Meditation / Stress Management Workshop

Posted on Sep 25, 2013 | 5 comments

Meditation / Stress Management Workshop

This is your chance to learn what meditation actually is and have the chance to practice several different techniques. We will learn about the effects of stress on your body and how meditation can be a useful tool to combat those effects. This workshop is spread over four weeks to allow you time to practice the different methods between classes and ask any questions that arise. Prior Yoga experience is NOT necessary. For more information and to sign up contact Cheri at 979-549-7448 or use the Contact Form. Meditation / Stress Management Workshop is scheduled on four consecutive Fridays When: Oct 18 & 25, Nov 1 & 8. (make up session to be decided) Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm Where: Friendswood Activity Center, 416 Morningside Dr. Friendswood, TX. 77546 Cost: $40 (paid in advance) plus $10 study material Workshop Size: Limited to 10  ...

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My Enemy, My Teacher – Part 4

Posted on Jun 30, 2011 | 0 comments

My Enemy, My Teacher – Part 4

What keeps you from being the best person you can be?  For most of us, if we are really honest the answer to this questions is: Myself.  And that brings me to the final part of this series.  Probably our best Enemy/Teacher is ourselves. How many times have we said something like: I will start that diet again on Monday; I will make it back to yoga class next week; I will begin the search for a job that will make me happier next month.  How many times do we refuse to make positive change the priority it needs to be in order for it to happen?  We know what to do, but for some reason we just can’t seem to follow through.  I believe this is a clear case of not being committed to yourself as much as you are to everybody and everything else in your life.  Change takes commitment. We have no problem being committed to our spouses, children, jobs or even strangers, but commitment to ourselves is somehow not as important.  The inability to commit to yourself is your enemy, and thus your teacher.  If you sit in meditation and ask the question “what keeps me from committing to this change”, then the learning begins.  But you must get past the superficial answers you use as excuses every day (i.e. there is no time, I have to do ___ first, I am taking the weekend off). I can hear you even now.  “But you don’t understand, my kids are so busy and I need to drive them etc”.  I know your kids are busy, your boss is unreasonable, the stress is so high you can’t put down the ice cream… There is always five minutes you can find, you can breath before talking to the boss, and you can meditate instead of eating that ice cream.  These are the moments that teach us.  Are you ready to learn?  Or how about this sentence: NO.  No is a complete sentence all by itself.  I give you permission to use it. You must get past your ingrained patterns of behavior and thinking.  That is what learning is all about.  Open yourself to the possibility that you can choose a different response and you find growth on the other side. The same holds true when we talk about thought patterns.  Do you have those tapes in your head that tell you: I’m not good enough, I’m not skinny enough, I’m not smart enough, etc.  These types of inner conversations are another enemy/teacher.  To begin to learn from them, we must first detach and ask “Is this true?”  Most of the time the answer will be no, they are not true.  These are false beliefs we have picked up on our life journey, or they could have once been true but no longer are.  Either way they do not serve you any more and they do not help you progress toward your best self. No matter what your issues may be they are there for a reason.  There is a lesson you are meant to learn from them.  These are the toughest lessons to learn because it requires self discovery and that is hard.  I never ask you to do the easy thing, but I also never underestimate the effort that is required.  So I urge you to grab a seat in a quiet corner of your world and take a good look inside and see where your teacher resides then begin to work toward being your very best self.  You deserve...

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My Enemy, My Teacher – Part 3

