Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When we Judge Ourselves Harshly | The Yoga of Non-Judgment

I knew that this particular blog post would be difficult to write, so I have been putting it off for days. Only today, when I revealed a glimpse of it to my Twitter followers and received words of support and requests for this topic, did I feel fully prepared to share.

While sparing you the details, I have been under a good amount of stress lately. In response to that stress, I have done a number of things, from making sure I practice yoga to comforting myself with food. Both can be healthy, but with regards to food, I have been disregarding my body's signals when I am full, and I have been excessively consuming sweets. I have been using food to calm and soothe me, but the food choices haven't been the healthiest. For a number of reasons in the short and long term, this is not good for the body.

In fact, it's not good for homeostasis in general: mind-body-spirit. It's not to say that we should never curl up with a bowl of ice cream when we are feeling down or indulge a little bit more when at a buffet, but given that I have had a pattern of disordered eating throughout my life (ever since I can remember, really), I need to be kinder, more compassionate, and loving when I notice that my day to day food choices have swung in an unhealthy direction or when the messages I am telling myself become unkind or judgmental.

Image Courtesy of The Body Shop

Judgment from the Self:

A psychologist friend who implements a lot of Buddhist practices into her work mentioned the concept of judging the other day.  In this example, if we look at my reaction to my weight gain, judgment vs. non-judgment would look like this:

Judgement ("negative"):  I gained 18 pounds over the past 5 years because I've been eating a lot and not exercising as much as I should to keep up with it. I am repulsive, and because I'm not a size 2, I look horrible.

Judgement ("positive"):  I gained 18 pounds over the past 5 years because I eat a lot and I've enjoyed every second of it.  My curves look good.

Non-judgment:  I gained 18 pounds over the past years because I've been eating a lot and not exercising much. 18 pounds over 5 years amounts to an average of 3.6 lbs per year.

Do you see the differences between the 3 mindsets? Some would say that the "positive" judgment works for them, and that's fine. This illustration is just to show judgment vs. non-judgment. When we operate from non-judgment, we take away "good,""bad,""right,"and "wrong," and we just state the facts.

Judgement from Others (that we take on...or not):

Someone close to me recently commented that they were concerned for my health because they saw the spare tire I carry around on my belly area. I was laying on the floor, carefree, playing with my cats, unaware that I was "exposed." This person sees me all the time, but in this moment, my belly happened to show. I am usually a master at camouflaging my waist and belly - I layer Bali form-fitting tanks, wear looser tops, and things of this nature.

Yes, my jeans have gotten tighter. (That's usually my gauge). I had been walking around noticing and realizing this and it hadn't really bothered me all that much, but when I heard the comment, along with, "It's really hard to lose the weight when it gets out of control," I suddenly panicked. Given my history with eating disorders, I am not completely surprised that this reaction showed up. Fear took over, and this a dangerous emotional state to live in.

I had an almost instant judgment: "This person thinks I look fat and gross. I'd better lose this extra weight!"

In a more peaceful compassionate moment, we can take a look at moments where we judged ourselves (or others) like this and find a non-judgmental stance. I did this in this case.

My non-judgmental stance: "This person commented that they were concerned for my health because I have gained weight, and they also said it's really difficult to lose extra weight when it gets out of control."

Really, that's all that happened. Am I a mind reader? Do I know the other person's intentions? I know that this individual wouldn't want to hurt me with these words. I know that this person has had struggles with weight.  I had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to what I thought  the comments must have meant. I could have asked if I had any unclarity, but I didn't.

Having ALL PARTS Show Up on The Yoga Mat

Yoga, for me, is about more than the physical practice on the yoga mat. It is also mentally soothing and balancing, and I feel very spiritually connected to it on and off of the mat.

