Category Archives: Philosophy
Before I started writing this blog, I had to sort through a lot of fears. To some degree I still feel them every time I post something. It’s mostly a fear that I am not writing well enough or that I’m going to be perceived negatively in some way. I’m not really a writer. I’ve taken a few writing classes throughout my academic career, but I never really invested myself in sharing my writing publicly. Fear is what has always prevented me from doing so.
While I feel shaky about my abilities as a writer, I can stay with 100% confidence that I am passionate, dedicated, and voracious reader. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with anything I can read. As a toddler, I would plop a stack of books down and demand “READ A BOOK”. Thankfully, my parents are both teachers, so they always indulged me. I began memorizing stories, reading them over and over. Eventually I memorized words. I maintain to this day that the only reason I have done well in school is because I love reading so much.
However, I am not very discriminating in what I read. I definitely have my favorite stories and books, and I know good writing from emergent writing. I loved Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, the works of Gabriel García Márquez. I’ve probably read every book in the Harry Potter series at least 20 times (this served as escapism/therapy during my teenage years) and I love me some crappy Young Adult Fiction. I read cereal boxes at breakfast and shampoo bottles in the shower. If there are subtitles on a movie I’ll end up reading them and not paying attention to what’s happening on the screen.
Any knowledge I have of grammar and spelling comes from repeated exposure to words by sight. I’m not detail-oriented. I’m a big picture type of person.
Anyway, since I started writing this blog, I have received some wonderful feedback, and I don’t think it is due to my writing ability. I think it is because I am writing honestly, exposing some of what is in my heart. As much as educated people like to criticize and pick things apart, it nice to remember that some of the most intelligent people are not educated or trained in a formal sense. I think that a lack of indoctrination can be a good thing.
My generation was force-fed the idea that we needed to go to college if we wanted a good life. And by a good life, I’m pretty sure that meant possessing money. While I will say that having enough money certainly helps, we all know that it does not equal happiness. Many of my friends graduated college with a ridiculous amount of debt looming over them, and a shit-tastic job market waiting for them. Suddenly going to college did not guarantee a stable job.
Obviously our ideas about education need to change. Currently, we are pumping out students that are experts at filling in bubbles, but lack creativity and passion. This idea that everyone needs to go to college is dysfunctional. Yes, there are plenty of people who should go to college. But we also need mechanics, plumbers, etc., and it would be great to see us actually make some products with artistry and not just consume them.
Fear drives so much of our lives. We fear that we are not successful. Often, we don’t really stop and consider what success means to us, as individuals. It isn’t the same for everyone and it shouldn’t be! What type of society functions properly with a bunch of brainwashed drones? I don’t even watch the mainstream news because the amount of fear mongering is astounding. It paralyzes us, preventing us from growing and thinking for ourselves. It causes us to cling to our identity in an “US vs THEM” mentality, making us easy to manipulate. I won’t get political here, but I’m sure you can extrapolate.
If we want to live a passionate, creative life, then we need to release our fears. Stop worrying that people aren’t going to approve or that you might look weird. I realized recently that I overuse the word “crazy” because to me, most people I admire can be “crazy” which actually means that they think outside the current paradigm. Which brings me to this:
“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.”
If you are not satisfied with the current state of the world, stop allowing it to determine what you are able or unable to do. Stop worrying that you will be seen as strange. Each one of us has something beautiful and uniquely our own to share. I write this for myself as much as for anyone else, so that I will continue to honestly and openly articulate what is in my heart. The language of the heart is universal, it doesn’t matter who is speaking, love simply resonates.
(aka Camatkarasana or “wild thing”)
Weekend three of yoga school has left me feeling inspired, accomplished and open-hearted. Yesterday we all taught a series of five standing poses with transitions, which was wonderful practice and physically demanding. We did countless standing splits, revolved triangles, pyramids and half-moons. Today was backbends, which are so invigorating! The above picture is a backbend called Camatkarasana which translates to “the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart”. I love sanskrit.
We also read more of the Bhagavad Gita.
