Category Archives: yoga

Manifest Your Life


I went to a Manifest Your Life yoga workshop in New York City with Jennifer Pastiloff, a phenomenal Los Angeles-based yoga teacher. I first discovered Jennifer after reading her moving article about fear in Elephant Journal.

I have had few yoga experiences that felt as complete as this workshop. It was the perfect blend of guidance and independence, meditation and asana, and humor and intensity. It’s rare that I find a class where we do pranayama exercises, inversions, meditation, arm balances, twists, back bends, and flow and truly go deep within ourselves. Jennifer created a class of love and safety where it was okay to fall and fly. She encouraged us not to take ourselves too seriously and said we had to laugh if we fell out of a pose. She helped us to align our body and our thoughts.

What do you want to manifest in your life? JP asked. Get a piece of paper and write down one, ten, or twenty things you want to manifest. Be as specific as possible.

I wrote down seven words to describe what I want to manifest: whole, love, courage, acceptance, abundance, authenticity, and peace. I want to be a loving and open person no matter my circumstances; I feel like everything else will fall into place in my life if I have those two things.

Give voice to your dreams. Be in a feeling of that which you wish to receive. Thank the universe in advance for what you are manifesting. — JP

What do you think of when you think of faith? — JP

I feel faith:

when I am one with myself

when I fully embrace the present moment

when I stop judging and start feeling

when I let go of my fears and worries and believe in life; believe that my life will unravel just as it should without my controls or worries

when I embrace my love for me,

when I feel how connected we all are,

when I love, when I hurt, when I laugh, when I find the freedom in being.

What do you think of when you think of doubt? When you start thinking about doubt, what starts to show up in your thoughts and your life?– JP

I think of the fearful, guarded person I used to be. I worry can I ever be fully free of that person? I think of the chronically depressed, negative person I used to be. I worry do I really deserve to feel this happy?

I need to claim my power and let go of the past and fully embrace myself and my life. I am not my past. I am not my future. I am this present moment, this present breath, and I am capable of anything in this present space.

I want to live to my fullest, love to my deepest, and breathe to my freest.

When you ask yourself what you want to manifest, ask yourself does it feel natural?– JP If you’re dreaming of being a professional football player, do you actually have the age, anatomy, and determination needed to make this happen? Be realistic but don’t let your self-doubts keep you from going after your dreams.

When we were in savasana, Jennifer read Marianne Williamson’s gorgeous text about self-actualization.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

I felt tears come to my eyes as I felt fully embraced by my worth, my light, my love, my talent. The words Who are you not to be? kept ringing in my head. I’m tired of playing small. I’m tired of hiding myself to make others comfortable. I’m tired of holding on to the person I used to be. I want to live. I want to love. I want to be.

–lissa

top photo by ojaipatrick.

bottom photo by monbikke.

What is YIOM?

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the yoga off the mat

Today marks the start of YIOM or Yogis Inspiring Oneness Month, a month-long celebration of yoga for the month of April. The concept was created by Lorin from The Vegan Asana and over twenty yogis and bloggers have signed up to write about an aspect of yoga three to seven days per week for the month.

I try to live my yoga throughout the day — finding compassion in the stranger insulting me, breathing through my sadness rather than stuffing and hiding it in my body, and softening and opening in the face of fear since that is at the heart of love. I want to share those things with you. I want to focus on the yoga that starts when we roll up our mat and walk out of the studio. What happens when we enter our lives and leave the dream-like state yoga on the mat can often take us to? Do we continue to face ourselves throughout the day? Do we see ourselves in the people that we like as well as dislike? Do we maintain openness no matter what circumstances we face in our day?

I have never found a harder yet more rewarding task than finding yoga in as many situations as I can throughout the day.

–lissa


majestic velvet expansions

photo uploaded by Nika Fadul.

i want a poem to exist within the spaces between my heart beat. i want the inches of longing and hollowness within me to merge into a living breathing artform and my insides to vibrate sonnet-like love. i want to move my soul so deeply that it becomes a soaring hot pink balloon that i could tie around my waist and fly away towards heaven. i want to tag the moon and have it play chase with me all night. imagine what the moon must feel like: majestic velvet expansiveness. maybe i could bring back to life that deep belly laugh that went extinct when i realized the word no is the most misunderstood word in the entire book of languages. i wish that i could take a pair of scissors and cut through the vivid horror tales that replay on and on in my head. if i could have stillness, more than anything, i would want it to be autumn and to sit on a freshly washed sheet and stare up at the rainbow of leaves and watch the tree branches dance with the wind. have you ever noticed the way autumn sounds so alive?

there’s a point when you lose too much and fate becomes a dark looming thing that drags you along on a leash and kicks you in the bottom if you ask to just rest and sit for a few more moments. i want to be majestic velvet expansiveness. i wish i could lean into the moon, the leaves, the beauty surrounding me and find out their secret. how are you happy? why are you glowing when there is so much loss all around you and embedding you? maybe they would whisper back, it’s simple, my lovely. let go and love.

–lissa


watering my positivity seed

“Spirituality is facing yourself with a smile when life confronts you.” – Yogi Bhajan

i feel safe. i never thought i would say that, but it permeates every part of my being when i am on my yoga mat. it is my space of nonjudgment. my place where i can simply be and breathe. i don’t have to deal with my boyfriend’s “hates me, loves me, ignores me, wants to marry me” mood swings or for that matter my wallet’s hates me, loves me swings. my insecurities don’t even exist because it is a space of love and ahimsa (nonharming). why would i have anything to feel insecure about if no one including myself is going to judge me?

i love yoga — not just the postures but the meditation, the focus on breath, loving kindness, and intention. it takes me completely within myself and allows me to finally open my eyes to just how beautiful the real me is. why have i spent so much of my life being guarded and hiding so much of myself from others? i can see now that only i have the power to reject myself.

i don’t want to view the troubles in my life as troubles but more so stepping stones to get to a higher form of me. i feel happy more moments than not. i feel like surrendering into the experiences in my life can be the hardest thing to do but without a doubt the way i am able to enjoy life the most. sure, sadness and anxiety are never too far away, but it’s different. they’re not surrounding me. they’re not scuffling around making my chest so tight that only teeny pathetic whimpers of breath can get out. they’re not nagging me with their singsongs of my downfalls so loudly that i get my usual four pm headache. they respect me. or maybe i’m giving them too much credit. they’re giving me space because i have created that space. i have found that point of stillness inside of myself, where i am as kind and forgiving of myself as i am to others. this shift in putting myself first has actually allowed for me to care about others more deeply from a genuine place as opposed to my previous please love me space.

yoga taught me how to create that space. after two years of a solid yoga practice where i had this deep sense of loving kindness in class, i decided that i needed to be this way to myself throughout the day on and off the yoga mat. it’s a growing and budding space inside myself that understands that loving my fears, loving my imperfections, takes all their power away. i’m content with myself and with my life right now. that’s my goal for each moment. it takes so much stress off of me living that way.

–lissa