We had a very special Traditional Hawaiian Bonfire Ceremony on the last night of our retreat! Thank you to Makoa Quest for organizing and bringing us this experience. This was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. Hearing traditional stories about Maui and Hawaii, offering old patterns to the fire and letting them go, making a commitment to live the best possible life, setting new intentions, and a special Ava ceremony. Deep and powerful. And the words of the Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner aligned with all that we are practicing in our yoga practice. The truth is Universal. Grateful for this experience and to have been able to share it with my students. 🙏Read More
The journey is into the fire, and through the fire.
Yoga is not about rainbows and unicorns! It's supposed to be challenging. It involves looking at darkness and the darker parts of ourselves on our journey towards the light. You can't by-pass this work. This work is your yoga practice!
Take your journey into the fire and look at yourself. It's going to get hot. It's going to get uncomfortable. It's supposed to be uncomfortable!Read More
Yogis! One of the things I've been talking about in class this past week comes from classical yoga and the 8 limbed practice of astanga yoga, written down by Sage Patanjali around 2000 yrs ago.
Classical yoga gives us our description and systematic approach to concentration and meditation practices, leading us into a state of samadhi, a state in which the mind is quiet. When we say we are looking to "go inward" and "quiet the mind" in yoga, we are referring to classical yoga. When the mind is quiet, the classical yogis tell us, we are able to experience the most subtle aspect of who we are, the pure consciousness part of ourselves, the part of us that is beyond the body, mind, thoughts and ego.Read More
It's up to you!
What you put into your practice is what you will get out of it. That's part of what makes yoga so special. No one can do it for you. You can't phone it in. No one can have the experience for you. You can't use someone else's map to get to your destination!
When I first started practicing yoga I was blown away by the transformation that I was experiencing. It was incredible! And it was just an empty room. I couldn't get over the fact that it was just an empty room. It's pretty amazing. Think about it. There's no fancy equipment. There's no new technology. There's nothing special at all. It's just an empty room. You put down your yoga mat. You move your body into certain positions. You practice concentration. You try to stay present. You breathe. You're just on a yoga mat in an empty room moving and breathing and trying to concentrate.
And when it's over the transformation is incredible!
It still blows me away when I think about it.
Here's the key. Here's the big secret. It's up to you. You make the transformation occur. You are the one doing it. You are the secret ingredient in the sauce. You show up for yourself, or you don't show up for yourself. It's up to you. It's just an empty room.
Yoga is asking us to lift ourselves up, to elevate ourselves, to let go of attachments, the mind, the ego, the old patterns that aren't serving us well. What you put into your practice is what you will get out of your practice. If you make the room special, if you make your practice special, it will be a special practice, it will become sacred to you. You can give it as much meaning as you want, or you can make it just an empty room. You can have respect for your practice. You can have reverence for your practice. You can make it special.
Do you see how easy it is to make the choice? What if you made the choice right now? What if you made the empty room special? How would that look? Would you take your shoes off outside? Would you leave things outside that don't belong in the room? Would you turn your phone off? Would you arrive early? Would stay late? Would you walk into the room differently? What if you paused before you entered and found gratitude for a moment. What if you touched your heart for a moment and thought about how incredible it is that this place exists, this place of transformation and growth, this place where knowledge flows from your teacher, where wisdom flows through you, this empty room where you learn about your body and mind and go into the fire and surrender into the stillness and find a deeper connection to something beyond yourself.
You can choose to make your practice special. You can choose to leave your old habits at the door. You can choose to make changes on your mat and watch as these changes make their way into your life off of your mat too. You can make this room a sacred space. It's just a choice. It's up to you. You get to decide how sacred this practice is for you.
My practice really started to shift when I started to understand that it was up to me to show up for myself, that I was the one getting in my own way.
Resistance. Don't get out of your comfort zone! It's scary out there. Something bad could happen. That's the line from your mind and your ego. The big lie. What happens when you get out of your comfort zone? What happens when you really show up for yourself? What happens when you open up to something new? You feel amazing. Growth. Transformation. Awareness.
Are you getting in the way? Are you holding yourself back? What if you were more open? What are you ready to open up to? How receptive are you ready to be? Whatever you are ready to open up to is what you are going to get. If you are closed off to something it's never going to come into your life. Being respectful, being open, practicing gratitude, setting intentions, offering the practice, paying attention, going into the fire, breathing, softening, letting go. It's just an empty room. What are all these things about?
Are you ready for growth? Are you ready for transformation?
If you show up late for yoga all the time and leave early, if you skip things, if you don't listen and pay attention, if you spend a big part of your time on your mat checking your phone and thinking about what you're going to do later after class, if you're judging yourself, if you're judging others, if you don't have a lot of respect for your practice, if you don't have a lot of reverence for your practice, if you're not open and receptive are you really sending out the message that you are ready for growth and transformation?
It's up to you to decide how meaningful this practice is to you and how much you want to get out of your practice. If you decide that your practice is just a fitness practice then that's what it will be. If you make your practice an exercise in concentration and training your mind to focus then that's what your practice will be. If you decide your practice is going to help you let go of your ego and quiet your mind and help you experience something beyond your individual self and change your life then that's what your practice is going to be. Your practice can be life changing but you have to make the decision that your practice is going to change your life. It's up to you.
How much transformation are ready for? How open and receptive are you to growth?
If you only open the door a crack, it doesn't matter how bright the light is on the other side, not a lot of light is going to come through. What if you threw the door wide open? What if you jumped in with both feet? What if you made a commitment right now to your practice? What do you think might happen?
If you're really ready for transformation then your practice will change your life. It's up to you!