With Thanksgiving taking place this Thursday, I think we can say that the “holiday season” is starting to get underway. The holidays are portrayed as a magical time full of joy, laughter and family and although this is true for some, it is not the standard for all. It is also a time where people are reminded of loss, triggering unexpected and deep-rooted tough emotions. It is a time where we often fall back into the same patterns of behavior we once had growing up. We play the role we were given in the family dynamic rather than what we have chosen to grow into as adults. This causes us to be in a state of reactivity treating the present moment as our enemy rather than our friend. But what if this holiday season, we switched our approach? What if we treated this as a time of reflection? An opportunity to notice how much we have indeed progressed on this journey called life and yet, how much more capacity we have to grow. I often find myself in situations asking; what would Mother Theresa and Buddha do? Life is gracious and it will keep giving you opportunity after opportunity to learn your lessons. So let’s move beyond it this year. Treat the present, as you would a beautiful moment in your life. Accept your life as it is right now and look for what is right. If you’re not able to find anything, please keep searching. You can start by being grateful for your life. For having a roof over your head. For your eyesight. For your voice. Treat the present, as your friend, not your worst enemy. The other shoe doesn’t always drop. The other shoe could be a sheer figment of your imagination. All I’m saying is watch your attitude. Be honest with yourself. What are you truly creating? You might even put yourself in an adult “time out” and take a few minutes to inhale up the spine and exhale out of your mouth. Connect to your physical self and shut down the thinking mind. If that still doesn’t work, remind yourself that you’re a bad ass and do a handstand even if you have to use the damn wall! Throw a spontaneous dance party! If you’re life and family are perfect, great, but for the rest of us, let’s do this. See the good inside of you and others. Be kind. I guarantee you that we are all much more alike than we are different. xo
Learn how to protect your knees and lower back in yoga by engaging the quadriceps. This is often the missing link in the practice and why yogis can't handstand without a wall. Lifting your knee caps helps you build a stronger and safer foundation.
If you’ve been to one of my public classes in the past year, you will hear me say “be at peace” at the end of class. It is something I wish for in myself and others. For better or worse, we tend to duplicate the same pattern of behavior we ourselves were shown and experienced growing up. Take a second and try to honestly think back to your childhood. What kind of household were you raised in? What behaviors you learned as a child then are you duplicating now as an adult? The first step to maturity is becoming aware and noticing if the patterns you’re recreating from childhood are helping your potential or hindering your current life.
My biological parents and early gymnastics coaches communicated through physical and emotional abuse. It’s no surprise that, as an adult, I’m prone to acting out of anxiety and fear. Lately I’ve been experiencing longer periods of peace. At first I was in such disbelief, I thought perhaps I was depressed. But I wasn’t experiencing the heaviness associated with depression. I believe I was afraid to allow myself to fully be at peace because that’s not an emotion I experienced as a child, and as such, it was unfamiliar to me. On some level, I believed I didn’t deserve peace.
Recently, on the way to pick up my sister from LAX, I was already running late and then there was an accident on the 405. As traffic was slowing down, I could feel anxiety and fear creep in until they seemed to fill the entire car! At first, it felt like a happy reunion! For better or worse, these are the feelings that I knew. Unlike peace, they were familiar. “Anxiety” was ready to pop the champagne, asking where I’ve been, and “fear” was picking out the best party soundtrack. So I had to ask myself: Should I go back to my old friends? Or should I remain curious about “peace” and explore that instead? I know that I’ll will mess up and I will still have to share some meals with anxiety and fear, but I’m willing to try and get to know peace better. What will you choose?