It is graduation time across college campuses this week. We all know graduation is not an end but rather a beginning for these graduates. The clay isn't fully molded, but has shape and is malleable.
My wish for all of them is to 'live large' no matter what they are setting out to do. This generation, more than any before them, has the capacity and the tools to do what they set out to do. There are more lights illuminating their paths, more open doors for all people, and more global opportunity than ever before. To 'live large' doesn't mean necessarily a large income or a large job or a large home. Rather it means to live and love large from that deepest place inside.
What if we were all given permission to use our internal GPS and follow our heart? So that no matter what we do we feel our life is an authentic expression of what we stand for, who we are, and what we want to see more of in our world!
Someone feeding the hungy is living large, and so is someone teaching at a school or personal training at a gym, or care giving, or selling a product, as long as they bring all of themselves to the job and let their light shine bright. Our world needs us all to shine our light and to make a difference by being heard and living in alignment with our truth. True happiness exists when our minds and hearts and actions are all singing the same song.
Best wishes to all the graduates as they joyfully go out into the world. May you inspire those around you to live and love large too.
This gorgeous weather this weekend found Brian and I out for a walk in a new park we found in Iowa City. It was pretty wooded and we were unfamiliar with the different paths and where they would lead. About 10 minutes into the walk, we started experiencing some mud on the path. Not much to start with but the further we walked, the muddier it got. We were doing all sorts of acrobatics trying to avoid the mess. Walking along the edge of the path were there we some leaves to walk on worked for a bit, but there were sticker bushes and thorns aplenty, so this was quite the balancing act.
I can't tell you how many times the thorns and stickers grabbed ahold of my clothes and I was literally stuck in place dislodging thorn by thorn in order to keep walking. It is a funny picture in my head now, as I recall the episodes, one right after the other. I was rendered motionless on the side of the path just to avoid the slippery mud. Seems silly, now when I think about it. The mud washes off, but I ended up bleeding, literally, trying to avoid it.
I think next time I would chose to walk right through the mud with confidence and joy, rather than being locked up on the side of the path. It made me wonder, how many times to I chose that option in life? When life gets messy, do I side-line myself? How can I chose to dig in, go out of my comfort zone, get dirty, and go for it, rather than playing it safe, being tidy, and avoiding the mess?
SPEAK YOUR WAY INTO BETTER HEALTH
What if the words you spoke had an impact on your heath? Would you believe me if I told you they do? The words and phrases you use can powerfully and instantly affect how you feel about things.
Empowering words empower you. It is that simple.
If you view and speak about exercise as a chore or something you must do, that is how your mind and body interpret your exercise regime. You may even feel yourself resisting this ‘thing’ that you tell yourself you must do. It may even conjure up some old feelings when you had to do something you didn’t want to do but had no power over the situation.
The idea is to give yourself that power so you feel free to choose each and every day the best things that will help you achieve your wellness goals. From the food you eat and the way you move your body.
So now imagine that you spoke about movement, whether it be dance, or walking, or yoga, or biking as a GIFT you give to yourself. Call it your PLAY time. You will find yourself reorganizing your day and TIME will make itself available for you to MOVE.
You have one body and one life. No one has ever reached their golden years with regret about taking care of their body, mind and spirit. Your older self thanks you for the choices you are making today that will make life better for you years down the road.
Do you agree with these thoughts?
The head wonders: What will you do?
The heart says: Look at who you are.
I am just arriving home from a fabulous dinner with our 18 year old son. He is at the University of Iowa a year earlier than planned. My husband, Brian and I are thrilled to see that he has adjusted to his new adventure so soon. We met to bring him his diabetes supplies that were running low. Pays off to be so close to home if for no other reason. His older sisters are far enough away that we could not just meet for dinner. It is at least a weekend journey.
We started our empty nest ahead of schedule and we weren't sure how we would adjust. We were planning on one more year with our son at home. It is amazing how quickly we adjusted to a new normal.
With three kids in college this year, we are often asked the question, "What are your kids studying"? "What do they want to do someday?" I usually don't know how to respond to that question, other than to mention what they are enjoying studying currently, and what they are thinking. But we know that all changes as they progress.
Brian and I firmly believe in the value of a liberal arts education where a student is freely given the opportunity to explore the bounds of who they are, what they stand for, and what God is calling them to be. We believe that God calls to you through your passions and directs you through your desires. If we could all do what we were authentically called to do, there would be so much more inner peace and less angst and frustration in the world.
That is not to say there would be no desolation, but it is to say there would be enough consolation to help one thought he dry and doubtful periods.
Isn't WHO you become far more valuable than WHAT you become? How often does it play out that the WHO you are opens far more doors and gets you how much closer to your dreams that the WHAT you are? I would venture to guess that it isn't even important who you know, unless those people truly celebrate the genuine person you really are.
In our midst we have seen yoga in action in the hardest of situations we could ever imagine. As our prayers and well wishes extend beyond our yoga studio walls, our hearts are reminded how connected we really are with one another.
