Sutra Saturday: Sthira Sukum Asanam

“Pilgrim, pilgrimage, and road – it was but myself toward my SELF, and your arrival was but myself at my own door.” – RUMI
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❤️ Sutra: Sthira Sukum Asanam. (Effortless effort)
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This fundamental Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali talks of cultivating sthira (steadiness, stability, firmness, seriousness) and sukha (gentleness, flexibility, softness, playfulness) in our mindfulness practice. The qualities denoted by these two sanskrit words can be applied to the whole of your meditation and yoga practice. Each pose should be steady and comfortable so much so that we find an effortless effort in life whereby the pose we take (walking, talking, sitting, driving) is both elegant and honest.
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This practice of graceful effort means that some days it might be more difficult and some days it’s easy, just like life is filled with joyousness and setbacks. But the point is to take a consistently steady, but gentle, approach, to your mindfulness practice and your life.
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Photo by @jaguarprincess #bali
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STOP PUSHING AND PULLING

STOP PUSHING AND PULLING
by Silvia Mordini

Wishing you a day of effortless effort where you are not feeling pulled or pushed. And a day where you aren’t the one doing the pushing or pulling. I know from experience every time you push your partner, he or she will pull back and when we try to pull at them to stay longer they will then push away. It’s the win-lose scenario of dualism. Imagine how strong a person has to be that when you push them they don’t react to your pushing. All while at the same time they are careful not to overcompensate for the initial push in order to maintain balance. Whew! That’s not fun. 

But when we follow the lead of our breath and stop pushing and pulling at the people in our lives it all makes for living an easeful life. On the mat we practice recognizing energies of Pushing and Pulling, Dvesa and Raga, so we can live better off the mat. Take to heart the words of Judith Lasater who writes, “in life we are pulled between trying to get what you want and trying to avoid what you don’t want. Pulling and Pushing away both limit our freedom.” What is freedom? To me is about learning to be happy with what life is offering you (reducing the extremes of pushing and pulling). It’s so simple.
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⭐️This concept is from the Yoga Sutras:

 Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 7
Excessive fondness for pleasant experiences causes longing. Attachment (Raga) which is PULLING
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 Yoga Sutras Chapter 2, Verse 8
Excessive avoidance of unpleasant experiences causes contempt. Aversion (Dvesa) which is PUSHING
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On and off the mat we can be aware of what we are thinking:
1. Where are your thoughts PUSH energy? Push thoughts are things like “I don’t want to hold this pose, I don’t want to try this new or difficult variation”
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2. Where are your thoughts PULL energy? Pull thoughts might be things like “I need another Sun Salutation,” “I have to do 35 vinyasas per class no matter what,”
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When we aren’t pushing away positive change or pulling at it either, we remain on easy speed and life becomes a Win-Win. Try it and see!
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Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

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Passion for Life By Silvia Mordini

Did you wake up today loving your life?

Don’t you want to wake-up filled with energy and enthusiasm?
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Are you doing things because you love to do them or because you feel like you should do them? What percentage of the time would you say you live like that? Well, if you are spending more of your time doing stuff because you feel like you have to instead of wanting to, then you’ve discovered a simple formula for misery.
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Take the first step to get clear on what “sparks JOY” by asking yourself “what are you passionate about?” What stokes enthusiasm so much so that you can feel it in your body, whether it’s a smile on your face or sitting up a little taller in your seat. This helps you define the purpose of your passion.
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Second step is write it down.
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Now you may ask, why write it if we can just think about it? Because science tells us that by writing out your goals on a piece of paper you send a red flag to your subconscious mind that these thoughts are more important than the other 59,999 ones you’ll have today! It gives the other thoughts directions and where your energy goes it grows.
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This also helps you to filter out what is unimportant so you can focus first on what’s most important. You will enjoy life more fully if you stop focusing on the minor stuff and figure out what you want to major in life. The key thing to keep in mind is that you can have fun while you’re progressing along your path. You can reclaim the joy of waking up each day excited about your life!
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So ask yourself right now: “Where are you going, what path are you on; Are you excited about the direction? If I could choose to make any adventure which one would you do next?”
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Have you always dreamed of doing yoga on the beach in Bali? Or maybe you’ve dreamed of living under the Tuscan sun in Italy or to challenge yourself climbing the beautiful red rocks of Moab or surfing in Costa Rica? Then today journal about what lights up your life with passion. Plan your life’s next big adventure and make it happen. Stop holding back from what you really want to experience!
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And from this passion for life you will be transformed or as Pantanjali says in the Yoga Sutras, “When you are inspired by some great purpose all of your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world!” Be the cause of your own future happiness! Start planning the next wonderful adventure doing what you love!
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Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia Mordini.
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More inspiration at www.silviamordini.com

