Tag Archives: 30daysyoga

Kathryn Budig: Forget Envy + Remember Who You Are

The yoga practice is a glorious dance of the physical possibilities in the human body. An advanced practice can take your breath away as easily as it can expand your ujjayi. It can twist and turn in directions that make an artist quiver with creative jealousy and inspire even the heaviest of sloths to entertain a change of mind.

That being said — it can also be intimidating as hell.

I learned, trained, teach and practice in Santa Monica, California. It is the mecca of yoga these days and the cream of the crop when it comes to beautiful practices. It’s hard to find a level 2-3 class that doesn’t have at least one yogi soaring through the air in-between asanas or adding what appears to be a level-X variation to every pose. It can often be inspiring and mind-blowing but it can also be, in a word, daunting.

I’ve been blessed with a body and sensibility that gives me the tools to explore the “fancier” side of the yoga practice. I can invert with the best of them, hip open to a level that looks uncomfortable, and let’s not forget — face plant like a champ. The earlier days of my practice revolved more around the latter; fall after fall, disappointment, frustration and occasionally even tears.

I wanted yoga so bad.

I craved a fluid practice, hoping to float someday like the advanced yogis that surrounded me practicing 3rd- and 4th-series Ashtanga. Often I would look at them with awe and appreciation and other days with resentment because it seemed so physically unattainable. How is one supposed to make the impossible possible? My head would spin with so many questions that I’d have no choice but to stand on it to empty out my thoughts.

My worst experience occurred during my earlier years when I unrolled my mat next to a girl who was new to our studio. She was tall, blonde and statuesque. You could immediately tell by her body language that she had danced at some point in her life and had vertebrae that moved in ways that mine could only dream of. I was already having a particularly emotional day when the teacher brought us to the handstand section of class. I was still a fledgling in the handstand department — dutifully trying to kick up in the middle of the room but feeling more like a baby donkey than the Cirque performer next to me.

Every time I failed to kick up, or rather flop over onto my feet, the girl next to me seemed to float even more effortlessly. Every resounding thud of my body falling over made my ego shrink to the size of a peanut. The Amazonian next to me had won. I was so flustered after a few minutes that I crumpled into Child’s Pose on the verge of angry tears. If this girl could do it why couldn’t I? I left the studio disappointed in myself on so many levels — for being unable to perform the handstand, for being unable to do the pose as well as the girl next to me, and for letting it affect me so deeply.

Then I realized all of my thoughts were negative and focusing on what I lacked. I could only see what I “couldn’t” do instead of the plethora of abilities I’d been graced with. I started to see how foolish it was to be jealous. What a waste of energy to compare myself to someone else when I have so much to offer. I often revisit that day in my mind and murmur a quiet “thank you” to the memory so as to prevent myself from falling off track. It’s a shining reminder of who I am and that no one can take that away from me or shake my foundation. Especially in a handstand.

Jealousy makes us forget our gifts and our amazing abilities. All we can see is what someone else has that we think we lack. Once we can accept, as farfetched as it seems, that we lack nothing and are exactly where we should be — face plant or floating high in a handstand — the need to compare ceases. Never focus on what you can’t do — only imagine everything you could.

When you find yourself looking longingly towards another’s practice, take a moment to realize you don’t know their story. You have no idea what they were born like, what physical blessings they have or ailments they’ve overcome. You don’t know if they are happy or sad, content or confused, or if they spend every waking moment working on that pose that you so long for. For all you know, their practice may be amazing but their social life totally shot!

Also, remember that every time you look at someone with wonder and envy, someone is looking back at you exactly the same way. It may not be for the same reason or yoga pose, but there is something in you so amazing that you’ve forgotten exists because you live with it every day. Our talents don’t seem as special as others’ because we can already achieve them — no big deal, right? The same thing may go for that girl in handstand or a person with their foot behind their head. They may look at one of your poses and marvel, wondering how you do it with so much grace.

Moral of the story — you are unique, talented and blessed. The yoga practice is here to guide us. To make us unafraid of connection and to forget our obstacles and realize that everything is exactly where it should be. There’s no need to be jealous or feel any lack because you are already set up with every tool you’ll ever need to succeed or land in a physical pose. I believe Joseph Campbell put it best when he said, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

So be yourself. Connect. Evoke admiration instead of jealousy, compassion instead of competition, and inspiration as you look around a room. We’re all in this together.

