On & Off The Mat – A Yoga Blog

by Christy DeBurton

 

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

 

There is power in knowing your personal limits – your willingness to accept these limits can give you the means to flourish.

 

Every human life is defined, to some extent, by limits. No one person is capable of fulfilling every possibility. We are all born with unique aptitudes and sensitivities, and it is these qualities that largely determine the paths we will travel in life. What invigorates, excites, and inspires one individual may exhaust or overwhelm another. When we understand what we as individuals are capable of reasonably handling, we gradually learn to accept that we have control over our wellbeing. Yet determining where our limits lie can be difficult, as it is likely we have been told time and again that the discomfort, fatigue, and stress we felt while engaging in activities outside the range of our comfort zones was all in our heads. If you have never before given thought to the notion of personal limits, creating a list of those tasks and situations that leave you feeling drained can give you insight into your own.

 

You will know definitively that you are operating within your limits when you have the necessary energy and drive to address your personal and professional commitments. This is not to say you should not push yourself or work to extend the range of your capabilities. The wisdom you gain through dynamic self-examination will give you the tools you need to create an individual life strategy that allows you to achieve your goals without compromising yourself or your needs. The limits you honor by focusing your energy on what you can do rather than what you cannot do will not interfere with your ambitions unless you allow them to interfere. You can thrive within your limits, actively shape your circumstances, and avoid anguish by simply recognizing that certain aspects of life nourish you while others drain you, and doing your best to perceive the fine line between applying yourself diligently and overworking yourself.

 

You may be surprised to discover that your limits change over time. Your willingness to accept these limits as they reveal themselves to you can smooth your passage through life and give you the means to flourish.

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

 

Speaking our truth may involve risking rejection, but when we allow ourselves to follow the flow of life, we are supported.

 

As children most of us learn that honesty is better than dishonesty, and we may not question this beyond whether or not to do what we’re told. As adults, however, we can go deeper to examine our choices as investments of energy with predictable risks and returns. When we speak the truth, we affirm what already is. This is like using a paddle when the stream is already moving the same direction. We are already supported by the universe and its energy flow, so we don’t need to exert much energy, leaving more for other pursuits. But dishonesty redirects a portion of our energy against the flow, which requires extra effort. In addition, it creates an alternate reality that requires further energetic input to be maintained. So we can easily see that we are best served when we work with the flow of the universe.

 

Life is not always clearly defined, so we may find it useful to follow our choices to their logical conclusions. We may feel that little untruths are harmless, but they can be like small cracks that weaken an overall structure over time. Even giving someone a compliment or trying to protect them can create problems later when the alternate reality we’ve created becomes the basis for further actions. Even if the actions that follow are honestly done, the underlying unstable foundation of dishonesty will threaten to topple things eventually. This can lead to further energy being spent on keeping things hidden, working to remember the tales we’ve spun and fearing the consequences of being found out. Life doesn’t need to be this draining, but we can make the choice to free ourselves from the bonds of dishonesty at any time.

 

Speaking and living our truth may involve risking, among other things, the possibility of rejection. But when we allow ourselves to follow the flow of life, we are supported. We can then use our energy to cultivate physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being and to create our dreams, rather than leaving ourselves too drained to even maintain our existence. Today we can make honesty our choice in every interaction, bringing the nurturing power of the universe’s energy into our lives to bring positive, lasting results.

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR
When we are hard on ourselves, we send our bodies the message that we are not good enough.

 

One of the key components of human consciousness that most of us need to address and change is our tendency to be hard on ourselves. We do this in ways that are both overt and subtle, and half the work sometimes is recognizing that we are doing it at all. For example, if we find it difficult to graciously accept compliments, this is probably a sign that we tend to be hard on ourselves. Other ways in which we express this tendency include never feeling satisfied with a job well done, always wanting to be and do better, and getting mad at ourselves for getting sick. Getting mad at ourselves at all indicates that we need to rescue ourselves from our learned ability to be unkind to ourselves.

 

In essence, when we are hard on ourselves, we send our bodies the message that we are not good enough. Whenever we do this, we do damage that will need to be addressed later, and we sap our systems of much-needed energy. Being hard on ourselves is a waste of precious time and energy that we could use in positive ways. To begin to understand how this works, we can think about times when someone made us feel that we weren’t good enough. Even just thinking about it will create an effect in our bodies that doesn’t feel good. We may be used to the feeling, but when we really tune into it, we instinctively know that it is not good for us on any level.

 

Like any bad habit, being hard on ourselves can be a challenging one to release, but the more we feel the burden it places on us, the more motivated we will be to change. At first, just noticing when we are doing it and how it makes us feel is enough. As our awareness increases, our innate impulse toward health and well-being will be activated, moving us out of danger and into a more positive and more natural relationship with ourselves.

 

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Every thought we think and every action we take has an impact on the world around us.

