Kimi Marin Yoga

Honor limitations. Transcend Boundaries.

Life’s Most Daring Adventure: Contentment

kimi beach4

The  saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” sums up humankind’s tendency to grasp the external for pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment. Many of us spend our entire lives looking outside of ourselves to find inner peace. As we do this, we  see how other people’s lives and circumstances seem to look better than our own lives.  As a consequence, we begin to believe that happiness is about acquiring more: bigger houses, more clothes, fancier shoes, busier social lives.   Yet, this insatiable quest to buy or acquire the elusive happiness only leads us to a place of discontent.

The second niyama (an attitude we hold toward ourselves) is Santosha or contentment. Santosha is to find happiness and peace in your present life and not to keep searching for something more, something external, to gain security, joy, and contentment.  Life is not about comparing yourself to your friend, your neighbor, or an ideal society declares your life should look.  Life is rich in experiences to aid you on your inward journey of fulfillment…and your fulfillment, your contentment, is the greatest contribution you can give to the world. When you live from a place of contentment, you attract beneficence to you, and find an ease in which to move through the world.

We are often told that life is not a destination but a journey. Santosha wants to be your companion on your life journey. Santosha does not mean that you are always happy with how things because, honestly, life can sometimes suck. But santosha asks that you embrace that time, realizing each moment will change and your perspective, your attitude will make all the difference in handling difficult circumstances. We are not to live looking for happiness but instead to recognize the gifts of the moment and find contentment within. When we spend our days yearning for something else – a different lover, to be single, to be rich, have more clothes, then we are unhappy. We are unhappy because we have come to believe that we need these things to have a sense of worth and happiness.

If you are not content with as aspect of your life – CHANGE IT. Seriously. Listen to your excuses why you cannot be happy. Listen to how many times you say “but,” “should,” or “would” when focusing on your ideal life.  Personally, I would like to write more but… I can come up with a thousand excuses why I do not write – and all of them are legitimate and hold weight. But the ultimate truth is I am too lazy and too afraid to change my habits to start doing what I really want. My challenge is to dig deep, make small changes to start writing. And those small changes lead me to santosha. Even as I write this I feel a sense of calmness and peace. I am not comparing myself to someone else, I am not berating myself, I am living my life as I want to live.

What in your life is not fulfilling you? What excuses are you making? What are your desires? Is anything keeping you from truly enjoying the present life you are in, or are you too busy making excuses about how you don’t have time? Do you tell yourself you are too busy with the kids, school or are broke? Will there ever be a good time? Right now is the only time you have and if you aren’t truly content, if you aren’t truly happy, it is time to sit with yourself and find out what it is you need from you. Being joyful, being happy, is a state of being, a perspective of the world. Alter yours to be filled with light and love and bestow all that wonderfulness and everyone around you. You are a magnificent being, accept your greatness, smile and shine.

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I Define Myself…

PhoenixRising

I have been reading this declaration in my classes and people seem to really enjoy it. I discovered it on the Wild Woman Sisterhood site on Facebook. The author is unknown.

I do not define myself by how many roadblocks have appeared in my path;
I define myself by the courage I have found to forge new roads.

I do not define myself by how many disappointments I have faced;
I define myself by the forgiveness and faith I have found to begin again.

I do not define myself by how long a relationship lasted;
I define myself by how I have loved, have been willing to love again, and how I still love.

I do not define myself by how many times I have been knocked down;
I define myself by how many times I have struggled to my feet.

I do not define myself by how often I have appeared a fool;
I define myself by the number of risks I have taken.

I do not define myself by the number of mistakes I have made;
I define myself by the knowledge I have learned from trying a new way.

I am NOT my pain…

I am Not my past…

I AM that which has emerged from the fire.

-Author Unknown

 

Seeds of Intention

Surya, Hindu Sun God

Surya, Hindu Sun God

Once upon a time when the last age ended, the Hindu deity Brahma awoke from his sleep in the cosmic egg. He broke the egg open and the sound OM arose. From the outer shell he made the land and mountains, from the inner shell the sky and atmosphere. The liquid became the rivers and oceans. The yoke rose as the sun and there was a great cry as life began. This rejoice can be heard every morning by the birds and animals as the sun rises.

