The Freedom of Decluttering

The Freedom of Decluttering

Yoga philosophy teaches that letting go of extra “stuff” actually frees us. When we step back from our attachment to the stuff we have, the things we have no longer own us. Helping my son clean out his closet reminded me of the power of decluttering and how important it is to the quality of our lives to regularly clean out, pare down and straighten up our spaces, our days, and our minds.

The Body/Mind Connection

The Body/Mind Connection

What if you could choose your pace each day? What if you could choose to be calm? What if you could pause and allow hectic thoughts and chaotic feelings to settle? What if you could do all these things and more WHENEVER you felt out of kilter? If that sounds as good to you as it does to me, we’ve got a very good reason to add a few (more) minutes of meditation to our days.

Patience and Persistence Get You There

Patience and Persistence Get You There

One of the most transformative gifts of a yoga practice is the willingness to be patient with slow progress that often doesn’t look like progress at all as it weaves and circles and backtracks. This willingness allows us to survive and even thrive as we navigate grief, unexpected career changes, “long-haul” parenting, caring for a sick or dying loved one, the collapse of a marriage, the upheaval of a global pandemic, and so on. In times like these, it’s perfectly natural to hope that Google will have the answer or at least the phone number of an expert who has the answer. It’s understandable to want an easy fix when you’re worried or in pain. But the healing, creativity, perspective, strength, and resilience that we need in situations like these do not develop quickly. These are times for the patience and persistence of a yogi (or a tortoise).

Disagreeing Well

Disagreeing Well

In the heat of the moment of disagreement with my husband, my yoga practice provides a moment of clarity and space. While our frustration did not disappear immediately, our feelings of aloneness and isolation in the problem did. The reminder that I am part of a “we” held together by love (yoga’s promise of oneness or union) added hope that our best chance of navigating our challenging situation was together.

Train Your Brain

Train Your Brain

Learning to play Wordle HURT my brain! This was a felt-experience in developing neuroplasticity or flexibility and it is very, very good for us. In fact, it keeps us young. Yoga is a great way to develop and maintain plasticity of both the body and the brain. Regularly rising to its challenges is a way to stay physically and mentally younger than our years for the rest of our lives.

Be Where Your Feet Are

Be Where Your Feet Are

It turns out (as it almost always does) that yoga teaches us not how get better at doing yoga, but how to get better at living life. One of the most important skills that yoga teaches is presence. When we are in the now life is richer and more meaningful. It is also more manageable. When we are where our feet are we can navigate even the most challenging events of our life with grace and poise.

A Sense of Scarcity Can Be Self-Induced

A Sense of Scarcity Can Be Self-Induced

If we’re not aware, our mind can create a sense of scarcity that does not represent the real abundance of our lives. Doing so can send us into needless physical and mental anxiety. With a little mindfulness and some practice, it is possible for us to learn to choose an inner sense of relaxation rather than constriction which can be life-changing.

Kindness Trumps Efficiency

Kindness Trumps Efficiency

I am grateful to my new mindfulness teacher, Julia, a customer service representative who I will probably never meet, for the loving reminder that we are connected. Thank you, Julia, for the renewed certainty that in every act we take (even when online shopping), we have the power to be more than polite. We can be thoughtful and kind. And that matters greatly.

A Case for Paying Attention

A Case for Paying Attention

Mindfulness makes us better at what whatever we are doing (reading, gardening, being with a friend, and so on). When we pay attention, we are exponentially more competent than when we do not. But mindfulness offers more. When we are mindfully engaged with or paying attention to whatever is happening, we feel better – calm, comfortable and confident. Feeling this good motivates us to keep us practicing!