Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 31 Intention ~ Celebrate Milestones


Day 31 Intention ~ Celebrate Milestones

Celebrate! One month down on these intentions. One month on my resolutions and I have pretty much followed them...I have missed a couple days of yoga, but that was when I was on vacation. I have been following a vegan diet for 2 weeks as of today & feel pretty great! 

We should all celebrate life a little more than we do. Enjoy it, live each moment fully, truthfully, with grace & love. We only get a short time here in this life, so why not enjoy it?!

January 31st on my African proverb calendar states, "A wise person, like the moon, shows only the bright side of the world." Let's stay on that proverbial sunny side of the street. 

Til tomorrow...

With love, shanti,

Marcia

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 30 Intention ~ Stop Comparing Myself to Others

Day 30 Intention ~ Stop Comparing Myself to Others

That goes for all of us. There are so many times that I go to another teacher's class and think to myself, "jeez, this teacher is great. I am a horrible teacher. I wish I was this good" or compare jobs, looks, lives, whatever and make myself feel unworthy. 

I see students do it in class all the time. Peeking or staring at a more advanced student's pose and then getting frustrated or pushing themselves farther than their body is ready to go. As much as I try to remind students to listen to their own body, accept where they are today, there is still that comparing going on. Not only them...me too. 

I hear friends compare themselves to other people physically and then put themselves down. It breaks my heart to hear people that are already so beautiful not have that confidence in themselves. 

We as a society put so much stock into having lots of money, tight abs, an expensive car, a big house...but in the end, who cares? If your heart is pure and you speak the truth, and you do everything with love, you are the most beautiful creature that there is in the world. 

We are all beautiful. No more comparisons. 

Til tomorrow.

Shanti, 

Marcia 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 29 Intention ~ Keep Laughing


Day 29 Intention ~ Keep laughing.

Keeping things light-hearted and filled with laughter even in the face of work stress, family stress, life stress, makes things easier to cope with. For me, it makes me more open to myself and others, it makes me more creative, more energetic and just more joyful. 

Yesterday, I was letting stresses get to me. Today, I am planning on keeping the laughter flowing and the positive attitude overflowing. I hope that you all have a wonderful day too. 

Til tomorrow...

Shanti,

Marcia

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28 Intention ~ Find Patience Even in Frustrating Situations

Day 28 Intention ~ Find Patience Even in Frustrating Situations

Trying to breathe through it. If you read yesterday's intention, it was about bringing grace to each moment everyday and enjoying life. Today, as a deadline approaches and I am having difficulty fulfilling my assignment, I feel stress and frustration looming over my head. 

Take 10 deep breaths...okay that helped. I know that keeping my head and being patient with this process is going to make it work much better for my constitution than getting frustrated and stressing out about it. 

When we get challenged in life, it's how we deal with the challenge that is the test. Same thing in yoga, on our mat. If a pose is difficult for us to do, if we grunt and groan and try to force ourselves into it, chances are, our body will tighten up, making the pose even more challenging or we may hurt ourselves. If we breathe through it and mindfully and consciously try to take all of the steps in the journey, we will get there. 

Take 10 deep breaths and know that it will all work out okay. You may save yourself from a sleepless night or a headache later if you do. 

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 27 Intention ~ Embrace All That Comes My Way


Day 27 Intention ~ Embrace all that comes my way.

Sunday. I love Sundays. Even though I usually have work to do, I don't usually teach any classes. Today I subbed a short 45 minute class. It was fun. It actually got me to motivate a little more than usual on a Sunday (the 45 minutes of spinning before the 45 minutes of yoga didn't hurt either). I came home walked the dog, connected with friends on Facebook, relaxed on the couch and watched a dvd, snuggled with my dog and laughed with my husband. Now, I am going to work on my writing assignments a bit, then make dinner and call my parents. It could sound too busy for a Sunday, but it's all been in a nice relaxed effort (well, except the spinning). 

Today has offered all sorts of enjoyable moments already with more to come. The reality of it is that with my work schedule, most days could be led this way. Just enjoyable & relaxed, embracing each moment in this great life. There is something about that Sunday feeling though that gives it a special feeling. So, my intention not only for today, but for all days is to embrace each moment, enjoy it, soak it in and I imagine my heart will be filled with joy and love...care to join me?

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26 Intention ~ Know that I already have all the tools...


Day 26 Intention ~ Know that I (and you!) already have all the tools inside.

