Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Do you really wish you were 20 again? STOP IT!

As I wrote this post, a commercial came on the television about a woman who was so excited to be able to fit back in to her “high school skinny jeans”. REALLY? MY POINT EXACTLY!

“I wish I was 20 again; I used to be able to do the splits”. That is how the conversation started. One of my yoga students was bemoaning the fact that she was unable to do things she did when she was a teenager. “I just want to get back to where I was when I was 20”. This “mantra” permeated her ideas of health and wellness.

Isn’t this idea universally expressed in our society? We glamorize and idealize our past selves and then mourn the loss of what we identify as our best selves. STOP IT!

In yoga, there is a teaching known as “Aparigraha”. A simple definition of Aparigraha is: Non-coveting/Non-attachment, especially through jealousy of others’ talents and abilities or the inability to let go of emotions, judgments and history.

The idea of Aparigraha is not to be detached and unemotional or to never notice things about other people which we admire. Rather, it is the idea of being always in the present moment and letting go of the strangle-hold we have on the past or on our desire to be like others to the exclusion of our own talents and abilities.

Putting aside this idea as it applies to others, ask yourself this question: Are you so attached to your past self that you ignore the amazing reality of your current existence? Do you covet your past self?

Do you find yourself expressing a wish to be as strong, flexible, skinny, pretty, tan, rich, spontaneous, fun as you used to be? Is your present life consumed with coveting and holding on to the past? AGAIN, STOP IT!

Have you ever noticed that the most interesting and comfortable people to be around are those who are truly engaged in life now. They are actively living and enjoying today! Does this mean they never remember the past? No, but they are not continually living in the past. BE THAT KIND OF PERSON!

Here are some questions to help identify our attachments and areas of self-coveting:

1. Do I wish I could have my past self here today?

2. Do I spend time remembering and speaking about things I used to be able to do and wishing I could do them today?

3. Do I remind others about who they used to be and express my wish for them to be that person today?

4. Do I feel that my best self lies somewhere in my past self?

5. Do I regularly complain about the effects of time and age?

Can you see how this falls into the category of coveting? Wow, doesn’t this bring a new dimension to this idea? So, let’s challenge ourselves to let go of self-coveting and we may be amazed at how vibrant and abundant NOW really is!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

That's my body? Hey, that's my body!

Have you ever had one of those days when you question that which you ABSOLUTELY believe in? Well, I had one of those moments a few weeks ago.

I was so excited for the release of an interview I did with Steven Kapp Perry. The topic - Mormons and Yoga. What an exciting opportunity to share my firm conviction that yoga can not only co-exist with ANY spiritual beliefs, but also help support and increase those beliefs.

This was a great avenue to share my ideas about body image with anyone who may stumble across or actively look for this interview. Well, be careful what you wish for - it just might come true!

As I opened the website to listen to the podcast, I watched a picture of myself - in seated straddle position, no less - load next to a picture of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a very prominent leader of the Mormon church.

My first reaction was "that's my body?". Then, very quickly, "hey, that's my body!" I realized in that moment that, regardless of our personal convictions and beliefs, we all have moments - hours - days, when we question those beliefs.

I spend my day teaching individuals how important it is to let go of external demands and pressures about who and what we should be; but I still have moments of blunt, in your face, internal discussions about whether I really believe what I teach.

What I found on this day was a strong foundation that reasserted itself to say - yes! I really do stand in awe of the physical body which I have been blessed with to carry me through this life; along with all the unique quirks which are ME.

So, I want to challenge you to find your "hey, that's my body!" moment and share it with everyone around you. Share it as a comment on this site and help inspire others to feel great about their own bodies!

Finally, take a look at this podcast and see if it doesn't put a smile on your face just looking at the picture of me next to the picture of Elder Holland. Somethings wrong with this picture - but it has nothing to do with my body! It has to do with the idea that I could be on a website next to him. Maybe we do get what we wish for - go figure!