Two weekends ago, I took part in a women’s retreat at a beautiful farm in rural Connecticut. And I did something unusual—I turned off my cell phone. Instead of glancing at my phone, I soaked in the landscape, embraced time meditating, and laughed with soulful women around me. I took a step away from tech, and I couldn’t have been happier.
Autumn is approaching here in the Northern Hemisphere. The mornings are getting cooler and the air is crisp. The changing of the seasons is a good time to honor the changes taking place within you. As you transition from the heat and relaxed mindset of the summer to the cooler days of autumn, it’s a good time to tune in and determine what you want to change in your life and how your yoga practice can aid in your growth.
You may have heard the word ahimsa, but weren’t quite sure what it meant. That was me. Then my yoga instructor talked about it one night before we started our class practice. Now, in the face of all the violence making the headlines and the havoc raised by folks drenched in hate, I’m trying to embrace ahimsa more than ever.
The spring equinox ushers in the beginning of spring. Signs of warmer days to come are already lapping at the shores. Tiny blades of green grass and little flowers are showing their curious faces. They are poking up from the once-cold earth that is now warming under the rising heat from longer days beneath the sun. It is the season of blooming and becoming and a time for looking at what is coming forth in you.
Mantras are powerful—so powerful and potentially destructive, in fact, that it makes sense to notice which ones we’ve embedded in our psyches. A lot of mantras are so ingrained that we don’t even realize they’re there, replaying themselves over and over in our heads, creating a rut and defining who we are. I’m talking about mantras like “I am not enough,” or “Nothing ever works out for me,” or “She is smarter,” or even, “I can’t do yoga because my mind is all over the place and I am not flexible and I don’t have time.”
Embodiment is, by definition, a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling. Disembodiment is to feel the soul, spirit, or purpose exit from the body. As a person, we tend not to excel at embodiment. We tend to be walking around not as full, embodied, whole versions of ourselves but rather as a bunch of disembodied parts. What this looks like is the favoring of one certain aspect of our being that tends to be in the command post for living, all the while leaving the rest of ourselves out of the equation.
“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life, but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.” - Donna Farhi
In a recent study conducted by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin demonstrated that a short program of brain training can produce positive effects in both adapting to stress and improving immune functions. Even months after a brain training regimen has been completed, there is a noticeable positive impact on how the brain handles negative stimulus and how the body produces antibodies.
When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone?
It’s easy to get into unhealthy routines or get stuck in ruts. Shaking things up and getting out of your comfort zone can seem scary – but taking risks is crucial to a healthy life.
Our lives are constantly changing with ebbs and flows of happiness sadness, anger, confusion, and elation. Sometimes it can all seem too overwhelming to handle, so how do we find contentment and stay our course when our lives are full of chaos?