Friday, September 25, 2009

Yoga means Union...right?

Ok - I know that yoga means union; Om is the sound of Oneness; when we practice we release judgment and expectation; and all yoga styles are born on the same principle of uniting with the Divinity within. Am I missing anything?

Why then am I seeing so much division between styles and lineages? What do I mean you ask? Why can't Bikram Yoga and Anusara Yoga be housed under the same roof? And why can't we do Vinyasa and Iyengar in the same facility? I would LOVE to do Bikram two days, Vinyasa two days, Iyengar one day, Kundalini another and Anusara another. WOW what a dynamic week that would be!

Am I missing something? Am I crossing an imaginary line that makes even the most heart-opened yogi cringe? Are there places in the United States that DO this? Offer various styles under one roof? PLEASE tell me where they are! Those individuals are on it!

I understand that some teachers are adamant that their style is the BEST style but why? Doesn't that go against the creed of yoga? That we are all One? How can we, as yogis say, "Oh you have been doing that style - forget it. This is the only style you will ever need."

I started with Iyengar; teach Vinyasa and have been practicing Anusara. I tried - what an amazing class that was!

As some of you know, I recently began taking Bikram Yoga classes, aka Hot Yoga. I love it! I love what it does for my mind, my body and my spirit. I have never felt such dedication and committment to any practice or fitness regime in my life! But I LOVE and miss the creativity that Vinyasa brings me. Can't I do both?

I did some research about Bikram: read one of his books and Googled him on the Internet. Interesting guy. I agree with alot of what he says but there is also alot I don't agree with. Does that mean I can't do his practice? No. Does that mean that I have to stop teaching Vinyasa or practicing Anusara with Melonie? No.

It means I have now walked the talk of yogis all across the nation. We are One.

It's disenheartening to witness some yoga practitioners "defending" their yoga practices as if it were a religion. No wonder some people won't try yoga, they think it goes against their religion! Yoga is NOT a religion...remember?

Religious disagreements sure create a bit of global havoic, don't you agree? Do we really want to separate yoga styles too? I thought yoga was about peace and harmony and unity? Why should we have to pick one over the other?

From what I am learning, all yoga styles have the same underlying create Oneness with the Divinity within - they each just have various ways of getting there. What is wrong with that?

So for you yogis out there, please enlighten me on this subject. I truly would like to know if I am the only one out there missing some important message in the art and science of yoga.

And for all you people out there who have not practiced yoga yet.....

It's NOT a religion! If you have tried it and didn't like the style you tried, try a different one! You will LOVE yoga... It is seriously the BEST thing for the body, mind and spirit!

Om shanti, shanti, shanti

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not taking no for an answer...

OK - this is a big one for me. I could use some feedback on this. And you don't need to be a parent to comment either!

This blog is about surrendering to the disappointment of a "no" answer or following through until you get a "yes" or at the very least, get a "no" from the top dog.

As a mother, I want what's best for my kids. Who doesn't right? I want them to go after what they want; fearless of rejection or judgement. Let me give you a specific example of something that happened today - bear with me here while I explain the scenario.

I start teaching yoga classes today at my daughters' school which is very exciting...for my older daughter. I teach to the elementary kids - not the preschoolers. My little one is a preschooler. So of course, my little one is very disappointed, very angry and very upset. She is crying and pouting, has her arms crossed across her chest and her eyes are all red - I am even sad for her.

On one hand, I could say, "Hey kid, this is the way that it is. There's nothing I can do" and on the other hand, I could try and figure out how to "beat the system." Then a thought comes to me. Why can't she help me in one of the classrooms? It would be just for today and maybe next week. Not a huge deal, at least not to me.

So I ask her teacher, the teacher in the other classroom, and the principal of the school, who obviously has the last word. She adamantly says no.

At this point, I don't question. I am sure she has reasons that I don't understand right now. So I tell Ava, "That's it babe. We went to the one in charge and she said no. That is the final decision - let's respect the rules."

Of course now she is really, really upset. Crying hard and loud as I leave her off. I can hear her as I leave and my heart seriously breaks.

