The Speed of Love

This past Sunday, I decided to go to church- something I haven’t done in a long time. In our new community, there is an adorable church just a short walk from our place. Normally, for the same amount of time and spiritual energy intake, I would go to a yoga class.  However, being 36 weeks pregnant, regular group yoga classes are getting to be more challenging. And, at this point in my practice, 99% of the reason I even go to a yoga class is for the spiritual energy, the like-minded community, and to feel inspired. The physical stuff I can do on my own.

As I entered the church, I felt instantly welcomed by smiles and handshakes. Everyone seemed so caring, so warm, and so filled with light. The service opened with silent prayer (just like meditation), we sang songs of worship (just like chanting), and the minister shared a beautiful message (just as a great yoga instructor or guru would do.) There are so many similarities between church and yoga that I felt instantly connected, moved and spiritually fulfilled.

My favorite part about this particular service was the preacher’s message. It was all about the speed of LOVE. And here is the quote he offered:
“God walks ‘slowly’ because he is love. If he is not love he would have gone much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is ‘slow’ yet it is lord over all other speed since it is the speed of love. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, whether we are currently hit by storm or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore it is the speed the love of God walks.” ~ Kosuke Koyama from The Three Mile an Hour Godshutterstock_93326353

Basically, if you allow yourself to slow down, take deeper breaths, stay present and truly absorb everything around you, you will feel and witness love all around you. This is exactly what we strive for in our yoga and meditation practice.  And, as my teacher Julie always says, Love holds the highest vibration.

To me, God has many names, many faces, and He works to reach us in many ways. I’m grateful that I am able to acknowledge this wisdom and to feel open to all forms of enlightenment. This past Sunday, he reached me through formal church service, through Jesus, through prayer. Monday, he reached me through meditation and slow, deep breaths. Tuesday he reached me through prenatal yoga and a deep connection to the gift, the being inside of me. Today, he reached me through the beauty of nature, hiking through a lovely meadow with the vast, infinite view of the ocean… This week, I’m reminded that the more I move at the speed of Love, the more connected, inspired, joyful, peaceful and enlightened I feel. And, from now on, when I feel lost, sad, frustrated, or anything unpleasant, I shall remind myself of this inspiring message, and I will ask myself, “Am I moving at the speed of LOVE?”

Namaste.

32 Weeks and 4 Days

Today, I am 32 and a half weeks pregnant.   For most pregnancies, this is an insignificant milestone.  It’s about 4 weeks into the third trimester, your energy might be dwindling and you’re probably feeling BIG, however you still have about 8 weeks to go til baby arrives.  For me, though, this timing is a MAJOR accomplishment!  My first son was unexpectedly born at 32 weeks, two months early, on the Island of Oahu, during our “Babymoon” Vacation, due to my water breaking in the middle of the night for no explainable reason.  YES.  This actually happened.  While yoga and deep breaths certainly helped get me through this experience, you can imagine that having your first newborn son taken away from you only to live in the NICU for the first 4 weeks of his life was heart-wrenching and traumatic.  I thank God every day that he is healthy and thriving, regardless of this experience.

So based on my first birth experience, I have naturally been concerned with my second pregnancy that I might deliver early.  I was immediately diagnosed as a “high risk” pregnancy, and the doctor’s told me my chance of delivering early was about 40%.  From here, I saw I had two choices.  I could ride out my pregnancy from a place a fear and worry and regrets from my last experience… or… I could trust in the unknown, manifest a healthy, full-term labor, and rest in positive, loving, breath-filled energy.  Thanks to my Yoga practice, I chose the latter.  I also thank my friend, doula and fellow yogini, Chelsea Rothert, for inspiring me to feel like a Goddess, to embrace this pregnancy with open arms and Love, and to trust that babies are born when they are supposed to be born and that my body is capable of a full term pregnancy, regardless of what happened with my first son.

