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Archive for the ‘Self-Improvement’ Category

Can Vs. Should

Posted on: November 14th, 2017 by Lara Land

“I’m not flexible” is the number one excuse I receive from people as to why they can’t do yoga. First of all, yoga is not something you do. It’s something that happens when the breath, mind, and body come to oneness. Being flexible is not important. In fact, being too flexible can be a hinderance.

Can vs. Should is about flexibility to stability equivalence radar. Just because a student is flexible, doesn’t mean they should go into the deepest most bendy expression of each pose. When arching and contorting compromise strength and stability, alignment, breath, and equanimity, the student has gone too far.

I often see new students looking around at longer practicing ones and whispering that they will never be able to do whatever it is they are doing, or giving a nod to affirm that the visual example they see is one they will start moving toward. This is such a dangerous and unhealthy approach. Each expression of a posture will be unique to the make-up and the needs of the student. Let the teacher be your eyes. Let your feeling body be your guide to repeating your teacher’s adjustments.

We are so eye-centric, leading with the visual in almost all things. Yoga time is a chance to quiet our gaze and awaken the nervous system. Instead of looking with the eyes, try to inspire an awareness of your whole being. Ask your body where it is in space and what it feels inside. If you hear nothing, don’t worry, just keep asking. Over time your body will start to build awareness you never knew it had.

This field of awareness is the start of yoga. It will inform all you do and all you are on and off the mat and the question of what you do with it and all your new abilities is a very important one, especially as your influence grows stronger. (Yes, one of the impacts of yoga is an increase of prana, magnetism, influence.) You may find people, objects, and opportunities coming toward you like never before. These are the instances to use your on-the-mat Can vs. Should practice in the real world.

Can vs. Should is an almost obsolete question here in the US. We seem to have decided as a culture that if it can be done, we should do it, and if it can’t we should try harder. Especially those of us with power and privilege must question the assumption that we should do everything we have the power to do. In fact as our power and influence increase we must be more mindful of each and every action.

The upheaval in Hollywood is a real reminder about using power wisely and about the choice we have to not do all we can do. For our personal practice we can start to look at this question with regards to our energy. As aspiring yogis we know that we don’t need to drill everywhere there may be oil, but we often forget what that means for ourselves. Do we have to do and be it all or is there perhaps a more equitable way to treat our energy and impact in this world? Can we, should we do less?

As you go into the world approaching this difficult Can vs. Should dilemma remember the soft gaze of your practice, and look for answers with your whole being awareness. This is the route to right knowledge. As we experience the wholeness of self, we drop into the wholeness of being which we are a part of and we come to know the ripples and we make mindful choice.

It’s fall! Make a...

Posted on: September 7th, 2016 by Lara Land

Did you think vision boarding was January? I bet some of you thought right before the new year. You aren’t off, but you could be even more ON! Reworking, writing, seeing your life’s vision is an ongoing affair. As we change (and we change a lot) doorways for new potential open up for us. If we don’t take a moment (or two) to re-evaluate outside our linear minds, we may miss that something has shifted.

 

Can you feel the shift?…

The air has changed. It’s fall. No matter how old you are the memories of slick smelling school books, freshly sharpened pencils and clean journals live inside your every pore.

Don’t fight it! Be a kid again!

The child’s instinct to play, to create, uninhibited, is within you and is bursting out with the autumn sun.

Get on the ground!…

Children are low to the ground and have their hands in things. That’s where you want to be for your best creations. Get yourself heaps of magazines, scissors, crayons or markers, and some glue and a large board or my preference blank journal. I use an extra large beautifully bound journal to flesh out sections of my big picture vision in a way you can’t do on a large board. I’ll get to that in a minute!

My highest recommendation is that you actually collect and cut out from magazines all year long and keep a large envelop of your cut outs handy for that day when you have both time and inspiration. Then you can toss them all out on the floor and pick the ones that speak to you on your vision boarding day and save the rest for later.

Most people don’t know what they want! Most can’t see the VAST and UNBOUNDED nature of what they could be, because of deeply routed and passed down (through generations!) assumptions. That is why I HIGHLY recommend guided meditation before vision boarding to get beyond the prison of the 10% brain and into FEELING, POSSIBILITY, & WONDER. Register for my mailing list where I’ll have new very soon about recorded meditations and other offerings that will be for SUBSCRIBERS only or email me to request my Train Your Brain program where we discuss how this whole process works to REWIRE your brain and actually GET YOU WHAT YOU DESIRE!

After mediation you may want to JOURNAL automatic-writing style where you stay as close to your meditative state as possible as you write what you saw. You’ll want to make sure you’ve prompted yourself with a list of categories such as Career, Travel, Home, Health, Education, Creativity, Pastimes, Family, Friendships, Relationships, Etc, because otherwise you are bound to do all your imagining around the subjects that come EASIEST to you. (Not the plan at all!)

From your journaling you can then create your big picture VISUALLY. I’ve recently started using the feng shui bagua pictured below to inform my vision boarding and I find it really working!

bagua-web

Add affirmations, personal photos, even three dimensional tokens that mean something to you.

