Hope, Love, & Forgiveness

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime. Therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; Therefore we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone. Therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; Therefore we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves. People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Transformation

Asleep

Vintage LoveSing me to sleep / Sing me to sleep / I’m tired and I / I want to go to bed / Sing me to sleep / Sing me to sleep / And then leave me alone / Don’t try to wake me in the morning / ‘Cause I will be gone / Don’t feel bad for me / I want you to know / Deep in the cell of my heart / I will feel so glad to go / Sing me to sleep / Sing me to sleep / I don’t want to wake up / On my own anymore / Sing to me / Sing to me / I don’t want to wake up / On my own anymore / Don’t feel bad for me / I want you to know / Deep in the cell of my heart / I really want to go / There is another world / There is a better world / Well, there must be / Well, there must be / Well, there must be / Well, there must be / Well… / Bye bye / Bye bye Bye… /

Asleep by The Smiths

It has been a long cold winter, and although Spring is supposed to be here, it seems as though we are still a ways away from seeing her. It has been a complicated beginning to 2013 thus far for many people including myself. I felt like I was alone in my frustration, feeling down, only to realize once again that I am not alone. Once I began to reach out to a few people, I realized that although they are on their own journey, they too were facing their challenges.

Vintage I had not been saying anything to anyone because when I feel like this, I feel alone and overwhelmed. I don’t want to be exposed for fear of being hurt further. Like an animal, I seek protection, and find it in isolation. Only to find out that so many people are in fact experiencing the same thing. Some challenged through illness, through losing their jobs, a breakup, the loss of a loved one, not knowing where their life is taking them. The list could go on and on as to why I or you or any one person gets triggered. Then down the rabbit hole we go seeking safety. Some people would argue that isolation is not healthy. I disagree. I do think that there is such a thing as ‘healthy isolation.’ My space is sacred to me. I find solace in it. Getting on my yoga mat and practicing with my favorite teachers is also sacred. There, I find strength, contentment; a quiet mind. When I eventually crawl out of my rabbit hole I reach out to my community. When I say community, I don’t mean my neighbor or mailman. What my community is, is a small group that consists of people of whom I love unconditionally and in return who love me back. They are my constant as I am a constant for them. They do not define me. Though, they are my foundation for times when my feet float so high from the ground they bring me back down re-rooting me to the earth.

Vintage Friends” I have gone ahead – despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back.”

~ Author Unknown

From me to you. May there be lightness in your heart. A feeling of warmth to soothe you. A reassurance that you are loved.

Vintage BalloonsJessica Hinkson

Yoga: Establishing A Home Practice – Make It Personal

When I enrolled in the Yoga Teacher Training Program at YogaSpace, I had never entertained the idea of having a home practice. As I entered the studio for my first day of training with Kathryn Beet and Patricia White that was what we spent the entire first day establishing. Kathryn and Patricia introduced us to a basic wall series. The postures may have been basic, simple, and easy to understand, however they were also extremely active. There was a lot of moaning and groaning sounds throughout the day along with muffled laughter at ourselves. On a personal level, it was surprising to realize how tight my body felt on all levels. Physically, emotionally, and mentally. To say the least, I definitely had my homework cut out for me. As we were wrapping up our first day, Kathryn and Patricia  reinforced that establishing a home practice for self was of the utmost importance. Why? I simply like to look at that old saying, ‘Practice What You Preach.’

How can I be asking people to breathe, to scan their bodies from head to toe investigating places of stored tension when I myself am not?  How do I create a safe environment for my students if I haven’t learned to establish one for myself? If I am not continuing the investigation of myself to become more open as I stretch my tight muscles, massaging my internal organs, moving blocked energy, than how is it that I have a right to be leading anyone else, if I can’t lead myself?

Establishing a home practice is hard. It is easier to be in a classroom. In a classroom you cannot escape and attack those dirty dishes or re-organize your closet. It’s easy to get distracted at home and not do your practice with the idea that you will do it later. Trust me. I am an expert at procrastinating. So what are some tips for establishing a home practice that works for you? It took me a while to find out what worked best for me. I thought I’d share my tips with you.

1. What form of Yoga do you love to practice? Restorative, Yin, Hatha, Vinyasa, or Flow? Find out by being open to attending a variety of classes with different teachers, especially if your practice is new or if you feel unsure about your favorite form of Yoga. Once you are feeling confident in your practice in a class environment, you are probably ready to begin designing your home practice. For me, Restorative Yoga is my absolute favorite. I often refer to it as magic time. I also use books for guidance sometimes. Here are a few of my favorites!

The Woman’s Book of Yoga & Health by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden

Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness by Erich Schiffmann

Relax & Renew, Restful Yoga For Stressful Times by Judith Lasater

2. What works best for you? Is it morning, day, or night? When first beginning your home practice make sure that you do try practicing at different times of the day. Some days, I like to practice as soon as I get up, jumping right in to my sun salutations to wake up! Sometimes afternoons are great for a gentle practice combining both Hatha and Restorative instead of a nap. I love doing a Restorative practice right before bed at night. My mind slows down, my breath becomes steady and calm, and I am ready for a deep sleep by the time I am finished. Unless, I already passed out in Savasana. A successful practice in my books!

3. Setting up your space. What makes you feel warm, cozy, and great? My living space is sacred, as it should be for everyone. How everyone establishes that sense of sacredness, of feeling safe is dependent upon the individual. What do I do? I light a ton of candles, I role out my mat in the center of my living room and line up all of my props ( 2 Bolsters, 2 Blocks, 1 Eye Pillow, 3 Blankets). I put on whatever music it is that I feel my body is craving to listen to. To me, there is no right or wrong music. Your body knows what it needs, trust yourself that you are right.

4. Have fun! If you feel like laughing, DO! If you feel like crying, DO! If you want to make sound, stick out your tongue, stay in child’s pose for twenty minutes than DO it! Leave the idea of what you think you should be doing outside to the naked streets. My first Yoga teacher Maher Benham used to get my entire class to say, ‘I take the puppet that is of myself, and I fling it against the sky.’ – Emily Dickinson

We all thought that she was nuts! We couldn’t figure out why she would have us say that phrase repeatedly as if our lives depended on it! Until one day, I had an “aha” moment. What I realized was that she was trying to get us to realize that who we were as individuals was enough. To not try and be the person we thought we were supposed to be, but the person that we all already were.

“Today more than ever, it’s crucial that we include practices in our daily lives that promote health and spiritual growth. The state of the environment, the stresses created by the world’s ever-increasing population’s demand on dwindling resources, and political unrest are signposts of the critical state we face. If we want a world worth living in, and worth leaving to future generations, we need to take responsibility by creating well-being in our lives and by supporting others as they choose healthier lives. In other words, to transform the world, we first have to transform ourselves.”

~ Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph. D., P.T.  

Written By

Jessica Hinkson