What Are We Resisting?
by Nicole Doherty
Resistance. As yoga teachers we talk a lot about this subject in class. Letting go of your resistance. Surrendering to your practice. Relinquishing the mind. The dictionary defines resistance as “the opposition offered by one thing to another.” What is it that we are opposing and what can we gain as a result of our practice?
- Stress vs. Calm: The amount of stress that we undergo as a culture is killing us. Literally. So getting on the mat offers a great opportunity to release this bound up energy and move it through the system. In most yoga classes we give you a decent cool down and a Savasana that offers the nervous system a much-needed break. Your body moves into the parasympathetic system of restoration and relaxation, when your body is literally being healed.
- Mental Chaos vs. Meditation: In our society we are bombarded with stimulus that pulls us in every direction. Between cars, traffic, computers, cell phones, etc. our brain is on overload. Time in a yoga class is a technology holiday and a chance to shut off. There is no way to get a hold of you, cell phones off. The brain can take rest and move into meditation.
- Unconscious vs. Conscious Thoughts: This is one of my personal favorites and why yoga became my life path. When we are running around all day, we’re not really listening. We are in a mode of reactivity and mostly unconscious behavior. But on the mat, once we slow down a bit, we get the gift of observation. We start to feel the mind-body-soul connection. We hear the little voices in our heads and we can observe our thoughts. Our thoughts become our actions, so we start to understand the importance of becoming conscious of them.
We tend to be in a state of resistance and opposition often. Resistance is a state of being. Contrast is what offers us choice and helps us to form our preferences. So when you enter into resistance and you are asked to surrender begin to observe what you are holding onto, attaching to and preventing yourself from experiencing that could bring you more happiness and sustained joy.
Feel free to comment on this article and let me know what it is that you feel you resist and what the opposite state of being has brought into your life.No comments
Out of Time or Timelessness
by Nicole Doherty
Inspiration from a recent meditation of mine…
Life is moving really fast. What is happening with our time? Don’t you remember when you were a kid and summer camp felt like an entire year’s worth of time? Now a friend says “I’m pregnant” and a few weeks later the baby’s picture appears on your iPhone, right? ;)
We are all moving at warp speed. We are busy people, living busy lives and making things happen. Yet with this much productivity we fail to take a moment to just be.
Sometimes just being is confronting. I remember when I went to do my healing work in Peru for three months at the Temple of the Way of Light. That was probably one of the most confronting times of my life. I had no choice but to sit and not do anything for long periods of time. No technology, cars, traffic or electricity. I was with myself…in the jungle… alone. I felt very alone. It was one of the most terrifying, challenging, revealing, and rewarding experiences of life.
Coming out of that and moving right back to the city was quite a jarring transition. Our lives are fast paced, dynamic, active and frankly a bit insane here in the U.S.. What are we all running around so much for? What are we escaping? What is this race against time? What is this competition we’ve created to build the best resume?
I’m very challenged in this way. I’m overly productive. For example, after teaching 11 yoga classes on top of my full time 40 hour a week job, I decide that Friday night I will build a new website. So I did. Saturday day I wrote a yoga workshop and training. Sunday I taught two classes and practiced a new song with my guitar partner. Yet, this was my weekend off! Really Nicole?
Sunday night I was tired, yet I felt compelled to meditate. I have been reading Rod Stryker’s book, The Four Desires, that I highly recommend everyone read! It includes incredible case studies of people that have transformed their lives through his Yoga of Fulfillment workshops and the meditations that accompany it. I learned from the book that when his clients’ wanted to find their dharma (their soul’s purpose) and create the means by which to get there, what they really needed to do was slow down and listen for the answers which are always within us.
Most of his meditations are 20 minutes or longer. For a person like me compelled to move, this is a lifetime of stillness! I felt a lot of resistance to sitting up for that long after such a packed week, so instead I turned on my iPod to an hour-long ambient sound meditation track. I figured I’d try to sit, but honestly I just figured it would put me to sleep.
When we stop moving, it’s extraordinary what appears! I set an intention before I began this track to ask God how I could work less and slow down more in pursuit of my dharma. I closed my eyes and I began to go inward. About 20 minutes later I was rattled awake (I think I fell asleep) by a very clear, loud female voice that said, “Nicole, TRUST!” and I blinked my eyes open.
