Reflections on being uncomfortable..

Iv been doing a lot of reflection and thinking on levels of awareness and mindfulness. Iv really pondered the connection of how some people just don’t want to try yoga. Or they do and they hate it.
I think about people I know or meet that have lots of inner shit to work out. Why don’t they want to do it? I mean nobody likes facing their demons but it’s part of the necessary work. Especially if they know of it or about it—why not work at it?

Iv made the correlation between consciousness and mindfulness, and ones willingness to be uncomfortable. That is the answer. Those that do not like yoga or do not want to do the shadow work and face their internal shit, can not stand discomfort of any kind.

When we practice yoga we practice discomfort. Whether that’s working to our edge in a pose or simply showing up to our mat even though it’s been the worst day ever and it’s the last thing you want to do. Because if we can step on our mats and breath through physical discomfort, then we can definitely breath through discomfort in our daily lives. That’s awareness. Showing up to the meeting with your boss you so dread. Having the awkward conversation with a family member. Going to an event that seems less than desirable. Choose discomfort and you choose growth.
Our willingness to work through being uncomfortable is in a direct relation to their level of consciousness.
Next time you step on your mat remember you are there to work through resistance. To be uncomfortable- whether physical or mental.
Courage or comfort. You can have one but you can not have both. Choose wisely.
So show up.
Be uncomfortable.
Be brave.
Because YOU ARE WORTH IT. ❤️

A helpful guide to finding and starting your yoga practice>>

My life long best friend chose to drag me to my first very first yoga class. I didn’t know I would love it like I did, or that it would forever change my life like it did. Beginning a yoga practice can seem confusing or even intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a compilation of advice, tips, and suggestions that I hope will better guide you through the start of your yoga journey or re-inspire you to keep going.

  1. We breath and move for a reason.

Yoga is a practice. It’s something you work on little by little. Yoga literally means ‘union’. It’s a practice of ones ability to synchronize breath and movement in order to quiet the inner dialogue of the mind. The practice of moving into inner stillness. Whether you’re practicing with videos at home or in a studio setting- pay special attention to the breath cues and how they coordinate with the movements. We might hold the posture but we never hold the breath, which will make you not only tired but it tenses the body. It will also better help your body to open properly if you use inhales to prepare or lengthen and exhales to release or deepen.

2. Yoga is awesome because its customizable to the student and the day.

I first loved yoga partly because I found it to be the perfect work out. I could practice everyday regardless of how my body felt because there are so many ways to modify or to deepen. If you’re naturally stiff as a board you can start out modifying but even for the seasoned yogi there will be days that areas of the body just aren’t having it, and still yoga has a suitable option for it. It will always cater to your needs as long as you listen to your body giving it what it asks for.

3. It’s not a competition, it’s not a performance. Ignore distractions around you.

You might have played a sport all of your life or maybe you just have a competitive personality, but I need you to know that yoga isn’t a show. I found myself gawking over the ‘peacock’ in every class I went to. The student that could press handstand or get their foot to head in pigeon. And where it’s okay to be inspired by another practice, it shouldn’t make you feel any less about your own. Also don’t let those advanced practitioners take away from your presence on your mat. Try to close your eyes or steady your gaze. Focus on your breath and the sensations happening in your body. Yoga is a venturesome journey through the center of yourself. I can tell you right now from personal experience that when you let go of the physical aspect (still challenging oneself but not obsessing over results) and truly work on creating inner stillness-its quite magical what the body ends up being capable of.

4. Try out different studios and yoga styles to find what is best suited for you.

There are so many lineages of yoga, styles of class and studio. If you’ve tried yoga before and did not feel like it was for you, WAIT. Don’t give up because of one experience. Some people have a home yoga practice, or prefer watching videos online (I will be uploading my first Youtube video next week!!!! Stay tuned!!) and some people enjoy attending public classes at a studio or community center. When starting your yoga journey I think it’s important to try a few different things to get a feel or what you like best or what works best with your body and lifestyle. For example I teach two styles of yoga currently, one is a stationary series that works balance, flexibility, and stability. I also teach a vinyasa style where the poses flow one to the next creating seamless movement with a faster pace; building strength, flexibility, and stamina. There is also restorative styles of yoga that focus on relaxing and opening the body gently, which can be complementary to hectic or high stress lifestyles.

5. If you’ve thought about it, do it! If you've started and want to continue, keep going! When you don’t feel like it, show up!

