So much is written about yoga these days. People describe how it helped them through a crisis, healed an injury, made them stronger. Many are inspired to become teachers. Doctors write about yoga’s health benefits and teachers write about its philosophy, anatomical mechanics, or energetics. I am one more fan, student, and teacher, and I want to add my say.
As seasons change and the beginning of another school year is here, most of the conversations I’ve been in lately have been about how busy life gets and how hard it is to keep everything in balance…emotionally, physically, and mentally.
A few weeks before the International Day of Peace, I posed a question to my Facebook friends: “How, where, or when do you find peace?” Since the official purpose of the worldwide observance is “global ceasefire,” I expected—and received—several thoughtful responses about striving for peace in the world, and they were appreciated.
The Buddha said, “I am not enlightened, I am merely awake.” What does it mean to be awake? Most of us spend our lives in relative states of “un-consciousness.” Sometimes we undergo a big, dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime awakening—such as a near-death experience—or we can occasionally experience subtler awakenings, such as hearing a story that resonates deep in our beings and creates a shift in consciousness.
With more than 20 million yoga practitioners in the United States alone, yoga is becoming part of mainstream culture — and making its own news headlines! Here’s what you should know this June when you hit the mat:
The other night, as I was driving home from teaching one of my weekly yoga classes, “Instant Karma” by the Beatles started to play on the radio. I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics, as I’ve always enjoyed listening to the melody, but that night I was drawn to the chorus.
“Well, we all shine on, Like the moon and the stars and the sun, Yeah, we all shine on…
On and on and on, on and on…”
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.
Love isn’t the same thing as romance. Romance is one way to express love – but we can express love in so many other ways, too.
Love isn’t just a feeling. It’s not just an emotion. Love is a commitment to putting your partner at the top of your priority list. Love is intimacy at every level.
My first taste of volunteer work came when I was 12 years old. It was 1976, and McDonald’s restaurants were encouraging kids to host carnivals to raise funds for muscular dystrophy. Though I had little understanding of muscular dystrophy, I loved a backyard party. My philanthropic mother had planted a deep seed in me regarding helping others. “To whom much is given, much is expected” was our motto.
I received my carnival kit and recruited the neighborhood kids to help. We had a fortune teller, sno-cone table, games of chance and more, raising about $70. But the major payoff was that I fell in love with good causes.
Since then, I’ve volunteered as a swim buddy for kids with spina bifida and worked with various organizations that focus on environmental issues, homelessness, poverty and AIDS. These days, I volunteer weekly at a soup kitchen, washing dishes and passing out fruit (when we have enough) to the down-on-their-luck men and women who come inside for soup and community. I also chair an eco-committee at my kids’ school. And though it seems counter-intuitive — after all, I’m a busy mom of three — I find myself with more energy to tackle my other commitments.
In the middle of 2013 I met Julia, who told me a story about a voice that woke her in the middle of the night. She wasn’t scared when it asked her, “Do you want me to heal your heart?” Julia had had a congenital heart problem since she was a child. Now pregnant, this heart problem rendered a natural childbirth unsafe for her as well as her child. So when the voice asked her, “Do you want me to heal your heart?” Julia said “yes” without hesitation.
In addition to yoga’s well-documented methods of promoting health and happiness. it also has the ability to help you lose weight, burn calories, boost metabolism and reduce stress. Although yoga is not a quick fix, it can be an excellent long-term approach to losing weight and keeping it off.