 

Every thought we think and every action we take has an impact on the world around us. To be aware of this is to be conscious of our impact on the people in our lives. Sometimes we just want to do what we want to do, but considering the full ramifications of our actions can be an important part of our spiritual growth and awareness. At first, being more conscious requires effort, but once we have made it a habit, it becomes second nature. The more we practice this awareness of others, the more we find ourselves in easy alignment with our integrity.

 

Our thoughts are an important place to begin this practice because our thoughts are the seeds of our actions. It is not necessary or beneficial to obsessively monitor all our thoughts, but we can perhaps choose one thought or action per day and simply notice if we are in alignment with this experience of integrity. For example, we may find ourselves replaying a negative encounter with someone in our minds. We may think that this doesn’t affect the person about whom we are thinking, but the laws of energy tell us that it does. When we hold someone negatively in our minds, we risk trapping them in negativity. If we were this person, we might wish for forgiveness and release. We can offer this by simply letting go of the negative thought and replacing it with a wish for healing on that person’s behalf.

 

With regard to our actions, we may have something difficult to express to someone. Taking the time to consider how we would feel if we were in his or her shoes will enable us to communicate more sensitively than we would if we just expressed ourselves from our own perspective. When we modify our approach by taking someone else’s feelings into account, we bring benefit to that person and ourselves equally. The more we do this, the more we reaffirm our integrity and the integrity of our relationship to the world.

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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14

5:30-7:30pm 

**SOLD OUT! CONTACT INFO@CHRISTYDEBURTON.COM

TO BE PUT ON WAITLIST.** 

 

In this fun 2-hour vegan happy hour class you’ll discover how easy it is to add more plant-based options to your menus. Sample several healthy, delicious vegan recipes, ask questions, get answers, and separate vegan facts from fiction. Beer, wine & non-alcoholic beverages included!

 

 

 

$45 early reg by 11/7; $55 after.

6 student limit; register soon!

Pay in person at the studio or click HERE* to register.

 

 

Your Hosts: Yoga Room owner Christy DeBurton has a passion for healthy living. She has been a vegetarian for over 20 years and 99% vegan for the past two. Bill Mayer has been a vegetarian for over 25 years and mostly vegan for the past two. A U-M alum, Bill also holds a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in NY.

 

(*Please note: There is a small $2 service fee to pay online with a credit card.)

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

When dealing with people who seem very unaware, remember that everyone must find their own way to awakening.

 

You may be someone who understands the true nature of reality, perceiving deeply that we all emanate from the same source, that we are all essentially one, and that we are here on earth to love one another. To understand this is to be awakened to the true nature of the self, and it is a blessing. Nevertheless, people who just don’t get it are seemingly everywhere and, often, in positions of power. It can be frustrating and painful to watch them behave unconsciously. We all encounter individuals of this bent in our families, at work, and in all areas of public life. It is easy to find ourselves feeling intolerant of these people, wishing we could be free of them even though we know that separation from them is an illusion.

 

It helps sometimes to think of us all as different parts of one psyche. Just as within our own hearts and minds we have dark places that need healing, the heart and mind of the world has its dark places. The health of the whole organism depends upon the relative health of the individuals within it. We increase harmony when we hold onto the light, not allowing it to be darkened by judgment, anger, and fear about those who behave unconsciously. It’s easier to accomplish this if we don’t focus on the negative qualities of individuals and instead focus on how increasing our own light will increase the light of the overall picture.

 

When dealing with people who seem very unconscious, it helps to remember that everyone must find their own way to awakening and that the experiences they are having are an essential part of their process. Holding them in the light of our own energy may be the best way to awaken theirs. At the same time, we are inspired by their example to look within and shed light on our own unconscious places, sacrificing the urge to judge and surrendering instead to humble self-inquiry.

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR
In order to forgive, we need to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering that was caused to us.

 

When someone has hurt us, consciously or unconsciously, one of the most difficult things we have to face in resolving the situation is the act of forgiveness. Sometimes it feels like it’s easier not to forgive and that the answer is to simply cut the person in question out of our lives. In some cases, ending the relationship may be the right thing to do, but even in that case, we will only be free if we have truly forgiven. If we harbor bitterness in our hearts against anyone, we only hurt ourselves because we are the ones harboring the bitterness. Choosing to forgive is choosing to alleviate ourselves of that burden, choosing to be free of the past, and choosing not to perceive ourselves as victims.

 

One of the reasons that forgiveness can be so challenging is that we feel we are condoning the actions of the person who caused our suffering, but this is a misunderstanding of what is required. In order to forgive, we simply need to get to a place where we are ready to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering that was caused us. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, and our forgiveness of others is an extension of our readiness to let go of our own pain. Getting to this point begins with fully accepting what has happened. Through this acceptance, we allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions.

