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Dearest Yogi’s, Run/Walk or Dash with you pup to support The Seeing Eye, a wonderful organization where I volunteer that trains guide dogs for the visually impaired.

JOIN MY TEAM or simply DONATE.
Details at: https://fundraising.active.com/fundraiser/SpeedwellDesignCenter-Yoga

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/159058237563248/

Run 4 The Seeing Eye offers two events to participate in – a 4-mile run and a 1-mile “Doggy Dash” walk/run. These scenic courses will wind through downtown Morristown and Morris Township. Healthy, well-behaved dogs and puppies (6 months of age and older) are permitted to participate in the 1-mile doggy dash only. All canine participants must be up-to-date on vaccinations and must be on leashes no longer than 6’ at all times. Liability waivers must also be completed by owners.
http://www.seeingeye.org/fondo

Also, I’m teaching a lot of group Yoga classes this summer at Onyx Mind Body in Warren, NJ and Prana Yoga in Denville, NJ where you can DROP-IN. Follow me on Facebook to stay informed where I’m teaching: http://www.facebook.com/MelodicYoga/events

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I noticed something interesting and amazing the other day when I was at a dog park and how dogs let go of things so effortlessly. If a dog has a negative experience with another dog (growling, showing teeth, snapping or even biting), the negative experience happens and then literally seconds later it is over. (At least in most instances it seems to end quickly.) Then the dogs go back to getting along as though nothing ever happened. They truly DETACH from the past and live in the present. One of the Yamas we should strive for in our Yoga practice is Aparigraha (non-attachment). If only it were as easy for humans as it is for dogs to detach from negative experiences (or any experiences that we obsess about.)

I watched this very thing happen again during a time I took my dog to an agility class and the lab he has puppy playdates with was there. During their puppy playdates they play wonderfully. Well, during this agility class my dog and the lab started getting quite nasty with each other! Me and my friend were shocked! The trainer told us when we leave the agility class to not even think about what happened as the dogs have already forgotten. When we left the class, both, my friend and I couldn’t help but think about the ugly and scary experience. We had to keep talking outloud to ourselves reminding ourselves to pretend the fight between the dogs never happened. Well, sure enough, the dogs truly acted as though nothing happened. They were back to being friends!

Dogs know Yoga better than People

If only us humans could do the same! We as humans ATTACH ourselves to past experiences. We have an extremely difficult time just letting go. That attachment eats away at our minds and drives us CRAZY. I’m sure you’ve had an experience that you keep running through in your head over and over… AND OVER again. You probably felt like you were almost going crazy. Maybe that experience that you kept running through your head now started ruining your day because your attitude surrounding the experience was negative. This happens to all of us! Sad, but true. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could let go of past experiences so effortlessly like dogs? Imagine the weight we would lift off of our mind and soul? And once we remove those weights, our physical body will feel better to! When we let thoughts go out of control in our mind, our shoulders, neck, hips and back could start to hurt. Another reminder that our mind, body and soul are truly connected!

Recently, me and a good friend seemed to drift apart. I reached out to that friend to see what, if anything, was wrong. I asked if I did anything to upset her. Turns out she was upset because I was still talking to a mutual friend of ours that she is no longer speaking with. I know it seems so immature and trivial, but this was the answer I received. I think about my friend often and pray for her that she can learn to LET GO. Obviously, a past experience is eating away at her and she is allowing that past experience to dictate how she thinks and acts in the present. She’s allowing that past experience to interfere with a friendship that could be existing now because she is bothered by that past experience. She’s letting that past experience eat away at her mind. I’m not saying that I’m perfect at LETTING GO and DETACHING. Though I am trying to learn to let go and live in the present. I’m trying to LEAVE THE PAST IN THE PAST.

