Living with “AHA”!

As we gear up for the season of holidays and festivities, there is so much for which to be grateful and to look forward!  And along with that, there is also the reality of additional tasks to complete, meals to prepare, shopping to do, etc… which can potentially create added stress.

How do we prevent ourselves from riding the roller coaster of emotion during this time?  How can we maintain our “grounded-ness” and stay “heart-centered” despite the feverish energy that may surround us?

This Sunday 11/24 (TOMORROW!), I hope to help answer these questions during my Living with AHA! workshop at West End Yoga in Allentown.

“AHA” stands for ‘A’wareness, ‘H’onor and ‘A’cceptance… 3 key principles of any yoga practice… ON and OFF the mat!  On Sunday, we will explore these principles through movement, breathing, experiential exercises and open discussion.

And to provide a little more explanation of these principles, I’ve included here 3 video clips introducing each principle.  Each of these clips comes from my Yoga Essentials: Fundamentals DVD and hopefully gives you a taste of what we will delve into much further on Sunday!

AWARENESS Video Clip

HONOR Video Clip

ACCEPTANCE Video Clip

I hope you enjoy the clips!  And if the material moves you…. you may want to check out my Yoga Essentials DVD set!  On SALE now for the HOLIDAYS… these DVDs make GREAT gifts! 🙂

$15 for one, $20 for any 2 and $25 for the full 3-DVD set… Contact Me to order!  ENJOY! 🙂

 

Spring Cleaning for Your Inner Being!

Spring Painting - Butterflies in FieldYesterday, we “sprung ahead” by setting our clock forward by one hour.  For me this action is a form of preparation for spring time itself… and I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for spring to arrive!

And as the spring season approaches, so does the anticipation of spring cleaning… in my “inner” world as well as my “outer” world.  It feels good to rid our closets of old things and clean out areas of our homes to prepare our environment for a more open, sunny, “fresh-air” experience.

Equally important, though not as often considered, is the “sweeping of cobwebs” out of our inner environment to allow for new energy and thoughts to flow through us!  To that extent, I’m happy to offer a good way to do just that… “spring clean your inner being.”

In March, April & May, I’ll be conducting my 3-part “Yoga Self-Care” workshop series with one workshop each month at West End Yoga Studio in Allentown.The goal of my “Yoga Self-Care” concept is to teach, support and motivate you to Move Well, Breathe Well and Think Well each and EVERY day!

Here’s a quick listing of dates and topics  (for more details, see below):

March 17th:  Posture Perfect (Move Well)

April 14th:  Just Breathe… (Breathe Well)

May 12th:  Living with AHA! (Think Well)

I hope to see you in March to share in some fun and important learning about how to move with more ease, comfort and grace by simply ‘tweaking’ our posture.

Be Well and ENJOY your Spring Cleaning! 🙂

~Sheetal

Stop and Smell the Pine!

Here’s your friendly reminder to allow yourself to fully ENJOY the experiences of this season and NOT get caught up in the “holiday hub bub”.

The energy of the season can be full of distraction and overwhelm.  I find that the key to staying present and focused amidst this chaotic and sometimes challenging time is to PAUSE and BREATHE!  I do these “Daily Breathers” several times throughout the day as needed.

Every time I notice my mind wandering and being pummeled by way too many thoughts, I simply…

  • become aware and stop what I’m doing (or thinking of)
  • close my eyes (if my environment allows it) or focus on a specific point/object (if I cannot close my eyes at that time) and
  • take 3 DEEP, SOOTHING BREATHS.

As I’m taking these breaths, I make a point to really FEEL the breath moving in and out of my body.  This very basic, simple exercise of mindful breathing is very grounding and will bring you calm and greater focus.  Like anything, the more “Daily Breathers” you take the easier it gets and the more effective they become!

And in case you need a helping hand with this I’m sharing with you a 4-minute Mindful Breathing Meditation audio for you to follow:

Mindful Breathing Meditation

Some of you may have received this meditation from me before, but I’m re-posting it as it’s short and sweet and does the trick.  You can even save the link in your Favorites on your web browser to use it regularly!

During this time of year, it can be easy to forget our most basic yet powerful tool:  our BREATH!

Make good use of it so that as you are getting presents…. you’re also getting present! 🙂

HAPPY HOLIDAYS… AND ENJOY!

 

Posture Perfect!

We’ve all heard it at some point or another in our lives… from a parent or perhaps a teacher… “Sit up straight!”  It may have seemed like a nuisance at that time, but that could be some of the best advise we were given as children.  This lesson becomes especially poignant because of the sedentary lifestyle many of us tend to evolve into as adults.

Having good posture has many health benefits:

  • You improve and maintain good core and spinal strength
  • You allow your body to work at maximum efficiency and minimum effort
  • You improve your self-esteem because you feel better and look better (Not to mention taller; I’m 5’ tall and every little bit counts!)
  • You have a more empowering presence

So how did we get to this place where so many of us have such poor posture?  I believe there are 3 key reasons than many of us are no longer able to sit up straight or even stand up straight for an extended period of time:

  1. Lack of awareness of when we are engaging in poor posture
  2. Lack of understanding of what proper spinal alignment is
  3. Weakness in our core region.

