The Key To Less Stress

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This popped up in my photos this morning and it’s perfect for what we’ve been focusing on this week so I had to share!

Forgive me as I can’t remember the exact quote by Joyce Meyer, but it’s something along the lines of:

"patience is not the ability to wait, but how we act while we’re waiting."

Today, refuse to stress yourself out about things you can’t change - being stuck in traffic, a slow server, waiting in line etc.

Check back later as I’ll be sharing a video with some skilful responses to impatience that you can do anywhere and anytime you feel a little impatient 

Journal Prompts: Patience

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It's time to put pen to paper yogis (or fingers on keys if you prefer!). Explore the role of patience in our lives by spending a few minutes writing in response to the following journal questions. I like to do this early in the morning before my mind fills with the days tasks and thoughts, but you can do it whenever feels right. Answer all in one sitting or over the course of a few days if you prefer.
Remember you don't have to share these responses with anyone, they're just to get you thinking and exploring feelings and habits.

  • Name a situation that made you feel impatient

~ Describe how that impatience felt mentally and physically. 

~ How did that impatience affect you and the people you interacted with in the moment, and in the following minutes and hours?

  • In your day to day interactions with others, do you consider yourself a patient person? Why would being patient be a good thing for you, and for the people around you.
  • Are you patient with yourself and your own personal growth? Name a goal you're working towards, skill you're learning, or habit you'd like to start/have started. Are you being patient and enjoying the journey? How could practicing patience affect your overall experience.
  • Note down at least one alternative response that you can practice next time you feel impatient.

Kshama

Kshama

Patience is defined as 'the ability to wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension or frustration.'

Join us in the studio this week as we explore kshama (patience)

Patience Grasshopper

Grasshopper

I'm a patient person, or at least that's what I thought. This last month of post-surgical rest has taught me that, while I'm patient with others, I don't always afford that same grace to myself. It made me think about patience with others, ourselves, and how it relates to our yoga practice.

We live in a fast paced society. Technology and the ability to connect with people all over the world is super awesome, however it has changed our expectations of how long things take compared to our expectations 20 years ago. No longer do we have one landline phone fixed to the wall in our house; gone are the days that if you were out, eating dinner or watching your favorite TV show, the phone-call could wait. Kids TV competitions had answers on a postcard with the winners announced a whole month later. Pen-pals would send a couple of letters a month. Shopping on a Sunday meant waiting for the shops to open on Monday! Things took time. Waiting was part of life and patience was something we got to practice daily.

Now we text and expect a response right away, emails arrive instantly and we often feel we must respond immediately. Shopping online 24/7, next day delivery, faster cars, credit cards, movies on demand, instant music downloads and the promises of adverts on TV to 'lose weight fast', have 'free next day delivery' and of course 'why wait for….. '.

We are becoming used to getting what we want immediately, right now, and feel impatient when things don't go as we planned. We're so used to instant and fast, that we cram our days full to the brim with no room to spare, and are intolerant of those who move slower than we planned. We feel agitated at a slow server at the supermarket checkout, and grow tense when we're behind someone driving below the speed limit. Impatience creates stress and anger that we share with anyone who dares to get in our way, and stresses out the people who are trying to meet our hurried expectations.

Not only are our expectations of others set higher and faster, we have less patience for the journey and work required to master any skill or to change something for the better in our own lives. We want to be good, (no, great!) at things straight away and we want to see the results of our new habits immediately.
How does this all relate to yoga? Sometimes we bring our fast paced, go-go-go energy to the yoga class, rushing through movements and transitions. We can be impatient in with ourselves when we want to be able to do a new pose immediately. Many abandon a daily meditation practice because they don't see the results right away.

Yoga teacher Judith Lassater said 'We are either in the flow with the speed of what's happening, or we are impatient'. Impatience is wanting to fast forward life; our minds are in the future rather than in the present moment. 

Being patient is not 'giving in' and it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to achieve things and have goals. Cultivating more patience is about being present on our journey, lowering our stress levels, reducing resistance to things that happen outside of our control, and increasing feelings of contentment and happiness.

Our yoga practice is the perfect time to practice patience. This week we'll focus on the speed of our transitions and we'll practice cultivating feelings of contentment for where we are in the journey rather than rushing to master a difficult pose. We'll learn some ways to calm the mind and stop our ingrained habits in their tracks, so that the next time you feel the sensation bubbling up you can stop and enjoy the moment. No longer will impatience be a cloud in your day (or the day of anyone who might have got in your way!).

Check back through the week for quotes, journal prompts and more!

Gemstones

The Surprising Benefit of Practicing Yoga in a Studio

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For many years I was a 'solo-yogi', practicing at home as there was no studio nearby. One cold winters day I decided that if I wanted to have a studio nearby to practice in, then it was up to me to make that happen. I did my research, attended a yoga teacher training program, and opened Paradigm Yoga in Jasper a few months later.

There are many things that a yoga teacher training program prepares you for; poses, anatomy, history, theory, how to breathe and different ways to meditate. We even discussed the business side of opening and operating a studio. However there is one thing that I wasn't expecting, that wasn't (and can't be) taught, and that you can't make happen.

The studio has now been open for two and a half years, and in the last year I've noticed more and more the amazing personal connections being cultivated in the studio. There are true friendships being formed and a support system that I could never imagine.

We share our victories and excitement about adventures and family successes, and we shed tears and share the burden of when life isn't quite going to plan.