I was confused at first because it was so clear that I thought it was for a moment a part of the meditation CD. I checked too. It wasn’t. ;) It was my inner voice, my highest Self, that which is connected and is God, telling me that if I trust myself, my guides and my path that I am supported.
It resonated so powerfully that I decided to say no to a few sub gigs this week. As I did more and more appeared. It was as if the universe was showing me that opportunities are abundant always. We get to choose what we do from moment to moment from this place of abundance.
If I say no and let go a little bit of my control and my pushing, I can live more in my heart and in the flow of life. I am beginning to reset my mind on abundance versus lack. Going back to my work with the Laws of Attraction, I know this, but putting things into your life is a practice and often times we get sucked in to patterns and we forget.
What this also revealed to me is this same programming that controls our language around time. We say we don’t have enough time. Yet that is also lack mentality versus abundance mentality as well.
The reality is, time is something we have created, but there is no big clock in the sky that is running out of time. There is timelessness. Energy is everlasting, maybe not in this particular form (and that program could probably be changed too), but always and forever it will be. We have all the time in the world actually.
Instead of saying “I don’t have enough time” and letting myself be controlled by the Ego, I’m observing that patterning and redefining the concept of time for myself. What about saying “I have all the time in the world” and “I’m watching patiently as things unfold in timelessness”? What if I say, “I’m filling my life with amazing opportunities” as a way of expressing my energy instead?
My beloved and I created a “Should” jar, knowing the malfunction of this program. We filled it with enough money to support a good portion of our trip to Belize this December!
I think another jar is in order. It’s in my nature to be productive, so I will continue to be. I will also be sure to sit more, slow down, breathe, create more ways to listen and above all, TRUST!3 comments
One of the biggest wisdom teachings I’ve been gifted in my life is the immense power of appreciation. I stand in awe in recognition of all the amazing things that I have manifested in my life in the last two years through appreciation rituals, preparing myself for the 2012 shift in energy and consciousness. Through consistent appreciation practices, intentions and goals, I have transformed my life and have created abundance in all aspects of my life. I’d love to share a few things that I’ve learned about appreciation.
What does it mean to appreciate?
The dictionary states appreciation is an awareness and recognition of aesthetic values, and an expression of admiration, approval and gratitude. The Law of Attraction would say that to appreciate guides one’s feelings toward better feeling states and thoughts which in turn increases the positive flow of energy and improves our overall state of well being. When we feel better we are more inspired, thus we begin to tune into a more positive frequency and we attract more of what we want. With more positive energy, we enter a vortex of well being and line ourselves up with Source or the Universal Matrix where we are tapped into life and things flow easily and effortlessly.
How can we appreciate?
I listened to an amazing audio book recently, The Power of Appreciation by Mike Robbins and I want to acknowledge him for inspiring me with some additional information for my toolbox. Mike Robbins, you have impacted me greatly and for that I’m very thankful!
Change your Perception - Easier said than done. We live in a society that encourages cynicism and criticism of just about everything. I call it the Seinfeld syndrome. Jerry Seinfeld made complaining cool. I do believe this is changing but look at your attitude. Can you look for what is working in your life or do you always look for what isn’t. Notice what you like more than what you don’t. Flip your perspective and look for the fun and pleasurable. Release the judge and the critic. It is challenging in the work and public environments. It seems conversations or stories revolve around people’s faults, how one measures up, one’s demise or the collapse of something. Yoga and meditation have been miraculous practices for me in noticing my negative thought patterns and how I’ve been programmed. In the Yoga Sutras, this practice is called Pratipaksa Bhavanam. We work to catch the destructive thoughts and focus our minds and cultivate opposite, positive thoughts. The glass can certainly be full!
Practice, Seek and Take Action – Once you are aware that you need to change your perspective, practice seeking out things to appreciate. Take action and do and say things that are appreciative. The challenge in our society to acting appreciative is our perception that we lack time. But little things go a very long way in the field of appreciation. Buy a stack of cards that inspire you and keep them so that when you want to thank someone you can shoot them a quick note. Have little post it notes near your desk and when someone does something awesome, post a note on their computer screen. Surprise someone. People love surprises in the world of all things planned. Send an inspirational quote to a friend’s Facebook page just to let them know you are acknowledging them for something. Leave a short voicemail honoring someone each day. Buy small gifts that you have on hand that you give to people you want to appreciate. Learn to be motivating, inspiring and empower people through your encouragement.
