Category Archives: 365yoga

watch me bloom

image

 

I want to move in the direction of my fears of expressing myself. I have left countless words unsaid — words that are in a landfill somewhere with all the other words that could have been something special but were denied existence because of fear, worry, and doubt. I want to give voice to myself and all that I have to share with the world.

Affirmation: I deserve to express myself fully in the world.

I am working on aspects of full expression each day in my practice. I approach my interactions with others with the intention of being present, available, and authentic in their company, not hiding or holding back out of fear or habit. I observe the moments where I most want to retreat inside of myself and reflect on what need is not being met in those situations and what I can do to make myself feel more safe and secure in those moments. I hit the reset button each morning, preferably each moment, and practice loving kindness to myself if a situation arises where I am not as available as I would like. I begin again and again and again knowing that I have nothing that I have to hide or be ashamed of in sharing myself with the world.

Affirmation: I reject any attachment to people’s reaction when I express myself.

I do not have to silence or censor myself in an effort to placate others. I am here to live my truth and to share it freely. I am here to be the most authentic version of myself possible. I am here to inhabit the deepest expression of love available to me in each moment and share that with others.

I plant seeds of self-worth, self-love, and acceptance and I see them bloom into flowers rooted from the foundation of my body at my feet and reaching their most open state in my throat chakra. I visualize these flowers when I speak. There is no room for fear with all this life and growth flowing through my essence.

 

 


Committing to love

cup-of-self-love-Stacey-Hoffer-Weckstein-e1441225228469

June for me is going to be a testament to love and a whirlwind romance I plan to have between myself and the universe. I plan to cultivate self-love in as many moments as I can and to in turn give that to as many people as I can that cross my path. That includes all of my loved ones in addition to harder people like the person who cuts me off in traffic or the people I harbor old wounds from. I plan to love and bless them all because I have tried everything else and forgiving and loving people and letting go of anger and resentment is the only thing that allows me to access contentment and joy in life.

Mantra-Promise-to-Fall-in-love

Join me if you dare in this lovefest. Lets love ourselves unconditionally regardless of what other people say about us or if we weren’t able to be perfect the day before. Lets love ourselves no matter what happens. Lets remind ourselves that no matter what we do or what we say, we are always doing the best that we can with the knowledge and resources that we have in each moment.

Repeat this mantra:

I am enough.

I have enough.

I do enough.

i am enough.png

If we can provide ourselves with the nourishment of self-love and worthiness, then that can completely shift the joy and peace we can access in life. We lack nothing in life if we can cultivate these feelings within ourselves. We have incredible power in this life too because anything we feel like we’re lacking like love, patience, compassion — if we give those things to ourselves, then we have it within us and we lack nothing.

So start with yourself and give yourself all that you feel like you are needing in life and see how far that takes you.

 


I am home (part two)

image

If my life was a book, I feel like this would be the time where the author would smile and take a deep breath, taking in all the words, thoughts, and experiences on the page, all the happiness and sorrow… And let it all out on an exhale and turn the page and write part two at the top of the page.

I have made it through what has felt like such a difficult, dark, low vibrational period full of fear, shame, and anger and now I feel like I am on the other side with a brand new job and loving new experiences awaiting me.

I feel like I have arrived. I am more at peace and alive than I have ever felt. I have survived the experiences that I was most afraid of. I called them into being with my constant worries and I faced them head on. I realized that when you overcome what you are most afraid of fear can no longer have as penetrating of a hold on you.

I have let go of so many demons, negative people, and toxic environments. They all stand behind me while I keep walking forward with all the tools I need to nourish myself with self-love and self-worth and manifest all that I want in life.


a happy goodbye

image

Photos courtesy of nayyirah waheed & @juliamact

Dear work.

You were the definition of a toxic job. I’ve been publicly reprimanded and shamed by you countless times. I’ve had so many moments of coming home and weeping from being in your presence. I didn’t have a voice or much self-worth to speak about when I started with you.

