What’s Up?

What’s happening right now? Are you thinking of what will come next, what happened last night, or perhaps you are only thinking about this newsletter? More often than not our thoughts are rooted in the past or future, it is rare that we are fully present to the current moment.
I was taking a wonderful yoga class this morning and we began with a very long hold in uttanasana (forward fold). We adjusted our feet a few times to see how it changed to posture, but really we were in a forward fold for a good 10 minutes. For an early morning class you think (or perhaps expect) to be moving right away and waking up the body.
What I loved about taking the time in this yoga posture was it was a great set up to getting ourselves present in the moment, into the yoga class, and turning our attention inward. I wasn’t thinking about what was coming next or how my morning was, I was acutely aware of the sensations in my body and how my breath was deepening the posture, how as we stayed there longer my body began to awaken and the thoughts and breath were in line with what was happening right then.
The expansion I feel in body and mind is fueling me through my day. Each time I watch myself jump to what is next I gently coax myself back to the present moment. It is a continuous practice, and the balanced awareness I have gained from the yoga class this morning is helping me to continue this throughout the day.

Live Light Practice:

Find a supportive seat in a chair, on the floor, sitting against the wall. Take a few moments to set yourself up. Then let the eyes close softly so there is no gripping. Start to watch your breath. Then after a few moments begin to repeat to yourself ‘inhale, exhale’ with each breath. Let other thoughts float through your mind, but don’t attach to them. Allow the attention to be on each inhale, and exhale.

Remain with this focus for at least 5 minutes.

After the time has passed take your time to shift from sitting to standing and with your eyes open notice your surroundings. Then ask yourself “what’s happening now?”. See how you can be in that moment and how long you can stay without thinking what is coming next.

Shanti,

Liza

Apr05

Dazed and Confused

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being present is a conscious and active approach to life. Being dazed and confused is an unconscious and non-active approach. I try to be present as much as I can, but there are times where I am spaced out and not in the moment. This could be due to something bothering me, an upsetting situation, or my thoughts just being elsewhere.

The other day I was in a yoga class, and I had arrived a few minutes late. Adjusting to the slow pace of class took a little time, but I thought I was relaxed and present by 15 minutes in. At that time, we were to told to get an extra prop from the back of the room. So as quietly and efficiently as I could, I walked to the prop area and back to my mat, setting myself up and waiting for the rest of the class. I was oblivious to the others and just zoning out for a moment – at least until I heard a small voice behind me say “that is my mat”. I turned around with eyes wide open and my jaw dropped! Louder than intended, I belted out “oh I’m so sorry!”. Embarrassed and uncomfortable, but fully present now, I moved over to where my actual mat awaited me. This has never happened to me before, and I’ve never actually seen it happen to anyone else. The lesson I learned was that I wasn’t really there, and it brought me back to the present moment.

 

Live Light Practice:

Ask yourself are you present? Are your mind and body in the same place right now? What do you need to do in order to be here now?

 

Mar27

Spring is here – kind of

Today is the Spring Equinox and even if it doesn’t feel like it the seasons are changing. In spirit of spring cleaning I’ve been doing a gluten, dairy, and alcohol free cleanse.

The change of season can bring time for clearing and shedding the unnecessary excess in our lives. This winter I noticed I’ve been carrying around too many negative thoughts about my body. So as I replace my heavy pasta meals with tasty juices cleanse my system of dairy, gluten and alcohol I’ll also be trying to shed the self-loathing thoughts.

So how am I going to begin shedding thoughts that have lived within me most of my life? I’ll begin by practicing¬†prakti paksha bhavana or cultivating the opposite.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Sutra II.33 Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavana (When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite [positive] ones should be thought of. This is pratipaksha bhavana.). Basically, to control the mind and obstruct the thoughts that we do not want, we invite in the opposite thoughts. Creating a positive environment by controlling the words you read and shows you watch is the practice of pratipaksha bhavana. Removing negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones.

Just as quinoa pasta is my substitute for my favorite Barilla, thoughts like “my legs are healthy and strong” are replacing “my thighs are huge”. Eventually the positive thoughts will replace the negative, it just takes time and practice. For now I’m focusing on pratipaksha bhavana, tasty juices, and hoping for warm weather!

Live Light Practice:

Begin each day with a gratitude journal listing at least five things you are grateful for. Then throughout the day each time you have a negative thought replace it with a positive one.

Mar20

Tasty Juice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Light Practice:

Enjoy a tasty smoothie or juice at home!

Below is an estimated recipe for the smoothie pictured above.

handful of blueberries
one banana
two handfuls of spinach
ginger
6 ice cubes

Enjoy!

Mar19