Tag Archives: Mental health

Give Up on Vulnerability



Vulnerability is a word, a feeling, a being. It is a word that is supposed to mean: capable of being emotionally or physically wounded. The feeling associated with vulnerability is weakness and that heightened level of stress that is felt when there is a potential for the self to become wounded. Vulnerability as being is when there is no other choice, one has given up to making themselves stronger and more capable of meeting the challenges placed in front of them. Give up on vulnerability. Create a life out of perseverance.

Today in Power Yoga, a student said to me that I had “beat him up” (figuratively people!)  in this class. And he went on to say that it was a good thing. He is challenged in class, each and every time that he shows up. He goes home with a pep in his step and tells me that he feels like he could sleep all night long. This is from someone with insomnia. He is candid with himself throughout the class, he goes at his pace, sometimes skips a few poses that are a little too much at the moment; but always gets right back into his own groove.

A life of perseverance. This is a life we should lead. Being authentic with ourselves on the mat, knowing how hard or how gentle we need to be with our bodies. Meeting and rising to the challenge that is placed before us each and every day on the mat. It is we who have the opportunity to overcome those moments of vulnerability, it is we who can overcome weakness; shall we let go of vulnerability? Absolutely. Move forward with perseverance.





Familiar to us is the strength and power of the word compassion; and seeing compassion can move people in strong, emotional ways. Compassion is prevalent in the animal world such as when we witness animals of different species helping one another. Tears fall freely when a deep sense of compassion is shown to others who have sustained great loss. In short, when compassion is the leading theme of an interaction between living beings, it’s as if the air has been sucked out of the room and we could hear a pin drop because of the deep level of respect we feel for the participants.
Let’s try an experiment today; it will be a tough experiment for me personally and all the more reason I want to try. A few days ago, there was a blog posted on A Cup o’ Yoga. It showcased a video of people going through some very emotional times with a theme that surrounded a hospital. In our interactions today make an internal statement before each interaction starts, “I don’t know what this person is going through personally.” And relate to a moment in that video that moved you deeply. The person you are facing, no matter the circumstance, deserves your compassion and respect. Human beings are all on the same road, all water runs downhill. We just call the journey different things, just as we call water creeks, streams and rivers. Extend a moment of compassion to the person before engaging in conversation, even with those you hold most dear! You will be amazed at what happens in both your heart and in your head.
Living a more yogic lifestyle is allowing others to be who they are, honoring them in their existence and becoming aware of our own thoughts, feelings and responses before acting. Be mindful of the story from the video that resonated deeply with you; we never know exactly what another is going through.

Additional Authenticity


What about the times when we are afraid to be who we really are (authentic)?
This is a question we can hear about and struggle with constantly. First, my heart goes out to you in your deepest moment of need, and I’m beside you, if not literally, figuratively. Even if ultimately the choice made is something different than what you would have wanted going in…you, my dear yogi, were able to make a choice that felt right in your mind, heart and being for the moment; authentic to you. We are all human beings, joined together in our perfect imperfections and each one of us makes a difference in someone else’s life. It could be as simple as being that one extra stop on a mailman’s route; or as complex as when the nighttime story is read, one more time, to a little one before trucking them in for the night. In this moment, I would like to honor the authentic you, to reward you, to cherish you for the brave-ness you exhibit in your choices at every moment of your life. Right or wrong, left or right, up or down;…you take the road you freely chose to and you move forward albeit, maybe on the Road Less Traveled.

The choices we make aren’t perfect. I know sometimes we will disappoint others based on our decisions as autonomous human- wonderful-beings and our choices are made, for the most part, with an authentic belief that it is the right one!

I encourage you to continue to move forward with your choices – be authentic, and cherish them. When we move closer toward acting in accordance with our internal truths, we will find peace of mind and step even closer to samadhi.

Whatever your choices, big and small, and especially surrounding your daily practice of living yoga – Believe me; The best is always yet to come in yoga… and; that makes all the difference!

Monkey Mind on the Mat

Monkey Work in Progress

Monkey Work in Progress (Photo credit: DanaK~WaterPenny)


The Monkey Mind, the ever chattering, constant movement of a mind not ready to be still. How do we move through our practice when our minds are cluttered with chatter? You think about the day, the relationships in your life, the other members in class, and so on. For example, when you are on the mat, and the perfectly coiffed little yogi girl is standing next to you, are you thinking that: your clothes don’t fit as well as hers; you do the pose better – or she does; Man, she has skinny thighs; wonder what brand of mat that is…and on, and on?


Relax! It is OK. It is our human nature.


