Keep it Real

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Looking into someone’s eyes is as real as it gets. If you’ve ever been in deep love, staring into your partner’s eyes can be one of the most profound and genuine experiences. Likewise, a teacher or guru’s gleaming eye contact has the potential to communicate heartfelt devotion from across a room.

There are many examples of sayings and proverbs that refer to the eyes as the seat of sincerity:

The eyes have it.

The eyes are the windows to the soul.

Seeing eye to eye.

The eyes don’t lie.

So it seems that our eyes mirror our truth. On the contrary, what happens when we find it hard to be honest? Don’t we tend to avert our gaze? Or, how about those times when we try to pull the wool over someone’s eyes? Or, turn a blind eye?

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Using the Eight Limb System of Yoga to Construct a Personal Practice

As you build a personal yoga practice, it’s wise to start with a strong foundation. For this we can turn to the original structure of yoga. Its 8-limb system is arranged to give us a sturdy base upon which to build a dedicated practice.

For those of you who are unfamiliar or need a refresher, the original system of yoga is comprised of 8 different sections or parts: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. They translate from Sanskrit as: restraints, observances, postures, breathing, sense-withdrawal, concentration, meditation and contemplation.

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You Are What You Eat

This phrase is a simple way to state that what you put into your body truly creates the individual you will become. What you eat (and drink) not only affects your physique but your outlook, your productivity and how you relate to those around you. It is especially significant when you are trying to establish a steady yoga practice.

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7 Ways to Dedicate Your Yoga Practice

Some days you just need a good reason to get out of bed and onto your mat. Lately, our impending move is motivation enough to rise and shine but when I need incentive to honor my practice first, I turn to dedication. This is my way of easing into the day, especially if it’s going to be a busy one.

This week I began each practice with a special dedication to stay focused on my greater purpose. Here are the seven different themes I chose to reflect upon.

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Detach to Attach

Each morning I rise, the temptation to pick up my phone and check messages, the news, or the weather, gets in the way of rededicating myself to my yoga practice.

Checking in – really checking inward, involves detachment. Detachment from the distractions that separate me from what matters most – my connection to myself and my breath.

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Reflection on a Yoga Practice

Over the last few weeks I have relaunched my yoga practice – choosing to begin as a new student and establish a fresh daily yoga routine. I have started simply with sitting with my breath first thing in the morning and reflecting on the true meaning of yoga.

As a word, yoga (or yuj) means to bind, join or yoke. I love this definition as it plainly specifies a very important concept – connection. The connection of our breath to our bodies and minds and the connection of our energies to the universe.

Now I am excited to begin each day and reconnect to my practice and the foundation of yoga. However, I have found that in order to acquire any new connections, I first have to clean my slate. I need to allow for a fresh perspective; one that isn’t influenced by a prior practice or of what I presume to know.

This week I have been reflecting on a quote from the poet/calligrapher Kohad:

I cast the brush aside

From here on

I’ll speak to the moon

Face to face.

By reflecting on these words, I can receive what it is I seek in this new phase of my yoga practice. Like the waning moon, I will slowly dissolve my old state so that I can begin anew.

I look forward to the journey ahead. Namasté.

As promised, I am now using this blog to supplement my new book, Yoga Posts: Building a Steady Yoga Practice One Day at a Time. This week’s post refers back to Chapter #3: Prepare Your Mind. If you wish to start at the beginning, please look to my first post.