Taozi Tree Yoga

The seeds we water are the seeds that grow.


10 Comments

Soap. In. Mouth.

soap1

“I will wash your mouth out with soap.”  We have all heard this before. Right? In the good old days it was a popular method of teaching kids to watch what they say. Since then it has gone by the wayside, as it is a bit harsh, but maybe it needs to be revived?  

Sauca, Patanjali’s first of five niyamas, found in the yoga sutra, is about being pure. We have talked about the importance of being physically clean, and today it is all about clearing up our verbal communication. THIS IS IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL STUFF.  While in Mexico a good friend of mine named Faith said, “Think about how much time we spend carefully examining what we put into our mouths, and yet are totally oblivious to what comes out of it.” For some, this statement might not resonate, but it is a poignant observation to me. Generally, I choose to have healthy people in my life, they inspire me to be a better person, they see the brighter side of myself and push me into fulfilling that role. I’d like to be an inspiration to others as well. Though I practice daily in many areas of life, this is one area I know I sometimes slack on.  By becoming better at observing what comes out of my mouth, I can then inspire the people around me to do the same.

When speaking there are  two simple rules we can follow in order to ensure we aren’t polluting others with our garble. First, use a verbal filter, and second, learn to be ok with silence.

 FILTER

 First, we must put a filter between our brains and our mouths.  Our minds are not the most trustworthy tools of communication, at least mine isn’t. I am a believer in “monkey-mind”. My mind is generally a ceaseless rant of thoughts that jump from point to point, aimlessly, and occasionally drawing up powerful emotions, that are only temporary. When theses emotions or thoughts come up and I am freely spewing my “monkey mind” thoughts out into the open, I could potentially cause harm to others, or myself. It is clear to me that something I want to say is in fact “monkey-mind” if it is the first thought that comes into my head. Instead, I can simply pause and evaluate. Here are some helpful questions to answer that will help you know whether it is ok to speak or better to keep quiet.

 T: Is it Thoughtful?

H: Is it Honest?

I: Is it Inspiring?

N: Is it Necessary?

K: Is it Kind?

 It is a good idea to think about these simple questions before deciding to gossip, even though it is often incredibly easy to make excuses or rationalize for why it is ok. For example, sometimes, people just “deserve” it, according to our monkey minds. Regardless, it is still negative talk and it isn’t good for anyone. Sometimes when talking to a friend about a sensitive issue, we get caught up with our own opinions when really, they don’t need to be shared… So next time you want to open up, simply think, THINK! T: Is it thoughtful? H: Is it honest? I: Is it inspiring? N: Is it necessary? and K: Is it kind? Also, take a look at the following flow chart for more guidance.Verbal-Filter-Flow-Chart

Honestly, I most frequently fall short with the the N: is it necessary? Sometimes I babble on and on simply because I hate awkward silences, and now that I am bringing it to attention, even as I type this I wonder… “am I needlessly babbling now“? I hope not, but it is a good question to consider…  let us just be aware that silence, is ok.

 SILENCE

Being ok with silence is an important quality to have. This is because being true to our own feelings and thoughts means only speaking when we actually want to share something. This may sound silly but it is amazing how often we speak to each other simply to fill empty spaces and avoid awkwardness. Osho says,

 “If you don’t feel like talking, don’t— don’t say a single word that isn’t coming to you spontaneously. Don’t be worried if people think you are going crazy. If they think you have become dumb, accept it and enjoy your dumbness! The real trouble is with people who go on talking and don’t know what they are talking about and why. They go on talking because they cannot stop. In the beginning it feels as though you are losing the capacity to communicate, it is not so. In fact people talk to avoid communication. Just wait, and don’t force anything. Don’t be worried about the silence… Once you have gone deeper into silence then your words carry meaning for the first time. Then they are not just empty words, they are full of something of the beyond. They have a poetry to them, a dance.”

 All I have to say to that is,—    😉

silence2

Additionally:

“Silence is the language of god,  all else is poor translation.” Rumy

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Ghandi

silence

Advertisements


14 Comments

Be Clean. Get Dressed.

Mr-Clean

Oh to be clean. Nothing feels better than climbing into some freshly washed sheets, still smelling of body wash from the bedtime shower. Cleanliness. The first niyama found in Patanjali’s yoga sutra is sauca, meaning cleanliness/purity. The niyamas are all about the way we behave behind closed doors. How do you treat and take care of your self? Patanjali provides five ways to maximize your life experience through self-care. Cleanliness, maintaining a sense of “purity” is numero uno.