It's true. 
OM 
Namah Shivaya Gurave
I honor the essence of Being, the Auspicious One, the luminous Teacher within and without,
Saccidananda Murtaye
Who assumes the forms of Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss,
Nisprapancaya ShantayaIs never absent, full of peace,
Niralambaya TejaseUltimately free and sparkles with a divine luster.
OM

This mantra rings in my head, especially if I am entering a new situation that I am not quite sure what to expect...especially a teaching situation. I interpret this mantra as the divine always being present in all of us and that we all already have everything we need. It's just a matter of uncovering that divine, that light in us all...the Self. The I-Am. 

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia


Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 25 Intention ~ Find Ease and Breath


Day 25 Intention ~ Find Ease & Breath

Maybe it should be find ease and breathe, both work. My African proverb calendar for today offers up a Kenyan proverb that reads, "The bird which flaps its wings too much will drop its feathers." Bringing this to my Westernized world, I read it two ways. The first as flapping one's mouth or talking too much or perhaps talking about others or even just plain complaining about things. Well, it happens. Not gonna lie, I already talked a little sh*t today, so maybe my feathers are going to drop. I hope not. But, I won't do it anymore :)

The other way I interrupt this is to just calm down. Period. Let the mind relax and just become focused and present. Lose the mind chatter. It's #2 in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras: "Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah"...yoga happens when the mind-stuff (or chatter) ceases. This will let the other things in life fall into place. Breath work is a great way to calm the mind and find focus. Practicing meditation is another wonderful way to find this focus, or concentration that eventually will lead to real meditation where there are no thoughts and one can enter samadhi, also known as bliss. 

For today, as the snow continues to fall in Cleveland, leaving road conditions less than ideal, I am going to try to use the calm and the breath to allow me to take it easy on my drive to Berea (@ 45 minutes away) and focus on the road and getting there and back safely. Deep breaths...deep breaths....

Til tomorrow.

Shanti, 

Marcia

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 24 ~ To Appreciate This Life


Day 24 ~ To appreciate this life.

I remember about a year and a half ago, sitting at my work desk, I would catch myself daydreaming, wishing I could just work from home and teach yoga and not be "stuck" in an office 8:30-5:30 each day. Today, the temperatures have warmed to a balmy 19 degrees, which believe me feels warm compared to the 6 degrees it was yesterday and the day before. It helped that the sun peeked out of the clouds too. I was taking George, my beloved dog, on a snow walk this afternoon and I realized that I am now doing what I used to daydream about at my old job. 

How lucky is that?!?! I can sit at my own computer in whatever clothes I choose and work on my writing assignments, I can walk my dog in the middle of the day or run errands at "off" times, I can even go to those middle of the day yoga classes that aren't filled to the brim. Life is good. I try to appreciate it every single day, but some days it is just more smack in the face obvious. 

Often in class, I ask my students to celebrate each step in their journey...today I am listening to my own advice. 

Til tomorrow.

Shanti, 

Marcia

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 23 Intention ~ To Allow Myself Some Rest

Day 23 Intention ~ To allow myself some rest. 

Well, I must've jinxed myself with yesterday's post. Today, the cold that had been teasing me the last few days blossomed into full swing. Ugh. 

Lots of times when I am sick, I shrug it off and still try to do a bunch of chores and all of that good stuff. Not this time. Although I did take care of a few things, other than that, I am on the couch resting. Our bodies are talking to us when these things happen, so for once, I am listening. 

On that note...til tomorrow.

Shanti, 

Marcia

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22 Intention ~ To Stay Healthy


Day 22 Intention ~ To stay healthy. 

Let's face it, winter in Cleveland can be rough. People are sick all around town and with a high of 12 degrees today, windchill of negative 15 degrees and windy snowstorms expected, my goal is to stay healthy. 

'Tis the season to eat lots of heavy, stick to your ribs type foods. Lots of carbs, lots of creamy or fried food. Not this chick! I am on my 6th day of veganism (except for one minor honey slip up) and I feel good. Lively...cold, but lively. 

Along with loads of vitamins and daily exercise, I think I may just surpass this season unscathed! Only time will tell. 

For yogis, diet is quite a debate. Many believe that veganism is the ultimate way of practicing ahimsa or non-harming. Sharon Gannon, co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga school is a huge animal activist and outspoken on the benefits both morally and health-wise of veganism. Other yogis believe that being vegetarian with some dairy is fine...and still others believe you can eat what you like, so long as it is healthy. 

