Ahimsa In Thoughts

Our first week's focus on Ahimsa in the studio we'll be starting with the internal work; we can't be non violent on the outside if all we have is violence on the inside!

Something that no one can see from the outside, but almost all of us experience, is negative thought patterns. We can talk ourselves into believing we're not good enough to follow our dreams, not smart enough to join a conversation, and we beat ourselves up about something we said a day, week, month or even a year ago. We tell ourselves we can't do things before we even try and then, as a result, never try. We play out scenarios in our minds that have never even happened and let them get us angry and irritated (this is especially harmful when done in the middle of the night, robbing us of both our peace of mind and hours of sleep!). We grumble internally while waiting in queue for a cashier who takes their time. We let a car cutting in-front of us or impatient driver cloud our thoughts with negativity. We hold on to anger and grudges for years, not necessarily hurting the person with whom we hold the grudge, but definitely hurting ourselves.

I'm not suggesting that we can magically forget all negative thoughts (expecting to be able to do so is a sure way to start a new spiral of negative self-talk: 'Ugh that was a negative thought, I suck at this, I'll never shut my mind up, everyone else can do this but me, why do I even try -aargh they were all negative thoughts. I give up!'). It is however important to be aware of how negative thoughts affect us both mentally and physically. Negative thoughts create stress and tension in the body as well as the mind, they steal the joy from your days and affect our interactions with people around us (often stealing their joy too!)

As with the process of meditation, the first step is simply to be aware of what is happening in the mind; to be an observer of the endless chatter. We can look at thoughts from this perspective of detached awareness and can choose what to believe and what to ignore, what to engage with and what to throw out.

When it comes to internal chatter, I like to ask myself 'is this useful?'. If it's not, I get to change the subject or replace the negative thoughts with more useful ones.

As you go through the rest of today and the rest of this week, practice being an observer of your thoughts both on and off the mat. Over the course of the day/week, notice if you are habitually more inclined to think negative or positive thoughts. Notice if you play out arguments, negative interactions and scenarios that haven't yet happened. Notice if you dwell on negative events or conversations of the past. Notice if you tell yourself you're not good enough/smart enough/can't do whatever-it-is-you're-trying-to-do.
When you find yourself in those negative thoughts, notice how they make you feel both physically and mentally, ask yourself 'is this useful?' then take the opportunity to stop the thought and refuse to follow it down its rabbit hole to the depths of negativity. Take a breath and reset. Over time it's possible to change our habits of negative thinking, to allow more joy and peace to enter our minds, and to share that joy and peace with the people around us.

Ahimsa

As many of you know there is more to yoga than just a physical practice. That's not to say you can't participate in only the physical practice, however the internal work that we can practice while on the mat can be transformative off the mat, helping to encourage feelings of peace, confidence and happiness.

April's focus in the studio is Ahimsa. 

'A' translates as 'without'
'Himsa' translates as 'to harm'
This is often translated as non-harming, or non-violence and is the first of the yogic principles.

Ahiimsa

Ahimsa could appear like one of the easiest yamas if looking at the big picture as we don't go around hitting or killing the people around us, but what if you start taking the idea of ahimsa to the smaller things we do everyday. What if we look at ahimsa through the lens of how we treat ourselves and others both in thoughts and in actions.

Over the next 4 weeks in the studio we'll be exploring the practice of ahimsa alongside our physical practice. We'll explore ahimsa in thoughts and actions, and seek to practice ahimsa through balance and courage.

Mantra: Overcoming Doubt

This week’s mantra helps us to overcome self doubt. Self doubt is often rooted in fear: fear of what others might think, fear of failure, even fear of success.

Mantra Doubt

To overcome this doubt we must learn to trust in ourselves. To help with this, our mantra this week both in the studio meditations and off our mats is ‘I am confident because I trust in myself’

Repeat it often (even when you don’t feel it!). Don’t let self doubt stand in the way of you being you, of you following your dreams, or stop you from putting your ideas out into the world!

Journal: Overcoming Doubt

This week's journal questions are exploring self-doubt - grab your journal or your computer and get ready to write.

As always these answers don't need to be shared with anyone. Don't censor or edit yourself, let the words flow and explore how you feel about the questions raised.

Doubt Journal

Recall a situation where you regularly doubt yourself.
How does it feel physically?
How does it make you feel emotionally/mentally?
What is the result of this self doubt? (both the time spent in self doubt and the way it effects the final result of what you intended to do).

