Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I quit!!

I recently had a very profound epiphany.  If I was a cartoon there would be a light bulb over my head that suddenly lit up!!  It was so profound that I don't know if I'll be able to find words to fully articulate it.
I'm not sure I should even try but here it goes.....

Several weeks ago I decided to take a stand.  I put in place some boundaries.  No sooner had I set the boundaries in place they begin to be challenged.  Thank you God for the opportunity to practice patience.
Over and over my cage was being rattled.   I have the imagine of Ma Durga in my mind.  I have a strong affinity for Durga.  She's the great protector.  I stand, protecting my boundary. 

The challenges keep coming.  I start to wonder...."am I doing the right thing?"  Thank you God for the opportunity to practice trusting my intuition.  My intuition tells me that without strong boundaries I get pulled in the wrong direction.  I see that now.  I see how easily I expend energy trying to control other people. Wishing and wanting to convince them that things should be this way or that way.  Feeling anger and disappointment when things don't go my way.   In the words of my dear friend, Judy, "I am not the general contractor of the Universe".  I quit!  How freeing is that?  I can put down the clip board.  God has everything under control.

It's empowering to stand up for myself.  Can you imagine that it took 41 years to do that?  Guess what? The sky didn't fall!! How do you like that?!  Thank you God for the opportunity to practice standing up for myself in a loving, compassionate way.  There is this great misconception that when we stand up for ourselves and protect ourselves from negative energy that it makes us bad people.  On the contrary! It actually is about having compassion and love for yourselves.  There is an element of self preservation when we don't allow our energy to be dissipated by engaging in negative drama. 

In a flash the anger at someone's words has us seeing red.  We feel the pressure in our head.  We want to tell them they are wrong!  We want to give them  a piece of our mind.  Retaliation becomes all we can think about.   Holy Hell!  In an instant our blood pressure is through the roof.  Our heart is racing and our breath is shallow and rapid.  We are physically harming ourselves.  Our body reacts as if we are fighting for our lives!! 

I am not the general contractor of the universe.  I AM however, the general contractor of my own life.  I can choose how I react. I can choose how and where I put my energy.  Thank you God for the opportunity to practice taking control of my own life. 

Oh.. yeah... the epiphany....With each challenge I faced over the past few weeks I was able to step back from my emotional reaction.  From the space of witness I "saw" how much energy I waste complaining about how other people behave.  How much energy I waste, trying to convince other people to think the way I think.   How much energy I waste wishing things were different than what they are.  I can put down the clip board.  I quit! I am no longer the fairness police... That's SD's job. 

Thank you God, for the challenges by which the light bulb was turned on. 

Om Namaha Shivaya!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

There are no short cuts in life

I was flipping through a random book yesterday.  I admit that I didn't actually read the book so I will refrain from passing judgment on the book itself.   The thought that kept flashing in my head was this:
"There are no short cuts.  You have to do the work for change to happen.  No one else can do it for you."

The little section I read from the book claimed that by having someone shine a lamp with different color gems on to you that it would "activate" your chakras.   The chakras are energy centers in the body.  Without writing an essay about chakras right now I just want to say that they are part of the subtle body, "located" along the spinal column.   For example, someone with a blocked heart chakra might hold on to resentments and anger, etc.  

I know it's not what you want to hear... God knows it's not what I want to hear but there are no short cuts. You have to do the work to change. No one else can do it for you.  Believe me I've tried.  There are thousands of people who claims to have the power to heal us.  There are thousands of products that claim to make us happy and healthy.  If only the claims were true. 

The cold, hard truth is that the only way anything changes is if something changes.  A few months back I went to hear a swami give a talk.  His web-site (isn't that hilarious - the swami's web-site...HA) said that he was a realized master who had to power to transmit shaktipat.   My understanding of shaktipat is that by the grace of the guru he/she lays his hands on you and awakens your kundalini.  You instantly become enlightened.   Who doesn't want that?!

Why the heck would I want to chant mantras 100,000 times per syllable to reach enlightenment?  That would take a long time.  Who wants to practice forgiveness over and over to open our heart chakra? 
Why would we want to do the work when we could go to one of the thousands of  "healers" in yoga-land who claim to have the power to do it for us?

Because there are no short cuts.  You have to do the work for change to happen. No one else can do it for you.   At least if you want real, lasting results.   During his talk,  the swami did say that a true master would only give shaktipat to a sincere student who has done the work.  He also said that the effects of shaktipat would only be temporary if the student didn't do the work.

Trust me.....simply wearing a chakra gem necklace or mala beads will not awaken kundalini and make you enlightened anymore than simply having a treadmill standing in the corner of your room make you lose weight.   Believe me I've tried.