Reprinted with permission from GaiamLife.com

About Kathryn Budig

As one of the youngest and most widely recognized faces in yoga, Kathryn Budig’s appetite for yoga is infectious. Kathryn’s playful mixture of challenging classes with her lovable personality is the recipe for a truly inspiring class. As an avid food lover, she is also passionate about sharing healthy, organic and eco-friendly recipes.

You can practice with Kathryn around the globe or save yourself the plane ticket by practicing with her weekly online at Yogaglo.com. Find her on faculty at Yogaworks Santa Monica, Kripalu or through her upcoming Gaiam DVD, “Aim True Yoga”.

To learn more, visit kathrynbudig.com

Mallika Chopra: 30 Days Of Yoga Intents Ends Today! Thank You Everyone For All Your Support

Dear Intent Community,

Wow – what an exciting month it has been for Intent.  We launched our first-ever 30 Days of Yoga Intents – so many of you participated daily, and some (ahem – like myself!) were inspired and posted every few days. :)

We also asked yoga bloggers to share their personal experiences on yoga, the power of intention in yoga and how yoga has shaped them to become the person they are today. Personally, I was very inspired by the blog, as well as the videos, and would like to thank our teachers for their inspiration.

Though our official end-date was yesterday, we decided to extend 30 Days of Yoga one more day to bring to you two guest yoga blog posts that truly represent the diverse spectrum that exists in yoga.

Waylon Lewis of Elephant Journal brings up in his guest blog thought-provoking questions on the future of yoga as yoga becomes more popular and more accessible to mainstream culture. As instructors and students of yoga, what can we all do in this day and age to honor the true intent of yoga?

And, I am most excited to introduce  Sierra Goldstein to all of you.  I met Sierra a few weeks ago after my talk at the Business Innovation Factory.  I love her energy when we met, and she sent me the most beautiful email afterwards about her dream to bring healing and yoga to the world.  Sierra, at 14 years old, will be the youngest certified yoga instructor in the United States this November.  To me, she is an inspiration – a role model for children and adults to follow your passion and give back to your community. Read her guest blog here

Thank you to all of you who have shared your yoga intent with us in the last month.

In case you have missed any of the blog posts, all of our guest yoga blog posts are listed below, along with their respective yoga blogs and websites.

Namaste,

Mallika Chopra

 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / lululemon athletica

 

GUEST BLOG POSTS

Yoga By Jennifer Hains (Charmed, Indeed)
YOGA IS By Suzanne Bryant-Cunha (YOGA IS)
Authenticity By Sarah Tomson Beyer (flowmotionstyle.com)
FEATURED YOGA VIDEOS 
SPECIAL THANKS
Felicia Tomasko / LA Yoga Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Featured Yoga Blog By Sierra Goldstein: The Journey That Changed My Life

By Sierra Goldstein, reschool.posterous.com

Two years ago I was going through a very tough time. I had just started middle school, my parents weren’t living together at the time, and I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be my true self or follow everything that my friends were doing. Lonely and cconfused, I clung to my friends for dear life, hoping that they would give me comfort. And so the journey began.

At that time, the people I was hanging out with were making some really poor choices. All through sixth grade I often I heard them talking about drugs and alcohol. Then, at one of my friend’s birthday parties, they all decided that they were going to do drugs. That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t this person who was trying so desperately to fit in. I needed to be on a different, more authentic path, on where I could grow as a person instead of hurting myself. Realizing the being alone would be better than that lifestyle. I began looking for a way to make myself feel whole again.  This is when the blessing of Dharma yoga came into my life.

My mom, Heather, was the one who suggested Dharma Yoga. She saw me struggling to find myself and knew that yoga would guide me on the path to happiness. But honestly, I didn’t like the idea at first. The concept was foreign and strange to me. For a while I resisted anything to do with yoga. But I was desperate, so I tried it.

My mom and I walked into the class, her thrilled and me nervous. The teacher’s name was Liz. She was one of the happiest people I had ever seen and that fact allowed me to relax a bit. Liz told us to spread out our mats and come to a comfortable seated position. Then she softly told us to close our eyes and breath. Through the next 75 minutes, I was guided through my first Dharma Yoga class. I forgot all about the troubling thoughts dancing around in my mind. The only thought that I had left was this is for me.

