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.

80: Your Body as a Temple

templeSomewhere during yoga practice today, or more precisely during shoulder stand I fell out of love with my body. As age has gracefully carried me to the halfway line my stomach had retaliated by falling from it’s perch and landing somewhere in my face. I was grasping for loose clothing to do the cover and tuck but unfortunately when you are upside down so is your clothing. My vanity had met me face on. So today my practice was to watch the saddlebags of my humanity coming at me and be completely OK with that. Not an easy practice.

Here are my yoga tips for dealing with negative self image on or off the mat.

Self Talk.

This is when we see something we don’t like and we start up a conversation with ourselves about it. Maybe your nose is a bit crooked, or one of your boobs is lopsided or you have big thighs. Things are going OK until you notice this or probably notice someone who has a nice nose, slim thighs or equilateral boobs. We start to chastise ourselves, we tell ourselves off and we dig the vocab right into our ‘fault’. This is the time to pause, silence the mind, observe our beliefs and habits of self criticism. Be careful what you say to yourself, you are the person listening.

In the Now.

Yoga is the practice of being in the present moment. Look at your body as it is now, not how it was or how it might be in the future. Love it as it is NOW.

Control vs Letting Go

We can control some aspects of our health and therefore our vitality that will show up on your body. Nourish your body in every way you can, from what you put in your mouth to the way you move your limbs. However, sickness, injury, weight gain/loss, age happen. Do the best you can with what you have and be prepared to let go or surrender to the ever changing nature of the body.

………………………View your body as an instrument to achieve what it is you need to do in this world and treat it with respect.

………………………Go from judging your shape to appreciating the miracle that you even have a body

If all else fails put on some yoga clothes and read the below.ryan goslingsPractice for today: Examine the point behind some of your negative self images about yourself. Does it still serve you to hang on to these or would you time be better spent doing something else?