Posted on Jun 14, 2011 | 0 comments

My Enemy, My Teacher – Part 3

The next form of “enemy” is any situation that pushes us to our limits.  By definition these situations would be things that are out of our control and they vary by degrees in seriousness.  These moments “enemies” because they stress us and therefore they are also teachers.  These issues can range from temporary to permanent and everywhere in between. These teachers can come in many different forms and what may be a “situation” for one person may be no big deal for another.  It can range from something as simple as locking your keys in the car to something as serious as a medical diagnosis.  Understand that I am in no way making light of serious issues that arise in people’s lives.  I am only pointing out that even in the moments when your world is rocked off of it’s foundations there is something to learn, and I content that we continue to learn for as long as we breath. I truly believe that the first step must be to ask “what is the lesson here?”.  Then more importantly, sit still and listen for the answer.  This means to find a quiet place and be silent and listen for that voice inside that will help you understand.  Your quiet place may be just a pause in a conversation or it could be to physically leave the space in which the events are unfolding.  I am not talking about running away here, I am advocating giving yourself physical space if you need it.  And the length of time that you remain quiet is up to you.  It could be a heartbeat or it could be a week or more.  The idea is to not RE-act, but to take the time to find the right ACTION for you.  Again this is where meditation comes in real handy.  By learning to sit in silence and identify that little voice, you will be prepared to exercise that “muscle” quicker in times of stress.  And with continued practice you will find that fewer situations will be stressful!  Because you have already learned that lesson (Ah Ha!) so you can save your energy instead of wasting it on keys locked in the car. Another lesson that situations can teach us it to reach out to other people.  We are not meant to be alone in this world.  Remember that we are all inter-connected (through Divinity) therefore we must rely on each other to survive.  All too often I have known people who suffer in silence because they don’t want to appear weak or different  in the eyes of others.  And even sadder are the people I have known in my life who did not share that they had a serious illness because they didn’t want to burden anybody.  I’m not advocating that you walk around with a sign, but do reach out to trusted friends and family.  Knowing that you are not alone can often be the first step in the healing process no matter what your situation may be.  In the case of illness understand that healing is not being cured.  It is possible to heal your life and the body still be sick. As usual I am asking you to do the hard thing.  It is easy to REACT, because we are hard wired to do so, but our ability to deal with things that are out of our control is no different than the muscles we strengthen in our asana practice.  It is only through “exercise” that we strengthen our ability to see difficult situations as our teachers and learn the lessons....

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When the World is Falling Apart

Posted on Apr 5, 2011 | 0 comments

It seems like there is nothing but bad news everywhere right now and it can really start to affect your outlook on life.  Between the tragic events in Japan, the state of the global economy and frustration with our political/economic situation, how does a Yogi/Yogini keep perspective and frankly how do we keep Hope alive? Something very interesting happens when we begin to practice Yoga.  The very essence of Yoga is to reconnect to the Divine in ourselves and others.  The result is that like the Grinch our heart grows three sizes.  We find that we FEEL others pain much more acutely.  It goes past knowing or understanding, these take place in the head.  But when we FEEL with others – that takes place in our Soul and our Heart.  It is much deeper and more profound.  As a result we may find that the pain of people a world away makes our chest ache. Don’t forget that there is Divine in each of us and since Divine is universal – we are ALL connected at a level that can not be explained away.  So it makes sense that we can physically hurt for people we don’t even know.  But this burden can be very hard to bear.  So how does a Yogi/Yogini protect their sanity and keep Hope alive? The answer is in Loving/Kindness on the mat and off.  Remember that when we practice Loving/Kindness meditation it is like ripples in a pond.  It doesn’t matter what words you use – it is the power behind the thoughts that makes the difference.  So when everything seems overwhelming take a few minutes to do the following: 1.  Send YOURSELF love and kindness 2.  Send your Family love and kindness 3.  Send your Friends love and kindness 4.  Send your ENEMIES love and kindness (VERY important) 5.  Send ALL beings, born and to be born, love and kindness The very action of concentrating on love and kindness will help you, the Yogi/Yogini, to feel more balanced and positive.  And by the way, there is science now to back this up.  Scientist have used functional MRI’s to map brain activity, and when the subject focused on positive thoughts the portion of the brain that drives positive emotions activated and stayed activated.   I have always said it is easy to be a Yogi/Yogini on the mat, in class or on retreat, the real test comes after.  The real work of a Yogi/Yogini happens off the mat.  This is where the rubber meets the road. Send love and kindness to EVERYONE you meet.  Yes even that person who cuts you off in Houston traffic.  Yes even the person at Starbucks who is complaining.  Yes even to your boss or co-worker who is on your last nerve.  No exceptions – Everyone.  This is tough.  Remember I don’t ask you to do the easy thing – it is the hard stuff that transforms your life and the life of others. When you respond to ugliness with love and kindness you take the wind out of the sails of the situation.  I am not talking about being a push over – remember a Yogi/Yogini is strong in body/mind/soul.  But you do not have to buy into the hype and perpetuate the negative.  So how does that help someone a world away you ask.  Well like the ripples in a pond you never know how far reaching your action is.  Someone you smile at today may be on the phone with someone in Japan and that positivity will transmit over a phone line.  It really does –...

