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How To Ask the Universe for What You Want

24 Sep

Last night I was talking with my boyfriend about ideas for today’s blog, and when I told him my idea he asked me what the hell I think I am–a yoga teacher or a guru? Now, I’m not a claiming to be a self-help guru, but I am most certainly a yoga teacher and throughout my years of practice I have discovered that yoga goes much deeper than physical poses. Yoga touches us physically, emotionally and spiritually. At the core of yoga it’s about uniting with the Divine, which results in living our most fulfilled, authentic and purposeful lives. So no, I ain’t no guru but I think it’s best to teach what we know, and I know that asking the Universe for what we really, truly want works. It’s not hocus pocus, it’s not magic, it is real and it works, and I’m going to tell you how. Read on, skeptics, read on.

Like many of us, there was a time in my life when I was just chugging along, struggling to even get through the day, oftentimes asking myself,”Will I ever be happy? Is this all there is?” I was bored, directionless and sad. But under that malcontent was a budding seed of awareness that was guiding me to my new life. I was practicing yoga daily, meditating and delving deeply into my spiritual practice. At the beginning of most yoga classes I took, the teacher had us sit down, get quiet and set our intention for our practice. Because I was so unhappy, the only thing that ever came to mind was “I want to be happy so bad“. When you set that seed of intention over and over again, even if it’s somewhat vague, the Universe listens. “Okay, so you want to be happy?”, the Universe asks. “Are you ready to make some serious changes? Ask and you will receive.” Fast forward a year and a half, and I can honestly say that I am happier than I have ever been. No, it didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t smooth sailing to get here, but I never gave up hope that I would and could be happy again, and slowly but surely I realized that that something bigger, something more powerful than myself was supporting me in my intention for happiness.

Maybe there is something very specific you have in mind that you want to ask for. It could be something as major as healing from a major illness, or something less serious, like better abs. The Universe listens when your intentions are clear, earnest and humble. I’m not sure the Universe will conspire to get you a Ferrari, but if somehow that Ferrari will serve the greater good then ya never know.

So how do you ask the Universe for what you want? First of all, you need to believe that you deserve what you want. Sounds simple, but when you take a deep, hard look at yourself you may find that you don’t believe you are worthy or deserving of what you desire. Many of us think it is selfish to want, that it is somehow narcissistic to crave happiness and fulfillment or even having our basic needs met. But I say that is B.S. What’s selfish is being miserable. Your misery and feelings of worthlessness leak into your work, relationships and the rest of your life, making other people around feel like crap.

Here are some steps in asking the Universe for what you want:

1. Get quiet. Find a place in your home or in nature where you will be undisturbed for at least 20 minutes, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Envision yourself happy, joyful and filled with purpose. What are you doing? Who is around you? Spenda good five minutes envisioning this scenario.

2. Write down in a journal what you saw, what you were doing and who you were with. Maybe you saw yourself writing that novel you’ve been dreaming about but telling yourself you’ll never have the time/resources/talent to do. Maybe you saw yourself blissfully in love with an “imaginary” partner. Write it down, describe that person. Describe their looks, their personality, their voice, etc. Be very specific, the Universe likes specificity. Remember though, even if what you want is vague the Universe can definitely work with that, it just might take a little more time.

3. Sit or kneel with your hands in the universal gesture of asking, with palms upturned. Your hands can be on your lap or even up in the air. I like this gesture, it symbolizes humility and reverence. When asking the Universe remember this is not a demand, it is a request. The more humble, the better. So go ahead, ask. Say it out loud. Don’t be shy, the more you speak it, the more real it becomes.

4. Once you are done asking it is time to listen. So again, get quiet and still and just listen. You may feel completely ridiculous and you may not hear a thing, but listen all the same. Chances are the booming voice of God isn’t going to come through your stereo speakers (I think that would scare the shit out of me anyway). It will probably be much more subtle, like a flash of insight, a feeling of deep knowing, or profound inspiration. Or you might not feel a damn thing but hey, you tried. And keep trying, perservere and you might be very surprised.

5. Repeat as necessary.

This is a starting place, and just like any new skill it gets easier with practice. Before you know it you’ll be asking the Universe for things left and right, and that’s when beautiful things begin to happen. By this I mean you begin to let go of control and trust that the Universe has your best interest in mind. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “When you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.” You are a co-creator with the Universe, and it is up to you to make the decision of what is is you want, and the Universe is gonna do whatever it can to help you out. Believe you deserve it (you do), be clear in your intentions, and then trust and let go. And when you do, what you thought was impossible becomes possible and real miracles occur.

Allowing Myself to Heal

14 Jul

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

I love this poem. I’m feeling like I need some beauty, some positivity today after hours of doctors and physical therapy appointments. I’ve been MIA from the blog because I suffered a pretty gnarly injury last week that has kept me off my feet, my computer, the running trail, my yoga mat and just about everywhere else that I normally frequent. After meeting with the surgeon and learning that he really wants to operate on my severely herniated L4/L5 disc, I fell into despair at the thought of my body being incapacitated even longer than it already has been. Shouldn’t I be better by now? I went to the hospital, got some morphine, laid around my house for over a week, so c’mon now, why am I not healed?

Jim, my ever patient boyfriend had to remind me today that this isn’t a sprained ankle. This is a pretty serious injury that has led to significant loss of feeling and weakness in my left leg. So now it’s a waiting game, since I’m not jumping into surgery just yet we have to wait and see if it can get better on it’s own. I am not good at waiting. Nor am I good at sitting still. This is going to make for a very wild ride.

But there’s nothing like an injury to give you time to sit around and think, or in my case, feel sorry for myself. And since I teach up to four yoga classes a day and am (was) training for a marathon, I have had more spare time that I could have every wished for. As a yogi, I know that the physical practice of yoga is a very small part of yoga as a whole, yet I find myself lamenting and obsessing that I can’t practice, I mean, I was just about to nail that new arm balance and here I am unable to even lift my leg. So I try to sit in meditation, but all that comes up for me is anxiety, anger and sadness. “This is so unfair!” shout my thoughts. “Why me, I need my yoga, I need to run, I’ll die without them!” Dramatic much? Then there’s the final act, “I’ll never be able to do yoga or run again! I’m ruined and destined to be an overweight, unemployed vagrant living out of a cardboard box and eating cat food for the rest of my life!” There are also feelings of shame and guilt, I berate myself for just sitting around watching reality TV rather than chrurning away blogs and designing a new style of yoga. Need I remind myself it’s been a week and two days? I compare myself to all the other productive, successful and functioning people I see and beat myself up for not being like them.

So maybe this is my yoga practice after all. I may not be sweating my way through a Power Yoga class or helping my students into handstands, but I am practicing one of the most powerful forms of yoga, and that is the practice of watching the mind and one’s reactions. And what I find is that the real suffering comes from the judgement of my situation, the aversion I feel towards allowing myself to slowly heal and the clinging I have to my “health”. The fact is, I’m injured. Plain and simple, it does not have to be any more complicated than that. The grief, the anger and the anxiety are there and I will patiently watch them, patiently sit with them because the reality is that they have nothing to do with the injury and everything to do with how I often treat myself too harshly and without compassion, which is probably how I got injured in the first place. So maybe yoga really has little to do with what I can accomplish on the mat and more with what I can accomplish by getting quiet, getting still, and letting myself heal.