FLOW W/FRED – 10.23.14 (YFD – Gratitude)

Yoga isn’t a magic healer.  It isn’t an ancient religion that combats Christianity.  Yoga is about mindfulness.  Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.”  Yoga is about becoming aware of how to navigate the mind and maintain the body in the present moment.  Yoga simply aids your body and provides a system of internal and external ethics to aid your belief system.  So let’s get those misconceptions out of the way.

In this present moment, I think we deserve to throw a little gratitude our own way.  Life doesn’t stop … ever.  And our minds run right along with it.  Take a moment to be thankful that the present moment provides new and amazing opportunities.  We might be angry, upset, frustrated, annoyed and any number of other emotions right now.  Be thankful though that our mind is capable of handling the load.  Be thankful that we have an opportunity right now to make our joy.  Each new moment is an opportunity to be thankful to those around us.  Each new moment is an opportunity to be thankful to ourselves.  We are worth it.  100%.

Gratitude

Even in difficult situations, gratitude can be cultivated.  First acknowledge the difficulty, then find the gift.  An example would be “I am angry in this moment, and I am grateful I have a mind which knows this is so and can deal with it.”

Find the gift in the moment of sadness may not eradicate the sadness, but it may bring your emotional body back into balance.  There are times when the pain was so acute I had to get down on the floor and cry, sometimes curling into myself and rocking like a child, sometimes lying still.  Even in these deep releases of my grief, I consciously acknowledged by gratitude for my big heart and my enormous capacity to feel.  Soon after acknowledging my gratitude, my grief abated and I could resume whatever activity the outpouring of emotion had interrupted.  I felt emptied out, still sad, but also refreshed and awake to the gift of each moment, each breath.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintraub

Flow w/Fred – 7.10.14 (YFD – Dukha/Sukha)

I had always known about the benefits of lengthening the body through my yoga practice.  It was an interesting concept to me to learn of dukha and sukha.  As the body occupies space, it can become congested and blocked.  Yoga allows us to use the asanas, pranayamas and meditation to “open space.”  What physical changes have you noticed in your body through the lengthening of space in your yoga practice?

Opening Your Inner Space:  Dukha and Sukha

The word for suffering Sanskrit is dukha, but it means much more than the English translation.  Literally, it means “obstructed space.”  Whenever there is depression, there is contraction.  Some area of the body or mind is compressed; some area of the emotions is blocked.

Depression, viewed this way, is treated by creating more space – sukha – which is exactly what you do when you practice Yoga.  Yoga postures (asanas) and pranayama breathing exercises expand the lungs, decompress areas of tension, and release dammed-up emotions, creating a freer space within the body and mind.  Most scholars translate sukha as “happiness,” but the word literally means “unobstructed” or “open space.”

“Whenever someone comes to me, whether it’s for depression or a breathing difficulty or a back pain, what I’m assuming is that there is some place in the system that is obstructed, that needs more space.  Whether the problem is in her joints, her spine, or with her breathing, there’s a sense of congestion or blockage or obstruction.”

All the practices of Yoga – the asanas, the pranayamas, the chanting, and the meditations – address these blockages and begin to release them.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab