Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mindfully Choose

Will you choose to smell the flowers or walk past?
We make choices everyday... hundreds upon thousands of them.  Most of which we attribute to the "have to" or "should do" category.  Regardless of the reasoning, it is a choice we make to say or do whatever we may be saying or doing.  Mindfulness is a practicing of living in the moment present to your thoughts, emotions, needs and the current factors affecting all.  I invite you to bring mindfulness to your choices by being aware that you do in fact have a choice as to what you are doing and thinking.  So often we just do without thought or attention to the why and whether it is absolutely necessary at that time or even if it serves a higher good.

As you practice mindfulness in your choices today, ask yourself ‘Can I make a better choice?’  This question helps me to commit to a healthy balanced lifestyle.  I find no benefit in feeling guilty about the past or being swept away with an overwhelming feeling of the future.  I am present or mindful of each choice at hand without concerning myself with the choices of next week or month.  

I have resigned the need for a perfect solution or choice.  Instead working towards the better choice looking at my current options, I identify the best choice fully knowing that in slightly different circumstances (another moment) it may not be the best choice at hand.  In addition to releasing the need for perfection, I have chosen to not put off my attention to choice.  I have found that if I put off my better choice off until ‘life slows down’ those good choices may never get made and my wellness and vitality would not improve.  

Let each day be an opportunity for you to be your best self.  I encourage you to reestablish your control in making life giving choices for yourself.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Time to Retreat

I am super excited to share my upcoming retreats with you.  With opportunities to practice yoga, meditate and enjoy the company of fellow yogis I hope you will join me.  All are welcome from the experienced to the newbie.  You know how I teach... offering various modifications with attention to your needs.

A retreat will give you some much needed "YOU TIME." A little break from work, the to dos and relationship demands... time to relax and reconnect with your spirit, body and mind.

I will be facilitating two retreats (Ignite the Spark Within June 24 and Free to Flow September 16) just south of Indianola at beautiful county parks featuring breathtaking landscapes and Indian Mounds.  These retreats are a lil bit shorter than last summer's and the schedule to include the sharing of a beautiful meal.  Check out the specifics for Illuminate You or register today.

In less than a month, I will teach a class Sunday afternoon at the Yoga Nature Retreat at Honey Creek Resort that will also feature yoga, outdoor activities and other healing arts like Tai Chi and Reiki.  I had a conference call last week and was surprised to hear that this first time retreat has over 80 participants registered.  This resort is nestled in beautiful southern Iowa and features exquisite views of Rathbun Lake.  If you can't make it to the retreat, I highly recommend you check it out especially the beautiful hiking trial through the prairie.

Retreat Details:

Yoga Nature Retreat May 18-20 at Honey Creek Resort

Ignite the Spark Within June 24 at Hickory Hills

Free to Flow September 16 at Annett Nature Center

Friday, April 20, 2012

Things I Learned From... Traditional Sun Salutations

Sun Rising with Hot Air Ballons
As many of you know, I am not a fan of using the sun salutations in their traditional sequence over and over and over again.  As we've played with these in class, I usually mix it up by adding different modifications or postures at various points in the traditional sequence.  Still a sun salute but not the traditional sequence over and over and over.  This morning, I practiced my salutes traditionally 3 of each series A, B & C.  Making only one modification I twisted my lunge in the final C salutation.

How many times a week do you do the same thing over and over and over again.  Oh man... for me it's the dishes, the laundry, cutting vegetables, driving to and from Des Moines... the list goes on.  The correlation of my approach to and mindset during these activities and the traditional sun salutations offers an opportunity to explore.  Here's what I learned from the experience and my further reflection...
Olivia & Lynn - Twisted Lunge
  • It is easy to get bored in a repetitive activity... to lose interest in the present moment.  These activities present a great challenge to practice with a Beginner's Mind.  To approach life with a beginner's mind, we experience life as if it was the first time doing/hearing/seeing/feeling whatever it is in that moment.
  • It feels good to let creativity grow in the subtlety of the daily constants.  
  • A deep and steady breath calms a monkey mind.
  • Joy is not only found in the crazy, big and unique opportunities.  Joy is found within... ALWAYS.
  • A twist may be all you need to break the monotony.  
  • Begins and ends with the heart.
Namaste _/|\_