Some days we hear about an experience where yogic breathing found a place in daily life and that a stressful situation was handled with grace and ease instead of anger and irritation. Yogis who have struggled with insomnia share their joy at practicing techniques learned in relaxation and drifting off effortlessly into a full night of restful sleep. At times there are high fives at the achievement of a yoga pose that has been long out of reach, showing the increase in physical strength, balance and flexibility that is a direct result of a yogi's hard work and dedicated practice, and we hear about wonderful experiences during meditation. These are some of the most rewarding parts of being a yoga teacher. But I'm so thankful that together we have created a supportive and loving environment where it's also ok to not be ok, in which there is always someone who cares, who will listen and is there to give you a hug and support whenever you need it.

It's been just over 4 years since I moved from England to Texas. Anyone who has moved any distance, either across the country or across continents, knows that being away from family and friends can be hard sometimes, especially when really good or bad things happen.

Recently I hit one of those little bumps in the road where my body hasn't stuck to the plan of overall health and wellness. Rather than try to hide the anxiety & stress of a serious health scare, I decided to speak my truth and share what was going on with my yogi family in the studio. The love and support I have felt from everyone is overwhelming and makes me feel at last like this is home. While my family and long time friends are there on the phone, my yogi family have come through with the in-person support, love, chats, hugs, sweet messages and cups of tea.

I can not express the gratitude I feel for being a part of this community. What we have in the studio is a magic I never anticipated or imagined, born from the simple practice of rolling out our yoga mats together day after day. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, my current cloud has led me to a wonderful realisation about the studio, our yogi community, and this place I now call home.

xoxo

How do you start your day?

1.29.17 how do you start your day

The way we wake up in the morning sets the tone for the rest of our day ⏰

If we wake up and immediately begin to rush around (maybe even check our phones/emails/Facebook before getting up?!) it’s difficult to feel peaceful and calm throughout the day.

When we wake up giving ourselves enough time to get ready for our day, and include a positive morning habit, we can set the foundation for a great day ✨

Positive morning practices don't have to take long! Here are some ideas

  • take 5 deep breaths (maybe even practice sama-vritti by taking a slow, steady 4 count inhale & 4 count exhale)
  • write in a gratitude journal
  • spend a few minutes in meditation
  • 5 half sun salutations
  • set an intention of how you'd like your day to unfold

How will you start your Monday? How will you start every day?! Pick just one or two of the above, (or any other positive habit that appeals to you) to implement this week - just a few minutes every morning can set the stage for an amazing day!

You Are What You Think

 

You are what you think

 

In our classes this week our focus has been on noticing the nature of our thoughts, and the way we talk to ourselves. We've been relating these thoughts to watering the weeds or watering the flowers in a garden 

What are the weeds in your mind's garden? Weeds are thoughts of fear, anxiety, regret, envy, frustration, jealousy, sadness, guilt, or allowing yourself to dwell on thoughts of the past, wishing things had gone differently.

The more time you give these thoughts, the more you water the weeds, and the bigger they grow. Soon the path to the weed patch becomes worn and familiar making it easier to go there.

Take a moment to ask yourself why are we watering weeds when there are seeds of beautiful flowers close by?!

What do flowers look like as thoughts? Joy, kindness, compassion, love, and gratitude. Thoughts of 'I am enough', and 'this is a wonderful moment'. The more you water the flowers the more they bloom and blossom. When you do this repeatedly, the path to the weed patch starts to grow over, and a new path starts to form. Over time the weed patch starts to wither and wilt while your flower garden grows.

We have a choice about which path we take and which path we make familiar. 

I understand that sometimes we want to feel sorry for ourselves and make a beeline for the weed patch! but it doesn't serve ourselves or anyone around us to be in our small self. Notice when you want to do this and then take the shortest route to your flower garden. If it's one of those days where you just can't think of the positive, start with gratitude. Gratitude for your breath or gratitude for a friend, family member or pet.

So start listening to those little voices inside. Steer yourself away from negative thoughts and weeds and start watering the seeds of love, gratitude and confidence. Start to walk a new path and watch your flower garden grow.

 

Your mind is a garden, 
your thoughts are the seeds. 
You can grow flowers,
or you can grow weeds.

Clear Space, Clear Mind

have nothing in your house

Do you want to feel motivated, clear minded, focused, inspired, calm, and in control?

If you're shouting 'yes' at your computer, keep reading!

This may not be the case while you're reading this, but here in SE Texas it's a rainy Sunday. If you're like me you've spent the last few weeks of summer juggling your work and commitments with finding time to play outside in the nearest lake, water park or ocean whenever possible - sometimes at the detriment of my usually organised house! If you have kids home for the summer I can't even begin to imagine how much more work it is to keep your house in order!

However, the way we keep our living space can affect us (and our families) mentally, spiritually & emotionally.  Disarray in our living space can cause distress in our mental space. Imagine the state of your home as energy that's reflected in your mental space.  Which would you prefer in your head - chaotic, unorganized energy or a calm, clear energy?

So if you want to feel great, be happy, exude positive energy, and have a clear mind, make the most of your time indoors while its raining this week - do a quick scan of your space and find a few moments to clear up, organise, and let go of things that no longer serve you.

And if the rain stops and you need some fresh air - remember the clear space clear mind theory also applies to your car!

tidy house tidy mind

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