10 Signs You’ve Turned into a Yogi

 

  1. You no longer have any expectations for the outcome of the class. You show up with an open mind and receptive heart.

Remember when the class had to be “hard”, “sweaty”, or “advanced” for you to feel like you “got something” out of the class? Now you experience gratitude for all teachers, all classes, and the space that houses the practice which allows you to move your body, feel your breath, and experience who you really are without any judgment!

  1. You know what Savasana is (and you actually look forward to it).

Remember when you would pick and leave early before the instructor started leading theprints-plum-4377 class to final relaxation, or Corpse Pose? Remember how your mind would resist this pose and not allow your body rest when you lay down on your back? Now, not only do you know the significance of the Corpse Pose and its benefits, but you actually look forward to it, and love when it is at least a full 15 minutes of your class.

  1. You don’t worry about touching your toes, you are focused on your breath.

Remember when you thought the point of the forward bend stretch in yoga was about touching your toes? Now you have the ability to create a relaxation response in your body by watching your breath. Now you know that by slowing down and concentrating on the breath brings much more than physical flexibility- it brings inner peace and harmony.

  1. You know that Ahimsa, or non-harming, is a fundamental practice of yoga and can be done all the time, whether you are in a yoga class or in your daily life.

Remember when yoga class was all about pushing it further, harder, higher? Remember when you weren’t satisfied with your poses? Remember when you hurt yourself in class trying to do a pose “better”? Remember when you thought yoga was something you only did on a yoga mat? Now you know that there is no yoga without kindness and compassion. Now you know that yoga starts with kindness and acceptance to one’s Self. Now you know that yoga is life and life is yoga and it all begins with kindness and compassion for all beings everywhere.

  1. You drink tea with friends and your conversations no longer involve gossip.

Remember when you felt like you had to impress those around you? Remember when you felt like you didn’t fit in, or weren’t up to some perceived social standard? Now you realize that gossip is toxic and life is short, so you have chosen to put your energy into understanding who you are and what your purpose is. Now you surround yourself with people who want to be a positive change in the world.

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  1. You schedule your day around your yoga practice.

Remember when it was so hard to find the time to do your practice? Remember when just about anything and everything would get in the way of getting to class? Now your practice is the lead dog. Everything else follows from there.

  1. You meditate.

Remember when you hadn’t heard about the benefits of meditation? Remember when you didn’t know what to do, or how to do it? Now, it is like brushing your teeth. You sit for at least 5 minutes every day. Your mind might race and your practice might not seem “good”, but you make the daily effort because you have realized the difference in your relationships and life.

  1. You smile and laugh more.

Remember when life seemed so hard? Remember when it felt like you were constantly swimming upstream against your family, friends and work? Now you feel in harmony with life around you and a lightness and easy-going quality to your relationships. You feel genuine joy and happiness in your heart.

  1. You are at ease in your body.

Remember when your hamstrings bothered you because they were as tight as iron rods? Remember when you were self-conscious about your body’s size/shape? Remember when you had chronic low back pain? Now you realize that you have a body, but you are not your body. Now you glow from the inside out, radiate peace and happiness, and float through time and space with grace and inner beauty. Now you are pain free.

  1. You know that yoga is a life long journey.prints-plum-4159

Remember when you were so intent on reaching the destination that you weren’t able to enjoy the scenery? Remember when you wanted so desperately to “be good at yoga”, to “have good poses”, to “have open hips” that you beat yourself up and sometimes actually felt bad about your yoga practice? Remember when you needed to “see results” so much that you caused injury to your shoulder, knee, back, or hamstring? Now you realize that the journey starts with one step, that the journey will take a life time (thank goodness, there is no pressure to “do it all” now!), and that the journey is perfect regardless of its various ups and downs.

OM 101

plum-yoga-2015-09-13Here you go. This is an OMing Primer.

If you have been curious about OM, this is the blog post for you!

