Today is an extension of yesterday’s practice of stacked shoulders and an open heart <3

I had a perfect example of WHY this is so important to me as I awoke this morning to DAY 2 of a pretty intense headache that was really starting to upset me. I woke at my usual time (which is admittedly pretty early), but quickly decided to get back in bed in an attempt to see if a bit more rest would help. My hubby had plans to leave the house early and get on top of his long day at work. Getting BACK in bed has never been my strength and rarely does it do what I hope it will do, so I laid there tossing and debating whether or not to get up and get my day started. As much as he was trying, my hubby was simply making more noise than would allow me to truly rest, so I sat up…

For the slightest of moments, almost imperceptible really, I realized I had a CHOICE to make! Was I irritated or was I grateful? I almost heard the question being asked and without a moment’s hesitation, I smiled and said out loud, “I am grateful to be so blessed” I looked around the room and noticed a few things that verified that I truly DID have a CHOICE:

                          I could Focus on this:                          or                          I could Focus on this:
My hubby closed the bathroom door The loud slamming of cupboard doors
That my hubby had woken my kids up for school His loud footsteps in and out of the room
He had prepared the kids’ lunches & snacks The bottle he dropped on the floor
He had brought me a glass of water and a pain pill The blending of his morning shake (and the one he made for me)
It was an overcast day, so I had not REALLY missed the sunrise (this is my #1 reason for keeping an early wake time) I had slept in and wasted my favorite part of the day

       Steven Covey teaches that there is a space between stimulus and response, and it is within this space that we have the freedom to CHOOSE the outcome of any situation that we might find ourselves in. In addition, he states that humans have FOUR fundamentally basic privileges that determine how we might exercise this CHOICE:

  • Self-Awareness: the ability to find a sense of self independent of current circumstance
  • Imagination: the ability to create in our minds something different than we can see with our eyes
  • Conscience: an innate awareness of right and wrong
  • Independent Will: the ability to act based on the other three, free of outside influences

All of this leads to today’s journey; the WHOLE reason I focus so much on stacking the shoulders, opening the chest, lifting the gaze, and engaging fully through the core…

I believe that in a yoga practice, and in life, we must ALWAYS LEAD WITH OUR HEARTS!

I truly believe we are more beautiful physically and spiritually when we lead with our hearts-

 There is such a wide range of experience and fitness levels in most of the yoga classes I teach- from the first time husband who is only there because his companion has gently coerced his attendance to the seasoned (and very flexible) aficionado! It is so easy for the less flexible or the beginner to look around and see hands that touch the floor, or noses that touch the knees, or legs twisted up and around in a wide variety of pretzel looking shapes- and think that THAT is what the posture is “supposed” to look like.

I am quick to point out that whether the posture looks like this…

mom yoga 009
Hand resting on calf, knee slightly bent

 Or looks like this…

 

Legs further apart, knee extended, fingers to the mat
Legs further apart, knee extended, fingers to the mat

It is still Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

The hand can rest wherever it needs to- but the strength of the pose lies in the open heart. And the key to an open heart is in the integrity of a strong core, stacked and strong shoulders, square hips, and neutral spine!

 It is when we are faced with these brief moments, these almost imperceptible moments between stimulus and response that we decide if we will lead with our HEARTS or lead with our MINDS?! 

 When we start leading with our heads, we risk injury…

When we lead with our hearts, we face possibility. 

                                                 On the Mat                    Or                    Off the Mat

Leading with the Head can:

     – Compromise core strength

     – Risk injury to hips & knees, compromising future growth and practice

     – Increase stress to neck and shoulders

     – Risk comparison to the person on the next mat, thereby discounting our own strength and progress

     – Decrease the innate beauty of asana

Leading with the Head can:

     – Compromise confidence

     – Risk errors in judgment that compromise future opportunities

     – Increase stress

     – Risk comparing our failures to another’s successes, thereby discounting our own strengths

     – Increase feelings of doubt, fear, regret, anxiety

Leading with the Heart can:

     – Increase core strength

     – Allow us to tap into the stillness of our breath

     – Find that place of conscious awareness of what our bodies and our minds can do together

     – Teach us to breathe space into the stresses so our responses can be peaceful and steady!

     – Allows us Joy in the Journey of our practice

Leading with the Heart can:

     – Tap into our core values, strength and possibilities

     – Allow us to tap into the stillness of our breath

     – Find that place of conscious awareness of what our bodies and our minds can do together

     – Let us use that space to make an honorable response to the stimuli we face

     – Allows us Joy in the Journey of our lives

 I can’t think of a better way to end my thoughts and feelings on the importance of leading the journeys of this life with an open heart than quoting the words of Melody Beattie:

“Our best work, our finest moments, our joy happen when we’re centered, listening to and trusting ourselves, allowing our hearts and souls to guide us. They happen when we allow ourselves to fully, completely, and in love, be who we are.” 

 

Daily Mantra:

 “Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. And response is something we choose”

                                                                                                                                Unitarian minister Maureen Killoran

 Journal Challenge:

 Pay attention to the stimulus and responses of your day. Record how you use that SPACE and WITHOUT JUDGEMENT   identify any room for improvement- it might be as simple as letting your arm rest on your thigh rather than forcing it to the floor! 

 

Honey Wheat Berry Pancakes
These pancakes have so much flavor that there is no need for additional syrups or sugary toppings.
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 c. rice (or other) flour
  2. 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  3. 3 T. sugar
  4. ¼ t. salt
  5. 2 ½ t. baking powder
  6. 1 tsp. baking soda
  7. 1 TBSP maple syrup
  8. 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  9. 1 cup buttermilk
  10. 1 egg
  11. 1 cup berries
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for berries; Mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry & mix until smooth.
  2. Lightly coat griddle with oil of your choice, I use grapeseed oil (don’t skip this & don’t use spray)
  3. Ladle approximately 3 T. Batter on griddle & sprinkle with 1 T. Berries. Cover berries with additional 1 T. Batter and cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook until other side is golden brown.
Notes
  1. You can make this totally gluten free by using a gluten free flour mix of your choice. If I grind my own wheat I avoid allergic reactions, but this is not true of everyone.
treisha peterson http://www.treishapeterson.com/

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