Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What do the Sutras say about that?

Yoga Sutra 1.14 says "practice for a long time, with consistency & enthusiasm". (this is the translation that resonates most with me - there are other similar translations).  A practice like this sticks.  It's becomes a part of your everyday life & part of who you are.

Yoga Sutra 1.14 doesn't say "practice a whole lot in January & then forget about it the rest of the year".

If you've been practicing yoga & haven't heard of the Yoga Sutras, now's your chance to learn about them.  Look it up on Google or buy a good book on Amazon. 

Yoga Sutra 1.14: "practice for a long time, with consistency & enthusiasm".

We get alot of new students in my yoga studio every January.  It's awesome.  People committing or recommitting to taking care of themselves.

But...inevitably, there are those people who stop coming for class after January.

Stuff comes up, life happens & if you're one of those people, you just stop getting on your mat.  When I first started practicing, I was one of those people.

"practice for a long time"  As in, start now practice until you're 100 years old.

"with consistency" Make your practice a priority...make yourself a priority.  Commit to practicing 3 days a week, 5 days a week, 7 days a week.

"enthusiasm" Does getting on your mat feel like just something else you have to do? If you can get on your mat...if you have a body that you can move through a yoga practice...be excited about that!! If you can actually get into a studio to practice...be excited about that!! Seriously. Remember how lucky you are to have a body & a life that can support your yoga practice.

If you want to experience transformation this year, practice. Forget your resolutions & just practice.  Practice with consistency & enthusiasm & keep practicing for a very long time.  


Monday, January 18, 2016

New Year's Intentions

Intention: A thing intended; an aim or plan

Resolution: The act of solving a problem

New Year's Resolutions.  Do you have them?  It's mid-January.  Did you have them?

We start thinking about resolutions in December.  Move full-force into January with them.  And by this time each year, many have forgotten about them.

I can't remember the last time I made a New Year's resolution.  I think practicing yoga is at the root of that.  When I hear people talk about their resolutions, it seems that they are focusing on what they don't like about themselves or their lives.  As though there's a problem that needs to be fixed.

I operate as best I can using the Law of Attraction.  So if I want to create a shift or a change, I focus on what's going right & how to bring about more of that.  For example, if I want to eat better & feel better, instead of saying "I need to stop eating junk food", I say "I've been eating some healthy food lately - I'm going to eat more of that".

A resolution implies there's problem that needs to be fixed.  When it comes to New Year's resolutions, it implies that we are the problem.  We are too fat, we don't exercise enough, we've made poor choices in relationships. We want to change what we don't like in our life, but we operate from the premise that there is something wrong with us that needs to be fixed.

What if there's nothing wrong with us?  What if we're just focusing on the wrong thing?  What if we could shift our focus to what is working & going right & focus on attracting & creating more of that?

There's your intention. Aim for what you want more of.  Even if you hate your job, there must be something about it you like (Remember when adults asked you your favorite subject in school & you said "recess"?).  For anything that you want to change, start from a place of appreciating what you already have.  Then aim for attracting more of that.

Resolutions fade quickly. Intentions last.

If you feel like you "failed" at your resolutions, let them go.  Let go of the idea that somehow you failed.  If you were focused on what's wrong, it's simply that your focus was off.  Refocus.  Feel what's right about you & your life.  And then set your intentions.

Monday, January 4, 2016

7 ways to inner peace

Happy New Year! 
I was asked to write a piece for Unlocking Litchfield (unlockinglitchfield.com).  They requested my 7 top tips for finding inner piece.  I was eager point out that Inner Peace isn't something you can find outside of yourself...it's something that exist within each of us.  Still, the list is a nice reminder for us all (me included) of ways to practice reconnecting.
Wishing each of you an abundant & peaceful 2016! 
7 Ways to Inner Peace in 2016
1. Breathe. You might be thinking, "Really? That's her advice?" I know - cliché, overused by yoga teachers everywhere. But try it - right now, try it. Take a big breath in through your nose, and a long slow breath out through your mouth. Do it again. Now, close your eyes and take 3 breaths like that. Long full breaths in - and even, measured breaths out.  Just notice if anything has changed. If you did that thinking that it was just nonsense, guess what - nothing is going to happen. So try it again and really notice if anything...anything, has changed.  And that leads me to the next tip...