I am going to address the following- What to do when you enter a yoga class and the instructor directs the class to start by sitting still, closing the eyes, and chanting (yes, chanting) OM! Why you might consider OMing yourself. How you OM.

The following might happen when the class begins to OM:

  • You might start wondering why other people are… chanting… along with the instructor.
  • You might get self conscious about your voice. (You never were a good singer.)
  • You might peek your eyes open and look around to see if this is really real.
  • You might start to get nervous that you have just entered a cult.
  • You might start to get angry and want to leave before you get your work out in.
  • You might wonder if this is against your religion.

 

So… what to do when the class starts OMing? Why does a yoga class “open” with an OM?

And, further, how do you do it “correctly”?

Let’s start with the What to Do in an OMing situation:

Keep your eyes closed. (Do this gently. Keep the face relaxed. No scrunching of the eyes/face!)

  1. Direct your mind’s attention within.
  2. Keep sitting up straight. Sit as still and steady as you can.
  3. Internally, wish for happiness for all beings while you OM out loud, silently to yourself, or just listen to the OM and let it wash over you.

The OM doesn’t take much time “away from your class”. In fact, it will enhance your overall experience of the yoga once the class is over. There is some subtle difference between a class that opens with the OM and one that does not. Are you interested in why that might be?

Well, I will do my best to attempt to explain why yoga classes open with OM:

  1. Yoga is a science.
  2. Science has proven that we are energy/vibration.
  3. Sound is vibration.
  4. OM is a sound vibration which is known as a mantra.
  5. Mantras are sounds (vibrations) with a known effect.
  6. Mantras, when tuned correctly, bring about a specific effect in our mental wave patterns. (Cool side note- Mantras also change the vibration in the room and beyond!)
  7. OM is comprised of 3 parts. A- U- M.
  8. OM is a sound/vibration that starts at the base of the spine and travels upward to the crown of the head. “A” like “Ahhhhh” sound at the base of the spine, “U” like “You” navel up toward throat through the heart region, and “M” like “mmmmm” sound which reaches and stimulates the brain organ and the glands in the brain region.
  9. OM awakens latent energy in our body.
  10. OM stimulates and charges the central nervous system while calming the mind.
  11. OM encompasses all sounds, colors, vibrations. It is the BIG mantra. It signifies the nameless, formless, and changeless.
  12. OM connects us to our deepest inner essence and nature.
  13. OM can crack open the heart to compassionate wisdom and understanding.
  14. OM is NOT part of a religion or religious cult.
  15. OM is NOT
  16. OM does NOT go against any religious beliefs or practices.

The biggest question I get about the OM is around #16. Yes, the OM certainly has a devotional feel to it. It may even seem, somehow, spiritual. But is it Religious?

No.

What you might be sensing is a stirring of some kind in your own already reverent heart.

Whether you go to church or not, no matter what faith you follow, regardless of how you choose to pray and honor divinity, the OM is simply a sound vibration that brings us into a more receptive, kind, compassionate, natural energetic state.

For example, you know how you take your car in for an oil change and it gets better gas mileage?

It’s kind of like that.

You take your self into a yoga class to get everything tuned up so that you are more able to withstand the stresses and pressures of life. The OM tunes up your energetic field, the energetic field of the space you are practicing in, and beyond that, the world at large. It’s simply, and scientifically, the ripple effect.

If you toss a stone into a lake the biggest waves/vibrations happen right where the stone went into the water and fan out into smaller and smaller wave/ripples until the wave still exists even though we can’t see it. It’s amazing!

And, the more open hearted you become in chanting the OM the greater the reach of its ripples!

So, now you might want to experience the effects of the OM yourself. You might want to put sound to your own breath and feel the vibratory qualities of OM.

As always, please do not just simply “believe” me. Put it into practice and come to your own conclusions.

Ok, so how do you make the OM sound “pretty”?

