Each month, “My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more! It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!
In this issue: Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
The other day I had the unplanned pleasure of watching a favorite old movie, Apollo 13.
I love anything with Tom Hanks in it. I personally consider him to be a modern day Jimmy Stewart—another personal favorite of mine! For those of you who don’t know who Jimmy Stewart is, please give yourself a real treat and watch It’s a Wonderful Life.
I enjoyed every minute of Apollo 13 even though I’d watched the movie many times before. You have to burst with pride for the effort those men went through to have what they described as a “successful failure”. Tears rolled down my cheeks as the movie ended and suddenly a gift….the credits started rolling without any commercial interruption. (Can you tell I don’t make it to the theaters much?)
I was given the luxury of time to experience the full aftereffect of emotions from an absolutely compelling, real-life story while listening to the Oscar nominated music chosen to compliment the mood.
The main title is also excellent:
The end of anything excellent absolutely deserves the punctuation of time to take it all in, to honor it, to revel in it. I would even go so far as to say that if you aren’t taking the time in your life to breathe in between the moments you are missing out on the full experience—that includes all the moments, not just the ones you deem excellent.
I suspect our current mode is to negate the “unproductive” moments as being fluff and dispensable. You have to question the mentality that doesn’t allow for a pause.
Something as simple as allowing yourself the time to dwell on what just happened, or is happening, in your life, be it a movie you just experienced or a moment you want to remember—a spacer of sorts—will give you clarity. Once you start to make it a practice to take note of your moments, I promise you they’ll all start to have redeeming qualities. Bring attention to all the things you’ve taken for granted—the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, the hot water in your shower, the sunrise and sunset, the smell of fresh sheets on your bed. Now it’s your turn to add to the list.
Take the time to notice your breath throughout the day and it will bring you to the present…to “this very moment”—a mantra I suggest you use throughout the day to “call out” your moments compliments of A Year of Living Your Yoga, Daily Practices to shape your life, Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD., P.T.
Yes, “Life isn`t measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. ~ Hilary Cooper.” But in both instances, breath is required. We’re so used to having one more thing squeezed into every last second that we no longer take for granted that it’s not only okay to sit in repose, it’s downright healthy!
When was the last time you stepped off the fast track? We don’t take times like this like we used to. We rush off to the next thing on the agenda with people to see, places to go, things to do. Where’s the balance?
Every inhale needs an exhale. It doesn’t just ask for it. It must have it. Without the exhale, the inhale won’t happen and vice versa. All of your output requires time to regenerate, or you’ll break. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you will burn out if you don’t take the time to be still—to be in repose.
“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward” ~ Spanish proverb
Being in a hurry doesn’t get more done. On the contrary, it dims your awareness so that your life becomes a blur. Allow time to expand by taking a luxurious pace and see how being centered and focused within the moment not only stretches the time you have, but makes you more productive.
Research is documenting that taking time to be still, meditate, be mindful—whatever label you want to put on it, contributes to our well-being. When did contributing to our well being fall on to the back burner?
Ah, there’s that word “meditation”. The second you hear it I’ll bet you’re thinking “no way! I don’t have time for that!” I’m not suggesting you incorporate more time than you already have. Yes, that is a “trick” comment, because, of course, we all have the same 24 hours each day, don’t we? If calling it “meditation” stops you dead in your tracks, why not consider it “mindful moments”, or whatever makes you open to the idea that increasing reflective pauses in your life will make you not only healthier, but happier. Be unconcerned about any rules and regulations you attach to the concept of “meditation”. This will be your joy! I promise! Do you consider reflective moments daydreaming?
I love to legitimize what some consider “foo-foo fluff”. Do you consider Einstein “fluff”? I think not. I used his status to remind you that Einstein developed his theory of relativity through a dream when I introduced the concept of “dream messages” back in my March 2010 newsletter (http://betterdayyoga.com/how-better-day-yoga-got-its-name-from-the-march-2010-newsletter/1162). The documentary on Einstein’s theory of relativity on the History channel introduced me to another definition for “daydreaming”. He referred to them as “thought experiments” and this was how he developed his theory of relativity. What monumental, perhaps life changing idea are you squelching by not being open to reflective pauses?
Consider these benefits of a meditative practice taken from An Easy Guide to Meditation For Personal Benefits and Spiritual Growth, by Roy Eugene Davis:
• Mental transformations and thinking processes become more organized as the result of meditative calmness and the influence of refined states of consciousness.
• The body’s immune system is strengthened and physiological functions are encouraged to be more balanced and efficient.
• Biologic aging processes are slowed. Older, long-term meditators are mentally and physically younger than their calendar years might suggest.
• Stress symptoms are reduced. The nervous system is refreshed and enlivened, allowing awareness to be more easily processed through it.
• Regenerative energies are awakened. These, directed by innate intelligence, vitalize the body, empower the mind, and have restorative and healing influences.
