Let go.

Recently I was at an art event and spoke with an artist who said some powerful words to me.  He told me to let go.  Even though I've said these words hundreds of times over the years in my yoga classes, I realize just how important they are in all areas of my life.  As we continue to move into this new year, it's time to really let go so that we can flow more freely through life.  

Let go of wanting to be someone different than who you are.  Stop comparing yourself and measuring yourself against other people and their accomplishments, and start appreciating your unique traits and preferences.  Let go of trying to become something that you think you are not, and realize that you already have that which you desire inside you.  You just have to allow it to unfold.  Stop holding yourself back by thinking that you aren't good enough.  You are.  You’re the only one stopping yourself from realizing your greatness and becoming the person you wish you could be. 

Let go of the past and anyone who isn’t treating you the way you to be treated.  Sometimes you just need to let go and accept the fact that they don’t care for you the way you care for them.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll figure out a way to bring you in.  If they aren’t doing that, let them go.  Release anger, guilt, shame, or any other negative emotions that may be weighing you down.  Allow yourself to let go of any grudges and forgive anyone you may have some resentment toward.  And most of all, forgive yourself for any mistakes you feel you may have made.  You have the choice to continue to feel bad or to give yourself the piece of mind you deserve.  

Let go of trying to control things that you cannot control.  In yoga, we are able to go deeper into the poses not by pushing or forcing our bodies into them, but simply by surrendering, letting go, and breathing.  Surrendering means not putting worry and fear into the process.  It means doing your part, and then relaxing and expecting that everything will work out for the best.  It is shifting your thinking to focusing on what you want to happen, and realizing that whatever happens is for your highest good.  Trust in the unfolding of your life.

Zen master Osho says, "Life is great, there is no way to finish it.  The more you enter into it, the vaster the possibilities that open their doors.  Yes, you can arrive at one peak and suddenly there is another.  It is non-ending”.   

In meditation you are constantly letting go.  You are constantly freeing yourself.  Each moment is a new opportunity to get out of the past and to get out of your head.  Close your eyes and begin to breathe.  As a thoughts arises, notice it and then try to release the thought from your mind.  Continue to do this, starting over each time your mind wanders, and bring it back to your breath.   

Focus your mind on these positive affirmations:

“I am letting go of anything that is not for my greater good and I ask it to release me."

“I am inviting and allowing good to come into my life."

"I am open and ready to grow, to expand, and to free myself from any limiting beliefs so that I may move more freely through life.”  

"I am free."

Love, 

Sydney

My love affair with yoga.

I am completely in love and married to my yoga practice for the rest of my life.  Why?  Because yoga gives you what you need -balance, strength, flexibility, endurance, peace of mind, clarity, openness, awareness…And I feel euphoric after I practice.

It not only sculpts and reshapes and opens the body, but it also sculpts and reshapes and opens the mind.  It increases your ability to control your mind by increasing your ability to notice and choose your thoughts.  Yoga teaches us to bring our attention away from the constant chatter of our thoughts by bringing our awareness to our breath.  It gives our minds a rest.  It helps us to slow down our thoughts so that we can learn to recognize and choose which thoughts feel good and which don’t.  We gain more control over our bodies and our minds.

When I first started doing yoga, I was not strong.  Downward facing dog was hard for me to hold, and my arms used to shake like crazy in side plank.  Now I can easily support my body weight.  I’m strong, I’m flexible, and sometimes I feel like I’m flying through the poses.

I choose to teach because I know what yoga has done for me and what it continues to do for me.  Yoga transformed my body, and then it transformed my mind.  It changed my perspective.  It strengthened my belief in myself and my ability to create the life that I want.  I’m calmer and happier, and I’m not so scared anymore.  When you feel stronger physically, it can help you feel more confident and stronger mentally.   

When you practice yoga regularly, even if it’s just for 10 min or so, you start feeling so much better in your body -which impacts your mood and your relationships with others.  When you feel good in your body, you can focus your mind more in the present moment.  You’re able to appreciate more of your life because you feel better.  Life starts getting more fun because you start practicing spending just a little more time living in the moment.  A little more time checking in with yourself, your inner self, your higher self, the you that resides within you that is egoless and full of love.  That inner voice or divineness within you— whatever you want to call it or not call it— it’s an energy within each of us that is the same energy that creates the universe that we live in. 

Before I found yoga, I wasn’t really happy and I felt disconnected from myself.  Now, 13 years later, I love it just as much today as I ever have, even more so.  Yoga connected me with me.  The real me.  The inner me that is pure positive loving energy.  Yoga gives you what you need.  Yoga made me whole.  And I am so happy to have found it.