Awareness… Awareness… Awareness… Everything begins with having awareness.  Once we gain the awareness of when we are engaging in poor posture, we then need to have an understanding of how it should be corrected.  And after learning how to bring our bodies into a good posture, we then also need to be able to maintain it.

This is where a daily yoga practice can be extremely helpful.  Of course, we are constantly practicing awareness in yoga… we are always paying attention to the sensations and emotions our mind/body experiences.  Thus as our awareness is honed, our ability to recognize poor posture is improved.

Secondly, fundamental to all yoga is knowledge of proper spinal alignment in each pose, stance and movement.  For example, learning and practicing how to align the spine in Mountain pose helps us to stand up straight and steady…. In Easy Pose or Hero Pose, we learn how to sit up tall with no strain on the back… In Standing Forward bend, we learn how to bend forward in the most efficient manner so as to minimize effort and strain.

And finally, our continued practice helps us to retrain and rebuild parts of the musculoskeletal system that allow us to maintain and “perform” good posture.  Gradually, we find ourselves standing up taller and stronger for longer periods of time… we are able to sit longer and with less strain because of our better posture (although we should always take breaks during extensive sitting!)… and we experience more graceful, efficient movements that take less effort because we’re working “with our bodies” rather than fighting against them.

I know that it can sometimes seem overwhelming to think about all the things we could do to improve our health.  I’d like to suggest that by simply focusing on good posture, we can take a BIG first step toward better mind/body health.  It’s never too late to sit up straight!

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To begin learning more about how to improve your posture through yoga, visit www.anyonecandoyoga.com… download chapters of my complimentary E-Book on the Home page, check out my 3-Part “Yoga Essentials” DVD set from the Shop or contact me to learn about my yoga coaching and wellness programs.

Tis the Season of Giving… and RECEIVING!

This is the time of year when we are focused on giving – whether it is gifts for our loved ones, charitable offerings, our well wishes, etc.… With the spirit of the season, we even feel more inclined to “lend a hand” to a stranger or give a compliment to someone.

And while learning how to GIVE is an important practice, not only for the holidays but also for our on-going personal growth, learning how to RECEIVE is just as important.  And that, for many of us, is not as easy!

I’ll give you my own example.  There were times in the past when someone would compliment me and I would immediately say something like “It’s not a big deal” or “Thank you, but I really didn’t do much.”  Instead of wholeheartedly accepting the compliment, I would minimize it or even dismiss it.

Or when I received help from someone – whether it was advice, a favor or even a gift – I would immediately think about what I could do to “pay him/her back”.  I always felt like I didn’t want to “owe” anyone.

Then one year, I was attending a course given by one of my yoga teachers and this concept of “receiving” was brought up.   It was then that I realized how I had been doing a big disservice not only to myself, but also to all those people who had tried to give me something.

My teacher explained that some of the reasons that we have difficulty with Receiving are because we feel…

–       guilty or inadequate (I don’t deserve this)

–       entitled and therefore not fully appreciative (I should have received this anyway)

–       afraid of whether we can reciprocate (Now I have to do something in return)

–       unsure of the giver’s intention (What’s the catch?)

–       inferior when we accept favors (I shouldn’t have to ask for help).

Certainly, we must first be able to discern between what I will call “genuine giving” vs. “gifts with baggage”.  Once that is done, we must recognize the beautiful balance between Giving and Receiving.

Think of how you feel when you give a gift to someone and he/she is truly excited to use it!  Think about when you help or teach someone and he/she shows genuine gratitude for the service or teachings.   How does it make us feel to Give and have it Received wholeheartedly?  It feels GREAT!  In fact, that is why many of us like to give… because it makes us feel good.  Giving allows us the chance to participate in the service of others in our own unique way.

By not allowing ourselves to genuinely receive (receive without attaching any of those added thoughts/emotions listed above), we do not allow others the opportunity to give!  We do them a disservice by quashing their goodwill and their chance to serve.

This lesson hit me like a bolt and I began to reflect on why I could not fully “receive”.  I began to acknowledge my insecurities and fears around receiving, and apply yoga practices of awareness, deep breathing and surrender to come to terms with them.

Over time I was able to release these feelings and allow myself to truly accept and enjoy a compliment or a favor.  I was able to wholeheartedly embrace a gift or the intention behind a gift and share in the giver’s joy of giving!

This season, I invite you to check-in with yourself when you are on the receiving end of a gift, favor, or compliment… and if you don’t feel completely open to the Receiving, take a few DEEP BREATHS and see if you can allow yourself to surrender any judgments around it.  Then, give yourself permission to simply and fully EMBRACE it.  It may take some time, as it did for me, but once you are able to experience that balance between GIVING and RECEIVING, you open yourself to greater depths of enjoyment for both!

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