All posts tagged: pema chodron

Life goes on

To say that my family (by blood and by marriage) has experienced immense loss in 2015 is kind of the understatement of the year. We’ve had to say farewell to loved ones too soon, and the gaping holes left behind have been too immense to fill. I know nothing superficial that I do will ease the pain or make it go away faster. Believe me, I tried to eat my feelings; it only made me feel bloated. Instead,  I turned to the wisdom of Pema Chodron. The day of my father’s cremation, I found myself completely frazzled, shaken to the core, and mentally frantic. Reality was setting in. These are, of course, completely normal and healthy reactions to loss. But for whatever social reason, our tendency as humans is to hide our feelings away and bury them so no one has to see us bawl and heave and shake and wipe away our tears. Yoga philosophy tells us to sit with the experience and the emotions. Instead of trying to avoid difficult situations, the only way to get to the other …

Tonglen Meditation 101

Last week, I introduced Tonglen Meditation in my yoga classes. It’s a Tibetan Buddhist practice that uses the breath in an act of giving and receiving. I talked about the samskaras I had been facing, and in an effort to really understand and feel compassion for my 3-year-old (rather than lashing out at him when he has a tantrum), I turned to Tonglen and my breath to offer love and kindness toward him. The idea of Tonglen Meditation is to use each inhale to focus on someone or a group of people who are suffering. This someone could even be you. How to: Pema Chodron talks about doing this practice not only for your loved ones. You can use Tonglen to send compassion to other parts of the world, like the Syrian refugees who need kindness and generosity the world over right now. You can even use it on your “enemies” – someone who has hurt you or done wrong to you. Their suffering is coming out in harmful ways, and even though you were a victim …

What Inside Out taught me about Santosha

My husband and I found ourselves with the opportunity to have a day date, and our first thought was to go watch a movie at the theater. Parents, you know how hard it is to go see a movie, right? We settled on Inside Out, feeling only slightly guilty that we didn’t bring our 3-year-old. Fair warning, this post may spoil parts of the movie, if you haven’t seen it yet. Come back and join the conversation after you’ve seen it. It’s a GREAT movie, by the way, and worth the cost of admission. Besides my mommy hormones making me blubber through the sentimental parent/child moments, I was drawn to the internal struggle of emotions. I’m especially sympathetic to Sadness. I’ve always had a soft spot for emo/Debbie Downer characters, like Homestar Runner’s Strong Sad. I think it’s because there is a depth of emotion that lives within sadness, and it’s such an inward-facing emotion. You face your own demons and insecurities and pain when feeling sadness. Interestingly, more often than not, you always come out stronger afterward …

Two weekends into yoga teacher training

First, let me say that nothing kicks off a regular yoga practice than starting yoga teacher training! We’re practicing at least 4 times a week in addition to “workshopping” postures, lecture and discussion. Starting this week, we’ll also be observing classes. If you ever wondered who the seemingly random person was in the corner of a class, sitting on a bolster and taking notes in a journal, that person is in teacher training. I’m learning a lot about my own practice through being on the mat and being much more mindful and aware of all the little things we’re discussing. Teacher training is very self reflective, much more than I anticipated. Yes, we’re learning how to verbally lead and direct a practice, and we’re learning how to safely adjust and modify poses. However, all of it starts from our personal practice and what we’ve experienced in our bodies. Physically, I feel much more grounded in my hastas (hands) and my padas (feet). This has affected almost all of my standing postures, including one-legged balances like …

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