Acknowledge Externally – For just a few minutes in the morning and evening take time to journal, pray or meditate on the things that went well in your day. From the bed that you slept on, to the clothes on your back, to the food that nourished you, to all the people that supported you, to the car that drove you to work, and so on. There are many daily things that we own, use or encounter that have a huge impact on our lives and the choices we make day to day. Start to recognize even what seems mundane as a true miracle that you and have created in your life.
Acknowledge Yourself – For just a few minutes in the morning and evening take time to journal, pray or meditate on the things that you did well. Sometimes our own goals get in the way because we are trained to see what we didn’t achieve. We spend a disproportionate amount of time concentrating on the negative. So flip this and think about compliments that came your way. Appreciate tasks you completed or goals you achieved. Even if you had a rough day, acknowledge that you made it through the day, you used your breath, and you did your best. There will always be something positive that you can appreciate about yourself.
Be Authentic in Your Appreciation: It’s easy to say a laundry list of things that you appreciate just to get it done, but that’s not really what the magnetic laws of attraction are all about. You need to not only name what you appreciate, but really feel the vibration of it. So be genuine when you are appreciating. Place your attention in your heart, not in your mind. Tap into your heart and let the appreciation flow from this authentic place.
Through all these practices of acknowledgment and gratitude, the wellspring of abundance appears naturally. It really is the principle of “the more you give the more you get”, a natural law of the universe. When we give abundantly, support appears in return. Gratitude spreads contagiously because it makes us all feel good and joyful.
I hope today that you can find the time to take a step toward creating a life of abundance by finding a way to appreciate yourself. Appreciating yourself is the first step in any life practice toward happiness and well being!1 comment
There are as many styles of yoga as there models of cars on the street today, so how does one go about choosing a practice that suits them?
by Nicole Doherty, recently published for American Athlete Magazine
Unfortunately, we don’t have any consumer reports on yoga, but maybe we need one now that yoga has become so popular. As highly trained consumers in this society, we will logically embark on the search for yoga in much the same way that we buy any product.
When searching for cars, for example, we do our research. We may ask the opinion of our family and friends. We start scoping out the cars on the street parked in our neighborhood. We go online and we noodle around on Google and watch videos. We read consumer reports. We break down our comparisons into a variety of priorities across many categories such as performance, cost, value, brand, safety, fuel economy, comfort and design. Then we develop a long list, a short list and soon enough, our top three. Eventually, we make a firm decision and we purchase the car.
In the same way our purchase is based on our individual needs, so too the style of yoga you practice must meet the criteria relevant to why you’re starting yoga in the first place. Whether it’s to be more flexible, less stressed, more balanced, less overweight, more awake, less agitated, (and the list could go on and on…) yoga functions as an adaptogenic practice that will give you exactly what you need. Ironically, what we need isn’t always what we wanted when we started. And thus we navigate the inner landscape of who we are and the healing journey of what we’re not. Regardless of the style you choose, when you make the commitment to yourself to practice what feels right for you, you will discover an ocean of unprecedented sensations in mind, body, and spirit.
What are the basic considerations for discovering the yoga that feels right for you? How can you filter all the information that’s out there? Here are some things to consider when you begin your research:
1.) Convenience. Let’s face it, if the studio is far away, you probably won’t go. Find studios that are relatively close to either your work or your home. Luckily, yoga is move available than ever before. Try out multiple studios. The key to finding the yoga that’s right for you is to pay attention to how you feel after class and ask yourself, am I getting my needs met?
2.) Interview trusted friends & family who practice yoga. Ask them a few simple questions to begin your research:
- Why did they start a yoga practice?
- What do they love about their practice?
- What style of yoga do they practice?
- How has yoga helped them?
3.) Yelp. There are Yelp reviews for most studios. Of course like anything, the opinions are completely subjective, especially with a practice that’s so meaningful and personal. But you can get a vibe about the cleanliness and conditions of the studios, the styles of yoga they teach (even if you don’t know yet what they are), and the experiences people are having there.
4.) Considerations. You will begin to make a list of priorities. Some characteristics will resonate as more appropriate for you. Note:If you have any specific medical or physical conditions then you will also need to address them specifically.