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Honoring My Spirit & Recognizing Ego

Blue Bells
Exploring Nine Eagles State Park, Slip Bluff, Lake Red Rock, Pammel Park, and Lake Ahquabi, I have indulged my passion of hiking.  With open eyes and heart, I see and feel the world.  A world filled with beauty; every turn a new vibrant color.  My eyes feast upon the landscape decorated with hues of spring.  The greens come alive with the rain.  The brown trunks contrast the new life bursting  from its branches.  On the hillside at Hickory Hills, blue bells swing in the wind as if to ring in joy that I am on the right path.

The right path...  I wonder does that exist?  Who decides what is right?  I turn inward, the color of my soul casting light on my question.  My inner voice - my spirit decides what is right.  Oh the ego grins at this idea, but I know which is me and that which is ego.

Lake Ahquabi Trail
With mindfulness I tap into the voice within... the tone and language point me to the source.  My ego is selfish, greedy, judgmental, afraid, pessimistic, harsh, fake, unwilling or abrasive.  My spirit's voice is loving, happy, positive, subtle, kind, genuine, open, at ease and peaceful.

In this moment I ask myself... and you... How do I connect with my spirit?  Am I listening?  Careful to tune into my inner voice and not another's voice, I continue the journey following my spirit's lead.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trusting to Bend Back

Standing Backbend
At the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat yesterday, James Miller utters the words Standing Backbend and my body immediately tenses.  Really Lynn Marie, 3 hours of yoga and you tighten up like the day began with just the sound of two words?

I can do wheel - on my finger tips or even dropping to my forearms.  I have the strength and flexibility to do beautiful backbends.  It's not the pose itself that elicits fear.  So what is it?  This was the part of our practice we had the assistance of our partners.  I turn to my partner, who is also a student of mine, and immediately tell her I'm terrified of standing backbends.  I even give her a chance to feel my sweaty palms.  Eww - I know.  But I needed her to understand I'm not as invincible as I may seem in class.

We do a couple variations; no problem.  We come back together as a group and James shares a bit about Trust.  I, in my backbend euphoria, only hear not quite listening.  We go back to our partners.  I again turn to Susan and say, "I don't know why but they scare me."  Susan knowing my story says, "Lynn, it's about trust."  Tears well up in my eyes.  An issue of trust?  Wow, that's it.

With a standing backbend, we trust what we can't see.  We arch back, opening our hearts with complete trust that we will be supported.  We trust that we will be free from harm - free from pain.

I trusted Ron, my now ex-husband.  I gave him my heart.  Ron left taking with him my confidence to trust.  Ron left every problem, issue and challenge to me.  That day I came home from yoga class... that day before my birthday... I saw the note.  I dropped to the ground in tears.  Returning to child's pose, my dining room floor supported me and what felt like the weight of the world universe.

I trusted Ron and his intentions.  With complete disregard to my heart he made his choice.  I have used the last two years to make choices to honor that which is within me, fueling my passions and expressing my authentic self.  I have found solutions to challenges my lawyers (yes two) and banker said were unique... unlike anything they've seen.  I have reconnected with my strength.

My divorce is now final.  My life and choices independently my own.  Yet here on my mat I find the salty residue of my tears from that day my trust, my heart was broken.  Standing and bending back truly requires an open heart and trust - in myself and/or my partner.

Wheel or Upward Bow Pose
Can I open my heart to another exposing myself to the possibility of pain and harm?  I say to myself, "May I be free from all harm and pain.  May I be happy."  Can I trust another?  "May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully and with ease."

I would love to write and say I've conquered this fear... but I haven't.  Today I've become aware and acknowledge the fear.  This day I move forward in embracing the emotion of fear as well as the hurt from my once broken heart.  It will open again; it is opening now.  Today I affirm my spirit and its innate ability to heal and find space within.  Today I set my intentions

  • I am fearless. 
  • I trust myself.
  • I trust others.
  • My heart is open.
  • I am open to receive as well as to give.
  • I love fearlessly.
  • I fully express my love with myself and others.
Tomorrow I try again.  One day I'll dropback free from all fear.