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Journal Post

You will see in others what you see in yourself. All of the insecurities you see in others are really the ones you have within reflected back at you. A Course in Miracles states that you cannot give to another what you have not known yourself. But is this true with love? Or does love play by other rules? When we ask others for unconditional love does that mean we are capable of it ourselves? In the total acceptance of our imperfections we find a grace beyond measure and a joy in the otherwise confusing panorama of humanity. Yet if we are only able to love another person to the extent that we are able to love ourselves our capacity to give might find a dead end in the caverns of our self-loathing and the doldrums of low self-esteem.
When we begin practicing yoga the deepest part of our consciousness asks for clarity, awakening and truth. What is sometimes the first step in taking positive steps towards the peace that we all yearn for is a recognition of exactly how deeply we are entrenched within our ways of warfare. Yoga for example can sometimes be riddled with fierce competition. You might find yourself competing with a new yoga practitioner in your daily class who is naturally very flexible. Or you might find yourself competing with yourself and comparing your body in a negative light with the way it was last year, last week or yesterday. Yet still you might be competing with your friends and peers.
Food is not who you are. It is a way you communicate with the world. You express things through food, through eating, like you do through any art form, but it nevertheless is not who you are at your deepest essence. Your eating habits are merely habits, not your life or your vitality, though they may seriously enhance your life, your energy levels and your overall health.
I meet lots of yoga students who want to practice more often but just can't find the time. When I ask if they practice at home the answer is almost always, "No." Starting a home practice isn't really as daunting as you might think. One of the most important benefits is that you can do it when it fits your schedule. Below are some thoughts for how to get started.
The February issue of Yoga Journal includes an article by John Schumacher.
Regular readers of the magazine look forward to the monthly Home Practice feature for fully illustrated sequences of ten poses. This month's sequence is designed to build the strength and flexibility needed for arm balances, such as Bakasana (Crane Pose). Each pose is photographed, with John's precise descriptions guiding readers through the work in each asana.
You can tell alot about a person through the food they eat. The choices we make about food begins to show what a person thinks about herself, her environment, her body, even her beliefs. For instance, Yoga Teacher = Vegetarian. Right?  It turns out, not as often as you'd think. I for one,  did not become a vegetarian for "yogic" reasons, nor because of PETA ads, nor did I harbor a particularly large sentiment for the animals we eat (that all came later).
People often come to yoga looking for a way to feel less stressed and more relaxed, and the practice of yoga can certainly make a significant difference. So much so, that I often wonder how people who don't know yoga and relaxation can manage when life gets bumpy! However, the potential benefits from yoga and relaxation training go far beyond just immediate stress relief. They change the lens through which we view our stressful life events, and thereby eliminate many stressful feelings at the source.
Most students report that they come to yoga because of strees; and certainly yoga can bring relief. However, yoga offers many more benefits in addition to relaxation, such as flexibility, strength, increased circulation to organs and glands (often resulting in enhanced health), better sleep, improved digestion, and a quieter and more centered mind. Over several years, this practice can add up to the true essence of yoga: living life with a joyful spirit and a peaceful mind in a relaxed and healthy body. Although these benefits are tremendous (and I have found as I get older they are truly priceless!), they cannot occur if students don't come to class.
Anusara means "flowing with Grace" or "following your heart." Developed by John Friend, Anusara is a style of hatha yoga that encompasses the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions of yoga.
Anusara Yoga is an exceptionally therapeutic system because it is founded on Universal Principles of Alignment that bring the body into balance. This specific alignment positions the joint and muscles for maximum stability, flexibility, and safety and optimizes the circulation of blood, vital energy and other internal fluids for the healthiest flow. Anusara also teahes 7 Loops & Spirals that act as fine-tuning dials for the energetic and structural alignment in the body.
Discipline is one of those qualities that many of us wish we had more of! In fact, a study several years ago listed lack of discipline as one of the most common regrets as people looked back on their lives. My favorite definition is framed on the wall in the yoga center and in my office: Discipline is remembering what you want. This definition established discipline from the inside out, so it's an inspiration rather than a control imposed from the outside in.
In a teacher training application recently, the participant stated that she had expressed concern to her first yoga teacher about the time and money involved in taking yoga, saying that she didn't think she could afford to do it. Her teacher responded, "You can't afford NOT to!" After more than 5 years of yoga she wholeheartedly agrees!
Six Years ago I attended an Intermediate/Advanced Yoga Workshop taught by John Friend in Utah. We practiced all kinds of challenging and unusual poses, as well as the more typical postures. One day John had me demonstrate Adho Mukha Vrksasana, the Handstand Pose. I love this pose and have practiced it for years. However, he had me demonstrate in the middle of the room. He caught my legs as I kicked up and helped me find my balance and maintain it for about a minute in the middle of the room.
I have discovered the secret of a happy life! It came to me again recently while vacuuming. I say "again" because we all know this truth, but most of us overlook it. My husband Dave and I were having friends over for dinner. He was cooking, and I was in charge of cleaning the house, not usually my favorite job. I put the Three Tenors on the CD player and cranked it up. As I vacuumed and listened to the music, I became totally immersed in the job, enjoying seeing the dust bunnies, pet hair, and various other interesting objects disappear into the vacuum cleaner. I continued cleaning for a couple of hours, singing away, marveling at the improvements appearing before my eyes.
Sometimes it's nice to site back and reflect on where we have been and where we are now...My husband and I moved to Florida from Virginia five and a half years ago, after he retired. Initially I kept my yoga center in Virginia and went back regularly to run it, so I did not start teaching in Florida right away. However after comparing winter up north with winter down here, I sold my yoga center and decided to focus on Florida! In August of 2000 an opportunity came up to teach in the community where we live. We initially offered two morning classes, with my husband Dave teaching one class and me the other; we had a total of 18 students.
Recently I saw a yoga video produced by a friend I met many years ago at a yoga retreat. He took his first yoga class at age 50, to deal with back pain sustained after months in the hospital following an aviation accident. By the time he retired from his "regular job" he was so hooked on yoga that he decided to teach it. On the video he is talking students through the Salutation to the Sun, a yoga warm-up exercise, talking as he bends backward from a standing position. he says, "Stretch up, stretch back, and now look for the floor, look for the floor". What?? "Look for the floor"?! He is bending so far backward he is halfway down to the floor with his hands, from a standing position!

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