“This is temporary.”
“This too shall pass.”
Two reminders that can assist us in our yoga practice along with our everyday life. For instance, when you are in a yoga pose that is uncomfortable for you or in that plank that seems to be lasting forever, it is important to remind yourself that you will not be there forever. It is temporary. You will get to your Savasana at the end of class! When we remind ourselves this, it is easier for us to find the ability to find the strength to get though the uncomfortable pose or the plank that you feel you can no longer hold. Along with yoga, in life, these reminders can help us through a heartbreak, a certain mood, an “off” day, an experience or any situation we may be placed in. We live in a world that is in constant change, therefore all is temporarily just happening at that moment.
Allow yourself to experience these moments without the attempt to control, knowing that the moment is temporary, and it will pass. Once the moment comes where it has passed, this is a miracle. This will lead you to become more grateful as a person.
During a yoga session this past Sunday, I taught a client that I have been teaching for about a year now. He expressed to me that he recently experienced the most effective at home yoga practice that he has ever had. He expressed that before this practice he was feeling imbalanced, insecure and anxious but after his practice he felt released, grounded and in a more relaxed state of mind than he ever had before after a usual at home practice. I questioned him as to why he believed this practice was more effective for him than other practices. He expressed that he allowed himself to freely flow through his practice without overthinking if he was doing poses or stretches “right” or “wrong” or creating any type of expectation or judgment on himself.
After hearing this, it was definitely a proud moment for me. Over the past year, as his teacher I have encouraged him to see yoga through this perception and to hear that he has reached it on his own put a smile on my face. I realize that this is a common thought when completing yoga (the fear of if you are practicing a pose “right”, “wrong”, “good” or bad”). It is also common that the ego likes to trick us into believing we are not good enough by allowing us to create comparison between the way you complete a pose and the way that someone else may complete a pose.
I was inspired to create this post as a reminder for the next time that you step on your yoga mat. Allow yourself to observe these thoughts and begin to leave the judgment behind so you can simply let go. The attitude that you bring to the mat will shape your poses. Rather than giving power to the pose to change you, focus on the power that you have yourself to change the pose. In yoga as well as in our everyday lives, our outcomes root from the attitudes that we carry. For instance, when I allow myself to go into my practice with an open mind and a positive attitude, I can tell the difference amongst my flow, poses, and my overall practice as a whole.
Take joy onto your mat or into your life and watch what happens.
Reflecting on 2 years ago when my yoga journey began…
Yoga came into my life 2 years ago after 4 incredible yet extremely chaotic years of college. I got my yoga certification originally for a recreational therapy internship but once I began my yoga practice and completed my certification course, I became intrigued by the transformative power that it had on my life. It couldn’t have come at a better time 🙏🏻 fresh out of college and into the real world can be pretty scary for most of us! but I was not scared, with the help of this practice I had my eyes opened to a more peaceful lifestyle that I was eager to begin. a life filled with intention, self-confidence, presence, strength and the ability to become closer to my best self. I began to develop better coping mechanisms and perhaps just get a glimpse of the joyful, free person I was capable of being.
Yoga is a continuous practice to to grow, heal and live with intention each day. I am endlessly grateful for the healthy transformative patterns yoga has created within how I choose to nourish my mind, body and soul. This is why there is nothing I love more than to share it with others.
Your journey can begin whenever you decide, all you have to do is give yourself permission.
My goal for the past year as a recreational therapist at Stamford Hospital has been to create a program to incorporate the holistic approach into the medical field. I am thrilled to say that this has been quite a success throughout the past year and a half that I have worked here. I believe that the mind-body-spirit connection has the ability to heal anyone no matter what they may be experiencing. In the medical field where many drastic changes are occurring in people’s lives, this is definitely needed.
I am excited to say that I have been asked to hold an experiential presentation at the upcoming international Planetree Conference. In this presentation, I will be sharing some of the interventions and treatments I do at the hospital and how the holistic approach has been effective in the healing process of patients in the physical rehabilitation unit, the psychiatry unit and inpatient. For the presentation, I am planning to incorporate mindfulness, relaxation therapy and art therapy into the experiential presentation. This past week I held a group in the psychiatric unit that combines all three components and I decided to write a blog post on this fascinating experience.
The group began with guided imagery that I read aloud. I guided the patients to create a visual of their safe place. This guided imagery consisted of visualizing a place using their senses. While I read the guided imagery script, we also had relaxation music playing in the back and had dimmed the lights to set a very calming mood for the patients. As I read the script, I observed the patients in the room. Some patients began to cry and others looked more relaxed than I have ever seen them before.
At the end of the script I told the patients that I was now going to give them a little piece of paper the size of a business card and on this piece of paper they could write one word that they would use to describe their safe place that they visualized and on the other side draw the image if they would like.
After the patients did this, I asked if anyone would like to share. To hear the patients’ experiences of what they consider their safe or happy places was such an incredible experience. One patient expressed that she visualized a beautiful field in park with her kids, at inner peace with herself and the world. Another patient stated that her “safe” place was her bed. No matter where these places are, it gave me a fulfilling feeling to know that these patients were able to visualize a place that made them feel safe or happy during this difficult time in their lives.