Affirmations for quieting the ego during yoga:

If you’re practicing yoga and your ego starts beating you up for not being able to do a pose or feeling tired or weak or not good enough, stop yourself and bring your attention to your breath.  When you draw your attention to your breath you draw it away from negative thoughts and you’re able to discard and release them.  Say to yourself, “I am focusing on my breath.  I am here in this moment.  Where I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be”.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  

Find your balance.

Yoga helps us to become more balanced in all areas of our lives.  It teaches us to push ourselves and to know when to pull back and surrender to the pose or to life.  Finding that balance between strength and ease, and knowing when to push yourself and when to pull back in yoga practice, and in life, is very important.  Yoga teaches us to listen to our bodies and to the wisdom of our intuition. 

We can’t control everything that happens in our lives, but we can control our reactions.  Balance your emotions by realizing it’s alright to feel sad or angry, and then remind yourself that you can bring yourself to a better feeling place when you’re ready.  Balance your energy by spending time with others as well as taking time for yourself. 

Living well is not about striving for perfection.  Being happy does not mean being perfect.  We can accept ourselves as we are and, at the same time, aspire to become even more.  Appreciate your body wherever it is right now, and make choices that support your idea of health.  You can’t live happily on an all or nothing mentality.  Don’t deprive yourself of treats you love, but also don’t overindulge on unhealthy food.  Allow yourself a cheat day or two, but eat healthy the rest of the week.  Limit your alcohol intake, and drink more water and green tea -which supports metabolism.  Find healthier versions of your favorite snacks and desserts.  Eat when you are hungry.  Listen to your body and trust it to tell you what it needs.

Make exercise enjoyable by seeing it as taking care of yourself rather than punishing yourself.  For me, yoga is a wonderful form of exercise because it strengthens and tones my muscles and also makes me feel good.  I love the feeling it gives me while I am doing it and after I’m done.  I also love to walk.  Find a form of fitness that feels good and that you enjoy so that you look forward to it.  View it as time for caring for your physical and mental well-being.  Exercise is necessary for leading a more balanced, happy life because it helps you sleep better, boosts mood, improves digestion, tones your muscles, and releases stress by calming your nervous system.

Schedule exercise into your calendar as a priority.  Carve out time for it and stick to it.  Consistency is key for a balanced lifestyle.  Remember moderation.  You don’t have to spend hours working out if you’re exhausted.  Even just 15-20 min can really boost your mood and give your muscles the work they need to stay toned and flexible.  A brisk walk or run combined with some yoga or strength training and a healthy diet can give great results when done on a regular basis.  

Most importantly, forgive yourself.  The worst thing you can do is continue to beat yourself up for overindulging or missing a workout.  Let it go.  It’s in the past.  Line up with your choice, enjoy it for what it was, and move on.  It isn’t the end of the world.  You can always do better tomorrow, and as long as your intention is to find balance, you will find it.  One day at a time.

Affirmations for creating balance:
“I am living a balanced and joyful life.”
“I am becoming more balanced in all areas of my life.”
“I am balancing my time and energy, and I have plenty of time for everything that I want to do and experience.”
“I am allowing all of the details of my life to come into perfect balance and harmony."

Lots of love,
Sydney

Just breathe.

In yoga, the word prana means life force energy.  Pranayama is sanskrit word for the science of breathing.  So when you are breathing, you are bringing life force energy into your body.  Breathing helps in every form of exercise.  It calms the mind, relaxes the body, and releases tension and stress.  It purifies the cells, organs, and lungs.  You are literally cleansing your body from the inside out by breathing in fresh oxygen, bringing new energy into your body, and releasing old energy.  

When people are stressed, they tend to hold their breath.  Chronic stress is not good for our bodies and can lead to disease.  It also makes you age faster because our nervous system has to work overtime.  Stress reduction techniques that involve conscious, deep breathing, such as yoga and meditation, release stress because they calm the nervous system and allow the mind to rest.  When our mind is more relaxed, our body is too. 

There is a direct correlation between the mind and body, between our emotional state and our health, between our stress levels and our immune system.  Breathing relaxes our mind and reduces tension which helps us feel better.  When we feel better emotionally, we are healthier.  Modern western medicine is realizing the link between our physical state and our emotional state.  More and more doctors are prescribing meditation and stress reduction techniques like deep breathing and yoga to their patients as part of their healing process.  

When we concentrate on our breath, we allow our mind to rest from all its incessant thoughts.  This allows us to feel more connected to our body and to be alive in the present moment.  When you’re not living in the present, you’re not really living your life fully.  Time passes by and you hardly notice.  Life passes and you barely experienced it.  Many of us spend so much time regretting past mistakes or anxiously awaiting an uncertain future, afraid of what might go wrong, instead of being in the flow and experiencing the moments as they come.  When you are living more in the present, any problems that might arise are more easily solved because you are focused.  Breathing under pressure helps you to stay calm and present.  Breathing gives you energy and makes you feel more alive.

