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Resolve 2016 – Sankalpa

Friday, January 8th, 2016

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2016 is here and for many of you this new year has brought forth your dreams, New Year’s Resolutions or maybe an intention. Reflect for a moment on past New Year’s Resolutions. Some of them may have been fulfilled or changes made, while for other resolutions you may have had great intention yet somewhere along the way the will dissolved or the intention was distracted.

The yoga tradition includes a practice of resolve called Sankalpa. The meaning is to vow or commit to that which is our highest or true nature. It often is rooted in aspects that already exist, and we vow to uphold, express, live them.

It is important to understand the difference between what you may have been taught about New Year’s resolutions and Sankalpa. Let’s begin by looking at how many make up resolutions that are about doing something different, often reflected on what is lacking or too much in their life. The resolutions then reflect doing more or less of something. “I weigh too much and vow to lose the weight this year” or “I don’t exercise enough and I’m going to exercise 3x per week” are examples of resolutions that are viewed from a perspective of not enough or too much that bring us to an action or doing something different.

A Sankalpa begins from recognizing something powerful and deeply heartfelt. We already know that this exists in us and our vow is to become it in our live choices or way of being in the world. A Sankalpa becomes a mantra or affirmation of what IS that helps to keep it in our field of consciousness. “I vow to be compassionate.” “I feel compassion towards others.” “I am compassionate.” All of these would be ways to express one’s Sankalpa. Personally I find that present tense statements (rather than future tense) empower the Sankalpa.

The first step is to be still, listen to your heart’s desires and feel. Sankalpa is feeling derived rather than a thought process. For many of us steeped in action, running from here to there, you will need to slow down and find stillness and silence to listen to the heart. Feeling what is birthing within is that first step, then proclaiming it often during the course of your day will help nurture it into being.

Awakening it with your mantra or affirmation would be the next step. Remember to empower it with a present tense verb of being. An example would be to transform an affirmation like “I will be more patient” becomes “I am patient.” “I want more love in my life” would become “I am loving.” Then vow to speak it out loud or to yourself often, and do it daily. You might find it helpful to link it with an activity during the day like brushing your teeth, going in or out of your car, or at mealtimes. I find it even more powerful to link it to those thoughts or actions that are in opposition to that which I am vowing. For example thoughts of fear or judgment might be the perfect time to proclaim, “I am loving.”

Your yoga practice will also help you to settle inward, and hear your heart’s desire. As you transform through the practice of yoga you may feel an alignment to your heart’s desires, which creates a sense of ease in releasing those “ways” that no longer serve you. You may have already experienced the letting go of something in your life that seemed so easy and natural that you dismissed it in some way, as you are used to more difficulty in changes in your life. Enjoy the sweetness that comes with this form of change. Embracing that each of us has the potential to transform with ease can be a keystone to the practice of Sankalpa We are simply breathing life into those parts of us that already exist.

I wish you a most splendid New Year, and may your heart’s desires be realized as you create them through Sankalpa.

Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Spirit, Yoga Philosophy | 3 Comments »

A Poem from the Heart

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

76407fbda36fa8f539ae7dcf72145568She screams from deep inside her heart – STOP IT!
Stop the hatred
Stop the fear
Stop the bigotry
Stop the bloodshed
Then her heart pushes harder and says “what then my dear?”

Love please
Understanding please
Compassion please
A gentle embrace please

And a deep sigh is heard

Today I reflected on all that seems to be stirring, boiling up and spurting out.  I struggle at times on how to hold the vibration of love, to keep my focus on how I can BE the difference and this poem came forth.  As I was inspired to express these feelings and thoughts, may you be inspired to live deeply from the heart’s purpose.  May you approach those trying moments, challenges and fears by listening to the wisdom of your own heart.  

Compassion     Love     Understanding  

Its a beginning.

 

Posted in Inspirations from Class, Spirit, Yoga And.. | 1 Comment »

Rise Up Moments

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

hot-air-balloon-beautiful-places-13815724-2560-1600There are people around you who inspire you in their actions, their speech, and their thoughtfulness. You already thought of some of them as you read that first line didn’t you? Have you ever wondered what it is about them that inspires you? What is different about them that brings you up, or maybe simply draws you in like a moth to a light?

 

Well here is just one thought to ponder – they are people who know how to actuate a RISE UP MOMENT! What is a Rise Up Moment you say? They are those moments when you feel you “can’t”, “shouldn’t”, “fear” or simply are sitting in “doubt”. In those moments you can choose to Rise Up or not. In Rise Up moments we are often unconscious which leads us to fall into habits that can either get us paralyzed by the fears and doubts or consciously awaken to query what will lead us to Rise Up.

 

It is those who Rise Up that are often our inspiration. They live a life from moment to moment making a choice to “go for it”, “do the right thing”, “listen to the higher inner voice” and stretch themselves.

 

You’ve seen them doing it, but may never have recognized what is actually happening that is inspiring you. Maybe you slip into a habit of not doing something when the inner doubts are activated. Those who inspire you actually are awakened in that same moment you may have fallen asleep. They hear a voice of wonder, see a moment of great opportunity and have repeated the pattern enough times to know how good it feels for everyone (including themselves) to Rise Up.

 

“Can I do this?”                 No, and I hate to fail     OR       YES I CAN!

“Should I do this?” No it will be _________(enter any words that express fear or uncertainty)

OR YES I WANT TO!

