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Ma~Maste

/ MAH – məs – tay /

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Fit

Fighting Fear

Let’s make that “Punching Fear in the Face.”  UGH!  For as long as I can remember, fear has run my life.  It has crippled my thoughts and challenged my dreams.  I am 33 years old as I write this, and only now am I learning to understand the significance of fear in my own life and how it has affected me to this day.  I tell you this because of one simple fact.  I know I’m not alone.

Fear is part of the human condition.  It’s a big, scary world in which we live, and we are not always equipped with the proper tools to navigate life’s ins and outs.  However, there are tools that we can use to deal with this issue of fear, and it is my passion to share them with you as I discover them on my own personal journey to happiness and freedom.  By learning to utilize these tools, we can learn to turn our fear into love, creating a life of joy and abundance.  And by doing this, we can then share our experiences with others, serving as a beacon of light to those in need of something more.

As part of my learning process, I am reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s book May Cause Miracles.  The book teaches that a miracle is simply a “shift in perspective from fear to love.”  It provides daily lessons, affirmations, and homework assignments, all geared towards living a life of love.  It is so rich in content that I was led to share this with you after just Day 1, which is all about “witnessing your fear.”  Basically, you have to feel it to heal it.  Not easy, huh??!

The moral of the story is this:  You Do Not Have to Live in Fear.  Take the steps.  Do the work.  Be the hero of your own story.  Manifest a life of love, power, and positivity.  Start yesterday.  It will be worth it.

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Props to Props

As a newbie along this yoga journey, I’ve learned SO much over the past several months,  one of which being the importance (and often, necessity) of using props.  So I’d like to take a moment to give some props to, well, props.

Props, first introduced primarily by B.K.S. Iyengar,  support us by meeting us where we are in our own individual practices.  Just as no person’s fingerprints are the same as the next person, no person’s flexibility and accessibility to a particular pose is  the same as the next, depending on a great variety of factors.  However, props help us find common ground in this divide.  They should never be considered “cheating,” but rather an incredible opportunity to access poses which may not be possible for us otherwise.  They help maintain proper alignment as we reach toward finding the full expression of a pose.  They allow us to reap the benefits of an asana while maintaining physical and mental integrity on the mat.  Blocks, bolsters, blankets, straps, (and in my case above, even a window sill), are all amazing additions to any yoga practice!

Why Yoga?

To be honest with you, I don’t really know how it started.  I had dabbled in classes here and there in the past, but it had never stuck, even though I loved the times I did practice.  Then one day last year I woke up with an urge to get back on my mat.  A craving almost.  I went from doing no yoga to doing an hour a day, at least, usually more.  I couldn’t get enough.  I think it was a divergence of where I was in my life personally, the desire for quiet and stillness, the hope of reconnecting with my authentic self, and straight up divine intervention after praying for some sort of direction in my life.  Whatever the reason, I fell in love, and I fell hard.

When people ask me about my practice, I find myself repeating the following truths regarding why I value it so deeply.  First, I love the stillness…the meditation aspect.  In those few moments that I am on my mat, I am able to focus on nothing but my breath, my movement, my body and how all of this truly feels.  The rest of the world slips away, and I am left with ME…and it’s actually not as scary as it sounds!  Second, I love the breathing aspect.  When else do I get to just breathe?!  Deep breathing is so beneficial to overall health, and yoga gives me the opportunity to not only fill my body with the oxygen it needs and deserves, but also to breathe in life and love and happiness and to breathe out everything that does not serve me.  Third, I love the fact that yoga is about “progress, not perfection,” which happens to be a fantastic analogy for life.  You do you, and you don’t worry about what others around you are doing or thinking about what you’re doing.  And finally, it just feels so dang good.  I’ve always had back issues, much of which are kept in check by an amazing chiropractor. However, yoga certainly helps with this, along with developing full-body strength, flexibility and balance.

Most importantly, I’ve realized the incredible power in being true to myself and not being afraid to share my truth with the world.  I’ve received so many words of encouragement from friends and strangers alike.  I’ve been able to inspire others, and I’ve learned that there is so much more to this practice than what happens on the mat.  The asanas are important, but it doesn’t end there.  It’s about the connections, the community, the fact that I’m able to reach out and help someone else find their path, whatever that might be.  It’s about what happens OFF the mat.

There is so much more to say, and I will say it as this little blog project progresses, but I’m so thankful you are following my journey.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds, but for now I am living for the moment.  And my prayer is that you are too.  Namaste.

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Selfish is the New Selfless

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I know, I know. Sounds crazy, right? Let me explain…

As a young mother in her 30’s, this is the best piece of advice I have learned, and it has quickly become a life goal to help share the good news with others who may be struggling as well. It took me being in an incredibly low and scary place in my life in order for me to fully see and understand what I am about to tell you. But I’m happy to report that, by the grace of God, I made it out bigger and better than ever…and so can you!

As mothers, we are taught by society to put the needs of others first. Needs of our friends, spouses, kids, and the list goes on and on. OK, take ‘society’ out of the picture for a minute…it is actually our natural instinct to put others first. In fact, we would go so far as to jump in front of a moving bus if it meant sparing the lives of our children. And don’t get me wrong…this kind of unconditional love is a beautiful thing. It is the closest thing I can think of to being like Jesus (which is the goal, right?).

BUT, I am here to tell you that this kind of “selfless” thinking and behaving on a day-to-day basis, year in and year out, is NOT SUSTAINABLE. Sure, it will work for a while, but I can almost guarantee you that eventually you will lose yourself somewhere along the way, and you will break. And it will not be pretty. We MUST learn to take care of ourselves first and foremost so that we can create the kind of sustainability necessary in order to take care of others to the extent that we do.

What happens when we fail to take care of ourselves? We lose touch with our passions, our intuition, and our relationship with God and with the universe.  We begin to shift the blame onto our loved ones by holding them responsible for our own personal happiness (or, rather, a lack thereof). We begin to tumble down a vicious rabbit hole of co-dependence. We take on the impossible task of attempting to make everyone else happy, and we become depressed when we inevitably fail. In short, we become incapable of taking care of others because we have forgotten how to take care of ourselves.

“When you stop taking care of yourself, you get out of BALANCE, and you really forget how to take care of others.” –Jada Pinkett Smith

So here’s my challenge to you…

Be selfish. Fall in love with taking care of YOU…mind, body, and soul. Learn to love yourself. Make your own happiness your top priority. Then, in the words of Gandhi, go “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Because then and only then, will you be able to truly and wholly help others.

 

 

Balance Amidst the Chaos

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Balance.  What a funny word. Nuanced by individual thought, experience, and perspective, it becomes a rather vague and seemingly impossible concept.  Yet, my quest for personal balance is where this blogging journey begins.  As a sort of “resurrection” of my passions, buried deep underneath years of pleasing others – friends, family, husband, children.  It is a reconnection with the Jesus of my childhood and the being HE created that is Me – mind, body, and spirit.  It’s about attaining ultimate self-respect and self-love and the resulting peace and joy that emerges.  Only then can I truly give of myself in the manner for which I was made.  And at the end of the day, that is what it’s all about.

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