The sun’s cycle of rise and rest is one we, the land, and animals instinctively follow. In winter, as the sun sets early, plants go underground, trees lose their leaves, bears hibernate, and humans spend their evenings hunkered on sofas, beds, and barstools. This week the Northern Hemisphere honors the start of spring – the time when the sun god, Surya, sits in the sky longer lengthening the days. Spring is when Surya and Mother Earth are waking and rising from the dark and barrenness of winter and as they awake the entire Northern Hemisphere lights up.

Spring is here and with the fuel from solar power we will experience burst of vigor and energy. This is a time of rebirth, renewal, and personal growth. Last week I was exhausted; my students were exhausted. A heavy mist seemed to envelope and weigh down most everybody. Many people were blaming the hour change as the reason for this onslaught of lethargy but I think it went deeper than just an hour change. Our bodies are one with Earth. We are made up of various elements among which are oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. As the Northern Hemisphere begins to awaken, so do our own bodies. I believe that people were extra tired because on an intuitive level our bodies and spirit went within to prepare for the outpouring of energy that is inevitable with spring. To emerge from our cocoons and for the buds to break through the frozen earth takes an extra force. Just as I rest before a big event or a late night, my body relaxed in preparation of the blooming that will occur over the next few months.

The next few months are about growth, moving upward and out, and fresh starts. Look around and you will see babies of all kinds, emerging shoots in vegetable gardens, and blooming flowers. The seeds of intention you planted at the New Year may begin to blossom. With the longer days, comes warmer weather and people shed winter layers. This includes internal spring cleansing. Find time to lay down and imagine all the tensions, hurts, and resentments from your past move out your body through the soles of your feet. Inhale to fill your body with light and use the exhale to scrap the build-up of winter away. Recall an incident or person that still makes your blood boil, or face redden and instead of pushing the feelings and memory away, thank the experience and honor the lessons you have learn. You are now stronger because of that incident or person.

After releasing your past, come to a seated position and with your hands stacked over your heart center, ask yourself: “what would I like to bring into my life?” The answer may come as a feeling, a sensation, or thought. Don’t strain or push but find joy in indulging in your dreams. Maybe spend some time making a vision board (see below); or writing down what you want in your life; drawing or doodling a picture; singing a song; or ecstatically dancing to your own tune. Spring with its rain shower, longer days, and some times sudden snowfalls, asks for creativity and flexibility. Tune into Surya, the sun deity, ground into the Goddess Earth, and experience the joy that is your life.

Vision Board

A very blurry picture of my vision board

A very blurry picture of my vision board

A vision board is a tool to help you focus on what you want to manifest in your life. Anything goes – you can create your board as you wish. Fill it full of inspirational words or pictures that help you visualize what you want in your life and how you want to live your life. I LOVE them and often put mine on the wall by my bed so I can be reminded of how I want to live my life. To create more of a ceremonial (and super fun) experience, I like to get a few friends together with some wine (if you are over 21).

How to Create a Vision Board:

Supplies:
Magazine and any pictures you like
Markers, crayons, pens, etc
Glue
Poster board
Scissors

Cut out pictures that appeal to you and paste them on the poster board in any way you want. Draw on the board if it appeals to you. ANYTHING GOES – this is yours…no judgment and no perfection. Remember nobody else has to see your board.

Saucha

happy dudleyYoga Sutra 2.41: sattva shuddhi saumanasya ekagra indriya-jaya atma darshana yogyatvani cha

Also through cleanliness and purity of body and mind (shaucha) comes a purification of the subtle mental essence (sattva), a pleasantness, goodness and gladness of feeling, a one-pointedness with intentness, the conquest or mastery over the senses, and a fitness, qualification, or capability for self-realization. (translated by Swamij)

Last night, before bed, I did some things that I often leave for the morning: I washed all the dishes; folded and put away the laundry; and straightened up the living room. When I awoke this morning, I found myself happier, lighter, and with a sense of freedom as I walked about my house and prepared for my day. By having a clean house, I felt better and more expansive. How many times have you, knowing you have a lot to do, first cleaned your house?  Is your self-esteem slightly lowered when you know your clothes are dirty, or you haven’t showered? How many times have you told a friend, lover, or yourself that you felt gross after eating processed or fast food? This is because cleanliness is vital to reach our truest nature and our highest self.