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Distraction

Posted on Mar 15, 2011 | 0 comments

Have you noticed all the devices that distract us from what is really important?  When we watch TV (a distraction in itself most of the time) have you noticed the crawl across the bottom of the screen?  When we go out for a meal with friends or family have you noticed how many TVs there are in the restaurant?  What about the radio playing everywhere?  And of course there are the ever present hand-held devices that make us feel that we are somehow missing something if we don’t know about it immediately. Have you ever stopped to wonder exactly what it is we are being distracted from?  How about why we are being distracted?  I am not talking about a conspiracy by the media or the makers of technology, they are simply filling the demands of the consumers.  The bigger question is; why are we, the consumers, demanding these distractions?  We can’t all have ADD!  My opinion is that we want to be distracted from ourselves.  This is why meditation is so difficult – because when we sit in silence we meet ourselves face to face.  And sometimes we don’t like what we see. We are running scared by constantly having our attention drawn to things outside of ourselves.  We are afraid that if we stop running away and sit still and listen we may find that the life we have is not the life we need.  And if that realization comes home to roost, we will be forced to make changes.  And change is hard and uncomfortable and scary. But when we look at the alternative, a life spent running from ourselves, it seems pointless.  Like a dog chasing its own tail!  It takes real courage to sit down with ourselves and truly listen.  To “hear” the fears and joys of our heart.  To be truly present with our lives.  Meditation and Yoga is not for the faint of heart. We can all begin by just noticing the ways in which we distract ourselves.  It may be checking e-mail/phones/news constantly.  Or maybe having the TV on all the time without watching it.  Perhaps it is being “plugged in” every waking minute.  But there is good news, once we are aware of something, we have the power to change it.  It may take time and energy.  But with patience, love and kindness we may just find ourselves living a life that is bigger and better than we ever dreamed. We owe it to ourselves, to the people we love and love us, and to the world to live our very best life.  It is only by changing ourselves that we are able to change the...

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Welcome Spring!!!

Posted on Mar 7, 2011 | 1 comment

Spring has sprung and here on the Gulf Coast it doesn’t last nearly long enough.  So today I want to remind you to get out there and see the glory of nature.  Here are a few ideas. * Take your mat outside under a tree and do your yoga * Rather than meditation on your cushion take a meditative walk * Cut or buy flowers to bring into the house to remind you to look outside * Take a different route to work or the store so that you see new sights Spring is a time of renewal and change.  So stretch a bit and find something new and exciting to try or do something that you haven’t done in a long time.  Now get off the computer and get outside....