I am not here to preach. But, I can attest that in the last 6 days, I've felt cleaner and a little bit lighter than I have in quite some time. Do what is right for you. Do what makes your body feel its best and keeps you healthy. 

Til tomorrow...stay warm out there!!

Shanti,

Marcia

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21 Intention ~ To Always Keep Trying


Day 21 Intention ~ To Always Keep Trying

I am a yoga teacher, but my practice is still just that, a practice. I struggle in arm balances. I have fear going up into handstand. But, I will always keep trying. I can feel myself get stronger the more I try, whether I get up into the pose or not. There was a time when I would just go into child's pose when this situation came up or I would watch all of those around me that seem to effortlessly float up. 

In my classes, I am often telling students to enjoy the journey, the end pose is not what is important. It's how you get there, physically, emotionally and mentally. Learn through the movements. Listen to your body. 

I have gotten hung up on my wishing I could get to these poses, but as soon as I let that go, I started lifting that second leg a little higher, I could feel my core engage or my thighs scissor towards one another. Just keep trying.

When we come into these difficult situations on our mat, discover your reaction to them. Try to calm it down rather than stress out about getting up into the pose. This training of the mind can also help when we experience difficulties in our daily life off the mat. It will help to keep us calm and hopefully whomever we are dealing with calm and solutions may come rather than strife. Breathing, being accepting, and enjoying the journey are all wonderful parts of this life. Enjoy.

Til tomorrow...

Shanti,

Marcia

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 20 Intention ~ No Regrets


Day 20 Intention ~ No Regrets

I have always tried to live my life without regrets. Have I done stupid things? Yes, yes I have. But, I try to learn and grow from these mistakes. Sometimes it takes longer than other times. Sometimes they are bigger than others. 

What I do know is that we can't turn back and change what we did, so there is no point in regretting our past actions. 
It can be hard to do, but dwelling on them instead of moving forward gets us nowhere. 

Live in the present. Accept each moment as it is and just keep trying to grow and move forward. 

Til tomorrow...

Shanti,
Marcia

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 19 Intention ~ To Be Understanding of Others


Day 19 Intention ~ To be understanding of others. 

Simple as that. I think that we all get wrapped up in our own issues, opinions, needs, wants, and daily lives that we can find ourselves overlooking what others need, want, think, and on and on. We lose understanding of others. Even our closest loved ones. 

So, simply put, I am going to try to keep putting myself in other's shoes, so that I can better understand their needs. Maybe that way, we can figure out a way to make our needs mesh and work together. 

Seems like a much more peaceful way to live.

Til tomorrow. 

Shanti, 

Marcia

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18 Intention ~ Relax a Little Bit


Day 18 Intention ~ Relax a little bit.

The week after being away from home can be hectic. This week has been an extremely busy week since returning last Sunday. Add in my husband's flu and taking care of him, it was downright exhausting. 
As I tried to get all of my responsibilities done at all hours of the day and night this week, I am happy to say that I am now going to take a little time to relax. My writing assignment turned in, one yoga class down with one to go later this afternoon, I am feeling pretty good. I even got my own practice in already today! 
Balance is so important in our lives. It helps to bring a calm and ease to our minds and our bodies. Especially in Western culture, we have this mindset that it is better to be busy, busy, busy...all of the time. Even if we are pulling our hair out, are only taking short breaths, eating fast and unhealthy while at our desks, and raising our blood pressure  while we're at it, we still think this is what we are supposed to be doing. 
Take a break. Walk away from your desk - even better take a walk on your lunch hour. Put down your smartphone. Enjoy a salad. Laugh. Enjoy your friends. Breathe deep. Allow yourself some time for you. Doing that will make you that much better for whatever you need to do the rest of the day or for whomever you meet.

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 17 Intention ~ Remain Patient

Day 17 Intention ~ Remain Patient

I apologize for another short, quick blog today, but it's been crazy over here. 

Patience is a virtue. 

Today, my husband had to go back to Metro to a doctor's appointment and to get some blood work done. I drove him because of the high quantities of medications he's been taking lately because of his illness. As you can imagine, we got there and sat and waited for the doctor. Then, we went to blood drawing and the room was packed, so we waited some more. 

