Excerpt of Chapter 3: Love More, Fear Less -
Heart Opener: Sphinx Pose
Lie on your belly, legs side by side. Lengthen your spine from your head to your toes. Put your elbows under your shoulders and forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Inhale, lift your head and heart away from the floor into a gentle chest opener and back bend. Then, focus on your lower belly. Lightly draw it away from the floor to sooth your lower back while stretching your upper back. Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths and slowly exhale to lower all the way down to the floor. Turn your head to one side and lie quietly for a while. Breathe deeply and exhale to release any tension. The heart is the seat of love, passion and compassion. Follow your heart, lead from your heart and listen to it. Compassion = Health + Happiness. I used to be critical of myself and others. I acted nice in order to please others and feel good about myself. But I let others take advantage of me and end up feeling used. When I acted out of compassion or unconditional love, I was happy. If I did something with the expectation of a certain result or reward, I'd feel cheated or I was always disappointed. Compassion creates mental and physical health because it opens the heart and mind. This openness allows us to be detached from our need to control or hold onto things like happiness or hurt. True love is pure. Compassion doesn't allow love to be small or selfish. Having compassion gives me the power to deal with "difficult" people and situations. Think of someone you love for exactly who he or she is and you would do anything for this person. It's easy to have compassion for a child, but do you feel the same for your siblings, your spouse or your friends? Do random acts of kindness without expectation of any return. Feel the sense of happiness and freedom this brings to your life. Keep a journal of your kindness and gratitude. If you give with an open heart out of true love, you'll receive blessings from the Universe of abundance!
Yoga teaches acceptance, accountability, awareness, authenticity and much more. Acceptance literally means assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest or avoid it. The concept of acceptance is close to meaning find peace and rest in. Give yourself permission to rest in yoga and in life as it is without any judgment. Life is like yoga. It is what you make of it. Play your part and do it with your whole heart. If you feel lukewarm to life or to yoga, you’re cheating yourself. I used to think that accountability meant accepting blame or feeling guilty. So, I looked up its true meaning.
Accountability: Being responsible for your choices and your life instead of blaming others.
Awareness: Most of us tend to go on auto-pilot as we go about our routines. The world induces us to go to sleep. Yoga calls us to wake up and be aware of our thoughts, actions and the consequences.
Authenticity: Yoga teaches self-acceptance. Only when we are able to accept ourselves (flaws and all) then we can accept others. I learned how to be true and be real through yoga, yet I still put up a façade because of my past. After coaching and Landmark, I got a new programming. Applying what I've learned takes practice and I often fall back into the old pattern of thinking. I'm creating the possibility of being a person of my word, honoring my commitments and myself.