Thursday, October 27, 2011

Make A Decision, Trust Your Gut

"It's impossible to make a wrong decision. Even if you make a wrong decision, you will very soon know it is wrong and you will learn a good lesson. It is worse not to make any decision at all. If you don't make any decision, you will not grow. If you want to do the right thing and you don't know what to do, there are many people who can help you. Ask some people in whom you have confidence, and follow their advice. Because ultimately, it's all for good. Even if you make a mistake, it's for good, because it teaches you that it's a mistake. You don't really lose anything." -Sri Swami Satchidananda

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 33: Generating Compassion for the Negative

How many times do you end up feeling negative feelings when somebody throws or hands you something negative? If somebody gets angry at you, if somebody cuts you off, if somebody is not super friendly, if somebody does not thank you or express appreciation for you, if somebody does not react in a way that you expect them to, or if somebody is simply upset and having a bad day when it may have nothing to do with you at all, how often do we respond to these situations with thoughts, feelings, and actions that are negatively-rooted.

We tend to react to negativity with more negativity, right? Why? This is the natural tendency, but it doesn't really make much sense. It is just fuel to the fire. We are feeding it then. When somebody gets angry or upset with us, we generally are offended, become defensive, or even feel guilty and ashamed. None of this is helpful. The Ego likes to do this, because the Ego likes to make everything about us. Yes, it is all about us. Don't these reactions generally compound and worsen things though?

You have a choice what you want to take on and what you want to put out there in return. We forget that, and you do not need to accept the negativity that is being dealt to you, so long as you can train yourself to not feed this negativity with more negativity.

The next time you find yourself in a situation such as this, try just responding with compassion. Not guilt or shame or fear or anger or resentment or frustration or sadness, just compassion. Because you are then taking the Ego out of it. While feelings of guilt and shame imply that you are sorry for any wrongdoing, they are still sentiments that are about us, they are self-serving, and therefore somewhat selfish. Compassion or love is selfless.

Patanjali recommends this very same thing in Sutra 33. He says to have compassion for the unhappy; to have friendliness for the happy; to feel happiness in the virtuous or the good; and to feel equanimity for the wicked or the evil.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yoga Mat Wash (and natural home cleaner)

I make a Mat Wash composed of water, distilled white vinegar (for its anti-bacterial properties), tea tree oil (also for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, has a bit of a more pleasant smell than vinegar), lemon, and lavender oil. For the first wash on the Manduka mats or any mat you want to break up the chemical finish on, you can mix with baking soda or sea salt to make more of an exfoliating scrub that will penetrate the mat deeper. You can scrub with a brush on these thicker, more durable mats; if the mat is thinner and/or of softer construction than a Manduka, you can stick with a wash cloth or sponge. Rinse well in tub or with hose and hang to dry fully in sun before you roll it up.

Because of the disinfectant capabilities of vinegar and tea tree, I use this solution on almost everything. In the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the car, in the bedroom, wherever. It is gentle but thorough. I trust it much more than store-bought household cleaners, I wouldn't want to put those chemicals where I put my food...

Monday, October 3, 2011


It is through the yoga practice that we learn to expand. We work first on the physical level, stretching and strengthening the body to become more open. This can this extend into the mental and emotional bodies. As we expand more, we become lighter, freer, and more tolerant; overall, better managers of our selves and our lives.

I heard a metaphor once. If salt is added to a cup of water, you notice immediately. The water has been tainted, you can taste it, feel it, maybe see it. However, if that same amount of salt is added to a lake, you do not notice. Because the lake is vast. Smaller quantities of negativity or any sentiments will affect you less and less, they will taint you or spoil you or change you. You will be stronger as a result of becoming more spacious. Be vast like the lake.