yoga in brevard

Asana Is An Invitation To Arrive on

Maria-1.jpg

There is nothing comfortable about life. Pain and suffering follow us around wherever we go. Even when we get everything we want, there is somehow an underlying hunger for something more, something easier or better. This is the nature of desire, and it keeps us just uncomfortable enough to continue moving forward.

The desire to grow, discover, travel, and transform - this is what fuels our life. This is what allows us to connect with each other and to expand beyond our own limitations. But when we are constantly in pursuit, climbing, searching, and longing to be or do something different, then we are depriving ourselves of our true nature.

When we live on-the-go all day, every day, we are essentially sending signals to the brain and body that we are unsatisfied, which only creates more tension and turbulence. Despite growing rates of hypertension, stress-related disease, and mental illness, this is not the truth of human existence. It is only a distraction from the undisturbed nature that resides within.

The physical postures in Yoga are called Asanas. They are an opportunity and active invitation to arrive within our true, pure nature.

Asana is a Sanskrit word that is often translated as “comfortable seat.” But remember - there is nothing really comfortable about life, and nothing particularly comfortable about sitting. A more truthful and comprehensive translation of Asana is “a physical seat that cultivates steadiness and ease.”

When we practice Asana, we put our bodies into physical positions that build friction. The goal is to bring our awareness to the parts of our experience that are uncomfortable - be it feelings of lack, overwhelm, or indifference. In this practice, we become more familiar with our own causes of resistance and actions that bring relief. But ultimately, none of this can happen if we are not willing to show up and to be present with whatever arises.

In every single Yoga class that I teach, I begin by asking my students to arrive. To arrive in the space, in their body, and in their seat. This might sound like a simple request, but arriving is perhaps the most elusive and fleeting sensation.

Can you recall the last time you arrived home after traveling? Do you remember that feeling of a long exhale, the feeling of spaciousness and satisfaction in your body and mind? How long did you let that feeling last - before you began unpacking your bags, cleaning the kitchen, checking email, and preparing for the next day of work or school? Many of us are so well versed in the habits of busy-ness and productivity that when we do experience the feeling of arrival, its only momentary.

But when we fully, wholeheartedly arrive, we take one step closer towards becoming more of who we want to be.

Arriving is an act of acceptance. When we allow ourselves to exist exactly where we are - when we show up and stay present - we accept authority over our own experience. And when we claim ownership of our own lives, we are no longer ruled by avoidance, denial, and attachment. Instead, we have the power to slow down each moment, to soak up the sweetness of this life, and to burn away the impurities that mask our true nature.

Asana keeps me real. It keeps me grounded. Practicing Asana invites me to see my desires more clearly, understand my own motivations, and embrace the current path that I am on. And somehow, learning how to arrive is the only way I know how to keep moving forward.

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To learn more about Maria click here to check out her website! 

Give Your Power a Voice

I knew as a child I had a great power inside of me.  When I became brave enough to glimpse its marvelous magic I felt as if it’s magnitude could swallow me whole. I knew that my voice and my power were uniquely mine. A synonym for power is magic and this power is inside all of us.  For most of my life I have been in the process of discovering and hiding my magic power all at the same time.

My teacher says if it isn’t a paradox it isn’t divine. From a young age we’re taught to keep our  “power” in a small box to fit the mold and expectations of others. When we are young, it seems as though we can’t hide our power. Over time we adapt to our circumstances, learning how to let just enough of our magic show to keep us interesting but certainly not enough to make us different, unique, or stand out.

When I started my 200 Hour Vira Bhava Yoga Teacher Training I knew walking into our first practice that I was about to take the top off my perfect small box. I was terrified, trembling with anticipation, fear and excitement. Through my yoga practice I could feel the layers peeling away to show the innate, golden authentic-self that had been patiently waiting to emerge. This was a profound embodied experience that cultivated yoga in the core of my heart.  Through this practice with Vira Bhava Yoga. trust and respect were formed; I restored my power in its most lustrous, immense grandeur.

We all have a unique power inside, we have just forgotten.  In these times it is our job to remember. It is our job to ask questions. Our world in its current state of discomfort, fatigue and grief needs NOW more than EVER our unique power. That is why its time for each of us to give our power a voice.

It is our job as yogis to cultivate trust in purpose. When we come to the mat, we work to create and build energy as purpose. To notice each moment when we show up for ourselves on or off our mat has powerful purpose.

This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and quit your job because your purpose doesn’t match up with your profession… I mean maybe it does.  For most of us this isn’t the case. What we learn in the Vira Bhava Yoga 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training is how our purpose and power can express itself in many different areas of life.  We bring our power to every moment. We learn to use the strength of our power to continually guide us on our path.

One definition of power is to move or travel with great speed or force; this is a power of a Vira Bhava Yogi.  We are warriors. We are courageous. We are unapologetic in our greatness and we walk together in community. We know that by boldly expressing our power we are inviting others to do the same. Seeing ourselves in others, knowing that by first healing ourselves we can then heal as a whole.

