly. Remember how long it took to develop your practice and how it has helped you develop.

It may be time to move on, but that does not mean moving out! And if you decide to take a break – yoga will be there waiting patiently to welcome you back – no questions asked.

By:  Wendy Jacob

Four Magical Lessons From Buddhism That can Help in Your Own Pursuit of Happiness.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Get intimate with your own mind.

We need two main things to become happy, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition: mindful awareness and loving compassion. The theory goes that the combination of attention and loving-kindness — both of which can be built through contemplative practices like meditation — can help bring the brain into its most plastic, growth-oriented state and support the development of a greater state of consciousness, Loizzo says.

Meditation — “the quiet, humble work it takes on a daily basis,” as Loizzo puts it — is the cornerstone of the Tibetan contemplative science. Through a meditation practice, we can begin to overcome negative thoughts and habitual emotional responese, and start to live from a more calm, centered place, he says.

“Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature,” Sogyal Rinpoche advised in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, a guide to meditation and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. “Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation.”

The research is now there to back up the benefits of this time-worn strategy for stabilizing emotions and boosting the brain’s capacity for joy. Studies have shown meditation may be effective in reducing anxiety and depression, lowering stress levels, reducing loneliness and boosting emotional well being.

“Twenty years and a thousand stories that have given me an unshakable confidence in the truly boundless potential we human beings have to heal ourselves and transform our lives,” Loizzo wrote in his 2012 book, Sustainable Happiness.


Practice compassion, at every moment.

Most Eastern spiritual traditions involve some form of practice around compassion, or “loving-kindness.” In Buddhism, there is a meditation for loving-kindness,“mettā bhāvanā”, which involves sending kindness to yourself, loved ones, community members, people you may dislike, and eventually, all beings. In the Tibetan tradition, monks practice tonglen, which consists of breathing in suffering and breathing out happiness, so as to reduce pain and spread peace among all beings.

“What’s unusual about the Tibetans is that they have what I call an industrial-strength version of this discipline,” Loizzo says of loving-kindness practice. “These practices allow us to turn our sense of life as a battle, a struggle for survival against everybody else, into a communal experience of connecting with friends and the larger world. That, we’ve learned, is so important to our quality of life and our personal sense of meaning in life.”

The Tibetans have devised powerful ways of helping people learn how to become more compassionate that are now being used in the Western world. A 2012 Emory University study suggested that compassion training derived from ancient Tibetan practices may boost empathy, and other studies have shown that loving-kindness meditation could increase positive emotions and lead to more positive relationships over time.


Connect with others who support your journey.

The traditional “Three Jewels” of Buddhism consist of the Buddha (the example), the Dharma (the path) and the Sangha (the community). In this tradition, the community is just as important an element as any other in living a happy, purposeful life. Increasing your happiness and well-being is a difficult thing to do alone. It requires the support and love of others, and a sense of belonging to a community.

“Modern neuroscience is showing us that we’re really wired to be extremely social creatures,” Loizzo says. “We’re happier and healthier when we do that in a committed way … We need to learn to connect with others with mindful openness and positivity, and to deal with the daily slings and arrows and work through those and maintain a sense of connection that’s positive. This is something we practice in spiritual communities.”

Strong social support networks have also been linked to a number of health benefits, including lower stress levels and increased longevity.


Embrace death — don’t fear it.

In Western cultures, our attitude toward death is largely characterized by fear and denial – and this can, consciously or unconsciously, cause a great deal of suffering throughout our lives. But a central aspect of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy is the belief that death should be embraced, and the concept that dying can be the “crowning achievement” of a life well lived. Although this attitude stems in part from a strong belief in reincarnation, you don’t have to believe in an afterlife in order to better accept the impermanence of life in the here and now. The Tibetans believe that meditation can help us to come to terms with the nature of life and death.

When Loizzo is working with patients who are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses, in addition to practicing meditation and loving-kindness, he goes through a traditionally Tibetan practice of asking some of life’s big questions: What has been meaningful to you in your life? How do you face the impermanence of your life and the inevitability of death?

“Being able to embrace the idea of death and being present … some of the women say it gives them a new lease on life,” says Loizzo. “The ancient traditions made a science of trying to understand the death process and make meaning out of it … This kind of approach of facing reality, even the parts that scare us, has tremendous potential for healing.”

Asking these questions can help bolster an acceptance of things that can’t be changed or controlled, which Buddhist teachings have long touted as a key to reducing suffering. Now, this ancient doctrine has science on its side: A recent study from Australian researchers showed that during the difficult changes of later life — moving into residential care and losing independence — an acceptance of what can’t be changed may be a significant predictor of life satisfaction.

Source: Plashcy

 

10 Ways to Live Life in a Calm Manner

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

1. Celebrate often.

Life is too short not to celebrate every chance we are given. Making the effort to attend class, attempting a challenging asana, or just shaking your hips in downward dog, are all reasons and opportunities to celebrate life and being one with your body.

2. Laugh at embarrassment.

We have all farted in a work meeting, or walked around with toilet paper on our shoe at a bar, or even fallen while walking up the stairs in the subway.  In the same vein, falling out of a balancing pose, bumping another practitioner, or hitting the floor with a thud coming out of handstand is all part of the practice.  It’s life, we’re human, and it’s okay.

3. Be trustworthy. Do not lie.

It is almost never okay to lie…even white lies should be used sparingly. The truth always comes out. Your word is you (your integrity) and once you lose it (your morality), sometimes there is no getting it back.

4. Choose the people in your life.  

The people you choose to keep in your life are a reflection of you. We will become more like them and they will become more like us. Choose carefully. Therefore, if negative people are in your life, you are part of that negativity that definitely affects you thus if you choose positive, loving people, you are just that, loving and positive.

5. Yoga and dancing are the cheapest forms of therapy you will find.

Putting on a great song (country for me) and dancing like a fool or rolling out my mat for a few sun salutations without fail makes me feel better.  You can do either anywhere you are and in a “crap” economy, these are great ways to save money on therapy and Xanax.

6. Check in.

I like to ask myself from time to time, “Emily, if you died tomorrow, would you be happy with your life?” Most often, I say, “Yes, I have had a great life and although I may not have done everything on my bucket list, I had a good run of it.”  If I do not answer in the affirmative, then I make a change. Do not avoid what you do not like in your life, check in, notice it, accept it, change it.

7. Take care of your bod.

This has been one of the biggest changes in my life as a result of yoga. We are only given one body and no amount of re-lifting, plumping, whitening, or tanning is going to do for your bod what you can do all by yourself. Take care of your body now and it will take care of you later.

8. You are one of a kind. Own it.

I continue to struggle with this one but never the less it is something I strive towards and deem crucial in living a gingerly life. Society loves things that are “one of a kind.” The idea that if there are only a few or only one of something it is better, valuable, and a luxury. But we forget that we are ALL one of a kind! We are life’s greatest luxury! Know this and own it.

9. Listen to your heart and intuition.

As I grow, I am learning just how powerful intuition is and how loudly your heart speaks to you if you listen. Your head can play tricks on you but your heart is usually spot on.

10. It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.

Appreciate every day and challenge yourself to be happy.

~ by Emily Schall

Bright future