It is very possible if you’ve ever spent much time with me that you have been indirectly influenced by these two wonderful people-
Billy and Ashley fall in the top ten most influential people in my life. In their own unique way, these two gave me the ability to get out of my mind and into my life! A huge blessing for this Type A, on steroids and adrenaline personality of mine!!
Billy began each yoga practice with the same question, “What brought you to your mat today?” And he encouraged his students to remain in resting posture until we had determined why were there- not in his class, not at the studio- but on our mats. After asking us to consider this question, he encouraged us to “set an intention” for our practice. Ashley, encouraged us to begin class with our eyes closed until we had “let go of everything but the current moment”. When we were ready, we opened our eyes- awake to the possibilities and wonders of leaving our cares and opinions behind.
It took me awhile to really understand what the two of them were getting to and how I was supposed to join them on this path of self-discovery. Truly, I kind of gave them credit for thinking on a higher plane than I ever possibly could. I was squeezing their classes in between kindergarten drop-off, grocery shopping, 2nd grade classroom volunteer time and exhaustion-
I’ve since learned to ask myself these questions AWAY from my mat! Sometimes the questions can be asked each morning or each week; sometimes I might ask these questions throughout the day or only once a month. And sometimes I might ask these questions as I run frantically from one place to another, yelling and screaming that (you fill in the blank)!
Why am I here? In this day? In this moment? In this exact place in time and space?
What are my priorities and what am I doing to honor these priorities? What is holding me back from fulfilling any tasks that are directly in line with what matters most to me?
What is on my agenda that does NOT align with my intention for my life, how did it get there, and how can it be set aside to make room for what matters most?
“Nobody can manage time, but you CAN manage those things that take up your time. Time is expensive; as a matter of fact, 80% of our time is spent on those things or those people that only bring us 2% of our results. Time is perishable; it cannot be saved for later use. Time is measurable; everybody has the same amount of time… be he pauper or king. Time is irreplaceable; we never make back time once it is gone. Time is a priority; you have enough for anything in the world so long as it ranks high enough among your priorities.”
Each morning (or week, or month- however you do your planning) as yourself, ‘why did I come to the mat of life today?’ Take it serious- “why are you here” and what is THE most important thing to you in this day, week, month, or moment?
Nigel Marsh has a quote that I absolutely love! Paraphrased, he states that if we are not intentional with what and how we spend our time, someone else will spend it for us and on things that matter to them and not us. If you’re interested, watch Nigel’s talk on Work-Life Balance here. Don’t let someone else plan YOUR purpose. If that is your habit, break it today! Just for today do one thing that you really WANT to do, and at the end of the day look around and do some damage assessment. Is anyone hurt, missing, sad, hungry, lonely, or devastated because you did something that mattered to YOU?
Because I believe that this is the HARDEST part of executing a yoga practice into a life practice, I’m going to share one more item of ‘evidence’ to build my case… Did you know that every minute you spend planning your day (setting an intention) saves as many as ten minutes in execution of that task? So 12 minutes of mindful planning can buy you almost two hours of joyful living! What would you do with 2 extra hours each day? Would you let yourself enjoy that time or would you fill it with more stuff?
So… there is a chance that you feel like you’ve tried this or it won’t work for you because there just isn’t enough time or you still have little kids or your blah, blah, blah…
I understand that once in awhile we get caught on the merry-go-round of life and it is hard and scary to jump off while it is still moving so fast…
… and this is where Ashley’s advice comes in. Just sit down, close your eyes and slow the world down for just a brief moment. Open your eyes only when you have found yourself ready and able to settle back and make a few changes to the momentum of the moment.
I wish I could say that I am a master of this skill, but alas, I am not. But I can share my most recent personal experience with this-
After enrolling in grad school, I quickly realized that I just did NOT love being back in school, especially not as much as I thought I would. So in a rush decision, I took some time away from school and signed up for yoga teacher training. BUT, I let guilt and trepidation and anxiety and fear and GUILT squeeze their sticky little fingers into my experience. LUCKILY, I knew how much I loved yoga and somehow I overcame all those emotions and finished my teacher training. Though I ended up going back to school, I now have these most amazing opportunities each week to share my love for yoga with others.
I recently had to reassess my own life-
Why am on my mat? What is my intention? Stepping out of the maze of chaos I had created and was driving through at hyper-speed, I closed my eyes and re-set my focus!
Here is what I decided (I share my list so you might feel confidence to create your own)
1) I have three things that are absolutely critical to my strength, health, and wellness: these are my personal study (scriptures), morning quiet meditation, and time at the gym. I am a better person if I ‘spend’ some of my time on these three things
2) My family is center to why I am here- this includes my children, hubby, and those people who have entered my life as family whether it is through blood or bonds.
3) I have a deep love for teaching and inspiring… whatever the venue or opportunity, I feel that I am living my purpose if I am helping someone else live theirs.
Though there are a ZILLION other things I COULD spend time on, if I haven’t hit on each of these in a day, than I have lost focus and it’s time to come ‘back to my mat’.
What brings you to your mat? Have you been on your mat recently? What do you need to do to get back to your mat? Set your intention, close your eyes and wait patiently until you’re ready to open up to a new view!
“Yoga is about breathing and moving and smiling n the inside; it’s about uncovering who you really are and why you’re really here”
Determine what your Top 5 priorities are in life. This list should be outside of the pressing tasks that might be raging at you right now- so balancing your checkbook or cleaning toilets is NOT one of these. This is more a ‘To Be’ list than a ‘To Do’ list.
Schedule these items into your day BEFORE anything else. When you do what matters most, the tedious tasks will take care of themselves.
- 1 cup smashed pumpkin
- 1/2 c. applesauce
- 1/2 cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt or kefir
- 3 egg whites
- 1 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup protein powder
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp crystallized ginger (optional)
- pecans, raisins, mini chocolate chips, coconut (if desired)
- In blender, mix all of the ingredients together. Blend until the oats are ground well and mixture is smooth. Divide the mixture into muffin tins, and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until tops are lightly golden.
- Cool & Enjoy
- These muffins are really moist so a toothpick test may not work on these!
- I like to bake these in mini muffin tins and take 3-4 of them as a workout recovery snack if I won't have time to eat before it is too late :)