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                    [post_content] => The act of listening begins with the awareness that we have not been listening. Many of us arrive at the practice of yoga from the place of having a physical injury or health issue that leads us to the mat. This can stem from an absence of listening to the signals our bodies try to send us. A recurring running injury was the final call for me to start to listen.

In the beginning, I did not want to listen, I did not want to be still – I wanted to be "fixed" so I could get back to running. I practiced with that goal in mind, and when I thought I was "fixed" I headed back out to run only to immediately be injured again. I chuckle now at my stubbornness, but at the time it was a painful exit from a world I enjoyed and had success in, and a social circle that meant a lot to me.

Week after week I returned to my mat. Like a good friend, it listened as my body released its tightness and restriction, my heart through change and loss and my desire to run (away from myself perhaps) diminished. At the same time, my desire to be still, to listen and be taught began to grow.

Physically I listened as well. Soften your knee, lengthen your spine, calm your breath, and quiet your mind. I began to hear my inner teacher speak to me through my body, through my breath, through my emotions and state of mind. At first, I struggled to master poses while watching others handle them with ease, and still do, though now I can accept that may always be the way. There were times I was asked by my teacher to practice balancing poses in the dark, where the harder I tried, the worse it got. Stories of failure, anger and frustration came to meet me in the room and on my mat, and still I continued. The desire to learn, the willingness to be taught, was an inner call that grew as I continued to listen.

Now I cultivate stillness. I enter stillness like I would enter any place of learning or the studio where I practice. Stilling myself, listening to that which emerges. The act of listening has presented me a teacher – I meet her in the silence, I meet her in my breath, I meet her in the experiences of my life – I meet her when I'm still. Willing to be taught by my life .... I listen.
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                    [post_content] => We’ve all had those times in our lives when we’ve felt like the rug has been pulled out from under our feet, when an unexpected change suddenly turns our life upside down.  Sometimes we are happy with these surprising events as we know they’ll work out well for us despite the initial mixed emotions.  However, at other times, when we can’t initially see how the circumstance could possibly be good for us, they can create worry, anxiety, dread, anger, fear... all those wonderfully uncomfortable feelings.  Either way, sudden change can be an emotional rollercoaster.  Questions of, “What now? Where do I go from here? How did this happen? Who’s responsible for this?” start whirring through our thoughts.

Prior to starting my personal Yoga practice, such events would send me into a complete panic mode, with ensuing health issues, which was totally counterproductive. I felt powerless as if I had no control over anything (closet control freak).  Yoga taught me that there are things which are within my power (at least partially); control of the breath, the witnessing of thoughts, feelings, emotions, my responses to them, how I speak to myself and others, etc.  Over the years, my reactivity to external situations has gradually declined with practicing what is learnt on the mat, and off the mat. However, I’m aware of the occasions, when I’m tired or not present.  At these times the reactivity can still creep in and I revert to the emotional intelligence of a toddler once more. That too can have its benefits though.

However, when that sudden change involves someone or something that you love, the stress involved is often multiplied as the stakes feel higher.  Such change requires us to let go of our attachments and of who we think we are before we can receive the new growth and awareness that is waiting for us.  We have often become comfortable in our old life or way of being and, because of a common aversion to change, there is a tendency to want to stay where we are.  This leads to potential stagnation rather than moving with the flow of life.  Problems arise when we cling to the old way, believing that somehow that was better because we weren’t being challenged to expand our consciousness,  Expanding our consciousness can admittedly be uncomfortable initially until it is fully embraced.  However, in wanting to go back to how things were in the past, we are merely making a choice to suffer.

Instead, we can make a conscious decision to trust that whatever happens is for our highest good and that all will become clear in time.  It’s about acknowledging and trusting in our own/higher power and having confidence that, with this connection, we can handle whatever comes our way.  We practice connecting with this power each time we step on the mat, not knowing what will happen in our practice but learning to accept it all, doing our best but letting go of our attachment to results.  Remembering that we are just practicing, our reactions to such situations do not need to be perfectly “textbook,” frees us from self-judgement and enables us to practice Ishvara Pranidhana or self-surrender which then helps us to find the gifts of peace and freedom in our own lives no matter what our external situation is.

When that rug gets pulled out again, pause, breathe, trust and repeat.
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                    [post_content] => It seems that when one is presented with an opportunity, it is often met with resistance. A dozen reasons may immediately volunteer themselves as to why one couldn’t or shouldn’t undertake the task.

Okay, let me rephrase and ‘own’ that observation. Why is it that when I am presented with an opportunity, I often balk at it before I even try? The specific situation I am referring to is having been presented with the opportunity to write an article for The Yogic Way Magazine. I had felt that there must be some mistake, even though the heading of the email was “this email is specifically meant for you, so please read”.

Then when I accepted that it wasn’t a mistake, that the email really was sent to me and on purpose, came “OMG, no, there is no way, no possible way I can do that.” It was as if the email speed dialled my ego, which was set on protecting myself from being ‘found out’ regarding the following:

And, furthermore, risking that:

 

I am sure I could go on, but you get the point.

So I did what self-doubt often does, I invited procrastination to join the party. So that is what I did for the past two months. I procrastinated. Seen in a more positive light, I was simply taking the time needed to process the invitation and to allow what felt right to emerge.

