Taozi Tree Yoga

The seeds we water are the seeds that grow.


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My Wedding Wish: Wings

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Finally! An opportunity to use the photos Gyang took of me in angel wings, taken at Snow Mountain Retreat center in Li Jiang, China in 2012. Angel wings! haha… 

When things get crazy… as they do for everyone this time of year, Ross and I are no exception (our wedding is January 4th) it’s time to stop, to reflect and make some personal “wishes”. I am currently enjoying the word “wish” because a “wish” implies magic, help from another source, and I so need some. My wish is for some wings.

To be clear, my spiritual practice is needing a pick me up. Some spiritual wings. No other words to express.

There are so many things up in the air right now. Life is full and beautiful and there is an illusion that I am somehow in control of it all. There is this illusion that I need to make things happen… to some extent, yes, there are certain things that need to get done, yet I should never think I have to do them alone.

I’m home in Denver making final arrangements, spending time with my family before we all head to Mexico tomorrow. The most common questions I receive are “How are you? How are the wedding plans going? Where will you guys live after the wedding?” …among other variations of the same.

Things going on in life:

-12 days till the wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It is going to be fabulous and fun. 🙂

-75 guests will be coming from all over the planet. Literally… all over the planet.

-Ross and I have absolutely no idea where we will living after the wedding. Possibilities include, oh yeah, every where is possible.

-The job hunt continues, even now, with small exciting things happening on different sides of the globe.

-We are still living out of suitcases. Even here at my parent’s house. All of our wedding stuff is resting in piles on the floor.

It’s a lot at one time and the external circumstances of life are just… chaotic. Up in the air. I feel as if it is all flying up above me and I am down here trying to hold on… see! I told you I need some spiritual wings! So this is my wish. Who to turn to for some wings? The angels of course!

It just so happens that my dear friend Sarah, in Beijing, picked some angel cards for me yesterday. Angel cards are literally a deck of cards with messages from your guardian angels. I love things like this and think there is some real magic in them. Sarah asked me to ask the angels some questions, and I came up with some words instead…

Direction-Next Steps-How to take them-General theme:

The cards that got pulled blew me away.

Direction: Playfulness

Ummmm hello! Getting married in a couple of weeks, with many of our incredible friends and family joining us for a week of celebrations!? It’s time to ENJOY! And PLAY!  Ahhhh…. Such a simple reminder. My favorite cue in my yoga classes is to smile softly. I’m saying it constantly to my students and thus, it’s time to put my message where my mouth is, literally! Now is the time to practice playfulness on a daily basis and to stop taking things seriously. It’s time. Now. I’m smiling now… 🙂

Next Steps: Body care

Again. WHAM! This got me right between the eyes. I have been…So. Busy. So so sooooo busy busy bee. So if you are a friend of mine in Denver or Puerto Vallarta and are wondering why you haven’t seen me, don’t worry, I haven’t even seen myself.  The time for my personal practice has dwindled. Having this card pulled was a huge reminder that the most important thing right now for staying sane and enjoying the moment is first taking care of myself! Nothing has changed right? Everyday in my “normal” life I eat right and get on my mat, so now is certainly not the time to do things any differently. Duh.

How to take them (the next steps): Answered prayer

My prayer of late has been that I am able to show up for others. A couple of weeks ago I met up with a spiritual guru of mine and explained the chaos. She told me to walk through it all with a spirit of service. I cannot tell you the relief that I felt after hearing this. Amazing. It is not all about me, even though it feels like it because tradition states that a wedding is all about the bride and… I’m the bride. Perhaps this tradition is too dangerous for me. It is so necessary to get out of myself and be of service to others. Perhaps this means asking for help from others and then being kind to them, with no expectations. I can be of service by leading by example and not becoming bride-zilla. It is simple really: take care of my-self, be kind and be of service to others.

General theme: Spiritual growth

Giant, sigh, of, relief!

This is the bottom line. Things that are difficult push us to be stronger. This is one of my favorite life sayings. It’s like if you go to the gym and are constantly picking up the same weights, the muscles are never going to get bigger. Just like life, if we want to grow spiritually, we have to face things that are difficult. Challenging times are just God’s way of pouring fertilizer on our life. Don’t get me wrong, I realize this is an amazing beautiful time, just exceptionally chaotic. Definitely a time to grow.

So my “wish” to the angels is to be… me. The soft, light-hearted, me.

My “wish” is to not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and the wedding and to stay present in this breath, and this one… and this one.

I can use all the lessons of my spiritual practice to be of service to others and to enjoy the moments.  Then I can fly smoothly side by side with these amazing blessings. The angels have the answers/my magic wings, they are carrying me!pensive angel

*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for details on Taozi’s travels, teaching schedule, and more inspiration!***

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A Gratitude Meditation for the Holidays

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Thanksgiving! Gratititude, shmatitude. To what extent do we really feel gratitude during the holidays? Do we feel it deep down in our bones? If not, then its time to get serious about cultivating this incredible emotion… and in order for this to happen, it’s going to take some ACTION! 🙂

As the holiday season arrives, schedules fill up and life gets pretty crazy. Things to do, people to see, cakes to cook and presents to wrap. While the list of “things we have to do” piles up it becomes easy to forget what the season is really about. We often get lost of the hustle and bustle of the season and forget that the best present we can give to the people around us is to actually be present in each moment.

In order to stay present/become present, it is more important than ever to stay on top of our own personal care in order to be the best people we can possibly be.

