Last Monday, we shared with you the meaning Ahimsa (aka non-violence), the most vital Yama of the sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. We want to continue sharing the Yoga Sutras with you, so on this #MindfulnessMonday, we will move on to the second Yama, which is Satya.
Satya means a commitment to truthfulness. It relates to honesty in its most basic form, for it employs a personal honesty first and foremost. Like with Ahimsa, this is not just an honesty in word, but in thought as well (sensing a theme?) Satya is not about avoiding the outright “my dog ate my homework” lies. On the contrary, it is about confronting the “man in the mirror” truth.
World renowned yogi, Kathryn Budig shares the creed (and the hashtag) aim true, which she describes as the ability to start each day with intention and to maintain your integrity within our world of pressure and influence and criticism. Aim true resonates with us because it is essentially telling us to practice satya. Budig is encouraging us to be true to ourselves in our thoughts, our intentions and our actions, and in doing so, we can create an honest life.
This may seem somewhat easy, however, sometimes it is hardest to be truthful to ourselves. We may not even realize how many stories we tell ourselves to hide from our truth. “I can never do hanuman (split) because I am just not flexible in that way. It will never happen”. Is that the truth? Or, have you simply not practiced it enough? Can you change your mindset about the pose? “My brother and I will never get along. We are just too different”. Are you that different, or is it that you are actually the same? Have you tried to find a common ground?
Our stories begin and end with ourselves. Our truth comes from within and only when we can learn to be truthful with ourselves first, can we practice satya in both thought and in word to others. From this truth, we can build integrity and character and charisma! So, imparting the wisdom from Kathryn Budig, #aimtrue.
Good Monday afternoon! Today we want to share with you one of the 8 limbs of the Yoga Sutras. The sage Patanjali', wrote the Yoga Sutras as an eight-limbed approach to the practice of yoga. The first limb is called Yama and it translates to universal morality. Within Yama there are certain codes of conduct that are prescribed in the hopes of achieving health and happiness within the individual and society.
This #MindfulnessMonday, we wanted to share with you the first Yama, which precedes all others, Ahimsa. Ahimsa translates to ‘non-violence’. A true practice of Ahimsa calls for non-violence or non-harming in action or in thought towards others and first and foremost to oneself. And that’s where it gets tricky, isn’t it?
On an initial glance, we can say, “of course I practice Ahimsa. I do not attack people either physically or verbally and I do my best to be kind and courteous”. Great. But, what about the things you do or say to yourself? What about the stories you tell yourself about how you’re not smart enough to get that job or you’re not a good yogi because you can’t do a handstand? All of those thoughts are harmful and they can hurt you.
As is with anything in life, it starts within you.
If we challenged you to be mindfully kind to anyone who crosses your path today, you could probably do it. What if the same challenge was to be kind to yourself, could you do it? Like we said, that’s where it gets tricky.
It is #MindfulnessMonday, so try to be mindful of your thoughts and your actions towards yourself and towards others. Practice Ahimsa. It starts with you, and if you’re doing your best, you’re always enough.
For about a month and a half now, I have been teaching at a brand new yoga studio in Toronto, and I cannot believe I haven’t shared this news with you yet! This new studio is Union Yoga + Wellness and it is really special.
Located on Bloor West, this brand new space is bright and modern, but still cozy and welcoming. Whether you walk in as seasoned yogi or a beginner, you will always be welcomed with open arms, a big smile and a cup of tea (who doesn't love free tea?!). I also love the variety of class offerings. At Union, we have both hot and regular temperature rooms, which I think is unique to yoga studios and offers great variety for students. We also offer flow, restorative, pre-natal and even chair yoga. I am presently teaching warm and hot flow, level 1/2 in both the hot and regular temperature room. We also have an abundance of workshops to help you deepen your practice. Oh ya, AND we have an on-site massage therapist! Can we say awesome studio? I think so!
As a yoga teacher, it is so important to feel safe and supported in your studio and what has been so great at Union is the support and freedom we have in our classes to teach with our own unique style. I love being able to express creativity in my classes and I love that Union lets me do that.
Being a part of Union from its very beginning has been a powerful experience because I am able to help build the community and watch it blossom and thrive. I am so excited and so proud of the foundation being cultivated at Union by the fabulous team led by Union founder and owner (and personal friend) Ruby Knafo. Congrats Rubes and I cannot wait to see all that is to come. Move. Sweat. Breathe. Love.
My Union Schedule for this week:
A few weeks ago I was travelling in LA and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with fellow yogi and personal inspiration, Mandy Ingber. We spent the afternoon chatting about life and yoga and California and inspiration. I thought I would share some highlights of our conversation with you, enjoy!
When people ask you, "what do you do?”What is your answer?
I say that I am a "creative". I have never had a 9-5 job. I used to be an actress and in my present work, I am a yoga teacher, I am a motivator, I am an author, and I even coined the phrase "Yogalosophy”! I am constantly creating my day and my life.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
I started practicing at age 6. So 40 years.