This week, our teacher said that in order to grow in our yoga practice, we need to keep showing up to the mat. All of us. Rainy days. Sunny days. All parts of us. For me, at this time, this would be:

  • the young me who didn't always have food to eat
  • the teenage me who strove for perfection by extreme restriction of caloric intake
  • the adult me who has grown to love and appreciate food: cooking, going out to eat various cuisines, and baking
  • the adult me who sometimes becomes so stressed that she goes the other direction and completely loses her appetite
  • the part of me who fears judgment from others
  • the part of me that judges herself

ALL OF US will be showing up tomorrow to yoga class. All of us will be on the mat, mindfully engaging in purposeful movements and meditation.  All of us will release judgment.  I will feel safe to let my belly hang out in downward dog.  I will not look around and judge others' body shapes, "good," "bad," "thin," "chubby," "fat," "better than me/worse than me."

I will go within to what really matters. I will be in my body, loving every cell. It is here that I will remember that God loves us as we are and where we are at, and the issues we amplify and become consumed with must be considered on a grand, eternal scale. We are loved. We can love ourselves through anything.

Yogic Raisin to Consider: In what areas of your life have you noticed judging or non-judgment?  Who do you tend to judge more: others, yourself, or are you an equal opportunity judge?  How would you describe your relationship with food? Body image?

Please show yourself kindness, and I will do the same.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't Take Me for a Ride | The Auto Shop Experience

This story starts in frustration and ends in compassion and understanding. Sometimes, things work out that way. Perhaps you can relate.

I recently experienced some problems with my car. I don't usually drive at night, so it may have been an issue for a while, but I didn't find out until I was driving on a very dark road, on my way to pick up my significant other from the airport, when *BAM*: both of my headlights failed.

There were no street lights. I was in complete darkness.

Luckily, the faint glow of my hazard lights was enough to guide me to the shoulder of the road until I was able to get some help. The next day I went to the auto shop that I usually use. Their electrical person wouldn't be in for a couple of days, and I really wanted this safety issue resolved as quickly as possible.  

Being a chain, they have another location a few cities away. I went there, and they were able to perform the diagnostic tests. I was told that the needed parts would take two weeks to arrive from the east coast. What were they going to use? The Pony Express?

I asked if they could expedite the parts. I had to call the shop a number of times to follow up and "remind" them to call their vendor and find it about expediting the order. 

After a couple of days, I called to ask them the status of the parts. This morning, the man I spoke with said that he forgot to tell me that the parts arrived yesterday. I was a bit frustrated. I live about 45 minutes from the shop, and I could've been there and had my car repaired by now. Out loud, to myself, in the privacy of my home, I remember muttering things like, "those idiots....incompetent...geez, I had to do *everything*...jerks."

I fantasized about and even recited the scathing Yelp review that I couldn't wait to give them. When I arrived at the shop, the two staff members at the front desk looked embarrassed. While I didn't receive an apology, I could tell by the looks on their faces that they felt badly. They were extra courteous. I couldn't get angry. I just assertively asked, "Can you get me out of here in 2 hours?" I was assured that this would be possible.

I wanted to complain and ask why they has been so incompetent and why I had to do all of the legwork and pay for it, to boot. I wanted to tell them that it was rude of them to disregard my time. But when I looked at them, instead, my heart was filled with compassion. I've been a pushover in my life before, and I have no intention of playing that role again, but this morning, I felt that it was more important to be effective than to be "right."  (Besides, I would have my moment with Yelp!)

I realized that I didn't know the whole story.  Who knows why my issues were not a priority? Who knows what else has been happening at the shop with the staff and with the other customers? My emergency wasn't necessarily theirs.

I needed to take a time out.  I went to use the restroom. There, on the wall of the cement floored, typical dingy auto shop bathroom, hung this little painting.

Painting on the Car Shop's Bathroom wall

Seeing it softened my heart further. It reminded me that there is a little bit of beauty in every place and situation.

Don't get me wrong: It's not ok for people to take advantage of us. It's not ok for us to be mistreated, especially when we are exchanging money for a service.

At the same time, we can keep ourselves from becoming consumed with anger and channel that energy in a constructive direction.  This day and age, we have Yelp, a website that allows us as consumers to share our experiences - the good, bad, and the ugly, with other consumers. Had I checked the rating for this particular car shop (an average of only 1 star out of 5), I could have avoided this whole mess to begin with.

