On & Off The Mat – A Yoga Blog

by Christy DeBurton

 

Giving Excuses by Madisyn Taylor

 
When we offer nothing but excuses in our lives, we are not being honest with anybody, mostly ourselves.

 

Excuses may seem like rational reasons for us not to do something, but if we’re not careful we can allow them to keep us from reaching our goals. Too often we accept our excuses as reasons why we cannot accomplish what we set out to do, and instead of finding alternatives we give up. But if we can be honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our choices, we will begin to notice that we no longer give excuses. When we keep our minds focused on our goals, we will find that excuses fade away in the light of our priorities, and issues become challenges that can help us become wiser and stronger.

 

Sometimes we may give others excuses rather than be fully honest. We may think it is kind to tell someone we are willing to do something with them, whether work or play, but then keep putting them off. This diverts our energy into keeping the truth at a distance while continuing a falsehood. But when we can take responsibility for our feelings and express them honestly, but gently, the other person is free to find someone who is better suited to accompany them while we are free to pursue the things we like. When we can do this, our energy can be invested in building better lives and relationships.

 

There’s another way in which excuses rob us of energy–and that is in the power of our thoughts and words. If we find ourselves in a situation, for example, where we are being asked for a financial contribution but we use the excuse that we can’t afford it, we create and attract lack and limitation into our lives. The same goes for seemingly simple things like pretending to not feel well or any other false statement. We may think that excuses make things easier, but they complicate matters with smokescreens. When we can commit to our priorities, take responsibility for our choices, and communicate them honestly to others, there will be no need to make excuses, and we will have much more energy to dedicate to all the things we love.

 

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By Madisyn Taylor

 

Conflict should always be met with open ears and an open heart.

 

Conflict is an unavoidable part of our lives because our beliefs and modes of being often contrast powerfully with those of our loved ones, acquaintances, and associates. Yet for all the grief disagreements can cause, we can learn much from them. The manner in which we handle ourselves when confronted with anger or argument demonstrates our overall level of patience and the quality of our energetic states. To resolve conflict, no matter how exasperating the disagreement at hand, we should approach our adversary with an open heart laden with compassion. Judgments and blame must be cast aside and replaced with mutual respect. Conflict is frequently motivated by unspoken needs that are masked by confrontational attitudes or aggressive behavior. When we come at conflict with love and acceptance in our hearts, we empower ourselves to discover a means to attaining collective resolution.

 

The key to finding the wisdom concealed in conflict is to ask yourself why you clash with a particular person or situation. Your inner self or the universe may be trying to point you to a specific life lesson, so try to keep your ears and eyes open. Once you have explored the internal and external roots of your disagreement, make a conscious effort to release any anger or resentment you feel. As you do so, the energy between you and your adversary with change perceptibly, even if they are still operating from a more limited energy state. Consider that each of you likely has compelling reasons for thinking and feeling as you do, and accept that you have no power to change your adversary’s mind. This can help you approach your disagreement rationally, with a steady voice and a willingness to compromise.

 

If you listen thoughtfully and with an empathetic ear during conflict, you can transform clashes into opportunities to compromise. Examine your thoughts and feelings carefully. You may discover stubbornness within yourself that is causing resistance or that you are unwittingly feeding yourself negative messages about your adversary. As your part in disagreements becomes gradually more clear, each new conflict becomes another chance to further hone your empathy, compassion, and tolerance.

 

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I don’t know if any of you get the Daily OM delivered to your inbox each day, but lately the topics have really been resonating with me so I thought I’d share them here on my blog. Hopefully they give you some insights, inspiration and perhaps a little validation too!

 

Accepting Compliments by Madisyn Taylor

When we willingly accept compliments, we are reminded that others see us through different eyes.

 

Many of us find it difficult to accept compliments but easy to believe the slightest criticism. Today, right now, let’s make a choice to fully accept compliments as we would a gift. Sincere compliments are gifts of praise. They are kudos given for wise choices or accomplishments or perhaps for just letting your light shine. There is no reason not to accept the gift of a kind word, but some of us argue against them, even giving reasons why they aren’t true.

 

If we visualize the energy of a compliment, we would see beautiful, shining, positive energy being sent from the giver. That energy, if accepted graciously, would brighten our personal energy field. Our gratitude then returns to the giver as warm, fuzzy, glowing energy, completing an even circuit of good feelings. But if we reject a compliment, what could have been a beautiful exchange becomes awkward and uncomfortable, making it a negative experience instead. Misplaced modesty can ruin the joy of sharing this connection with another person. But we can accept a compliment and still be modest by simply saying “thank you.” However, if compliments are rejected due to a lack of self-esteem, then the first step would be to start believing good things about yourself. Try giving yourself compliments in the mirror. Beyond the initial feelings of silliness, you will notice how good it feels and can watch the smile it puts on your face. The next step would be to see how it feels to give compliments to others. Notice how great you feel when you’ve made another person’s face brighten and how differently you feel when the gift you’ve offered is rejected. Having experienced all sides, you will be ready to play along fully and willingly.

