"Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind."

-From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjani 1.2 and 1.3

Tranquility Yoga

235 Littleton Road, Unit 1
Westford, MA 01886

978-729-4731

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When you go to Yoga class, do you always set up in the same spot? Do you get annoyed if you arrive late to class, and someone else has already taken “your” spot? If so, you are not alone. I find that many students gravitate toward a particular area of the room over and over again.  
 
When I first designed the studio, I worked with a Feng Shui consultant, Natalia Kaylin. Natalia mapped out the room and showed me which areas corresponded to various aspects of life: wealth, spirituality, relationships, career, etc. We are all sensitive to these energetic vibrations, and it is likely that the spot you consistently choose is one which you were drawn to because it served you in some way when you first came to class. However, that spot may have been chosen several years ago, and perhaps your needs have changed. It is possible that you are now simply in a comfortable rut, and the idea of stepping out of that comfort zone is… well, uncomfortable. 
 
In yoga classes, it may seem like we are working on creating more flexibility in your body. However, there is a direct connection between flexibility of the body and flexibility of the mind. As Swami Nirmalananda once said: “Nothing tightens you up faster than your mind.” 
 
You can see this for yourself right now by doing a short little exercise. Do a lunge on one side. Feel how your body responds. Really allow yourself to sink deeply into the pose. Now do the other side, and after about 10 seconds, start worrying about something. Whatever the first worry is that comes to mind – settle on that one! Really worry! And see how your body responds. Are you even able to sink into the pose at all? Stop reading and try this exercise now! 
 
This is why we start every class with a guided relaxation in Shavasana and Ujjayi breathing. This way, when you start getting into the active poses, your mind has settled a bit, and the poses can do their magic. The mind/body connection in Yoga is huge and it is one of the things that distinguishes yoga from other forms of exercise.  
 
During the next few weeks, I am issuing a challenge to all of our yoga students. The next few times you come to class, try a different spot in the room. And notice your reaction to that. Be aware of your feelings about it, both positive and negative, without being sucked into the feelings. Step back, and simply observe with interest. As your body opens up more and more in classes, your mind will also begin to soften, and these new openings will begin to become more apparent in all areas of your life.
 
I look forward to seeing you in your new favorite spot in the room!
 

 

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Three months ago I made a New Year’s Resolution to blog more often. In fact, it may have even been to blog weekly – I can’t even remember. Like most people, I started out the year with great intentions, and then lo and behold, life got in the way.
 
We all do this. It’s called the human condition. We make wonderful promises to ourselves and others, and then when we fall short, we either forget about them, or worse, use the lack of progress to beat ourselves up. Based on our yoga class attendance in January, I am sure that many of our yoga students made resolutions to come to classes more regularly, and many new students decided to try yoga out. And then February hit with all its snow days, and those wonderful promises went out the window.
 
As I thought about this recently, I realized that we always have a choice about how to handle this. We can simply forget about it, and go on with our lives, as if the promises were never made. Or we can use our failures to fuel the negative thoughts that we have about ourselves: “I’m not good enough,” I never do what I say,” etc.  
 
Or… we can start fresh. We can revisit those resolutions, and make a conscious choice about them. Is this really a goal that I want to achieve? If so, what do I need to do to get back on track? Or maybe this isn’t really a goal – maybe it was just a pipe dream and if so, I can let go of it and move forward with things that are truly important to me. Either way, April is a great time to examine those resolutions and make some conscious choices for yourself. Whatever your goals were, take a good look at them, hold them up to the light, and either drop them or run with them!
 
If doing more yoga was part of your life improvement plan and continues to be so, I look forward to seeing many of you at yoga in the coming months!
 

 

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My dog Comet loves the snow and loves to play fetch. Chasing snowballs is one of his most favorite activities. If we throw a snowball, he will try to catch it – and if he can't catch it, he will dig for it in the snow. Yesterday, while shoveling our driveway, my son made a fascinating comment about this: "Comet is so silly! He just doesn't understand that when a snowball lands in a pile of snow, it merges into the pile of snow and is no longer a snowball."

That brought me up short! As I reflected on this, I thought that it is kind of like how our minds work when we think about Consciousness. One of the basic tenets of Yoga is that we are each individualized forms of Consciousness, which has contracted to become us. While we all have the capacity to be aware of Consciousness, we often can't see it because our minds get in the way. We are too busy preserving our own individuality – digging for it in the snow, so to speak.

We are all unique, yet we can merge into the larger Self through Meditation. When we do this, we remain our own individualized snowflake, yet at the same time we have a keen awareness of being a part of the greater field of snow. Not just a part of it, but we ARE it. It is us. In a field of snow, there is no difference between one snowflake and another. Just as in the ocean, there is no difference between the individual drops of water. And perhaps, with greater awareness, we humans will learn that there is no difference between us, either.

Meditation is a time-tested way of getting past the mind and realizing the Self. Come to one of our Satsangs and see for yourself what happens when you merge into the greater field of Consciousness!

 

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One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to blog more regularly. So far, I have written one blog this year, and then... nothing. This morning, as I was meditating, my busy mind kept telling me that I needed to blog. At the same time, I thought  "I have nothing to write about." The truth is, I have a lot to write about (we all do) but we just don't take the time to cultivate it. So, how do you cultivate that? How do you discover the things in life that you are truly passionate about?

Meditation is one way to help you connect with those things that are really important in your life. By just sitting with yourself for a while each day, you begin to uncover layers that you never knew were there. You may not feel like anything is happening in the moment while you are meditating, but over time, if you sit with your Self things will begin to unfold in ways that you cannot even imagine. When you allow space for things to show up, life can change dramatically.

As I sat in meditation this morning, I realized that if I'm going to blog, I need to find topics that I care about. Why would I want to write about something that I couldn't care less about? I actually came up with a short list, and then found that my mind wanted to censor it! My mind would say things like "Oh... you don't really care about that!" or "you can't change that, so why care?" It's so interesting to watch how the mind works! At any rate, here is my list:

What I care about
My family
My business
My dog
Friends
Yoga
Yoga philosophy
bullying
education
The environment

I'm sure there are many other topics that I care about, but this seems like a good starting point. For the next few weeks, my intention is to take a stab at blogging about each of these topics. Given the way my mind reacted this morning, I think I will have plenty to say about each of these!

 

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