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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 »

Lessons from a Gypsy’s Lifestyle

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

wagonTraveling back and forth between 2 different homes has taught me a number of valuable lessons. I feel at times a gypsy’s spirit of freedom, and the calling of new places. The joy of moving from one beautiful location to another stirs mixed emotions, varying from the sheer joy of gratitude to the heart tugs of leaving a place and all of the wonderful friends, family and beauty it offers me. With that have come lessons.

 

STAY IN THE MOMENT –

It truly helps me to stay present with the tasks at hand, rather than get caught up with the angst or excitement of the next step. Before departure, I find myself taking each day at a time, and staying focused on what each day needs attending to. Which brings me to the next lesson.

 

BE BALANCED –

With all that is asked of me during the predeparture days, from the needs of the house and work, the desire to see friends before we go, and the passions that call to me in the form of playtime, I find it is truly valuable to be balanced. I find ways to get all the tasks completed while enjoying the fun of being with friends and family and getting out on the water, seeing plays and movies, or having a game night. Thankfully we are not saying goodbye, but simply see you soon!

 

LET GO –

As we are saying adieu to friends and family, I find great comfort in the ability to let go. It inspires me to also look at all the “stuff” we have collected and let go of much of it. I get to cleanse each home 2x per year, once when I leave the place and once when I arrive. I find this process very uplifting! I tend to look at what is worn or broken and no longer useable and throw it out. Then I look at what is no longer used but could be by others and I give that away. Finally I look at what is of value but I no longer need and I sell it off.

Each time we make the transition I clean out the house we are living in and shed all of those things I seem to no longer need. We pack up and leave. I then arrive at the other home and I look around at all of that stuff I kept after the last shedding and wonder why I kept it. I live 5 or 7 months without all these things left behind, so I go through it again when I arrive back “home.” Sometimes I am surprised at what I kept, and other times it does seem all useful.

 

All 3 of these lessons work in a beautiful synergy, and seem to support me in many other avenues in life. Here is to lessons gifted along the path of life!

 

 

Posted in Articles, Yoga Philosophy | 2 Comments »

Meditation – Where do I begin?

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

By Céline Peccatte and Nancy J Curran

meditation-techniquesWhen many think about starting a meditation practice, often there is a feeling of great uncertainty.   Where do I begin?  That is the question for the beginner meditator and for the instructor when answering that question.

The simple answer is to begin by meditating.  We know both the truth in this, and the pitfalls.

Without some form of support or guidance we can often find ourselves frustrated, confused, and in a pool of self-judgment. One of the collective misconceptions about meditation is that it helps one to stop thinking.  This is an impossible task even for a seasoned practitioner.  Because of it, one quickly concludes:  “ I am not good at meditating!, I can’t stop thinking!”  Wondering why we are doing this, in a state of judgment and defeat, we give up!

 

Yes, like many things that are new when you begin a meditation practice you will find the joy of conquering and discovery, at the same time you will be faced with roadblocks that will test you, and ask you to grow and change. In the beginning it is so very supportive to have resources that will help you along the way.  A meditation teacher, or meditation mentor, being part of a group, taking a class, reading about other’s journeys along the way are all great ways to help you when you are faced with some element of the practice that becomes difficult.

For some finding a group to meditate with is helpful, especially if there is some guidance or discussion within the time spent together.  Meditation is a deep practice that brings you to sit with yourself, observe and practice non-judgment.  In doing that you will sometimes feel quite isolated, alone and separated.  When practicing with a group there is a space created that helps the beginner to feel part of something, and supports you along the way when things may get trying.

In the beginning having support also helps to identify the benefits that you are receiving from the practice.  Let’s be honest here, most people don’t continue to do something if they do not perceive a benefit.  At first you may just feel more relaxed after the session, then you might start to feel the sense of calmness pervading throughout your day.  Other benefits include a calmer sense of emotions even when there are stressors, clarity of mind, physical well being and an uplifting sense of personal power that enables you to meet life in all its spectrum, as it is. The benefits are not goals to reach; they might just happen as secondary effects some days and more than likely a delightful breakthrough over time.

If you feel really at a loss, start by talking to others who meditate, asking them about their experiences.   Find out how they began or if they recommend any thing to consider as you begin your practice.  Consider taking a workshop that will help you to understand the different ways to meditate, which will help you identify what may be a jumping off point for you.  You will also want to learn about some of the roadblocks along the path of meditation, and then what tools to use to help diminish them.  If you are someone who likes to read about your interests, try Meditation for Dummies by Stephan Bodian.

Again we go back to the simple answer, just meditate.  Even for just 5 minutes, sit with yourself or lie down and be aware of your breath.  Free of judgment, you become aware.  You let go.  You struggle.  You are amused.  You create, and let go again. Eventually, you will find your way to come sit, meditate, observe the mind and in the end no matter what transpired you offered yourself a moment of kind attention.  Meditation can be as simple as that.  Welcome to meditation!

Want to learn more?  Céline will be teaching a Meditation Workshop on March 7, 2015

Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Workshops, Yoga Philosophy | Comments Off on Meditation – Where do I begin?

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.

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A Challenge to my fellow Yoga Teachers

Monday, September 1st, 2014

LOVE_3

As a yoga teacher I know the Yoga path is one of great learning, challenges and tremendous gifts rooted in deep personal growth.  We are constantly offered the space to step onto this path that is paved with the powerful element of yogic philosophy, as we traverse the landscape of profound and mystical teachings from the wisdom of ages.  Somewhere deep within in each of us we understand these teachings. They call to us and yet we are equally steeped in a culture that clashes with them.  The root of the challenge we share is found in that clashing of the softness of our understanding and the firmness that our cultural upbringing holds on us in the subconscious.  Raising awareness is our way.

To embrace the teachings, to infuse our life with them, to shed the Samscara (habits) of our cultural up bringing, and to shine the light of the true yoga path is our trial.

As I challenge myself each class, I invite you to join me and challenge yourself to bring forth the voice and words that reflect the yogic path.

Starting with Namaha, bowing to the greater esssence, find words that invite your students to explore the poses and unlock their bodies.  Let go of the words that reflect statements rooted in Ego and express what YOU want from or for them.  Does it matter at all what you want?  Catch yourself when you begin to say, “next I want you to…” and convert it to a statement of offering that brings them to becoming aware of their body or breath in the pose.

Bring your words that cue into the transformative experience that will help the students learn to self-love themselves rather than self abuse.  It may take them some time to hear you clearly, as their habit of self-criticism may translate what you are saying.  The challenge I extend here is for our practice of alignment with the tenants of yoga to be expressed from our own loving kindness, into the cueing expressions we use and the actions we take.  Repeat over, and over again to help them to hear this powerful message.

Make your cueing be full of allowing and diminish the importance of how things “should” be.  Guide them to feel what is available to them in each moment, each posture, each transition as they self discover and expand their own potential.  For instance in Warrior I, is the angle of the back foot the focus you are encouraging them to explore, or can they find the position from the hip?  What happens when you invite them to start from the hip and place the back foot in a position to support their own hip flexibility, rather than telling them to put the foot at a 42.5 degree angle?

Open your own heart as you listen to your cueing.  You will slip into your own habit of cueing, born from your teachers (and their teachers) and hear yourself say, “Next I want you to…”  Take that moment to smile, self love and transform again.  Look for how you can ask them to explore their practice, feel their experience and align from there.

I am offering this opportunity as a challenge of self growth. As you take this challenge your teaching will grow, as your heart expands.   Let me know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Articles, yoga, Yoga Philosophy | Comments Off on A Challenge to my fellow Yoga Teachers

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