So my question is this....did I go too far? Should I have just not even asked? Should I have just said, "That's the rule kid, tough break?" She was crying either way. Or can I teach my kids to ask for what they want and don't take no for an answer unless you went to the one in charge? How far do you go, even if you think it's above and beyond what other people want or expect? Is it ok to act "special" in order to get what you want in life?

I think so but maybe I'm arrogant. Or maybe I just think I'm special. But why don't we ask for what we want? Why do we take that first "no" as an answer? Michael Beckwith says that when you hear that first "no" you should start singing...."La la la la....." over the voices and continue on your merry way.

Hmmmm.... as I write this, I now know I found the answer for me. However, I would LOVE to hear what you have to say about this. As a parent or not! How do YOU handle the "nos" in life? Who do you allow to make or break what you want?

Great question for Monday morning eh?

Dana Layon

Monday, September 14, 2009

Close To Home

So many times we look outside for our lessons in life. We turn to TV, media, mentors and workshops. Really, the learning and beauty is so much closer to home.

Learning is always within we know that right? But sometimes we miss our own beauty so we look to the next best person: our partner or spouse. In this case, I look to my husband.

For so many reason I am choosing to write this blog. One is there is so much to say! Two is because he is a valuable team player that often gets ignored. Three is because I am not sure we are stroking our spouses enough. This is the person we chose to spend our life with! (Maybe I'm the only one who takes her husband for granted but I would guess I'm not.) And finally, they say not to wait for someone to be gone before you tell them how special they are, so here goes.

In April we went from a two car family to a one car family. As most of you know, this could be difficult and upsetting, especially if you are a busy family who likes to participate in life! Instead of letting this get anyone down, my husband went out, bought a mountain bike and declared that he would ride his bike to work everyday during the summer.

Very optimistic idea for such a realist.
So all summer he's riding his bike - never once complaining. Then one day he decides to enter into a triathlon at the end of the summer. I mean, why not? He's trained all summer long right?

This weekend we head to Lincoln City for their annual Sprint Triathlon at Devil's Lake. It was incredible. He did so well! In fact, he came in third place in his age group and 20th overall (176 participants in all). I was stunned... but not really.

Why am I telling you this story? Because I think it's fun to share. I forgot what it was like when it was just me and him. And I was there for him this weekend - no one else. What a rush!

Because we can find such grandure in our own homes. We lose sight of that sometimes when we are busy or focused on something else. We take those closest to us for granted. We don't mean to but we do. And when we do, we miss out on such lovely lessons, such beauty and such love. When we become parents, our focus shifts to those little ones. And how lovely they are .... but this relationship comes first; no exceptions.

So what did I learn - what did my husband teach me?

Look on the bright side...all the time! If we were attached to material items, losing our car could have caused a lot of problems. He turned it around and made such a positive experience out it for us all.

Competition is good - it has it's place. How could our kids ever learn about being non-competitive unless they understood how to compete!

Humility. He rode his bike every day ... including today, the day after the triathlon!
Perseverance. He did it completely even when he didn't feel like it.
Commitment. He enrolled in the triathlon, completed it and performed well!
Courage. He never did this before! No idea what to expect...just jumped right in!

I feel so proud and lucky to have such an incredible role model for my girls! Just a lovely reminder to notice those who are close to you. They are close to you so they can teach you lessons about yourself. Every day, allow yourself to be reminded about why you chose this person to be your spouse or partner. All those qualities are there...sometimes we just don't notice them.

Start today - find the beauty - reignite the fire - put them first again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Living Your Yoga

In my Zen Flow Yoga Teacher Training/Life Transforming program, we talk about the 8 Fundamentals of teaching or practicing yoga. Now, I make it very clear that these 8 Fundamentals are not the end of the line as far as learning. I also make it very clear that yoga has been around for thousands of years so nothing I am teaching is new information; it's only my interpretation.

One of the 8 Fundamentals is to try new yoga styles and new instructors. Especially if you are new to yoga. This is so important! We talk about releasing judgment in yoga so if your first yoga class is a bust and you really hate it, try it again! Try someone new, try a new facility...just don't give up! And if you have been practicing a certain style for your entire life, it's time....try something new...just once!