 

We are our harshest critics. When we accept compliments, we are reminded that others see us through different eyes. All living beings crave positive attention, and we all deserve to have positive energy shared with us. Perhaps if we happily and gratefully accept compliments, we will give others permission to do so as well.

 

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meditation challenge

 

By now we have all heard of the benefits of meditation: it reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity, improves concentration, re-wires our brain to think more positively and so much more.

 

Join me for a 28 Day Meditation Challenge and get the tools and encouragement you need to make meditation a daily habit!

 

Part 1: Saturday, March 17, 10:15am-12:15pm

In this 2-hour workshop we will explore the basics of meditation—experimenting with different styles, asking questions, talking about misconceptions—all of which will prepare us for our journey of putting it into practice over the next 21 days.

 

Part 2: Saturday, April 14, 10:15am – 12:15pm

Research shows you get the most benefits from meditation when you do it for greater lengths of time in a retreat setting. We’ll end our 21-day challenge by coming together again for a 2-hour meditation ‘mini-retreat,’ interspersed with light yoga, breaks and group discussion.

 

In between:

You’ll receive weekly doses of inspiration, resources and more to help keep you on track!

 

For more details and to register click HERE!

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This past Saturday a lovely group gathered for a contemplative day of yoga, meditation, journaling and self-reflection centered around the Chakras. We began with a little warm-up Kundalini Yoga kriya for our aura. From there retreatants spent time with each chakra–or energy center in our body–as they chose: listening to readings about how life situations affect our chakras, journaling, spending time in Yin yoga poses best suited for balancing each chakra, meditating, and some even gave their chakras a nice rest by taking little cat-naps! ;) We broke up our quiet time with a delicious plant-based lunch of Curried Red Lentil Coconut soup, hummus, crackers, bread and my favorite chocolate cupcakes with salted (vegan) buttercream frosting. It was very much an opportunity for rest, relaxation and self-reflection, which is so often missing in our day-to-day lives. I am so happy that this group took the time to invest in some uplifting self-care! If you are interested in doing the same, keep an eye out for upcoming Immersions and 1/2 Days Retreats HERE

 

Here’s what a few of the participants had to say: 

 

“I haven’t felt that blissful in a long time.  Learning about the chakras and their governing areas all in one day really made me feel as if my energy was bursting, yet there was a calm center. The delicious lunch was an added bonus!” -JW

 

“The half-day Chakra Retreat was so worthwhile. If you need a day to relax and reduce your stress this is the event for you. We learned, in detail, about Chakras, had time to meditate and think through things. The lunch was vegan and superb.  Do this if you need to take a break and slow down your thoughts and body, it is so healing. Also, Christy is a great cook. ” -SM

 

“Thank you Christy, I so enjoyed the Chakra Immersion day. The Kundalini warm-up was invigorating and the time to reflect and meditate were helpful. Your lovely lunch and conversation in your beautiful home was special.” -GJ

 

Here are a few pictures from the retreat. You can click on them for a slightly larger view.

 

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Calling all yoga teachers! I am looking for experienced Hatha, Vinyasa & Yin teachers for both short-term and long-term opportunities in 2018. The pay is great, the classes are small and the space is beautiful. Contact me at info@christydeburton.com for further details.

 

 

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chakras

 

The New Year is the perfect time to let go of what no longer serves you and make room for what will. Join me during this 1/2 Day Retreat to dive deeper into the chakras—or energy centers—within your body, and use them to resolve any issues holding you back from being the best version of yourself.

 

We will spend time examining our physical and emotional relationship to each chakra and work with them to find balance and healing through: 

 

*KUNDALINI & YIN YOGA

*MEDITATION

*CONTEMPLATION

*JOURNALING

 

Healthy vegan lunch included. Invest in some self-care for the New Year. You are worth it!

 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

10:30am-2:30pm

$105 by 1/13; $115 after

Click HERE to register!

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Back by popular demand! As many of you know, I take the opportunity during the 2-week holiday break from regular classes to offer some fun, interesting drop-in classes that you don’t see during the rest of the year. Pre-registration is required–sign up early as classes will likely sell out. Sorry, these classes may not be used as make-ups.

 

**Visit my Square Store HERE to reserve your spots online.**

 

Thursday, Dec 28, 9:30-10:45am
AM Ask The Teacher!: Posture Workshop

“What’s the difference between Cobra, Sphinx and Upward Dog?” “What do you mean by ‘zip up your abdominals’?” “How the heck do I ‘flip my dog?'” Here’s your opportunity to ask questions, get your alignment checked, and ‘workshop’ some of the postures that we commonly see in our practice but don’t always have time to break down in class. Bring your requests!

 

Thursday, Dec 28, 6-7:15pm
PM Ask The Teacher!: Posture Workshop

Same class as above, but an evening time!