Everything that happens to us is in our lives is a lesson to be learned, a way to forgive and accept, a way to grow and expand…  Instead of allowing the downs of life to bring us down, may they lift us up instead.  May they remind us that we are human and that our capacity to love and embrace positive energy is infinite.

I still don’t know when I will deliver my second child- only God knows.  But whatever happens, I feel great and I feel deeply connected to my intention to TRUST.  I know everything will happen in a beautiful way, exactly how it is supposed to.  I also will enjoy these beautiful days of pregnancy that I never got a chance to feel before… Today for example, I’m extra tired, extra hungry, and extra uncomfortable, and I’m embracing every second of it with love and gratitude.

Namaste.

Hello, Rain…

I’m sitting in my new living room staring out at the beautiful trees and ocean while it dumps rain.  Even in the rain, Santa Barbara is majestic and I’m feeling beyond blessed to call this lovely place our new home.  However, amidst the beauty I’m mixed with unsettling emotions.  The first is that I’m extremely overwhelmed and intimidate by the amount of boxes surrounding me and the fact that my life is completely disorganized at the moment.  Secondly, I’m exhausted from just getting up here and being 7 months pregnant and have absolutely no desire to begin the daunting task of unpacking.  Lastly, the rain is making me feel a melancholy and nostalgic towards everything I have left behind: specifically my friends, an amazing yoga community and group of dedicated clients, and our home in El Segundo that was small but perfect and oh-so-comfortably-broken-in… (I’m especially missing the shower.  For some reason both the showers at our new place seem to have been designed for people under 5 Feet.  At least I’m getting my squats in.)

I know it is all perfect though.  It is natural to feel unsettled when you first move to a new place.  I embrace the change and the newness and the unknown journey ahead.  As I said in my last blog, Change equals Trust minus Fear.  Every time I’m made a big shift in my life, it always brings me closer to my soul.  How will we ever know what we are capable of or where life is supposed to take us if we rest in complacency and comfort for too long?

unnamed-1And, so I shall sit, resting my pregnant body, restoring from the move up here, watching the rain pour down, washing away any unsettling thoughts or feelings of sadness.  For I am here.  I took the first step.  I think the rain is just cleaning the slate. And, perhaps, it is also offering me a larger shower where I don’t need to squat.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
~ Robert Frost

Change equals Trust minus Fear

Change.  It is always a delicate subject.  One that festers for days, months, years sometimes until it fully manifests.  And, often times, change really only happens when placed upon us.  I had a good friend say to me once, “People only change when they have to.”  I have found this to be true as most of the big shifts I’ve made in my life have come when change is beyond my control, or when my spirit voice starts yelling at me to the point where I have no choice but to listen and abide.

I’m blessed to be experiencing my second pregnancy right now.   Talk about change being placed upon me… Here I am with 3 year-old and a 6-month growing belly, knowing my life is on the brink of serious change, and I’m scared.  I’m scared I won’t be able to love both my children with equal amounts of energy and love that they both deserve.  I’m scared I won’t be able to provide.  I’m scared I won’t be able to dedicate time to both my family and to my passions like teaching yoga.Change Fear Trust

Fear.  It is so natural and it seems to go hand in hand with change.   And the only way I have learned to combat the fear is to find TRUST.  My intention since the moment I found out I was pregnant again was to trust.  I am trusting that everything will evolve as it is meant to.  I am trusting that my pregnancy and my baby are healthy.  I am trusting that the changes occurring in my life are for the best and that they will only force me to grow and learn more about who I am.  I am trusting that if I take a leap of faith, there will be a net to catch me if I fall.

The next time you feel scared in the eyes of change, tell yourself to TRUST.  Get still, feel the moment at hand, feel a slower breath, and allow yourself to trust.  Everything will work out exactly the way it is supposed to.  Surrender to the unknown.  And let yourself be fearless in the eyes of change.

Namaste.

