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“To be true, I must fully accept that at this moment, I can only be what I am . . . no more, no less; however, with the inevitable passing of each moment of time, I will gradually, but surely change . . . to become more or less, better or worse, stronger or weaker. My choice is the direction of change: it is mine alone. The only true competition is this rivalry with my changing self. It is the very basis of the grand eternal plan.” ~~ C. Smith Sumner

How many of you out there in blog land have heard of yoga competitions? They are now being held all over the world, and they’ve been going on in India for hundreds of years. I am probably going to make a few enemies with this post, but I can’t be silent any longer. I think these competitions go against everything yoga is supposed to be about.

Every teacher I’ve ever had has impressed upon me that yoga is not a competition, that I should not worry about what others are doing on their mats, and that as long as I am feeling what I am supposed to be feeling, then I am in the perfect place. I tell my students these very same things in each and every class. So if this is true, then where did these competitions come from, for crying out loud?

If you look at some of these sites that advertise the competitions (i.e., http://www.usayoga.org/, http://i.yogasportsfederation.org/), they say they are doing it to promote the practice of yoga, to get more people on the mat. I don’t know. Do you really think the average person who has never done yoga before would be comfortable getting on a mat if they are not a natural contortionist? I don’t think I would, and if I’d never been exposed to the teachings and all I saw was the people in these competitions, I would probably start looking elsewhere to get my Zen on.

So what is your take on these competitions? Do you think they are a good idea? If so, I would love to know your thoughts as to why…convince me that I am wrong in my stance. I’m open to admitting I am wrong, if someone can convince me how these competitions jive with everything I’ve ever learned from the yoga texts that have governed my practice all these years.

Namaste,

Melanie

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“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.” ― Mother Teresa

love-life-150x150
(Photo courtesy of http://thinkpositive30.com/blog/2011/10/11/love-life/)

You’ve probably heard it at least a time or two, that life is what you make of it, so better make it a good one. I know that personally, I’ve heard it hundreds of times, and I’m sure I’ve probably rolled my eyes some of the times that someone has tried to get through to me with those words.

But I’ll tell ya…it really is true. No, seriously…don’t roll your eyes as you read this! 🙂

Based on the goals I’ve set for myself for 2014, I’ve been working extra hard these past few weeks to do what I set out to do for this year in terms of my health and wellness. Meditating, finding creative ways to work through obstacles, letting go of fear and trusting that God’s got my back no matter what, practicing yoga more regularly, etc., etc.

It hasn’t necessarily been a walk in the park, as things are definitely busy for me and stressful…but I am doing what I need to do because it matters so much to me. I want to get back to the Melanie I know I am…the positive, “always seeing the positive side of things” woman I know I am meant to be.

Frankly, over the past couple of years, I feel like I’ve been wallowing in so much self pity due to my health issues. I am amazed that anyone has even wanted to be around me at all! Maybe I’m not coming across to others as “doom and gloom” as I think I am, but either way, it’s definitely how I’ve felt the majority of the time.

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but everything has been changing since I set my goals for 2014. I guess I finally am tired of feeling sorry for myself…and to be honest, I think feeling sorry for myself has only made things worse. So I have been working hard in my yoga, my meditation, the way I eat, the way I exercise…and it’s paying off. This past week, I really started noticing a difference. I feel more energetic, I feel happier and healthier. For the first time in MONTHS, I was able to do a 45-minute Vinyasa practice that was very challenging, and I didn’t have to take a break or really do any modifications…that’s a BIG DEAL for me!

Most of all, I’ve noticed that for the first time in a long time, I really feel like I love my life. I am so thankful for the support of my family, as they have had to deal with so much from me these past few years. I am also very thankful for the support of my friends and my students. Knowing that so many people are rooting for me gives me the strength to push through when I feel like giving up. My wonderful yoga teachers, whether they know it or not, give me that same strength, because they always remind me that as long as I am listening to my body, I am right where I need to be.

I love the quote above from Mother Teresa. It’s a great reminder that life is a mixture of good and bad, and it’s how we choose to deal with both that determines whether it’s a life lived well. I know where I stand…I choose to appreciate the good things and learn from the challenging things so that I can be the person God intended for me to be. What about you?

Namaste,

Melanie

“Allow for flexibility, in more than one sense of the word.” ~~ Baron Baptiste

A couple of posts ago, I talked about defining your goals as they relate to yoga, and gave some tips that may help in achieving those goals. As I mentioned in that post, one of the things I was going to do in order to help me achieve my yoga goals is to practice more at home, since it’s not always easy for me to make it to a live class. It hasn’t been easy, because with three dogs, two children and a husband, finding time and some quiet space where I can practice uninterrupted…well, let’s just say, it can be VERY frustrating!

However, though it has been challenging, I have been able to do a nice practice at home when I need to most of the time. Here are some things I’ve done to make it as peaceful and “yoga-like” as possible:

  1. Find a designated space. The only place I really have available where I’ve got a chance at getting my Zen on is my bedroom. It’s upstairs, away from most of the noise, and I can shut the door. And I definitely shut the door…I tried leaving it open, but then all my dogs decided to join me, and my kids felt like it was OK to come in and ask me questions whenever they wanted. So now, I shut the door…and LOCK IT. Problem solved.
  2. Announce your plans. If I don’t tell my entire family that I am about to do my yoga, it’s an open invitation to all of them to interrupt me and ask me to do this or that. So, now I always announce when I am about to go practice, and I make them repeat it back to me so I know they heard me. They are famous for looking right at me and not hearing anything I am saying…makes me feel like Charlie Brown’s teacher!
  3. Find a consistent time to practice. This one can be hard, but I definitely find it easier when I know that as much as possible, I am going to practice around the same time each day. For me, that happens to be in the evenings at the moment…it just seems to work better, since my practice right now is mostly Yin or restorative.

These are the things that have really helped me these past few weeks in being able to get my yoga in when I can’t make it to a live class. For those of you out there who also practice at home, what tips can you share?

Namaste,

Melanie

Now that I am not teaching a regular yoga class, I’m taking the time to immerse myself in being a student again. It’s amazing! I’ve been teaching for over 11 years now, and I am always learning something new, or taking what I already know and learning something completely new about it.

I know many of you out there have been practicing yoga for some time already, and some of you that have been reading my blogs are interested but may not have actually dipped your toes in the yoga waters yet. Whatever the case may be for you, I thought you might enjoy the following article that I came across. It gives 39 interesting facts you may not know about yoga, and I found it quite a nice read. Many of the facts in here are things I already knew, but some were new to me (like fact #37, which says that in 2008, a council of muftis in Malaysia banned yoga for Muslims. They believed that the Hindu elements of a standard 60-minute yoga class could “destroy the faith of Muslims.”)….and some even made me blush a little (see fact #7, which is about “Nude Yoga”…umm, all I can say is “Interesting…”).

Anyway, here’s the link if you’re interested.

http://facts.randomhistory.com/interesting-facts-about-yoga.html

Enjoy! Any interesting facts you care to share about yoga with me? Comment on this post and let us know!

Namaste,

Melanie

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