Yoga is a science and various practices work differently for each individual. Not only that but if you reasearch and study yoga, every single style talks about stillness and finding our Self in our pratice. Yoga is not a religion but sometimes it is treated that way. People cling to their practice and/or their instructors like it was the ONLY thing out there.

I have actually witnessed students leaving a class when there was a substitute teacher. I'm not kidding! That is so sad! Not only for the substitue but also for the student - they may be missing some new life lesson. Consider for a moment the absent instructor. Wow, the responsibility they carry if they are the only one who can bring that student to a state of "enlightenment".

Personally I have been practicing Vinyasa Yoga for years. This has been "it" for me. While running my business, I really didn't make time for my own personal practice. But now, ah now I have time! No more excuses - I decided to heed my own advice and try new styles.

I started by taking Anusara from an amazing lady here in Vancouver. I love Anusara - opening our heart in every pose. It helps that she is such a gracious and loving person herself.

More recently I started taking Bikram Yoga from yet another amazing lady here in Vancouver. I really thought I would die the first class - truly. My heart never beat so fast. But, as in all styles of yoga, we talk about listening to your body. So we stop when we have to. We breathe when we have to. We sit down when we need to. Now, after only 4 classes, I am in LOVE with this practice. It's the first thing that has ever made me sweat so much!

My first love is Vinyasa; I love the creativity of the yoga-dance in my classes. The movement, the breath, the organic way each class flows. I will always practice this style because it speaks to my heart. But I have to say, from a yogic perspective, try it all and mix and mingle. It's the only way to really live life full out.

We yogis are a community of individuals - deep down, wanting to change the world and raise the consciousness of its inhabitants. Why hold ourselves to one teacher and one style? Don't you think we could make more change with more of us in one corner!?

And what about a hot that's what I'm talking about!!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off to School!

Wow - where did the summer go? I mean, yesterday I was making a list of all the fun things we wanted to do this summer and today I'm getting the kids uniforms ready for the morning! For those of you who know me, you know we did everything on our list....berry picking, beach combing, library tours, mall shopping, camping - you name it, we did it!
However, the end of the summer seemed to hit us all like a slow rumbling earthquake. It was fabulous and then the rumbling from beneath the surface began. I can't help but wonder what I could have done differently.
It seemed like the last two weeks were crazy - like the stars were completely out of alignment. No one wanted to share, take turns or be patient with each other. Kids were whining every second of every day, or so it seemed, and I simply thanked God I didn't decide to home-school my kids this September!

We had such a blast this summer but I have to say ... I am ready for those little love bugs to go back to school from 9:00am-3:00pm. If it will buy me 2 hours of not having to answer a question, figure out who started it, clean up from a meal or buckle a seat belt, other than my own, I'll take it! Now keep in mind I don't watch TV, eat bon bons or work out like a fiend. No, just some silence during my day would be nice.

How many moms out there have answered over 50 questions in one minute? I have! How many have spent their camping trips in the bathroom with one child at a time because no one ever has to go potty at the same time! And how many have threatened to give away all the toys unless they learned to get along? Anyone besides me actually toss toys out the car window?

Before you gasp and say, "Wow, I thought she was a yogi", realize I am a yogi but I am also a mom. The only difference may be is that I am totally aware of what I am doing. I am actually conscious when I tell my girls that my head is going to pop off and spin around in circles if they fight over Barbies one more time! This gets a laugh every time.

I love my girls. And I am so grateful that I was able to hang out with them all day, every day this summer. We all learned so much about ourselves, each other, how we relate and how we are all so alike but yet, so different. Mostly, I think we all appreciate the time we have away from each other so we can come back and share what we have learned on our own.

Thanks to my lovely girls for an amazing summer! I adore you with all my heart! Thank you for offering me so many opportunities to grow and change this summer. And thanks for all the times I regressed ... those are opportunities too!

These are the days.....we will remember.....

I will remember every single one - with love.