A breathing meditation with positive affirmations:

Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor (you can lie down if sitting requires too much effort).

Start to breathe gently and deeply into the heart area so that your whole chest moves as you breathe.  As you exhale, feel your shoulders relax.  Notice the how you feel more present in your body as you breathe into your chest and back.  As you breathe into your chest, feel how it opens your heart and puts you in a more receptive state.

Now, as you inhale and draw the breath into your chest, think to yourself "I am”.

Then, as your exhale, think a positive word or statement to yourself such as: light, abundant, prosperous, in perfect health, becoming, all that I wish to be, successful, joy, love, peace, guided on the my path, realizing my life’s work, wisdom, harmony, beauty, vitality, ready for all of the good that the universe has in store for me, allowing, ease, calm, relaxed, expansion, confidence, pure positive energy.  

Continue to do this- inhaling as you think ‘I am” and exhaling thinking a positive word or statement that resonates with you.  Feel the positive emotion that each word provokes.  When you are ready to stop, softly open your eyes.  You are complete.

In love and light,

Sydney

Good vibrations.

We live in a vibrational universe, and the Law of Attraction causes you to attract what you give out.  You rendevouz with circumstances and people who are sending out the same vibration as you.  How do you know what vibrational level you’re on?  When you are feeling good, you’re vibrating at a higher level then you are when you’re feeling bad.  Why is it important to raise our vibrational energy?  Because feeling good attracts more good and allows you to open the doors to receiving all that you are wanting.  When you feel bad, you are causing resistance and making it difficult for your desires to manifest into your experience.  

The universe does not respond to your words or actions, it responds to your vibration.  You don’t have to speak any words about what you want.  The universe will still know exactly what you are wanting through your feelings.  And it will deliver…but you won’t attain it in your reality until you become a vibrational match to your desires.  That means, you have to find a way to feel good and feel that what you desire is already coming into your experience.  You’ve got to stop thinking about what you don’t want, what's bothering you, or why you don’t have what you want.  Instead, think only about what you want, what you like, and what it will feel like to have what you desire.  Then, what you want can come because that’s what you’re focused upon, and therefore you’re a vibrational match to it.  Don’t worry about what is “true” now because the “truth” will shift when you shift your vibration.

Your vibration will naturally rise as you release resistance.  Breathing releases resistance.  Yoga releases resistance.  Any form of relaxation will release resistance because it slows down your thoughts and allows you to stop thinking about whatever might be bothering you for a little while.  You’re in the moment and not worrying about the future or thinking about the past.  It’s worrying and criticizing yourself and others that causes you to create resistance and lowers your vibration.

Words can raise your vibration.  Saying positive words to yourself helps to put your mind in a more positive state, raises your energy, and shifts your thoughts to a higher level.  Choose words that feel good as you say them, and say them over and over.  Words like love, clarity, joy, prosperity, ease, rejuvenation, relaxation, allow, abundance, harmony, vitality have an uplifting affect. 

So...raising your vibration is quite simple.  Feel good.  Say positive, uplifting words to yourself.  Look for things around you to appreciate.  Focus on all the good things in your life.  Notice the beauty in nature.  Breathe.  Keep your mind focused on what you want, not on what you don’t (yet) have.  And let it come to you!

Affirmations for raising your vibrational energy:

“I am releasing resistance and allowing my vibration to naturally rise so that I am vibrating on a higher level.”

“I am focusing only on what I want and what I like so that I attract only what I desire into my experience.”

“I am enjoying attracting people, circumstances, and events that are also on a high vibrational level.”

“I love understanding that I live in a vibrational universe and that I have complete control over my point of attraction."

In love and light,

Sydney

"Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."

Every situation is teaching you what you need in order to learn and grow and become more powerful.  Everything that is happening is in some way helping you to achieve your greatest potential, awaken your inner strength, and gain new levels of understanding.  As you begin to look for what each situation is teaching you and recognize what you are meant to learn from it, you will be able to move through situations more rapidly, with joy rather than with struggle. 

Yoga has helped me to feel more connected to myself and and to be at peace with what life offers.  I used to get really upset when a challenge appeared or something didn’t go the way I had hoped.  Nowadays, I still get a bit thrown off balance, but I quickly come back into my alignment with myself.  I shift my thinking back to a positive, expectant state that everything happens for a reason.  I choose thoughts that are in line with what I want to create, and I trust that things are unfolding perfectly. 

Happiness, optimism, and positive thinking are all a choice.  A constant choice.  In every moment, we can examine our thoughts and either choose to entertain the negative ones, or we can choose better feeling thoughts.  All that matters is what you think about yourself.  What other people think of you is not your concern.  Your happiness is not dependent upon outside circumstances, it is solely related to the relationship you have with yourself and your thoughts.  