Saucha or “cleanliness” is the first of the niyamas, the observances we hold toward ourselves. Saucha asks us to remove the extra clutter in our lives so we can move into our true potential. In Riding Your Own Current, I write about how we, and everything around us, are made of energy. To move and work from our best Self, we must be clean vessels. Yoga is the process of unblocking energy lines so you are aware of how you are feeling, what you are experiencing, and the quality of your present experience. In order to recognize your thoughts, speak with truth, act without harming another (yourself included), and recognize the divine in all creatures, you must keep your home, car, and body clean and away from clutter. How can we find freedom and transcendence or pure joy when we judge others, when we listen to gossip, when we eat genetically modified foods, when we destroy natural habitats, allow animal extinction,  declare war, when we live in clutter and consume more than we need? Both external and internal cleanliness allows us to live purer, more straight forward lives. Without the clutter in our lives, without the toxins in our bodies, we function like clean efficient machines allowing the divine to move through us.

My best friend lives in Paris and recently went to a yoga class and loved it. What she loved about it was the simplicity of the class. She felt the teacher stripped the class of  all the “bells and whistles” and the only extras in the class were what the practitioner brought from within.  My dear friend summed up the basic idea of saucha: to wipe away the extras to allow what is naturally present to shine. To embrace this first niyama, find ways to simplify your life and remove the extraneous bells and whistles. Start small: clean a closet today, drink more water tomorrow, buy organic carrots. Slowly cleanse yourself  with one thing every day, maybe two, then three, until saucha is a normative part of life. Feel the freedom as you find more room and space in your life. Watch your inner light shine through the cracks and fill your body. For me, cleaning my dishes, putting my clothes away can feel like a chore. But I also know that this is part of the process for me to relax, to grow, to manifest my dreams. Saucha reminds us  that by clearing out the old we make space for life to bloom.

Aparigraha: The Fifth (and final) Yama

AparigrahaOnce upon a time, a young boy named Nachiketas who, in a disagreement with his father, is sent to the to the home of Yama, the God of Death. When Nachiketas arrives Yama is not at home and Nachiketas waits three nights without food or water for Yama to return. When Yama comes home he is appalled that a guest has been at his home without food or water and grants Nachiketas three wishes. The first two wishes Yama grants willingly but the third wish takes a bit of coaxing for Yama to accommodate. In this third wish Nachiketas asks Yama to tell him if the Self exists when one dies. Yama tells Nachiketas that the Creator made humans with five senses and each of these senses extend outward. We see, hear, taste, touch, and smell what is beyond our body yet the Atman, the individual Soul, is within us. To cease the senses and turn inward is Yoga. When humans cease to look outside and instead go within, they connect to the inner most Self that transcends this world.

The idea to go within is one of the premises of the fifth yama, Aparigraha or non-grasping. Aparigraha asks that we “let go” of all the stuff we cling to  so we can “travel lighter.”  We hold onto clothes that we haven’t worn for years, we hold onto books we will never read again, we hold onto old loves, hurts, and memories subconsciously afraid that if we release them, we will lose ourselves. Quite the opposite. We must let go of past memories as well as release our expectations for our future endeavors in order to connect with the our highest Self.

We often look outside of ourselves for reassurance, for acceptance and validation. The practice of aparigraha reminds each of us that our true nature and our validation is not from more shoes or a longer vacation but from connecting to the strengths that lie in our heart center. We are clouded by debt, by illusions, by a society that feeds us the idea that more is better. Almost all of us has had our heart broken. When we hold onto this hurt, we find it impossible to start a new relationship. Until we can release the old pain, the old memories, and our “baggage,” we are unable to have a new, healthy, and happy relationship. This concept of releasing what does not apply to the “now” can be applied to all aspects of our life. Just as we need to release the past, we need to let go of our grasp to control our future, in order to grow and develop into our most supreme self.

To say “let go” is easy, but to actually “let go” is the one of the hardest things to do. To practice aparigraha in the simplest way focus  on your exhale – the point of exertion and release. Pay attention to how your body releases tension and worry with each exhale. Each time you find yourself trying to control a situation or hold on tightly to an object, opinion, or idea, return to your exhale and embrace aparigraha, non-possessiveness. Each release will lead you closer within to that quiet place of true acceptance, validation, and light.

