Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Giving Thanks: And We Get To Eat!

I love Thanksgiving. It is truly my very favorite holiday. A day set aside for us to count our blessings; to realize how wonderful our lives really are. I taught silent classes tonight as a gift to my students. As silent class is one in which I do not speak for the entire class. I demonstrate the pose, then they do them. It is an incredibly power class. Students are drawn into the silence and their minds truly slow down. Savasana in a silent class is deep and wonderful. At the end of class, as we had our palms at our hearts, I spoke of how much I loved the holiday, how much I enjoy a holiday in which the purpose is to feel grateful. Then one of my students piped up with: “And we get to eat!” It was quite amusing. So enjoy your day of gratitude and definitely enjoy the food! Know that I am incredibly grateful that you are out there and reading what I write!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is Your Practice From Love or Fear?

In my last post, I discussed the difference between motivation (coming from fear) and inspiration (coming from love). When you are doing something with motivation, you are doing it because you are afraid something else will happen if you don’t do it. When you are doing it from inspiration, you are doing it because you are excited about what will happen when you do it. Well, when I learned the difference between the two, I realized my yoga practice was coming from fear. How is that possible, you say? Read on. The genesis of my yoga practice came from all my years of exercising and *eating right* and all the self-discipline that engenders. Goodness! If I went one day without exercise I might get fat or feel depressed or who knows what terrible thing could happen! When I began yoga in earnest, I just transferred all my discipline from exercise to yoga. I think I just didn’ I still loved my yoga practice and thoroughly enjoyed how great I felt throughout it and after, but deep down I knew that I was doing it because I feared what would happen if I did not.

Because my practice was based in fear, it was keeping me from growing. In fact, at that time, I realized my entire personal practice, all the things I was doing in my life for “my own good” were also from fear. If I was going to grow spiritually, my life needed a foundation of love. That was also the time I really got on a deep level that any external control I tried to exert was also from fear and if I was going to release fear in my life, I needed to let go of control. The only way I knew how was to stop doing everything that came from control — my practice. I stopped exercising, doing yoga, meditating, journaling, and watching my food intake. It took me awhile to miss anything. Initially I just felt relief from the time pressure. I had free time and no shoulds for probably the first time in my life. It was incredibly liberating! Then I went through a period of judgment and self-criticism all around the guilt of not doing my practice. I just sat through it and did nothing. I cannot remember how long that stage lasted. I know it was a couple of weeks or so, though. Then I felt done. I was ready to begin inviting things back into my life. I was inspired to take my practice to new places. I only brought in one thing at a time and didn’t do it if the old pattern showed up. I would only do it if it came from an inspired place. Any will power needed and it wasn’t what I wanted for that day.

How did I know it was time? Not sure...I just knew I was ready to pump up my practice and take it to the next level.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Inspiration vs. Motivation

In one of his books, one of my favorite authors, Wayne Dyer, describes the difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation comes from the negative. “I must do this or this bad thing will happen.” (Read with enormous weight and negativity to the words.) (I must exercise or I will get out of shape. I must eat right or I will get high cholesterol. I must do my yoga practice or I will have a hard day.) Do you resonate with any of those? Now, inspiration comes from the positive. “If I do this, this wonderful thing will happen.” (Read with lightness and delight.) Coming from inspiration is much more delightful and joy-filled! (I get to exercise today to help my body feel strong. I want to eat right today to feel good. I am so looking forward to my yoga practice. I know I will feel delicious afterward.)

His definitions have affected every part of my life since I read them. I have always been a highly motivated individual – I could will power my way through anything. Changing from the negative to the positive was an incredibly foundational shift for me. Motivation is based in fear and inspiration is based in love. I was shocked at how much of my life was based in fear. In my next post I will discuss what I did with my yoga practice to shift it from fear to love.