Regular readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of the standard new year’s resolution approach to life. Losing 10 pounds, exercising more often, drinking less wine might be good for you in general, but hinging your new year and your future happiness on a transitory goal, a number on a scale, or an activity ring closed is not the roadmap to real joy. We tend to set ourselves up for failure and then beat ourselves up until we get to the next year and repeat the process all over again. Never fear! There is an antidote to the madness, and it’s something you can do right where you are: meditation and mindfulness.
Take 15 minutes to let go of tension and re-ground yourself. I originally recorded this short practice for the Diocese of Albany’s virtual wellness day. I thought I’d share it here for anyone who needs a breather.
Ever since I first stepped onto a mat in the late 1980s, I’ve been a full-fledged yoga believer. I loved the power of the physical poses and the way they reverberated strength and peace in my body and soul. Whenever I’d fall out of practice (and that would be often) and be away from the mat for a while, I’d inevitably come back only to find myself wondering why I ever stopped doing something that made me feel so centered, something that made me feel more like my true self than anything else I’d ever encountered.Read more
Three times in my life — three, count ’em — I have either started to train as a yoga teacher (back in Austin in the 1980s), started the application process to train as a yoga teacher (in Albany a few years ago), or stood on the very edge of making a decision to train as a yoga teacher (at Heartspace in Albany this past September). Every single time I let myself get in my own way by getting inside my own head and talking myself out of what I know without question would be a life-changing, soul-lifting, completely transforming experience. And I’m not even talking about the part where I would become a certified yoga teacher. I’m talking about the part where this training would finally force (in the gentlest way possible, of course) me to face me, to face the True Self I’m always writing about and talking about but afraid to confront in a totally open way. Read more
I’ve been ruminating on this topic — What are you feeding? — for a while in my private time because I think it’s a pretty big deal. If we feed our fears, if we feed our anxiety, if we feed relationships with people who don’t really care about us or, even worse, make us feel “less than,” we throw a spark on the dead leaves lying around on our spiritual doorstep. Eventually it becomes a raging forest fire of self-doubt or unhappiness and, if we’re not careful, it will siphon off all the energy that should be feeding the good things in our lives. Read more
I always get to the 5:45 a.m. yoga class at least 10 minutes early, better to settle in and spend a little time in silence before the studio fills up. Today was no different, at least not at first. I stretched a bit before closing my eyes and taking up half-lotus, patiently waiting for our teacher to arrive. Soon. Shortly. Any minute now…. Read more
This essay originally appeared at the Catholic portal of Patheos.com.
By Mary DeTurris Poust
When I took my first yoga class more than thirty years ago, I was in a bit of a crisis in terms of the Catholic faith of my birth. My mother had recently died and I had moved out of my family home and across the country. I was searching in so many ways and came upon yoga through a friend who knew a teacher who held classes in her home. There, on a mat in an empty living room, I learned how to stretch and settle my body in new ways, ways that allowed me to more easily enter a spiritual realm that has always beckoned to me. Read more