Friday, July 27, 2012

Who are you, really?

Its difficult not to judge. When we see something we immediately describe it, decide if we like it or not. That decision is often baked into us, this is the heat of our ego at work. We build preconceived ideas about situations and people without understanding the process or experience, Without having enough experience. This brings us to the place where we are not really experiencing what we think we are, we are not really seeing what we think we are. Its all a construct of our ego. This is a difficult thing to let go of. But when we come into our Yoga practice its something we try to do. Give ourselves the time and space to let go of the mind's constant urge to make sense of things. Instead of making sense, we can use our senses. We can give ourselves the opportunity to shed our mind's chatter. We are giving ourselves a break from the roles we play in life, otherwise known as our egos.  As soon as we intellectualize, describe or judge something we change that thing/experience and its no longer what it was when we first saw it. A beginner's mind is not just about being a beginner but imagining the natural or original state of the mind and the things in our world.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dogs that heal

I was just introduced today to the idea of service dogs for psychiatric purposes. Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat as a pet knows that in itself, its healing. My family dog growing up always watched TV with me, stayed in my room to keep me company all through my formative years as a child until I was a teenager. But even more than just keeping us company -dogs can be trained to help those with psychiatric disabilities. Dogs can help people with Manic behavior, OCD, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, PTSD, etc. We think of service dogs as dogs that help the elderly or blind but they can help us in other ways too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shed your ego

Its hard culturally to let go of the idea of how we identify ourselves, no? Here is my list of the different ways I identify myself: artist, Asian, acupuncture student, little sister, friend, introverted, flexible, injured, New Yorker, blogger, Yoga practitioner...the list can go on! We all put ourselves in categories, under labels or roles to play. It's in a way, how we make sense of things or how we decide where we fit in. But sometimes we get stuck in these roles! I find myself saying..."Well, I don't really do that because I'm Asian" HAHA! OR "New Yorkers live like...such and such and we don't do this, but we are really into this other thing". So ridiculous sounding! But we all do this to some extent because its hard to let go of our ego.

It is when we let go of these labels and roles, that we can truly live in the present moment. We free ourselves to the attachments we have to our labels and instead open ourselves up to infinite possibilities.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm just a beginner....

What does being a beginner mean? My Yoga practice and Martial Arts training has taught me that I am going to be a beginner for a pretty long time. There are days when you feel like you know what you're doing and you feel yourself progressing. And there are days where you realize -you know...not so much. Coming into something as a beginner gives you permission to be open minded, not to set limits and to not have to "win" at something. On the other side of this, as an expert you can feel like you already know what to expect. You've set limits for yourself. There are less things for you to question, less things for you to discover.

I can remember a time in my Yoga practice when I hated pigeon pose. My leg would go numb and I would drum my fingers along the edge of my mat until it was over! It was only 8 breathes. I remember how excrutiating the 8 breathes felt because it was so uncomfortable and also bc my mind just couldn't relax. Now pigeon is one of my favorite poses. Somewhere along the lines of my practice I "forgot" that I hated pigeon and I just started doing it anyways. In life we create samskaras -our patterns, impressions, routines...they can even be addictions or compulsions. Sometimes we;re even on auto pilot and we don't realize we're doing these things. Ever not think about where you're going and just automatically go there? Or when you wake up in the morning and just turn the water on to brush your teeth? Sometimes our samskaras keep us from moving forward. Like when we keep dating the same kind of person and it seems bad for us. Being always 10 minutes late, hating pigeon pose.

Having a beginners mind is similar to our Yogic concept of being present. Are you really in the moment or are you thinking about the phone call you made before class? Or the dinner you will be having after class? Sometimes the class can be boring for you or you're just not in it. I've been there. Often times I use that boredom to do a breathing exercise or visualization in order to be in my own moment -If I cannot be present in a class I can at least be present for myself. The best benefit is to be in your own moment. Be with your breath and be with your movements. Sometimes they arent pleasant but if you go with your beginners mind you should expect that in life. Though moments are not always comfortable you will learn something from that moment. There is a process to everything. Things don't happen at the snap of your fingers. You won't be flexible from just one class. Expectations are sometimes what hold us back, or even cause us to feel disappointed.

I've had this scar since I was 5 years old!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekend at a glance. Stay hydrated folks!

The BEST iced chai is at Swallows in Bushwick

Some of my favorite Muay Thai training partners, favorite
Sitar player at my favorite Yoga studio.

Watermelon smoothies were on sale. Buy 2 get 1 free.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Root Chakra

Through this month's study of the Chakra system I've really thought a lot about Muladhara Chakra. The root is the foundation and comprises of your basic needs. I got to teach a workshop recently for people who's physical roots were so strong because their material roots were so chaotic. From that I learned the strength of Yoga really. Even though they did not formally practice "Yoga" they knew how to be proactive in their lives, adapt and make things work in order to have that root in life despite the chaos.

I've also been able to tap into the subtle energy flow that happens in Yoga. I've practiced Chakra meditation for the past 3 months consistently and WHOA! It has made a huge difference in my life. Just noticing how even keeled and rational I am despite how jam packed my day-to-day schedule is with working 3 part-time jobs, going to school full-time -is only one benefit. I don't feel drained or frustrated with stress. Meditation for 20 min once a week is AMAZING!

My teachers in Yoga and the people I teach have made a big impact on my life and learning process, really more than I'd even imagine.

A tree has roots in order to allow the branches to grow up and out. Yin is the root, anchor, substance and earth. Yang is the energy, the cosmic, the heavens and sky.