Brahmacharya: The Fourth Yama

hanuman heartBrahmacharya is the fourth yama and is usually interpreted to mean the wise use of sexual energy or celibacy. Yet, in today’s Western world, a vow of chastity is almost impossible. Instead of looking at the fourth yama as a vow of celibacy, recognize Brahmacharya as a reminder to  lead a life of pure action and pure thought.  To break down the word Brahmacharya we get Brahma, the God of creation, and charya, derived from the root “car,” means “to move.”  Literally translated Brahmacharya means to walk with God or to move with the divine. Therefore Brahmacharya is to recognize the divinity in all beings and work to spread “purity and sacredness everywhere” (Discourse at “Sai Sruti”).

When I think of Brahmacharya and walking with the Divine, I immediately call to mind Hanuman, the mighty monkey of  the Hindu pantheon. Hanuman is known for his loyalty and unwavering devotion to Lord Rama, an avatar of the god Vishnu. When Hanuman first saw Rama, he immediately saw the Divine in Rama and sat before him and vowed his devotion. Everything Hanuman did was for the excellence he saw within Rama — even Hanuman’s heart beat “Rama Rama Rama.”  Hanuman, when faced with obstacles never question if he could do something, he instead looked to how he could accomplish his mission. His whole focus was to Rama and that undying devotion helped Hanuman recognized his own strengths.

Brahmacharya asks that we recognize the divine or sacredness in everyone and everything – including yourself. With the fourth yama, we are reminded to cultivate pure thoughts and not worry about the past or the future but instead focus on the present moment. Brahmacharya asks that you cultivate an attitude toward service of a duty because everything you do is important. Everything matters but let go of he need to acquire the end product that you desire.

When we cultivate an attitude of sacredness towards everything we do, we also cultivate a sense of non-attachment. We recognize that our duty is what is important not the outcome. When we cultivate non-attachment we recognize that the only thing we can truly possess is awareness. And with awareness we walk with our Divine self.

Asteya: The Third Yama

strong quote

This week I am discussing asteya, non-stealing (a= not steya=stealing), the third yama. Yamas are attitudes and restraints we hold to live a deeper, more rewarding and encompassing life.  The first yama is ahimsa, non-violence, and the second is satya, truth. Each yama builds upon each other creating a foundation to live with compassion and contentment.

In my research to see what is already out in the world on asteya, I came across a blog describing each yama. For asteya it basically said “self-explanatory.” I think asteya goes a little deeper than “don’t take shit that doesn’t belong to you.” Asteya to me includes not only the physical removing of items that are not yours but also is taking anything physical, emotional, and energetic that is not yours.  I think of how we take people’s time by being late, being unprepared, or texting and checking email when we are with them. We take from the earth by not recognizing every choice we make from long showers to plastic wrapped food affects the sustainability of this planet and all its inhabitants. We take people’s happiness and good fortune by being jealous, competitive, controlling, or manipulative. We take people’s energy by thinking of our own stuff while someone else talks or saying we will do something and then backing out. We all do this in various ways and these are all forms of stealing.

For a couple of years, I felt lost and unsure of myself. During this time I copied what others were doing. I did this because they seemed successful or happy or sure of themselves. Instead of tapping into my own progress I would compare myself to other people and feel hostile or resentment towards them. When I found my path, all the jealousy and resentment I was holding toward others dissipated. I became happy with what I was doing and could honestly be happy for others. We all must live in balance. When we live in balance, we live with contentment. As many of us know, balance is hard and we are constantly shifting. This constant movement is why we need to stay aware and mindful to what we are doing and how we are doing. Life is in constant motion, we are in always moving. But in the center of the is where our true knowledge and sense of fulfillment rests.

Stealing occurs when we feel a lack for something. We steal from the earth, people, and ourselves when we focus on the external environment to satisfy our desires: we think we need bigger cars, bigger houses, more clothes, more money, more friends, more time. When in fact each of us needs to go within and give to ourselves the gift of presence. This is where the first yama ahimsa, non-violence, says be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to explore, to fail, to wonder, to rest, and to relax. Give yourself permission to feel a sense of lack and then ask “what is it I am lacking?” from there tap in to satya, truth, and again ask “what am I lacking” – until you strip all the layers of illusion (jealousy, ego, competition, comparison, pain, joy, suffering, happiness) and find that you can only say to yourself “I live with abundance.”

Remind yourself when you think you need external validation to make you happier, prettier, thinner, stronger, funnier, more desirable that you live with abundance.

I live with abundance.

I live with abundance.

I live with abundance.

