Out with resolutions, in with intentions!

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"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now" Goethe

A new year usually comes with making resolutions, I’m not a fan of resolutions, they tend to feel more like a punishment, giving ourselves orders such as “I will lose 10 pounds” or “I will stop drinking caffeine” These are statements of will. They are temporary, negative and punishing and hence really hard to ‘keep’. An intention or in yoga speak a sankalpa goes deeper. It is expressed in positive, uplifting language.

A Sankalpa starts from the premise that you ALREADY are who you need to be to fulfill your lifes dharma (purpose) hence a sankapla is phrased in the present tense. Instead of “I will be more patient” think “I am patient with those I love“  or instead of “I won’t eat junk food” think “I feed my body healthy, nourishing food”…….you get my drift.

Your intention or Sankalpa, just like linking your breath to movement is a fundamental part of your yoga practice. When you practice with an intention not only do you get the physical, emotional and spiritual benefit of an asana practice you also get to realize a key goal or desire in your life – fabulous! You may already be familiar with intention setting and perhaps have read books such as Ask and It Is Given or The Secret or Eckhart Tolle etc, whether or not this is your bag or you think it’s mumbo jumbo, there is nothing lost from having a little introspective moment and defining things you would like to manifest in your life. Just the very action of this helps us stay on track and focused.

For my pre and postnatal students I believe this exercise of focusing and channeling is especially valuable for us mamas – having a baby and becoming a mother is such a MASSIVE shift in our lives, our thinking, our very existence, that it can be easy to loose sight of the individual we are and when we are caught up in the day to day routines and sleep deprivation our desires become very foggy.

Soooooooo if you would like to journey a little deeper I have laid out a little exercise below to ponder. I would recommend reviewing it when you have at least ½ hr of peace and quiet, let the mind settle and become spacious. Cultivate an attitude of listening, and welcome whatever feelings, images, and thoughts may arise, forget what society/others say you should want and listen to what YOU want. Pour a cuppa tea or a glass of wine, grab a piece of paper and pen and start…….

Righto! so ready to start forming your sankalpa? a few final thoughts to bear in mind before you start…… 

If your sankalpa is a big honking one perhaps break it down into bite sized pieces, think smaller stepping stone sankalpas to realize your ultimate desire. Define these specific sankalpas and work with one at a time and then as things change switch in a new one (being mindful to work with one for a good amount of time so it has time to root) Aim to have them cohesive and complimentary rather than all scattered, don’t want fragmented energy, it isn’t as powerful. 

Don’t feel pressured to have massive life changing sankalpa maybe your sankalpa is “I am compassionate towards my need of 1 hour of my own time a day to do whatever I wish” you would then repeat your sankalpa and put the wheels in place to make that happen. It is no less powerful and you will often find taking care of these will lead towards the bigger stuff. Whether your sankapa is seemingly big or seemingly small, it is important to you and that’s all that is important. 

Basically just start listening to yourself and writing!!!!!……..see where it goes……if you feel it isn’t going anywhere, take a break, go back……reread and refine. Once the box is opened it is amazing how it all starts to form and collect. No pressure, no one is grading you on this!

You have all the answers, seek within, get started! The following are various questions/thought points I have collected from workshops, Teacher Trainings and my own practice…dive in….

  • What 3 things make you happy and bring you joy
  • What gives you the greatest sense of excitement, makes you feel alive and motivates you?
  • What do you look forward to?
  • What brings you greatest satisfaction
  • What scares you, do you shy away from?
  • ‎After a rich, full life what three things do you want people to say about you? 
  • After a rich full life, what are 3 things do you want to have accomplished?
  • What self-imposed personal limitations get in the way of achieving these accomplishments? 
  • How specifically would relieving those limitations move you toward being that person? 
  • Are there any physical limitations that you feel get in the way of achieving these goals? 
  • How specifically would relieving the physical limitations immediately move you toward the person who achieves those goals? 
  • What is the biggest dream for yourself and your life? 
  • How do you think having this would make you FEEL
  • What is your most important goal right now? – what specifically should you be devoting your energy and resources towards 

Review your notes and thoughts, see what keeps coming up and then form it into a positive present intention. Next bring your memorized sankalpa to the mat to silently say at the start of your practice whenever the mind starts to wander. You could also write it on a sticky and pop it on your mirror or somewhere you look at often, keep putting the positive energy out there and it will be realized.

wishing you an abundant 2014!

with love, Kat xo

reikiforreallife:

Listen the the waves within you ~ Rumi

reikiforreallife:

Listen the the waves within you ~ Rumi

(via peace-be-dreams)

Shakti energy

Shakti energy

(via yogatothepeople)

The Power of the Pregnant Posse

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(us 6 before we all scattered around the country)

When I was pregnant with my son we had just moved to LA from NYC. My friends and in laws on the east coast and my family on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. In this completely different environment and during a massive life transition I found a new kind of family. I found them in my prenatal yoga classes.

