awareness

  • The Fast Track to Expanding Awareness

    Guest Post by Tiffany Wood

    As I reviewed the video I made called Expanding Awareness it made me cringe to observe my unaware patterns

    that were revealed to me through the objective lens of the camera. Yes, the contraction I feel around this has also afforded me an opportunity for expansion. I am wise in this way. However, it doesn’t feel good in the moment. Right now, I want to send Yoga Vibes an email and say “Please throw that video out! It’s not worthy and are all my classes that mundane?”

    And so, here I sit. Called to my own expanding awareness moment!

    As I said in my own video, “The things we have the most resistance around are what call us to expand into our awareness the most. Resistance is the container that allows the yogi to really open to the fullness of the moment.“  I was talking about the key actions used in the Anusara Yoga practice known as “hugging in to shine out” or Muscular and Organic Energy in their dynamic interplay within the asana practice. But, as I’ve taught a thousand times, those key actions play out in life off the mat as well. To hold ourselves in our own strong container that is aware of who we are in the moment allows us to access our own sticky parts; to know ourselves more fully. Especially when hugging into ourselves is NOT an easy or loving moment in time, is when the yogi is called to the true purpose of the practices!

    I can hold myself hostage in my own self critical judgments and stay in my limited and harsh view of myself OR

    I can place my awareness on what a gift it is to see myself more clearly so that I expand into the freedom that I already am. Hmm….I love this game!  Yogis know WHY RESISTANCE is VITAL to freedom and we know we have a choice.

    I once again choose to hug into my own resistance; the teachings that have been given to me by my teachers. Oh, yes, this is what I mean when I say to new teachers that the practice of teaching yoga will call you to your growth opportunities faster than most other tracks in life!

    I can find comfort and inspiration by expanding my awareness into what feels most life affirming in this moment in time. I can willingly reach for the high vibrational good feeling of acknowledging that life flows through me and I am forever evolving!

    So, as a wise teacher offered in the Yoga Vibes video called Expanding Awareness…

    “We share the practice in our own unique way and gathering with those interested in cultivating their own expansion is life affirming to our own path. There is really nothing more exciting to us than to know we are on the path to the good things coming. The only way to find that mind-set is to show up for the practice.”

    With that said, I will definitely see you ON the mat! I will meet you with such reverence and gratitude in knowing that I have expanded into my loving heart with an honest and clear view of what it means to walk my talk by holding my mid-line and willingly stretching into my own resistance.

    By Tiffany Wood. For a full list of Tiffany's Online Yoga Classes please visit her teachers page. To read more from Tiffany Wood visit her website at TiffanyWoodYoga.com

  • On Yoga and Freaking Out

    Here I am sitting on an Amtrak train a day late minus one wallet (stolen or lost…who knows) and all that it contained - credit cards, my license, insurance card, cash, gift cards, and coffee cards (I was so close to a free coffee! Sigh…). Also lost alongside all of this relatively meaningless, material matter is my cool. I lost my cool.

    As a yoga teacher and avid practitioner of yoga, you’d expect that I might have managed this “catastrophe” with a bit more grace. Instead, I totally freaked out. I did about everything that a freaking out person will typically do. I dropped some choice 4-letter words. I frantically paced back and forth. I threw some blame on others and myself. I snapped at those trying to help. I snapped at strangers over the phone as I attempted to sort out my painful mess. I think I did just about everything one can do freaking out short of bursting into tears. What the heck?

    calm Cool and calm...unlike me.

    So, I’m going to cut myself some slack here instead of being thoroughly embarrassed by my freak-tastic behavior. Freaking out happens. As humans, we are inherently (yet beautifully) flawed. Keeping your cool amidst all of the punches life will throw at you is hard work, requiring lots of practice and patience. Clearly, I’m in need more practice and I definitely need to cultivate more patience. Okay Universe, I hear you loud and clear.

    Now that I’m winding down from a surge of agonizing adrenalin, I’m observing my past actions over the last 24 hours. Even at the onset of freaking out, I was highly aware of the irrationality and extremity of my emotional response. I knew that I was overreacting and catastrophizing the situation. I realized that I was allowing a real, yet minor setback to totally overwhelm and consume me. I was aware that I was making my own painful mess. Awareness is the first step, right? I think so. And I think I can thank yoga for keeping me relatively aware despite an initially poor response.

    That heightened awareness triggered some temporary moments of sanity amidst the mania. Mantra came to mind - mantra that I obsessively repeated and repeated until I felt like my head was going to blow off. Be like water. Be like water. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. I was trying to exhaust all of the other distracting, self-defeating thoughts that were being tossed around in my slippery brain. Mantra may have only provided moments of calm, but it was something. At that point, I needed all the calm I could get.

    I also found myself checking in with my breath. It was constrained and erratic. Shocking. Though I did a bad job of it, I tried to establish a regulated breath. After I took care of my biggest concern – my money – I stepped away from the situation to just breathe. From there on out the situation moved with more grace. From there, I experienced a shift.

    Though I royally freaked out, I think I rebounded from the experience fairly reasonably. Sans yoga, I would probably still be dropping 4-letter words and pulling out my hair. I would be so caught up on one silly setback that writing this would have been an impossible feat. Plus, I would have wasted a lot of unnecessary energy – energy that I properly directed to make sure everything was in order so I could get back on track.

    See, this is the sweetness of yoga. The practice never ends. Yoga keeps going be you on the mat or off. Yoga keeps benefiting you be you on the mat or off. Yoga keeps teaching you – teaching you how to breathe through struggle, see the bigger picture, and rebound with some grace. Life will continually hand you struggle. Life will continually test your grace. You will get caught up in your head and miss the big picture. Inevitably, you will freak out. That’s okay. I think what matters in a situation like this is the end result. Do you let it own you or do you take on the “be like water” approach? Do you go with the flow, breathe, and float along on the journey with your cool in tact? Or do you chronically spazz out giving yourself heart palpitations and missing out on all the awesomeness that is still going on around you? I’ll take the former. I got yoga to thank for that. What will you take?

    ~Tess

    P.S. And if you ever need some outside help, turn to these free online yoga videos to find lots of pranayama and meditation goodness to get you back and breathing calm in no time!

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