Resonating Moments: Lessons From the Week
Welcome to "Resonating Moments." Each week I share one lesson from parenting, teaching yoga, practicing on my mat, and simply living life. My intentions for sharing these lessons are twofold: (1) to make a personal effort to record moments that resonate or ring true (Chime) with who I am at my core, and (2) to offer what I have learned in hopes that you can relate and share about your experiences in the comments below.
Here's what I learned this week:
Lesson from parenting: Last weekend was momentous here in Philadelphia for Catholics as well as those of other faiths. Pope Francis came to the city, and among his many activities while here, spoke about the importance of family as the backbone of faith. The Holy Father left an impression on me, and I have been moved over and over by these words: "I leave you with this question, for each one of you to respond to. In my home, do we yell, or do we speak with love and tenderness? This is a good way to recognize our love.” This week I have been reflecting on how I nurture my own family. I am so grateful to my friend who captured this tender moment with my Zoe. So often, in the frenzy of stress, I question my ability to truly be patient, compassionate, and loving. We all need our goodness reflected back to us, so that we can remember we are innately good, that we are innately love. Did any of Pope Francis' words resonate with you? Please share a favorite quote in the comments!
Lesson from life: It is often said that children are great teachers. I find this to be true on many levels, and this week I was reminded of the wisdom children hold. I was frustrated about something (I can't even remember what!), and my Demetra came to me and gently said, "Mommy, why don't you stop, breathe, and think. That's what to do when you are frustrated or angry." Wow! I looked into her eyes, so grateful she reached out to me with so much care. I told her she was right, thanked and hugged her, and took a giant breath in and out. What lessons have your children taught you? Please share!
Lesson from teaching yoga: This is not so much of a lesson as it is an affirmation: I love my job! I love teaching yoga, interacting with students, and mentoring new yoga teachers. This feeling of "love" for my work is empowering, validating, and true self-worth booster! This week I was reminded of how when we are connected with our passions we are fully alive, engaged, and open to what may be. Which passions in your life energize you?
Lesson from my mat: Earlier this month I started yoga therapy training at the Yoga Life Institute in Devon, PA. The first weekend was positively mind blowing, and I am ecstatic about being in this program, all that I will learn, and all that I can give once I am certified. One thing that I learned about in my studies is sankalpa, the yogic practice of setting an intention. When we bring intention to our asana practice, we amplify the innate power of the poses. In my 13 years of asana practice, I have set many an intention, but I can't say that I have actively held it throughout my practice. This week I committed to merging sankalpa with asana. I have been experimenting with bringing together intention, breath, and movement to manifest the benefits that each offer individually and together. This new awareness has not always been easy to hold. I intend to continue this practice and put my mind, body, and breath on what I want to create in my life. How do you practice intention in your life, on and off the mat? Please share in the comments.
Perhaps some or all of these lessons resonated with you as well. If so, I’d enjoy learning how! Please share in the comments below.
Other Tidbits of Inspiration and Information
On The Change of Seasons
Katlin Robinson shares the beautiful way opposites creates balance. Katlin relates the opposites found in nature this time of year with balancing yoga poses. "Cultivating an awareness and appreciation for the light and dark of all opposites we begin to understand that balance is not stagnant, it is inherently mobile—constantly moving between each set of opposites," Katlin writes. "As this awareness is developed we can move more fluidly between the opposites to find balance within ourselves." Check out Katlin's post Finding Balance in Opposites—Welcome Fall.
On Setting an Intention
This week I read several articles on sankalpa (intention; see above, Lesson from my mat) in an effort to understand the practice and concept. There are many great articles out there, but How to Create a Sankalpa by Kelly McGonigal does a lovely job of teaching about the tradition and its intricacies. "Discovering your sankalpa is a process of listening," she writes. "Your heartfelt desire is already present, waiting to be seen, heard, and felt. It’s not something you need to make up, and the mind doesn’t have to go wildly searching for it." Kelly guides readers through the personal process of how to identify their intention and describes approaches for practicing sankalpa. A great read and worth bookmarking.
On the Power of Yogic Breathing Practices
Thank you, Kathy Kruger, for your educational post on how to breathe better during yoga. As a practitioner and teacher, I appreciate learning about the ten different breathing techniques and their benefits that Kathy discusses. The breath is the anchor of our practice, but still, remembering to breathe and to do it mindfully is often challenging. Kathy reminds us that, "Through various yogic breathing practices, we can gain awareness and take a level of that consciousness with us throughout the day, in each and every breath we take." I am excited to try one or two of these techniques in my practice and teaching!