If I have learned anything both during my years of yoga practice and in teacher training, it is stop and breathe.  So that is what I did, simply stopped and breathed until I was ready to begin. (Maybe others can relate to the practice of just avoiding things and putting them off ‘until there is no tomorrow!’)

While I have had a steady physical practice of yoga for quite a while now, when it comes to a steady consistent spiritual practice, I fall a bit short.  It’s not that I don’t want to establish a more regular spiritual practice, it’s just that it is a daunting task. I fear that by doing so I will undoubtedly come face to face with my ego which will cause me to have to deal with all those above questions and more.

Nonetheless, dismissing ego with all the appropriate expletives, I have sat down today to trust myself, and have found courage in this opportunity. I have ripped off the band aid, put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard (because I really don’t know what I am doing and need to try both ways).

Hitting the send button as I submit the article, I find the water I have jumped into is deep.
Perhaps this experience will allow me to move forward, and I will uncover some truths about myself and be able to develop a more consistent spiritual practice….. or maybe it will just ‘suck.’ It’s worth giving it a try.  Whatever the outcome, I will stop and breathe.
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In the beginning, I did not want to listen, I did not want to be still – I wanted to be "fixed" so I could get back to running. I practiced with that goal in mind, and when I thought I was "fixed" I headed back out to run only to immediately be injured again. I chuckle now at my stubbornness, but at the time it was a painful exit from a world I enjoyed and had success in, and a social circle that meant a lot to me.

Week after week I returned to my mat. Like a good friend, it listened as my body released its tightness and restriction, my heart through change and loss and my desire to run (away from myself perhaps) diminished. At the same time, my desire to be still, to listen and be taught began to grow.

Physically I listened as well. Soften your knee, lengthen your spine, calm your breath, and quiet your mind. I began to hear my inner teacher speak to me through my body, through my breath, through my emotions and state of mind. At first, I struggled to master poses while watching others handle them with ease, and still do, though now I can accept that may always be the way. There were times I was asked by my teacher to practice balancing poses in the dark, where the harder I tried, the worse it got. Stories of failure, anger and frustration came to meet me in the room and on my mat, and still I continued. The desire to learn, the willingness to be taught, was an inner call that grew as I continued to listen.

Now I cultivate stillness. I enter stillness like I would enter any place of learning or the studio where I practice. Stilling myself, listening to that which emerges. The act of listening has presented me a teacher – I meet her in the silence, I meet her in my breath, I meet her in the experiences of my life – I meet her when I'm still. Willing to be taught by my life .... I listen.
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DIGITAL PRACTICE - The Yogic Way® Magazine (Tag: Trust)

The Yogic Way

Can the act of listening be your teacher?

By Roberta Carr Posted October 25, 2018

The act of listening begins with the awareness that we have not been listening. Many of us arrive at the practice of yoga from the place of having a physical injury or health issue that leads us to the mat. This can stem from an absence of listening to the signals our bodies try to send us. A recurring running injury was the final call for me to start to listen. In the beginning, I did not want to listen, I did not want to be still – I wanted to be "fixed" so I could get back to running. I practiced with that goal in mind, and when I thought I was "fixed" I headed back out to run only to immediately be injured again. I chuckle now at my stubbornness, but at the time it was a painful exit from a world I enjoyed and had success in, and a social circle that meant a lot to me. Week after week I returned to my mat. Like a good friend, it listened as my body released its tightness and restriction, my heart through change and loss and my desire to run (away from myself perhaps) diminished. At the same …

Pause; Breathe; Trust; Repeat

By Naomi Chester Posted March 1, 2018

We’ve all had those times in our lives when we’ve felt like the rug has been pulled out from under our feet, when an unexpected change suddenly turns our life upside down.  Sometimes we are happy with these surprising events as we know they’ll work out well for us despite the initial mixed emotions.  However, at other times, when we can’t initially see how the circumstance could possibly be good for us, they can create worry, anxiety, dread, anger, fear... all those wonderfully uncomfortable feelings.  Either way, sudden change can be an emotional rollercoaster.  Questions of, “What now? Where do I go from here? How did this happen? Who’s responsible for this?” start whirring through our thoughts. Prior to starting my personal Yoga practice, such events would send me into a complete panic mode, with ensuing health issues, which was totally counterproductive. I felt powerless as if I had no control over anything (closet control freak).  Yoga taught me that there are things which are …

Trusting Oneself and Finding Courage in Opportunity

By Cindy Reheis Posted November 21, 2016

It seems that when one is presented with an opportunity, it is often met with resistance. A dozen reasons may immediately volunteer themselves as to why one couldn’t or shouldn’t undertake the task. Okay, let me rephrase and ‘own’ that observation. Why is it that when I am presented with an opportunity, I often balk at it before I even try? The specific situation I am referring to is having been presented with the opportunity to write an article for The Yogic Way Magazine. I had felt that there must be some mistake, even though the heading of the email was “this email is specifically meant for you, so please read”. Then when I accepted that it wasn’t a mistake, that the email really was sent to me and on purpose, came “OMG, no, there is no way, no possible way I can do that.” It was as if the email speed dialled my ego, which was set on protecting myself from being ‘found out’ regarding the following: I am not a writer. I don’t know how to write an article. It will …