(And PS… I recently filmed an online class on this exact subject! Check it out HERE.) 🙂

Happy Love Day

Rev1-love-nounIt’s Valentine’s day, and whether or not you have a sweetheart or think this is a hallmark holiday, this is a day to celebrate and honor LOVE.  According to the google online dictionary – Love is a strong positive emotion of regard and affection.   I like this definition because it defines love as a STRONG and POSITIVE emotion.  When we fill ourselves with strength and uplifting energy, we are at our highest potential.   So go Love today.  Love yourself.  Love others.  Love all living creatures.  Love all the things you are grateful for.  Love mountains and oceans and the wind.  Love cockroaches, bees, and spiders.  Love it all and observe how it changes you… namaste.

Yoga Teacher Training: Not Just for Teachers

If you have been practicing yoga for more than a few weeks, you have probably noticed the countless flyers, Facebook posts, and magazine ads out there for Yoga Teacher Trainings.  You might be thinking (as my mother often does) “how many yoga teachers does the world really need?”

Well, I’m here to break it down for you:  Yoga Teacher Trainings are not just for teachers!  They are a deeper path towards enriching your life.  In fact, they should probably be called “Enrich Your Life Training.”  To this date, I have taken about ten different “teacher” trainings and every single one has made me a better person and a more conscious individual.

Teacher TrainingI am now a yoga teacher, however, my training journey did not begin with that intention.  When I took my first yoga teacher training I was at a crossroads in my life.  I was frustrated with my career, in my late-20s and trying to define my purpose.  Our lives constantly present us with different paths, and at that time in my life, all the paths were jumbled, and I felt very disconnected from my life and who I was.  I needed to move from a place of negativity and depression to a place of positive, peaceful truth where I could feel deeply connected to myself.  I really needed a BIG SHIFT.

After three hysterical breakdowns, I finally went to yoga where I came across a flyer for a yoga teacher training.  I thought to myself, I don’t know that I want to teach yoga, but if the experience can bring my spirit closer to the radiant, positive, loving energy that I feel every time I am on my mat, then I am IN!  Later that day, I emailed the teacher who was leading the training (the amazing Julie Rader) and by the next day, I found myself in her yoga class opening up into bridge pose with tears streaming down my face.  I felt a shift internally and KNEW Julie’s training would allow me to explore new pathways within myself.  Immersing myself in the practice of yoga,  opening my body and mind in such beautiful ways, and connecting more to my truth were exactly the shifts I needed in my life.

So, if you are like I was, and you aren’t really sure the teaching path is for you, here are a few reasons you should embark on a yoga teacher training ANYWAY.

1.Like me, you’re craving a big shift.  You don’t know what it is exactly, but you know you need a new, positive direction for your life, and you are eager to connect deeply to your truth.

2.You want to practice yoga all the time, anytime.  You LOVE yoga, Period.  You just can’t get enough of it, and you crave a deeper knowledge of all the elements of the practice. There is a beauty and peace that comes from understanding how a class is structured: from calming the mind, to properly warming up and cooling down, to practicing safe alignment to go even deeper into poses, all of which can then lead you to a wonderfully rewarding home yoga practice anytime, anywhere, and anyway you need it! 

3.You’re craving a community and a group of like-minded friends you can create lasting relationships with.  One of my best friends in the WORLD is from my first yoga teacher training.  Two of my close friends that met in a yoga training just got married!  When you journey deeply into your body and mind surrounded by others who are doing the same, you are bound to connect in a profound way.  

4.You want to spread the yoga love.  It is not always about teaching classes or making money in the yoga business, it is about spreading healing wisdom and LOVE.  The things I have learned from my yoga trainings have made me a more grounded, connected, loving person and from that place, I not only am of service to myself, but to every single soul I encounter.  I am more compassionate, giving, and open-hearted.  I have probably helped as many friends and family members with mind and body needs as much as I have my private clients or those that come to my classes.  A simple conversation or a look at someone’s spine can help change someone’s health immeasurably.  So, whether you want it or not, you will inevitably become a TEACHER by spreading the yoga love. 

Namaste.