The wise man does not unsettle
the minds of the ignorant; quietly
acting in the spirit of yoga,
he inspires them to do the same
Leading by example is the most powerful way to have a positive influence on others. It is great to share your experiences to help other people when they seek assistance, but trying to shove an ideology down a person’s throat is never the answer.
I began this week feeling energetically drained and emotionally heavy. I still managed to practiced yoga daily and I believe that really helped to keep my emotions in check. That is not to say that I repressed what I was feeling or tried to hide it. I practiced being an observer of my thoughts and feelings and by doing so I let a lot of baggage go. On Monday, when my emotions were at their most vulnerable, I allowed myself the time to really indulge those feelings. I cried like a baby and took a nap.
Throughout the week I continued to come to face with some habits that aren’t serving me, as well as some frustrations/annoyances that I needed to examine at a root level. I’m not saying that I am cured of all these maladaptive behaviors, but they don’t control me any more.
Yoga has really helped me to work on my mind, body and spirit. You might think “How does stretching your body help you to become a better, happier person?” and the truth is I don’t really have a definitive answer. I only know what it has done for me, and that so many others report its amazing benefits. Yoga makes you more aware of your body (its strengths and limitations), which then extends to your mind, calming your thoughts and allowing you to reflect on your own conscious state.
Once you venture down the path of awareness, you can never go back. I think this frightens many people because it means facing some not-so-pleasant aspects of themselves. But what is amazing is the fact that by just acknowledging our shadow self, not judging it, we diminish its power over us. You make room for so much more love and light and joy in your life.
“We are luminous beings.
We are perceivers.
We are an awareness;
we are not objects;
we have no solidity.
We are boundless.”
Shared from: http://www.mysticmamma.com
Meet my little Chihuahua/German Shepherd mix, Rumo. He’s had a crazy life…found wandering the streets of Tijuana, locked up in a kennel, etc. When we got him, he was a frightened little guy that didn’t know how to use stairs and he licked constantly to soothe himself.
In the past year and a half, he has become more of a proud little wolf. My husband is amazing with animals and he has helped break Rumo of his dysfunctional habits. One thing about Rumo that will never change is that he is opportunistic. I just know that he had to scavenge to get by for a long time and he is quite a survivor. The only thing Rumo loves more than food is attention. He’ll take a belly rub over treats any day.
So recently, he’s been doing the strangest thing. As a little dog, he gets stepped on and knocked over occasionally. Whenever this happens, I feel awful and I pick him up and fawn over him, smothering him in love. Now he has started putting himself in places where he’ll be trampled ON PURPOSE!
I had wondered about this for a while, as I noticed him constantly under my feet. But it was really cemented last night when Daniel was out in the livingroom with him. Daniel told me that he pet Rumo and then began using the computer. Rumo then snuck around right under his feet… and was promptly stepped on. So Daniel took him into our bedroom where Rumo’s bed is on the floor, and went back out to use the computer.
It gets better/worse. Our little masochist put his legs in front of the door so that when Daniel came back in, he cried and wailed like a baby!!
I have begun to relate this story to what is happening with some of my students now. I had a pretty stern talk with them yesterday about the fact that they are so disrespectful to not only me, but to each other. I told them that they if they acted with maturity that they would have more privileges. I asked them “How would you treat me if I talked to you the way you talk to me?” One little smart ass replied “with kindness”! I can assure you that this is not true, as he regularly calls other students “dumpster babies” and “dirty twats”. But that’s a whole other story.
Anyway, I felt my response come out of my so naturally. “By being strict and continually making you learn and grow, I am doing you a kindness. If I just gave up and let you behave the way that you do, you might think that I am being ‘cool’, but in fact I wouldn’t be doing anything for you at all! You should be happy that I care enough to give you tough love.”
And for once, a hush fell over the room.
