Archives for posts with tag: dharma

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A new year is upon us, and as with most people, I am prompted to look back and reflect on the year that has passed. For me, 2013 represented a whole new beginning in life. A chapter that has changed my perspective dramatically and shifted my goals to match. Becoming a mother was much more than a simple addition to the family, it was a beautiful awakening to a slower paced and more simple life.

As I look back on this amazing year, a few important events stick out to me. The first, of course, being the birth of Charlotte. She has altered the way I view life. More specifically, the way I perceive time. I am more patient than I ever thought I could be. You see, each day I have the rare opportunity to watch someone discover, explore and experience things for the very first time. From watching how our shadows glisten against a snow bank to laughing as we play peek-a-boo for the thirtieth time in a row, my days are filled with such wonder that I choose to consider every moment precious. Because I cannot get this time back, so I best use it as wisely as possible.

With that shift in my perception came the second big event, or change I should say, I simply care a lot less about being “somebody”. I had this notion that in order to be successful in my field I had to be well known, have countless followers on various social media sites and be working towards pseudo-celebrity status. Well let me tell you! That just seems like a lot of effort and time to put towards my ego. Time better spent make sheet forts and funny faces in the mirror with my little ball of snuggles. When I really examined why I wanted these things it was because that’s how I had come to classify success. But what is success to me? What is my personal end game? I want to be well respected in my field. I want to be considered an expert at what I do. And though it may seem like it at first, the instagram gurus and teachers with tens of thousands of facebook fans are not necessarily more of an expert… they just have a great marketing team!

I also had the revelation to stop pursuing goals that are important to other people and not exactly important to me. It is sometimes hard to carve a place for yourself in an industry full of so many talented yoga teachers. And every now and again you get wrapped up in a conversation, drop an idea, and get the encouraging jeers from the people around you to make that your new life’s purpose. What… wait… how did that happen!?! Luckily I learned to forgive myself long ago for changing my mind, so a simple shift in focus is no big thing for this coming year.

The plan for the next 365 days? Focus and continue to grow in the direction that suits my purpose. Learn more, read more, do more. My focus is to be the best version of my true self, a mother, a wife and a yogi.

As far as my shift in career focus. I am choosing to spend more time on my knowledge and approach to helping my students and less time on pushing myself to be a “popular teacher”. I have already made the shift in my classes and it feels glorious. I am back to my roots again, teaching a more authentic version of yoga (to me anyways), and most importantly, I’m not apologizing for it. I am pushing my students away from their purely western comfort zones and infusing a little more tradition into their lives. It makes me feel the way I did when I first began my journey as a teacher… like I could actually instill some sort of inspiration and change to the world around me. If this makes me slightly less popular for the time being, I’m happy to bare that cross. I think in the long run the people who come to yoga for more of a connection than a work out will find their way to my classes. The universe always matches energy (you get what you give).

This year promises to be rather entertaining on all fronts and I am looking forward to embracing all that it has in store….. oh, and  I’m going to give this whole blog thing another go…. hopefully I can stay committed this time around.

Who do you want to be?

Is that not the most daunting question on the face of the planet?! We have all been asked this question from a very young age. With each of life’s milestones our answer tends to change. When I was five I wanted to be a singer and at ten a veterinarian. By the time I was only 12 it was dancing that monopolized my mind. As time went by and the dream of dancing started to become a reality I thought about whether I would ever want to do anything else with my life. Since then, I have left the world of dancing my self and started teaching. A wonderful experience, but not the only part of my life now.

When I was 16 years old I discovered yoga. It helped me through injuries, both physical and emotional. It not only changed the way I looked at fitness, but at myself and my place in this world. Was my plan beginning to shift again? Ten years later and I’m still involved in dance, but the majority of my life revolves around my love of yoga. I’m not sure when I decided yoga was my dharma…. but it is.

I’m still slowly making the transition out of the dance world and into being fully engulfed in the yogi side of things. Each and everyday I become a little more of the latter, and thank the universe for it.

I’m comfortable changing my mind about my career pursuit for two very important reasons. The first being that I have a truly amazing husband that supports my pursuit of happiness. The second being that my mother has successfully changed her mind about her career a number of times.

Whether you are able to find your dharma at 18 or 68, there’s always time. Life changes, your priorities change, and yes, even your dharma can change. There is no harm or shame in starting over.

