1.18.2015

Release the Regrets!

The concept of guilt has been rolling around in my head recently. It seems to me that too much of our brief human experience is spent on things like guilt and regret. I find this very sad and energy crushing. Lately I've been seeking to lighten my earthly load of material possessions, and maybe at the same time streamline my inner mental landscape. We have all struggled with negative feelings at times, but where does it get us?

Of course our past shapes each of us into the person we are today and affects the choices we make as we move forward. But should we dwell on the concept that we are inherently bad, or wrong or somehow always going to be full of fault? I don't think so. I think this concept of attaining a higher and happier state was in my mind before I began to connect with yoga, but through my practice I have come to realize that the present is so much more of a healthy place to be. The past is exactly that, what has already happened. We learn and grow and live out our present due to the actions and experiences of the past, but are we forever locked to that era? I don't think so. I think we must build the strength of spirit to rise above whatever haunts us.

How? That's hard. It's not necessarily going to be something your neighbor or friend (or foe) always encourages, but maybe that says more about them than it does about you. We must also try to release the power of others to determine our worth. Life feels shorter to me every day, not simply because I am getting a wee bit older, but maybe because I look around to my family and friends and see how fast the dear little children are growing. My own childhood is preserved happily in my mind and seems endless in a way, but now I realize more and more how fleeting the short, and hopefully sweet, years of life really are for each of us. Maybe a factor has been seeing so many friends and family (both young and old) go through a battle with cancer. What if we can choose to live each day full of gratitude and happiness rather than remorse or nostalgia? Then this experience we call life takes on a depth and glow so much stronger than the shadows and darkness. We all experience both highs and lows in this life. How we handle and cope and overcome the lows leads to a life outlook that will either ensure a sunny walk, or guarantee a gloomy one.

This is not to say that at times we won't need a friend or wise counsel to guide us, but I wholly believe that each of us has an inner fire and strength than can only be tapped into through purposeful pursuit of our own mental and emotional power. With this passion, people like Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Mother Teresa and many, many more have enacted so much good in this world. So, please, release the weight of pain you are carrying, however you can. This might include journaling, setting intentions, religion, yoga, meditation, or something else. Find your fire and burn a blazing trail of good through your life and this world, however you can. I salute you and would love to hear how you are doing it.

Namaste,
Kat

1.15.2015

Mind mimics matter mostly!

Have you ever noticed that it's easier to relax in a nice clean ordered space? Maybe that's why it's nice to do yoga or work out in a gym or studio where the surrounds are hopefully clean and pleasant. Relatively at least to the giant "corn harvest" operation that a certain talented tot has going on in my fireplace room. The point here is that when the space around me cluttered, it interferes with my internal compass, plans, plots, and desires. I lose sight of my goal or intentions because suddenly I start to move helter-skelter around the house, collecting flotsam and jetsam and attempting to return everything to it's place in my very own wide Sargasso sea.

I do this knowing full well that it will get moved around again oh so very soon as the cycles of stuff occur. There's the clothes cycle: wear, wash, store, repeat. The pet cycle: feed, water, clean up messes, groom, repeat. The toys cycle: sort into wonderfully labeled bins, get mixed around on the floor, return to bins, eventually return to large storage dump or bag and someday be sorted again, maybe. Lately I've worked on and found success in pre-planning some of the organization. I'm thinking ahead a bit to tomorrow so that once I get there, I'm pretty much ready. That allows today to fill in nicely as well.

I'm also spot-organizing. If I have a place in the house that has backed up, I'm tackling that in small chunks at a a time. Closets are a good place for me to start, because sometimes the house looks good, but the closets don't. One of the main issues of "matter" for me is knowing what can actually fit in a space. I want to be too efficient, always. I want to super fill the dishwasher, washer, closet, bead storage box etc. Something I really have to step back and realize is that if something is too full (a closet, drawer, shelf, etc), it's never really going to be a good functional space. I have to pare down before I can align. Hey, that sounds suspiciously like yoga. Or meditation. I'm definitely in love with yoga, and I'm in like with meditation. I don't honestly think you can have yoga without some meditation, although I do think meditation can stand alone if need be. But why?? :) Seriously.