Just like with my little Rumo, sometimes you have to think about what is actually a “kindness”. I can’t fawn over Rumo the way that I have when he is hurt because he could be seriously injured someday if he keeps up his antics. And I can’t allow these preteens to run with what they’ve been taught (or more likely, what they haven’t been taught). Kindness isn’t always the fuzzy sweetness of this raccoon:
Sorry I just love that picture… had to put it in :P
Sometimes it is difficult to give and it is often unappreciated. This is where detaching from the outcome comes in. It is hard to do, but it is essential. You have to act in alignment with yourself and allow the situation to unfold as it may. Usually, the less you try to control, the more things will go your way.
Okay so I know that this may seem a bit out there to some people, but if you believe in the influence of meditation, this Saturday at 8:30pm PST, there is going to be a POWERFUL full moon. People all around the world are joining in meditation to visualize and energize the shift away from the financial tyranny that has been sucking our planet and its people dry for many years through the banking cabal (Federal Reserve, BIS, IMF, etc).
Here are some articles about the positive impact of meditation:
Because every day should be “Earth day”.
Happy Sunday! I found this article and had to share it. This explains more about the science of barefoot “earthing” or “grounding”.
Article by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Dr. James Oschman is an expert in the field of energy medicine, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biophysics and a PhD in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh.
As an author of a number of books, he is widely recognized as an authority in the biophysics of energy medicine. In this interview he discusses the practice of “earthing,” or grounding.
Every modern school of alternative medicine talks about “energy,” although they may use a variety of words to describe it. But what is this fundamental “energy” you keep hearing about?
As Dr. Oschman went about to investigate, he found there is very good science that can help demystify this nebulous term. He wrote a number of articles for a journal published by Churchill Livingstone on the subject, and after some encouragement from the publisher, those articles eventually resulted in two books: Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basisi, and Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performanceii.
Dr. Oschman was also introduced to earthing, or grounding, and his research in this area has turned up some very interesting and compelling information about how the energy from the Earth can help you live a healthier life. He has recently written the Foreword for a new book by Clinton Ober, Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra and M. Zucker, entitled Earthing: the most important health discovery ever?iii published in 2010 (Basic Health Publications, Inc., Laguna Beach, CA.).
If you’re like most people, you probably wear shoes with rubber or plastic soles for the better part of each day. Read on to learn why shoes might be one of the banes of modern existence.
The Emergence of “Earthing”
The concept of earthing, also known as grounding, was initially developed by Clint Ober. Stated in the simplest terms possible, earthing is simply walking barefoot; grounding your body to the Earth. Oschman was introduced to Ober via Jeff Spencer, the chiropractor for Lance Armstrong’s cycling team and an expert in treating professional athletes.
“When Clint described the earthing phenomenon to Jeff, Jeff immediately called me and had me fly out to California to meet Clint and talk about what kind of research could be done to find out what is going on,” Oschman explains.
“People have known for a long time that walking barefoot feels good. There are places in the world like Germany and Austria and Switzerland with communities where there is a tradition of getting up in the morning and going barefoot.”
My own introduction to the concept of earthing was also through Jeff Spencer, some five or six years ago. I found it very intriguing, although I initially approached it with some skepticism. As you will soon see, it’s a simple concept—to some it may appear too simple.
Fortunately, Dr. Oschman is now able to provide the scientific groundwork for understanding what actually occurs. In fact, his team has now published about a dozen papers on this topic.
What Happens to You When You Walk Barefoot?
Your skin in general is a very good conductor. You can connect any part of your skin to the Earth, but if you compare various parts there is one that is especially potent, and that’s right in the middle of the ball of your foot; a point known to acupuncturists as Kidney 1 (K1). It’s a well-known point that conductively connects to all of the acupuncture meridians and essentially connects to every nook and cranny of your body. Interestingly, grounding—or rather the lack thereof—has a lot to do with the rise of modern diseases.
How is this?
Well, Dr. Oschman’s research into grounding has led him to better understand inflammation. I’ve discussed before, chronic inflammation is a primary cause of virtually all disease, from diabetes to cancer. And by looking at what happens during grounding, the answer to why chronic inflammation is so prevalent, and what is needed to prevent it, is becoming better understood.
When you’re grounded there’s a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably the most potent antioxidants known to man.