At the end of the group I reminded the patients that these places are always available to them through visualization even if they cannot physically be there. I told the patients that they will now have these cards to keep with them to stick in their pockets or place in their wallets to remind them of the way that they felt when they were in their safe place and a reminder that they can be grateful to have this place. I also reminded the patients it may not be where they are it may be who they are with.
This group was truly an incredible experience and I look forward to holding future groups combining relaxation therapy, mindfulness and art therapy. I also look forward to being able to hold an experiential presentation at the Planetree Conference to share how these holistic techniques can be extremely beneficial in the healing process.
When you can visualize with your imagination, you can easier create whatever you want to happen in your life. As for today, think of one place that you would consider your safe or happy place. Now take a moment to visualize it and take a couple deep breaths. Write down a word that associates the way that you feel in this place. You will experience at least one stressful moment today, when this happens, come back to this place or this word.
When practicing yoga, it is not about becoming more flexible but rather becoming softer in each pose and as we go through our daily lives. When we become softer, we release our need to understand everything around us and go more with the flow of life.
For instance, there is many things we may not be able to understand. We may question: “what is the universe?”, “why is the universe?” Or “where is the universe?”. Even the wisest people cannot answer these questions. Although, we can choose to soften and allow ourselves to open our hearts to the universe and welcome it, even though our understanding is incomplete.
With this scenario, or any scenario, we can accept that we may be uncertain or have an incomplete understanding of something, but can choose to soften, accept and open our hearts to it anyways.
When you finish reading these words, take in this moment through your senses: sensations, sounds and thoughts. Soften to your life as you experience it in this moment, even if you have incomplete understanding.
In yoga and in our daily lives, I am learning to be strong yet graceful, steady yet soft, and powerful yet gentle. I realize that the ability to find balance between these opposites can be extremely challenging but also can reveal a healthy soul. Balancing these two elements creates harmony in asana and life.
Today, remind yourself that you do not have to be one or the other. A healthy lifestyle for your mind, body, and soul is being able to balance various qualities and accept yourself as a whole.
Throughout the past year, I have realized the importance of healing as a whole. I realize that when we experience events in our lives, it is crucial to give ourselves the necessary healing to to be able to move on with our lives in a loving way. If we do not take the time to check in with ourselves or allow ourselves to accept what we may be experiencing this can have an effect on our future. I believe that the saying is true “when we you heal yourself, you heal the world”.
The better we do for ourselves, the better we do for the world. The more love we give to ourselves, the more love we give to the world. The more we forgive ourselves, the more we forgive the world. The more gratitude we have for ourselves, the more gratitude we have for the world. The healing energy that we give ourselves, is the energy we give out to the world. I could go on and on, but most importantly, I realize that what we give to ourselves, we give out to the world.
So when you think of how you want to make a difference in this world, or the energy you want to attract.. ask yourself.. “what am I giving myself?”
“The breath is the gateway to consciousness.”
Every morning I begin my commute with a passage from the book “A Year of Living Your Yoga” by Judith Lasater (I love this book so much that it is my second year reading it🤭). For each day there is a inspirational saying or passage for your day that is related to yoga.
One of the passages for this week was “the breathe is the gateway to consciousness”. This reminded me of an experience I had with a patient this past week. I have been treating a patient with relaxation therapy. This has consisted of progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, breathing techniques, mindfulness and the body scan technique. After our first session, she said “it finally feels like all this is real and actually happening”. To give you a background on this patient- she is a dancer who just recently has experienced a stroke. She is now unable to feel the right side of her body, unable to walk independently and has lost a lot of strength in her hands to the point where she is unable to write. All of these are extremely drastic changes in ones life and I can completely understand how it has been such a shock for her and has not felt like reality.
Once she took a step back and focused on the present moment by using her breath, she was able to gain insight and feel as if this was all reality. In her situation, as well as any situation in life, I have realized the importance of using the breath to assist us. Our breath is always available to us, we just don’t always intend to place our focus on it.
Today or any day when you feel like your thoughts are scattered or your feeling the need to control… take a deep breath in and then elongate your exhale as the breath of letting go. Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
This will help you to release the stale, negative energy you may be holding in so you can make space for new, fresh, and positive energy to come into your body.
The passage below is from the book “Come on, Inner Peace” by Sachin Garg. This book was given to me by a man who was working in a little store located in the markets of Jew Town in Kerala, India. I am grateful that I was given this book because it opened my eyes to a heart warming story filled with various strong messages about inner peace. I loved this passage from the book and so I figured that I would share it!
From the chapter “The wind beneath my wings” on pg. 226-
“We are nothing but the mistakes we make. And everybody makes mistakes. That’s what makes us human. It’s important to forgive yourself for those mistakes and accept yourself with them instead of ruing yourself over it forever. We have a tendency to relapse into the mistakes we’ve once made, because we feel we have been there once, we could do it again. But that is where your inner strength, friends, family, passions, books, and love will play a role. Distract yourself to positivity and let life surprise you with its rewards.”