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Posts Tagged ‘hitting your wall’

Befriend the Opposite

Befriend the Opposite

Or put in more psychological terms: making the unconscious, conscious.

Or said in more spiritual terms: shining the light on our darkness or shadow side.

So, if we don’t know that we are acting or reacting to circumstances and people in our life out of some unconscious patterning from our past or childhood, how do we then become aware of it?

Here are things that give me a clue that I have gone into an unconscious pattern response:

1. I feel numb and my life energy shuts down
2. My mind seeks to blame when I hurt
3. My partner will tell me or point it out! (not easy, but a quick reminder!)
4. I don’t smile, dance, or listen to music as much
5. My voice sounds irritated
6. I get defensive
7. I get very independent
8. My partner will notice that I am not being my true Self!

What do YOU do when you are hurt or reactive?
Do you see any correlation to what you may have done in response to dysfunctional family patterns?

Bless those that mirror us even though it is so painful!

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Dancing on the Edges of my Perfect Imperfections

Dancing on the Edges of my Perfect Imperfections

Dancing on the edges of my perfect imperfections, with each sweeping step I slough off a little more of the dusty, caked on layers of experience from my past to love and see my partner and my self more clearly.

Love brings up all that is in its way to clear the path back to love.

An intimate relationship with our partner, children, or family members is a perfect place to get a good look at the unconscious soot that has covered our hearts and clouded our thinking.

“Dancing on the edges of my perfect imperfections.” It sounds so poetic, doesn’t it? Yet in those brief, chaotic moments of experiencing my judgements, heart closing down, or projection of my fears on my partner, I am far from feeling elegant or Rumi-like.

Love brings up all that is in its way to clear the path back to love.

Where else could I get such a quick and thorough dose of my own medicine?

Our nervous system is hijacked (fight, flight, freeze) when we’re triggered by something deeply unconscious, or mildly or severely traumatic (I recommend books and videos by Dr. Peter Levine PhD http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/peter-levine.html, trauma recovery through Somatic Experiencing). It is like being pulled out to sea in an undertow. We long for the safety of the shoreline, but there we stay thrashing about for what is usually a little while, but may feel like an eternity.

Self awareness is key to coming back to shore. We can feel and sense into part of our body that feels grounded and peaceful – a technique to stay present to what is real and what is happening to us. Attention to the breath is often a wonderful place to anchor ourselves to the moment, but at these times of heightened reactivity our erratic breath may not be the best anchor.

Conscious relationship IS a daring path to enlightenment for some of us. I think it is a warrior’s path to enlightenment – not for the meek or weak-hearted.

I am grateful for all the master teachers out there that put themselves through hell to share tools for working with ourselves (Robert Augustus Masters http://www.RobertMasters.com, Dr. Peter Levine, Lorin Roche, jsut to name a few.)
I am grateful that in this lifetime, I am naturally committed to taking responsiblity for my reactions through deep reflection, meditation, or consulting with friends or therapists.

I will end with a poem by Lorin Roche (http://www.LorinRoche.com)…

“You don’t have to change yourself.
You don’t have to sit still.
You don’t have to sit cross-legged.
You don’t have to make your mind blank.
You don’t have to calm down.”

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stefpappasI bet you are thinking, what the hell does that title mean. Where is she going with this one?

Well, it is a long, long standing tradition that my mother must comment on my hair, for some reason, every time I see her. Even yesterday, after 3 weeks in her hospital bed, in and out of states of delirium and dementia. I hoped that maybe this time the goodnight goodbye “I love you” could just have ended at that…sweet and silent. But noooooo. It STILL had to be followed by a comment about my hair. By the way, I happen to LIKE my hair.

A month ago at my only uncle’s funeral service she just couldn’t help but toss a comment. There I was, feeling pretty and dressed up for the occasion. Hell, even my long lost cousins said I looked great (at 48 this feels like a nice compliment).

Mom turned to look at me. I thought she was going to blurt out something special, deep, or touching. After all, we were at a funeral. But nooooope. She just uttered, “You need to condition your hair.”

And I still felt a sense of shock and wonder, after all these years. Somewhere inside me I know it is coming from her love for me, but it never feels that way when it happens.

The button is still there. There is yet more work to do on my part.
This last time in the hospital I asked more. I am actually becoming intrigued by this phenomenon. It may seem like nothing to you, but it was new for me. “Why are you still so obsessed about my hair?” I asked her. “I remember how it used to be.” She replied. “But I am almost 50 years old now!” I almost shouted. I left the hospital, still astounded by her constant focus on my hair, and even more perplexed by my own reactions.

So, I wonder what the humid, wet, NJ weather will do for my hair tomorrow. I’m going to the hospital to see her.

