Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Relationships... A Practice in Presence

Madison, Jared & Mallory
I sent thank you cards to my nieces last week. My sister aimed to snap a picture of their excitement only to capture the moment after their brother swiped a card. Pure sibling fun that took Madison's happiness with her brother's sneaky move. I don't expect a 4-year-old to be unbothered by such an event; however, we can contrast it with this 2 minute funny video where at 47 seconds she makes the decision to keep her happiness despite her grumpy, unwilling-to-share sister.

Madison attached her joy to the card and when the card was gone so was her happiness. I'm sure you recognize the phrases, "I'll be happy when…" and "I was happy when…." Instead of attaching our happiness to an event, set of circumstances or outcome, we can recognize the elements of now and stay connected to the peace and contentment that lives within. Madison didn't need her older sister's block to be happy; she was content in her efforts to build a higher tower. It was her efforts in present time not the final goal that was fulfilling. She didn't go vent to her mom; she said "okaaaay" and moved on.

Imagine if Madison would have judged Mallory's cranky response as a personal attack. Madison could have perceived Mallory's "no" as an example that "no one wants to help me" or "no one cares about me." Her persistence and confidence gave no room for judgment to bring her down. Our adult world swirls with all types of communication that may lead to assumptions and perceptions which are forms of judgment. When fused with our emotions, judgments can lead us to an undesirable reaction rather than a thoughtful and perhaps more educated response. What if we held strong to the notion that "everyone is trying their best?"

Relationships create a perfect setting for us to explore yoga off the mat as the practice of non-attachment and non-judgment cultivate a more genuine opportunity for conversation and personal contentment. In class, I invite students to observe their experience without judgment or attachment hoping to welcome all to be fully present. This practice on the mat ultimately empowers us to take it off the mat into our interaction with the world.

So I ask... has someone stole your card? Are you expecting things to go a certain way or someone to respond just so? Or have you heard/read words that weren't actually said or written? If so, bring yourself back to present by deepening your breath and becoming aware of sensation in and on your body. "Step back" from the situation and observe the facts without judgement (perception, assumptions, etc.) and let go of any attachment and expectations of actions or to the outcome. With this unbiased awareness, how would you like to respond with external and internal action/inaction? Move forward anchored by your breath to the present moment and your internal peace. 

At the end of the day, what matters is how well we have participated in our lives. Conversation about life skills enrich our experience and creates a community of support. I'm super excited to be bringing together individuals living life authentically for a yoga and book discussion to explore what it means to live skillfully. I hope you'll join.

A couple more things to learn from my sweet little niece in this video:
  • Sometimes it all falls down and we just need to "build it again."
  • Caring for others has no age requirement. ("Scoot back, guys. I don't want you to get hit Bruce.")
  • The power of a good glare. (See video at 1 min.)
  • You can be independent and ask for help.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ho'oponopono: A Hawaiian Message for Us All

In January I walked down a lava rock path to join my best friend under a coconut tree. With waves crashing on the rocky bluff, we united in marriage. Our celebrant, a local Hawaiian minister, warmed our hearts by his presence and genuine happiness for being a part of this day. Ohana, Ho'oponopono and Aloha, were the three Hawaiian words he shared as treasures to bring into our relationship. Each rich with meaning, I am excited to share them all with you, but for today we'll uncover the beauty of Ho'oponopono.

Ultimately, ho'oponopono means to make right. Much more than a word, it is steeped in tradition within the Hawaiian culture. It encompasses a forgiveness ritual that welcomes a healing exchange to those who practice. Of course it's not limited to romantic relationships. Ho'oponopono offers an opportunity to express connection "I love you", repent "I'm sorry", request forgiveness "Please forgive me" and extend gratitude "Thank you" in any relationship including for one's self.

I have found the words behind Ho'oponopono to be healing when I've repeated them to myself and when I've extended them to another. Using it as a mantra, the repetition provides a focal point for me to begin to release attention from my anger and blame. It transforms the energy within me to be more compassionate for myself as well as others. It is from this place I am more present and able to respond rather than react out of fear, hurt, or shame.

I love you.
I'm sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.

Whether it's in a text or scribbled on a piece of paper, my husband and I know that ho'oponopono means we're human and trying our best. There's no blame in ho'oponopono, only acknowledgement of personal intention. It seems to soften the sting of words and actions ultimately bringing us to a place of kindness.

Our relationships and yoga mats serve as a place for us to practice compassion and ho'oponopono. May you find the strength to own your actions and forgive others.

Always a Yogi,
Lynn Marie

Monday, August 1, 2016

Slow Flow Gentle Yoga to Benefit Pinky Swear - August 5

With shared passions of providing opportunities to nurture others and ourselves, Amour and Illuminate Yoga + Natural Solutions welcome you to participate in a donation-based Karma Yoga class to support The Pinky Swear Foundation on Friday, August 5th. The Pinky Swear Foundation aims to ease the financial and emotional challenges experienced by children with cancer and their families by providing support during this challenging time.

5:30pm Browse, Shop & Chat
6:30pm Slow Flow Yoga

Amour, located in the beautiful East Village of downtown Des Moines, is a boutique of beautiful underpinnings and loungewear (and is owned by a yoga teacher). Come from 5:30- 6:30 PM for browsing, shopping and conversation. At 6:30 Amour will close the doors for our Karma Gentle Yoga Class to begin. Heather LaPorte, owner of Amour, and Lynn Marie Nelson, owner of Illuminate Yoga + Natural Solutions, will facilitate this slower-paced, relaxing yoga class and invite you to move with your breath honoring your body's unique needs.

This Karma Gentle Yoga Class will open your heart, calm your mind and support the well being of our community. All donations from this class will be presented to The Pinky Swear Foundation, and you will go home with a unique practice guide from the class, so you can take a little bit of good karma back into your every day life. (Click here to see Facebook event.)