Tag Archives: practice

Thank yourself for…


At the end of each yoga class I like to close the session with my hands on my belly and chest to thank yourself for your practice and dedication today. It is a reminder to be grateful for your body, for yourself, and your dedication to the practice of living a healthier and more balanced life.

How often do we really thank ourselves? When we go home to be with our families or see old friends for the holiday we can fall back on habitual patterns of the past. It is important to stay present with yourself at this time and what you need. By taking time out to rejuvenate yourself you will be more likely to stay true to the person you have become rather than turning to food to calm our possibly turbulent emotions from the holidays. Perhaps this only pertains to me, but I am guessing we all have our own little idiosyncrasies when it comes to our families and old friends.

As a child you may demand things of your parents. As a parent you may be searching for just five minutes peace. Whatever your family role may be, be mindful of how your behavior is influencing others. Or perhaps you are rediscovering old friendships, be aware of the old thought patterns (samskaras) that appear as you revisit the past. The mindfulness and self-care practice doesn’t have to begin on Thursday Nov 24th. You can start setting your intention now and being clear with what you need to stay mindful and healthy over the long weekend.

Live Light Practice:

Set aside 20 minutes to sit and meditate. Begin the meditation by asking yourself what it is that you need to stay light and healthy over thanksgiving. Sit with whatever may arise in those twenty minutes. As the mind wanders gently coax it back to the question of ‘What do I need to stay light and healthy over thanksgiving?’. After the 20 minutes write down what you discovered in your meditation. Then place the pen down and ask yourself what are you grateful for? Give yourself another 20-30 minutes of time to quietly sit with this question without moving or writing anything. Then crack open your eyes pick up your pen and list 25 things you are grateful for at that moment. Take your time, don’t rush, and no matter how big or small you feel the things are that you are grateful for still acknowledge them all.





What you can and can't change

Today I was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and I found that the sounds of the urban jungle were bugging me. The cars rushing below, horns honking, tourists causing traffic jams with pedestrians and cyclists, and the vibrations of the subways. When the agitation was building inside of me I began to wonder why I was wasting my time getting annoyed by the people and sounds around me; I mean, I’ve lived in NYC long enough to know that this is what it is like living in the city.

So then I just stopped to look around. And then I started to ask myself a new question: why was I wasting my time being distracted from the beauty that was all around me – the bright sun, gentle waters, skyline, my fiance, and the joy of a relaxing Saturday afternoon. At that moment I reminded myself that I had a choice to build on the bitter feelings of the crowded city or let go and enjoy my walk. Both the good and the bad were all around me at once, and I had the ability to choose which one I let in.

Sutra 1.2 in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is Yogas Chitta Vrtti Nirodhah (The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga) and it teaches us that the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind is the practice of yoga. At that moment my choice was to practice yoga and recall that the entire outside world is based on my own thoughts and mental attitude.  Or, I could let my mind feel bound by the sounds around me.

There is a Sanskrit saying. “Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoho.” “As the mind, so the man: bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” This saying is a great reminder that if you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, then you are liberated. Nothing outside of you can bind or liberate you. So when I was walking on the bridge today I could have chosen to feel trapped by the sounds and people surrounding me, or I could have changed my thoughts and mental attitude to enjoy the walk.

When we stop looking outside of ourselves, we realize we have so much more control over the state of our lives. We have a choice at every moment to change our outlook on life and therefore change our lives.

Is there something in your life that you want to change but can’t? Can you change your outlook instead? If you feel liberated, then you are liberated.





What is right


In our day-to-day lives we can get caught up in the negative or what it is that we would like to change in our life. Take some time to step away from that pattern and write the top 25 things that are right in your life at this moment. On a sheet of paper write down 1-25. Give yourself 20 minutes and be kind if you struggle with it. If it the first time doing this kind of thing it might be a slow start.
Once you’ve written the list review what you’ve written and notice any surprises or things that make you smile.
Next time you feel like you are in a negative rut try this out again. It can change daily so it is interesting to do it a few times and see the ebb and flow in your life from the perspective of what is right.


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Yoga + Yarn Retreat at Good Commons

Join Liza November 3-6, 2011for the 2nd annual Yoga + Yarn Retreat at Good Commons!

Unwind during a relaxing weekend in Vermont. Explore yoga, knitting, massage, delicious foods, and more. Play, de-stress, and cultivate the meditative nature of yoga and knitting.

Good Commons is a magical and relaxing place, which makes it a wonderful retreat location to learn to knit or refresh your skills with expert knitter Nancy Laird and yoga instructor Liza Laird.

Liza & Nancy are a dynamic duo that will take you through how to practice yoga + knit!

No previous experience required! All levels welcome.

Email retreats@lizalaird.com today to register!