When the front desk clerk called me to take a look at my car, and we discovered that the technician failed to replace several lights that were on the work order, he became angry. I told him, "It's not your fault." Truth be told, I didn't have to be anywhere at any certain time, so this was a major opportunity to practice patience and tolerance.

I sat in the waiting area for almost another hour, and I Yelped. I channeled the frustration in a constructive way and directed no negativity to these men at the shop.

I cannot control everything, but I can Yelp.

Think of a situation that recently frustrated you. What might have been going on with the other people involved? Does it reduce your frustration at all to consider this?


Monday, January 23, 2012

The Yoga of Mindful Baking | Grounding Exercise

“You know what I love about cooking? … I love that after a day when nothing is sure—and when I say ‘nothing’ I mean nothing!—you can come home and absolutely know that if you add eggs yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” - Amy Adams as Julie in Julie & Julia 

This quote came to mind today as I was baking soda cupcakes (details later) as a mindfulness practice. Today has been quite an ordeal. I received a phone call at 5:30 am that a close family member had an emergency, and I was asked to help. I'm on the west coast. She's on the east cost. But luckily, in today's world, this didn't pose much of an obstacle. 

She's safe for now. I can sleep well knowing that. I won't get into all of the details, but she's decided to trust that she is more valuable, loved, and supported than she may have previously believed. She's taken a big step in her life, and I am so blessed and proud to be a part of it. At the same time, I'm really stressed. When I was little, she had gone through a similar crisis that lasted for years, and I was a helpless child. The resources that exist today were not in place back then. I still suffer from time to time with PTSD symptoms over the incidents of the past, and her present situation jolted me. But it's not about me. It's about her. 

I decided to not get carried away by the pain of the past by grounding myself in the present, which ultimately led me to be able to be more effective in supporting her while also taking care of myself. How did I do this? I baked. 

Not completely from scratch, though I did experiment with a fun and unusual variation on cupcakes. I recently read that you can take any box of cake mix, add to it a 12 oz. can of soda, mix, bake as direct,and voila, yummy cupcakes. I decided to give it a try. I loved that since the soda replaced all of the wet ingredients, including the eggs, the raw batter could be enjoyed without worry. (It was yummy by the way and is a vegan-friendly version for my vegan friends!) 

My only 2 Cupcake Ingredients: Pillsbury Cake Mix and Blue Sky Free Cola (made with Stevia)

I mixed the ingredients. I lined the muffin tins with paper liners. I scooped the batter into the liners, one by one. I placed the tray into the preheated oven and set the timer. As I waited, I mixed some reduced fat cream cheese with Splenda and vanilla extract with my mixer until fluffy and until it tasted a little bit sweet. Then, I sat on the stairs and waited. 

The batter, free of raw eggs, was incredibly yummy!

Frosting made with just low-fat cream cheese, Splenda, and Vanilla Extract

When they were finally done, I pulled them out to cool, and I stood on the stairs and waited. Once cooled, I frosted them, put them in the fridge, and waited. Step by step. Details by detail. 

Yes. These cupcakes taste as scrumptious and fudgy and dense as they look!

About an hour after I had begun the process, I was eating - and thoroughly enjoying - one of the best cupcakes I'd had in a while. It felt very satisfying. Though I didn't make them completely from scratch (though, let's face it- all the Pillsbury Dough Boy did was combine my dry ingredients for me) I didn't just pick them up from the bakery either.

My cupcakes. Not pretty, but delicious. If I want to make it to Cupcake Wars, I'd better buy a piping bag and get some skills. :)

I grounded myself in the experience, right in this present moment. The movie quote at the beginning of this post was in my mind. I knew that I could take comfort in the fact that if I baked, step by step, I could count on the results. Even in taking the risk by using the soda, all turned out well. I may not be able to control everything around me...but I can bake.

What kind of activities can you engage in to ground yourself during times of stress? What has worked in the past? What is something new that you may try?

A pretty chocolate cupcake


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yoga Homework: Acts of Kindness

My yoga teacher invited us to join her in her weekly homework for the next few months. This week, the assignment is based on kindness.