Satya: The Second Yama

This week I touch upon the second yama, Satya or truth. The word Satya comes from Sat which means “being.”  Satya is not only about speaking the truth but on a deeper meaning Satya is the practice of being the truth. Every thought, every word, every action you take is to come from your most authentic, real self. For many of us, our true self is a mystery. We live our life trying to please our ego, please others, and wishing our lives were different. I know that I don’t move always from a place of truth. Honestly, I mainly move from ego and desire. I do this out of habit, fear, and simply being unaware of my thoughts and patterns.

Recently,  I went to a talk at an ashram and the swami speaking reminded each of us that our life is this Now. Every thought, every feeling, everything your senses take in is your life and your reality. Now many of us sit around rushing through life, trying to get things done, trying to please others, trying to get our ego satisfied and the validation that we are a good enough person. Satya says to let all that go, look within and see the truth of your situation. What is the truth of your thoughts? When you strip away all your layers, what is the truth of your motivation? On the most subtle level, what your intention for doing what you are doing?

Gandhi wrote an essay on Truth and said that Truth is God. He said where truth lies so does true knowledge and where there is true knowledge there is bliss. Think about how much better you feel when you make that hard decision that you know is right. To move with Satya is not easy. That is why many of us get in the habit of white lies, not speaking out truths, and not believing in ourselves. As Judith Lasater points out in her article, To Tell the Truth, “the practice of satya is about restraint: about slowing down, filtering, carefully considering our words so that when we choose them, they are in harmony with the first yama, ahimsa.” In my search to understand Satya, I am repeatedly told three questions to ask before speaking: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

As you go through your day and through your week, stop and ask yourself these three vital questions before you speak and before you act: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?. As you pause to do this, the layers that cover your true intention will be visible. When you peel away the layers of ego, trying to please others, and habitual behaviors, the base of your intention, the truth of your motivation and what you want to convey will be exposed. From this place move forward.

Ahimsa: The First Yama

hand flowerYoga is considered to be an eight-limbed path to reach pure bliss, Samadhi. On this path, the yoga asanas, the physical practice, is the third limb. Most of us, when we start yoga bypass the first two limbs and jump into the physical practice unaware there is more to yoga than warrior 2, downdog, and savasana.  For many of us, when we really begin to get into our practice, we start to notice that what happens on the mat begins to trickle into our everyday life. We start finding more patience or at least become aware of our own impatience. We find ourselves breathing more, or feeling better at work because our back no longer hurts. Then, eventually, we are led to the first two limbs of the yogic path

The first limb is the Yamas – the attitude and actions we take towards others. Throughout the next ten weeks, I will be addressing the yamas and niyamas. The very first yama is Ahimsa, non-harming or non-violence ( “a’ means not and “himsa” means violence). Ahimsa is said to be the most important of all the yamas and niyamas and therefore is the first one we learn.  Ahimsa teaches is all beings are equal and no living being should harm another in thought, speech, or action. Now if we were to live in true ahimsa, we would all be dead. When we breathe or drink water we take in germs and bacteria. Even when we walk we may kill ants and small insects. Instead of beating yourself up trying to wrap your mind around the concept of non-violence, observe your intention or motive behind each thought and action. Are you acting in self-defense for survival? Are you reacting from ego or a past experience? For instance, we put down our animals when they are in agony. We think our boss is a moron and wish them ill-feelings because of our ego was bruised. Which, do you believe, is ahmisa and which is himsa?

According to Deborah Adele “Our capacity to be nonviolent depends on our proactive practice of courage, balance, love of self, and compassion for others.”[i] To find courage, to bring balance into our lives and become compassionate towards others, we need to tap into self-love. Each of us needs to become of aware of how we think, how we see the world and ourselves, and work to change our negative, harmful tendencies as they creep in. How we treat ourselves is how we treat others.

Our culture is not a peaceful one. I feel like I hear about a shooting once a week. Watching the Super Bowl commercials I was appalled at the violence I saw – people hitting each other, a guy hitting a shark, a man tying-up a cheetah. There are magazines, television and internet shows, dedicated to insulting what celebrities wear and how they look. Our culture thrives on himsa and sadly, we are part of our culture. Without even knowing it we are constantly making judgments, putting others down, and worse, acting violent to ourselves. We cut our faces and our bodies to look younger and more attractive. We work hard without rest and berate ourselves for resting when we do, we push ourselves to exhaustion, we eat processed foods, we medicate our bodies to stay awake, we medicate our bodies to go to sleep. Many of us have lost the capacity and patience to feel sad, confused, lost, happy, pleased, and content. We look down on the “beginner’s mind” – the modest mind which allows oneself to come from a place of learning, patience, and boundaries knowing that only hard work and humility will lead past the present edges currently being honored.

