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Ma~Maste

/ MAH – məs – tay /

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Yoga

Body Language

You’ve heard it said before…”Listen to your body.”  But have you ever stopped to think about what this actually means?  Our bodies are master communicators.  Unfortunately, we are not always the best listeners.

We are constantly receiving signals from our bodies.  They tell us when we are hungry, thirsty, tired, sick, in pain, in need of movement or rest or play.  Some of these messages feel comfortable…some don’t…neither of which makes the message any less important.

In addition to these physical signals, our bodies are constantly sending messages based on “hunches” or “gut feelings.”  We often process these messages with no regard for reason or evidence.  This is referred to as intuition. When we are closely connected with our intuition, we learn to recognize it immediately and position our reactions accordingly.  Although everyone has this ability, some don’t tap into it as naturally as others and must work to develop this skill.  So how do we do this?

  1. Slow down.  First and foremost.  We cannot adequately listen to our bodies unless we allow ourselves to slow down, breathe and open our hearts.
  2. Check in with your body.  What is your body physically telling you?  When you think of accepting that higher-pay but higher-stress job, do you tense up or do you smile?  When you push yourself a little harder during exercise, do your muscles enjoy it or do they cry out in resistance?  Check in with these physical reactions regularly.
  3. Meditate.  Focus on calming the monkey mind, the mental jibber-jabber.  Create space.  Take some of the power from your thoughts and give it back to your body.
  4. Move.  Your body was made to move.  Indulge it.  Get out and exercise.  Do some yoga.  Enjoy some fresh air.  Your body will thank you.
  5. Go where the wind blows.  Do what feels natural.  Don’t force yourself to do things you know won’t serve you.  Don’t overthink and don’t second guess.  Just do YOU.

Your body is wise beyond its years, the epitome of wisdom, in fact.  It wants to be your #1 ally and nothing less.  Learn to  understand it.  Trust it.  Love it.  Listen to its quiet whispers now, and avoid the screams later.  The language of our bodies is one of the greatest gifts we have been given.  We must not let it go to waste.

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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Advice from a Tree

Where is your happy place?  You know, the place where you can go to just be.  The place that breathes life into your soul and connects you spiritually to the universe around you.  The place where you can enjoy your authentic self and for just a little while not worry about the day-to-day grind of life.

For me, it isn’t just one specific place, but rather a theme…that theme being nature.  This is where I find my happy place.  Outdoors in the fresh air, preferably near a body of water, enjoying the simplicity and quiet solitude of a world in which there are no deadlines, no drama, and no unnecessary noise.  It’s where I feel closest to God.  It’s where I can go and feel small (in the best way possible) and appreciate that which is so much greater than myself.  It’s where I like to go to just stop for a brief moment in time.

We have so much to learn when we just stop. Stop talking.  Stop texting.  Stop posting.  Stop buying.  Stop doing.  When we just stop and, well, be.  In our happy place, like a tree in the woods.

On a related note, I wanted to share the poem below as it contains so much wisdom from which I think we can all benefit.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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“Advice from a Tree” ~Ilan Shamir


Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

My Little Dogi

…See what I did there?  🙂

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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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