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Sometimes Reality Bites

Posted on Mar 1, 2011 | 0 comments

Sometimes Reality Bites

It is true – we can not escape the fact that sometimes reality just bites.  No matter how much we sit in meditation and work on our attitude and work our poses something will come along that just sucks.  It may be an old wound that will never quite heal or something totally new like a job loss or having to lay someone off, but it is bound to happen at one point or another.  So then what? First and foremost we must see the issue for what it really is.  This is where the meditation and poses and journaling come in handy.  By using these tools to go inside of ourselves on an ongoing basis we can identity the real issue.  For instance when anger pops up it is usually coming from a place of pain and if you have done the work before hand you can recognize the disease (pain) instead of treating the symptom (anger). The next step is to honor the feeling.  Too often we want to push our negative emotions into the closet and pretend that they don’t exist.  But they do.  Nothing in this world is without a balance.  Good does not exist without bad, dark without light.  The same is true of emotions.  There are the emotions that make us feel warm and fuzzy and then… there are the emotions that make us want to scream.  All of these emotions are real.  All of these emotions are valid.  And as such they deserve our attention.  When we try to push our “bad” emotions away we give them more energy and they grow.  This is how we begin to obsess over the stressful events and emotions in our lives, so once we understand the underlying emotion we must be strong and feel the feelings. Now if we have been practicing meditation we should find our cushion and sit.  Just sit and let the feelings move through us, we don’t wallow in it, we just feel what we feel and let it pass.  If we use journaling then we take our pin in hand and start to let the feelings flow through our words.  If we use our yoga postures we take to our mat and let our body lead the way.  No matter what the method, if tears come – let them come, if screams come – let them come.  This is how we honor the feeling – by just letting it be what it will be, not trying to stifle it or reshape it into some form that we are more comfortable with. Sometimes the wound is old and or just too deep and is not likely to heal in the near future.  In this case, we must understand that the pain is a part of us and may stay with us for the remainder of our lives.  Honor this fact.  Again don’t wallow, but just see it for what it really is without smoke and mirrors and accept the facts. I am certainly not saying that this is easy.  It isn’t.  I’m not saying that this is a one shot wonder.  It isn’t.  You may need to repeat all of these steps over and over again.  This is hard – very hard.  This is what it takes to face reality – the dark side of reality.  This is not for the faint of heart, but the alternative is to pretend that reality is something that it is not.  It takes a really strong person to do this work and that is why we must do the work on our cushion, in...

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Who we are – Really

Posted on Feb 15, 2011 | 0 comments

What makes us who we are, or more correctly who we think we are?  When we really stop and ask ourselves this question lots of answers come to mind; husband/wife, daughter/son, father/mother, accountant/yoga teacher, etc.  But does this tell the whole story?  Absolutely not. From the time we are born we are labeled.  We see a newborn baby and the labels just start to flood the air; cute, sweet, angelic, etc.  And they don’t stop throughout our life.  In the end we may be labeled; feeble, strong, nutty.  Any number of descriptions from everyone around us including those who know us and those who do not.  Society is full of labels that stick to us like glue; single, married, single mom, divorced.  And we actively participate by labeling ourselves; fat, skinny, ugly, beautiful, good, inadequate.  And of course the list goes on and on.  The labels that we stick on ourselves are often the most negative and surely the most fixed. All of these labels get stuck to us to make up a kind of shell that in the end calcifies to build up our persona.  This shell is our ego and we work hard to keep it in tact because we don’t know who we are without it.  Some people even go so far as to bolster their ego with material possessions like cars and houses.  In this economic climate we see many individuals suffering because they have lost part of this shell that has been built around them and they feel exposed.  So who are we really if we are not these labels or things?  We are the person who is hidden under all of those labels and things.  We are like an onion with many transparent layers and when we peel those layers off we get to the heart of our true self.  Yoga and meditation help us to peel these layers away.   When we come to the mat and integrate our body and our mind through the breath we meet ourselves.  On our mat we face our limitations with our mind fully engaged in the action of the pose and we are humbled.  Humbled first because we find a seemingly easy pose as actually very difficult.  And we are humbled again when we find that our body can do this difficult thing and we see the miracle that the physical body truly is. In meditation we find the silence that is so very rare in our world today.  At first the silence is scary and the ego scrambles to fill the space.  But it is in this silence that our true self speaks.  The silence creates the space where Divine can be heard because – Divine speaks in a whisper, never a shout.  The basis of Yoga is that Divine resides in each living being.  The practice of Yoga is the search for that Divine in ourselves and others. The road of Yoga is long – life long.  But on the journey we meet ourselves.  All of ourselves, including the pleasant and the not so pleasant.  But if we take the journey with an open mind and heart we will be able to answer the question: “Who am I?” with more honesty and clarity. Namaste “The Divine in me recognizes and salutes the Divine in...

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