On & Off The Mat – A Yoga Blog

by Christy DeBurton

 

I celebrated 20 years of teaching yoga yesterday by hosting about two dozen people for a pool party at The Yoga Room! The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed sitting out on the patio or floating in the pool. We had a great spread of food (all vegan, of course!), highlighted by my favorite hummus, tabbouleh and baba ganouj from Palm Palace. A special thanks to everyone who helped out with additional food and beverages! It was so nice to see everyone–‘old’ students from when I first started teaching yoga in Ann Arbor, current students, and some yoga teacher friends–one of whom, Colette, is also celebrating 20 years of teaching yoga this year too! I wish I had more pictures from the event (and of everyone who was there) but I was too busy socializing to get that many. Nevertheless, here are some highlights. (You can click on the pictures for a slightly larger view.) Thanks again to all of you who attended and made my celebration so special!

 

 

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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 starting either Fall 2018 or 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. You can click on the pictures for a larger view!

 

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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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