An old and good friend of mine Emily has started a blog recently on habit formation.

http://www.habitformation.com/

I am really enjoying the analytical way that her lawyer mind works to get across the information. I'm not sure I get information across in quite the same way, although I do feel that I too am logical. :) Just in a quirky chemist teacher yoga Kat way. Anyhoo, she talks in one post about how thoughts work in her mind and I think she is sharing what many of us have. The "monkey mind". Many thoughts, much excitement, past and future, emotion and logic all swirling around in there. I'm going to get this book soon from the library:

http://www.amazon.com/Meditation-Beginners-Jack-Kornfield/dp/1591799422

I'm hoping Emily will join me in a little meditation challenge. 5 minutes a day for the next month! Will you do it Emily? :) A cross blog challenge. I will accept a challenge as well from you, should you chose to throw one out there. I am interested in the Paleo diet and I have already been inspired to incorporate a few paleo-esk changes to my diet, particularly more fruits/veggies and less grains at least and also keep healthy protein high. I am also curious if you feel that your surroundings might affect your inner habit formation as well? I do feel there is a strong connection for many of us.

Namaste all,
Kat

1.09.2015

20-15 in 2015.

Hello friends. Congratulations on another turn around the sun. We find ourselves in a brand spanking new year! Woo. 2015 has a nice ring to it. 2014 for better or worse, is g-o-n-e. My powerful grandmother was born in 1914 and is 100 now, what a life she has led and what a variety of changes each new year has brought to our world. But that is the pastward thinking a tad, as you know, we yogis have to always work on and in the present as best we can. The present for me is alive with scintillating possibilities as we turn the page to another chapter of life.

At the dawn of each year, many of us have high hopes of newness and fun and freshness in our lives. We might make a long or short list of intentions, or join a gym, take a class... something to kick start a new leaf turning. But, how does real and lasting change occur in our lives? It's not just one method, so we have to experiment a bit. I believe it starts with being intentional, and also with recognizing our true priorities. What we really value and prioritize, we will achieve. In addition, I believe that in order to gain something new, we MUST create the space for it. I mean this actually in a literal way. I believe that the energy of the space around us affects our ability to plan and prioritize our goals. So for me, this year is going to be about letting go(!) gasp, another yoga philosophy. I've already made a decent start with some uncluttering and organizing. I have a way to go, but I know I will get there. I think for all of us letting go successfully requires the process of actively detaching memories and emotions from the excess of physical objects in our space. In addition, it means being flexible in accepting that this process will take time and energy, but will ultimately be very worthwhile. A couple pithy tips from my recent reading on the subject: Don't touch the items of sentimental value too much (or wear gloves if you're like me and don't have a personal assistant!). For those really important items, take a photo so you will still have a digital keepsake, and back it up on google or a spare hard drive.

Another goal is often exercise. My recommendation here? Join a class and stick with it for at least a few months. As a group exercise instructor of a yoga class with a small but steady weekly following, you notice things. I always see the greatest growth in those with the discipline and follow through to make a commitment to the practice. Of course life can get in the way at times, but when you have a group that is social and supportive, amazing things can happen. It truly is a fun and nurturing space. In addition, these past few months I have found the energy (and time) to re-commit myself to exercise for myself not just as a teacher but also as an individual. When you teach, you are giving of yourself, you are flowing energy into others. When you take a class, you are investing simply in yourself. It's a wonderful experience for me to do both. I also at times enjoy the solitary focus of a personal exercise practice. For me this can be yoga and can also be walking/jogging/cycling/swimming. What matters is that I am in tune with my breath and my energy and I am patient with myself. This involves keeping the present very supportive and kind (and REAL) rather than dwelling on high school races in which I was oh so much faster (and younger!) than I am these days. 35 minus the 20 oh my to realize how young we were! I'm sure my grandma really feels that way too. A lovely space for me is the new yoga studio here. The energy is so good. I hope you too can find a variety of healthy places and spaces in your life this year.

In this new year, I am excited for another dance around the sun. We have some travel planned and that warms my heart oh so nicely. The world is always alive with possibilities. I believe this is a philosophy or life outlook that keeps me happy and moving with joy. I don't know exactly what is around the corner, but I am eager to find out. Cultivating life (on the mat or in the garden or my little tot) keeps me excited to see what leaves will naturally unfurl themselves, without too much effort, perhaps just a touch of water and sun. Effortless grace is around us, if only we have the mindset to absorb the beauty that is.

Namaste and Happy 2015!
Kat


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