Each day, participants are to work toward the goal of 3 acts of kindness toward others (within their own households, community, the world at large), and 3 acts of kindness toward one's self.

Yoga class counts as 1 act for each category, because the effect it has on us emanates out into the world and creates a positive, energy that affects others.

I took the challenge.

Yesterday, my acts looked like this:

Acts of Kindness Toward Other Beings:

1.) I checked on DJ, the Library Cat...

There is a local cat who lives at the church and library. It got really cold last night (down into the mid twenties), and DJ popped up in my mind. I worried about him. I often go to pet him and bring him food and toys (as do others in the community). 

I stopped by the library and asked about DJ. I was assured that he was seen today, that he is "all good," and that everyone at the library was taking good care of him.

DJ The Library Cat
2.) I fully participated in my yoga class...

This is an act of kindness to others for a number of reasons that I hadn't really considered before. For example, I am much more relaxed and at ease during and after class. My patience and ability to cope with everyday stresses are extended, allowing me to be kind in situations where I might otherwise be less tolerant.  Also, during yoga, I am engaging in symbolic poses that honor the world around me, showing kindness and respect to the wonders found all around and within us. At the end of class, we say "Namaste," which translated loosely from Sanskrit means: "The light in me bows to the light in you."

3.) I made a delicious dinner for my significant other and I...

I've been lazy about cooking lately. I love to go out to eat or grab takeout. Last night, though, I prepared a warm meal for the two of us, all at home. Fortunately, it came out delicious, and my SO, who has been very stressed out lately, told me how much joy he experienced from that meal.

Homecooked Meal that I made

Acts of Kindness Toward Myself:

1.) Listened to soothing music as I drove and while I was cooking...

Music has the power to enhance or shift our moods. I was feeling a mix of emotions and feelings yesterday. I really wanted to tap into the feelings of gratitude and trust in the Universe/God that all is well and that all will be well. I chose music that would support this and indulged in it.

2.) I fully participated in my yoga class...

I listened to my body.  When vinyasas felt like too much, I went straight to downward dog. I felt every twist massaging my organs. I engaged in deep, meditative pranayama breathing. I allowed myself to work hard and to rest. Savasana, as always, was incredibly restoring.  Yoga, for me, is the ultimate act of kindness to the self.

3.) I allowed myself kitty and tv time...

One of my favorite parts of the day is snuggling up with my two cats and watching some of my favorite shows. We often fall asleep because it's so cozy and relaxing. 

What do you think about the idea of this week's homework?  Can you think of at least one kind thing you can do for others and yourself today? Perhaps you've already done them.  Please feel free to share.

"Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi, and change your world." - Annie Lennox


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pay It Forward | The Ripple Effects of Kindness

Have you ever been a part of something that had you beaming ear to ear with a smile? Did it make your heart overflow to where you just had to share the experience and the consequential smile? That's me in this moment, and I would like to share with you, my precious reader.

I struggled with whether talking about this experience would diminish the blessing or make it any less valuable.  I struggled with coming off as looking for self-glorification.  I just have to trust that the intentions of my heart will be obvious: I want you to be blessed by this, and I want you to feel inspired to go out and bless someone else.

Here goes.

I was in line at the grocery store today, and a lady was ahead of me with her baby. 

Turns out this woman didn't have enough money for her order. Without hesitation, I asked if I could treat her. I had recently been very blessed, and I was open and receptive to the opportunity to "pay it forward." This felt like the right moment.

At first, she looked a little embarrassed...possibly offended.  To ease the awkwardness, I shrugged my shoulders, smiled, and looked away as I said in my sweetest voice, "I just wanted to do my random act of kindness for the day." 

She seemed more at ease at that point, "Well, if you WANT to," she said as she smiled. The cashier and bagger couldn't stop smiling and the cashier commented, "Wow, this is so nice." My heart wondered if they had ever had this experience before. I wondered how their hearts may have been affected and if it would cause a ripple effect in their lives.

