compassion - word of the moment

com·pas·sion

noun \kəm-ˈpa-shən\

: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it (merriam-webster.com)

 

compassion. 

this words keeps popping up in conversation and in my head this week, so i thought it was a sign that i should share it.  in order to have compassion, you must first be aware of others, which is often hard to do when you are so caught up in your own stuff.  however, once you are able to be truly present, you may just discover that others around, whether your bestie or your 'worstie' could really use your support.  now this doesn't mean that you have to agree with their choices, but rather try to understand and accept what they are experiencing and where they are coming from. 

the ol' 'put yourself in their shoes' is totally real. 

 

the yoga lesson:  when you can be truly present, then you can also have compassion for others. compassion will help us let go of grudges and move the 'f' forward.

yoga to loosen up after work [video]

even if you're feeling a little warn out after a long day at the office, the best thing (in my opinion) you can do to get unstiff - defunked - and loosen up is (of course) yoga! try a different kind of happy hour the next time work kicks your butt.  here's a quick flow that's under 3 minutes, it will get you moving and still give you time to head out to with some pals if that's your thang.

come as you are

it's fascinating how the same lyrics, the same movie, the same yoga pose can be so different even after experiencing them so many times before. 

"Come As you are
...
Take your time

...
The choice is yours
...
Take a rest"

-kurt cobain

the yoga lesson:  kurt cobain was definitely on to something, come as you are - show up everyday as you, embracing how you're feeling and then work through life's situations within that present moment. take your time to act instead of just reacting. the choice is yours. and if it all feels too intense, pause, take a rest.

 

monday morning yoga

add some yoga in your monday morning.  having yoga block?  try some simple sun salutes or maybe getting a little funky like this pup's spin on upward facing dog with a split.  :)

 

 

 

 

 

wowza, i must really like yoga pups - check out these other posts from some more cuteness:


make space for yourself (practice)

working with a yoga teacher who you click with is a great way to start and grow your practice, but the secret ingredient to digging even deeper, is a self-practice.  what does that mean? 

dedicate some time (just five minutes a day is a perfect start) to begin to explore yoga on your own.  i like to get moving first with some sun salutations and then see where it evolves (freestyle), and ending with a few minutes seated for meditation. 

the yoga lesson:  make yoga for yourself, keep is simple and begin anew each time, being present in the moment you have chosen to practice, even if it's just a few minutes you sneak in to your hectic schedule.

reminder - the magic is inside

after a long 9 months of yoga school, i'm happy to announce that i made it through.  sure there were moments of doubt, when i was like i could be out playing with my friends (just like in grade school), but i stayed the course, dorked it out and feel great for making it through.  i made some great friends, had a bunch of laughs and grew my brain. 

 

count your gratitude for sweet dreams

we can miss the good stuff that comes along because we get preoccupied with past and the future moments rather than paying attention to what is happening in the moment.

the yoga lesson: take time each day to acknowledge what you are experiencing.  instead of counting sheep to prepare you for sleep, think of the things you are most grateful for that happened in your day.  you might be surprise that even a crumby day has it great moments.  for some reason the number 5 resonates with me when i practice this form of mindful wind-down at the end of my day, but you can shoot for whatever number works for you!

slow flow for a high speed lifestyle

sequencing in yoga is analogous to life, and counterbalancing poses and aspects of your life is essential for finding your true center.  so let's keep this simple, if a day in the life of you is hectic and highly regimented by your type-a personality (no judgements here), then consider making your yoga practice its counter pose. opt for a slow flow class instead of a power flow class.  learning to slow down is just as important as being able to speed up.  slowing down helps to draw attention inward and to help you listen to you and not by the pop-up reminders that keep alerting you on your phone.  and if you still feel like you can't slow down... watch this cute puppy video.

understanding the meaning of life, or getting back to basic

"that is what learning is. you suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way." -doris lessing


yoga lesson:  even if you're a yoga 'pro' take a basics class and see what you can re-discover.  be in every pose as if it was your first time, letting go of any samskaras you may have from past experiences. an open mind and body lead to infinite possibilities.

oh f#%@k! don't sweat the sun salutations

keeping count has never been one my strengths, so when it's left up to me to do a set number of sun salutes (or helping keep track for my student), i try too stay focused and not get too hung up on the fact that sometimes i might be uneven in my practice, but that's part of life.  not everything comes at you evenly, so what a better place to practice than on your yoga mat.

