This feels appropriate as I’m finishing preparations for our Rocky Mountain Yoga Retreat this weekend. Remember we always have a choice to focus on darkness or light. And whether it’s intentional or not, we spread whatever it is we’re focusing on. First we need to see the light, then we can be the light. Happy travels!
Our lives are filled with distractions. We’re constantly multitasking. Giving our attention away to other people and screens. We worry about what’s already happened, what we think is going to happen next.
We spend a majority of our time focusing on our external world. And so little time focusing on our internal existence – who we really are. Not who we are when we’re comparing ourselves to others. But who we are when we make the time and effort to let go of doubt and judgement and embrace possibility.
There’s so much more to yoga than headstands and cute leggings. Practicing yoga is about cultivating a relationship with our true Self. it’s about shedding the external expectations placed on us and allowing ourselves to just be. Even if it’s only for a few moments at a time.
In honor of National Yoga Month all of September we’ll explore what it really means to practice yoga. Check back throughout this week for tips on practicing yoga in the morning, how to work mindfulness into your day, a quick yoga philosophy lesson and more!
When we focus on abundance we remind ourselves that there’s no need for competition, because there’s more than enough to go around. When we focus on competing with others we get caught up in a cycle of fear and scarcity. We convince ourselves that resources are limited. We’re less likely to lend a helping hand or have compassion for others. We feel tense, worried that someone is going to take what’s “ours”.
Our ego takes over and we become self-centered. We develop a sense of entitlement. When we’re in a perpetual state of competition we start to think of ourselves as better than others. Or maybe depending on the circumstance, we start to think of ourselves as less than others.
Competition makes us forget that in fact, we’re all in this together. Trying the best that we can. We all deserve good things. And there are enough good things to go around. We all go farther when we lift each other up, instead of trying to tear each other down. Whether it’s in yoga class, at work or with your friends, competition tears us apart, instead of bringing us together.
The next time you find yourself in that competitive mindset, remember: You have enough. You are enough. There is enough. For you and everyone else. It’s not a competition.
It’s possible to live richly without having much money. It’s also possible to live poorly when you have lots of money and possessions. It’s not how much we have that makes us happy or unhappy. It’s how we think about what we have that creates a fulfilling life.
When we focus on appreciating the things and people that surround us we instantly feel happier and more fulfilled. To the contrary, if we only focus on what we feel is lacking in our lives of course we’re going to be miserable. Concentrating on the good will attract more good into our lives. Just like concentrating on the bad will attract more misery into our lives.
Make it a habit to start practicing gratitude and you’ll move from Have to Have Not without having to change or acquire anything else in your life. Remember, it’s all in your head.
A grateful heart is a happy one. Every day we make choices about how we focus our time and attention. When we make a conscious choice to appreciate everything in our lives – the good and the bad – we empower ourselves to live a more fulfilled, happier life.
When things don’t go our way, there’s still an opportunity to learn from the situation. Even if it’s just learning about resilience and how to manage disappointment. The more we focus on gratitude, the more we can shift our negative feelings about what’s happening around us. And the more we’re able to recognize the good.
Gratitude is the name of the game on http://www.youryoga.tips in July. Join us in 21 Days of Gratitude now through the end of the month. We’re devoting 10 minutes each day to simple practices that help us to appreciate all of the good things we have right here and now. Practicing gratitude helps us shift our focus away from comparison and competition to help us live happier, more fulfilled lives.
Join me in unlocking the power of gratitude all month long.
Practicing mindfulness is as simple as just paying attention. Anytime you bring your full attention to whatever it is you’re doing, you’re meditating. We all probably understand the concept. But in practice it can be a little bit trickier. Especially when we use smartphones and social media to distract our every waking moment.
So instead of turning to your phone or the internet to pass the time, try observing your surroundings. Pay attention when people are talking to you. Try everyday to notice something about your surroundings that you’ve never noticed before. Set time aside to put your devices down. Better yet, spend a few minutes quietly observing your breath with eyes closed.
Make the choice to pay attention and be fully present in your life and you’ll be amazed by what you find.
Stop worrying about what you think other people think about you. First of all, you’re just speculating. Second of all, it’s a total waste of time and energy. Other people’s opinion of you in no way determines your innate value as a human being. Your opinion is ultimately the most important and the only one that matters.
You’ll never be happy trying to please everyone. So just focus on pleasing yourself. And forget about what other people think.
This week’s mindfulness goal: Spend at least 20 minutes each day in seated meditation. Feel free to break it into 2 x 10-minute mediations – maybe once in the morning and again in the evening.
I bet you’ve heard the reference to something weighing heavy on the mind. We can probably all relate to that feeling of worrying or getting upset over the same thing over and over again. Sometimes we just get into a rut or unproductive pattern of thinking where we hold on to things that no longer serve us.
Tuesday’s new moon (and all new moons) symbolize a new beginning. It’s a good time to think about what you might be better off without going forward. In the next few days spend some time reflecting on what you need – and don’t need – for a fresh start.
This week’s mindfulness goal: Spend at least 15 minutes each day in seated meditation. Optional: You could meditate on the mantra “I let go and feel the weight lifted.”
Someone once asked me what I thought made me worthy as a human being. I listed things like being smart and compassionate. She replied that actually the mere fact that I existed made me worthy. Worthy of love, respect, acknowledgement… The things we all seek and deserve.
But here’s the deal. If we rely on something external to bring that worth into our lives, we’re always at risk of losing it. The only way to truly validate our self worth is to cultivate it from within. And the more we respect ourselves, the more others respect us, too.
This week’s mindfulness goal: Spend at least 10 minutes each day in seated meditation. You could choose to meditate on the mantra “I am worthy.“