“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!

As a reminder, in response to my reader’s feedback, as well as my own “2012 Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I have shortened the newsletter format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month.

I continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page: https://betterdayyoga.com/products!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.

Namasté,

Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“Greatness isn’t something you should always be chasing. There’s greatness within all of us, and I think that’s what we forget,” ~ Brad Meltzer

My last newsletter focused on magic and suggested remembering a magical character you loved as a child. It’s ingrained in our society at a very young age to look up to a hero/heroin in our life. I’ve dwelled on the concept of heroes before. I even gave a speech once in college on the importance of heroes. The lessons brought to us through our heroes are lessons we need to learn, and what better way than via someone we hold in high esteem?

Who do you hold in high esteem? How about yourself?

“Self-esteem is the immune system of the mind and of the spirit.” ~ Lee Pulos, psychologist, entrepreneur and author

As important as the lessons you learn from the heroes in your life, it’s even more important to realize that the real hero in your life is YOU. The longest relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself. Do you look up to yourself? Do you place value in your own advice—better known as your intuition, your gut, or your instincts? How well do you know yourself? Discover your own truth. Discover the hero that resides within.

We often forget that the heroes we look up to are just as real as we are—ordinary people who rose to the occasion. They’re not all comic strip characters, are they?  If they are, well that’s another story! Hopefully, deep down you realize you look up to the characteristics of their moral code.

When cuing Virabhadrasana (Warrior) poses, in particular Warrior II, I often remind my students that Virabhadrasana loosely translates to mean hero. I use the gazing point / drishti for the pose as a focal point to focus on an important goal or intention and suggest that each student “be their own hero” and make their intentions and dreams come true by single-mindedly focusing upon it. Sometimes I include a pulse up and down with the front leg straight and then bent again as you simultaneously raise the arms overhead and then drop them down again—all the while holding your gaze in the same spot over where the front hand’s fingers are pointing toward.  It’s a sort of “calling out” your goals and intentions reminding them you have them in your sites and nothing is going to stop you from attaining them. What you focus on expands, and if done during your meditative, relaxing yoga practice, studies show that you are more receptive to affirmations and intentions. (http://ezinearticles.com/?Practicing-Meditation-and-Affirmations&id=6446268 )

I like to make my cues self-empowering, fostering a belief in oneself. With this in mind, it’s no wonder I was attracted to a compelling article in USA Today by Brian Truitt that re-ignited my curiosity in the subject of heroes once more.

The article was about Brad Meltzer’s website and the t-shirts Brad designed to celebrate six icons. The name of the website hints at the powerful message—ordinary people change the world!

There’s Muhammad Ali’s t-shirt with the phrase “I will never apologize for who I am.” There’s Amelia Earhart with the quote “I know no bounds.” Eleanor Roosevelt’s t-shirt says “I know that an open hand is more powerful than a closed fist.” George Washington’s shirt says “My faith is not just in my country—it’s in us.”

He had me at Lucille Ball. Everyone loves Lucy, don’t they? The front of Lucille Ball’s T-shirt is a cartoon character of Lucille Ball (Brad Meltzer is, among other things, a comic-book writer), and the back is the quote“I know humor can take on anything.”

I’ve read that she found escape from a troubled childhood by entertaining people after she lost her father at the age of three. Troubled childhood? Who knew?  I didn’t know her mother had remarried to a man not fond of children and had Lucy sent to his parents to live while her younger brother was sent to her mom’s parents.  (For the full bio, please see http://www.biography.com/people/lucille-ball-9196958.) She also lived with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis from the time she was diagnosed at 17.

We rarely hear about her rough start in life. She didn’t let it bring her down. Her shows are still watched by millions of viewers yet today, and “her ground-breaking work in the area of comedy paved the way for future stars such as Mary Tyler Moore, Penny Marshall, Cybill Shepard, even Robin Williams.

Her genius did not go unrecognized. During its six-year run, I Love Lucy‘s success was unmatched. For four of its seasons, the sitcom was the number one show in the country. In 1953 the programmed captured an unheard of 67.3 audience share, which included a 71.1 rating for the episode that featured Little Ricky’s birth, a turnout that surpassed the television viewing for President Eisenhower’s inauguration ceremonies.” http://www.biography.com/people/lucille-ball-9196958.

You say you’re a fan of Star Trek and Mission Impossible? Her production company, DesiLu produced the original series. I could go on, but the point is this—she was her own hero. Rest assured, you can do that too! Don’t believe me? I understand that can be a tall order if you haven’t worked up to it. So work up to it!

