Quotes and Prayers For Yin Classes

This is a collection of my favourite quotes for yin classes;

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” ~ Zen proverb

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage. Anais Nin

We don’t see things as they are we see them as we are… The Talmud

When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you– Rumi

You are the sky everything else is the weather – Pema Chodren

Accept what is

Let go of what was and

Have faith in what will be– Sonia Ricotti

Breathing in I calm my body, breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment. Thich Nhat Hahn

Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong– Zen Proverb

Only  the soft earth receives the rain…. Judith Hanson Lasator

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes, if it were always a fist or always stretched open you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and co-ordinated as birds wings – Rumi

In the end, just three things matter:
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go – Jack Kornfield

The real miracle is not to walk on water but to walk on this earth– Thich Nhat Hahn

Tension is who you think should be, relaxation is who you are– Chinese Proverb

These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world. Tao Te Ching

Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Tao Te Ching

Blessings…

May we use our practice to help us shift

conflict into peace

control into letting go

impatience into patience

pretence into truth

tension into softness

intolerance into acceptance

and may we invite grace, peace and presence every step of the way

…..May the sun bring you new energy by day, May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries, May the breeze blow new strength to your being. May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life. Apache Blessing

May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live with ease – Metta meditation

Namaste – I see what is holy in you, I see what is beautiful in you

 

 

 

 

The Rebound Essay

At the end of each yin pose there is a moment when we lay back, let go and absorb what has moved or changed for us, This physical, mental and emotional shift is an important part of the practice. It gives us time to recalibrate, to absorb and to feel.

To let go of something either by our own choice or circumstance is one of the most important practices in yoga. Letting go of something doesn’t necessarily mean we like what is happening but is more a shift in our relationship to how we view our current circumstances.

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Yin Sleep Sequence

 

Yoga is the art of balance and harmony. Balance in how we interact with ourselves and others, balance in what we eat, think and do and ultimately balance in how much we sleep as opposed to how much we wake. The Bhagavad Gita offers, Yoga is harmony. Not for him who eats too much or for him who eats too little; not for him who sleeps too little or for him who sleeps too much.

The ancient yogi seers classified sleep as one of the four fountains for survival (sleep, sex, food and self preservation) and if sleep is out of balance we tend to over compensate with one of the other fountains E.G. we may overeat. Interestingly it was found that if you got less than 5 hours sleep a night on a regular basis you were more likely to be heavier than those who ate more and slept more. Read more

5 Simple Sanskrit words to Live your Life By

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Yin and Tonic

Today I have a two hour workshop on yin. Yin is long held poses encouraged to open up the connective tissue within our bodies. Any ‘body’ can do yin but not any ‘mind’. The long held poses, the quiet and the discomfort are almost too much to bear for some students. I suggested one of my newer students try it and she laughed ‘ oh no I’m not ready for that!’ Lying still gives opportunity for space. When we have space we can see ourselves a little more clearly and sometimes we don’t like what we see. The antidote for space is keeping busy and most of us now have made that our mantra, keep going, keep doing……..but not keep being.

Here is what yin can teach us;

Discomfort is expected.“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

Life is pretty messy isn’t it? Buddha states in his first noble truth, ‘life is suffering’. Sometimes a day seems like a series of annoying moments linked together with coffee breaks. Even though I got up before dawn to write this in peace my son got up not long after so during this we are talking about the ‘Friendly giant and superpowers’. It’s not what I ordered but what I got.

Pain is all around us ready to greet us at any moment. Emotionally, mentally and physically.

People can upset us, ignore us or leave us. We can become slightly sick or suffer a major health turning point. We can feel discomfort when we recall memories, and we can even create pain by thinking about things that have not even happened.  During the yin class we experience some physical discomfort as we stay up to 10 minutes in a pose. Yin teaches us this very important life lesson. Stay with the discomfort, don’t run and don’t hide. The discomfort in your life is there for a reason. It is a teacher and it is there to reflect to you something that you need to know. By staying with physical discomfort in yin poses we can train ourselves to be more resilient in our life. We can learn about courage and what it means to stay. We can learn what it is we have to change about ourselves to relieve the discomfort. Maybe it is how we view ourselves or maybe it is just remembering to breath.

yin quoteThe value is in the long held poses.

The first minute is usually OK for most students in the pose and then we watch what happens. The distractions start. Students will start to pick at their toe nails, shift in their seat, drink water, adjust their wardrobe. Anything to distract them from the stillness. Distraction is the first sign of not being present. What you are trying to do is change the situation that you don’t feel comfortable with. We all want to flee discomfort. We all seem to want to be somewhere else except in the moment. Most of us feel like the next moment is going to be better. Staying with what you have, appreciating the gifts of the moment amidst the discomfort is doing yoga. We can do this in our lives when we encounter awkward situations with relationships or work. We can do it when something becomes difficult and we want to give up. We can practice this when we become impatient. Yin teaches us to stay in the moment.