The other thing that saddens me about my friend and how she is letting her past control her present, is that she and this mutual friend are no longer friends. Neither one will talk to and listen to the other and apologize and move on as friends. This made me think that relationships of all kinds (friendships, family, lovers, etc) should not be defined if those two people in the relationship fight or disagree or not, because any two people in any type of relationship WILL FIGHT and DISAGREE. It is inevitable that all persons in all relationships will fight/disagree at some point. We all have different beliefs and personalities and at times those beautiful differences could easily cause a fight/disagreement. I think a relationship should be defined by HOW YOU MAKE UP. I’ve had many fights and disagreements with my closest friends that I have known since I was a child. Those close friends at times have annoyed me as I’m sure I’ve annoyed them. But just as dogs do not focus on the negative and rather focus on the positive, we as humans should do that same. Negative will happen. But positive will happen too. Focus on the positive! Forgive! Apologize! Move on! No relationship is worth losing over a fight. If we learn to let go (detach) and focus on the positive, rather than then negative, so many relationships could be saved.

How sad a life we would live if we didn’t forgive? Beautiful friendships and family relationships would be lost over stupid things that maybe we thought meant something, but in the big picture mean nothing. I, too, made this mistake (not forgiving and leaving the past in the past) and lost a relationship of someone very dear to me. Everyday I work on forgiving myself for this mistake. We all need to speak our minds, forgive and apologize. Even if we feel we truly didn’t do anything wrong, maybe just apologizing (and a hug) is what needs to be done for both parties to move on.

All that said we also need to remember one of the other Yamas, Ahimsa (non-violence). If we are letting our mind get out of control obsessing about some past experience or someone or anything, we’re causing harm to ourselves. We need to practice not only not harming others, but not harming ourselves. We need to surround ourselves with positive people, thoughts and experiences. Remember, you are what you think!

This link is to an article about a boy who’s stepfather hurt him and his mother very severely. The boy forgave his father! It is a inspiring story and a reminder that in order to create peace within ourselves we need to forgive.

Namaste,

Karin aka Shanti Om

Today I took at Yoga class with John Levis at Ananda Yoga in Mendham, New Jersey. He is an Anusara Yoga Teacher. If you have never taken Anusara Yoga, I highly recommend it. It will advance your Yoga poses and help you in learning how to adjust your poses. And it’s just fun to try other styles of Yoga people are passionate about. Even if you find that you still prefer the style you normally do, I’m sure you will learn something from EVERY Yoga class you take.

During the class today, John spoke about (and I will do my best to be as eloquent explaining in my blog as he was explaining in person) how due to technology we are starting to, in a sense, lose connection with the earth or with basic life’s joys. At least that is how I understood what he was saying. He gave the example that he bought a pair of hiking boots that gave all this support, but they gave so much support he didn’t feel the earth and was almost tripping and falling during his hike. Then he tried his barefoot shoes and although they didn’t have all the cool technology and support as the boots, he was able to hike better because he could feel the earth. We have had our own feet since birth and we really are more stable with our natural feet (sometimes) then when wearing all these fancy shoes. Sometimes we think we need this and that and turns out WE JUST NEEDED THE MOST SIMPLEST OF THINGS.

That analogy he described made me think about something my Guru said to me that at least once a day (or week) I should walk barefoot outside. To not think about where I’m stepping because then I will take more notice of the little rocks or twigs giving me pain. If you walk barefoot and don’t think about it, you actually don’t notice the rocks or twigs as much. You’re more just enjoying the walk and nature and you’re inside your own head… which is something we strive for in Yoga, to be inside your mind and be yourself; Your true self. Once we can learn to let go of over thinking where our next step is, we can enjoy everything around us.

I also started to think about all the technology we have in everyday life with blackberry’s, iphones, ipads, laptops and so much else that I don’t even know about. I am a blackberry addict. I am better than I used to be, but still a pretty bad blackberry addict. If you think about how much we do not let our minds REST because we’re constantly staring at some type of computer or on the phone or texting, etc, etc. Way back when we didn’t have all of this technology it seemed people were happier when life was simpler. I think now our minds are moving so much that we are never letting our MINDS REST. It is not healthy to have our mind go go go all the time without letting it rest. We need to learn to force ourselves to let our minds rest. Even if for 5-10 minutes a day. Seems a simple task, but if you try it, I’m sure most of you will have a tough time releasing all the thoughts running through your mind. Basically, I’m talking about meditation. Just sitting quietly and letting go of all thoughts and bringing your focus to your breath and yourself. Maybe try just thinking about ONE happy vision when first trying to meditate.

