Taozi Tree Yoga

The seeds we water are the seeds that grow.


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I want to build a hospital

Content but not Complacent

I’ve been working on this post for a month.  Seriously.  The scariest part of both of my trips to Uganda was the fundraising because I hate asking people for money.  But the thing is, I really believed in those trips to Musana — and both times ended up funded with time to spare! — and I really really really believe in what Musana is doing and I want to see their hospital get built.

So enough beating around the bush.  Here’s the deal: I want to build a hospital.  Or, rather, I want to get a hospital built.  And I want to ask for YOUR help to do that. 

The outpatient wing of the Musana Health Center (photo courtesy Musana CDO). The outpatient wing of the Musana Health Center (photo courtesy Musana CDO).

It was one month ago today that I got home from Uganda.  That’s hard to believe — in some ways it feels like yesterday and in other ways a lifetime ago.  Afterwards people…

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Africa Consensus Forum in Beijing

SERENDIPITY! Yesterday I was asked to speak on a panel at the Africa Consensus Forum held here in Beijing at the Norwegian Embassy. I was able to share about the amazing things happening with Musana Community Development Organization and Taozi Tree Yoga to some incredible influencers in African governance. They loved it and didn’t want to stop hearing about it! Why? Because Musana and this project are tangible evidence that big things are happening in the world and change is indeed possible.

Beijing

Honestly, one of the primary topics of the forum was how to make sustainable business models in Africa work. I was able to share with them Musana, a project that has actually changed an entire community. With “The Yoganda Project”, we are trying to make grassroots business more sustainable by creating quality products that foreign consumers will want to buy, rather then buying products because it is charity. This is a huge deal. If it works, it will act as a business model that allows for sustainable income from foreign consumers in these vulnerable communities.

We would so appreciate your support for “The Yoganda Project”-  making the future for international trade with grassroots African community projects more sustainable. With out your help, this would not be possible. If you have not seen or donated yet, please check it out and help if you can! It is a miracle project. Please visit Indiegogo: “The Yoganda Project” and if possible, please make a donation to make the project a success! Every little bit helps. With a $100 donation you get one of the first “Yoganda” bags made! Not only that but you become a part of the project and it is indeed a special one.Emily 2

 

I look forward to sharing more with you about the project! We leave in less than 2 weeks! :) Ahhhh! So exciting.


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Stop “Should-ing” yourself.

china

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