when assuming doesn’t make an ass out of you. (or me).

Airports are bizarre: an alternate universe where lazy mayhem and frenetic movement coexist. And there are a lot, I mean, a LOT of stressed out people (most of whom are wearing pajamas and eating junk food). At departure gates, I feel for the ticket agents who have to explain, repeatedly, that flight delays are something they cannot control and they are, in fact, “doing their best.” Still, travelers are always yelling at them. Sometimes in English.

This month, we study the yama (ethical consideration of yoga) aparigraha, which means relinquishing and letting go. In the past, this blog examined aparigraha from the most traditional definition, “non-hoarding” in an 5 part aparigraha article series here. Now, I’d like to introduce the concept of aparigraha as a function of generosity of Spirit.   

One of the most profound personal practices I’ve adopted in my life is to assume that everyone I meet is doing their very best, even if I don’t particularly like what they are doing.

Practicing generosity of spirit means that I am willing to relinquish my need to be right, my need to ‘win’, my need to hold on for dear life to my ideals and arguments and assumptions. It means I am generous with my assumption that people are doing the very best they can. (Even airline ticket agents.)

Practicing generosity of Spirit means that when I am triggered by a yoga teacher who arrives late to teach class, I shelf my frustration that she is unorganized and flaky. Instead, I assume she tried to get to class on time, it just didn’t happen.

Practicing generosity of Spirit means that when a friend says something that triggers an insecurity, I shelf my snarky rebuttal. Instead, I assume she had no intention of hurting my feelings.

Practicing generosity of Spirit means that when a knucklehead driver cuts me off without using his turn signal, I shelf my anger and take a breath. Instead, I assume he has somewhere really important to be and send him a prayer for safe travels.

I love this quote from Mother Theresa about how we give the very best we can, every day and anyway; we assume that everyone else is giving their very best, too.

This is one of the most powerful practices of developing compassion that I know. How will you give the benefit of the doubt to people you meet today? How can you practice aparigraha by relinquishing your reactions and assuming that people are doing their very best?

Happy Assuming,

-lisa

extra grateful: a new 1:5 gratitude challenge.

Here’s a new Gratitude Challenge for you: 1:5. In the traditional 30 days of gratitude approach, our list often becomes stagnant, rote and trivial by the end of the month. We start listing things that are fun, fast and easy, instead of listing things that truly bring us back to our Highest Self and the practice of Gratitude.

So, a shift on an old theme: 1:5. Name ONE thing you are EXTRA grateful for and 5 people who make it possible. As we know, writing an acknowledgements page is good for the soul: in the end, we cannot take ANY of this stuff with us, but our relationships and the people we love leave an impression on our Soul.

For example:

This year I’m extra grateful to be the Owner and Curriculum Director of Westport Yoga KC. It’s not an easy job, but it’s worth it because I get to share generously the teachings of yoga and meditation with willing and beautiful Souls every day. I have 5 incredible teachers who teach at Westport Yoga KC and make my dream possible: Thank you Maris, Amie, Sedona, Jesse and Kelly. (Of course, it’s really my STUDENTS who make it possible… but I’m sticking with the above Fantastic 5.)

This year I’m extra grateful that I am HEALTHY! Severe allergies, sinus issues, skin rashes and energy imbalances seemed to be the norm for most of my life and this year I am HEALTHY! It’s feels like a miracle; a big shout out goes to my ‘health squad’: my nutritionist, my acupuncturist, my Yoga Medicine teacher and my best friend Russell Clive who gets me out on walks daily. (And also my Ironman who buys a vanload of vegetables every Monday at Costco so our crock-pot is continuously full of soup. (See.. limiting it to 5 people is actually a bit difficult…)

Name 5 specific things you are EXTRA grateful for and the 5 people who make it possible.

Take a minute to thank some of these people who make your life happier, healthier and more whole.

The practice of Gratitude is just that: it is something we practice. Gratitude is the key to living a wholehearted life; it is the key to living in the Present Moment and learning to see the Divine in all the little moments we tend to overlook.

A Guided Meditation during which we consciously name, reflect on and appreciate specific blessings in our life reminds us that the only reasonable response to being alive is that of Gratitude. As always, I’ll be teaching a Full Guided Gratitude Meditation at Westport Yoga KC this month.

Please check our website for current dates of Donation Yoga Classes supporting Rose Brooks Center, which helps women and children in Kansas City re-build sustainable lives after leaving unsafe households.

Westport Yoga KC

are you sometimes stressed? (me. to.)

Ok, so I understand that stress can make us stronger (hello Stress Wood and Biosphere 2) but I don’t actually know anyone who wakes up and says: “Bring on the stress! I want to endure and persevere today!” with a great big smile on their face.

I sure don’t. I sometimes feel overwhelmed and stressed just by the IDEA of being overwhelmed and stressed. The best way I have found to acknowledge, transmute and transform stress is meditation. Meditation has about a million psychological and physiological benefits: enhanced immune system, increased brain nueroplasticity and decreased sense of alienation and anxiety to name a few.

But my absolute favorite benefit is how it decreases our stress response. Something we all need. And it’s something we can all learn.

I love introducing Meditation as a technique to lower stress and increase hope, health and happiness. I shared a technique I call “60 second quick-fix” for stress on my blog last spring and have an extensive offering of free Guided Meditations here.

But my absolute favorite way is by teaching my 3 Week Course: Introduction to Meditation for Stress Relief. I teach it twice a year and it always sells out. This updated curriculum includes new research based on the MBSR technique, clinical trials and every day application of mindfulness. Please join me:

Introduction to Meditation for Stress Relief

Sundays December 3, 10 and 17, 2017  2 pm-4 pm

Investment:

This 3-part series is a perfect introduction to Meditation. We will explore the modern-day benefits of meditation and how you can integrate the practice into your life to relieve stress.

In each session, I’ll teach Breathing Techniques, Concentration Techniques and Meditation Techniques which cultivate attention, deepen focus and embrace stillness. You’ll have the opportunity to practice meditation in an encouraging group setting and engage in conversation with classmates. You will also learn ‘quick-fixes’ to trigger the relaxation response in your brain and body. The course includes a take-home manual for future reference and suggestions on how to successfully plan your at-home meditation practice.

(Limit 18 students; please note: there are no partial or full refunds for this event.)