How Yoga Can Improve Your Relationships

How Yoga Can Improve Your Relationships

As some of you know, I am in Melaque, Mexico leading a yoga teacher training and we just hit the 1/3 mark. In many ways the students have successfully moved through the most challenging part of the course – the initial getting used to the long days (13.5 hours!), experiencing and absorbing new material at a rapid pace, cultivating an increasing sense of curiosity and wonder about the science of Yoga and possibly most importantly, nurturing relationship within and with each other.
Relationships are inherently challenging, and rarely easy. They take work, time, strength, commitment, love, and so much more. In fact, relationships can quite possibly be the hardest thing you could ever attempt.
During the past several days I have been closely observing the nuances of relationships and want to share how the practice of Yoga on the mat can help on this journey of partnership – with yourself and others.
Listening: As you move and flow through a sequence, you learn to listen to your body, you learn to listen to the cessations of your mind. You listen to yourself, and calm the externalities that often matter little to your true connection with this world. The next time someone engages you in conversation, pause and really deeply listen to them – and yes, this means no phone around.
Focus. As your practice of Yoga progresses, you’ll find yourself deeply focusing on some of the more important things in life. What are they? Only you can know that for yourself – we give away our power when we let someone else decide. Increasing your capacity to focus will help you be considerate and mindful in every action of your life, especially towards those you are in relationship with.
Strength. Your mat will show you strengths beyond your greatest imagination. Asana teaches you that only after weeks, months of practice you grow STRONG. This involves conversations with yourself, even pep-talks that build inner strength to do the hard things relationships require of you. A strong belief in the long term benefits of the work.
Meditation. Moods are contagious. If you show up calm, clear, and full of only love and positivity, I can guarantee that will flow into you and those you are connected to. Ever tried eye-gazing with your partner? Pure. Magic.
Open. The vulnerability of our practice can be overwhelming sometimes. Frequently hip opening poses cause tears. Returning again and again to this open space will give you the confidence to return again and again to opening yourself up to your loved ones. Positive relationships require this opening, this softness, this vulnerability, and you’ll need strength to remain open when the natural instinct is to withdraw. Don’t retreat.
I have so often experienced how the benefits on the mat flow so effortlessly into my life and my relationships. I’m curious, how has your practice inspired how you live your life? How has your relationship to yourself and to others changed since you started practicing Yoga? Hit reply to this email and tell me more.
love & pranams,
carla

Remembering Flow

Remembering Flow

Sometimes it’s easy to get in the way of ourselves, inside our minds instead of inside our flow. Further, sometimes it’s hard to learn how to allow others to integrate into our flow without letting it get upset.
We each have our own way to deal with this, I guess this is what makes us each unique. One of my favourite ways to forget those voices even just for a minute and submit to the flow of things is to slip into yoga; being in a class, leading a class, or just free styling on my own in my own space are all ways I can find myself listening to the flow.
Without a doubt though, when I return back to the flow it feels as if the knots of life seem to loosen and my smile in life and wonder for this same life returns.
How do you get into your flow?
photo taken in gorgeous Maui by @cadencia

Full Moon in Taurus: Embody Your Sensuality

Full Moon in Taurus: Embody Your Sensuality

Following and syncing ourselves to the moon cycles through ritual and sacred ceremony is a way you can give yourself more permission to also connect with your Shakti energy, the creative force of the divine feminine.
Creating ceremonies in alignment with moon cycles is one of the ways I acknowledge and honour that my spiritual being is having a human experience. As I’ve followed the moon cycles, I’ve also noticed a greater understanding and love towards my emotional processes, triggers, and lessons. I’d love for you to have that same experience.
For this coming Full Moon in Taurus on Wednesday Oct 24th, allow yourself to connect to the earthy energy of this moon through engaging ALL of your senses. Taurus is a Venus-ruled sign, and with this planet currently in retro-grade, you might find yourself in need of some extra TLC. I’ve got some great suggestions for you.