- Physical vs Spiritually – Based
- Heated vs Non-Heated Rooms
- Held Poses vs Flow Based
- Slow vs Fast
- Easy, Hard or Challenging
- More vs Less Teacher Instruction & Guidance
- Creative Sequencing vs Repetition of Poses
- Wide Variety vs Few Consistent Offerings
- Younger vs Older Students
- Price Variables vs Donation-Based
5.) Trial beginner classes. Talk to the students. By now you have begun to formulate an opinion about what you like, so go out and take some classes. I suggest beginner classes at first to keep your body safe from injury as you learn the basic poses. Ask the students about their experiences. Beginner classes may seem slow if you are that fast-paced type, but don’t fret, we crawl before we walk.
6.) Don’t give up. Don’t take one class and formulate an opinion about all of yoga. That would be tantamount to going on one date and judging the entirety of the opposite sex base on a single experience. Trust that you will find classes and teachers that work for your needs.
The bottom line is that you need to just grab the key and start the car. The old adage, “it’s about the journey, not the destination,” applies here. As you deepen your yoga practice and transform your life in ways you can’t possibly imagine, so too the style you choose, the studio where you practice, and the teacher who inspires you will also be subject to change.
All you have to do is practice your yoga consistently. Stay with it. Give yourself this gift. You are guaranteed access to what we all aspire to feel… Whole and complete exactly as you are.
Recently I attended a workshop about the sacred knowledge of the Maya with Miguel Angel Vergara Calleros, a shaman and former director of Chichen Itza who studied for over 20 years with the Mayan elders learning their oral traditions, ceremonies and culture.
The Mayans were a highly advanced and very spiritual culture. They had a profound connection and understanding of the interrelatedness of cyclical time, Mother Earth, the Cosmos and Universal Consciousness. “They understood the cosmology of evolution of consciousness and the nature of spiritual inner transformation.”(pg 8. Sacred Knowledge of the Maya)
A Maya is considered one that has brought his heart and mind into a perfect state of balance and has linked his soul with Great Spirit. The Maya calculated this date as the end of a major cycle in time and an opportunity for transformation from the world of duality to that of unity consciousness.
It is said that in their time they ascended their physical bodies into alternate dimensions through portals and gateways that opened in time, similar to what we may come to experience and understand in December. It’s clear that an opportunity for new beginnings is on the horizon and a critical shift is occurring.
It’s time for us, according to Miguel, to arrive to the frequency of unconditional love. Through forgiveness we can prepare our bodies, mind and spirit for entrance to other dimensions.
In his opinion, one of the most important ways to prepare is through connecting to Mother Earth. We are children of the Earth and as such we need to respect and love her. We need to thank her daily for all the things we have. We need to show love and gratitude for her wisdom, our food, our shelter, and the energy she provides us. We need to become friends with all embodiments of Great Spirit – such as trees, animals, and rocks.
I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to light the path of raising frequency in preparation for this time. I want to extend you an invitation to join me on an 8-day all-inclusive pilgrimage into the land of the Mayan jungles and immerse yourself in sacred ceremonies and spiritual practices designed to align you with the transformation of the ages!! Through Mayan adventures, yoga, nutrition, astrology, transformational bodywork, dharma talks, and sustainable travel we are giving you the opportunity to reset your system, release patterns of resistance, and source the light.
MAYANTENTION: Be the Transformation You Seek
Spiritual Wellness Retreat in Belize – Yoga, Bodywork Astrology, Mayan Expeditions, Sacred Ceremonies
DECEMBER 17TH – 24TH, 2012
The land of the Maya calls us to come together and transform ourselves anew this Winter Solstice. Now is the time to answer the evolutionary call for change within yourself and join hands with kindred spirits who have made a conscious choice to walk the path of awakening. This place in time is the transformational doorway you have long sought, the stargate through which new worlds are seeded.
We’re inviting 13 soulful individuals on a one-week, all-inclusive* journey into the heart of the Mayan civilization. Practice yoga twice daily, receive bodywork astrology, enjoy locally grown vegetarian cuisine, explore ancient Mayan ruins, and participate in sacred ceremonies designed to open you to the beauty and power of your true nature. Embark on this initiation with us and assist in the creation of the quantum leap that will catapult Earth into a new spiral of being.
The yogis say NAMASTE… “The light in me bows to the light in you”
The Lakota say AHO MITAKUYE OYASIN… “We are all related”
The Maya say IN-LAK’ECH… “I am another you”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR AMAZING TRIP VISIT MY RETREAT PAGE!No comments