Prenatal yoga was the anchor that grounded me, the compass that guided me and the light that carried me through my pregnancy and into motherhood. It enabled me to have the birth I wanted and it was the catalyst to my new calling. It was also where I made deep and meaningful friendships. There is something unbreakable about bonding together during this time, seeing bumps become babies, seeing each other through the sleepless nights, the highs, the frustrations, husbands away a lot, feeling the way back towards feeling ‘normal’ again. The feelings of love towards each others babies and seeing my son develop his first peer relationships in an almost sibling way. It is strong stuff.

Life, as it has a way of doing, moves on. Friends move away geographically, circumstances change. You forget the intense day to day survival of being new moms together. Caught up in your new life days, even weeks go by and you find you haven’t spoken to the friends that were once integral to your emotional and mental survival.

Then, as life has a way of doing, you are all drawn together again. The 3 of us, Jackie, Lindsay and myself. 

Jackie birthed her second baby 2 days ago. Her first birth was the kind where you are utterly thankful for hospitals, surgery and top notch doctors, a birth that truly is a medical event, where lives are saved. So for her second birth all medical hands were on deck to ensure that history didn’t repeat itself.

You realize how deep the rivers run when despite the miles between you, your friend is once again in your thoughts daily, multiple times for weeks. On the morning of Jackie’s second birth, practically at the exact time she was going into the operating theatre Lindsay and I virtually held hands and meditated Jackie’s safe mantra together. Me in a Starbucks in Brooklyn and Lindsay in bed just woken up in Northern Cali. Sending the power of love, of sisterhood, of motherhood, of friendship….

Awaiting news I went to teach my Mommy and Me and Prenatal Yoga classes. We chanted for Jackie, she didn’t know it, my mama students didn’t know her but we were united as mothers helping another mother. At the end of class there on my phone was a photo of Jackie and her new son, happy, healthy and together on the outside. A new life in the world, next came a photo of her first son, meeting his new brother in his moms arms. She had done it.

This is what being a human being is all about, love, compassion and unity…that and sleep! that’s where, during the all over the night wake ups, having friends and family in different time zones comes in VERY handy!

When I teach I hope to guide mothers in finding their voice, in feeling empowered, valued, in healing from birth or preparing for it. To provide a sanctuary during a really overwhelming time to just let it all out. I also hope to bring mothers together. In a culture that could and should do a whole lot better on the maternal care front your pregnant posse can be an invaluable, unbreakable life line.

image(my son, and my sons from other mums!)

New Prenatal and Postnatal Classes - Abhaya Yoga DUMBO

http://brooklynbridgeparents.com/pre-and-postnatal-yoga-is-debuting-in-dumbo-tuesday-86/

What to focus on during the overwhelming 3 -5 days postpartum

Article from Dr Jen 4 kids via Mama Nurture Birth Doula FB page

http://www.drjen4kids.com/soap%20box/Dazedandconfused.htm#.Ug-WC5Wffx5

via Mama-nurture-birth-doula https://www.facebook.com/pages/mama-nurture-birth-doula/449581238410109?hc_location=stream

(Source: perpetual-grace, via w3dr0wn)

How Yoga Can Make Childbirth and Other Hard Things Easier (Source: PositivelyPositive). 
"……The less we acknowledge the scary stuff, the louder it bangs on the door of our psyche. If we don’t express ourselves and feel the feelings, we can end up sick, disconnected, unable to have true intimacy, etc. For me, yoga is a practice of sitting with discomfort and breathing through it. On the other side of sitting with this is more freedom….”

How Yoga Can Make Childbirth and Other Hard Things Easier (Source: PositivelyPositive). 

"……The less we acknowledge the scary stuff, the louder it bangs on the door of our psyche. If we don’t express ourselves and feel the feelings, we can end up sick, disconnected, unable to have true intimacy, etc. For me, yoga is a practice of sitting with discomfort and breathing through it. On the other side of sitting with this is more freedom….”

(Source: bendthebump)