My personal take on sauca or “being clean” encompasses three main categories. The physically clean, the verbally clean, and lastly takeling the daily “to do list”.  For now we will focus on being physically clean.

Physically Being Clean. One Day at a time in three parts.

First, before discussing the three ways to keep clean physically through out the day, I think it’s important to touch on the idea of abhyasa, meaning daily practice. Making an effort to change your behavior for one day is a great beginning, but unless you can string a few days together with your improved routine, you won’t see a shift in your quality of life, and honestly, that is what all this rhetoric is about. To inspire changes in our daily lives, repeating the same actions over and over again that will change our overall experience of life, thus leading us towards reaching our individual goals. Ok, enough babbling, onto the action steps to being clean.

1) Morning time:  In aryuvedic tradition there is a series of daily preparations one should make upon awakening which can be categorized with sauca. A few of the highlights are:

  • Get up 5:30-7 AM (it’s not that early guys)
  • Drink a glass of hot water with lemon juice (which I have a horrible tendency of substituting with a strong cup of coffee… a poor habit to be dealt with later) even green tea would be a good alternative to coffee
  • Use a Neti pot to clean your nasal passageways (this makes a huge difference in the clarity of your head! Especially if you are living in a house full of animals)
  • Give your self an oil massage to get the blood circulating
  • Move! Go on a walk, practice yoga asana
  • Be still, meditate, write, breath
  • Eat a healthy amazing self prepared breakfast

tea

neti

Exhausted girl making self-massage

Since being back in Denver I have made taking Haddie, our beautiful dog, for a walk around the graveyard (more on what that’s like later) before the session on my mat a part of the daily routine. I guarantee (I know from experience) that starting the day off pro-actively will set a positive tone for the entire day.   After the morning routine it is time to get ready. That means, get out of your pajamas and look good.

2) Look pretty:  I made a devastating mistake the other day by heading out to meet some friends in my  “dog walking” outfit. I have recently been in Mexico, constantly in my yoga clothes and beach attire. Rarely “getting ready”. Well, I learned quickly that this might not suffice back in the real world. If I want to be taken seriously I can’t get away with rolling around Denver in my scrubs. Additionally, I am a grown women now ( OMG), so I should start dressing like one, even if it is only for a simple coffee date with the girls. I can be a clean well put together yogi, because THAT is more likely to inspire the people I am surrounded by to follow suit, rather then showing up looking like as my grandpa would say, “something the cat dragged in”.  If I was going to be hanging around with people in pajamas, then my scrubs would suffice. Attraction rather than promotion.  I am NOT dissing publically wearing pajamas. In Beijing the word for people in pajamas is “P.I.P” (People.In.Pajamas: are commonly seen walking around the streets of Beijing, and many other Chinese cities, at all hours of the day). I just believe that when I go out into the world, it is my job to be positive, lighthearted and happy, to inspire others to do the same, if I look good, it’s just more attractive. Period.

PIP

P.I.P People in Pajamas… oh how I miss China! 😉

3) Night Time: I have to admit that after 18 months of basically living out of our suitcases, I haven’t been my cleanest self. I have at least had the decency to scrub my feet at night before getting into bed, black on the bottoms after running around town all day. Getting into bed seems to be my sanctuary of clean. I have my morning ritual of lighting incense, praying, and moving around and then at night I have another ritual. I LOVE to wash my face, put on my special lotions and creams, my pajamas, and then climb into bed with gratitude. Remember the long lost college nights of “partying” when you’d be lucky to make it into bed at all? (I kind of remember?) It feels so good to take care of myself at nighttime with love and to get clean.

So this is my personal take on sauca, at least the part about physically being clean.

1) Get the day started right 2) Look Pretty: get ready for the day like you mean it and try to look presentable, only because this helps inspire others, and lastly 3) End the day clean and with gratitude.

EXTRA CLEAN:

FLOSS! It is proven that people who floss live longer, because they have developed one healthy habit and this prompts the development of more healthy habits. This means that the benefits of taking care of yourself are exponential!  We have all heard it before. This is just a friendly reminder from your cyber yogini friend Taozi.

floss

How do you stay clean? How do you feel when you are nice and fresh vs. not (eeww)… Do you have any healthy morning tips that make a difference in your day/life?