Make the choice to enjoy your life, to live in the moment, and to look for the best in people and in situations.  Happiness is not something that you pursue and get.  It is something that you have already, until you disturb it.  It is our natural state to be happy.  We are all born with happiness already inside us.  You just have to allow yourself to feel it.  

Affirmations to help you to live in your happy place:

“I trust in the universe, and I know that everything is unfolding perfectly.”

“I choose happiness.  I am a positive person." 

"I am optimistic about my life and my future.”

“I choose to live my life fully.  I am grateful to be alive."

In love and light,

Sydney

Surrender, detach, trust and let go.

In yoga, we are able to go deeper into many of the yoga asanas (poses) not by pushing or forcing our bodies into them, but simply by surrendering, letting go, and breathing.  Surrendering means not putting worry and fear into the process.  It means doing your part, and then relaxing and expecting that everything will work out for the best.  It is shifting your thinking to focusing on what you want to happen, and realizing that whatever happens is for your highest good.  

Detachment is also very important in attracting and creating what you want.  It is a mental letting go, just as surrender is an emotional letting go.  If you feel you can’t live without something, that your well-being is dependent upon having it, you actually repel what you desire.  

Wanting and needing are very different.  You create from wanting, from that feeling of desire, not from needing.  You can still want something, but realize that you don’t need it.  In this moment, you are whole.  You are fine without it.  Let go and trust that whatever comes will be for your highest good…even if you don’t always understand why at the moment.

I often feel stressed when I catch myself wanting to control future events and lacking a sense of trust that things will work out.  We cannot control life.  We cannot control other people.  We can, however, control our own thoughts and emotions.  There are always going to be stressful situations and events that we didn’t plan.  We need to trust that things will work out for the best and hold onto our visions.  

When I feel stressed or tense, I breathe and consciously surrender those feelings to the Universe and ask that I be guided.  I release the need to control everything in my life because I trust that the Universe has the perfect plan for me.  I continue to take the necessary steps to get where I want to be, but I also detach from the outcome and trust that whatever happens is for my greatest good.

Affirmations to help you relax and go with the flow:

“I surrender to the Universe and know that everything that happens is for my greatest good."

“I let go easily, trusting that nothing leaves my life unless something better is coming.”

“I release anything that is not for my greater good and ask it to release me.”

“I invite and allow good to come into my life.”

In love and light,

Sydney

“Courage is being scared to death, and then taking the next step anyway”.

Welcome to my blog Asanas and Affirmations. This is my first attempt at blogging and I must admit I resisted the idea at first, mainly because I was scared.  Fear is such a strong emotion.  In the past, I was always afraid of new things or any change whatsoever.  Life is always going to keep evolving, and yoga has taught me to be flexible in my body and mind.  When you can learn to be more flexible and go with the flow, you suffer less.  There is less fear, less anxiety. 

 

Fear stops us from really living fully. It is our ego. It is a trap. Life is too short for regret. Yoga has helped me to breathe through fear, to feel it in my body and to stay calm in uncomfortable situations. This is why I love yoga and why I have chosen to teach. Yoga strengthens your body as well as your mind.  Yoga teaches us how to breathe through discomfort and to face challenges. It is the challenges in life that provide the most growth and learning, and in the end, we are better because we faced them and lived through them. 

 

Sometimes our fears can hold us back from doing or creating what we want.  Every fear that we have represents an area we are developing.  We need to examine our fears because once we hold them up to the light of our consciousness they lose their power.  As you look at and recognize each of your fears, you will be guided to ways of releasing them.  Ask yourself what you are afraid of and what is the worst that could happen if that fear were to come true.  Bringing your fears to the surface can awaken your strength.  You are not your fears, they are merely a small part of you.  Instead of saying “I am afraid”, say “The feeling of fear is passing through me and I now easily let it go”.  Feel the fear and let it wash over you and then release it and let it go.  Your fear will begin to be replaced by inner strength.   

 

An affirmation that I really like for releasing fear and other negative emotions is a conscious breathing exercise.  Sitting comfortably or lying down, close your eyes and begin to breathe.  As you inhale breathe in light, love, abundance, and strength.  As you exhale breathe out any fear, anger, stress, or hurt that you might have.  As you inhale breathe in all the joy and love that the Universe has to offer you.  And then exhale and release anything that you no longer need in your mind or body.  

 

Patanjali explains in the Yoga Sutras that when emotions arise we must turn inward to try to understand where they are coming from or what thoughts are causing them.  He says that only then can we understand why we are alive, why we suffer, and how we might become happy and wise.  

 

In love and light,

Sydney