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It’s February and love is in the air. It fills the store aisles in preparation for Valentine’s Day and is all over the airwaves in music, movies, and TV. I used to find immense frustration in the commercial aspect of love during the month of February. As I’ve delved deeper into what it means to love and be loved, though, I can now appreciate the holiday as a time to tune into the feeling of love we all have within us in order to fully appreciate it and share it with others throughout the year!
A new year has commenced with the opportunity to think about the triumphs and pitfalls of the past year in order to plan for the future. Most of us set resolutions at this time. Fortunately, some of those resolutions become part of our daily life, but unfortunately others fall away shortly after we try to implement them.
Meditation is my therapy. I’ve had a consistent meditation practice for the past three years and explored various styles of meditation for years prior to that. Like most people I started meditating as a result of all of the wonderful things I’d heard about how transformative it is to daily life, how easy it is to fit into any schedule, and how essential it is to our overall well-being and peace of mind.
The Yamas and Niyamas are the 10 ethical guidelines behind the practice of yoga. They encompass non-violence, truth, non-stealing, non-excess, non-possessiveness, purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about Asteya, the yama of non-stealing. In day-to-day life, we think of this as not stealing material possessions from stores or other people, however, there are many ways to steal and they don’t all encompass material goods.
For the majority of us, work and our commute take up most of our time on an average day, so wouldn’t it be nice to throw in some yoga and mindfulness in the few open spaces you can squeeze in?
Summer is a time for relaxation and fun with more open schedules, warmer weather, outdoor activities and vacations. However, there can also be a sense of pressure and stress in trying to meet our expectations of a laid-back season.
Just the other day, I looked at my calendar and felt overwhelmed by all of the activities on it. Delving deeper, I realized that I needed to create some space to simply be: read a book, go deeper into my meditation practice, savor the smell of a peach as I cut into it or the smell of flowers while sitting in my yard.
Taking the time to be present in the moment is a beautiful practice in its own right, and yoga and meditation are two ways achieve that goal by creating a space within, bringing your attention inward and turning your thoughts away from distractions.
As a yoga instructor, I am blessed to be able to share such a positive, life-changing practice with people, on and off the mat. When I first started teaching yoga, it never really occurred to me how my practice would work its way into my life off the mat, but it has.
I’m frequently asked, “So what do you do for a living?” When I state that I teach yoga, I usually get many responses about how much yoga has made a difference in someone’s life and how much they love their practice, but occasionally I get the “yoga…I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” response.
I respond that for that reason alone they are perfect for yoga, as yoga creates flexibility, rather than flexibility creating yoga. While I find it sad that people think they have to be flexible in order to take a yoga class, I also understand where this impression comes from, because with the growth in the popularity of yoga, there has become more growth in the amount of celebrity yoga instructors and yoga models who can twist themselves into various pretzel poses.
It got me thinking that we all need to shine. We all have unique traits and talents that set us apart from the rest of the world, yet most of us are too afraid to embrace these qualities because we are unaware of our own brilliance.