My biggest pet peeve is when people say yoga isn’t for them because they aren’t flexible. Well I am here to tell you that when I started practicing I could hardly touch my toes nevertheless do the splits. But thats part of why we practice, to slowly and gently open the body day by day. Yoga is WORK! You get out of it what you put in. Through your practicing, know that the poses you look least forward to are more than likely what your body needs the most. One of the foremost yoga teachers Iyengar says “The pose begins when you want to leave it” meaning that the work lies in that exact moment that we want to leave. For transformation to happen, we have to get uncomfortable. Show up to your mat over and over. Show up when your happy, show up when you are sad. Show up when you’re tired, cranky, blissful, or downright heated. Some days we fidget and squirm. There will be practices where the mind wanders off a thousand times, but that is practicing yoga. Returning to the breath. Stepping back on your mat. There is something that can be learned in those restless moments, it teaches us about our existence. We have such an aversion to our present experience when it doesn’t match what we conjured up in our heads. So when you start to feel uncomfortable in a posture, pause. Can you stay? Pause. Can you continue to breath?. Pause. Internally can you sit with what is sad, difficult, tragic, or hurtful? Pause. Breath. Can you let these experiences transform you instead of break you? It all begins within.

My wish is that I have resonated with you in some way, or at least inspired you to get on your mat. If you’re interested in videos you can watch at home, I will be posting my first video to my Youtube channel next week. Please leave me your thoughts and comments on this post as well as any suggestions to what kind of video you would like me to make first.

From my heart to yours, Namaste

M

You Are Not Your Thoughts

I can remember being aware of the inner dialogue of the mind as far back as almost seven years old. I did not know what it was at the time, but I knew of it. I knew what this voice was because I used it as a means to entertain myself when I was bored. I grew up in a very religious family and when I was young I would create these elaborate stories and scenarios in my head. It was how I sat quietly and behaved myself as the mass went on. I would think about what I was going to eat when I got home, who I was going to ask to hangout, or how I was going to wear my hair to school the next day.

This mind pattern continued all through my life. Once I found yoga I fell in love. I never liked to work out before yoga. So after I experienced this form of body movement I was all in. My first year of the practice was purely physical. I never considered myself ‘in shape’ until I found yoga. I did it to loose weight and to become strong. I did it to develop flexiblity. It was summer and I was home from art school. I was working as a waitress. I went to a group hot yoga class every morning before I went to open the restaurant. I’d show up to my mat, class would start and then there would go my mind down the rabbit hole. I would think about my breakfast for after class, make lists of things I needed to complete, arrange my agenda for the day, think about school, life plans on and on and on. “Namaste” and class was over. I would hop up, and get home to shower before work.

As I continued to practice and attend class I started to listen more and more to what the teacher would say. Not just the postural cues, but the inspirational remarks, things about the quieting of the mind and letting go of thoughts. Slowly I started to realize that yoga was WAY more than stretching. After doing more research and talking with my teachers I found out that I was doing it ALL wrong. Making lists while you practice isn’t yoga- it’s gymnastics. Yoga in Sanskrit means ‘union’ or ‘connection’ because we practice our ability to unite our mind, body and spirit by practicing the synchronicity of our movement with the breath. From that point on, my practice transformed completely, it became more than a workout- it became my place to let go, drop in, and find stillness. I kept showing up to my mat ready and eager to let my thoughts go. My practice continues to transform to this day. Every practice leaves me a little bit different, I always walk away somewhat changed, closer to the pure essence of who I am.

I look back now and the patterns of the mind even as early as those days sitting in the church pew and I can make the connection that those mind patterns are just a way to escape the present moment. When we feel depressed it is because we are focused on the past. When we experience anxiety, we are too caught up in the uncertainty of the future ahead. All there is, is now.

It’s not all easy and I can not sit here and write to you like it is. Some days are hard, physically or emotionally I don’t feel like getting on my mat. But I remind myself of the moments of my practice where I’ve felt complete presence, total release and utter mental silence and I remember why I chose this path. Some days my body doesn’t feel much like moving, but I remember how yoga accepts all levels- thats why there are modifications. So I get out my mat and do whatever movements feel good, not so much to challenge my body but just to open up. Sometimes my mind won’t slow down. After all, I am a human like everyone else. But the magic is in the work, whatever work that is. Even if you have to remind yourself to let go of the thought your in and return to your breath a thousand times, you still find a thousand small moments of stillness.

If you practice yoga, I hope this reminds you why you started, I hope the inspires you to keep stepping onto your mat.

If you’ve never practiced yoga, I hope this resonates with you and you notice your own mental patterns, and I hope you seek yoga because I want you to experience the magic and the power that has completely transformed every aspect of my whole life.

all my love,

M