Sunday, December 28, 2008

Reflecting on the past year

The end of the year is the perfect time to pause and reflect on life and the events in our lives. . Even though life is really a cycle with no beginnings and no endings, there are places to pause, markers of time passing. We all have lessons to learn and challenges and accomplishments in life.

Take a moment to find a quiet place, close your eyes and think about something during the past year that you accomplished and feel good about. Breathe fully and notice how it feels to breath in the feeling of that experience. It could be a good deed, a new skill learned, completing a project, taking a risk, becoming a better listener, anything that feels full and rewarding.

Now take a moment to think of something that is still a challenge in your life. Something that feels difficult and perhaps unresolved. Breathe that in. How does that feel? What lesson have you learned from that? How can you use this experience to grow and turn it into something positive?

We need a balance of achievements and challenge in our lives. There are lessons to be learned from both. Part of learning is becoming aware. How do we feel? What can we change? Can we change our attitude? Life will always ebb and flow. We flow into balance and out of balance. It is seeking to return to balance and to appreciate our gifts and talents as well as the challenges in life that gives life meaning and richness.

Yoga is about balance. It is about playing the edges and returning to our center. It is about breathing fully and dancing fully with life.

In your next yoga practice, think of one of your favorite poses that your feel confident doing and come into that pose. Hold it for a moment or two so you can really feel the fullness and richness of the pose. Notice the details that help to bring you into alignment with that pose. Feel your center. Feel your edges expanding.

Now come into a pose that you find challenging and maybe do not like so much. See if you can bring some of the feeling and details from the previous pose into this pose. Can you make this pose easier by using the principles of the pose you feel comfortable doing? Take the time to clear your mind and use your breath to bring a lightness and softness to your pose. Notice if this changes anything.

It is easy to think about what we want, what we think we need, something that we don’t quite have yet. But taking time to give thanks and feel gratitude gives us what we need.

So pause and consider your year. Give thanks for the gifts as well as the challenges. Appreciate the tapestry of life with all its colors and textures. Realize that life itself is a gift and beauty comes in many forms. Breathe fully, live life with passion and remember to smile often.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Trust often involves taking action. It is not passive. Trust is inherently optimistic.
  • Trust yourself. You must first strongly believe in and love yourself.
  • Trust your own innate wisdom. Take quiet time to access your innermost feelings and thoughts.
  • Trust that you are connected to something bigger. There is more than what can be seen by the naked eye.
  • Trust that there is a higher power that loves you deeply.
  • Trust that the universe is conspiring in your favor.
  • Trust that you can do more than you think but you must take that first step.
  • Trust the laws of nature. Everything ultimately seeks balance.
  • Trust that you can take that leap of faith.
  • Trust your gut feeling.
  • Trust your vision.
  • Trust in the lightness of being. Tread lightly upon this earth. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Trust often involves others but we can only trust others if we have trust in ourselves.

In our yoga practice we need to trust ourselves and trust in the principles of yoga. Not every pose is right for everybody. And not every pose is right for everyone everyday. If you are injured you need to respect your body. If you feel pain it is your body saying no to that action.

Trust in using the principles of yoga to help you go deeper. Trust in the power of your breath. Trust in the value of working from your core. Trust in the balance of energy drawing inward and energy extending outward.

Opening your heart involves trust. Fully opening our chests reflects that inner and outer trust. The more trust we build in ourselves the more trust we can extend to others. Feeling trust has a sense of freedom. It feels good.

In sports we learn the lesson of looking in the direction we want to go. Looking at what we fear will only produce undesired results. So take the leap of faith. Trust in yourself and let your actions on and off the mat reflect this trust.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Endings; New Beginnings

As this year draws to a close, the cycle for the new year begins. We can use the end of the year as a review of the past year. We can use the beginning of the new year as a way of making new resolutions.

But everything is really a cycle. The place where the year ends and the new year begins are the same. The more we learn to live fully in each moment, the richer our lives become.

Each hour, each day, each week, each month all have the same endings and beginnings as the new year. Our breath has that same cycle. Every inhalation paves the way for the exhalation. There is always a pause between the two.

So let us pause between the end and the beginning. Allow the stillness to settle in. Just as the space between words in poetry has a message, the natural pauses in the rhythms of life offer the gift of renewal.

Yoga reminds us of these cycles and pauses. We have many blessings and we are all connected.