Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Add some Ki to your life

This week I'm dedicating my blog post to my friend and mentor, Ki McGraw.  An amazing and caring yoga teacher, Ki incorporates her dance and psychotherapy backgrounds into her dynamic yoga practice and instruction.  She has guided me through yoga teacher training, retreat in Bali, kirtan performances and the spectrum of life experiences. 

Ki lives and teaches with her husband, Bob, at the Hatha Yoga Center in the University District.  After 32 years in their beautiful old church building, the property is being destroyed and transformed into condos.  Luckily, they found a new space just 3 blocks away.  The Hatha Yoga Center opens its new doors this Friday, June 1st, at 4556 University Way NE Suites 203/204 Seattle, WA 98105.  Join the movement and add some Ki to your life.  Check out the video below to see why her offerings are so valuable and healing.  Namaste!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Free Give Away

My 2012 New Year's resolution is to give.  It probably seems weird to be writing about resolutions in May, but a 5-month check-in will help keep me on track.  I'm tapping into that part of myself that gives freely and openly without expecting anything in return.  Not an easy feat.  My ego usually wants people to notice my good deeds and acknowledge them with praise and compliments.  Shower me, shower me!  Of course everyone loves to be recognized, but my spiritual practice is asking me to give just for the sake of giving.  I love to talk and usually want to tell people about what I'm up to (like I'm doing right now).  So for the next few weeks, I'm going to offer up my time, services, food, money, etc., and NOT tell anyone about it.  I'm practicing how to validate myself, lift myself up and serve the world through the 3 guidelines of giving.

The first guideline of giving is that you must give to yourself first.  I can not offer anything of value if I'm exhausted, anxious or worried.  I have to give myself time to sleep, eat healthy foods, meditate, enjoy social time with friends and drink plenty of water in order to then be ready to give some energy to anyone else.  Therefore, my first step in the year of giving is to fill myself up with positivity and healthy habits.  Once my cup is full, I can share the abundant overflow.

The second guideline is to show up with a mentality of service.  For example, I show up at a party with the intention of giving and serving.  Most of the time, the best gift I can give is active listening and engagement in a personal conversation.  Asking questions and truly listening is an invaluable service that people often overlook.  When I'm ready to serve and support a friend, I put my cell phone away, angle my chair and look them in the eye.  Sometimes I have to consciously say to myself silently, "Listen."  I do this with my students in my classroom and in my personal life.  As humans, we crave personal connections.  The best way to ignite the connection and share the love is to listen.

My mentor, Gabrielle Bernstein, shares a funny acronym: WAIT.  It stands for Why Am I Talking?  This acronym is going to come in very handy when I'm trying to listen and serve.  Sometimes I get carried away and just go on and on.  When I catch myself, I'm just going to say to myself silently, "WAIT," followed by, "Listen."  This idea applies at work, at home, in social situations, anywhere.

The third guidline of giving is to cultivate gratitude.  By giving thanks daily, we learn to see our lives as full of abundance.  It's easy to get brainwashed and think we need to constantly buy more, do more, work more, more, more, more.  If we're always striving and never appreciating, we miss the beauty of today and the chance to give.  When I count my blessings during morning meditation or write a gratitude list in my journal, I feel so full and relaxed and abundant that I realize how much I have to offer and how much I can afford to give away.

Life is unpredictable.  I'm learning to set down my plans and my self-interest in order to open up to new opportunities to help others.  How do you like to give?  Share your story and post a comment below.  Give, baby, GIVE!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm a junkie!

Yes, I have an addiction.  It feels so good that I indulge everyday and just want to get home and get back to it.  It really takes the edge off, really brings me to a new level.  Yes, I admit it.  I'm a junkie... a spirit junkie.  Meditation is my drug and yoga preps my body.  Gabrielle Bernstein is hooked, too.  This week I'm reviewing her book, Spirit Junkie.  Enjoy!

"For those ready to give up their addiction to suffering or who simply need to release the general malaise of a too-busy, too-shallow way of life, Spirit Junkie is a soothing balm for the soul.  Gabrielle Bernstein is a brilliant shining guide for all who seek to have more love, more light, and more miracles in their lives." -Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Calling myself OUT!

This week I received some really important feedback.  I want and welcome honest reactions to my blogs and vlogs so that I can grow and get better.  The hardest part about hearing a less-than-optimal opinion is NOT TAKING IT PERSONALLY.  After investing time and energy into a project, I often feel intimately connected to the results.  But here's the thing...defending my current position only keeps me stuck there.

So here's what happened.  I posted my first vlog last week about sleep.  On the intro page, I wrote my name and "Ayurveda Wellness Counselor."  Well, the honest truth is that I'm currently studying to become an Ayurveda Wellness Counselor.  I don't actually graduate until March 2013.  I am officially calling myself out, slowing myself down and recommitting to transparent and authentic posts.  In my mind, I was creating an archive of awesome wellness resources, but the reality is that I'm not quite there yet.  Of course I have a lot to offer and a unique way of doing it.  But sometimes I get ahead of myself and need to refocus.  Until I heard this feedback from a close family member, I didn't even consider this perspective.  He respects Ayurveda and didn't like me jumping the gun and declaring myself some type of expert before receiving all the training.  This point of view makes perfect sense, and he's probably not the only one to feel this way.  Of course in the moment I felt defensive, but I just tried to listen through it.  This feedback was a mirror showing me to myself.

I watched myself and my own thought process that day.  I felt guilty and embarrassed about the title page and changed it that night.  That feeling of shame was like a little red flag showing me the way to right action.  It doesn't always happen the same way, but those reminders pop up to guide us if we let them.  If I had attacked and defended my position, I would have missed the gift, the miracle, of new perception.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sweet Dreams

Time spent sleeping is time spent healing, restoring vitality and rejuvinating the body.  Check out my first ever video blog (vlog!) about the beauty of sleep.  Share your tips, thoughts or comments below!  Sweet dreams!