We cannot fault who we are; yet we can be mindful. We can watch the thoughts arising (or at least catch them after they have arisen!) and then put them at bay. Yes, she has a beautiful yoga mat and it must bring her joy to practice on it. Does that mean her practice is any more beneficial to her than yours is to you? Almost seems like a silly question now, off the mat – away from her skinny thighs – doesn’t it? And, yet, you know that when you next hit the yoga studio and she is there, you’ll find some equally challenging, urgent and unimportant thoughts coming up. Again, it is our human nature. We all do it.


How about not berating yourself for these thoughts or any other thoughts that come up during practice? How about becoming aware of them and accepting them? Answer the question, the worry or the concern right away at the beginning of your practice. Let’s continue with our example. This time our perfectly coiffed little yogi has the cutest top on! You find yourself intrigued by the top – not your breath and suddenly you become aware that you aren’t taking time for yourself here! The monkey-mind has won again! Or, has it? Try saying to yourself, “OK, I love that top. I have to know where she got it. Must ask after class.” There. It’s solved. You’ve answered that question that would have followed you through your practice. And you move forward, letting go and focusing on your body, your breath, and the poses you experience during your time on the mat.


Lo’ and behold…I’ll be surprised if you even remember that perfect little top (or any of the other majorly urgent yet unimportant things that crop up) after svasana…but, if you do; you did let it go throughout your practice to allow yourself time to honor your body and you now have the power to follow through with the decision you made about the question, worry or concern that started talking to you at the beginning of practice. I promise, it will still be there at the end of class if it is an important one. Your practice is your gift to you; or if I’m teaching you – your practice is a gift from me. I look forward to watching you grow and learn in yoga; every, single moment.








How do you define courage? Think about it a moment, use it in a sentence by saying: “I have courage when I ___________”. This is your own personal courage statement, it could be as simple as, I have courage when I face work every, single day. Or, I have courage when I show compassion to my mortal enemy (the laundry – in my case). And it can even be, I have courage when I try to get into adho mukha vrksasana (handstand) time after time, after time! Courage doesn’t come easy – otherwise it would be called couch potatoing – but we all have it inside of us! I’m reminded of the squeals and shrieks of fear my sister creates whenever she sees a spider or bug and yet also the courage she displays the moment someone loses their temper inappropriately and her ability to step in and speak up when needed. We may not always feel our courage however, I can tell you this, the instant we land that handstand, crow pose, dragonfly or ___________ (insert difficult pose here) for the first time we feel an immense, overwhelming sense of honor (in the name of courage) for what we have accomplished. We have overcome any of those fears that sneak up on us like little spiders; and created a beautiful work of art that is ours alone to relish and enjoy!

Here’s to your training on your difficult pose! May you land it with all the joy that you can muster!!




Today, I had the pleasure of connecting with a friend that when we last met; we disagreed and kind of “fell off” chatting with one another. During this time, I did a lot of reflection and study (Svadhyaya) and came to understand that because a person doesn’t see eye to eye with me; doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t ‘see me’. I think this concept is a powerful one; it’s not about allowing ourselves to ‘agree to disagree’ and all those other cliches; but instead that often times we take a difference of opinion as a slight, when in reality; we aren’t appreciating the autonomy and authenticity the person is sharing with us. A person with whom we have a misunderstanding with, is daring to be authentic with us. They are practicing Satya, and we should be practicing Ahimsa (in thought & action of course!) and the other yamas that are applicable to each situation. When we relinquish the need for control, we free ourselves to growth, compassion and understanding. As it has been said, “…all misunderstandings result from our own failure to see that someone is not at the same level of awareness as we are…”. When we begin to practice the 8 limbs of yoga, and reach out for understanding and respecting the person who trusts us enough to be authentic in our presence; we open ourselves up to new levels of growth both internally and within our relationships.


Another Day of Gratitude


I’ve said it before, and will continue. Gratitude is a never-ending post for me. Today, off the yoga mat, I am grateful for all I have been blessed with – including the little things that I can find bothersome throughout the day. For example, today I had a four hour class dealing with coaching others; the class had great insight and taught me a lot and I couldn’t wait to get out of there! What a long morning, which would be followed by an interesting, yet long afternoon. So my gratitude settles in on me as I arrive home to my peaceful, little home with my little, happy puppies. Sometimes, life is about the solitary moments that we feel contentment in. Contentment can find us and translate into our yogic lifestyle moments off the mat, in moments of self-reflection, observation, and self-study (svadhyaya). Svadhyaya is the niyama that is the study of self-reflection. In a moment of contentment and peaceful gratitude, it is easier to view ourselves deeply and reflect on any of our yogic studies and readings.

To our study and self-reflection today, Namaste.