 

Thursday, Jan 4, 9:30-10:45am *SOLD OUT-ASK TO BE PUT ON WAITLIST*
AM Shoulders, Neck & Upper Back Clinic 

Do you have tight, tense shoulders or back pain? Do you slouch? Do you sit at a desk or in front of a screen for a good part of your day? Has your yoga teacher recommended this class to you? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, reserve your spot ASAP! We’ll stretch tight muscles in the front of the body, ‘wake up’ weak muscles in the back, work on softening tense shoulders, focus on improving posture, and alleviate common shoulder, neck & back problems.

 

Thursday, Jan 4, 6-7:15pm 
PM Shoulders, Neck & Upper Back Clinic

Same class as above, but an evening time!

 

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Seven retreatants came together for a Day of Mindfulness at The Yoga Room this past weekend. They came for a variety of reasons: Two couples attended–one of which have a 7-month old baby, so they were looking forward to some peace, quiet and relaxation; a middle school principal wanted to deepen her own mindfulness practice so that she could bring mindfulness into her school; one woman is a caregiver for a friend in the last stages of cancer so she needed the retreat to re-center and ground herself; others were looking to deepen their meditation practices in a supportive setting.

 

After some brief introductions we began observing Noble Silence as a way to deepen and intensify our mindfulness experience. We did a Yin yoga practice to prepare our bodies for the 20 minute sitting meditation that followed. After a short break we enjoyed a simple vegan lunch of lentil soup and bread, where we continued our Noble Silence practice for 20 minutes to be mindful of what we were eating, where it came from, and all the effort and love that went into it, and then chatted for 10 minutes while we enjoyed our cupcake dessert. We then shifted back into silence for a mindful walking meditation to a small, old cemetery down the road where a Civil War soldier is buried, spending a few minutes in contemplation there. Upon our return we did a longer, 30 minute seated meditation, and then closed with a group discussion where we each shared our experience of the day.

 

Some of the most important things we tried to keep in mind during our Day of Mindfulness: connecting to our inner stillness, shifting into the witness/observer role, practicing present moment awareness, and practicing non-judgment toward ourselves when our mind wandered off. 

 

Everyone agreed that having a full 4 1/2 hours to commit to our mindfulness/meditation practice was very beneficial. (In fact, I shared some information on a recent study on meditation that showed that although a short, daily practice is good, the most beneficial effects to our brain occur during more intensive meditation retreats. So…needless to say, we are all looking forward to more Days of Mindfulness here at The Yoga Room. Stay tuned and join us for the next one!

 

Here is what a one retreatant shared about her experience:

 

“It was a wonderful day. I enjoyed the Yin Yoga to start the session. It got me back in touch with my body and also relaxed and loosened my muscles so that I could sit still for the first sitting meditation of the day. The sitting meditation was easier than I had expected and the time seemed to go quickly which surprised me. The Mindfulness Walking Meditation was enjoyable and helpful. It is something that I can see myself practicing even as I walk my dog. Probably the most enlightening and surprising experience of the day was the Mindful Eating we practiced at lunch. What an eye opener!! There was quite a bit of discussion about that. BTW–the lunch was wonderful!! I also appreciated the Noble Silence. It was something that I had been looking forward to. I hope that you will  be repeating this workshop in the future. I will definitely be there. Just a little story about the day after the workshop. That next day I found myself in a very frustrating situation. It started to get the best of me. Then I said to myself, “Look you were at a meditation workshop yesterday–for heavens sake use what you learned”. So I found a Deepak Chopra  meditation on YouTube, sat down, closed my eyes and settled into it. It had a tremendous affect on me and allowed me to be open in a different way to the experience. I had a dramatic shift that day and was very surprised by all the positive moments that ensued just because I took the time to be still and meditate.”

 

You can click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.

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I just wanted to share a few pictures from our Fall Yoga Retreat at Inn at the Rustic Gate in Big Rapids this past weekend. 

 

A lovely group of 10 joined me for Yin, Kundalini, Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga classes, as well as a Yoga ‘Potpourri’ Workshop that consisted of meditation, a Posture Clinic/Ask the Teacher Q&A Session, and even a little Thai Yoga Massage! 

 

During our free time, some people ventured out to the local Amish communities to buy apples, baked goods, sauerkraut and more, while others enjoyed sampling the local microbreweries in town. A few of us stayed behind in the cozy Inn to read and nap. ;)

 

While we didn’t have the best weather this year, it was still good enough to be able to get in some mountain-bike riding at Hungerford Lake Rec Area, and take some short hikes on the Inn’s 150 acre property. And of course, take my annual labyrinth walk. 

 

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the food. It is always a highlight, especially the Stuffed Squash for Saturday dinner and Tower of Power (if you’re curious, ask me what’s in it–or see if you can figure it out from the pictures below!) for Sunday brunch!

 

Feedback from one participant: “I wanted you to know I enjoyed the weekend and learned some things that will help my practice and improve my poses. Your skill and thoughtfulness made it all a great a experience. I enjoyed meeting and talking with all of the participants. It was a warm and friendly group……and the innkeepers were wonderful, too!”

 

(You can click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.)

 

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