• Life Lessons From Yoga – Introduction

    I am dedicating the month of August to all the life philosophies I have learned from yoga.  I began practicing for fitness more than anything when I moved to Houston around 2005.  Since that time, my appreciation and understanding of yoga has grown considerably and I’m to the point I would like to share many of the wonderful things the practice has taught me about how to live.

    Like most people, I started yoga for the physical health benefits and, for that reason, I expected it to have only physical results.  What I didn’t realize is how profound of an effect yoga would have on my emotional and mental health as well.  It ushered forth realizations and helped me learn to be strong, tenacious and confident when those realizations brought me stress, pain, anxiety, or healthy fear.

    I also didn’t realize that yoga is a way to develop spiritually.  The asanas, or poses, subtly affect the body and allow transformations to occur, new ways of seeing things and growing.

    Read more

  • 10 Ways to Jump-Start Creativity

    There are times I feel duller than a doorknob and can’t think of anything to write (and so I procrastinate and write posts about creativity 😉 ).  Creating is not just required for artists and writers though.  Creativity is about generating something new – something that wasn’t previously in existence.   Creativity is an innate human desire to be original and to make new connections.  You may have to call on creativity  to figure out how to solve problems (for work, relationships, life, or a pet project) or to acquire new insights.  Sometimes when I’m looking for inspiration or hoping to have ideas flow, I try doing any one or a combination of the following things listed below.  Most of them are rather counter-intuitive because they aren’t productive, per se, but they can get your mind spinning and your creative webs extruding.

    Creativity Photo via deichgnu on Flickr Read more

  • Meditation: The Basics

    When kids are behaving badly, we tend to give them a timeout.  This is usually because they become so wrapped up or fixated on one thing that their emotion or upset feeling takes over every interaction they have.  This emotion that takes over is often anger, greed, frustration, or distress.  While they sit in timeout, they remove themselves from the rest of the world and have a chance to reflect, rest, and realize that the emotion they were painting on to every interaction they had might be kind of silly.  And how do they emerge after some minutes?  They are usually calmer, more focused, and ready to start their next activity with a fresh outlook.  This is essentially meditation.

    For the longest time, I didn’t really “get” what meditation was.  After years of doing yoga, the idea of what it meant began to grow organically through my practice.  It’s essentially a self-imposed timeout.  It’s a chance to withdraw from the world and get a sense for what is going on within us by observing ourselves.  It’s an opportunity to see what emotion or thought is arresting our attention.  Most people will avoid observing themselves by any means necessary.  This is often done under a veil of busyness which seems to be a badge of honor in our society.  But by actively not thinking about anything or distracting ourselves with the external, we somehow find solutions to our problems.  It’s almost like a way to push a vehicle off the rutted path that is only getting more treacherously deep with each passing.  In this case, the ruts are our thinking patterns.

    You know how sometimes you feel like you totally know something, a simple fact, but the harder you think about it, the more quickly it wriggles away?  Then, when you stop thinking about it, you randomly yell out the answer?  That is sort of like meditation.  By forgetting what you are trying to solve, answers suddenly crystallize.

    Read more