FALL/WINTER NEWSLETTER 2004

1- GET OVER IT!

On our backs after the last long stretch, in the quiet serenity at the end of my class, I will ask my students to very honestly and carefully look inside their hearts and minds, and find out what's going on in their subconscious. It is absolutely amazing how much stuff is going on inside of us that we're not fully aware of. Most of it is angst. This contributes to quick tempers, road rage, domestic violence and a host of other dreadful behaviors.

I challenge them to become transparent to themselves, and to not practice self-deception - meaning, pretending on the outside that everything is just fine, when inside they may have great turbulence. I challenge you to do the same. This is one of the healthiest things you can ever practice for the four major health areas of your life: your mental health, emotional health, physical health and spiritual health. You cannot be fully healthy in any of these areas is you are internalizing negative emotions.

Are you holding on to some anger? Bitterness? Disappointment? Resentment? A hurt someone has done you? Do you keep a mental argument alive, getting the better end of it? Are you jealous of someone? Do you gossip? I could go on and on, but rest assured, every one of us have entertained these emotions. Pull up everything you can get your mind on, take a good look at it, and GET OVER IT! Whatever happened, happened. It will never "unhappen." It had its time, but it's in the past now. Learn from it, grow from it, become a better person because of what you experienced. Allow it to make you kinder and more understanding, but truly, honestly, forgive it, bury it and let it go. Every day has enough trouble of its own. Don't bring the unpleasant past into your present. Clean out your mental and emotional closets and dump your junk.

It takes great discipline, but your will go through your life with a sweetness to your soul instead of a bitterness to your soul. Genuine, sincere forgiveness is one of the sweetest balms you'll ever experience.

2- FIT OR FAT?

Quite a bit has been written about this question in recent weeks. A bit controversial, but finally seems the medical profession has come to the conclusion that fitness reigns. For your overall good health, being fit is a greater positive than simply being thin. Actually, being somewhat overweight, but being fit is healthier than being thin but not fit. Now, this doesn't give us a pass to decide we can break loose of our nutritional discipline, gain weight, and just work out. No, life isn't that simple! The absolutely best, of course, is to be both fit and at the proper weight for your height. But you don't have to do it overnight… make it a gentle transition, but stick with it with dogged determination. The quality of your life is tremendously enhanced.

3- MOTION IS LOTION

One of my students recently told me her physician had talked to her about the importance of exercise. His quote was "motion is lotion" and since I'm always telling my classes to "lubricate" their joints, she thought I'd like the quote. Of course I do! One of the areas in our bodies that stiffen early on, if we don't combat it, is our spine - we lose the ability to easily turn our head and spine, preferring instead to turn our whole body. How much do you rely on your rear view mirror and side mirrors when you back your car up? This will be one of the finest indicators as to where you are in spinal flexibility. A lot of joint/spinal lack of flexibility is absolutely preventable, and yoga undoubtedly is one of the finest tools to combat stiffness.

The spinal twist is one of the best things to rejuvenate spines. There are many variations, but the easiest for starters is to sit on the edge of a straight-backed chair, pelvis facing forward

Twist your torso to the right, chin over your right shoulder, and look at the wall directly behind you. Sit upright - don't slouch. Try to hold the upper back of the chair, but if it is too high for comfort, put both hands on the far, back side of the chair seat. This will help you to twist. Try to get your chest to face the wall to your right, stay in your comfort zone, and hold for about 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Practice often, and I am sure you'll be delighted with your increased flexibility.

4- TRAIN YOUR BRAIN - THINGS CAN ALWAYS BE WORSE!

No matter what happens to you, immediately be thankful that it is not as bad as it could be. No matter your circumstance, it can ALWAYS be worse than it is. This makes a tremendous difference in the way you view life and how you can greatly diminish your stress levels. It is truly a conscious decision one makes to train the brain to that kind of thinking. My family occasionally will laugh at me when I'll tell them how thankful I am for something having happened, such as having had a flat on the interstate at the exact spot where I had it. This happened recently, and when I heard that dreadful thudding sound and pulled over, I knew it had to be flat as a fritter. In truth, I immediately was so thankful for so many different things. 1- it was daytime and not night. 2- there was lots of traffic, so I knew somehow I'd get some help. 3- I had a cell phone. I would call my husband! As it turns out, amazingly, within minutes, of all people in the world, my neighbors pulled over! I didn't have to train my brain to be thankful for that very capable young man who changed my tire within 10 minutes! That was just serendipity, and this is a frivolous example, but still, I hope you get the gist. No matter what happens, train your brain to see how fortunate you are that it didn't work out worse than it could have. You can have one of two types of mentality: you are either a victim and whine a lot, or you are grateful it wasn't worse than it was.

5- IT'S NEVER TOO LATE IF YOU HAVE THE FIRE

I was deeply moved reading a story in Guideposts Magazine, June issue of 2001. George Dawson was an African American who came from a fine, poor, hard -working family. They were an honorable, close-knit family, and proud of their hard work ethic. George Dawson never went to school because he was needed on the farm. As a teenager he left home to seek his fortune, and filled with intelligent ambition, he quickly learned trades, but he never let on that he couldn't read. Because of that, he refused promotions because he was afraid new opportunities would demand reading and thus reveal his secret. He married and had a family, but he kept his children from knowing he couldn't read as well.

One day, after his children were all grown and gone, and his wife had died, Mr. Dawson was sitting on his front porch, rocking with an old friend. A young man came up and told him of a new literacy program for senior citizens. He decided to go with this young man, and ended up at the same grammar school his children had attended, (and that he had envied) so many years before. At the age of 98...yes, ninety eight he enrolled, learned to read, and at the age of one hundred and three was still in school, earning his GED.

Now, what's holding you back from your dream?

6- YOU ARE IN THE MOMENT…LIVE IT!

Recently we went to our local harvest festival. Among the featured entertainment was a group of young people, somewhere between the ages of 10 and 17 years. There must have been twenty of them and they were dancing, doing a great job of keeping in step. My eye caught one girl, who wore the biggest smile, her body completely into the rhythm of what she was doing. Her eyes sparkled, and you could just tell she was having a wonderful time. Then I looked at a couple of girls around her, and there was no sparkle at all. They were just doing their job. I mentioned that to my daughter, and she said she had noticed the "sparkling" girl also. Then she quietly said "She was in the moment, and she was LIVING it."

I absolutely loved that. Whatever you are doing, you are in the moment of it. Don't go through the motions only. Immerse yourself in whatever you are doing, do it as well as you can, and get as much out of it as you can. That will result in a life that was truly lived, instead of a life that only had times when you truly lived it.

7-MOMENTS:

Happy moments: Praise God
Difficult moments: Seek God
Quiet moments: Worship God
Painful moments: Trust God
Every moment: Thank God

   
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Yoga is very scientific exersise and Priscilla is an excellent teacher - the class 


My wife and I don\'t really know how many years we have been participants