2. Be Present. Did you take those 3 deep breaths and notice each moment of the breath - how it felt in your body, in your lungs, did you hear it? If all of your attention was focused on it, if you looked for anything that had changed within you, then you were present - even if just for a moment.  And maybe you even felt it...a connection with yourself - a taste of inner peace.
3. Connect. Connect with yourself - through breath, through yoga, through running, or whatever it is that brings your joy.  Connect with your joy.
4. Connect with others.  Old fashioned connection - in person, face to face (connection through social media does not count!).  Look someone in the eyes.  Touch someone. Let them know that you see them, and then let them see you. Now notice how that feels - to see and be seen.  It doesn't even have to be someone you know. It works with a friend or a stranger.
5. Don't do anything. When you don't know what to do to find inner peace, don't do anything (except breathe).  Don't look to see what other people are doing on Facebook.  Don't search Google for answers.  I guarantee you; you will not find inner peace inside your mobile device.  When you take your phone or your iPad apart, all you are going to find is a bunch of hardware. 
6. Make a gratitude list.  Yup - a gratitude list. Simple, but it works.  Make it in your mind, or better yet, on paper.  What are you grateful for?  It can be a short or a long list, simple or complicated.  Now pause.  Don't do anything else (except breathe) and reflect on that list.  How do you feel?  Notice if you feel different.
7. Practice. Honestly, it's not magic.  It just takes practice.  It becomes a habit & then a state of being. Your Inner Peace.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reindeer Games

It's the Holiday season, and for alot of people, it means things get busier.  You might find yourself Dashing through stores to get things you need. Or Dancing late into the night at a party. Maybe Prancing through the aisles of the grocery store looking at all the holiday candy & other treats.

Ok...enough with the Reindeer games...seriously...

The holidays get busy for us too.  But my intention is to move through the holidays with ease & grace.  My intention is really to move through my whole life with ease & grace.  That's my intention. Doesn't always play out that way:)

It may sound silly, but I like to take something as abstract & maybe intangible as "move through the holidays with ease & grace" and make it attainable by focusing on the practical.  It's what I do when I teach.  I don't teach people to sit & meditate.  Not because I don't think there's value in it.  But because I know how challenging it is for me. And because I know that given a choice between physical exercise & seated meditation, most people (not all!) will choose exercise.  So I teach a very physical yoga class, but I teach it as a meditation in motion. Creating a practical & attainable way to meditate.

So....back to ease & grace.  How does one move through the holidays with ease & grace? Here are my 5 suggestions:

1. I say, start small.  Don't worry about everything you have to do between now & Christmas - focus on today.  Take it one day at a time.

2. That being said...a little planning goes a long way. And it's hard to feel at ease & full of grace if you're hungry. In our house, hungry leads to hangry (you know, hungry...angry...hangry).  So I never leave home without a snack.  And I love the healthy snack options offered at nuts.com.  Healthy snacks that taste good - stuff that you're actually going to want to eat when you're .

3. Make time for yourself.  The busier you get, the more important it is to make that time for yourself.  If you can't make it into the studio to take class, try a podcast or a youtube video.

4.  Set yourself up for sucess.  This ties the last 3 together.  Don't say you're going to move through the next 3 weeks with ease & grace & then loose your temper & beat yourself up about it & abandon your intention.  When you leave for your mega-shopping trip at the mall, don't pack those healthy snacks that have been sitting in your pantry for 6 months because you don't really like them. And don't say you're going to go to a 90 minute yoga class every day for the rest of the year, even though you've never, ever done more than 15 minutes a day.  You're not setting yourself up for success.  Make your goals practical & attainable.  Set yourself up for success.  Get through a meeting with ease & grace.  Let your snacks be tasty & healthy.  Commit to getting into the studio for 1 yoga class a week & do shorter practices at home the rest of the days.

5. Start now.  Don't wait until the New Year.  Don't wait until next week.  Don't wait until everything is just right.  Just start now.

For great, healthy snacks that you want to eat, check out the healthy snacks page  at nuts.com.  There's too many to mention here, but I do love pistachios, dried strawberries & trail mix.

If you can't make it into Sanctaury Power Yoga to take class, check out my podcasts on itunes.  Search for me: Heather Rems Korwin.  My podcasts are free!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Off My Mat

This summer I started practicing handstand on a daily basis.  I've been practicing handstand for quite a while, but never with any real consistency.  I like handstanding, it's fun, it's just not the focus of my practice.  I was also posting my handstands every day, but that got to be too much.  It went from practicing yoga in a handstand to "oh no! it's 10pm & I haven't posted a handstand today - quick, lets do a video so I can go to bed".  So it was a handstand, but there was no yoga involved.