These antioxidants are responsible for the clinical observations from grounding experiments, such as:
- Beneficial changes in heart rate
- Decreased skin resistance
- Decreased levels of inflammation
To better understand the science behind what happens during grounding and how it impacts the inflammatory response, Dr. Oschman begins by explaining what happens when you experience an injury.
“Even the slightest bump, if you bump the door, your immune system immediately responds by sending white blood cells (neutrophils) to the place of injury…
The neutrophils secrete a Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)… called free radicals, in what’s referred to as an oxidative burst… These are like Pac-Man. They are very important molecules that tear things apart. If bacteria have gotten through your skin, these free radicals will destroy the bacteria very quickly. If you have damaged cells, the free radicals will break them apart so that there is a space for healthy cells to move in and repair the tissues.
That’s known as the inflammatory response.
What we have discovered that is truly profound is this: we now understand why you get the inflammatory response, which has five characteristics: pain, redness, heat, loss of range of motion, and swelling. All of those are the five hallmarks of inflammation and it turns out that that doesn’t have to happen.
Inflammation, which in medicine is considered an important part of the healing process, is really an artifact caused by lack of electrons in your tissues. What happens is, the neutrophils deliver the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) to the site of injury, but in so doing, some of those free radicals can leak into the surrounding tissue and damage healthy tissue. That’s what creates the inflammatory response”.
Interestingly, grounding research has now discovered that if you place your feet on the ground after an injury (or on a grounded sheet, or place grounding patches on the balls of your feet), electrons will migrate into your body and spread through your tissues. Any free radicals that leak into the healthy tissue will immediately be electrically neutralized. This occurs because the electrons are negative, while the free radicals are positive, so they cancel each other out.
“So really what is happening with grounding or earthing is that you’re protecting your body from — I call it, collateral damage,” Dr. Oschman says. “Damage that was not intended to take place but does take place because we have disconnected ourselves from the Earth by putting rubber and plastic on the bottoms of our shoes.”
Earthing as an Anti-Aging Strategy
One of dominant theories on aging is the free radical theory, which is that aging occurs because of accumulative damage to your body caused by free radicals. You get free radicals when you have an injury or chronic inflammation, from breathing, and from the food you eat, among other things. While you don’t want to completely eliminate ALL free radicals, you do want to maintain a healthy balance of antioxidant electrons in your body to ensure the damage from free radicals doesn’t’ get out of hand.
Earthing can help accomplish this delicate balance. There are three kinds of sub-models of the aging process caused by free radicals.
- DNA damage and mutation due to free radical damage
- The mitochondrial theory. Mitochondria in every cell in your body carry out oxidative metabolism and a byproduct is free radicals. Eventually the mitochondria wear out or self-destruct due to excess free radicals
- The protein cross linking theory, which explains why you get wrinkles in your skin. The proteins stick to each other, reducing the efficiency of enzymes
“It looks to me, from my study of biophysics and cell biology, like the body is designed with a semi-conductive fabric that connects everything in the body, including inside of every cell,” Dr. Oschman says.
“I refer to this system as the living matrix. Those electrons that enter the bottom of your foot can move anywhere in your body. Any place where a free radical forms, there are electrons nearby that can neutralize that free radical and prevent any of those processes: mitochondrial damage, cross linking of proteins, and mutation or genetic damage.
So the whole fabric is basically an antioxidant defense system that is in every part of our body.
We have this material called ground substance which is part of the connective tissue. It goes everywhere in the body. It’s a gel material and it stores electrons. So that if you go barefoot, you will take in electrons and your body will store them, and they will be available at any point where you might have an injury, or any point where a free radical might form…”
How Grounding Affects Your Blood
Another very important discovery, and one of the most recent, is that grounding thins your blood, making it less viscous. This discovery can have a profound impact on cardiovascular disease, which is now the number one killer in the world. Virtually every aspect of cardiovascular disease has been correlated with elevated blood viscosity. Dr. Sinatra has been coaching Dr. Oschman’s team in how to measure blood viscosity using a method called zeta potential. It measures the potential on your red blood cells by determining how fast they migrate in an electrical field.