Don’t stop there though! The road to your BIG PICTURE vision has lots of BIG MOMENTS within it. For example: Let’s say your big picture has you as head Veterinarian at a new clinic, but you haven’t completed Vet school. You may want to draw that picture separately including all the people who’ll be standing around you. Get it?! Livening up your plan brings the ACTION element into it that is so often left out. The more excited and passionate you get about your vision, the faster it cooks, so draw all your colors in and add words which make YOU moved! Don’t worry about any one else’s vision of themselves and release yourself of all others dreams for you! Even those that have your “best interests” at heart. This is the deep and important work we do at Train Your Brain to make sure you aren’t manifesting someone else’s vision of who you are…

Rinse, Wash, & Repeat cause like I said, vision drawing and dreaming is never done! I don’t believe you need to look at your board each day, which is another reason I prefer a journal. Keep it available. Have it by you when you light a candle. Don’t harp on it. Keep it childlike, creative, and fun!

Summed up tips for vision boarding:
1. Keep your visions alive by working on them seasonally.
2. Meditate before you create.
3. Go big and bold with colors, images, and words that excite you.
4. Create pictures of your story along the way!
5. Make it all your own!

 

Mind, Body, Spirit: Tulum

Posted on: March 16th, 2016 by Lara Land

Why Tulum? Why you? Why me? 

Summer may have come to its unofficial end with the passing of Labor Day, but the ease, boundlessness, and warmth that come with it should not have to be lost. I figure we can all hold on until the beginning of December, but we are going to need a re-boot before holiday time comes around.

As many of you know I was in Napa last month teaching yoga for UPTOWN magazine’s food and wine retreat, Uncorked. It was a spectacular moment for so many from so many different backgrounds and locations, who came together in peace for peace and transcended even their wildest dreams.

In that beautiful setting, separated from city life, and surrounded by an intension of positivity and growth, I saw our guests thrive and grow at such a rapid pace. With my help, they were able to tune in to some really deep places and let go of some serious blocks. Morning sessions were physical, fun, & challenging and got everyone out of their heads and energized for the day. Evening sessions were slow, meditative, and reflective. Everyone who wanted to could participate and felt comfortable doing so.

I left with a string of testimonials and stories of great personal and professional progress that each guest attributed to our time together. It was beyond inspiring to have that kind of impact, and just the sign I needed to be sure I must do more retreats like this one. This is what gave birth to Tulum, Mexico.

Famed as one of the absolute best retreat centers in Tulum, Amansala was the obvious choice.  I wanted a place that was close and doable but also transcendent and I know we have found just that in their eco-chic, beachside accommodations. Everything from the food, to the yoga, to the mud treatments is designed to cleanse and bring you an experience that will have you at your highest self when you return to “normal life”. There are some personal growth secrets that I’ve been accessing and I will be sharing those step by step with all who want to makes leaps, personally, spiritually, even financially in 2016. All you have to do is show up.

For more information and to register link here.

#HowIMeditate Part 2: Five...

Posted on: March 1st, 2016 by Lara Land

There is a lot of confusion, frustration, and misinformation around meditation. Perhaps the word itself needs re-defining. In most yoga circles you’ll more often hear it said that one has done their “siting practice”. It’s fair to say we’ve sat still for a length of time. What happens inside that stillness, only the practitioner knows for sure. I promise you, more often than not, it’s a louder internal landscape then you think, especially if one is just beginning. 

Here are five steps for getting started:

1. Create a Sacred Space. This is a lot easier than it sounds. In my house it is literally a corner. The idea is that when you adorn a space and only use it for a specific function, that area takes on a new energy. (Think church.) Even if the energy were to remain the same, your brain associates that space with its single function (in this case meditation) and you’ll settle into that function more easily then you would in a different space.

2. Make Time. Set a specific time aside each day for your sitting practice. I recommend morning since as the day goes by, more and more things can get in the way. Also, the mind is quieter in the early hours. By coming to your space the same time each day it becomes a habit that you are unlikely to break. By scheduling in your meditation time you never have to “find time”. It’s already been made.

3. Be Still. Most teachers recommend that the spine be in alignment for meditation. If possible you’ll be sitting with a tall straight back, and the legs in a cross-legged position (ultimately padmasana). Some students who can’t sit up comfortably for long periods of time will sit against a wall or lay down on the ground. The most important thing is to be still. Once you find your position, try not to adjust or move in any way. Meditation is an attempt to move beyond the body so activating the muscles is out of alignment with your purpose. Most of the time, if you let the impulse to move pass, it will dissipate.

4. Just Watch. To meditate you will have chosen or been given an object of meditation which could be your breath or a mantra. (See my previous blog.) You will be telling your mind again and again to focus on that object only, but your mind will have other thoughts. This is normal. Keep working to make yourself aware as soon as the mind leaves the object of meditation and bring it back. Do this act without judgement. Simply observe the process. Ultimately you are the object of meditation, so by observing the way the mind moves, you are doing the work.

5. Get a Physical Yoga Practice. As mentioned, the upright spine position is optimal for meditation practice. Still sitting in this position for a long time is very difficult unless there is asana in your life. The physical practice helps you develop an easy seat and also does a lot of the pre-meditation work, cleaning and calming the mind. How long should you sit? The current experts say 20 minutes, but that’s really just for entering a space of meditation. For being in and deepening that space one needs closer to an hour. Sounds long, right? Even 20 minutes is very difficult at first. Start with 5 minutes daily and slowly increase minute by minute as the practice becomes consistent in your life. You’ll be at an hour in no time and craving more! Once you find the peace of meditation, staying in isn’t the problem, it’s coming out!

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