There are no short cuts.  You have to do the work for change to happen.  No one else can do it for you.  If you want to open your heart chakra...practice forgiveness.  Open your heart with compassion to all those you encounter throughout your day.  Do this over and over no matter how often someone hurts you. Then perhaps you'll feel the vibrations of the heart chakra.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A moment of reflection.

The past few weeks have given me much opportunity for reflection. On August 4th I completed my second 500 hour advanced yoga teacher training program. At the same time I embarked on the next leg of my journey of self-discovery, beginning a 500 hour Ayurveda training. It seems to me the more I learn the more questions I have. The more training I complete the more I realize how much I still have to learn.

The challenge for me is integration. After all, the only way to really learn anything is to do it. Applying the yoga lessons to daily living is key. I've learned a lot so the process of integrating it all will take some time.

Slowly I begin to see opportunities to use some of the tools I've been given. One of the things we talk a lot about in yoga is the ego. I have little tolerance for people with a big ego. (how egotistical of me, right?) It's one of the things that challenges me the most.

I recognize my own ego at play when I feel myself getting irritated. I use it as an opportunity to practice keeping my own ego in check. I don't engage in verbal battle. My ego wants to be right.  I so badly want to show people how egotistical they are being.

Like increases like...opposites cure.  How can I use my ego to show someone else how much damage their ego is causing?  The answer....I can't.

Over and over I'm told that when someone challenges me they become a mirror by which I can see things about myself that need to be dealt with. I never really understood this concept until now.  My teacher's advice.... "you have to be the example for others".  Suddenly it become clear to me. The same way the "mirror" shows us things that we don't like about ourselves it also reflects positive things.

One of the things I've been contemplating is how I react to challenges and the role my ego plays in the challenges. After reflecting on the fact that the more I focus on the challenges the more challenges I draw into my life I decide to to throw up the white flag. I SURRENDER.... Time to try the opposite.

I'm setting a clear intention for myself. I will turn within and find the peace that I seek within myself. I will do my best to be an example of that peace. My hope is that the more I focus on maintaining a state of inner peace, the more inner peace I will draw into my life.  The more peace I experience the easier it will be to keep my ego in check. 

Like increases like...opposites cure.

A friend reminded me yesterday that I cannot set someone else's intentions; only my own. I've set my intention.. Now it's your turn. How will you integrate yoga into your daily living??

Friday, August 3, 2012

Real people doing real yoga.....

One night I was teaching a yoga class at a local community center, it was something I had done every week for more than 5 years, but that night was different. There was a moment during the class when I was actually witnessing yoga happening. As a student, I can feel when I find the perfect balance between effort and comfort. As a teacher, I have the privilege of witnessing that happen for the students in class.

That night, I was struck by the beauty of what I was witnessing. I wasn't watching a "yoga model" pose for a photo shoot. I wasn't watching someone in a perfectly aligned yoga posture. These folks come to class every week. They show up not in $98 yoga pants, not carrying designer yoga mats. They don't come to impress anyone. They come in their sweat pants and old t-shirts. They come after a long day at work, a long day of caring for their families. Some come to the mat with physical limitations. They roll out their ordinary mats and they practice ordinary yoga. It was during an ordinary practice that I witnessed something extra-ordinary.

There was a moment when I could see that the student was in the perfect posture for them. That perfect balance of effort and comfort was found. The state of yoga had been achieved. I wished I had a camera. I found myself wishing that the students could see themselves through my eyes. I wanted them to see what I was seeing. I wanted to capture that moment so that I could show them just how beautiful they were.

These were the real faces of yoga. These ordinary people doing their ordinary yoga was extra-ordinarily beautiful. I remind the students that yoga is not about the external pose but how they feel in the pose. The beauty is that when they feel blissful in the pose it shows externally.

Before each class that I teach, I pause and acknowledge that I am only the tour guide on this yoga adventure. What unfolds on the ordinary yoga mat is a very organic process. We can't force yoga to happen. But when it does....well, it's like the light of a thousand suns. It's extra-ordinary and it happens whether you are a yoga model in $98 yoga pants in perfect alignment or an ordinary person wearing $10 sweat pants and ratty old t-shirt, nursing an injury. When you find that perfect balance of effort and comfort for yourself, in that moment yoga happens and its BEAUTIFUL!

I want to thank the folks that show up on the mat, just as they are, with open minds and hearts. I also want to thank my teachers for being the tour guides on my own yoga adventure. My prayer is that we all see our own beauty and the beauty around us always.