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Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ 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!

 

Dress for Success: Halloween...

Posted on: October 26th, 2015 by Lara Land

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  -Anais Nin

If we want things to change we have to change ourselves. Then, suddenly, the world around us appears different. But how can we change ourselves? First we must become aware that there is an option to change. Most of us spend a good deal of our lives adhering to certain decisions about our preferences and characteristics, never questioning where those labels came from or if they are indeed permanent and true.

For instance, I may appear a loud and bossy type. When I come into a room, I let my thoughts be known and assert my desires. Perhaps my whole life I have behaved this way and from this behavior enjoyed much success. I may become known as “loud and bossy” to the point where others around me adjust to take supporting roles and even choose me for activities where those traits appear helpful to the group. I may not realize there is another role I can take. I may have been told that this personality comes naturally to me, but it may just be well practiced, or it may be that I subconsciously feel a need to play a role I was assigned, worried no one else will take that part or that I won’t be effective in another position.

Eventually I will likely be awakened to the malleable nature of personality. I could be faced with a similar personality type across from me and find my usual responses ineffective. I could experience a loss. I could read a book or blog like this one and realize I do have choice. Then I might decide to allow different aspects of myself to come forward until my personality wouldn’t be described as bossy at all. Part of the yogic journey is making better, more artful choices and finally arriving at no choice, but as an experience of our perfect, non-personality touched souls.

The self-help guides tell us to be ourselves, but who are we? Personality is a strange and fluid thing. Most of us have many; Sometimes they war inside of us. Other times they know their roles. Mom comes out at bedtime with the kids, but becomes a shy student in her night classes, hardly recognizable to her mother self. On date night, with girlfriends, with parents, all different personalities emerge.

Sometimes parts of our personalities remain buried for a long time. Suddenly I arrive at a situation where I want to use an archetypal energy but I can not access it. That’s where the costume comes into play. If I’ve been demure for a long time I may need some help expressing my authentic assertive self.  In this case I can wear heals, and suits, and certain kinds of colors and hair styles until she comes out. Through the flow or restrictions of her clothing, movement becomes dictated. Through the eyes of those who witness my transformation I access her spirit.  She was always there inside of me. Never false. Just hidden. Suddenly the world around me looks different. New possibilities emerge. 

Choosing to transform through costume may have to be subtle on the day to day if we don’t want to shock our friends and neighbors, but on Halloween we have the opportunity to go all out. This one day we can access our superhero, magical, sexy, silly, even dark, vampire selves. Each of us has a chance to play a part not allowed to us normally and access a layer of our personality that is hidden away. As we expose more of ourselves we gain more choices and open ourselves to seeing the world around us in a different way. This is a healthy and important part of the journey to self-realization, so be sure to use your societal pass this Halloween and be whoever you most want to be. Don’t be shy. I know I won’t be!

Dharana

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 by Lara Land

I can hardly believe we are up to the sixth limb. For over a year now I’ve been blogging on the limbs and now we have finally reached the final three, known collectively as Samyama. These limbs are the most subtle and internal so I wondered during the year if I’d have something to say about them. I do. Today let’s talk about Dharana.

Dharana may be translated as holding, holding steady, concentration or a single focus. It’s about bringing the mind to one point of attention. Why is this so hard? These days articles are written almost daily about social media, video games, our over stimulated lifestyles, and our inability to concentrate, but what really is going on?

The issue with concentration is not the concentration itself. When we are engaged, all our senses pull toward the object of engagement and we concentrate. The problem is in choosing the object. Concentration by definition means choosing a single object to focus on, to the disregard of everything else. Before we can practice deepening concentration, we must choose a place to put our focus.

Why are we so scared of making a choice? One fear is that we will choose incorrectly. We should understand that avoiding making a choice is much worse than choosing poorly. Firstly, in many instances we can’t choose wrong. There is no actual wrong choice, just different choices that all work out in time.  But let’s say we do choose incorrectly. A wrong choice is at least feedback. The moment we sense it is wrong, all we have to do is re-route. We have more information about what other options may not work and can settle more closely on a right choice. Lots of successful people have spoken at length about the power of a mistake and the growth it brings.

Deeper than our fear of making a wrong choice is the fear we have of eliminating options.

We know the whole essence of focusing is attaching ourselves to one thing and leaving all other options behind, so we refuse to choose at all, and instead never fully experience anything. What we don’t realize is that by understanding one thing absolutely completely, we can know all things. Until then, we are just floating around taking no control of our lives. This approach will bring no fulfullment. Our fleeting moments of concentration will be random and even more troubling, will be navigated by the wills of others.

Take comfort in understanding that even in just this one life, we have many lives. Did you know I got my BFA in theatre? I’ve been an actress, writer, director, waitress, insurance agent, and a million and one other things. I’ve had at least three to four fully distinct lives and I plan to have many more.

There is always an opportunity to reinvent, but please make a choice. All the good that comes in life comes after we stop trying and testing and finally make a decision. Some people claim they want to be well informed before they make a commitement to one path. While this has validity, we must recognize when the investigation has become an excuse for indecisiveness. We will never know every variable. In the end we must choose.

What you choose to focus on will grow and thrive more than you can imagine, the second you make it yours, so stop waiting, put your self on one-pointed focus today. 

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