The definition of insanity...

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They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. As far as I can tell, by that measure that means most of us are bat sh*t crazy! LOL! In all seriousness, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Many of us have things we’d like to change in our lives. I know I do! But how many of us actually take positive steps forward to create those changes without getting overwhelmed by the seeming enormity of the task or just don’t even bother getting started in the first place?

If we want to loose weight we suddenly think we’re going to start on a specific date and completely change our diet or start an entirely new exercise program. And then by the second week or so we’re off the wagon and wondering where the days have gone. We end up feeling like change is impossible and give up.

If we want to change something in a relationship we sit down and have that Come to Jesus talk with the other person, lay out everything that’s wrong, agree to change and then realize a week or two later that we’ve fallen back into the same habits with that person again. We feel like change is impossible and give up, only to be unhappy and perhaps have another emotional explosion come again in the future.

If we just don’t feel great maybe we decide to start a meditation practice because we heard that would be good for us. So we sit down and try to do 20 minutes the first time out, end up looking at the timer approximately 3 billion times in the first 5 minutes and then think we just can’t do meditation and give up on ourselves.

Any of this sound familiar?

Yeah. Me too. But if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, but then we try and make some change and it “doesn’t work”, what is there to do?

We live in world where we’ve been conditioned to think we can just “fix it” right now. We can take a pill and everything will be all better. We want instant results. We want instant change.

But when was the last time that actually happened? Even if you have something you need to take an antibiotic for, it takes several days for that antibiotic to work! You aren’t cured instantly.

When you take that antibiotic you are doing one small thing, very consistently for a short period of time and then you measure the results. Maybe you take that pill once or twice a day. That probably takes you about 30 seconds. You do that for five days and then you measure the results. If all is well, great! If not, you go back to the doctor.

What if we applied this idea to the big changes we want to make in our lives? What if instead of changing our whole diet we picked something small like eating an extra serving of vegetables at dinner each night for a week and then noticed the change that created? What if instead of trying to change our whole relationship overnight we just chose to speak to them kindly when they forgot to take the trash out again instead of yelling about it and then ask that person how they felt at the end of the week? What if instead of trying to do 20 minutes of meditation every day we started with 1 minute 4 days this week and then wrote down how we felt after each session to see if there was improvement?

It takes time to see change. We can start without doing everything at once. And if we check in with ourselves consistently, we can see that these small acts start to pile up. It takes patience.

This month I want to encourage you to make a small change that will help you see that small changes can add up. I’m bringing back our annual gratitude challenge but in a shorter easier to manage format.

Starting today - grab a journal or a notebook and write down three things you’re grateful for each day. Do so every day through November 26th (that’s 21 days, which some studies show is what it takes to start a new habit). Show it to me by December 1st and you’ll get a little prize (you can leave it at the studio with your teacher if you won’t be able to see me during that time). This may seem like a small practice, but it can really make a big change in the way you see the world.

I look forward to hearing about what you’re grateful for in the coming weeks!

Ram Dass Retreat!

I started announcing this last week, but tomorrow I’m flying to Maui to check something off my bucket list (yes I’m only 39 but I don’t think it’s ever too early to have a bucket list!). I’m going to spend some time in the same room as Ram Dass. 

Ram Dass

Ram Dass

If you’ve never heard that name you’re not alone. But Ram Dass was instrumental in bringing yogic thought and philosophy to the West. His 1960s book “Be Here Now” is considered one of the first major texts to bring yogic philosophy and thought to the west. I read his book after finishing my first teacher training and it was certainly life changing.

I’ve listened to talks of his for years. I’ve read several of his other books (one I like quite a bit is the “Journey of Awakening” which is available for purchase in our boutique at the studio). I’ve read posts on his website. I’ve watched movies. There’s something about his energy that I find captivating. The way his mind works with information. The way he makes things clear while still being down to earth. His honesty. And his generosity of spirt in making it possible for us to know his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. It was through him, to some degree, that I was introduced to the Kirtan and teaching of Krishna Das. His path has opened up a path for me in a way I am so grateful for.

There’s so much in his teaching that I hope to embody. The clarity, the honesty, the generosity, the “smartness” if you will! To be able to spend some time in the same room with him is a blessing I can’t even begin to imagine at the moment. I still can’t believe this is really happening!

And I have you to thank. My trip wouldn’t be possible without our community of practitioners. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope to bring back some juicy stuff for you!

They are live streaming some of the workshops this weekend. If you’d like to follow along, check out this link:

https://www.ramdass.org/trust

I think it’s going to be an amazing set of workshops and teachings.

I'll try and post some things here and on Instagram when I can.

I’ll see you tonight for class. Much love to you all!

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Disclaimer: Not all yoga poses are suitable for all persons. Please consult with your health care provider and obtain full medical clearance before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. The information provided in this blog is strictly for reference only and is not in any manner a substitute for medical advice or direct guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.