The Difference between Distraction and Disturbance

We live in an increasingly chaotic world where everything is sped up and super sized.

We are constantly being stimulated by the immediacy of technology. We are distracted thousands of times a day externally and a million more times internally. It’s not getting any easier; technology has made it harder for us to focus. There is now almost nowhere you can go where someone can’t reach you with something urgent and important (at least to them.)

However, with this said, distraction is not the problem.

It is the suffering we experience as a result of focusing our energy on that distraction that causes a disturbance.

Disturbance is defined by Wikipedia as “the interruption of a settled and peaceful condition, the disruption of healthy functioning.”

Distraction is defined by Wikipedia as “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. And an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.”

We live in a world of constant distraction. It’s easy to get agitated by the over stimulation of bells, whistles, alarms. With that said we could still overcome this if it wasn’t for how we try to deal with it in our left-brain centered world. The left-brain according to psychologists is adept at tasks that involve logic, numbers, reasoning, language and analytical thinking. We try to make peace by over controlling or denying the distraction. This will not bring us peace in our left-brain world.

Instead this feeds the disturbance to our mental patterns because it requires our brains to keep choosing to refocus on the distraction over and over again. We want to understand or fix the distraction thereby repeating it and giving it power. Our energy is being drained from us as we put it all towards the distraction that creates the disturbance. As a result we are living in mental poverty.

The solution to learning how not to be pulled into the tug of war of disturbance is Meditation.

 

Meditation will teach you the following:

  1. The difference between Attention and Awareness: Awareness is the forest, attention are the trees
  2. In our brain focused society rebuilding our awareness through a more global perspective will help us be less caught up in the details of our thoughts that distract us in a gazillion ways.

Attention and awareness and action are the intelligence of the soul

  1. How to concentrate. We have become a nation where the old saying you have my undivided attention is a thing of the past, these days if we’re honest we’d tell people “you have my divided attention.” Nobody knows how to listen these days.
  2. In grade school we had an opening meditation in the form of the pledge of allegiance; can you create an opening day mantra that can serve you today?
  3. In grade school we had recess to get rid of this excess energy-causing disturbance. Why not make a point to take an adult recess today? Run around, sit quietly, unplug.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

Why We Experience Slipping Backwards or Anavasthitatva

Why We Experience “Slipping Backwards” or Anavasthitatva

Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.30 – There are nine kinds of distractions that come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the Spiritual path, and these are physical illness, mental inertia, self-doubt, haste, apathy, laziness, self-deception (incorrect assumptions about ourselves), lack of perseverance to achieve one’s intentions, and the inability to maintain a level of aptitude once gained.

There is comfort in knowing these are predictable.

If these are the impediments along the journey, then we can feel much more at ease when we encounter them. Instead of thinking, “Something is wrong with me,” we can see that these are predictable bumps along the road of spiritual life.

If we know that such obstacles are going to come, and that other people before us have encountered them, then we can also follow their experience and guidance as to how to deal with these obstacles.

What Happens when we meet an Obstacle?

First, one of these nine states .

Read the full article on DoYouYoga.com

Azadi Retreat Yoga

Slipping Backwards

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Slipping Backwards: Known as “anavasthitatva”

Post Yoga Retreat our greatest shared obstacle is often our inablity to maintain the progress we’ve achieved once we go back home. When we return, the same habits of mind and circumstance may take over again if we allow them to.

Other ways to describe this include:
• Slipping down
• Instability
• Unsteadiness
• Inconsistency

It is not enough to go away and do this self-work, the practice means to continue to perseveare and work on remaining focused on our progress. In other words, to keep it going because it is important to our personal development. No excuses. Just showing up on the mat or meditation cushion every single day.