By doing a quick gratitude meditation in the morning we can ensure we will face the day like Zen angels.

Studies show that people feel the happiest when they are experiencing an internal sense of Gratitude.

Happy US=happy THEM.

 We are going to generate this sense of gratitude for the blessings in our life by creating a gratitude list. By having the gratitude list ready made at your bedside, alter, or breakfast nook, it will serve as a morning reminder, every day, to take the time to be quiet and to reflect on the day ahead while getting filled up with yummy gratitude!

Directions:

Think of 5-10 people, things, life-situations that you are grateful for. We are taking a look at the people and things in our lives that we experience every day and we are going to reflect on how special they are (even if they drive us crazy sometimes…we are focusing on the positives!)

Write down the thing/person you are grateful for.

I am grateful for my amazing family.

Next,  think of a way to SHARE the gratitude with your loved ones through an ACTION. Then create a positive affirmation.

I am grateful for my amazing family…I will take show this to them today by taking care of them care of them with love and a gentle smile. I will do my best to be of service to them and to make them feel good about themselves.

By thinking about this in the morning and then going out into the day… when someone or some situation in your family pops up and you need to be there… you will view this as a pleasant surprise and deal with it with gratitude and love…

Next:

Get a piece of blank white paper and some markers, crayons, colored pencils, whatever you like! Write out your top 6-7 things and decorate the list, making it a fun beautiful thing that you can use for you morning meditations for the rest of the season.

When you get up in the morning, save your self at least 3-5 minuets to sit quietly and to reflect on these things before the day starts. Just try it and see if it makes a difference!

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*** Please visit Taozi Tree Yoga on Facebook for details on Taozi’s travels, teaching schedule, and more inspiration!***


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Stop “Should-ing” yourself.

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I knew I had a problem last week when I “should-ed” myself at least a dozen times.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda…We carry enough on our backs to be adding unnecessary self criticisms and complaints about what we “should” be doing differently. This is a short piece on how we can let go of the constant self judgments and transform them into positive growth. 🙂

I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this.  Sometimes, when I am not performing at my optimal level, I get caught up in negative thought cycles which although seem harmless, are detrimental to my own well being as well as those around me.

Especially as  yogis/yoginis we “should” know better. AH! Damn. I “should-ed” again…

As yoga practitioners and teachers, we might be a little more sensitive to the thoughts that role around in our heads…or the actions that accompany them. They are no different then anyone else’s (crazy thoughts and actions).  However we may just more aware of them when they are “bad” things because we, while on a spiritual path to Samadhi, “should” know better… Oops! Again.

I “should” not think this.

I “should” not drink that.

I “should” not go there.

I “should” not eat those.

I “should” not buy them.

Positive sunshine rays “should” shoot out of my eyeballs.

Blah, blah, blah…

Time to get over it people because no one likes someone who “shoulds” all over themselves.

Fellow yogis, we are human and life happens to us, within us, around us, just like every body else.

Also our emotions and feelings will constantly change depending on a number of variables. Hormones, diet, exercise… It’s not always going to be pretty!

As teachers we may find this difficult as others are looking up to us as “spiritual gurus” (I suppress a chuckle here). It is the highest form of a compliment and yet… we may all too often berate ourselves when we feel we “should” behave, act, perform, or feel a certain way just because we are under a lens.

I will never forget one of my first real life yoga teachers. I totally looked up to her in my early twenties and could not believe how “cool” she was. Peaceful, beautiful, and so centered! I unknowingly put her on a pedestal. One day I got news of a total scandal she had been involved in. It was awful and I was shocked. How could she have? I then felt incredible sympathy for her and saw for the first time that she was human. Guess what, we all are. And we all grow the same way… through learning from our mistakes and thus discovering what doesn’t suit us.

When yogis make a consistent effort (practice abhyasa) in working with the yamas and the niyamas… the path will naturally get narrower and we will naturally and easily be guided to where we are supposed to be in our practice.

When we think something, drink something, go somewhere, eat something, or buy something that feels wrong to us… we need to recognize it, make a mental note that “hey, this isn’t working” and decide what actions can be taken to change. ACTION. Not simply a statement of “should”. A serious look needs to be taken at how the behavior, thought, or action is affecting us and  then what actions can be taken to change it. There is always something that can be done. We can commit to putting the energy into the action and then, we move on. Let go. Letting go is practicing vairagya, which is the complimenting principal to abhyasa/consistent practice.

Instead of “should-ing” ourselves we can practice gentle smriti. According to the sutras:

Smriti is cultivating a constant mindfulness of treading the path, and of remembering the steps along the way. This memory is not a negative mental obsession, but rather, a gentle, though persistent awareness of the goal of life, of faith in your journey, and of your decision to commit your energy to the process.

When we falter while trying to break old habits that no longer suit us, and it’s likely we will,  we just keep trying. Consistent practice guarantees results!  “Should-ing” all over the place is messy and it accomplishes nothing.

*http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11922.htm


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Published in The Elephant Journal! 6 Ways to Respect Your Digestive System During the Season of Indulgence

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http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/11/6-ways-to-respect-our-digestive-system-during-the-season-of-indulgence-theresa-pauline/

While in India last year, Natwar told a group of mostly Western yoga students, in all seriousness, that if we accidentally over indulged when home for the holidays, to go to the bathroom and practice Kunjal kriya (throwing up).