Initially, my sadness became anger and gave me a voice that I could use to defend myself against you but now I can speak freely without anger or resentment. I was able to learn so much from you, see the true nature of myself and others much more clearly, and work on myself and develop a self-compassion practice that has taken me into a completely different space in my life. Self compassion has been the antidote to shame for me.

I suppose I was meant to meet you to get to this point in life. I have learned all that I can from you and now it’s time for me to say goodbye. I walk away from you happily and am thankful for all the space leaving you has given me — the space for something else, for something else.

–lissa


Mind, Body, and Soul Nourishment

The garden is a refuge, a place of quiet contemplation, a source of nourishment for mind and body alike. — Dean Pailler

My garden is nature, books, love, laughter, fruits and vegetables, and coconut milk ice cream. It’s writing and yoga and the vibrant life intermixed with the sounds of vibrant silence. I nourish myself with these things daily.

photo by Konejita.

Do you feel nourished in your life, work, and love? Is nourishment something you seek on a daily basis? How do you nourish yourself? Nourishment to me, consists of incorporating elements of mindfulness, love, compassion, and peace throughout my day.

I have had a lot of moments of sadness in the past couple of weeks yet I have still been able to keep myself nourished. It’s a matter of practice. If we breathe deeply in yoga class and it becomes an integral part of our practice, then we can breathe deeply in moments of stress when in the past we would have been more likely to shut down or attack. If we nourish ourselves in the moments of joy, then we can do it in the moments of sadness.

There is always joy in every moment of sadness and the key is to find it. It’s embedded in acceptance, surrender, and love. When we accept our current situation, we can use it as a tool or anchor on our path rather than becoming a victim on our own path. We gain the control in our lives and manifest our dreams when we are the love and happiness we seek in life because we know that this hardship, this challenge will pass, but we have an unconditional faith and love in ourselves that is always present.

So even if you hate your job, you do not feed yourself that hate by focusing on that, you focus on all that you are grateful for that this job allows instead. You allow a path to be created each day through that gratitude that brings you closer to the career you are seeking. The same is true for people we find ourselves hating as well. Create boundaries, spend less time with the person, and have no expectations or attachments to a certain outcome where that person is concerned. We can let these situations limit us or we can let them teach us areas where we need to let go a little more and let more love into our lives. Love is the only thing that will lead us to more love in our lives.

Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

Create this love in your life. Feel this love for yourself and let it be unconditional regardless of your perception of yourself or of your life.  Let this love be a constant that inspires and nourishes you. Let it create a spirit of limitlessness in your life where your obstacles become your stepping stones and where your enemies become your teachers.

— lissa


happiness always


photo by Ben Heine.

My gratitude for life overwhelms me sometimes. I find myself crying tears of joy that this is my life now, that I am happy. I am happy. I felt so continuously bad about myself for so long that I really did not think happiness was possible for me. And now my happiness can stay present even in the darkness.

If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you… Happiness comes, not by helplessly wishing for it, but by dreaming, thinking, and living it in all circumstances. — Paramahansa Yogananda

The key to happiness is having it in all circumstances, when things are going your way and when you wish you could fast forward through a painful experience. Be happy for it all, the dark and the light for both make up our joy. They are all our teachers.

My happiness started small. For a long time, it only expanded the width of my yoga mat but over time it grew. I slowly began to recognize my worth and let go of the people who did not value me and did not treat me well. I spent a lot of evenings alone, reading and practicing yoga, getting to know and understand myself. I did not realize that this solitude gave me the tools I needed to go within and find the happiness that was inside me all along. It gave me the space to meet wonderfully kind and loving people once I fully understand how to be my own happiness.

I can never regret my years of unhappiness because it led me to some of the things that I love the most: my work in the mental health field, my yoga and meditation practice, and my writing. I will never know how my life would have been if I had heard good things about myself at an early age, if someone had believed in me and told me how capable and worthy I was. That was not my story or my journey; I had to find those things on my own. It brings me so much joy to be able to tell you those things. I want you to know how capable you are. I want you to know how lovable you are. I want you to know that you are enough.