Let’s see what she has to say.


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halfmoonwallOPT

Have you taken some yoga classes and read some yoga books, but still find yourself unable to practice on your own?

Try my one pose, or one minute a day philosophy to jump start your yoga practice and overcome your resistance.

The truth is, a daily yoga practice could last one minute or several hours. Give yourself the freedom to decide. Sometimes we may think we want to practice for only five minutes and then two hours magically fly by. If you put pressure on yourself to practice for a long time, you may never practice at all. When students or teachers tell me that they can’t practice or get started practicing on their own, I suggest they try my “one pose or one minute a day” plan. They seem so surprised when I suggest this. Give yourself a break and practice one of your favorite poses on a daily basis, or practice one minute of yoga per day. Notice where it takes you. One minute may turn into one hour before you know it. Let me know what happens! I look forward to your comments here on the blog.

This excerpt is taken from my new book, Yoga at Your Wall.

http://www.YogaAtYourWall.com

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Even though I know yoga is not about competition I find myself looking at other students and comparing myself. I don’t want to do this, but it happens anyway. Do you have any suggestions?

This is a very honest question. I have noticed many students doing this in class. I know that most all of us have felt competitive in life at one time or another. Well, at least you are aware of it! So when you catch yourself feeling competitive in class or in life, just bring your focus once again to your body, your breath, or the feelings behind your impulse to be competitive.

What is your intention for being in the yoga class? Are you trying to impress someone? The teacher? Was this a pattern in your family of origin? Was competitiveness encouraged between siblings?

It is all part of the process of becoming aware of our tendencies and thoughts. Certain mind-body types have this tendency more than others. If you are curious, read more about the “pitta” body type in Ayurveda.

Forgive yourself and focus back on your own practice.

Love, Stephanie Pappas

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Once in a while I feel angry with the teacher for making us do certain things in class. Why?

There are different reasons why you may feel angry: the teacher may be over-zealous or lack empathy, you may be pushing yourself too hard, you may be physically over-heated, you may be angry at something else, or you may be picking up on someone else’s anger.

In the first case, the teacher may be pushing you too hard in class, or not instructing to your level of ability. Once a student told me that they felt angry because a teacher asked the class to perform headstands, but did not offer any instruction for how to build into a headstand for the students who were unfamiliar with the techniques. If this is the case, I would suggest speaking to the teacher after class and offer your feedback.

You may feel angry because you are not honoring your body and resting when you need to if the class is getting too challenging. Listen to your own needs and body signals.

Love, Stephanie Pappas

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Doing Yoga at the Wall in the Sunshine

Doing Yoga at the Wall in the Sunshine

Why practice yoga at your wall?

What walls do for us: they provide structure, containment, safety, shelter, limitations, support, and de􀃫nition. As an aid in your yoga practice, a wall helps you articulate precise alignment and form in each pose, supports you when you want to relax, assists you when you want to try a new posture, and motivates you to more fully energize your body.
A wall is your teacher when there is no human teacher around to guide or adjust you in a yoga posture.

“I thought yoga at the wall would be wimpy, but it was really challenging!” said Eadaoin, one of my advanced yoga teacher trainees, after taking one of my yoga wall classes. Her comment ignited my enthusiasm to write this book.
And after experiencing the legs-up-the-wall restorative relaxation pose, Charlotte said, “I have never felt so relaxed in my whole life!”

Some accuse the wall of being a crutch; how unfair to both you and the wall! In my experience the wall feels like a trusty friend, one who always tells me the truth, whether I want to hear it or not. Until becoming friends with your wall, when you practice yoga postures you have only the floor — a horizontal reference point — to know where your body is in space.
When practicing at the wall, you have a vertical reference point for your further orientation. You can lean on it, align yourself with it, push off of it, or press into it. The wall not only assists you, it adds another degree of challenge to your practice.
When you leave the wall and go back to practicing on the floor, you have a whole new level of awareness of your alignment and a different experience of your body. You may visit the wall more often than you can imagine. Through this practice, I became “one with my wall.”

Doing yoga at your wall is logical, portable, and practical. Have you ever wanted to lie on the floor and
stretch in your hotel room while you were on a trip, but the 􀃬oor just didn’t look all that clean or appealing? It’s a perfect time to practice your wall yoga.

Or maybe you’re dressed in a suit or a dress, ready for a meeting or presentation, and feeling a little stressed. You want to do some yoga, but you know you will wrinkle clothes if you get on the floor. It’s yet another perfect opportunity to find your nearest yoga wall.
The benefits of practicing yoga vertically serve you well at home, at your office, and anywhere there is a wall to befriend.

Join me on our journey to expand the possibilities of your yoga practice with my new book, Yoga at Your Wall.

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