Monday, April 27, 2009

Yoga is no laughing matter!! Or is it.... - Laughing Yoga

"My karma ran over my dogma.... "

"Some people talk about finding God, as if He or She could get lost."

"When two psychic friends met, one said: 'You are fine. How am I ?' "

(Jokes complements of

Reader's Digest reminds us in it's monthly column, "Laughter is the Best Medicine." This is not just a catching title; it's true!

Mayo Clinic sites various benefits of laughter such as stimulating the organs, increasing endorphins, relaxes the body while giving it a work out, increases circulation, aids with digestion, improves the immune system, and acts as a natural pain killer. Not to mention the fact that it's just plain fun!

In Hal Urban's book, Life's Greatest Lessons, he shares stories of how Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein used humor and play to break the tension of too much thinking. "[Edison not only maintained] hundreds of notebooks full of scientific equations, he filled several others with nothing buy jokes." As for Einstein, just take a look at the above photo and tell me this man didn't know how to have a good time.

So we all could use a good dose of laughter everyday, but what it that's just not happening? One suggestion is to do Laughing Yoga or go to the bookstore and find a comic book that really tickles you. (I've checked the web for joke sites, but found that the majority of them focused on slamming others.) Laughter Yoga offers a means to see if there is a Laughter Club near you. If not, think about starting one or at least rent some funny movies. One of my all time favorites is The Princess Bride.



Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What do Being Sick and Meditation have in common?

Dealing with my first cold in three years--ironically I came down with it at the tail end of a Florida vacation--I've noticed something odd about illness. Everything else seems to disappear. If someone has a fever, stuffy nose, or constant cough, there's little (if any) energy to think about anything or anyone else. The mind seems to crave relaxation and quiet. Personally I find a bath with my ears submerged while repeating inwardly, "I allow my mind to relax and be at peace," does wonders to relieve mental congestion.

Point is our typical thoughts disappear, at least mine do. Things that used to seem ever so important drop away as all inner resources are about healing. I realize this is only true for those that stay home from work to nourish themselves. I've been sick while caring for a baby and a toddler; let's just say that paints quite a different picture. But to stay in bed with some tea and allow your eyes to shut when they like and just to focus on the bodies needs is somehow meditative.

Now before you think I've gone off the deep end, let me explain. When we meditate, there is a hum or lightness to the body. The observer or witness takes over and thoughts are seen, but no longer control us. As meditation continues, a sense of calm inner peace soaks through us.

If we fight being ill, which I've done, the resistance builds and tension is felt everywhere. If we allow the illness to be there while focusing on nourishing the body and bringing it comfort, along with this acceptance is that same meditative detachment from the body, that same observation and peace.

Since I've been healthy for quite a while and love being in Florida, this particular illness baffles me. Being one that likes to learn from all of life's experiences, I look back on the vacation. I stretched my body every morning, skipped through Disney world (literally!), and enjoyed my mom's company. So, why get sick? Deepak Chopra advices we stop asking "why". Sound advice, yet I ask--slow learner I guess.

Thinking about it I realize that during the vacation, I didn't practice any hatha yoga or meditation. Days were packed and my mind and body were running on "excitement mode" for almost seven days straight. The adrenaline kept me moving and jumping; I felt like a kid again. This is all cool, but maybe, just maybe, my body and mind craved that down time. Peaceful time found during meditation and moving slowly with the breath. I was too busy having fun to even notice this lack of quiet--to busy loving the sun and warm temperatures--so my body decided it would force the time for stillness by getting sick.

I might not be correct in this reasoning, but just in case next time I'll just meditate!

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Is Success

What constitutes a successful life? Society, parents, peers, and perhaps even our own minds frequently use the term 'success' synonymously with financial wealth, living in upscale neighborhoods, driving expensive cars, and holding certain jobs. I believe this idea hinders us in the path of true success.

This brings us to the question, then what is success? When we are stuck in the thinking mind, it is helpful to first still this inner chatter and preconceived ideas through yoga, meditation, or even a walk in the woods. So to determine what success meant to me personally, I took a long savasana (deep relaxation) after a hatha yoga practice and cleared my mind. Then I pulled out a journal and just wrote whatever came to me regarding the subject of success. This technique is a great way to let your inspiration and insight come through on any topic.

The result of this free-form idea gathering combined with some word changes brought out the following in acronym:

S - Silence
U - Unite
C - Creativity
C - Character
E - Excel
S - Solutions
S - Surrender

Silence: Take time to be in stillness and silence. This is were our inspiration and insights bubble up.

Unite: Unite your intentions and actions. First you must know what your intentions both globally, locally, long-term, and short-term are. Coming to a place of silence helps to set these intentions without ego getting in the way. Then observe your actions; do they align with your intentions?

Creativity: Don't be a cookie-cutout; be your own person with your own unique contributions to the world. Honor what works for you and remember that we each have an individual purpose or dharma. Be true to yourself and allow others to be true for themselves. (Yes, moms -- including myself -- this is really important for us to remember!)

Character: Act and live with character. Thomas Lickona has written a wonderful book -- if you can get past the preaching and strictness of it -- called Character Matters. Do you live, speak, think, and act with integrity, honesty, respect, honor, and gratitude? These words mean different things to different people. What do they mean to you? Do you find that you treat others with respect or honor, but not yourself?

Excel: Do your best. I hesitate to use the word "best" as you could do your "best" at work by never coming home. You could run a race and pass out from attempting to reach higher performance continuously. Sounds exhausting, right? Instead view "best" with the wise advice of the Chinese, "Do everything 70% of your maximum. Run 70% of your fastest. Eat 70% of what you can." The guideline isn't 30% or even 50%. So put forth effort without killing yourself or stressing out beyond your limits.

Solutions: Focus on solutions, not problems. It's wise to bring awareness to potential obstacles or challenges. But to stop there is where we may fail. To succeed, we must look at these issues and brainstorm for solutions. Free-form all ideas with wild abandon; you can always go back and remove ideas that you know won't work. But when we brainstorm in a a free format (no judgement) some pearls of insight just might surface.

Surrender: The Bhagavad Gita councils us to do our dharma (purpose) and then let the outcome go. When we act with integrity, awareness, and wisdom, that is enough. That is success. The result of our actions are none of our business. I've heard it said, "There's your business, other people's business, and God's business." The outcome of your actions pure of heart are God's business, not ours.

"Success is not so much what we have as it is what we are." ~ Jim Rohn

"Truth, self control, asceticism, generosity, non-injury, constancy in virtue — these are the means of success, not caste or family." ~ Mahabharata

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!