Fearing Our Light. . .

Our ability to recognize our own power and light is NOBILITY.  The cultivation of this virtue teaches us to stop hiding behind our often self-imposed labels of inadequacy and self-doubt and rise with courage to serve ourselves and others.  
Nobility is the knowledge that our lives are a gift, we are all of value, we are blessed and we have a choice.  We can choose to excuse our inaction with tales of expectations, self-doubt and societal correctness or we can run towards those in need with the gifts we have to offer.
 We can choose FEAR.  
OR
we can choose our LIGHT!
Choose the power of KINDNESS, HUMILITY, COMPASSION and offer your 
GOD GIVEN TALENTS.
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OUR DEEPEST FEAR-3

TENACIOUS D-etermination

Tenacity is the practice of persistent determination as we move towards fulfilling our intentions.  Once we choose a specific goal,  we must cultivate the patience and stamina to get up when we fall or refocus when we lose our way.
When exploring the virtue of tenacity, I struggled to find much in-depth writing from the yogic perspective.  The following quote is sourced from my original inspiration to work through the practice of the 18 Ities – Happinez magazine.  It reminds me of the importance of returning to my intentions.  When things get tough for me, when I feel myself grasping and clinging on for dear life – if I return to my intention ALL IS WELL.

Perseverance.  Life is a spiritual search and this search is not a straight, vertical line, it’s a winding road.  Dark patches, mountain roads, side-paths, crossroads where choices have to be made, getting lost, stumbling, getting back up again.  These aspects are all part of it.  This is where we learn to be tenacious.  What was the objective?  If we bear this in mind, we won’t easily let go.  Don’t be discouraged if something fails.  But more importantly: don’t be discouraged if you sometimes fail.  Hold on to who you are as well as who you want to be.

~ Happinez Magazine


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The Last of Human Freedoms Is The Ability To Choose One’s Attitude.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s horse hitch for the Dana-Thomas House – Springfield, Illinois.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
~ Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
In our day-to-day lives, we often surrender the power to choose our attitudes and reactions.  We allow ourselves to fall prey to conditioning and habitual reactions and then blame the external forces we believe to be responsible.  When studying equanimity, I was struck by reading Viktor Frankl’s accounts of the Holocaust.  Ultimately, no matter the circumstance, we have a choice.
When we choose to cultivate the virtue of equanimity, we acknowledge our own power.  With patience and awareness we can begin to greet success and failure, pain and pleasure, and insult and compliment as equals.  These apparent opposites are simply two sides of the same coin.  We have the ability to shape how we receive even the experiences we feel no control over.  This ability in fact is our power.
How though do we receive pain and insult with the same joy as praise and pleasure?  The trick is to refrain from judgment and attachment.  As soon as we place judgment upon a situation, as soon as we label it as good or bad, we have lost equanimity and given away our power.
As we begin to detach ourselves from extremes in reactions, are we to be indifferent?  No.  We are simply cultivating the ability to not be shaken from our centers, our true selves.  There are atrocities and injustices in this world and we should be moved to action.  Many inspirational examples of great leaders such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. and extraordinary citizens like Anton Schmid and Oscar Schindler, embodied the virtue of equanimity.  They were able to make unbelievably hard and courageous choices despite the personal risks.
Working towards equanimity is a life long practice.  As our fortunes inevitably change, we will be challenged by our conditioning, habits and an ego that seeks comfort and praise.  Cultivating equanimity ensures that we are not moved out of reaction.  We can feel pleasure without clinging and experience pain without hating and condemnation of ourselves or others.  Working towards even minded openness allows us the freedom and space to choose our attitudes and responses despite our circumstances.  When we let go of our habit of judging and telling ourselves stories we are able to connect to others on a deeper level.  We are strong enough to act from our true selves whether we are faced with the monotony of life or extraordinary choices.

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5 Reasons Your Yoga Teacher Won’t Shut Up About Your Pelvic Floor!

kegel-cartoon
illustration from: womenshealthfoundation.org
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles which create a hammock of sorts connecting to each hip bone, sacrum and coccyx (tail bone).  It serves to support our internal organs and plays a role in the function or dysfunction of our posture, continence, sexual function, fertility and much more.
  1. Improve Your Posture
    Pelvic floor muscles help to stabilize our hips, keeping our pelvis, sacrum and low back in proper alignment.  Learning to both engage and release this important muscle structure as part of a whole body approach can help correct improper alignments and relieve pain.
  2. Reduce Risk of Incontinence or Prolapse
    Many of us have experienced temporary incontinence when we have coughed, sneezed or laughed too hard.  If you have had a baby, you are familiar with an often shocking, although usually temporary loss of pelvic floor control and the resulting incontinence.  Strengthening pelvic floor muscles is often recommended to help prevent or treat incontinence.
    Prolapse, or the dropping of pelvic organs can occur in some women often due to weakened pelvic floor muscles.  While genetic factors can explain some cases, others factors including lack of muscle strength also contribute.
    Should we strengthen or release the pelvic floor?  Kegel exercises are often recommended to strengthen the pelvic muscles can help protect against incontinence and prolapse.  It is worth noting however, having ‘weakness’ in your pelvic muscles can also be the result of too much clenching and tightness.  Learning to lengthen and release these muscles is equally important.
  3. Ground Your Yoga and Meditation Practices
    Practicing Mula Bandha or root lock, the upward lift of the pelvic muscles, when engaged in our yoga practice has the benefit of stabilizing the pelvis and giving us a sense of grounding. Explore Mula Bandha throughout your asana and meditation practices.
  4. Improve Your Sex Life
    Both strengthening and learning to control the pelvic floor has been shown to improve sensation and enjoyment of sexual intercourse for both men and women. In addition, research shows pelvic strengthening can aid in the treatment of ED in men.
  5. Aid Relaxation and Stress Reduction
    When we think of our pelvic floor, we often think about the lack of engagement or strength, however we often unconsciously over-engage and tense our pelvic floor muscles.  This can lead to tension and stress throughout the body and mind, poor posture and even painful intercourse.  In yoga it is believed we hold our stress, tension, emotions, fear and anxiety in the pelvic region or ‘root’ of our body.   Developing an awareness of our pelvic floor muscles through yoga, meditation and exercise can have wonderful benefits in terms of our ability to relax both physically and mentally.
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