I’m so lucky to be a part of the yoga world. As I begin to step back into teaching yoga after having Charlotte (only a few classes a week) I remind myself that each day I need balance. To be the person I want to be, I need to have a strong identity as a yogi, a mom, a wife and a wonderer. Can’t wait.

“At various points in our lives, or on a quest, and for reasons that often remain obscure, we are driven to make decisions which prove with hindsight to be loaded with meaning. (225)”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

When everything else seems a little out of place, and I can’t quite let go, I send myself to yoga. My mind slows down, the tension melts out of my shoulders, and I am reminded as to all the reasons why I love this glorious form of therapy.

Tonight was no different. I had a fine day, nothing dramatically wrong, just feeling a little off lately. There are a lot of things running through my mind that have been winding my muscles far tighter than they are used to being. So I made the decision to leave my practice in someone else’s hands. Their thoughts could guide me through each asana so that I could simply melt into the silence of my mind. I could let go of everything that needed to be let go.

Each movement was like a breath of fresh air. Each vinyasa working me a little deeper into all the places my muscles store my feelings. Each moment, allowing me to get closer to the root of my recent discomfort. Not confronting it, but accepting its existence, and knowing that I will have to give all my thoughts their own time to present themselves. 

People think that yoga and meditation are about turning off the voice in your head and finding silence, but it’s not. We cannot truly find silence that way. We mustn’t force the mind into submission. Instead, we acknowledge the thoughts presence, and promise to hear it at a later time. Only then can the mind be satisfied to allow us freedom from all noise. 

After class I had the opportunity to stick around and enjoy the company and conversation of a few colleagues. This was wonderful. Just taking a moment to sit and drink tea. Talking about what’s been on my mind and hearing an outside opinion. Being able to do what I love best, and that’s be in and around the welcoming spirit of the yoga community. My heart fills when I have the chance to connect with someone on a level deeper than mere pleasantries. It helps that the crux of the conversation was anchored by the mutual understanding that change is hard, but living the dream is worth it.

So my day got lighter. My shoulders released ever so slightly towards their comfortable space. And the pensive tension within myself is beginning to subside. It’s almost as though I will make it through another day by finishing on a good and happy note. And really, is that not the goal of all our days?

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? (136-137)”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

 

It’s hard, sometimes, to initiate change.

There are only certain times in our lives that we are lucky enough to be able to change at a moments notice. When it feels right to drop all of our current obligations to simply follow a new path. Follow a new bliss.

For all the other times, it’s quite a bit more difficult. We have commitments and obligations that tie us down. We can feel trapped, and this feeling is what causes people to resent their current situations.

It can be a frightening idea, change that is. Leaving a part of your life that may have defined you for years. Closing a door in order to find a new direction. You might have reservations about the concept of change itself. Are you just seeking a challenge? Are you simply bored? Is it a case of the grass is greener? ….

YES!!

To all of these questions, yes. But why should that be a bad thing? If you’re seeking something it’s likely because your current situation is not where you’re supposed to be.

It’s true you know… The whole do what you love and you’ll love what you do thing. If you wake up and feel reluctant about something in your life, don’t just dismiss that thought, take a minute to recognize it.

For the people that are lucky enough to have something they would rather do, it can be a huge step, but it’s worth taking. It’s scary and it can be a long process, but it’s probably better for you and your happiness in the long run.

I’m not one to preach. I’m in this situation and have been for a few years to be honest. I know where I want to be, and I know what I have to do to get there, but I haven’t taken the plunge just yet. It’s very difficult to make a change that may be right for you, but will disappoint people around you. I have a big heart. I’m the type of person that has a hard time saying no and an even harder time knowing that people are going to be disappointed in me.

I know that I’ll make the change soon, and even know that it might be better if I treated it like a bandaid, but I’m afraid. I’m just not big and brave enough yet, but I will be.

I know that change is hard, but I hope everyone out there can have the courage to do what’s bet for them. Put yourself first. Why not. I promise I’ll try to muster the man-bites I need… If you do too.

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Never work a day in your life.

If you can find it, the thing that you love to do more than anything in the world, hold onto it with all your strength. It might take you a while to figure out what that thing is, but trust me, when you have found it, you’ll know.

How do I know I’ve found it? I get to spread my love for yoga…. as a career! I love to see the joy on people’s faces, the exhales of accomplishment, and the all-out blissed expressions when people start to feel what I feel about yoga.

