Posts Tagged With: happiness

Thoughts rattling around up there.

Do you ever find yourself with a great thought but it’s incomplete? I find this happens to me a lot, so I write it down. I figure the writing down process is equivalent to planting a seed. The thought is contained on a piece of paper just like the seed is contained in the dirt. But just as the seed needs some light and water for it to do its thing, my ideas need my time and attention before they will flourish into something eloquently written. I have been collecting these incomplete thoughts for a while. They are mostly about yoga. Each one of these incomplete thoughts, I figure is a masterpiece similar to the Bhagavad Gita just waiting to come out. As if, I, Cathy a 41 year old yoga teacher has the wisdom of Krishna inside me. Well, I have been doing yoga for over 13 years and I have read many great books. I have also researched the heck out of my limitations and I have definitely embraced my own Dharma, so I figure it is possible. I do believe that this blogging adventure is my way of holding my feet to the fire, forcing me to open up this vault of incomplete thoughts and complete them once and for all. But what if they are only destined to be a thought bubble, like in cartoons?  Maybe I should start to incorporate some art into the great novel in my head, even if it is only stick figures. What’s so wrong with a thought bubble anyways? Snoopy and Woodstock have been entertaining us for years with their thoughts, packaged in cute little bubbles above their heads. So did I just compare the things in my head to Krishna and Snoopy at the same time? Yikes! I did.

We live in a society of instant gratification. Everything comes at us fast, except yoga poses. You know what I mean if you do yoga. We can google anything. Aren’t we forcing ourselves into this sort of thought bubble society? Twitter is a great example of a thought bubble, 200 characters or less. Some people’s thoughts that they are sharing seem to just be action statements like “I just ate an avocado”. I’m pretty sure my thought bubbles are more insightful than that. I think I’d like to die knowing that people are still quoting me. Isn’t the best way to do that is keep it short and sweet? I mean really…how many of us read Homers’ – The Odyssey? Or for that matter, the Mahabharata?  I know what your thinking, I should have at least read that one, being a yoga teacher and all. Seeing that the Bhagavad Gita is just a small portion of the Mahabharata, I better get on it. One day, when a yogi steps into his/her first yoga class and wonders just like I did “What the heck is this?”, maybe they will run off to the closest book store just like I did and pick up a book on yoga. Maybe it will be my book that they buy. But for today, I’m just going to share my thought bubbles with you.

My thought bubbles...

My thought bubbles…

Yoga is like shooting pool, first you have to line things up.

Your breath in yoga is like the big, bad wolf trying to blow the door of resistance down to get to the three little pigs. They represent mind, body and Self.

Breath is like a threaded needle stitching together the mind and the body.

When you practice yoga you need to be the witness, participant and the referee. Sometimes you need to cheer yourself on, other times you need to check yourself into the penalty box for bad behavior.

Distractions can be dangerous and harmful. If you are distracted while driving by a child, phone, or bad weather, it could lead to you missing your turn, or worse, an accident. If you are distracted while cooking you might forget an ingredient or put one in twice and ruin the whole recipe. Distractions are all around us; loud sounds, annoying sounds, bright lights, smells, etc. These distractions take your awareness away for a moment and it’s what happens in that moment. Every moment matters. Seconds are small, almost seeming insignificant. But what happens in those few seconds can last a lifetime. Yoga is an opportunity to practice staying in the moment, each and every one.

Find the space and room in your body, expand the joints, open your frame. Yoga is also about opening space in your mind, for more room, more love & acceptance, more patience, or for nothing at all. Your mind doesn’t need to be full and overflowing with thoughts all the time. Emptiness is good. We empty the trash, we empty our bladders, we empty our shoes, mailboxes, we empty a lot of things. The body also doesn’t always need to be full all the time, we can fast. We can go without. We can experience emptiness for a while & survive. We can let go of things.

Yoga is like a science lab. You are going to put things together and see what happens – it’s research, analyze, evaluate, assess and conclude and then repeat. No study is conclusive on one try.

Practice makes perfect. There is no “when” in that sentence. Just, practice makes perfect.

If you want to tip your yoga teacher then show him/her 20% gratuitous smile the whole class.

Thoughts are like the sheep that a cowboy is trying to corral. Just keep cutting off their movements, get them in the corral and then close the gate.