Being with yourself is time well spent.”Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Each pose is like a mini hibernation. You go into silence and stay there and watch what comes up. Sometimes the combination of long held poses, space, time and permission can bring up some stuff. Some of this stuff can be very emotional. I have been in a pose and cried, it’s not uncommon. What happens when you give yourself time is you start to see things about yourself. Maybe you realise there is something that needs to change in your life. Maybe you take something out of your dump truck of past experience that you never processed. Maybe you realise that time and peace is the tonic that you have denied yourself. It’s a bit like not knowing you were being squashed until the big white elephant gets off your back. When you are liberated like this, when you can look closely at your pain or blockages then you are beginning the process of unveiling or revealing to yourself your true nature.

Practice for today: Try one yin pose and hold it for a long time and see what happens. This is the beginning of self study and learning. If you are unable to do this remember the lessons from yin. Stay with what is uncomfortable, don’t run or hide from what you dislike, take time to be in silence with yourself and have courage to witness whatever comes up for you without judgement on yourself.

Junk in the Trunk

As I sat on my overstuffed suitcase attempting to zip it up I contemplated if I really needed those hotel shampoos, soaps and moisturizers. Maybe I should take them out? Or maybe I should leave them ‘just in case’. Zipping up now became a two person job, one to push and one to zip. I was totally overweight.

During yoga teaching I often refer to the body as a suitcase, the hips to stuff our frustration, the shoulders to stuff our anger, the mind to accumulate junk from the past and the heart  a cage of accumulated betrayal and shame. When we don’t know how to deal with what confronts us in this world we do what any good person would do and that is to shove it in the top drawer with the socks, band aids, pens that don’t work and bits of string we have no need for.

I gave my class homework this week to clear out a place in their life where they had ‘accumulated’ stuff they don’t need. Just so for one moment they could taste the freedom of letting go of what no longer serves them. We spend our life in accumulation until we reach the point where we have kind of forgotten the purpose of our original desire. Still we insist on plugging the holes of our existence with material things. It feels for an instant that if you want something enough and manage to obtain it, you can find peace and happiness, and this is true, definitely, in that one moment you obtain it. Soon you will be home with your shiny new watch, or you will have gotten that lunch, girl, house, job, car. Definitely you are happy! Then watch as it fades. The item get’s scratched, the new lover has flaws, the house doesn’t get the sun, your new boss isn’t what you expected. So you start the search again. This can be a lifelong hobby.

It’s quite likely you have more than you  need already and what you desire, what you truly want, is already with you. If you take a moment now to think ‘what is it that I truly want is this life?’ you may surprise yourself to find that is would be something like this, peace, a feeling of belonging and connectedness, a feeling of being loved and of loving, or a desire to be more present to what you have now and to those around you.  At the top of you list may well be Love. I want to be loved.

Practice for today. As you move through this life there are only three things that matter at the end of our journey. Have you lived fully? Have you loved well? Have you learned to let go? These three things are the glue of our existence, measuring each step along our way. Today rid yourself of any accumulated thought, feeling, or object. Fill that space something that really matters.

The Way I See It

rumi 3We are gifted with vision so we can see the world clearly. How we choose to see our world is decided by which lens we wear at any given moment. We can choose to see what is positive in an experience, what is a gift or we can view an event as if we were hapless victims in life. Life rocketing our way bringing wounds and suffering while we stand helplessly in the sidelines receiving.

The thing with life is this; It is messy, it is painful, it is wounding, it is complicated or as the cheery Buddhists would say ‘ life is suffering’. If we are to release ourselves from our added suffering, or to bring some more power back into our lives, we need to ask ourselves some questions.

What does this situation illuminate?

How can this situation be benevolent?

If I was living in a loving universe that was trying to show me something, what is it showing me now?

How is the situation I find myself in now a gift?

Our job then, when we collide with situations that are unpleasant is to turn to the powerful side of ourselves. This is the gift we are given, to take our shadows and make them bright. To see the gift in the darker moments, to move from being helpless to courageous. To change the lens in which we view the world.

Look for the gift in everything today, both the good and the bad This is life happening for you not to you.

3: My Top 5 Spiritual Lessons

Doing this blog has taught me a thing or two. In many ways the blog became my life and the life became my blog, two practices intertwining with no borders. Some themes I have returned to again and again.

Thoughts:

You are not what you think you are. By this I mean that the things that go around in your head are not necessarily real and the things you think about do not define you.

Suffering:

Things happen to you in your life some good and some not so good. How you react or what happens after life happens is then your choice. You can stack your reactions any way you like but at the end of the day the amount you suffer is up to you.

Presence:

Being with what is happening right now is a sure way to make yourself a bit happier. Dredging up the past or worrying about the future is a recipe for unhappiness. The only moment you have is now so there is not much point spending time in the ones that have expired or the ones you think you are going to have.

Authenticity:

Be yourself. If you try to please others or are not acting like yourself you will live half a life. People want to see the raw uncut version of yourself. If you don’t want to show that because of some fear you have about being judged you need to work on liking yourself first.

Life:

Find out what it is that you are good at and do that or make it as big a part of your life that you can. We all have special skills or talents waiting for us to unwrap. Everything else will follow from there.

Practice for today: What are your lessons that you need to learn? What lessons have become themes in your life? Sit with what is important or reoccurring in your life and embody the teachings that these peals hold.