  1. Make the sound then shape the lips around the sound.
  2. For the “A” (Remember- “Ahhhhh….”) concentrate at the base of the spine and make a sort of wide mouth lipped shape.
  3. Note that each of the sounds should be done in equal thirds.
  4. For the “U” (“Youuuuuuu…”) concentrate on the heart rising up, make the shape of a dime with the lips.
  5. For the “M” (Mmmmm…”) follow the vibration all the way up to the crown of the head as you close your lips.
  6. Utilize the entire length of your breath.
  7. Finish in silence. Notice what you feel.

 

Once you get the hang of it, you might just start looking forward to the OM more than the Warrior poses.

Once you recognize the internal energetic shifts within you, you might just miss the OM when a class doesn’t start with it.

Once you realize that the OM is just another tool (like paying attention to your breath) to find relief from mental stress and anxiety, you might just want to try it!

The Other Side of Fear

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-4-06-50-pmWhat would you do if you weren’t afraid?

We all know change, new ideas, starting over, etc etc can be terrifying.  Our theme this month: GROW FOR IT implies making a change.  But, it’s hard to be vulnerable.  Who wants to risk failure? It’s scary to step out of our comfort zone and take a take a leap of faith.  By definition, if we are out of our comfort zone, we are uncomfortable.

There are lots of resources available –self -help books, articles, blog posts, motivational quotes on the subject of overcoming that crippling fear that keeps us from starting something new. Tools  & breathing techniques are out there to help manage the stress hormones.   We all know what this anxiety feels like.

But I’m really more interested in the “what would YOU DO” part of that question.

What is it that brings meaning to YOUR life? What is your purpose? What is your passion? What is it that you are called to do?

You’re scared. It’s risky. You may be embarrassed. You may fail.

But you may not…..

Don’t let the fear have power over your life.   Breathe deeply.   Meditate.   Pray.

But DO!

Spend time  on the “what would YOU DO” part.

It may be something as simple as that cute pixie haircut or as complex as a career change. It may be as exciting as adding a new relationship to your life or as gut wrenching as letting one go.   Maybe you have always wanted to try a yoga class, take dance lessons or step on the stage for an open mike night.

It’s easy to confuse fear with lack of confidence. It’s ok to struggle. We were born equipped to struggle but somehow we have gotten comfortable with the status quo. Fear builds up in our bodies and erodes our confidence.  It’s ok to be vulnerable. Try something even though you don’t know the outcome.  Be open to the possibilities.  And GROW FOR IT!

What do you want that is just on the other side of fear?

Quotespiration

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Welcome to Monday. The start of the week is always hard – you can’t find the right outfit, your hair won’t cooperate and there’s never enough coffee. That’s why we’re offering up these nuggets of wisdom to get you through the day.

True, inspirational quotes have a tendency to feel kind of eye roll-y most of the time. But other times, when we’re lacking motivation or having a bad day, repeating a mantra really does help.

On that note, here are nine slightly cliché sayings that will give you a little perspective when you need it most:

Be the person your dog thinks you are.

Hits right in the feels doesn’t it? There’s nothing quite like the unconditional love of a pupper.

Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day.

Slay, Bey. Hot sauce in my bag #swag.

Surround yourself with people who get you.

& forget all the rest.

Stop wishing. Start doing.

Another way to state the completely overused phrase popular amongst today’s youth (though true all the same) – you only live once.

Good things come to those who work for it.

Ain’t a good thing that’s ever come of sitting still. You’re the author of your own story and it’s about time you started acting like it.

Another woman’s success is not a measure of your failure.

If we’re being honest we sure do compare ourselves to others far too much. There will always be someone prettier than you, stronger than you, skinner than you, funnier than you – but you’re you. No one can take that from you. And your successes are the best successes, quite simply because they’re YOURS.

Wake up. Drink coffee. Kick ass. Repeat.

#preach

 Life is short. Buy the good wine.

Enjoy the little things. Spend a little more & laugh a little louder.

 You got this.

Ending on this note. Take a breath, a sip of coffee and power through this Monday like the bada$$ betch you are.

Check back next Monday for another Mantra.