While the food was being scanned and bagged, the woman was talking to her child. She then turned to me and told me about how her daughter was a she's into her doctor said not to be alarmed that she's lagging on the developmental calendar. 

She shared that she works the early morning shift at McDonald's and just got off of work. She told me exactly which McDonald's she worked at and said that I should go down there next week, and she'd pay me back. "No," I told her. Please pay it forward. If you see someone that you can help out, just do it.  "Ok," she said, "thank you again."

I paid for her order (it was a just a few items, mostly things on clearance.)   I was confused when she walked away and there were still items on the conveyor belt. The cashier explained that the woman had split her order up for some reason, and she was running to the car to get money. 

I don't know why I didn't act then to tell her I intended to bless her - not half bless her - and for the cashier to ring up the rest of the order on my card. But, I guess I froze up in the confusion.

Once the woman was outside, I asked the cashier if she could hustle and charge the second order to my card as well. I wanted her to hurry so I could get out of the store before the woman returned.

The cashier smiled brightly and said, "Wow, this is SO nice. Are you sure? ...Wow."  And, we did it! Again, it was just a few items, all on clearance.

I hope my friend in line really came back in to get her items, but I'll never know for sure. What I do know is if we all step up to the opportunities to bless others that present themselves to us when we are able, the ripple effects will be amazing.  

People will feel better, having received and/or witnessed it, and they will likely go on to be kinder to others that day. Perhaps they will also bless them in some other way. 

I can't get the image of this woman, her baby, and the smiling, somewhat bewildered cashier and bagger out of my mind. I can't stop smiling about the whole thing. 

I was reminded today of the many, many times that people - even complete strangers - have stepped up to bless me when times were rough.  I am so thankful to have opportunities to pay it forward.

Thank you for letting me share this experience with you.

Have you recently been blessed? What are some of your ideas around how to pay if forward?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To See The World In a Grain of Sand

Earlier today some sparkly pavement outside of an office building caught my eye. For some reason, in front of this professional business establishment, someone thought it would be nice to embed a very glittery, light-reflective substance into the pavement.  I paused and enjoyed the way it looked from different angles as the light of the sun struck it.

As I walked into the building and toward the elevators, still thinking about what I had just seen, I was reminded of sand. In the warm summer sun, a beach's sand often looks like a billion little sparkles.  I have felt sand under my feet and between my toes. I have held it. As a child, I built castles with it. Until today,though, I had only seen it with my bare eyes, and with the exception of some differences in texture and color, it all pretty much looked the same to me. But today, I came upon this: 

Gary Greenberg, Ph.D. of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy in Maui captures sand at a magnification of 250x. In doing this, he has brought us an up-close and amazing look at how each and every grain of sand on the planet is a unique masterpiece. Like snowflakes, he says, no two grains are exactly the same.

Sand at 250x magnification
© Dr. Gary Greenberg/SWNS

Sand. Isn't it just amazing? 

Sand at 250x magnification
© Dr. Gary Greenberg/SWNS

Sand at 250x magnification
© Dr. Gary Greenberg/SWNS

We live on a beautiful planet whose mysteries continue to be revealed to us. We are the first generation of human beings to have the technology capable of seeing a grain of sand for what it really is. Imagine what else we will discover as time goes on. 

Think about something that you enjoy on a superficial level. By superficial, I don't mean materialistic, but "basic."   Maybe it's stars. Aromatherapy oils. Antique furniture. 

Take a little bit of time to learn something new about your interest. You may be surprised at what you find, and you may even notice that your life is further enriched. 

"To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour." - William Blake 


Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Art of Looking Within (Featuring works by Jeremiah Ketner)

As a yogi, I love the beauty of every movement and every pose of the practice. My taste in art is similar. I love the story behind the image - unique to everyone who experiences it. I love flowing, colorful, magical works of art. There are few experiences that induce within me the level of bliss that I feel on the mat. I am about to share with you one of them.

I became interested in Pop Surrealism when I first saw an enchanting, whimsical creature, created by artist Jeremiah Ketner.