This is where taking a Yoga class at a studio is beautiful. It forces you to let your MIND REST. You have 60-90 minutes of being selfish and focusing on yourself. Taking Yoga in a studio with others gives you the chance to just focus on your poses and inhales and exhales. You’re sharing energy and generating energy with others. That energy helps you to calm your mind. When you go into Savasanna (corpse pose), your mind is already calm and you can enjoy Savasanna that much more! Did you know in Savasanna you’re really MEDITATING? Some people are scared of meditating because they think they can never do it and end up getting frustrated with themselves. But Savasanna after a series of Yoga poses is meditating! Isn’t that beautiful!? (and kind of sneaky. haha)

I encourage all of you to try to commit to (at least) once a week to going to a Yoga class. Don’t worry about what others in the class are doing or if your poses are “proper”. Just let go and go inside yourself and FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHE. Breathe and envision the positive energy you’re creating during your Yoga practice. Hopefully you can start taking more Yoga classes and/or doing Yoga at home and/or meditating 5-10 minutes a day. (Did you know… it is more beneficial to do Yoga EVERY DAY for 15-30 minutes than once a week for 60-90 minutes?) That said, whatever you can fit into your schedule is better than nothing.

You’ll be pleasantly amazed how much calmer your mind feels and how less stressed or anxious you feel after bringing Yoga into your life. And try to put down the technology for a little each day! Maybe send someone a old-fashioned card or letter. Pick up the phone! Minimize texting and emails. OK, maybe that is too much all at once… Baby steps; do what you can little by little to improve your life.

Namaste

Karin aka Shanti Om

Cherish every moment. Always look for positive, rather than negative, in everything and everyone. Seems so simple, yet most of us tend to first think of the negative before the positive. I recently stayed in a hotel where the rooms were mediocre (at best), and they always ran out of clean beach towels. I found myself immediately thinking negatively and how gross the room was and that the customer service wasn’t great. I had to consciously tell myself to look at the positive! The positives were the hotel was literally on the beach, nice pool and outside bar and live music at night. In addition, I had to remind myself places I stayed when I was a kid with my family were not great. This, I’m sure, was better than hotels my mom could afford for us as kids. And here I was being negative! Luckily I caught myself at what I was doing; and forced myself to change my MIND-set. As soon as I pointed out to myself the positive, my head immediately felt better and I felt calmer and happier. I finally saw the beauty of what was right in front of me.

Yoga Journal - things to try

And all that aside… I’m alive! More and more lately I’m reminded how lucky I am to be alive. Seems so cliché, but so true! Recently I lost a friend of mine in a scuba diving accident, one of my best friends grandmother suddenly got ill and passed away, now that same friend’s mom had a lung cancer scare and another best friend of mine dad died suddenly (without warning) at only 61 years of age in middle of night in sleep due to a mechanical issue with his heart. Then that same other best friend (whose dad died so young), brother died 19 days after the dad at only 31 years of age!! Was also heart related and sudden. I’m having trouble getting my head around all of this! I know there is no sense in trying to make sense of it, but as humans we try to. I’m at a loss for words for my friends (who I have known since we were little kids). I put myself in their shoes and my heart cry’s for them and their families. I don’t know how I would cope. I don’t know how they are coping or how they should cope. I feel so helpless. I so badly want to help my friends, but this is one thing there is nothing I can do to help. I can only pray for them and hug them and keep reminding them I love them.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/paralyzed-bride-marry-one-accident-175440457.html

My one peace is knowing we all have a predetermined path in life; and that everyone I know in this life I have known in a past life and will know in my next life. (Makes me smile every time when I think of that.) The unfortunate thing is we don’t know where our paths will lead. It is sort of like the brick path is only shown to us one brick at a time. There is one fact in life; EVERYTHING CHANGES and EVERYTHING ENDS. We just don’t know when. And those two things that seem to be (for me anyhow) the two most hardest things to deal with, change and endings. But we can’t stop trying to make the best life for our soul in THIS life. It is our duty to our soul to KEEP TRYING, KEEP LIVING.

  USAToday - Older People Make The Most Of Life

Something I wish I learned a long time ago: truly cherish every moment, look at positive in everything and everyone, life’s’ constants are change and endings.