I’m reading an excellent book right now by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer called Wishes Fulfilled. He uses the quote by Henry David Thoreau—“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” He dwells on the use of the word “imagined” and suggests that this is your sacred, creative space. Never place anything in your imagination that you don’t want to materialize. If you start to notice yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, he suggests you put up a “do not disturb” sign and keep those thoughts out. He reminds you that your imagination is yours and yours alone.

I’ve often quoted Albert Einstein. He is known for the saying “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Dr. Dyer uses another one that’s appropriate: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Envision your everywhere. What does your “everywhere” mean to you?

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne introduced me to the fact that the words “I am” are the two most powerful words in the Universe because whatever you place after those words dictates who you believe you are and who you in fact become. Wayne Dyer uses the “I am” teachings heavily in this book reminding us that in the bible, God tells us his name is “I am that I am.” He so eloquently points out that “Every time you put a non-God descriptor after I am, you negate your Divine nature. The words I am are your sacred identification as God—your highest self.”  Check out your inner voice. What kind of descriptors do you put after the words “I am”? Remember you can “work up to it”. None of us are perfect! Take the opportunity to laugh at yourself from time to time as you continue to do the “work”. Soon you’ll be to the point where you won’t doubt your inner greatness and all of your “I am” messages will be just what you mean them to be.

So embody Lucille Ball’s mantra for life and know that humor can take on anything. Perhaps it’s when you are least inclined to laugh that you need to the most. I like the quote: “The inside you needs the outside you to take care of you.” I’ve used it often in my classes, but am not taking credit for the quote. Some wonderful soul gave it to me. I just can’t locate the source.

Not only is it healthy to learn to laugh at yourself, it’s very healthy to learn to laugh whenever you can; and if you can’t, fake it. There’s healing in laughter. “…laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.” http://www.holisticonline.com/Humor_Therapy/humor_therapy_benefits.htm

Have you tried a laughter yoga class before? “I went to a seminar on laughter yoga, and I felt elated for hours later. I didn’t have any pain,” When you combine laughter and breathing, there’s healing there. ~ Jody Ross, certified yoga laughter leader. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/06/laughter-yoga-benefits_n_1478960.html?ref=healthy-living

Looking back on your life, what was something that came to you as a negative, but helped you develop one of your best skills?

Did the back injury bring you to a career in healing that makes you happier than you’ve ever been? Did the failed business bring you to a crossroads that changed your direction into a better opportunity? Did losing your job open up an opportunity to go back to school for what you really want to do? Did the love of your life leaving you make you realize loving yourself can carry you through?

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison.

Just as the oyster polishes the grain of sand into a pearl and the piece of polished coal becomes a diamond, your life lessons can be used to catapult you into finding something greater, or they can beat you down—only you decide—no one else. Be your own hero! Live your life and overcome any trials, discomfort or pain!

When you are focused on what’s inside of you, your core, you gather your inner reserve and can accomplish whatever you set your mind on. You can achieve balance, in physical yoga postures as in life, by one-pointed focus on your core power. If you’ve had a stressful day (week, month, year), balance will be illusive—both physically and mentally.

Single-minded focus on a spot (goal/intention) that doesn’t move (drishti), and adding extra root lift/lock (mula bhanda) and belly lock (uddiyana bhanda) adds more groundedness.

Translation?

Single-minded focus on your goal or intention with extra emphasis on connecting to your inner guidance and your special talents will keep you grounded. Finding out what your special talents are is your personal mission. Getting to know yourself and setting meaningful personal goals and intentions is a continual life-time process. That’s a yoga lesson from the mat.

It is through your own “hero’s journey” that you become your own hero. “According to folklorists and other narrative scholars, the hero’s journey forms the basic template for all great stories. Described at length in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the hero’s journey serves as the tale every culture tells. The journey’s path is described variously, but in general it includes the call to adventure, a supernatural aide or mentor, initiation by trials and adventures, victory, and return. Many fiction- and screen-writing courses focus on the hero’s journey, and its universality can easily be seen in fairy tales and other traditional tales (like Moses and the Prodigal son in the bible), as well as in such popular culture offerings as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and George Lucas’ Star Wars.” http://www.cramster.com/definitions/heros-journey/553.

What is your “call to adventure”? What has been your initiation by trial? Write your own great story. Find your own victory. Inspire yourself. Discover your own truth. Laugh when you want to cry, believe in your own power—the power of one:

“When you realize your own magnificence, you will attract magnificence into your life.” ~ Anita Moorjani
(From the book, Wishes Fulfilled. Mastering The Art of Manifesting. By Dr. Wayne Dyer.)