Staying in the moment, quieting the mind, looking for the beauty, getting into the flow of what is rather than resisting it, accepting and opening to grace, showing mercy, letting go, staying grounded, letting the boundaries dissolve and feel the connection, expressing gratitude, and being present in mind, body and spirit. These are just a sampling of what I have seen in the midst of extreme pain and uncertainty. I have been touched and affirmed in the truth of these practices.
For those who have just joined our yoga community and those who have been practicing with us for years, thank you for exploring these concepts with me and showing me in your day-to-day life how this practice looks off the mat.
We all carry burdens and emotions that come from various experiences, big and small. Sometimes these emotions and experiences take a physical form in our bodies, causing aches and pains and restriction. This session we will be working from head to toe releasing discomfort. That is a universal goal we all share. Find freedom this summer!
Message from the Mat
What a life I lead full of perspective from my family, my faith, my yoga practice and teaching experience, as well as my job working with the ‘Wisdom Generation’ at Meth-Wick.
I am surrounded by messages about how to make the most of what we have today so we can look back with great memories and gratitude.
Taking good care of ourselves not only includes what we eat and how we move our body, but how we talk to and about ourselves. This could be the hardest part of all. Check in with yourself and hear what messages you are subliminally telling yourself. Your body has no choice but to believe these thoughts, so choose wisely.
Our yoga practice can have profound impact on our daily life. The ability to shift your energy and emotion is a tool you can use any time, any place, and for the rest of your life.
It is my gift to share with you what I know about developing a home practice to augment our time together.
In class, we have spent the past several weeks unpacking a typical yoga class so you can determine how to create your own practice.
This summer, join me as we explore the parts of the body and the methods we can use for bringing relieve to imbalances so you can age more pain-free.
On and off the mat, I thank you for sharing this practice with me…using simple yoga principles to find a better way to be in this world.
We just finished a great 8 week winter session. And here we are ready for spring to begin. I love how yoga helps us recognize what is organically happening all around us. The energy of winter soon changes to the new life and expansive energy of spring. We see this all around us and understand this has an impact on how we feel, what we do, and sometimes what happens to us. The clarity yoga brings is refreshing and helps us release the resistance to all aspects of our life, on and off the mat.
So for the next few weeks while we are spring breaking with our families, use this expansive time to do something for yourself that takes you outside your normal routine, or even outside of your comfort zone. Imagine if for the rest your life you looked for some way each day or each week to do, think, feel differently. Not that our routines are bad. At this point in life you probably have an excellently efficient and effective routine. But routines can become ruts unless we are intentional about them. Sometimes we can become mindless in our efforts, like we are on automatic pilot. Who knows, you may come up with something new, something that inspires you to altar your routine. What do you need more of? If you are already really good at relaxing, then a warm bath or a great book by the fire are probably not too far out of your comfort zone. Likewise, if you are regimented and structured, more structure probably won't inspire you. We are all wired differently, but we all can soften and expand in a new way. What direction are you moving toward?
I will be looking for ways to change my routine up as well. Then we can report in and share what we discovered. Namaste!
We just finished our December 'Bonus' Session of yoga tonight. I love that you love your yoga and you don't want too much time to lapse before we gather again in the New Year. I love that you spoke up and that my family is flexible and that the time worked out for several of you to come to our extra classes.
I took a chance and introduced many of you to Aroma Yoga, where we use the oils, along with our yoga, to enhance our experience. I have been using essential oils, Young Living Essential Oils, be be specific, for about 12 years. I am to the point, where I wonder what life was like without 'my oils'. I use them daily in one way or another. I wear them, I smell them, I diffuse them, I ingest them, I use them as medicine. This week was a first for me. Now I can say I teach yoga with them.
I will go back to our normal class routines with a more flowing yoga class, but now you know how you can enhance your own yoga practice, by infusing a little essential oil in your life. Thanks for your willingness to experiment with me! Namaste!
I was online researching travel yoga mats the other day. I found the ones that fold up so they fit in your suitcase. I tried it with my old, flimsy, lightweight mat that I purchased before I understood how awesome a durable yoga mat can be. It worked! It was flimsy enough to be folded and yet was firm enough that the folded mat will be my meditation cushion. For travel, this lightweight mat will be the best. Folded, it fit inside a random tote I had laying around. BAM. No travel yoga mat purchase necessary. Off to Ireland I go with my yoga mat and meditation cushion neatly tucked inside my travel bag. I love it when I can be creative with what I already have.
What I noticed was my conditioned response when I unfolded the yoga mat. I could not resist stepping on in and moving my body. I firmly believe that my relaxation response is conditioned as well. Anytime I am holding, rolling, unrolling, and sitting on my yoga mat, I think I unwind a little in one form or another.
Try it during our yoga break. Just do nothing more than commit to unrolling your yoga mat and see if you don't automatically step, sit or lie on it and start to move your body. Or even connect with the breath. It can be that simple. Creating a few moments each day to give yourself the gift of yoga can be transforming. Thanks for sharing part of your summer with me, using simple yoga principles to find a better way to be in this world. In gratitude, Julie
I am a devoted yoga enthusiast and teacher.