As time passed, and our day drifted away. I wondered if I'd make my writing deadline in a relaxed fashion or have to pull a late night trying to get it finished. I felt myself tensing up. I started to stress out. I lost my focus and priority again! (See yesterday's intention.)

Breathe. Breathe deep. Focus on the third eye, a.k.a. the ajna chakra. Deep breaths can help calm a fired up mind and create patience in an impatient being. 

The writing is just about done and patience is still a virtue. 

Til tomorrow.

Shanti, 

Marcia

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 16 Intention ~ To Keep My Priorities in Check

Day 16 Intention ~ To Keep My Priorities in Check

Ever since my husband & I returned from vacation on Sunday, my husband has been pretty sick. Fever, chills, congestion, cough, achy...flu-like. Finally, when his fever hit 102 degrees this morning, we went to the doctor. We were there all morning as they poked and prodded him because of a funny rash he has also developed. 
As we were sitting there waiting, I can't stop thinking about my classes today and a writing assignment I have due this week. Being pretty self-centered to be perfectly honest. 
He needs to go see someone else tomorrow. At the same time as my classes. At first I consider letting him take himself. Then, I realize what a selfish jerk I am being and cancel/find subs for my classes. My priorities were out of whack, even if only for a short period of time, they were out of whack. This is the love of my life & of course I will be there when he needs me. 
So, that is my lesson (and intention) of the day. If you find yourself putting work, no matter how much you love it, in front of your family and loved ones, you may want to check yourself because those are the most important people in your life...or at least they should be. 

Shanti,

Marcia


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 15 Intention ~ Remember That When One Door Closes, Another One Opens


Day 15 Intention ~ Remember that when one door closes, another one opens.

At least that tends to be my experience. Even if a door closes, maybe not all of the way, it is opening up bigger and better things on the other side. We hope. At first, we usually tend to stare at that closing door, wishing it were still wide open. 
Alexander Graham Bell said, "When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
There are going to be constant changes in life. The test is how we react to these changes. In my experience, when I have reacted in a way in which I acted as if my world was forever changed for the worse and I would never recover, well, no surprise, it took me longer to enter a new positive space. 
When I have reacted with acceptance that the universe must have a bigger and better plan for me, that new door has managed to open a little bit more quickly. Of course, let's be realistic here, it still takes hard work and determination to get what you want in life (at least for most of us). When unexpected changes occur, of course, our hearts may sink a little bit and we feel disappointed...we are still human after all. But, it's how we carry on after that initial disappointment that allows us to move on and grow. 
In yoga, we learn to accept what is happening around us at any moment, knowing that change is constant. We are tested through our reactions. When we can come face to face with change and find calm and acceptance, we come that much closer to the end goal...samadhi or bliss. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14 Intention ~ To Remain Balanced

Day 14 Intention ~ To Remain Balanced

Back to life at home. Today is my first day back at work and I really want to keep that balance between work and free time. Being an independent contractor, whether it is teaching yoga or writing, I find myself working all the time. It could be writing/touching up assignments or planning classes (either in my head or on paper.) Before I left on vacation last week, I found myself constantly working on something. Now that I am back, I want to be sure to find balance between work and  well, not working. I would say "pleasure", but I enjoy my work, so it is pleasurable, but relaxation is still a necessary element of life. 
Taking time out to relax, be with my husband, friends, family or to just be with myself is very important for everyone. It allows us to rejuvenate so we can perform our job better. 
So, as I did a bunch of chores yesterday when I awoke and started to plan today and this coming week, I found myself already creating long lists of things to get done and slowly noticed my relaxation fading away. So, witnessing this behavior, I am going to be very conscious to keep a balance in my life so as to not burn out. 
Finding this balance will allow peace, steadiness and calm to continue...which sounds like a continuous vacation to me. 

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 13 Intention ~ To Appreciate Home

Day 13 Intention ~ To Appreciate Home

Back home. It was a wonderful week away that I will never forget. It's funny how when we are excited to escape our regular lives for a vacation, it makes us feel like our life at home is boring or mundane or too busy and stressful. 

Well, as much as I loved this past week, it feels good to be back in my comfortable house with my husband, dog and cat, just relaxing before it's back to work tomorrow. 

So, short and sweet today: appreciate all you have whether you are home or traveling...life is a wonderful adventure wherever you are and whatever it is you are doing!

Namaste my friends.