Those who inspire are willing to take a risk because it feels good to do it (based on repeated evidence) and although they may not succeed the first (or 5th) attempt, they have created a feeling of personal power that is raised up each time they do go for it.

 

You see it is not the fear of failure that stalls them into inaction, it is the joy of being more, learning through the attempts, or feeling the inflammation of personal power that motivates them into action. They smile when they are covered in the muck of a failed attempt, and like a dog, shake it off, and then look around to see what the next attempt will bring. And all of that is what inspires others.shake3

 

So be inspired, notice when it is happening around you and be awakened. For that is how each of us begins the journey to personal power through a Rise Up Moment. Others raise us up, we are awakened, and then it is up to us to make the changes we want to be. It is a personal journey each of us defines. We know when it is OUR Rise Up Moment, and we take flight. Each risk is ours to assess from this new point of view, and we plunge in. Take the leap knowing that you may take flight, or land in a mud bath. Either way leads us to RISE UP, again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Spirit | Comments Off on Rise Up Moments

Letting Go

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

I first received this wonderful reflection of Letting Go during a course I was taking at the Dovestar Institute.  As the season’s are changing from spring to summer when we often shed many different layers, I thought it was a perfect time to reflect on what it means to Let Go.  Enjoy, Nancy 

letting_go_by_bandico-d5s1eyhLetting Go – Author Unknown

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness,which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another, it is to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.

To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To “let go” is not to be protective, it is to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.

To “let go” is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less and love more.

Posted in Articles, Spirit, yoga, Yoga Philosophy | 6 Comments »

WELL BEING – a holistic way of living

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

happy woman in grass istockWhat is this thing called Well Being?  That is the question I asked myself as I began to prepare to teach a workshop during our recent retreat in France.  We all strive to find a taste of it, or have it be our root practice on our life path.  But what is it?  And then, how do I live in a state of it?

Let’s begin by looking at a couple of definitions of Well Being.

Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is linked to how you feel about yourself and your life. Source

This quote brings up the understanding of Well Being that it is related to how you FEEL about yourself and your life.  A yoga practice gives us the space to see what is really happening (clarity of mind), from there we can begin to change the way we feel about the situation.  This raises our sense of Well Being.

Well-being is most usefully thought of as the dynamic process that gives people a sense of how their lives are going, through the interaction between their circumstances, activities and psychological resources or ‘mental capital’.  Source

Well Being is a dynamic process, one where we may not be able to control what is happening around us, but we sure can use emotional intelligence and our internal locus to create a state of being that feels GOOD to us.  Just like any ‘workout’, when we begin to stretch our state of mindfulness and awaken to how we are reacting to a given situation, the process of Well Being begins to take root.

We no longer live feeling a victim state of our situations or circumstances.  We have the opportunity to see clearly, and then manage our emotions around what is occurring.  Well Being not only is a result of how we feel, but it also begins to “propagate” so that our viewpoint is nurtured by the ever strengthening state of feeling WELL.  The more we feel well, the more we see, experience and offer to our community wellness.

Did you know that according to Sovereign (an organization in New Zealand), for every one happy friend in your social network, your own chance of being happy rises by 9%. This is a wonderful example of the perpetuating nature of Well Being.  It is exponential within us, and affects those around us.

Wellbeing is about the combination of our love for what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health, and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities. Most importantly, it’s about how these five elements interactSource

What is so often missing as we outreach toward improving Well Being is that we look at things individually rather than holistically.   We think fiscal improvements will improve our Well Being, so we focus only on that neglecting our family or social relationships.  Anytime we focus solely on one aspect AND neglect the other aspects of Well Being we create a sense of isolation, which often undermines our sense of happiness, or at the worst creates our suffering.

Well Being is described as having 5 elements.

WellBeing

Take a week and notice if your way of living is a balanced sense of these 5 elements of Well Being.

  1. Community Well Being
  2. Professional Well Being
  3. Personal Well Being
  4. Fiscal Well Being
  5. Global Well Being

Are you involved in your community?  Do you have a good feeling about the community you live in?

Do you love your job and have good relationships with the people you work with?  Do you feel competent, and well compensated for what you do?

Do you take care of yourself, eat well and exercise?  Are your thoughts self loving and caring, or do you tend to think with self critical thoughts?

How do you feel about your financial self worth?  Are you comfortable giving to others fiscally, and receiving?

How do your actions and choices impact the planet we live on?  Are you conscientious of your consumption of resources?  Do you recycle, reuse, resource?

Most importantly, begin to see how these 5 elements interact with one another.  When you are doing work you love and feel well compensated, notice how you may feel better about volunteering your time or finances into your community.  When we are happy at home we are more apt to work efficiently so that we can spend more time with our family.  When you love where you live, how does that affect your daily choices across the other 4 elements of Well Being?

Lastly, here are 5 ways to Well Being that you can begin to explore.  Remember to work with all of them.  Don’t be overwhelmed but find some balance in your approach.

Connect – talk and listen, be there, be connected

Give – your time, your words, your presence

Take Notice – remember the simple things that bring you joy

Keep Learning – embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself

Be Active – do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood

Moment to moment, day to day, your sense of Well Being will rise.  It will be subtle at first and then become very clear to you that your sense of live is improving.

Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Spirit, Yoga Philosophy | Comments Off on WELL BEING – a holistic way of living

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