FULL MOON IN TAURUS EMBODIMENT CELEBRATION

With the Sun in Scorpio opposite Moon in Taurus, there is a solid need to be grounded in the practical and material realities of life. Celebrate this Full Moon by savouring the capacity of your body to drop into all of it’s senses. Over the day and evening tomorrow try at least 2 of the following practices:

  • Walking barefoot on the earth
  • Cooking a comfort meal from scratch and savouring each bite
  • Put on your favourite classical piece of music, close your eyes and luxuriate in the sounds
  • Delighting your body with a sensuous rose petal bath with your favourite essential oils
  • Enjoy 20 connected, circular breaths
  • Some good ol’ fashioned loving

I encourage you to make these practices real celebrations. The mundane can always be sacred if we infuse our actions with reverence and intention. Notice how the experience shifts and deepens when you are fully present.
If you appreciate these rituals, you are going to LOVE the guidance and rituals in the upcoming Embracing Shakti Movement: Free 13 Day Journey of Embracing and Celebrating Shakti! It’s almost ready to be birthed and I can’t wait to share it with all of you. Stay tuned for how you can join this intimate journey with me.
love & pranams,
carla

Kintsukuroi and Our Golden Seams

Kintsukuroi and Our Golden Seams

There is a beautiful Japanese practice called Kintsukuroi, which is the art of restoring broken pottery and ceramic objects with gold lacquer. A seemingly perfect pot is broken and then recreated to embrace the mended flaws and become something even more exquisite than the original product. Rather than the cause of its destruction, the visible cracks and seams in kintsukuroi simply represent an event that happened in the life of the object.
This technique encompasses other powerful Japanese teachings:

  • wabi-sabi ~ seeing beauty in the flawed or imperfect
  • mottainai ~ the feeling which expresses regret when something is wasted
  • mushin ~ the acceptance of change

How many bumps, cracks and breaks have you experienced in your life? And have you ever tried to hide these experiences and the vulnerabilities that accompany them – so that you can cover the evidence of how flawed you actually are?
I sure have.
And I know it has never felt good.
How about choosing another narrative? How about choosing to see these experiences for what they are: our golden seams.
The challenges of life have been exactly that. Challenging. You have learned. You have grown. And you have become more resilient. Our challenges most often transform into our strengths. Our inevitable and temporary breaking is not something to hide.
So as you reflect on your equally imperfect and magnificent life, what are your golden seams? Just hit reply to drop me a note, I’d love to hear more of your story.
love & pranams,
carla

A Moment on Silence

A Moment on Silence

“Silence is not silent. Silence speaks. It speaks most eloquently. Silence is not still. Silence leads. It leads most perfectly.” ~ Sri Chinmoy
This is the beginning to an inward journey. This leads you to listen more strongly to that inner vision that sings so powerfully.
This leads you to you.
I'm Good, Thanks

I'm Good, Thanks

How many times has the following happened to you today? Someone asks, “How are you?” and regardless of how you are really feeling, you reply, “Good.”
It is the standard answer.
It feels like the safe response.
But the reality is that by saying “good”, we choose to stay armoured and seemingly one dimensional. We deny others the opportunity to see us as real, vast, nuanced and complex. We hide behind expectation and push away our vulnerability.
If you are like me, you might worry what the other person will think if we are honest. That we will make them uncomfortable. That we will actually let them in on the secret that sometimes we feel less than “good”. That the illusion of our picture perfect life may be shattered in some way.
But what if you went against cultural expectations and expressed something more honest? What if showing up exactly as you are in that moment means that you are able to express the full range of your humanity? All of it, rather than just the acceptable bits.
You could instead, connect to someone at a deeply profound level. To share some of the universal experience of being human. You could even inspire deeper kinship and powerful emotional healing.
So I challenge you to commit to this radical action – to respond to the next “How are you?” with something more real. Depending on the situation it might be as simple as using some creative mood words that more accurately describe what you are feeling. Or you might feel ready to share a part of your inner self by expressing what is truthfully present for you. Remember to breathe and be gentle with yourself as you learn this new skill.
And for bonus points – try asking a different question when you meet someone. How about:
“What was the best part of your day today?”
“What’s going on with you these days?”

“How are you really feeling today?”
Changing our interactions with others, even in such a small way can be difficult and uncomfortable. Please reach out and let me know about your experiences – I always adore hearing from you.
love & pranams,
carla