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Today I was looking through the notebook I used for my 200-hour yoga teacher training. One of the many things it reminded me of was what one of my teachers, Sudha, aptly called the “itty bitty shitty committee”.
We were talking about the koshas, or different layers of being, which I’ll briefly summarize as:
I fondly recall an exercise where 6 of us wanna-be instructors were each assigned to “be” a layer, with the one extra person assigned to do yoga postures. (Since at the time I was uncertain about what the others would be asked to do, I volunteered to do the poses.) While I put myself into different shapes, my 5 peers talked at me (continuously). It was an incredible experiment! My physical body complained about aching or tightness, my breath body was struggling to inhale deeply. My observer was busy being abstract about the experience from a short distance away, while my bliss body was thoroughly wrapped up in a feeling of peace. But that mental body–the one comprised of SO many judgmental and critical committee members, was telling me I wasn’t good enough, comparing me to other students in the class, planning my next meal, worrying about what was happening back home, and so on. It was a madhouse in my mind!
Ordinarily I wouldn’t realize how ridiculous some of the things I say to myself are, but in these moments, I couldn’t stop laughing. “Is this what really happens?” I thought? Yes, it is. But the difference between this exercise and real life is that WE LISTEN TO THESE VOICES, rather than see them for what they really are.
So, what is your itty bitty shitty committee saying to you today? Is it something to listen to? Is it worth the energy to talk back to them? Or, can you just close the door on that meeting room and walk away with a smile on your face, knowing you don’t have to buy what they’re selling?
Or view it here:
It’s time for a mind AND body approach to goal setting. Check out my new FREE worksheet to help you discover realistic, purposeful actions that will get you to where you want to go!
Halloween is one of the few holidays that I really enjoy. This year is a bit chaotic, and I find myself not being able to participate as much as I would like. While reflecting on this, I started to wonder, “why do I like this holiday so much”?
Halloween is a time where we put on costumes, masks, wigs, makeup, and essentially pretend to be something we’re not. But it’s likely that we select something that’s enjoyable, something we feel happy “being” for a time. Maybe it’s something we wanted to be when we grew up, something we find pretty or sexy or outrageous. Maybe it’s a movie character we really like. We might put a lot of time and effort into creating this look, and we might feel that Halloween is the ONLY day we could display ourselves like this to others.
But what if we looked at it the other way around? What if we could see Halloween as a time when we can be what we truly are, or want to be deep down? What if it were a time for us to take OFF the masks and costumes–the personalities we wear for the world on a daily basis because we’re afraid to show any part of ourselves that our social circles doesn’t reward or accept? What if we instead used Halloween as a springboard for expressing our authentic selves!?
Here are 13 scary ideas for you to play with this Halloween:
Is Halloween really every day for you? How scary can you get this Halloween by finding YOU underneath your masks and costumes?
What I mean by that is that one or more of the following automatic negative thoughts appear in my mind (and often more, creating that “negative thought spiral” I love so much):
One might see these feelings as natural and to be expected, as I’m still in the early stages of completely changing careers mid-life, but I know it goes deeper too. I remember feeling this way walking down the halls of the high-tech job I stayed the longest at– even after a few years into the job when I might have felt “settled in”. So what is this “feeling like a fraud” thing about, really?
Ah, my familiar friend: fear. I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. No one likes me. Follow that train and I end up in the place where fear morphs into sheer terror: I’m alone. Completely and utterly alone.
Why do we often feel alone? (Ironically I know I’m not the only one who suffers from this.) Is it because we’re not being truly open, but rather walking around coated in an impenetrable armor that doesn’t allow others to really get close to us? Is it because we’re all wearing masks that hide what we’re really feeling? Is it because technology has distanced us, even though in many ways it functions to bring us closer together? Is it because we prioritize work, chores, errands, and general busyness over cultivating our interpersonal relationships? Is it because we hardly ever look each other in the eye, or ever really see past the wonderful lives people appear to have on Facebook? Is it because we’re always comparing ourselves to someone who has something better than us?
Regardless of the causes, what can we do to re-connect with our fellow travelers in this life? Here are some ideas:
And when all else fails and the fear takes over, build and hide in a pillow-fort until the storm passes, or someone digs you out (because they always will).
Other thoughts? Ideas? Can you relate? Share them please. None of us wants to feel alone.
Today I’ve officially launched the new look of my web site, “A Journey Into Health”. While it may not seem like much (and there are still some things to do over in social media land), it marks the convergence of three web sites (and a blog!) into one, which will make things a heck of a lot easier on me! I’ll no longer be posting over on Blogspot, but will be keeping this blog and site up to date with wellness news and info. I’ve migrated my popular travel stories, and there are also some new pages here including my story (so far), some things I regularly eat to stay healthy and vibrant, and new pricing & packaging for my various services. I hope you will be a regular visitor, and I look forward to continuing this journey with you.
I have a love / hate relationship with running. In my 20s I did a few 5Ks for charities, always thinking I was going to die by the end. I struggled with bad knees and bum ankles. In my mid-30s I picked it up again, stronger, more flexible from engaging in other sports and of course, in a more dedicated yoga practice. I was training for a 10K in 2010 or so, when I finally over-trained and tore my Achilles one week prior to the race. I had been up to 6.5 miles at a good clip for a short gal like me. After that, I pushed the pause button on the running for awhile.
Well I’m back into the running thing again, trying to up my mileage each week rather than caring how fast I go. The more I do it, the less I hate it. And having my mind occupied while doing my run is of primary importance–I’m just not the kind of person who can find “meditation” in a quiet run. What’s helping me run smoothly and calmly now may not be conventional, but I thought I would share in case you’re someone who practices yoga and running, like me. Yes folks, I’ve been running to chants.
Here are three of my current favorites:
Season Diet, John Douillard talks a lot about how deep breathing in and out through the nose can reduce the stress that an intense exercise like running can put on the body, and help increase the effectiveness of one’s workouts. I read this book years ago and it made a lasting impression on me, because yeah, who wants to be huffing and puffing out their mouth, feeling like they’re going to die after running? Not me. I wanted calm, relaxed running. And when I was training for that 10K, I remember using his suggestions on breathing and running that 6.5: when I stopped, I just, well…stopped. I wasn’t out of breath at all, and I felt completely relaxed.
What does that have to do with this music? Most runners I know are looking for upbeat music, and even using BPM (beats per minute) to try and pace themselves. That’s great. And it’s not for me. What this music does for me is get me into a state of extreme relaxation. I get lost in not just the sound of my steps and the belt on the treadmill, but also in the soothing instruments and voices. My breath remains deep and full, without as much mental exertion on my part. And because I’m focusing on the repetitive natures of both the physical movement and the chants, my whole body feels completely in sync, completely aligned. I’ve started going faster and further with this music, believe it or not.
If you like this sort of music, consider making it part of your runs. Let me know your thoughts!
Hour-long gentle yoga practice intended to reconnect students with the wisdom of their bodies. Letting go of the mind, the control, learning to surrender to the body helps us heal physically and emotionally / mentally.
So many have influenced me and thus this video: Swami Kripalu, Jurian Hughes and Carolyn Sudha, Vandita Kate Marchesiello, Rudy Peirce, Dana Moore and Bessel Van der Kolk. Thank you, Jai!