Archive for June, 2010

June 2, 2010

Yoga Diaries: Week 1

by mandy lipka

A few weeks ago, I picked up a 50-card practice deck to keep myself disciplined in yoga when I’m not taking or skipping classes. Each card features photos and instructions for various poses by Rodney Yee— a very popular instructor who’s been on Oprah and in Time, People and USA Today.  Each week I’ll be picking three poses to do daily.

Here goes discipline.

Standing Pose #15: TREE POSE

Phew. A favorite of mine. Relatively easy as you’re allowed to sway and fall, but the reward is in eventually staying completely still.

Press down into your heels and rise up from the arches of your feet.

Reach your arms over your head and rise up through your core.

Keep breathing for about 30 seconds and let the energy trace through your spine to your head.

Bring your hands to your chest and lower your foot. Shake it off if you need to and repeat.

This guy’s got good form, but I recommend leaving the hats aside so you can stretch your arms completely.

Seated Pose #36: STAFF POSE

Press the backs of your thighs, calves and heels into the ground and flex your feet. Press open hands flat on the ground (shoulders straight) and lift your chest. Lengthen your waist and imagine your legs are buried so that you are lifting your torso to break free.

This one makes my arms feel short. It’s tough to keep hands flat and back straight at the same time.

Standing Pose #14: SIDE ANGLE POSE

Stretch your legs as if you’re going into a lunge with one foot facing forward and the other out. Keep your heels aligned and ground your pelvis in the direction of your back leg as you elongate your waste with the reach of your top arm (straight over your head). Lay your other hand flat next to the foot facing forward. For example, if your right foot is lunging forward, place your right hand beside it and stretch your left overhead, chest out, face up.

Dig your heels deeply as you launch your chest from your pelvis and rotate your knees away from each other. As you place your bottom arm for support, align yourself from your back heel through your fingertips.

I really enjoy this pose but it definitely reminds me to drink less dark, hoppy beer!

Please try these poses and let me know your thoughts. Which one(s) are more challenging, energizing? Do any of these poses not really do it for you at all? Share your experience below. Namaste.

June 1, 2010

Soul Food for Thought

by mandy lipka

As I was spring cleaning for the third time, I came across a stellar pamphlet on mindfulness tucked away in the “mood lifting” folder of notes from friends and family in my accordion file folder (believe it or not, I do keep a small paper trail). Couldn’t recall where it came from, but imagined a dear spiritual friend of my mother who’s been like a soul sister to me sent it over the years. Somehow she always knows just the moment when you could use some kind words and encouragement. Guessing it followed me from college.

Anyway, the front page opens with Quotations to Think About from various literature.

To winners time is precious. Winners don’t kill it but live it here and now. Living in the now does not mean that winners foolishly ignore their own past history or fail to prepare for the future. Rather winners know their past, are aware and alive in the present, and look forward to the future. – Muriel James in Born to Win

My ego stays preoccupied with the world through circular thinking. I make a mistake, then dwell on the mistake, then feel guilty for my new mistake of dwelling, then dwell on my new mistake, and so forth. ‘See?’ my ego says, ‘You’ll never learn this spiritual stuff.’ But the only thing to learn is that the ego is a dog chasing its tail. Don’t spend one second chewing on a mistake. It’s a meatless bone. – Hugh Prather in Spiritual Notes to Myself

Life is not a spelling bee, where no matter how many words you have gotten right, if you make one mistake you are disqualified. Life is more like a baseball season, where even the best team loses one-third of its games and even the worst team has its days of brilliance. Our goal is not to go all year without losing a game. Our goal is to win more than we lose, and if we can do that consistently enough, then when the end comes, we will have won it all. – Harold Kushner in How Good Do We Have to Be?

Looking deeply at our lives, without judgment, offers us a chance to see ourselves and the world we live in more clearly. As we see more clearly we understand life more fully and from this understanding comes compassion and freedom. – Narayan Libenson Grady in When Singing Just Sing

Part of the problem is that everyone is in such a hurry. People haven’t found meaning in their lives, so they’re running all the time looking for it. They thin the next car, the next house, the next job…Then they find those things are empty, too, and they keep running. – Morrie Schwartz speaking in Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

By far the greatest cause of stress in the workplace is not time, lack of control or other people. It’s you. What’s inside your head. – Paul Wilson in Calm at Work

Personally, some of these thoughts can hit close to home at tough times. Now that I’ve discovered this little book of thoughts, I try to reinforce these ideas at least once a week. It helps. Keeps me grounded and moving forward. Which quotations do you refer to often to keep you optimistic or motivated? Please share them below.