When life gets busy, it’s easy to get out of balance – emotionally, physically and mentally – from trying to maintain equilibrium between the activities that fulfill us and the demands of life. Very rarely are we able to maintain the ‘great Tree Pose of balance,’ as our lives are in a constant state of change.
At some point in your yoga practice, you’ve probably been asked to set an intention or San Culpa. Setting an intention is a wonderful way to start your practice, your day, or any new beginning, but in doing so it’s always good to step back and ask why you’re doing it. What is intention? What does intention mean to me?
The Spiritual Cinema Circle film selections this month explore empathy in the lives of families, friends and strangers.
In the short film Of Teaching Killer Whales Compassion, a homeless young man adrift in society finds hope for change after a chance encounter. A behind-the-scenes written interview with the filmmakers is included in the DVD insert. Our other short films this month, Lucy and Far, also tell stories of people seeking connection in the world.
I don’t mean to Bikram-bash, but my first yoga studio experience happened to be in a Bikram studio, and it wasn’t great. What turned me off the most about the experience was the energy in the room. Nobody was smiling. I can’t stand being places where no one’s smiling — my defense mechanisms kick in, among them a very snarky sense of humor. I found myself trying to fight laughter from the jokes I was telling myself internally to qualm the awkwardness, while staying as silent externally as everyone else. It’s difficult to ground yourself and balance on one foot when you’re shaking at your core from fighting hysterical laughter!
This isn’t the way a yoga class should be. Yoga is fun. I enjoy the practice. So why do most yogis seem so serious all the time?
Wellness pioneer Hillary Rubin encourages us to stay motivated to make it to the yoga mat — and to practice compassion for ourselves on the days when we don’t. One of her favorite motivators? Dedicating your daily yoga practice to someone or something that inspires you.
In the east end of my city is a methadone clinic, a safe place where opiate addicts can ingest a less harmful substitute under the supervision of doctors and addiction specialists. This clinic is new, operating out of a pharmacy in a residential area.
Concerned residents, led by a university student who lives in the area, are outraged that a methadone clinic was opened without consulting the neighborhood, though it adheres to the city’s bylaw that clinics in residential areas serve no more than 40 people.
The group has taken to photographing the addicts as they come and go, which has, of course, created an environment of fear and shame among those who use the clinic, already prone, as addicts often are, to fear and shame.
These protesters insist that they’re only taking photographs so that “if crime increases,” they’ll have shots of the “likely criminals.”
The media story around this has inspired equal anger on the parts of many citizens, who have sent e-mails filled with threats and accusations to the protesters. An eye for an eye, it would seem.
Are you at home in your true nature? According to yoga and Ayurveda practitioner Felicia Tomasko, one of the most important things we can do is to stop striving for perfection or trying to be someone else. To do this, we need to be actively compassionate with ourselves by embracing who we are and our uniqueness both on and off the yoga mat. To learn more, visit LAyogaOnline.com.
Love is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. Unfortunately, I find that women who are most critical of their bodies are missing a degree of self-love. Do you find yourself looking in the mirror and having negative thoughts about certain parts of your body? Do you find yourself saying things like, “If only my thighs were slimmer,” or “I wish my butt wasn’t so flat”?
When I teach my fitness classes, I often invite my students to do some of the exercises with their eyes closed in order to really feel the movement. On a neuromuscular level, training the body while creating positive thoughts and making that positive connection is scientifically proven to be one of the most powerful ways to create and reinforce a positive body image. And, on a non-scientific level, it just feels good!