I want to live in a world where every person has the opportunity to live more authentically while empowering others to find and share their unique voice. If this sounds like something you too seek… Join us! Vira Bhava Yoga is coming to a town and studio near you. We are excited, whole hearted individuals striving to support each other in being great! Learn more and Register for our programs here!

 

Shifting Your Perspective

Photo by Juan Diego Reyes

Photo by Juan Diego Reyes

Years ago I picked up a book on impulse at a bookstore.  Something about managing your time to grow your business.  I was in the fledgling stages of creating Vira Bhava Yoga, and was feeling mostly discouraged, frustrated by my slow movement toward my desires, and yet propelled by a deep knowing that this was exactly what I needed to be doing. So, I did what I always do when I feel stuck, I bought a book about it.  My background is not in business, but I am the definition of an entrepreneur (unemployable).  So I decided to educate myself about ways I could turn my dream into reality.  

The best advice I received from this book of essays specifically targeted to tech start up businesses (wtf) was this:  at the end of the day reflect on your successes.  Instead of going down your to-do list and focusing on what you didn’t get done, which most of us do.  Instead of dwelling on the typical obstacles of “not enough” time, capital, energy, support; you fill in the blank, turn your focus to your accomplishments.  If you are working to manifest your purpose in the world, it’s an admirable feat, and it takes time. Committing a little bit of everyday toward that intention goes a long way.  Yet our tendency to focus on our failures instead of our successes veils the recognition of our own brilliance.

It’s not so different than watching my kids grow.  They are constantly changing, shifting, expanding, in body, mind and heart, but the day-to-day demands often keep me from noticing.  Until something huge happens (like my oldest is taller than me all of a sudden) or someone else points out the shifts, they often stay just outside of my awareness.  Not completely unknown, but not really acknowledged or celebrated.  Then in a moment, I realize how time has passed us by, and my little babes are full fledged people.  

So many of us get caught in the spin of overlooking how much impact we are making. Until one day, we wake up, haggared and hardened, and our dreams have come true, but we’ve missed it! We’ve lost ourselves in the never ending race to 'get things done’ and forgotten to reflect on the ways we are creating the life we desire RIGHT NOW!  

So, I started making a new list.  Every night before I would fall asleep I would write the list of things I had accomplished that day.  From “did the dishes” to “opened a business bank account,” from “wrote new content” to “taught two yoga classes,” I started to honor myself for my hard work and commitment. This simple thing shifting the most important aspect of my journey, my perspective.  I started believing in myself and what I was capable of.  I celebrated my successes instead of overlooking in an effort to move on to the next thing.  And, slowly but surely, the evidence of my hard work started to show itself.

There is a teaching in Tantra that states if you want to worship the Goddess, you must become her.  More than anything I wanted to be in the easeful flow of living my dharma, I wanted to receive the abundance that I felt certain was the outcome of working with such unwavering determination to manifest that truth that whispered inside me every day, but it didn’t feel like it was coming.  I spent most of my time lamenting the discrepancy between how much I wanted it, and how little it seemed to be manifesting. The yearning that was the evidence that I was on the right path would become the pain of defeat.  They key is to see the yearning as the force propelling you in the right direction, and not get stuck in the pain of not receiving. For most of us, when we are in that pain, we throw up our hands and change directions instead of seeing the yearning as something to turn towards, not away from. The yearning is the call, and when we attach only to the outcome of success and not to the reality of our own efforts, that’s when we get stuck.  When we feel stuck, we think about whether or not we are doing the right thing, when we could be reflecting on our challenges as the lessons we need to be learning to grow in balance.  The barrier to our success is simply the gap between the yearning and the achieving. One which can easily be remedied by self reflection and trust in our purpose. When we change where we place our focus, we are freed from defeat, and reenergized toward what we are so ready to do.

So when I was stuck, I decided to change my perspective.  I turned to the sweet and absolute abundance of Shakti in the form of Lakshmi, and I began the process of recognizing the parts of my life that were already abundant.  I gave thanks for my family, my friends, my practice.  I honored my growth as a teacher, I cultivated enthusiasm about educating myself in new systems. And it all worked. Here we are. Vira Bhava Yoga has grown and continues to grow.  We share and celebrate the path of Tantric Hatha Yoga in 7 different states, with more planned for the coming years. We have outstanding teachers, mentors, change-makers, and students all over the world.  

I still move in and out of remembering, just as the teachings say we will.  But when I can see the ways that Lakshmi shows up everyday in my life, not just in material wealth, but in love, connection, spiritual growth, joy, generosity, receptivity, openness, and ease, then I feel that energy enhanced.  The abundance that Lakshmi brings only grows when we acknowledge it, and from that place, open ourselves to receive more than we thought possible.  Because that’s the way it works, surrender isn’t giving up, it’s leaning into the whole truth, not just the one to which we have become accustom.

Recommended Readings:

The Soul Money, By Lynne Twist

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind: Edited by Jocelyn K. Glei