It turns out that when you ground to the earth, your zeta potential quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, which forces them apart from each other. This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. It also causes your blood pressure to drop.
Another obvious implication of this is that by repelling each other, your red blood cells are less inclined to stick together and form a clot. Blood clots don’t have to be very big to form like a pulmonary embolus that would kill you instantly, so this is a significant benefit. Additionally, if your zeta potential is high, which grounding can facilitate, you not only decrease your heart disease risk but also your risk of multi-infarct dementias, where you start losing brain tissue due to micro-clotting in your brain.
The Best Surfaces for Grounding
Clearly, the simplest way to ground is to walk barefoot outside when safe to do so. But what about urban or city dwellers who are surrounded by asphalt and concrete? Can you ground on those? And what about natural surfaces—which ones are the most effective? There are indeed significant differences between various surfaces.
The ideal location for walking barefoot is the beach, close to or in the water, as sea water is a great conductor. Your body also contains mostly water, so it creates a good connection.
A close second would be a grassy area, especially if it’s covered with dew, which is what you’d find if you walk early in the morning. According to Dr. Oschman, concrete is a good conductor as long as it hasn’t been sealed. Painted concrete does not allow electrons to pass through very well. Materials like asphalt, wood, and typical insulators like plastic or the soles of your shoes, will not allow electrons to pass through and are not suitable for barefoot grounding.
Why Living in a High-Rise Could be Detrimental to Your Health
Additionally, there’s a major difference between standing outside in your bare feet and standing outside in shoes. And, how high up you are, off the surface of the Earth, without being grounded also matters. Why is this?
Dr. Oschman explains:
“The Earth’s surface is electrically charged and can push electrons up in your body. So from the top of your head to the Earth, there is a potential, which you don’t feel because it doesn’t cause any any particular current to flow, even though it can be a couple of hundred volts. If it did, it would give you a shock.
What happens is when the weather changes is that the potential can go up enormously. It can go from a hundred volts per meter to 10,000 volts per meter. That’s pre lightning. We’re talking about the potential that causes lightning to come to the earth. That voltage is well known and well understood…
This is the potential between the surface of the earth and the ionosphere, hundreds of miles up, which is very electrically active; charged by the solar wind, the charged particles that come from the sun. Those charged particles eventually reach the Earth by lightning and electrify the entire surface of the Earth so that anywhere you touch the Earth, there are electrons. They come originally from the sun, to the ionosphere, to the earth.
There is no lightning happening right here right now but somewhere there is lightning, a constant current flow from the ionosphere to the earth. Those are the electrons that your body needs for your immune system to function properly.”
What this means is that the higher up you are, separated from the surface of the Earth, the higher this potential would be, and the worse the implications for your health if you’re not grounded. For example, if you live on the 20th floor of a high-rise and you’re not grounded (using grounding technology, of course), the consequences to your health will be more significant than if you lived on the first floor. Likewise, when you wear rubber- or plastic-soled shoes, you are effectively shielding yourself from this beneficial influx of electrons from the Earth. For optimal immune function, you want these electrons to enter your body, so make sure you take your shoes off now and then!
Easy Ways to Incorporate Grounding Into Your Daily Life
Exercising barefoot outdoors is one of the most wonderful, inexpensive and powerful ways of incorporating earthing into your daily life and will also help speed up tissue repair and ease muscle pain due to strenuous exercise.
- A Special Interview with Dr. James Oschman. Video transcript.
- i Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, Amazon.com, June 15, 2000: James L. Oschman.
- ii Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance, Amazon.com, March 8, 2003: James L. Oschman.
- iii Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, Amazon.com, April 9, 2010: Clinton Ober, et al.
*** This is the link to the original article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/29/james-oschman-on-earthing.aspx?e_cid=20120429_SNL_Art_1
Yo. It’s Aimee.