No one can do this for us.

We have to maintain our commitment to living our best lives and although at times we might “slip backwards” promise to stay the course and keep going for our good and the good of our spiritual contributions to the world.

This doesn’t just apply to going away on retreat, it applies to any time we make progress and find ourselves slipping backwards. Maintenance in romance, at our jobs, towards our hobbies, with our yoga and any healthy habit isn’t that easy. All we can do when we find ourselves recognizing our inconsistency is begin again.

Go back to basics and never, ever give up.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

The Importance of Community in Yoga by Silvia Mordini

The Importance of Community in Yoga

My favorite part of yoga is community — the coming together of humans of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, ages, interests to share the same experience. That’s why I go back everyday as a teacher and as a student.

Science tells us that being in a healthy community is good for us. The vibration of positive-minded people raises our vibrational frequency, and this shared joy elevates our spirits.

This is talked about in Yoga Sutra Chapter 2.33 Pratipaksha Bhavana. Essentially, the sutras spell out that if we are imbalanced mentally, physically, or emotionally, then we are not living our true nature which is joy. Therefore, engaging with others trying to think happy thoughts helps us create happy thoughts as well.

Positive energy creates and attracts more positive energy! Community that breeds higher vibration contributes to raising consciousness for all.

Creating a Yoga Community

After teaching yoga for some years I also founded a 4,000 square foot studio that welcomed .

Read the full article on DoYouYoga.com

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Most Recommended Yoga Books for Teacher Training

With so many yoga books out there to choose from I am often asked what would you recommend I read to either prepare for a Yoga Teacher Training or simply increase my self-study. Here are my most recommended Yoga Books for serious students and teacher trainees.

MUST READ BOOKS:

1. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,Swami Satchitananda or Secret Power of Yoga, Nichala Joy Devi Practice:
2. Yoga The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Eric Schiffman
3. Wheels of Light by Anodea Judith
4. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad
5. Yoga for Wellness, Gary Kraftsow, Penquin, 1999
6. Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship, Donna Farhi
7. Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, Judith Lasater
8. Muscles of Yoga Scientific Keys Volume 1 by Dr Ray Long
9. The Yamas and Niyamas Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice, Deborah Adele
10. How We Choose to be Happy: 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People, Rick Foster and Greg Hicks

RECOMMENDED BOOKS:

Yogi Bare by Philip Self;
The Language of Yoga by Nicolai Bachman;
Yoga from the Inside Out by Christina Sell;
A Path With Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
Wherever You Go There You Are by Jack Kornfield;
Anatomy of Movement, Blandine Calais-Germain;
The Heart of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice, Desikachar,
The Four Desires by Rod Stryker;
The Art of Forgiveness,
Lovingkindness and Peace, Jack Kornfield;
Healing Mantras, Thomas Ashley-Ferrand;
Women who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa PInkola Estes;
The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz;
Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic, Darren Main;
Breathing Book, Donna Farhi,
Its Easier than you Think, Sylvia Boorstein;
Womencode, Alisa Vitti;
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown;
The Way of the Happy Woman, Sara Stover;
The Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell;
The Heroine’s Journey, Maureen Murdock;
Be Happy, William  Holden;
Sweat Your Prayers, Gabrielle Roth;
Light on Life, BKS Iyengar
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What is Dharma?

What Is Dharma by Silvia Mordini

This idea of dharma—‘knowing why we are here’—requires action to move us forward. Literally translated, the word karma means ‘action.’ It comes from the Sanskrit root ‘kr,’ which means ‘to act.’

The action of karma includes the movement of our bodies and the movement of our thoughts. However, the paradox is that we will never know for sure what our purpose is without at least testing the choices that drive our karma.

Every day, we have opportunities to take action. Fiery situations arise that help us burn off some karma. Our actions can prompt better questions to ask ourselves regarding our true dharma.

Instead of Seeking Answers, Live the Questions

Often, people come to yoga hoping to find answers in the poses. The poses, however, are the questions.

Read the full article on DoYouYoga.com