Sometimes, things happen for a reason

I know, I know, you’ve heard that one WAY too many times. Plus, isn’t it annoying when someone says those words while you are in the crux of a particular situation? Don’t you feel like telling them, thanks, but no thanks? But then, when all hell has finally passed, when we realize that Eh! it had in fact happen for a reason, don’t things start to make sense again?

Over the years I’ve become confident and trusting in what Life brings me. I do not mean to say that I never get angry or frustrated, but I do look at things and events differently. Ok, you’re right, maybe not always immediately, but once I’ve taken a step back and a few deep breaths, I often realize that everything is fine. In fact, everything is the way that it should be.

Sure, I’ve been accused of being a defeatist, but I think of myself as an open-arm, bring-it-on type of person. I mean, it is not because I do not wish something to happen that it won’t. However, it is not because something might happen that it will. And that being said, there is no need to worry about things that do not yet exist. Easy to say, yes, but if you think about it, this is how it IS, and no, kicking and screaming will not get you where you want to go.

So take a step back and take that deep breath, maybe two or tree even. Understand that there is more to life than this. Trust that whatever you are going through right now will make you stronger and will have been worth while in the end. I know that this is not something you want to hear, but sometimes, things just happen for a reason.

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Present moment awareness with Yoga

Sthira sukham asanam. Essential insight for the practice of yoga postures, these Sanskrit words are meant to guide us. As Mark Stephens explains it, “Sthira means ‘to be stable or firm’, while sukham means ‘to be soft, at ease, relaxed’. Taken together and put into the context of a dynamic practice, we find a blended quality in which one is cultivating steadiness, ease, and presence of mind, breath by breath, within and between the asanas”.

The term asanam, or asana is often simply translated as pose or posture. However, it means so much more. The interpretation I prefer is “being just here, just now, in the present moment” (B.Bouanchaud). I find this description interesting because it is not limiting, meaning, this can be practiced at all times and not just during a yoga class.

By bringing yoga into our lives as a way of living, we become more in tuned with our senses. We can develop a physical awareness that extends and reaches far beyond the body. Everything becomes in sync within us and around us. We find stillness in the incessant movement of Life. We become grounded in our every breath.

Eventually, this space between asanas expands to the space from one practice to the next, bringing this steadiness and ease into our daily lives. And then, as during every practice, we become lighter, filled with inner peace and joy. For this, I am grateful to those in my life who have introduced me to yoga, taught me yoga (here I include my students) and encouraged me to practice it. Namaste.

Learning to let go

Probably one of the hardest thing we ever need to learn to do is let go. We cherish memories of the past as they remind us of happier times and gives us hope in the future and that things will work out. A temporary fix however, as it distorts our vision of reality by hanging on to what was, and what we believe should be, instead of dealing with what is.

Let’s make this experiment as thought by Deepak Chopra: “Take a deep breath and hold it. Notice how you begin to feel when you are holding onto something that is meant to be released. Feel the increasing discomfort that builds as you resist the natural impulse to let go. Then, when it becomes too uncomfortable, release your breath and notice the immense relief that you feel.”

Holding on to anything when it is time to let go creates distress in your body and mind. Whenever you resist, your mind becomes anxious and your body becomes uncomfortable. Becoming aware of this resistance and the discomfort you feel is the first step in learning to let go.

In comparing personal relationships to eating food, Dr. Chopra says that we often ingest more emotional energy and information than we are capable of digesting. And so, he suggests that in order to maintain a healthy emotional life, we have to make choices and selectively absorb those aspects of the emotional experience that are nourishing, while accepting to release and eliminate those components that, if retained, could be toxic.

This is true not only of relationships but of life situations in general. Will mulling over what you should have said or done when that lady pushed you on the bus really make a positive difference in your day? What about the guy that cut you off on the road, are you still thinking about him? Why? At home, after your work day, are you thinking and stressing over all the things you have to do? Can you do anything about those at this moment? No, then let it go.

Yoga enables us to navigate more easily through those difficult times by connecting the physical body and the mind. Noticing the resistance, whether it is physical or psychological, is the first step. “Letting go” can then be done through Pranayama or breathing exercises. Once you start to become more aware of this essential link between body and mind, it also becomes easier (not easy!) to let go of things and move through life happier. Namaste.


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