Friday, February 24, 2012

LET GO OF THE TREE

I am going through a 'strange' season.  We all have them, or at least I think we all do.  Lately,  I have been in 'the rabbit hole' where things don't seem quite as they should be. Some peoples logic and justification on how they treat others seems warped (or at least from my perspective).  One such incident happened this week.  I was looking forward to getting to know a person that I thought would make a great friend when out of the blue this person alienated me.  I was shocked, stunned and hurt.  The thing that disappointed me the most about the sudden alienation was the removal of what I thought would be a future close friend and confidante.  Although my faith is not founded in people, I have not yet evolved enough to allow myself to not get hurt by their actions.  I am working on that.  I wanted the friendship so bad that I did not listen to what this person was saying.  Had I taken the time to truly listen I would have known what fate would bestow upon me for this person had treated every one else who started to get close to them the same way.  Hurting people hurt people. It is as simple as that.  I would have loved to have helped them, but alas, it is not my job to fix people when they do not want to be fixed.  Please don't get me wrong, I am certainly not perfect.  I am broken too.  I believe we are all broken to different degrees, it is all simply a matter of picking up our pieces and trying to put them back in place in the best way that we can. Perhaps I should work on my own listening skills for life's lessons come in many forms.  If you resist learning your lessons in their gentler forms, life is more than prepared to teach you through ever-increasing hardships. I think my lesson from this particular situation would be to work on my listening skills and work on my own thoughts that I allow to run amuck in my head at times.
Time to let go of the tree.
I say this saying to myself while I am running the beach and I find my thoughts wandering to a past hurt.
Let go of the tree.
Same thing with yoga, meditation, driving or anytime I find my thoughts going back to the unchangeable past.
Let go of the tree.
The tree story comes from a book I read called 'The Four Desires' by Rod Stryker.  The story goes something like this; An old man was out in the woods, while there a great storm came upon him.  The next day the villagers came out to survey their surroundings and realized that the old man was not among them and they went in search of him.  They found him out in the woods yelling "help me, help me!" Clinging to a tree in the bright sunshine, the old man yelled, "This tree will not let go of me!"
During the storm, the old man clung to the tree, but after the storm the old man refused to let go of his tree, even blaming the tree.  The thing that saved his life could have potentially become his fatal downfall.
Time to let go of the tree.
How someone treats you is a reflection of how they view themselves.  So when someone does something hurtful to you remember, it is generally not about you, only about them. Don't  take it personal and try to react with compassion. I don't know a lot, but one thing I do know is that there are a lot of hurting people out there and if we are not allowed to help them, then we must let go of the situation, focus inward and pay close attention to our own thoughts about them and the situation.
There are numerous scientific studies about thoughts and their impact on overall health.  Did you know that when you think of a past hurt your body releases the same stress hormones as it did when the actual event took place.  The body cannot differentiate what the mind is thinking versus the actual event!  Stress is believed to be the root cause of all disease!  So it is very important to think about what you are thinking so that you do not do your body any further harm.   This also falls under ahimsa: Do no harm.  Do no harm not only means to not hurt others, but do not hurt yourself as well!  So it is very healthful to keep a close watch on your thoughts.
When a hurtful situation presents itself to you focus on the lessons that have revealed themselves to you and what you could learn from the situation.  This turns the hurt into an opportunity to improve yourself  and thus the hurt then becomes a blessing and you will be better equipped to handle with grace the next time something similar happens.
If I could leave you with just one thought from this blog it would be this.
Let go of your tree my friend, the storm has passed.
Namaste'

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DON'T FEAR THE YOGA

I have just completed my third week of Yoga Teacher Training Certification class.  The course is 200 hours that consists of 10 weekend classes.  This meets yoga alliance certification criteria so that I will be able to 'legally' teach yoga as a certified instructor.  I have learned a tremendous amount about yoga, and if there is one thing I know for sure, I need to learn a lot more.  I do not think that I will ever 'arrive' in the vast expanse of knowledge on Yoga.  I had no idea that yoga was so 'in-depth' and 'deep'.  It has been a truly enlightening and dare I say, liberating experience.  I absolutely love it!  I feel at home when I am in the classes.  I only hope that I can benefit others with my new found experience.
If there is one thing I could say to my wonderful Christian friends it would be this...'Don't fear the Yoga!'  It is not something to be leary of as 'spooky spiritual' or 'new agey'.  Once you understand it, I believe and hope that you will learn to love and embrace Yoga just as I have.
It is extremely hard to describe what yoga is.  Most believe that it is just a form of exercise.  I have known for many years that yoga was very therapeutic and beneficial to physical health, but I have always felt deep down inside that there was something much more to yoga than my mind could comprehend, but I could not put words to it.  As I learn more through my Yoga teacher training classes, I realize that my intuition was right.  There is so much more to yoga than just stretching the body.
I will make this blog as brief as possible with the shortest explanation that I think sums up a tiny fraction of what Yoga is.  I found this explanation in 'The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali' translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda.  It is Yoga Sutra #2 the first book. 'Yogas Citta Vritti Nirodhah'. Which translated means 'The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.'  The entire science of Yoga is based on this.  Which is what surprised me the most, since most of us thought Yoga was a form of exercise.  The exercise portion of Yoga is the most minute part of Yoga.  Yoga teaches that in order to find peace and happiness, we must first learn to control our mind; aka thinking.  Yoga does not bother much about changing the outside world, for it is believed that if we each change ourselves then the outside world will change as well.  There is a Sanskrit saying, "As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind."  If you feel bound, you are bound.  If you feel liberated, you are liberated.  Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that.
So if you have control over the thought forms and change them as you want, you are not bound by the outside world.  There's nothing wrong with the world.  You can make it a heaven or a hell according to your approach (or mindset).  This is why the entire Yoga is based on chitta vritti nirodhah.  If you control you mind, you have controlled everything.  Then there is nothing in this world to bind you.
No one knows exactly who wrote the The Yoga Sutra's.  They estimate that they were written over 3000BC! Interesting enough the Bible teaches the same things.  For example, Romans 12, 1-2 Renew our minds so that we can manifest the will of God. Proverbs says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." And 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 talks about house of thoughts or patterns of thinking.
The best words that I can use for my own experience for Yoga is an 'unraveling'.  I feel my body, spirit and mind unraveling to new possibilities, a new way of thinking and a new beautiful light on Christianity.  I believe that Yoga has strengthened my faith in God and Christianity.  I have been told in the past by other Christians that Yoga opens the door for demonic activity.  At no point during my Yoga meditation have I had any desire or thought to worship anything but Jesus. My goals as a Yoga teacher is to bring Yoga to the Christian community using Christian worship music and creating a whole new worship experience. Yoga has created new life goals and visions for me. My husband has recently started a church on Siesta Key called 'Life in the Son.'  I would love to open a Christian Yoga studio to incorporate with 'Life In the Son' and call it 'Son Yoga'. I envision a juice and tea bar and an environment where health and healing is the expected and the experienced.
Running and triathlons are still in my future, but Yoga has carved a deep river in my heart and I would love to share it with my friends.  So please...Don't fear the Yoga :)
May you be blessed.
Namaste'