With his permission, I am sharing some of the paintings he has created that move and bewitch me the most.

Let's Go For a Swim

"Let's go for a swim" Courtesy of Jeremiah Ketner

"Let's go for a swim" is one of my favorite paintings by Ketner. The serene, peaceful nature of the fairy-like human, and the surreal imagery and cascading images that surround her (including her beautiful red locks) make me feel a sense of peace and hope. Her bliss reminds me of that moment in Savasana when we TRULY let go.

All of My Dolls

"All of my Dolls" Courtesy of Jeremiah Ketner

"All of my Dolls" instantly transports me to a safe place in childhood. The young being is gently holding her dolls - not clutching them in a fearful or panicked way. She's collected them up and is cherishing and loving each one, grounding herself in the loving energy she feels from each.  It looks as if she may be drifting off into a peaceful slumber with her entire collection of little friends. She is safe. All is well.

Maneki Neko (Bringer of Luck) 

"Maneki Neko (Bringer of Luck)" Courtesy of Jeremiah Ketner

This joyful image makes me smile. I love the deep violet colors and the energy light emanating from this Japanese kitty, a traditional symbol of luck on its way.

The Drawing Board

All great art starts with an idea. On Friday night, Jeremiah Ketner tweeted this lovely pic of his sketches.

The Drawing Board | Image courtesy of Jeremiah Ketner

Your Turn

I challenge you to explore some more of of Ketner's art at

I am curious to learn which images move you and why. Looking at art and telling the story that comes up in your heart will be a unique, imaginative, and often healing experience. 

There is no right or wrong. You may not have been encouraged to use your imagination in a very long time. Watch how you feel during and after you allow yourself this experience.

Jeremiah Ketner's response to this blog post on Twitter.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Invite Yourself as Guest to Dinner

A few years ago, I participated in an exercise as part of a mindfulness class.  The task involved preparing a delicious meal (or picking up your favorite meal from a restaurant or grocery store), and setting up a space as if you were expecting an honored guest. The honored guest is you!

I practiced this today. Although I didn't go all out with place mats and candles (as I had the first time),  as lunch time approached and my hunger increased, I wondered what I would eat on this work-from-home day.

A quick glance of my fridge, and it was obvious that I'd be selecting a frozen entree. Which was fine. I was excited to try Amy's Palaak Paneer - one of my favorite North Indian dishes whenever I go to the Indian buffet.

Image from Amy's

So, I heated this up as I put into the oven two pieces of garlic naan from Trader Joe's.

Garlic Naan from Trader Joe's

Once prepared, instead of eating the frozen meal from its container, I placed it nicely on a plate, making it feel more homey.

My meal, on a favorite plate at home

I enjoyed it with an all-natural cola soda from Zevia. I love it because it is delicious, refreshing, calorie free, and has nothing weird in it. It is sweetened with a plant extract called stevia, which has been around for thousands of years.

Image courtesy of Zevia
I felt grateful for every bite and sip. The entire meal was delicious. 

I very often tweet about food - sharing my favorite finds along the way. In sharing with you today, I realized how important it is to take the time to care for ourselves - to nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits.

I realize how very fortunate we are to eat well and have access to foods and drinks that keep us healthy as well as bring us pleasure.

We are blessed.

What is your favorite meal/beverage/snack, and how can you prepare it with LOVE for yourself today?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Disgruntled Postal Customer

I got pretty upset today, which created an opportunity for reflection. It really made me question what type of energy and intention I am generating in certain situations - even with something as ordinary as the mail that I receive. Perhaps you can relate.

I suppose if this incident had been a one-off, isolated situation, I would have been more understanding.

A friend from the east coast sent me a package of goodies for Christmas through the USPS (United States Postal Service). She paid for priority handling and delivery confirmation. I light up like a child when I receive a package in the mail, so I was looking forward to this.

Yesterday, we tracked the package, and it was "Delivered" to a completely different city and zip code, nearly an hour from where I live.  I went to my local post office where I was told there was "nothing we can do. Hopefully the person who got it will forward it on to you. Wait a few days and see."
My friend was saddened, as she'd carefully collected items that she thought I would enjoy, and she placed them in this box. She had just put in a couple more things and was excited to send the package off and make my day.