 

yoga lesson: when you find yourself getting worked up on the mat because you've lost count (or some other minor hiccup in your plan for a perfect practice), come back to your breath and remember, there are no grades in yoga class! do the best that you can with where  you are in this moment.

sidebends for anger & craving management

if you find yourself getting angry or unable to shake the need for one  f your vices (sugar, cigarettes, alcohol), have no fear!  sidebends are the cure!  is is said in tibetan tradition that sidebending to the right is a great way to reduce or eliminate feelings of anger and to left kills cravings.  sidebends help to cleanse the nadis, the central system in the body that controls the flow of your inner electricity, your channel of consciousness.

yoga lesson: when you're feeling cranky or have a case of the munchies get bent instead!

yoga sandbox moment: yoga makes sh*t happen

potty talk always seems to get a giggle.  here's yet another way that yoga can move you in real life (please don't practice these asanas on the mat).  if you are in need some potty time pointers, there is a book and an app to encourage you to join the toilet yoga movement.

 

watch the video if you need some extra silliness.

find your focus in just a minute

it really makes my day when i read a business article that is peppered with how yoga and mediation can help in the workplace! recently fast company posted an article titled, 'how to reverse your hard wiring for distraction.' as one who can get easily lured away by shiny objects, this was a must read for me. (so if you're like me, take a few minutes to read the full article.)

"The good news is that even a minor increase in your capacity for presence can have a major effect on those around you. Because so few of us are ever fully present, if you can manage even a few moments of full presence from time to time, you’ll make quite an impact."

"...presence is a learnable skill that can be improved with practice and patience. Being present means simply having a moment-to-moment awareness of what’s happening. It means paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your own thoughts."

here is the one minute exercise (also known as a meditation practice, but I think they did a great job of making it not seem like meditation as to not scare away non-yogis/meditators):

  • find a quiet(er) place.
  • set a timer for one minute.
  • close your eyes.
  • choose your focus - pick one of the following: 
  1. the sounds around you - “Imagine that your ears are satellite dishes, passively and objectively registering sounds.”
  2. your breath - "Imagine that your breath is someone you want to give your full attention to."
  3. the sensations in your toes - do a mental scan of how your physica body feel, don't get caught up, just take note, being the observer.

yoga sandbox moment: zombie yoga

in honor of friday the 13th, here's a fun video of zombies doing the yoga - which bascially goes to show that anyone (even dead) can benefit from yoga :)

and a guy even wrote a book on the zen of zombie: better living through the undead.

the yoga lesson: embrace your inner zombie, be fearless and steadfast (but maybe try to do less grunting when your practicing asanas. #justsayin)

happiness helps

now while the yoga sutras and buddhism caution us from attachment, including attachment to not only negative things but to the positive (mostly because of the let down once that happy feeling goes away). but - i might be speaking for myself here - i love being happy and finding joy even on a super crappy day.  this video, if nothing else will make you smile, but it also has scientific backing of how happiness, positivity, meditation and random acts of kindness can lead to success.

stay positive and present, you'll work happier in whatever you're doing, get more out of your day and ultimately smile more :)

 

karmatube - watch the change you wish to be. then be it.

karma.  the actions you choose today, plant your karmic seeds that will blossom tomorrow (or some other time further down the line).  by making positive, thoughtful and kind choices today (read: living yogically), you help pave the road ahead, reducing the drama and negativity and setting yourself up for the good stuff.  these positive effects can also give you the opportunity to help the people around you, to inspire or simply make someone's day. 

for me, perspective on the world (and people in it) always helps to put things into place when i feel a little out of sorts, or that what i do doesn't have any signficance (hey, somedays we all get kind of down and out, right?). checkout karmatube.com if you need a kickstart today.

karmatube.com is exactly what you think it might be - gandhi meets youtube.com.  built on the foundation of human kindness, the volunteer-run team has created a channel (if you will) for those looking to contribute in meaningful ways to the world around them.

now, what's better than that?  hopefully this post leaves warm, fuzzy and appreciative of the life you live right :) 

definitely check out the videos for yourself - they are all so amazing! here one is one of my faves:

 

 

supta powers

supta is the sanskrit term commonly used in asana to refer to poses when you are reclining, as in when you are on your back, like in supta baddha konasana (reclining goddess pose) and supta virasana, but what about supta bakasana (reclining crow pose)?  or supta adho mukha vrksasana (reclining handstand)? or supta adho mukha svanasana (reclining down dog)? 

the yoga lesson:  my teacher, alison west, has taught me about flipping poses around in relation to gravity; finding the same shape of the pose but turing it sideways, around and even upside down. 

try bakasana on your back!  while it eliminates the fear of falling, it also intensitifies (read: strengthens like crazy) the poses for the muscles that help stabilize you in the pose -  your abs and your back!  then after you practice this reclining version, turn it around and try it the other way.  you'll find each pose to have its own separate challenges and comforts.