When and why did you take your first ever yoga class?
I think the first actual class was in '78 or '79. There was a show on TV when I was little, it was Richard Hitlleman on PBS. Very '70's and very cool. I would watch and practice. My father started practicing Iyengar Yoga around the same time, and he was an advanced daily practitioner. So, essentially, I started yoga in an effort to get my father's attention and approval. My brother was the acrobat and I was the contortionist.
What “hooked” you to yoga?
See above. I also think that being naturally flexible was a plus. When you are "good" at something, you want to do more. That's why it's always best to focus on the aspects that you do well. I also like that yoga is individual. I was never attracted to team sports. I am pretty independent, so it works for me to be among like minded beings, taking care of myself. Of course, teaching is a whole other level. That’s where I access the giver in me.
What is one of your favorite teaching moments?
My peak moment in yoga was during my book tour. Being on the tour really fused many aspects of myself- my intuition, my connection with people on a very personal level, the performer in me (for the humor), my style and brand. It was a great learning experience and simply being able to enter a room of 'strangers' who already knew me (through the media) and trusted me was invigorating. It felt like I had broadened my scope, and that my heart had connected to so many via the book and DVD. It was really special to meet these thousands that I had touched, and get to connect one on one. Connection is so important for me. I connect with each student one on one. I make sure of it.
Overall, I love all my teaching moments because teaching is one of those places when I get to see what a giver I am because I am getting so much back. It takes me by surprise. I wish this translated to other areas of my life. I am very lucky to be able to have a place where I have learned that I love these people for what I can GIVE.
What advice would you give to students who are new to yoga?
Be patient with yourself. It takes time to really enjoy it. Just show up and try several different teachers and styles until you find the one that's right for you.
What do you love to do in LA when you're not teaching?
I love the beach, taking walks, painting, writing, getting a tea with a friend, driving up the coast, visiting a book store. There are so many things to do in LA. I grew up here and went to a mobile school for experiential learning. We traveled the entire city, so I know that there is a lot to see and do here. And, I have seen and done a lot of it!
Do you have a life mantra? If so, would you share it with us?
Keep an open mind and an open heart. That's my current mantra. But it changes.
Mandy Ingber is a celebrity fitness and self-love expert and New York Times best-selling author of Yogalosophy: 28-days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover (Seal Press), which is available online at www.mandyingber.com/yogalosophybook. Her 18 years of experience have attracted clients like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale, Brooke Shields, and Helen Hunt. She is an author, keynote speaker, spokesperson and wellness blogger. Visit Mandy on her websiteMandyIngber.com or follow her on Twitter @msmandyingber or Facebook Mandy Ingber's Yogalosophy.
Facebook: Mandy Ingber's Yogalosophy
This #MindfulnessMonday is a tough one for us. We lost a friend on this day 11 years ago. The pain has changed and sometimes the loss is easier to deal with while other times it feels like the wound is still so fresh.
One thing that is constant though is that it never goes away. I don’t think you can ever get over losing a friend at seventeen. It’s heavy.
That said, we can make the choice to live a life that is full – full of great conversations, big laughs, warm hugs, delicious meals, days in the sun, nights under the stars, singing in the car (or the shower), sobbing into a pillow when we need to, and dancing like no one is watching, and even if they are, who cares?!
On this #MindfulnessMonday, we would love to share “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Isreal “IZ”Kamakawiwo’ole. Take a few minutes to listen. We are all connected and never alone. Be lighter. Namaste.
We have always had a love-hate relationship with Labour Day. We look forward to it for the long
weekend spent with family and friends likely up at the cottage, but we also dread it because it signifies
the end of the summer, back to school etc. But, just because summer is deemed over (even though the season only officially changes on September 22nd) it does not mean that there is nothing left to look forward to, quite the opposite. It’s time to prepare for a new season, which means new colours on the trees, new scents in the air, new flavours in season (can we say pumpkin everything? YUM!) and new fashion!
On the topic of fashion, we are very excited to inform you that Mindfulness Matters’, Samara will be
collaborating with Montreal fashion label, Cory Vines with a free class titled, “Autumn Alignment” at Le Sweat Shop on Sunday September 7th 2014 at 9:45 - 10:45am*. It will be a vinyasa (power flow) class for all levels with emphasis on aligning mind, body and spirit in preparation for Fall. By creating space in your body you create space in your mind and are able to de-clutter and approach this new season with clarity and an open mind.
And, an opportunity to add a few new items to the workout wardrobe never hurt either! We love the
Cory Vines collection because it is fresh, comfortable, affordable and amazing quality. Samara is very
excited to have the opportunity to re-connect with her Montreal community and practice in such a cool
environment. RSVP here.
*Please note the time on the poster is wrong and the start time off the class is 9:45.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.