Today, play with awareness: observe how you react to situations, how you talk to yourself, and how you think about others. As you go through your day notice your thoughts. How do you talk to yourself? Remove the words “should and would” from your vocabulary. These words are violent words that only lead you to feeling guilty (“I should be…”) and minimize your worth (“I would if…”). Begin to keep to a gratitude journal. Each day find time to write down what you are grateful for in your day. What lessons did you learn from the co-worker that you annoyed you? Or the super-slow driver that was in front of you when you were late to work?  When you begin to verbalize a negative thought, hold it, and replace it with something positive and nurturing. Start being gentle to You and this compassion will naturally begin to move to those around you.


[i] Adele, Deborah. Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice. Duluth: On-Word Bound Books, 2009. Web.

 

Riding Your Own Current

There is energy all around us: the energy of the sun, the energy it takes to move an object, wasted energy on unrequited love, energy of thoughts (i.e. scattered, constricted, and mental blocks). Yoga is a process to allow for a free flow of energy to move through you. According to Erich Schiffmann, “your body’s ability to function as a clean efficient channel is limited by stiffness, lack of strength, and lack of endurance” (65). As we remove blocks, limit discomfort, heal wounds, release tension, energy flows more freely, we are more at ease and comfortable in our bodies and in our life.

Many of us are ambitious, have dreams and drive. Yet, we learn time again that we cannot force anything to happen. Everything — our relationships, our careers, hobbies, talents, and dreams — take time to grow, develop and mature. I have a quote on my fridge by the Greek sage Epictetus that says “No great thing is created suddenly. There must be time. Give your best and always be kind.” Epictetus believed that we cannot control our external environment, we can only control our actions. For him, happiness was living in accordance to nature, “which means (a) pursuing a course through life intelligently responding to one’s own needs and duties as a sociable human being, but also (b) wholly accepting one’s fate and the fate of the world as coming directly from the divine intelligence which makes the world the best that is possible” (Seddon). We suffer when we try to control what is out of our control and ignore what is within our power to change.

In yoga, as in life, we often force ourselves to go further than comfortable or place our value in terms of what we can accomplish. Our mat is a microcosm of our behavior in the world. What happens on our mat, how we drift, daydream, force, embrace, and breakdown, is how we also react to situations off the mat. Yogi Joel Kramer summed it up when he said “The quality of mind that you bring to yoga is of the utmost importance.” Yoga is not about working to accomplish something, yoga is about being present, to remove the blocks that prevent us from understanding our true nature. Kramer mentions that when we force ourselves into postures, when we move to accomplish something, yoga becomes a series of repetitious exercises with a goal rather that a process of profound transformation.

Instead of forcing yourself into a posture, tune into the subtle energy currents that are moving through your body. In yoga, when we turn into ourselves, become aware of ourselves, we find that our bodies continuously give us feedback.  You can notice where you are tight, in pain, open, and parts or sides you are favoring. More importantly, you can tune into the parts of your body and poses you can control. There are energy lines moving through your body. The energy lines start at your core and move into your limbs. Our center is our pelvis and the “most important line of energy, always, is your spine” (Schiffmann, 67). Each yoga pose consists of at least two energy lines and you must learn to focus on your internal sensations to move energy into parts of your body.

When working with energy lines, work to channel your energy within your limits. There is no forcing or pushing because this will only create more tension. Think about if you were to push against a closed door, all your muscles are engaged you tighten up and the door still won’t budge. You run the risk of injuring yourself rather than opening the door. Become as relaxed as possible and feel your body sink deeper. As muscle tension releases, your body will go deeper into the pose naturally. This surrender to what you can control can be applied into everything  in your life. Follow your breath within and notice your own energy currents. Extend them, relax them, and watch yourself grow at your rhythm. Knowing when to rest, when to expand, and where your limits lie, you will find that most everything will come at a greater ease and your life will be full of more joy.

“Epictetus,” by Keith H. Seddon. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. n.d. Web. January 21, 2013.
Kramer, Joel. Yoga as Self Transformation. Yoga Journal May/June 1980. Web.
Schiffmann, Erich. Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness. New York: Pocket Books, 1996. Print.

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