Self doubt often stems from fear; What is it that you're afraid of when you're doubting yourself?
What can you do to reduce the amount of time spent doubting yourself?
Name something you will do each time doubt arises to combat the negative thoughts and move forwards with confidence.

Overcoming Doubt

DoubtIn one of our flow classes recently I guided the yogis into a challenging transition. This transition was not dangerous in any way and I knew everyone present well enough to know that each of them was physically capable of what I was teaching, and were aware of a simpler transition available if they didn't want to try it.

Each of them followed my cues and transitioned to the pose. I didn't pay attention to whether they 'did it perfectly', that wasn't the purpose of the transition - the important thing in that moment was that each of them tried something that was difficult. They gave it their best and went for it, despite knowing that it might not have the outcome they'd hope for. The best part of the practice was that all of the yogis were smiling and were so happy and proud that they'd tried it.

I wondered why, on that day, everyone had gone for this transition when usually there is hesitation and the option to take the simpler transition is taken by most. One of them mentioned afterwards that I had given them no indication that the difficult transition was coming. We hadn't stopped for a breath to prepare, and I hadn't given extra cues or words of encouragement.

They had no time to doubt themselves.

There was no time to tell themselves stories about it being too difficult for them. They had no time to ponder on how they were afraid to do it. They didn't talk themselves into believing it was something they couldn't do. They weren't worried about perfect results.

In the ancient scripts of yoga, there are 9 obstacles (kleshas) in life, both on and off the mat. One of those obstacles is samshaya or doubt.

Doubt makes us get in our own way. We tell ourselves stories that we're not good enough so often that we start to believe them. These limiting beliefs stop us from attempting tasks and challenges. We worry about the results not being perfect so end up not taking action at all.

We can never succeed when we doubt ourselves. When it comes to achieving our goals, imperfect action is better than procrastination and inaction.

This week in the studio we'll bring our awareness to doubt and practice overcoming it with new stories of self confidence and belief. What we practice on our yoga mat is certain to help us off the mat to reach our personal, health, and professional goals.

See you in the studio!

Gemstones for Focus

If you need to bring focus to your daily life it’s time to wear (or carry) tiger eye. We’re here to help make that possible with our energy collection of hand made jewelry. 

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Tiger eye is a powerful balancing stone, allowing the wearer to bring thoughts and emotions together in a way that can be understood.

A stone of stability and focus, it allows you to be to be logical rather than emotional, and helps you to accomplish goals and make positive changes in life.

Tiger eye is effective in soothing internal conflict associated with jealousy and pride. It allows the wearer to truly understand their abilities and talents by healing issues of self-criticism and feelings of unworthiness.

Tiger eye is beneficial for anyone who finds it difficult to remain optimistic as it encourages hope and confidence for the future. Meditating with tigers eye encourages a well-grounded and peaceful meditation.

This stone is available in our store as a knotted necklace, stackable single bracelet or 5-wrap mala bracelet as well as a leather wrap - so many styles to choose from!

This highly versatile stone is available in matte or gloss finish - message us for a custom design made especially for you. To purchase any of these designs go to the shop tab and explore! If an item is out of stock or not available in your size, please message me and I will be happy to make one for you.

Journal: Dristi

This week our practice on and off the mat is the exploration of drishti/gaze and focus. If you haven't already checked out our article about drishti below, take a few minutes to read it before considering the journal prompts for this week.

Journal drishti

 

Grab your journal or open a new word document on your computer, turn off distractions and set your timer for 15 minutes of writing. Don’t filter yourself or worry about doing this wrong or right; journaling is an opportunity to explore your thoughts about something and to dig deeper without judgment.

STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:
Playing it safe is, well, safe but can stop us from growing to our full potential. What would you like to do that you're afraid to try?
Why are you afraid to try?
How will you feel in years to come if you never make any attempts to reach your goal or dream?
Name something you will do this week to step closer to that goal or dream.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE:
Feel free to do a forward fold or downward facing dog for a few long breaths and take in the world from a different point of view before coming back to your journal.
What limiting belief about yourself do you need to turn on its head?
Create a more positive statement can you replace this belief with and note it down.

Namasté
Shona

Affirmations for Focus

Drishti image

This week's affirmations are related to focus & drishti - pick one for the week and use it as a positive reminder any time you feel like you're getting off track.

I am calm and focused in all that I do.

I channel my focus into this present moment.

I know that energy flows where attention goes.

I forgive myself for past mistakes

I release the need to compare myself to others

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