I’m not even a teacher, but I still feel like I totally just went on Spring Break of my own. In our time apart, a lot has happened. Most notably, my boyfriend and I got a puppy (yay!) and I did my first headstand (triple yay!). Which, I knoooow, might seem strange for someone who practices asana as regularly as I practice. (btw, “asana” is Sanskrit for “posture” and corresponds to the physical yoga poses we practice) (I’m making that distinction now to plant a seed of inquiry in your heads… “Why didn’t she just say yoga? Is she being pretentious or informative? I NEED TO KNOW OR ELSE I WON’T KNOW IF I CAN TRUST HER TEACHING!!!”) (I’ll fill in the blanks soon, I promise) And, to be fair, it wasn’t a headstand so much as a supported headstand, but still. Big stuff.
I realize perhaps some of you may also be thinking that Salamba Sirsasana is one of the more supported inversions, and that a lot of beginner yogis find it MORE comfortable than others to pursue on the outset of their inversion practice. So. It would stand to reason if I can stand on my hands in a handstand or gracefully glide into a forearm stand without any trouble, why can’t I rest on the crown of my head with a wall behind me??
The answer is I dunno (full disclosure: the answer with me is often “I dunno”). There’s a bunch of reasons why I’ve been reticent, I think. For one thing, I have a history of back problems that goes back (ZING) to an injury that happened in high school. A grave, grave circumstance which explains a lot about my confidence in my physical capabilities.
… Oh, you wanna know details? Uh… well… here’s the thing… I was totally doing something super athletic and badass, guys, I swear…
Well, I definitely was NOT rehearsing choreography for a community youth theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat… And CERTAINLY NOT attempting a CARTWHEEL into my DANCE PARTNER’s arms…
Okay, so yeah. I royally effed up my back doing a stupid cartwheel. And I can’t even consider it a dance injury, because anyone who’s met me will agree I’m nooooo dancer. I’m not even kind of graceful… to imagine me potebure-ing my way across a room with mirrors is actually hysterical to me and my loved ones. My gawkwardness transcends art. So, all through high school and college, I was really scared to do anything that would compromise my neck or back, which was a bummer because I really am athletic at my core. I just sort of resigned myself to be that weird drama girl who sometimes couldn’t turn to the right or left without moving her ENTIRE TORSO in the desired direction. No. Big. Deal.
But guys. Yoga changed this for me. And not in the I-woke-up-one-day-and-finally-had-the-courage-to-follow-my-dreams kind of way (if that even exists). It was more of a I-finally-accepted-that-I-couldn’t-do-a-headstand-before-but-maybe-tomorrow-I-will-be-able-to-and-if-not-tomorrow-maybe-the-next-day sort of sitch. Like, I just sort of accepted that I might not be able to do something. And that was weird. Especially for a perfectionist like moi.
And you know what? The minute I took all the pressure off the pose and just accepted that it was just as possible as impossible and as impossible as possible and as GAAAAAHHHH MY BRAIN HURTS…
Sitting on my knees, I calmly interlaced my palms about 8 inches away from the wall and came into a downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana for you Sanskrit buffs). I then gently dropped my forearms shoulder-width distance apart from one another (creating a two-sided triangle of sorts with my arms). Next, I very very veeeerrry gently set my head on my mat, cradling the back of my head in the space created by my interlaced fingers, realizing the caution I was exhibiting is not unlike the caution one might exhibit when cradling an eight week old puppy’s head in his/her palms, which made me smile as I thought of trying to flip my 8-week old puppy at home on his head… and the subsequent biting and barking I’d incur (but he’d look SO CUTE!).
And then I fucking sat there for a bit.
“Well, what the fuck now, oh brave one?” – Me, to Me. c. 2012
And then, just like it was my fucking JOB, I made that headstand my little bitch. I methodically, with purpose, bent my knees slightly, started walking my feet in toward my face, keeping my forearms firmly rooted in the mat. I stepped my feet closer and closer to my face as I inhaled and exhaled. On a very specific inhale of my choosing, I proceeded to hop my right leg up, ever-so-lightly into the air. First hop: no dice. Second hop: BOOM. The force from my right leg lifting up had enough oomph to allow my left leg to follow suit and, before I knew it, my legs were up against the wall and I was upside down as fuck.