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 12 Intention ~ To Remain Grateful


Day 12 ~ To remain grateful for this amazing trip...again. 

Time to go home. Feeling ready to get back to my regular life on land again. Keeping this feeling of relaxation, calm and balance going once getting back to the daily grind will be a challenge, but I am going to try. 

To do this, I will stick with the plan. Practice yoga asana, pranayama and meditate daily. Eat healthy...now on to the full vegan! Enjoy each moment, no matter what life throws at you. It's all for a reason, our job is to learn from it. 

Namaste to all. 

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11 Intention ~ To Enjoy Every Last Moment of this Vacation


Day 11 ~ To enjoy every last moment of this vacation with my sweet husband. 

Soaking every last bit in, finding joy and beauty in everything. Continuing santosha with presence and appreciation of each moment. 

There is so much in my life to be grateful for, including my sweet husband, who doesn't always get as much credit for my happiness as he deserves. Getting to spend this time away with him where we could both detach from the so-called real world and celebrate our lives together means so much and is so important. 

Getting away like this reminds us of how lucky we are, and how we need to appreciate and be grateful every single day of our lives. 

Tomorrow we head home, so for today, I will remain grateful from my little fantasy ship out in the ocean. :)

I am also grateful to all of you out there.

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10 Intention ~ To Awe at the Vastness of the Ocean...

Day 10 Intention ~ To Awe at the Vastness of the Ocean & Allow Each Wave to be a Part of Me.

So Ham! I am that! We are all part of this huge pulsing universe. One vibration. Even though I am in awe of the vastness of the ocean, it is a part of me. 

Even though I awe at the amazing talents of the musicians on this cruise, they are part of me. 

Even though I awe at the beauty of love, I know that it is part of me. 

Even though I awe at the anger of hate, I know that it is part of me. 

Even though I awe at the sound of laughter and joy, I know that it is a part of me. 

Even though I awe at the sadness of tears, I know that it is a part of me.

Even though I awe at the entire universe, all of its creatures, mammals and plants, energy, the planets, the stars, ideas, emotions, all of it, I know that it is all a part of me & I am part of it all. 

So Ham~ I am that! 

Shanti, 

Marcia

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 9 Intention ~ To Soak in the Beauty of the Deep Blue Water & Beach


Day 9 Intention ~ To Soak in the Beauty of the Deep Blue Water & Relaxing Beach.

Today we are in Turks & Caicos. We are able to escape the ship for 6 hours or so and find a little beach paradise. The goal today is to just soak it all in, enjoying each precious moment in this faraway beautiful place. 

Oftentimes in class, I remind the students to be present and enjoy the journey. That is the goal and intention of today, and all days, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

Shanti, 

Marcia

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 8 Intention ~ To Practice Yoga & Eat As Healthy As Possible


Day 8 Intention ~ To Practice Yoga & Eat as Healthy as Possible

Pretty straight forward. There are 4 or 5 yoga classes with 4 different teachers on the cruise this year, so it will be nice to learn from some new and different teachers. Of course, in keeping with my 2013 intention, I will still be practicing each of the days that there are not scheduled classes. 

Cruise food. Not the most vegan of choices besides salad at every meal. My goal is to attempt to eat vegan if I can, but if I slip to at least eat as healthy as possible all week. 

The obvious benefits with regular practice and a good diet are that I will feel better, more energized and be healthier. 

Plain & simple. 

Shanti, 

Marcia

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 7 Intention ~ Be Open to Others


Day 7 Intention ~ Be Open to Others

Ahhhh the cruise ship! Before boarding, you wait in line for hours with the other 3000 people getting on board. This particular cruise is Jam Cruise, so I'd say that the cruisers are a tad bit more rowdy than other cruises. John & I live alone with a dog and a cat and really lead a pretty mellow existence day to day. At first, being surrounded by so many amped up people, is a bit overwhelming and my flight instinct has set in past years where I just want to run for the hills (or to my cabin in this case) until I feel more settled. 

This year, I am going to embrace the madness! Meet more people and just accept the situation from the get go. I love people, so this shouldn't be too difficult. We are all one energy out there in the universe anyhow, so finding santosha, also known as contentment, in any and all situations is the best idea. And, leading with an open heart and mind has always worked better in life than the other way around, so bring it on! 

