Suffering happens.

Spring is an excellent time to cultivate the shifts  or changes we want to pursue.  Depending on what’s going on in our life these shifts can be from anything from self-inquiry and service to business or relationships goals. But what happens when we are simply going along and something bad happens?  I could have just said challenging.  But let’s face it…bad things happen.  We often are just chugging along with our lives and we are not prepared for those interruptions when they occur.  And in some cases, we can never prepare ourselves.  The fact is that no one goes through life without pain or suffering. But the other truth is that none of us are sad forever.  The yoga practice was made for these situations. It’s important to develop these tools, coping mechanisms, understandings, practices or whatever you call them to help us heal, and if I’m being completely honest, simply function in times of crisis.  I’m no different than you.  I have great moments and not so great moments.  If you think about the challenges you’ve had, you can bet that everyone reading this newsletter has their own challenges.  What’s unfortunate is that we often go through these situations without the support or self care rituals that are so healing.  It was 20 years ago that I stepped out of a therapist’s office and decided to pursue holistic practices to help me heal and I’ve never looked back.  Today I study Buddhism, practice and teach yoga, and have a strong support system in place (which does include therapy when needed….just being real).  Service is also a great healer for me so I might do more of that when things are tough.  Because of this, when challenges arise, I can deal so much better and in a much healthier way than I used to be capable of.  I am more aware of everything that is happening in my body, with my breath, and with my thoughts.  I allow it all to happen, acknowledge everything I am feeling, and then begin again.   I am not as afraid of emotional pain as I used to be because I know it will pass.  And I know, no matter how much life is kicking my butt, I am blessed beyond measure.  These are the things that keep me going, and probably keep me sane along the way.

 

I believe so much in this work and have seen how it’s helped me, and so many others along the way. If you have the time next month, do consider attending the Yoga for Trauma Recovery intensive over two weekends.  If not, then maybe attend one of my workshops.  And if you only have a small amount of time then come to class. Just show up.   There is a saying in yoga, “practice and all is coming”.  Yoga is union and the more we connect to ourselves on all levels regularly, the easier it will be to navigate through those trying times that we all face.   Consider this your personal invitation.  I hope to see you soon.

Yoga and Spirituality

People will often ask me if my spirituality has changed since becoming a yogi. I was born Catholic, went to catholic school, received the sacraments, raised our kids catholic. I always will be tied to my catholic roots. But when it comes to my connection with God or my “Path”, I would have to say that yoga has definitely changed my perspective.

Yoga allows me to get quiet, become more connected to the sensations, thoughts, emotions and patterns of my body. What I tell them is that my yoga practice has awakened my spiritual path in a way that Catholicism didn’t. In Catholicism, to me it felt like I was told what to read or pray, then it was read to me, and then I was told what it meant. What it didn’t allow for me was the ability to think freely on my own or to consider my purpose.

Although I appreciate the rituals of Catholicism, the rules are a thorn in my side. As I’ve gotten older this type of dogma does not sit well with me. What the path of yoga offered me was the ability to look right into my soul without judgment. Believe it or not, looking deeper takes courage as we may not always like what we see. And by doing so, it allows the opportunity to be more compassionate towards others. This has definitely been the case with me.

Yoga is greatly influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism so if one is going to deepen their practice they will get a lot of exposure to these belief systems.   As I began to look deeper into these other religions and philosophies, I began to see that when you remove the dogma, each philosophy or religion has the same belief systems. Be kind to others. Love everyone. Show compassion for yourself and others. Now that is a path I can follow.