PANIC set in as I realized I hadn’t ever gotten this far… where do I go next?? But being the good little yogi student/teacher I am, I knew the fundamentals of proper alignment for inversions are as follows:
Keep your shoulders above your wrists and elbow creases, and your hips above your shoulders. Your navel should feel like the central point through which a long line of energy travels from your ankles down to your head, thus creating a center of gravity, or a folcrum (heyyy, physics!) at your navel.
So I adjusted my weight, being very very verrrry careful not to put any unwanted pressure on my neck and spine… starting first with my forearms, making sure they were parallel with each other and directly below my shoulders. Then, feeling whether my hips were directly above my shoulders (they were!), I eventually extended my legs up long, so that my ankles were directly above my hips. I spread my collarbone wide and opened my shoulders by rolling them back and down, opening my heart space. Lastly, I pointed my toes to feel pretty and long and dancer-like (making sure to revel in it for a few breaths) (GAWKWARD). I then carefully came out of the pose setting one leg down on my mat at a time, light as a feather.
Boom. No spinal injury, no neck pain. If anything, I relieved a little pressure.
Do I suggest you do this at home? Perhaps after a couple of glasses of pinot greege while Real Housewives of Who Gives a Shit plays in the background? Absolutely not. You should try this asana in the comfort and safety of a yoga class with a licensed teacher present to guide you through it.
But I do want to encourage you to not let go of possibility. I want to encourage you to believe in possibility, especially of the non-immediate sort. It all goes back to that Faith crap I was droning on and on about it my last post… con fidence = with faith. Being okay with not getting something the first couple of times, or first couple hundred times. Having the confidence that it will happen eventually, whether “it” is a headstand or a handstand or a dream career or weight loss goal or personality alteration or emotional expression or a developed ability to turn the channel away from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding instead of watching two full hours in a row of it. With commercials. Whatever “it” is:
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” –Henry David Thoreau
Let go of attachments and explore possibility; life will become easier, I promise. That’s exactly what being upside-down is all about~ making the seemingly impossible possible. Incidentally, so is life.
I invite you to consider letting go of something that you have carried around with you, unnecessarily. Even if it is just something small. Releasing these stories and traumas create space for all the beautiful things in life and allow us to radiate love and light.
I believe that when you spend time reflecting and learning from the “troubles” (I prefer catalysts) that come your way, you unblock the need for these catalysts to occur again. But when you ignore these catalysts, they come back again and again until you make a change. Part of this reflection process is forgiving and integrating your experience.
This isn’t just some new age bullshit. I’m living this and each time I allow myself to let go, my life receives something amazing in its place. In the last month alone, My family (Daniel, Rumo and myself) have been given: a motorcycle for Daniel to find a new (better) job, a trip to the South of France with some of my most beloved friends, and money to finance yoga teacher training. Among other things.
You can say it’s coincidence, but I feel my world shifting as my thoughts and actions become more rooted in my heart center. My biggest challenge, by far, has not been forgiving others; it’s forgiving myself. I hold myself to some impossibly high standards, but I’m finding that I soar a lot higher when I let go of expectation and attachment.
If you are open to creating some space for the good stuff, repeat this mantra to yourself. Really consider and mean each word that you say. Say it aloud. In your head. Write it down. Or don’t. But what do you have to lose?
I forgive myself, for everything.
I forgive everyone, for everything.
I forgive my life, for everything.
I forgive my fear, for everything.
I forgive my judgement, for everything.
I forgive those who judged me.
I forgive those who feared me.
I forgive myself for love not yet given to myself.
I love myself.
I am free.
I am free to be fully me.
Hi, guys! I’m Aimee. Panda did such a great job of introducing me that I feel like I don’t even need to start writing in this thing.
So… I’m out. Good luck with all that yoga stuff.
I’m still here!!!