Shanti, 

Marcia

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6 Intention ~ To Remain Calm & Breathe

Day 6 Intention ~ To Remain Calm & Breathe 

In the airport. Don't get me wrong, flying is not what gets me unnerved when traveling. It's the airport, the hustle and bustle, the delays, the cancelled flights, the possibility that something could go wrong. 

This anxiety is really not unwarranted. Several years ago, when still living in Colorado, my husband and I decided to make the trek back to Rochester to see my family for the holidays. At first, our flight was delayed because of a snow storm in Cincinnati on the first leg of our flights. Then, the delay was so long, we were going to miss our connecting flight to Rochester. So, they switched our flight to a different airline and sent us to Atlanta on Christmas Eve. Luckily, my brother lives there, so we actually got to see him and his family for the holiday. Our next flight, sent us to Philadelphia, where we would get to fly to Rochester. Unfortunately, the baggage folks on that particular airline went on strike Christmas day, so although we made it to Rochester, our bags did not. It goes on from there, but I won't bore you with anymore details. 

A positive that came out of that was that we got a free flight anywhere domestic from the first airline. So, we used it for our honeymoon to get to Florida, where we had to catch a little plane to the Caribbean that we could only get on Saturday. Well, lo and behold, there was a computer problem, so our flight to Florida was delayed so we wouldn't get there to make our flight. After many lines and phone calls, they shuffled us around & got us there to get our flight.

Soooo, once on the plane. I am good. Rereading this, I feel like a complete whiner, I mean, really- I know that I have been lucky to get to go to these beautiful places and see my beautiful family and that the hassle was worth it in the end. I also learned that although my husband doesn't practice the physical yoga asana practice, he handles these stressful situations on a much more enlightened and yogic way than I do. 

The biggest lesson I learned from these two crazy trips is to breathe. My yoga practice on the mat & definitely in my life have evolved greatly since those trips 7 years ago, but there is still that part of me that feels anxiety until I see that plane on the tarmac and we are boarding. 

Until that moment, just breathe.

Shanti, 

Marcia

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 5 Intention ~ To turn off


Day 5 Intention ~ To turn off

As of 5:45 yesterday afternoon, vacation officially started. Woo hoo! Yet, my mind is still racing. I keep going over things that I need to do before we leave (of course-that's normal), but also thinking about what needs to get done when we return. I start thinking about bills that need paid, missing classes for a week, etc, etc, etc. 

It's been a little bit over a year since I started working mainly as a yoga instructor, and partly as a writer and a knit assistant, so I feel like I am constantly thinking about work. Although I am doing what I love and feel more fulfilled than ever before, I am not assured a set amount of pay each day/week/year or even class in a lot of instances. In that way, it's so different from when I had a full time salaried job. Granted, my happiness on a daily basis is much greater now, my stress about other things, like, how will I pay for this or that, is greater than it used to be. Is it worth it? Yes. But, the ability to "turn off" is more difficult. I am sure anyone who runs their own business feels this way. 

So, now that I am officially on vacation. My intention is to turn off and savor each moment. I know that doing this will refresh me and make my classes and other work better when I return. 

We all need to "turn off" at some point. To hit our internal "refresh" button. It's healthy for the mind, body and soul. Even if it's just a 10 minute break (although a full day or afternoon would be better!)

I guess going back to yesterday's thoughts on meditation and dharana, dhyana & samadhi need to come back into play, along with some pranayama to help soothe and calm the mind. 

I wish for you all to enjoy each moment & savor this journey no matter what you are doing. 

Til tomorrow...

Shanti, 

Marcia

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 4 Intention ~ Stay Focused

Day 4 Intention: To stay focused. 

My husband & I are leaving on a vacation Sunday that we have been waiting months and months to go on and, of course, there are many things to tie up before boarding a ship and sailing off to sea for a week. 

That being said, I have a tendency to procrastinate...well, everything! So, today's goal is short and sweet. Stay focused. There is a renovation going on at the studio that I teach at normally on Friday mornings, so my class for this morning was cancelled. This made me think, "Oh, I have all the time in the world to get things done today." As I hung out on the Lazy Boy chair with my cat, sipping coffee and watching a show I recorded on the dvr, it's suddenly 11:30 am and time to get my act together today! 

Dharana is the 6th limb of Patanjali's 8-limbs of yoga, and it means to meditate with single-pointed focus or concentration on an object. This is the first step in meditation.  As we advance in our meditation abilities, we lose that separation between ourselves and the object on which we are meditating, coming into the next stage, dhyana. As we practice and practice meditation, we eventually lose any ego involved and fuse with the universe, and a higher power, finding the final stage, samadhi, also known as bliss. 

