Illuminating Your Family’s Story with Genograms

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We have explored in previous installments of Know Thyself the benefits of connecting with and continually realigning our values, intentions, and goals as well as discovering the strengths and pitfalls of our particular personality traits. By now, a sense of our inner lives and our view of the world is revealing itself. As our self-knowledge grows, so does our need to understand our interconnectedness and how relationships and familial patterns have influenced our lives. Here, in Part 3, we explore the genogram, a technique for mapping relationships and behaviors within our family trees and its potential to help us create more compassion, understanding, and ease in our own lives.  Read more. . . 

Sincerely Yours, Ben Franklin!

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Image from local street art – Bloomington, IN

Sincerity is the fourth virtue of The Eighteen Ities as laid out by Sri Swami Sivananda.  And as it happens, one of the thirteen virtues in which Benjamin Franklin committed to when he set his sights on becoming a more moral and virtuous man.

Sincerity in thought, word, and deed is the epitome of “walking the walk and talking the talk”.  It is the absence of hypocrisy and deceit in ones actions and words, but also in ones thoughts and intentions.  Our purpose in yoga is to bring our bodies, minds, and spirits into alignment with one another.  When we embrace sincerity as a practice, we embrace our truth.  We are working towards our external lives being a reflection of our internal truths.

Interestingly, the concepts of ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truth) play a pivotal role in our efforts to live with sincerity.  For example, I cannot be sincere and compassionate with others if I do not cultivate non-violence towards myself.  I cannot hope to reflect my inner world through my actions if my inner world is in chaos.  I cannot begin to tell the truth to others if I myself do not look at my life truthfully.

Gut Check:

  1.  Do you hold a PhD in sarcasm?  You may be hiding behind it because you are not brave enough to say what you truly believe.
  2. Perhaps you have your Masters Degree in passive aggressiveness? See #1.
  3. Do you gossip? To what end?
  4. Can you keep confidences?  Are you trustworthy?
  5. Do you lie? No? But how often do you leave part of the truth out? What purpose does that serve?  Is it self-serving?

When we get caught up in ego and vanity, it can smother our true nature.  We can work towards humility when we run our thoughts, word, and deeds through the filter of sincerity.  Take  a moment to pause and ask yourself:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is this kind?
  3. Is this necessary? (Particularly if the “truth” can cause pain.)
  4. What is my intention?

 

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

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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.