Yoga is the only thing in the whole world that makes me feel strong and soft at the same time. I get to find this glorious power from somewhere deep within myself while at the same time surrendering to the knowledge that the extent of my posture and understanding is nowhere close to the finish line, or that there really never is a finish line.

So what makes you feel this way?

What would you volunteer to do? Head out every day without even having to collect a pay cheque? That’s how much you need to love it. That’s your dharma.

I think people are frightened of pursuing what makes them happy because we are conditioned from kindergarten to believe that everyone needs a “real job”. But my question is, who decided what counts as a real job? Not everyone is cut out for law school. Who wants to be an accountant (other than people who really love numbers… like my mom…. baffles me). And personally I’ve never been able to understand the love of putting on a suit and trudging downtown everyday. BUT, if that’s what you love, then that’s what you are meant to do. The problem comes when people have no idea what they are supposed to be in grade twelve and pick a random career because they know someone who knows someone who does  that and thinks it’s okay. Then you spend the next four years (or more) training to do that job, and you end up dreading Mondays.

This is why we see so many people hit a point in their lives where they leave their jobs, marriages, entire lives, and become a whole new person. A mid-life crisis we call it? I think it’s just a wake up call. Literally. You wake up one day a realize that you’re not the person you thought you would be, and some people are no longer willing to live with their choices.

Now, in no way am I condoning that people run off and leave their families behind, but I do think it’s healthy to take time to evaluate your life. And if you can, allow yourself to slowly reinvent the aspects that you’re not happy with.

Take a moment. Now. Stop and think about the things in life that make you truly happy. And now figure out ways to add more of those things, and less of the tasks in life. If you hate your job, find a new one. Go back to school, retrain, become whom ever it is you dream of being.

Whatever you want to be, start now. It’s never too late. Seriously. Change the way you think about yourself to reflect what you truly wish to become.

“The decisions you make everyday turn you into who you’re going to be tomorrow.” Chris Hadfield (quoted from an amazing interview earlier today, you should read it. http://www.insidehalton.com/news/article/1567199–chris-hadfield-delights-students-from-space)

 

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The start of the new year always brings with it an evaluation of the past and the anticipation of what’s to come. This year the life changes that are on my horizon seem so dramatically altering, I thought it would be best to document them. If for no other reason than to be able to look back and confirm the memories I have created.

The biggest change is of course the fact that my husband and I are expecting our first born child. Our little baby girl is due May 9th, so I’m sure it goes without saying that I expect my entire life to turn upside down (in the best possible way) throughout the remainder of 2013.

I’ve also found my dharma (that which my life is meant to do), and for those that know me it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I  identify yoga as my dharma. It’s nothing new, I’ve always known, but it sure is liberating to make the decision! It doesn’t mean that I am choosing to turn my back on dance (I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to leave it), it just means that my heart is very clear on its long term preference. So what does that change? It simply puts a new focus on my path and the direction that I am trying to go. I would like to teach globally, become an author, publish meditation materials, and one day even teach new teachers to teach. Most of these things are my long Long term goals, but goals none the less. So where to begin? It’s already started! I will be spending 2013 as a lululemon ambassador for my local South Centre store in Calgary Alberta.

Beyond these two giant changes, we are renovating our condo. We’ve decided that just because we are having a baby doesn’t mean we need to move directly into a single family home. We purchased a condo in 2007, it has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and more than enough space for the two of us, our ten pound dog, a rather large cat, and our little bundle of joy (at least for the first year of her life). So instead of moving, we are falling in love with our home all over again, by changing little pieces.

I hope to write each day, in order to ground myself and reconnect with my goals. Why did I choose to start today instead of January 1st? It took me about a week to decide that I am committed enough to my goals and my future to display them in a public forum. So what are the goals for 2013?

  1. Practice yoga everyday, even if I can only manage a few salutations or a long savassana
  2. Meditate every day
  3. Write something here, every day
  4. Become more active in my local yoga community
  5. Record and publish a meditation CD
  6. Read one new book every month (related to something educational)
  7. Indulge in my new found love of design by sewing, building and painting things for our condo to my hearts content
  8. Be an active mom. Take baby to social settings, classes and play dates
  9. Be a better friend. Accept invitations even if it’s not quite my scene, and make more of an effort to create plans.
  10. Change for the better. Watch less tv, go for longer walks, paint, visit museums, see shows and continue to live the life that Greg and I have carved out for ourselves. One of culture, health and continual growth.

Until tomorrow…. thanks for indulging me.