Practicing meditation, I have found, allows me to be more focused throughout the day and keep motivated. 

That being said, I am off to meditate and to regain focus before this day slips away.

Shanti, 

Marcia

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3 Intention ~ To Go with the Flow


Day 3 Intention: To go with the flow (and take child's pose if necessary)

Didn't sleep well last night. I went to bed a little later than normal & when I arrived on my pillow, the mind started racing. Eventually, the breath work I used to calm my mind worked, but this morning I am tired. 

Today is my busiest day for classes, so I am just going to remain calm and do my best. Go with the flow. I thought to myself last night, that for my own yoga practice today, I would attempt the primary series again. Right now, that seems overwhelming, so I am going to go with the flow and accept however my practice is today and take child's pose when I need. This has immediately relieved some of the pressure I put on myself, which, of course, isn't a very yogic way of living anyhow. 

Everything in life happens for a reason. Not sleeping very well, even though it doesn't make me feel my best for today, helps me to realize that the world isn't going to collapse if I don't get every little thing checked off of my list today.

Just go with the flow & let life unfold as it will. 

Til a more rested tomorrow....

Shanti, 

Marcia

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 2 Intention ~ To Practice What I Preach



January 2, 2013. 

Today's intention is to practice what I preach (on and off the mat). 

Often in class, I find myself repeating certain things time and time again to my students:

  • "Your practice is different each time, so do not judge yourself." 
  • "Everyone's practice is their own and each of us are at a different place, so do not compare yourself to the person next to you."
  • "Be present." 
  • "Keep a calm, steady breath."
All of these can help us not only in our physical yoga practice, but also in how we deal with situations in our life off the mat. Most yogis who have a consistent practice will confirm that their reactions to different, especially trying, situations, has taken a calmer, more thoughtful approach since starting their regular yoga practice. I can attest to that too. 

Although I know all of this, it can still happen. Even though I may be sore from an intense practice the day before, I wish my shoulders weren't so tight while doing down dog, or I watch in amazement while someone in class floats effortlessly around their mat, when I feel like I am grunting and groaning through class. And there goes that presence and breath. While thinking about that person next to me, I've lost my focus on my practice hence losing my breath at the same time. 

So, for today, I intend to keep my practice steady, focused, non-judgmental, calm and my own...whatever it may be today. When I allow this for myself, it makes me more confident, calm and in general, much nicer to those I come in contact with for the rest of the day. 

Til tomorrow!

Shanti, 

Marcia



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Intentions



Happy New Year! 

As with each new year that passes, many new & grand resolutions will be made that tend to get thrown by the wayside as soon as the daily post holiday grind hits. Maybe they were too big, too grand...we all do it. Sure, this year I have a few grand "resolutions" that I would like to conquer over the course of 2013, but more importantly, I want to try to  set daily smaller intentions to keep me focused and present. 

Of course, one of my more grand resolutions is to post a blog each day right here regarding my small intention of that particular day. Now, finding time to write can be a struggle on a daily basis, so I am really seeing this as more of a habit change than a resolution (although I suppose most resolutions are habit changes.) You all will find out soon enough if this grand "resolution" loses steam or not. 

Some other larger resolutions this year are to actually practice yoga asana, pranayama & meditation every day of this year, to change my diet to a vegan diet...I am allowing myself a few weeks to make the conversion, only because I am going on vacation in a few days and am not sure if there will be vegan options where I am going, BUT if there are (beyond only salad), I will try to stick to it on vacation also. 

Setting a small intention each day is a great way to help keep focus on what is important. It can make us more present and conscious...today. I think that will allow for a little more appreciation of whatever is going on that day-good, bad, happy, sad, or non-eventful. I invite you to join me in this practice and perhaps start a new good habit to help you become more aware. Keep it simple. Maybe it is as simple as taking 10 deep breaths in and out before reacting if someone upsets you. Maybe it's to meditate each day, starting with 10 minutes and increasing once this behavior becomes part of your daily life. Maybe it's to smile at the first person you see each day. Your intention is yours & no intention is too small. Each intention is important. 

My intention for today is to greet the new year by practicing yoga asana, pranayama & meditation with an open mind and heart. 

So far, so good...

Shanti, 

Marcia