• Intellectual skills are improved, causing delusions and illusions to be dispelled. Intuition awakens, allowing us to directly know whatever we desire to know and to experience a vivid sense of unerring inner guidance.
• Appreciation for living is enhanced.
• Creativity is stimulated.
• Innate spiritual qualities awaken, enabling us to be more insightful, and functionally skillful.
• Rapid, more satisfying, authentic spiritual growth is nurtured because body, mind, and awareness are beneficially influenced by refined superconscious states.”
Re-read the list above—intellectual skills are improved and your thinking processes become more organized. You’ll be more efficient so you’ll have more time to do whatever it is you want to do (and make up for the time you think right now that you’ll be wasting if you start a meditative practice)! Einstein was working six days a week as a patent clerk when he found the time to develop his first groundbreaking theories. Oh, and he also had a new wife and child. Ready to try some “daydreaming”?
Another treasure from the list above—Biologic aging processes are slowed. Older, long-term meditators are mentally and physically younger than their calendar years might suggest. Think you’d like to try the quick-fix methods out there for youth enhancement? Why not save your dollars and try a few minutes of quiet time?
And if you “only” notice that adding reflective moments into your life makes you appreciate your life more (another beauty on the list), then would you consider this an honorable goal? Are you “in”?!
Even a few minutes a day reaps benefit. Once you start to incorporate contemplative moments into your daily realm, you’ll notice that time expands. Trust that it will. My “Meditation on the Go” section has been giving you some ideas of how to take baby steps into the meditative world.
You don’t have to jump into more than a few minutes a day. As a matter of fact, it’s better to start small, see the benefits, and build from there. Try it on for size. Just like anything, the more you can ease into something, the less chance you’ll start off like gangbusters and then decide it’s just too much or too hard. Remember your New Year’s resolutions? I don’t have to remind you of the percentage of people who’ve forgotten them by week number two.
September is a great time to decide to incorporate resolutions. Please allow me the indulgence of repeating a section from my September 2010 newsletter:
The amazing Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, by Sara Ban Breathnach, has been a frequent companion of mine as I “come to the source” each morning to fill my cup for the day. The following is one of my absolute favorite readings since it heralds the beginning of September and speaks to the September doer in all of us. I’ve copied it for many friends since I find it so inspiring. It’s called “Turning over a new leaf”. Enjoy!
“Since ancient times, September has been viewed as the beginning of the new year, a time for reflection and resolution. Jews observe the High Holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of public and private atonement, a sacred withdrawal from the world for twenty-four hours in order to become right with God and others, so that real life might be renewed with passion and purpose.
Change in the natural world is subtle but relentless; seasons seem to give way gently to one another, even if the monthly motion is so swift we don’t realize we’re moving. But when the leaves start turning colors, it’s time for turning over a personal new leaf so that our lives might be restored. ‘What we need in autumn is an emotional or spiritual shot in the arm,’ Katharine Elizabeth Fite wrote in Good Housekeeping in 1949, urging the beginning of a new tradition for women: personal and positive resolutions in September. ‘Why do you suppose so many of us waste the autumn? Why don’t we make the effort that would provide something new in our lives?’ January’s negative resolutions ‘are made when we are worn out in spirit, body, and pocketbook, and have no real urge to do anything but rest.’
It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants. What do you want more or less of in your life, so that you can love the life you’re leading? It could be as simple as seeing friends more often, setting aside time to have adventures with your children while they still want your companionship, rekindling romance in your daily round, calling a solitary hour a day your own (perhaps to add a meditative practice?), or just taking more walks in the dazzling sunshine.
The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re making them. Autumnal resolutions don’t require horns, confetti, and champagne. September resolutions ask only that we be open to positive change. I can try that. So can you.”
Remember change is meant to be different by its very definition. It’s meant to transform you in some way. You have to acknowledge that something in your life is going to change to introduce meditation/mindfulness into your life. If you’ve been stressed lately, you may intuitively know that you need “something” in your life to introduce calm—that’s a start. The power of your transformation is formed by your initial intention. So set that intention now. Commit to doing “something” for 28 days—the time it takes to create a habit. Commit to bring something new, something healing into your life.
You have the power within you to create the energy you need for anything you set your mind to. I can say that with utmost belief—the power is within you—within your breath. Let’s start with a simple breath exercise—
“Breathe courage and confidence into your aura from within. Practice this all day long. You’ll soon feel the difference and love it. Repeat.” (Unknown author)
Yes, it can be that simple. The next time you find yourself worrying or over thinking, simply make an effort to breathe courage and confidence in. You may not know “how” to breathe into your “aura”. No matter. Trust the feeling that you generate when you breathe in what you believe to be courage and confidence. Who said someone else had to be the expert on how you breathe in? Enjoy!
“Assume that you are the expert on your own experience, and that you have information which other people need to hear.” ~ Ricky Sherover-Marcuse