If you do not look BOTH ways before crossing the street, it could be very dangerous. Look in your yoga practice both ways. Contraction/relaxation, length/width, inhale/exhale, lightness/heaviness. Duality is always there. Look both ways.

Happiness is like chasing your own tail. It is always a part of you. It goes where you go. You don’t have to run in circles. You just have to be willing to look in the right direction to see it. Sometimes you just forget where to look to see that it is there.

Home is where the heart is. Take away the “h” at the beginning and the “e” at the end and just look at the middle, what are you left with? OM! There is no place like Om. There is no place like om. There is no place like Om. Maybe our real home is right there in the middle of our body, where the heart is.

Categories: For the beginner, My viewpoint | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ordinary happiness.

Happiness is a part of you. It’s always there, you’ve just forgotten where to look. It’s a lot like a cat’s tail. It’s always there, yet one day, they turn around and are surprised to see this “thing” moving. So they start swatting at their own tail. Dog’s do it too, running in circles chasing their tail. Not realizing that their tail is a part of them. Then when they finally do catch their tail they don’t seem to know what to do with it, like the way people don’t seem to know what to do with happiness when they find it. Some people have been telling themselves the same depressing story of their life for so long they don’t know how to live and embrace anything other than what they have convinced themselves of. They’ve caught their own tail and now don’t know what to to do with it.

This can be a similar problem to the way some people believe the 8 limbs of yoga work. Or better yet the way karma works. Karma and the 8 limbs of yoga are not linear. It’s not if I do this…I will get that. We live in a culture strongly based on immediate gratification. Life can be like that stick at the amusement park that tells you when you are tall enough to ride the ride. We have to experience growth first, before we can have some of the things we want in life. No amount of standing on our tip toes will solve the problem. It’s just not time, we are not ready yet. Understand that if you rode that ride now your life would be in danger. Somethings we are just not ready for. Are you really ready to be happy?

I once experienced very linear karma but in most cases it’s more of an accumulative thing. This lady was riding my bumper at 6:00 in the morning down a two lane road. She decided to pass me crossing the double yellow line and was immediately pulled over by the cop that was behind her. She was so focused on where she needed to be, that she forgot to focus on where she actually was. But in most cases doing the right thing, the good thing, won’t pay off in some immediate result. But there will come a day where those right actions will leave you right where you are supposed to be .

If we are always focussed on where we are going instead of where we are, we miss the joyful moment that is unfolding right in front of us.  What makes you think you are not happy right now? Is it that someone else’s happiness looks different than yours? Is it that happiness didn’t show up on your timeline? Is it that happiness didn’t have enough bells and whistles for you? Is it that no one is there to witness it? A lot of the time we are happy, we just won’t admit to it because there is no audience. There is no one there to congratulation you for your happiness. The truest kind of happiness is the happiness  you can experienece in your most ordinary moments. These are the easiest moments, but we seem to label them the least worthwhile. So many times we are laying our happiness on the behavior of others. If they would only do this, show up here, give me that, tell me this, I’d be happy. How can happiness be based on so many conditions? Aren’t you the only one responsible for your happiness?

Happiness is already there, just let it out.

Happiness is already there, just let it out.

This is why I love a good home yoga practice, and why usually I find so much happiness in it. The only person I am counting on in that practice is myself. The only person I could let down is myself, if I don’t do the practice. But most times I find that once far enough into the practice, whether its going good or bad doesn’t seem to determine my happiness. What I usually experience is my happiness comes out of being grateful that yoga is in my life, and that I’m well enough to practice. I’ve gained enough experience to realize a good yoga practice isn’t made by its outward appearance but more so by what you get for your effort.

Happiness doesn’t come wrapped in shiny paper with a bow around it. If you’re looking for happiness to look like a party and that you are the guest of honor, don’t hold your breath. Instead breathe (prana) into the life you have that’s just wrapped up in the ordinary things, and stop chasing your own happiness tail. Happiness is all around you, and available to you when you stop demanding it look, act, and behave a certain way. And if your not getting the happiness you feel you deserve maybe you should start telling yourself a new story or take another look at the story you already have. But remember, your happiness tail isn’t going to be attached to someone else’s bottom. Thomas Edison’s once said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.“, you  might say this of happiness as well. Happiness is independent, and we all already have it inside us.

Categories: For the beginner, My viewpoint | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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