Something shifted...

During my home practice today I decided to give legs up the wall (viparta karani) a try. I almost always can't stand this pose! But today something has shifted. It was easy, even comfortable! It was an amazing feeling that wouldn't have come if I had avoided a place I typically find challenging. It reminded me that if we stay present sometimes even the uncomfortable places may become comfortable. What pose do you usually avoid? What pose has shifted for you and your practice lately? #yoga #practice #legsupwall #viparitakarani #bepresent via

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Five Minute Yoga Break - Live on the floor!

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Chairs. They are something we don't even think about in this country. They're everywhere! We use them all the time without a second thought. But have you ever considered what they're doing to your body? I often ask people that come into the studio what they do for a living because it instantly gives me great insight as to why they might find certain things challenging. More and more, everyone's work involves sitting in a chair for long hours using a computer. The more we sit in chairs, the more our hips tighten up, our low backs get compromised and our core strength heads right out the window!

I know this first hand. I used to work in NYC at a job where I was at a desk working at a computer 7 or more hours a day. I did that for over five years. Add to that a long commute and I was definitely not feeling my best in those days!

So if you can't quit that day job just yet, what's the solution?

LIVE ON THE FLOOR!

In other countries they do just this. Furniture is sparse at best and they typically sit on the floor, play on the floor and generally live their lives on the floor. I recently had a student tell me they saw pictures of people squatting while waiting on line in India! I'm willing to bet you'd get some funny looks if you did that in the U.S.A. ;-)

But here's what you can do. Any chance you get, live on the floor. Sit on the floor to watch TV or read a book. Or try this pose:

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sphinx1

This is Sphinx pose, a posture that we use a lot in our Yin Yoga classes at Forever Yoga. This is a great way to read a book or watch TV and do some yoga while you're at it! To get there, simply lay on your belly and then walk your elbows back toward your hips lifting your head and upper torso. Pay attention to wherever you feel sensations rise in your body. For most people you might notice this in your low back but it may be somewhere else. Wherever the sensation is most present, make sure that you keep it a mild to moderate sensation. If it's too much, walk your elbows farther forward. You can stay here for 3-5 minutes or more as long as you don't feel any sensations of pain.

This pose can help reset the curvature of the low back spine counteracting all that chair sitting we tend to do. For more information about this posture and it's contraindications (such as pregnancy), check out YinYoga.com's description of Sphinx pose.

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sphinx2

And if you're in the Southern NH area and are curious about what Yin Yoga has to offer, check our Schedule Page. We offer 3 Yin Yoga classes throughout the week and would love to have you join us!

Disclaimer: Not all yoga poses are suitable for all persons. Please consult with your health care provider and obtain full medical clearance before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. The information provided in this blog is strictly for reference only and is not in any manner a substitute for medical advice or direct guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.

Celebrate what you *can* do!

I’ve been sharing this quote I found on a friend’s Facebook page with my students this week:

Not everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

Now if there’s a guy that knows about geniuses, Einstein is probably it! I was really struck by this quote because how many times in our daily lives do we compare ourselves to someone or something else and put ourselves down because we don’t measure up? How many times have you looked outside and passed judgement on yourself because you thought, in comparison to Person X you …

aren’t as good a Mother? aren’t as good a Father? aren’t as good a Husband? aren’t as good a Wife? aren’t as good a Parent? aren’t as good a Cook? aren’t thin enough? aren’t tall enough? aren’t creative enough? or even…

aren’t as good a Yogi (cause obviously I’m not as good a yogi as Person X because they can stand on their head for hours without even trying and I can’t!)?

But the real question is,

Why?

Why pass these judgements on ourselves? How does that serve us? Certainly we want to find ourselves challenged in this life. We don’t grow or move forward without challenge. But why is it necessary to judge? Why can we find the celebration in what is for ourselves? Why not honor our own unique path and find celebration in our own journey?

Yoga teaches us that we are all born from perfection. We simply strive to be even more perfect in this life. What better opportunity to celebrate our perfection than on the mat/chair?! We can use our practice to turn compassion towards ourselves and celebrate the things we *can* do while knowing that maybe that headstand will be easier tomorrow if we continue to practice. We can find an opportunity to celebrate what is, rather than lament what might be. And if we practice it on the mat/chair, we’ll be more able to find that compassion for ourselves the next time we’re out in the world and find ourselves in a situation that challenges our self image.

You have been given the great gift of a body to serve you as you move through this life. Yes, it may challenge you now and then, but where would you be without it?? If you can breathe, you’re already ahead of the game.  Honor and celebrate what you are, because not everyone can climb a tree, but some of us can swim like a fish!

Disclaimer: Not all yoga poses are suitable for all persons. Please consult with your health care provider and obtain full medical clearance before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. The information provided in this blog is strictly for reference only and is not in any manner a substitute for medical advice or direct guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.