It’s now 18 months later and I am two months away from getting my teaching certificate. My dream is to travel around the world and become enriched in culture and community so that I may deepen my practice even more. Yoga has changed my life and given me the perfect practice to become whole again. In becoming a teacher of yoga,  many opportunities are opening up for me.  It feels as though this is the life I am meant to live.

 

About Sierra 

My name is Sierra Goldstein, I am a 14 year old living in Loveland, Colorado. I love to exercise, read, and learn about self-healing. My dream is to be asked to travel to different remote villages that are rich in culture and community. While I’m there, I want to talk to locals and learn how they live, and experience how they live. To give back to the people who have helped me, I want to write a book about all the teachings. People live their entire lives trying to figure out who they are. I am very blessed to have found out at such a young age, and I want to share that with people everywhere! I could not have made it through this journey by myself though. My parents, Liz, friends, and mentors all helped me. And of course, so did Yoga. Twitter: @ SGoldstein33  Email:sierragoldstein@gmail.com Blog: reschool.posterous.com

PHOTO (cc): Flickr /  mavik2007

 

How Does Yoga Help You Off The Mat? Share Your Answer On Our Facebook Wall For A Chance To Win A Free eKo Mat From Manduka Yoga

 

Dear Intent Community,

To celebrate the end of our first-ever 30 Days Of Yoga Intents, we are launching one more yoga give-away courtesy of Manduka. So who wants to receive a beautiful new yoga mat?! 

For a chance to win, all you have to do this share with us: how does practicing yoga on the mat help you with how you live your life when you are off the mat?

Share your answer with us on our Facebook wall for a chance to win a free eKo mat from Manduka!!

From Manduka website:

The Manduka eKO mat is the only choice for those who want a high-performance, durable yoga mat and are passionate about protecting our planet. The top surface is an innovative, proprietary closed-cell natural rubber. The sea-grass texture finish and superior cushioning are kind to your body and the environment. This natural rubber mat uses a toxic-free softening process and is completely free of foaming agents and plasticizers found in other mats. The eKO represents a bright future for eco-friendly yoga mats – it leaves behind no footprint in landfills, but will definitely make a lasting impression in the studio.

Contest ends on Tuesday, October 12 11:59PM PST. Only U.S. winners are eligible to win prize. 

 

 

 

Today’s Featured Yoga Blog By Candice Garrett Of The Yogic Kitchen: An Awkward Introduction To Yoga

 

By Candice Garrett, The Yogic Kitchen

I wandered into my first yoga class at the local YMCA because I heard this yoga thing could be "good" for me. I admit, I didn't even know what yoga was. Something to do with breathing. And stretching. But I'd been dealing with a lifelong issue with my feet, and at now at twenty-three, they were really becoming an issue. 

The room was dark and filled with seniors. I was probably the youngest person in there by about forty years. I think I spent the first ten minutes if there was a way for me to gracefully leave. I remember, clearly, the other student's eyeing me equally suspiciously.

Not a great start, I admit, I was less than enthusiastic. 

When the instructor came in, she was at least eighty years old. With the tell-tale sign kyphotic spine of a woman with  osteoporosis. And thick orthotic shoes. This was getting worse by the minute. She can't be the instructor, can she?

But then she sat down. And whipped out a shoulderstand (which I'd never seen before). And that was it. I was hooked. 

The class was very gentle, and what I would now consider "secular" in that there were no names given for the poses, no chanting, no sanskrit (which turned out to be quite the shock for me when I enrolled in my first teacher training program and realized there was this whole other world to yoga). 

I spent the next two years in that class and saw, to this day, the greatest improvement in my body I had ever had. 

You sometimes find yoga in unexpected places, and your teachers in the most unlikely of people. It doesn't matter what style you practice, what kind of poses you can do, or how old you are. 

What matters is that you find it at all. 

Candice Garrett is a writer, foodie and mom of three, who blogs her recipes over at theyogickitchen.blogspot.com. She is the author of Prenatal Yoga: Finding Movement in Fullness and the Director of the Nine Moons Prenatal Yoga teacher training program in Monterey, California. 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / mikecpeck