I've continued to practice handstand - not everyday - but alot.  I practice it within the framework of my yoga practice.  For me, that means not just throwing my legs up (although sometimes it looks & feels like that).  But being in my body, feeling my hands as my foundation, using my breath, focusing my gaze, connecting all the parts of my self to bring myself into a handstand.

It may look the same, but for me, it's different.  It's a pose, just like any other.  For some (me included) it's challenging.  For others, it's effortless.  It's another pose, another opportunity, to practice yoga. 

When you think about it, our days & our lives are made up of poses. You can call them moments, but aren't poses moments?  Aren't those moments then poses - it's just that they happen off our mats.  Sometimes I practice handstand within my daily physical practice.  But most of the time I practice it as I'm getting things ready to teach in the studio, or as I'm leaving.

For me, it's become a good reminder to keep the continuity of my practice - breath, focus, full body awareness - even when I'm off my mat.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's No Secret

Back in August, I picked up a copy of The Secret for $1 at a library book sale.  I'd never read the Secret.  I'd heard about it & I had read The Law of Attraction & other books by Abraham/Esther & Jerry Hicks.  But I figured, for $1, how could I go wrong.

We left all the books we bought that day in a pile in our den & I just sorted through them the other day.  There was The Secret again.  I pulled it out & put in the bathroom, so that maybe I could read a page (or even just a paragragh!) here & there. 

Like I said, I had never read The Secret, but I had read books by Esther & Jerry Hicks, with the teachings of Abraham, including The Law of Attraction.  So it wasn't that I thought I would learn anything new in The Secret.  I was just curious.

I talk about the Law of Attraction alot.  I share it in my classes, I teach it as part of my Yoga Teacher Training.  It's a practice that has become as much a part of my life as my yoga practice.  For me, they go hand in hand.

When I started the reading The Secret, I suddenly realized that I haven't been practicing the Law of Attraction for the past few months.  I thought I had been.  It was pretty subtle.  I simply realized that my thinking wasn't aligned with my actions & my intentions.  I had been worrying more & even giving attention to things that weren't going to quite right.  Instead of focusing my thoughts on what has been going right & creating more of that.

The Law of Attraction & The Secret (and other works) say, quite simply, that what you think about, you bring about.  And I know that.  And it's not that I'd been walking around thinking how bad things were & complaining & being unhappy.  It was much more subtle. 

Thoughts can be big & thoughts can be small & we all have thousands of them every day!  This was a reminder to me to watch the small thoughts. To watch my intention.  To intentionally create my thoughts.  To intentionally shift & focus & refocus my thoughts every moment of every day.  And to take space from my thoughts at least once a day.

Which is the same as being present.  Which is what Yoga teaches us.  

It's not a secret.  It's another piece of your practice to take off your mat. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My handstand Practice

I've been practicing yoga for over a decade & practicing handstand for almost as long.  Mostly on & off practice of handstand, nothing really consistent.

Last week I decided I would practice my handstand every day & post my progress on social media (instagram, FB & twitter).  Partly because I wanted to try to attract some more followers, partly because I wanted see what would happen with my handstand.  Partly because I don't post my daily practice & I wanted to give folks something tangible to "see" each day.

For me, practicing handstand every day isn't about perfecting the handstand.  It's about practicing every day to see what happens.  I have a daily yoga practice, it just doesn't usually include handstands.

In the 5 days since I started, I missed one day.  I've noticed what happens when I rush it, just to get it done. I've noticed the difference between practicing on my mat in the studio & outside on the grass.  I've noticed the difference when I'm focused & present, and really distracted.  I've noticed how I can feel super graceful or totally out of control.  I've noticed I can laugh at myself when I fall.

As I'm writing this, it occurs to me that I need to encorporate my handstand practice into my daily yoga practice, instead of seperating the two.  Only trouble is that I often practice first thing in the morning.  No sure I want to show up on FB with bedhead in my pajamas:)

My daily practice has become a part of my day & my life.  It allows the opportunity to notice how I feel. To slow down, get grounded & get connected with myself & my Source.  It's a commitment.  My physical body benefits from the physical practice, but my whole being benefits from the whole practice.

There's a whole lot that goes into a handstand.  It's not just the physical.  Especially if it's part of your yoga practice.  What you see in my posts are really just physical.  But it represents a daily practice of commitment, breath, focus, meditation in motion, intention.

It's my practice on my mat.  But I do my best to carry all of it off my mat.

If you'd like to follow my practice, you can find me on Facebook (heather rems korwin), Instagram (heathersanctuary) & Twitter (heather rems Korwin @sanctuarypower)