Good #MindfulnessMonday afternoon to you all! We hope you all had wonderful weekends! A few of us on the #MM team spent the weekend in Montreal celebrating the wedding of an old friend. It was a gorgeous affair and the love and joy in the room was palpable. We don't know about you, but we find there is something about weddings, especially those of people you have known for a long time, that put you on a high. Perhaps it is all the heightened emotions, all the smiling faces, all the laughs you get to share with old friends, or perhaps it is all the shots! Kidding! It is most likely a combination of everything, but this #MindfulnessMonday we are feeling that high.
And it is in this heightened state that we are taking on the last of the Niyama, which is Ishvarapranidhana. Ishvarapranidhana is a large pillar of "big picture" yoga and it refers to surrendering to a higher source. Choosing to leave religious ideology out of our conversation, we interpret Ishvarapranidhana as a sacred shift of perspective that helps us to remember, align with, and receive the grace of being alive. In this practice, we are encouraged to detach ourselves from our ego and discover our true self. One way we can do this in our practice is in Savasana (Corpse Pose). As we descend through layers of tension to rest in the release of Savasana, we become one with our body. As we connect to Ishvarapranidhana we find a pathway through the obstacles of our ego toward our divine nature—grace, peace, unconditional love, clarity, and freedom.
Another way we can do this is by seeing the divinity in all of our experiences, like that of a good friend's wedding. Sure, there comes a time in all of our lives where we think "another wedding!?" and it's normal. But, if we can tap into the bigger picture of 2 people who are happy and in love and celebratory, and look at the journey that brought them to this place, it can be pretty special.
So, take some time on this Monday to surrender to the love and divinity in this world. If you let it, it will find you.
As you know, we are called ourselves Mindfulness Matters, and yet it has occurred to us that we
have taken for granted that everyone knows the definition of mindfulness. So, today we are going to
begin to unpack the definition of mindfulness and how we differentiate the ideas of being
mindful and mind full.
Mindfulness is defined as the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the
emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. They key words here for us, are
accepting and non-judgmental. When we are being mindful we are simply activating our awareness to
our surroundings and how we feel and think within them. We are not applying an opinion or a label to
these sensations, but rather just acknowledging them and understanding their place within this given
moment. This can be hard to do! We are so accustomed to labeling everything but instead of judging our every move, we need to simply acknowledge our reality and be accepting of it.
In contrast, mind full refers to the mind that is full of thoughts, emotions, activities, deadlines, priorities,
budgets and everything else in between that was done yesterday, that needs to be done tomorrow
and that will never get done by the end of the year. Being mind full is normal and it is not inherently
negative. We all live lives that are full of various different activities and priorities, which is great. Sometimes they can overwhelm us and cause us to lose sight of the beauty and joy in the present moment. By learning to be mindful, we can manage our busy lifestyles in a more calm and peaceful way. And, like everything else, it is a practice and it takes time, so don’t judge yourself, just work on yourself.
We are so excited because we are participating in Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Experience which began on November 3rd. You can jump in any time and join us for a free 3 week journey learning the principles of meditation with the goal of creating more inner peace and well-being, and of course Mindfulness.
We wish you a beautiful day, Namaste.
We hope your week is off to a fabulous start! On this #MindfulnessMonday we are sharing the 3rd and 4th Niyamas (Personal Observances) of Tapas and Svadhyaya, which work in tandem. While in Spanish Tapas refers to delicious appetizers or small plates, in Sanskrit it refers to discipline. Often when we think of discipline we think of something strict or restrained, but Tapas implies a sense of passion and fire! When we speak of Tapas on the mat, we are talking about being disciplined enough to take 10 minutes to meditate; choosing to do the poses that we don’t like; and pushing ourselves deeper into certain poses and knowing when to hold back in others. In life we experience Tapas by employing a sort of discipline to ourselves and our relationships with others. By building up the right protection, we make sure that nothing and no one can extinguish our flame.
Tapas works in tandem with Svadhyaya, which translates to self-study or self-inquiry. In order to practice Svadhyaya we are implored to take a good look at ourselves as we stand alone and as we stand within our communities and the world at large. It requires us to take a look at our light and our shadows and to ask ourselves important questions about who we are, what we want, what we do well, where we can improve etc. And, to do this takes discipline, tapas. It requires us to be disciplined enough to take the time to study ourselves. However, self-study is a lifelong process because as we change and evolve the study continues. But, as it is with our practice, it is not about the destination, but the journey.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.