What’s your mission?

maya-angelou-life-01

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Maya Angelou was an inspirational poet, author and creator. This beautiful picture is from 1969 (by Chester Higgins via nymag) but she continued to write and be influential up until the end of her life.

Every so often it’s good to recalibrate by asking ourselves, what type of person do we want to be? What type of mark do we want to leave on people?

Deep Focus Yoga Playlist

I’m in love with Josef Salvat – Every Night is my track of the week! Bluesy and smooth – great cool down transition.  Threw in some great new tracks from Little Dragon, Jaime XX and Lana Del Ray.

 

Are you paying attention?

Yoga isn’t just showing up to the studio and practicing for an hour – it’s about showing up (in life) and paying attention.  The truth of the matter is, most of us function throughout the day in an inattentive, unfocused way.  Which is totally fine!  Yes, it helps us multitask and we feel like we can get more done, but if we’re not careful then the end result can be a superficial experience of life.

Have you commuted to work, and when you arrive there you can’t remember anything about the trip? This happens to me all the time.  I’m so absorbed in my phone or my music I literally don’t remember anything. Or sometimes I’m introduced to a person… and I instantly forget their name.

What I’ve realized is that it’s difficult to pay attention and be present in the moment.  It takes practice to slow down, unplug, and give one thing our complete attention.   Yoga is more than just the asana, it’s the mindfulness and attention that we cultivate, starting with our physical movement on mat.  How can we make our movements more efficient and smooth? Eventually we can bring that same focus and attention to other areas in our life.  Physical awareness is the fist step, and then we can begin to take note of our other things in our life.  What types of foods are we eating? How much sleep did we get?  Where are we spending most of our time? There’s no right answer to any of these questions.

The practice of yoga is a tool we can use to get touch with ourselves so that we can turn the lens inward and investigate our actions without judgement. Everything takes time, and if we focus on the practice, and learning, the right decisions will come.  Pick one small thing in your life and start paying attention!

Yogas citta vritti nirodhah

Yogas citta vritti nirodhah
Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind
– Yoga Sutra 1.2

Sutra 1.2 says yoga is the stilling of the mind fluctuations. The second sutra gives a definition of yoga, but it’s also an instruction on how to achieve yoga, or enlightenment. Yoga can only happen when the mind is still, but the entire practice is about learning how to still the mind.  It’s the mental act of allowing everything to be exactly as it is.  Not thinking about the what if, should and could have.  It’s a feat that’s harder than it sounds!  Thinking is our way of rationalizing and deconstructing the world around us.  It takes practice to loosen our grip on our judgments, definitions, and constructions.  We feel the need to piece together the universe, presumably so we can feel more secure, but we actually don’t need to do that. It’s already there and it’s perfect.  Start to think about what else you need in this moment. If you think about it long enough I’m sure you could come up with a very long list… but try not think.  Close your eyes and take five deep breaths.

The first sutra is powerful because it tells us where to begin – right now, always. The second sutra follows it up by telling us what to do – nothing.