Anywhoozle… So yeah, yoga. Glorious, glorious yoga. Pretty much my whole life has been transformed since my practice began almost exactly three years ago. That may seem like no time at all (or a lot of time, especially if you are a three year old person) but to me it feels like an eternity. I say this because in that time I’ve done a lot of sh*t. Namely, I finished the most circuitous college route evarrr (I FINALLY got my Bachelor’s Degree in Directing for Theatre after seven years of arduous book larnin’) (woohoo!). I moved from one coast to another (NYC—>SF), started one career (bartending) and entertained pursuing others (yoga teacher, therapist, drama teacher). I’ve met hundreds of people and made a handful of new friends (which equates to a few hundred Facebook friends, by the way. NO BIG DEAL). I’ve cried probably in total a whole day’s worth of tears and laughed a solid year’s worth of laughter… I’ve loved so much, lost a bunch, and learned even more.
Through everything, though, one constant remains: my sweet, sweet yoges.
I came to yoga after an intense break-up. A break-up so dramatic it forced me to temporarily relocate to the other side of the country during the summer of 2009. Now, here’s the deal. I’m usually pretty good at keeping my cool. I’ve been described as both “unfeeling” and “cold” by a few acquaintances over the years (Shut up, Mom!). Usually not one to want to “bother” others with my “emotional sh*t,” I had actively decided… to be passive… about expressing my feelings regarding my struggling relationship (and, incidentally, my growing depression) to most of my friends. I figured most of them lived across the country (home for me is San Diego and I lived in NYC) so there’s no point in dragging them into my drama… and besides, I thought, they probably have so much going on in their own lives… I can totally get through this alone, I’m strong enough… I’m capable of dealing with this on my own, right? Right…?
Wrongsville, USA. With no drive to eat healthy/workout/take care of myself and no spiritual practice/avenue to express myself/hobby to share with others, it became increasingly more difficult to feel rooted, grounded, and happy. And, ultimately, I started to fall out of love with myself.
Guys. That can’t happen. Our love for ourselves is what keeps us alive and what paves the way for others to love us.
Real talk. Each and every one of us is, like, a bazillion times more attractive and alluring when we truly love ourselves and are confident in our talents. Additionally, we are much better at expressing love in this state because we’re well versed in the activity already, having practiced on ourselves for some time.
During a meditation course I took this weekend as part of my yoga teacher training, I was told one translation of the word ‘confidence’ simply means ‘with faith.’ This seems uber appropriate, being that a confident person, to me, is one who has faith in themselves and their abilities. I also believe that faith is a key component in obtaining existential comfort and mental stability.
So my goal when I went home to San Diego that summer was to fall back in love with myself and regain that Faith I’d lost in all my New York City relationship-school-messy-mess. I wanted my confidence back for realsies.
On a whim, a mere five days after my plane touched down on Lindbergh Field, I started taking daily yoga classes at various 24-hour fitness clubs around San Diego. My plan for the summer was to take a Calculus course at San Diego State University that would require a meager 3 1/2 hours of my weekday, which would free up virtually all my mornings and afternoons for me to do anything at my whimsy (rough life, I know). After two weeks straight of yoga, I was hooked. Like hooked- hooked. Like any-cute-and-topical-addict-junky-metaphor-you-can-come-up-with-hooked. In yoga I’d found my anti-anti-anxiety med. I’d found my non-church church. In three short weeks home in San Diego, I’d found Love again. And this was only the beginning!
I won’t go into too much depth right now as to how this beautiful gift from The Universe completely altered my existence- how I feel, how I think, how I process human experience because- let’s be honest- I’ve talked your face off already… but I’ll also refrain because that’s what I’ll be spending the rest of my life (and this blog) doing. I don’t want to waste it all in one breath. I actually want to work on expanding and extending my breath, my prana, and yours as well. I want to give you all a little glimpse into my scope of experience in hopes to inspire you to better yours. Yoga was an integral step towards positive change for me; I truly hope it can be one for you, too.
“Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.” -Rumi
Change is both inevitable and beautiful. The challenge for us is to embrace the f*ck out of it.
To our fabulous new union~ Namaste, my lovelies.