When we learned that the package was mis-delivered (and no one at USPS can apparently do anything about it), she felt so badly.  I felt badly as well - not so much for the material possessions that were in the box (although I was so excited to receive them), but for all of the heart and love that went into preparing it and sending it to me. It also cost my friend a pretty penny to ship it - only for it to never arrive.

Image courtesy of JessicaKateProductions

Last month, I sent my sister a care package. When it arrived, it was smashed, almost all of the contents damaged or destroyed. Because I did not purchase insurance (although I packaged it very well), again, there was nothing that USPS could do.

My uncle sent me a card with a gift inside over a week ago. It never arrived.  My sister sent a box of cookies to someone in another part of her state, Priority, and it took 10 days to get to him.

What is going on? I can either take this as confirmation of the failing USPS system that we have all been hearing about (I vow to only use UPS or FedEx for packages now), or I can wonder if I am putting something out there, energetically, to create confusion or a lack of follow-through on my mail arriving safely. Maybe its a combination of both.

As I was in Yoga class today, the package kept coming into my mind. I felt anger and sadness. I was caught up in it. It easily could have ruined my day, and it almost did.

I had to actively decide not to let this incident totally spoil my mood. As my friend Aly said, "If that's your worst problem today, you're way more blessed than a lot of people." My sister also feels confident that the package will show up.

I showed up early to class and hung out a bit with my teacher and classmates. I got to get outside of my own head and "problem" and hear about happy vacations. I got to see photos and talk about the best iPad apps. I was in the moment.

Image Courtesy of Keep Calm & Stay Gold Yoga Gifts

During class, I got wrapped up in the asanas, and I felt blissful during savasana. 

When I left yoga class, I held on to that sacred, calming feeling that my teacher calls "the residue of yoga."  

At home, I calmly filed a complaint online that will, hopefully, trigger an investigation and get my package safely to me.

I asked the Universe to forgive me for any negativity I may have generated to contribute to this repeated situation with the mail. I asked God to bless my friend, who works hard for a living and whose disappointment my heart shared. I prayed for my Uncle - that he be blessed, because he also works hard, and to send me a gift meant a sacrifice for him.

We'll see what happens.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Crying During Yoga Class: Practicing through difficult emotions

When I arrived at yoga class today, there was a substitute teacher. Each time I experience a new teacher's style, it is inevitably an enjoyable opportunity. 

Today was no exception.  

When I arrived in class, the teacher was already leading  a chant. I quietly placed a yoga mat down on of the few available spots on the hardwood studio floor and immediately joined in.  

She then led us in a variety of poses, noting that we would "take it easy," since it is the start of the new year. A few of us chuckled. I wondered if it was because they, too, felt that the asanas we were doing, particularly the repeated and long-held chair poses(Utkatasana I), were anything but taking it easy. 

Chair Pose | Image Courtesy of YogaClass

It felt good though. I had come into class a bit emotionally elevated, having just had a difficult conversation that didn't go as I had hoped. My body was still feeling the effects of the situation. I walked into the gym with freshly dried tear tracks, glassy eyes, and an obligatory smile for the front desk staff. 

I  scurried  my way back to the studio and made a decision to allow my mind and body to continue to move through the process that those parts of me were experiencing, while also remaining steadfast in my commitment to practice yoga today.

There I was, with body, mind, and spirit on board. It felt good to follow through, despite the sadness and heartbreak I was experiencing in that moment. 

Eagle pose (Garuda-asana), for some reason, was particularly comforting. Perhaps it was a combination of the balancing and the twisted nature of the pose that caused me to feel held and supported. 

Eagle Pose | Image Courtesy of iSport

Choosing my yoga practice, even in the midst of a challenging emotional experience, proved to be helpful and healing. 

Have you ever shown up for something in the midst of an emotional experience? 

How did showing up and following through affect your mood for the rest of the day? 

What yoga poses comfort you?