The only person you ever need to be enough for is yourself. That’s actually the only person you can ever be enough for because that is something we are each responsible for in our lives. You don’t need to impress people. You don’t need to let what others think of you bring you down. You don’t need to live for others. You don’t need to worry about their expectations. Those are their expectations. Let them live their life. Just be yourself and do your best and at the end of each day let go and start again with that same intention.

–lissa


super star divine goddess teacher

This piece also appears on elephant journal. Happy dance. Check it out over there too :)
photo from bouddha.

You don’t need to be a super star divine goddess of perfection to teach yoga. You don’t need to be able to do handstand effortlessly in the middle of the room for five minutes before you feel like you can teach. You don’t need to have every single skill or experience on the advertisement for your dream job before you apply for it. You are always good enough in every moment to go after and get what you want so long as you believe in yourself and your ability. Know that.

Most of my upbringing emphasized the need to be so outwardly fantastic and to hide all my flaws that I never wanted to try at anything because perfection isn’t something I’ve had for even one day. I’m clumsy. I’m quiet. I’m tall, black, and nappy. I know these things are beautiful now but I certainly did not always know this.

Can you look at yourself differently? Can you see your weaknesses as strengths and teachers?

My clumsiness is a sign of my journey, never a sign of my lacking grace. It was only through the practice of yoga and bodywork that I realized that my balance issues had much to do with alignment issues deep in my muscle and faschia and the way I had stored energy and emotions in my body than anything to do with me. My quietness is a sign of my power; never a sign of my being less than. It has strengthened my ability to observe, my ability to listen to my intuition, and has given me such a better understanding of myself and others.  My ethnicity is a sign of my uniqueness; never a sign of my not fitting in or not being welcome. It was only after going to countless non-diverse yoga classes that I realized that my ethnic differences from most of the students was not a hindrance but a gift. I could bring something new to my classes. I could reach out to a demographic that for so many reasons has not fully embraced yoga yet.

Never listen to outside sources who tell you that you are ready or not ready. Always look within and listen to yourself. Only you know when the time is right.

A year and a half ago when I was in my kundalini teacher training, I had a guest teacher who I had a private healing session with who told me that I was not ready to teach. He did not know me. He had not seen me teach. He had not seen me in my practice. He was seeing me during a bad break up and a bad financial and professional point in my life, and he was judging me and limiting me and I let him. He told me what I had been telling myself all along: I was too quiet and not good enough to teach. He told me the immense work I would need to do to become good enough as a person and a teacher instead of just telling me to believe in myself. That really was all I was missing.

I did not need to become perfect to teach. People don’t relate to perfection. They relate to realness and humanness. They relate to your strengths and your weaknesses lesser strengths. Why call them weaknesses when they’re not weak? They’re areas that we need to look at differently and place more emphasis and energy on. It’s the effort of embracing our strengths and lesser strengths that allow us to become whole and shine. What isn’t beautiful about people who can embrace every aspect of themselves and make things that are not as strong seem just as beautiful and strong by the complete acceptance of who they are? That’s unconditional love. That’s absolute surrender.

If there’s something that you’ve been holding back from doing or trying, look within yourself and ask yourself: Am I truly not ready for this or am I holding myself back out of fear or shame? Sometimes, maybe we’re waiting for a supervisor or someone close to us to tell us we’re ready. We could be waiting for that validation forever. Have the courage to tell yourself what you need to hear. Believe in yourself and go after what you want right now. What’s the worst that can happen by you trying? Certainly, you’ll have a better outcome than when you don’t try at all.

Let the things you call weaknesses or mistakes be your teachers. Never let them hold you back. The only way to truly be a super star divine goddess teacher or person is to be yourself, to teach from your experiences and your voice, to stay in the present and never allow yourself to be limited by the past, and to keep removing the layers and obstacles keeping you from being yourself.

— lissa

What is YIOM?