 

It can be helpful to articulate our feelings in writing over a period of days or even weeks. As we allow ourselves to say what we need to say and ask for what we need to heal, we will find that this changes each day. It may be confusing, but it is a sign of progress. At times we may feel as if we are slogging uphill through dense mud and thick trees, getting nowhere. If we keep going, however, we will reach a summit and see clearly that we are finally free of the past. From here, we recognize that suffering comes from suffering, and compassion for those who have hurt us naturally arises, enhancing our new perspective.

 

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I just recently posted some information on the web site about my plan to lead another full-out 4-month Yoga Immersion Program here at The Yoga Room Winter 2019! (Click HERE for more details.) I thought I would share some pictures from one of the previous Yoga Immersions I lead back at the old studio, plus some testimonials from a handful of students who took part. (You can click on the pictures for a larger view!)

 

“My favorite things about the Yoga Immersion Program were having the opportunity to set aside a specific amount of time for personal exploration of yoga, and being able to interact with a like-minded group. Well thought out program. It made me desire more!”

 

“Thank you so much for your time and expertise. Was a great experience.”

 

“I jumped to take this under your teaching. Thank you for offering this – I definitely learned a lot, and deepened my awareness of the depth of yoga.”

 

“Studying the Yoga Sutras has deepened my practice and helped me understand why yoga makes me feel so good. Loved the books!”

 

“I especially enjoyed discussing the ‘nuts and bolts’ of teaching/designing a class. Posture alignment was one of the most helpful things to me of the entire course.”

 

 

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Yoga Room Ann Arbor

Yoga Room Ann Arbor

Yoga Room Ann Arbor

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR
The further you distance yourself from your expectations, the more exhilarating your life will become.

 

As we endeavor to find personal fulfillment and realize our individual ideals, we naturally form emotional attachments to those outcomes we hope will come to pass. These expectations can serve as a source of stability, allowing us to draft plans based on our visions of the future, but they can also limit our potential for happiness by blinding us to equally satisfying yet unexpected outcomes. Instead of taking pleasure in the surprising circumstances unfolding around us, we mourn for the anticipation left unfulfilled. When we think of letting go of our expectations, we may find ourselves at the mercy of a small inner voice that admonishes us to strive for specific goals, even if they continually elude us. However, the opposite of expectation is not pessimism. We can retain our optimism and free ourselves from the need to focus on specific probabilities by opening our hearts and minds to a wide variety of possible outcomes.

 

When we expect a situation, event, or confrontation to unfold in a certain way, it becomes more difficult to enjoy the surprises that have the potential to become profound blessings. Likewise, we may feel that we failed to meet our inner objectives because we were unable to bring about the desired results through our choices and actions. Consider, though, that we are all at the mercy of the universal flow, and our best intentions are often thwarted by fate. As you grow increasingly open to unforeseen outcomes, you will be more apt to look for and recognize the positive elements of your new circumstances. This receptivity to the unexpected can serve you well when you are called upon to compromise with others, your life plans seem to go awry, or the world moves forward in an unanticipated manner by granting you the flexibility to see the positive aspects of almost any outcome.

 

The further you distance yourself from your expectations, the more exhilarating your life will become. Though a situation in which you find yourself may not correspond to your initial wants, needs, or goals, ask yourself how you can make the most of it and then do your best to adapt. Your life’s journey will likely take many unpredicted and astonishing twists because you are willing to release your expectations.

 

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BY MADISYN TAYLOR

 
You cannot control other people’s emotions, but you can control your own.

 

Hurtful confrontations often leave us feeling drained and confused. When someone attacks us emotionally, we may wonder what we did to rouse their anger, and we take their actions personally. We may ask ourselves what we could have done to compel them to behave or speak that way toward us. It’s important to remember that there are no real targets in an emotional attack and that it is usually a way for the attacker to redirect their uncomfortable feelings away from themselves. When people are overcome by strong emotions, like hurt or anguish, they may see themselves as victims and lash out at others as a means of protection or to make themselves feel better. You may be able to shield yourself from an emotional attack by not taking the behavior personally. First, however, it is good to cultivate a state of detachment that can provide you with some protection from the person who is attacking you. This will allow you to feel compassion for this person and remember that their behavior isn’t as much about you as it is about their need to vent their emotions.

 

If you have difficulty remaining unaffected by someone’s behavior, take a moment to breathe deeply and remind yourself that you didn’t do anything wrong, and you aren’t responsible for people’s feelings. If you can see that this person is indirectly expressing a need to you–whether they are reaching out for help or wanting to be heard–you may be able to diffuse the attack by getting them to talk about what is really bothering them.

 

You cannot control other people’s emotions, but you can control your own. If you sense yourself responding to their negativity, try not to let yourself. Keep your heart open to them, and they may let go of their defensiveness and yield to your compassion and openness.

 

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