Live…

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” – Abraham Lincoln

I pulled this quote out of the box of meaningful sayings at The Green Yogi where i taught yesterday.   And when you pull a card out of a box of meaningful sayings, you KNOW the first one you pull is the one you need.  Just like when you ask yourself a question in meditation, the first answer that comes up is the one you need…. I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot since yesterday morning at 8am.  Mostly, it’s simply been a strong reminder to me.  As ever since September 11th, 2001, I pledged to live my life to the fullest, knowing that it could be taken from me at any point in time.  Every day, Every year… I refuse to become complacent or unsatisfied in any area of my life.  And that is why I do yoga and meditation.  My daily practice connects me to create a peaceful and open mind, connected to my inner truth and intuition, so that I can live my best, most joyful life each and every day.  I will absolutely not settle for less.  Happiness and peace of mind are a CHOICE and are cultivated through a CHOICE to honor and practice them.   Don’t ever forget that.

After I taught that 8am class, I had breakfast with two of lovely yoga friends and one of them said, “you know what’s crazy?  I’ve been having deja vu all the time lately.  Why do you think that is?”  I said… I think it’s because you are living the life you manifested.  You are living the life you want to live and the one that you have created for yourself.  Dreams and thoughts are so powerful that when you imagine yourself doing the things you want to do and living the life you want to live, they ACTUALLY happen.  So, dream the life you want to live.  Even if that dream is as simple as to just be happy.  See yourself smiling.  See yourself in situations that bring you joy and fulfillment.  And when you die, there will be no fear and no regret.  You will simply leave this world peacefully knowing you LIVED your life – the one you wanted to live.

with peace and joy,

linda

Home to Hawaii

Hawaii 2Aloha my friends… Today I go “home” to Hawaii.  No… I’m not from there.  I wasn’t born there.  And I am not Hawaiian.   However, I call Hawaii home because when I am there I feel the most calm and grounded than anywhere else in the limited amount of the world I have been to in the limited amount of years I have lived.  I realize I am quite fortunate to have visited the islands multiple times.  When I was little, my grandparents lived in Honolulu and we would go visit them every summer.  When I was older, it was the main vacation destination for my family.  And now… My husband and I both are lucky enough to find our most pleasurable activities, both in work and play, in surfing and teaching yoga in Hawaii.  Now, most people tell me that I am so lucky and I AM.  But, at the same time, I haven’t had much of a choice in the matter.  I am not kidding you.  Every single time I have been to Hawaii, I have been invited or called to go. And every time I go, I reconnect with a part of myself that feels so right, so strong, and so peaceful.  And so, with much gratitude to Mr. Luck and Mr. Divine Timing, this is why I call Hawaii my home.

So, for those of you who didn’t know, we just had a new moon solar eclipse last Sunday.  My teacher, Julie Rader, wrote a great summary of what it means which I will share with you:

“Eclipses come in pairs twice a year and they intensify the energy of the lunar phase. The new moon is a time of new beginnings and abundant opportunities. Think of the new moon as a blank canvas for the artist to create a beautiful piece of art. The full moon, however  is a time of completion and manifestation of the energy that was set forth on the new moon. When eclipses are added into the mix the full and new moon energy is enhanced. Eclipses are times of big life changes like marriage, moving to a new location, new jobs, death, birth, and conception. Todays eclipse is thought to be the most intense eclipse of our lifetime due to the positioning of influential planets such as Mercury and Pluto. This particular eclipse has an impact similar to that of the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. Just like Pele will destroy anything or anyone who opposes her with firey rage, eclipses also remove stagnant energy and resistance.”

Alright.  So, this is CRAZY, right?  How can the moon and sun patterns affect our lives so significantly?  Well… these are the things where you just have to hand to it all off to the divine supreme consciousness and the connection to something bigger than ourselves- something undefinable yet so real, so alive, and so PRESENT.  For me, this time has been hugely transformative and full of new beginnings.  And the fact that I am going to Hawaii (not only just Hawaii- but the big Island- the fire island- the island of Pele!!) through it all is just one more thing that makes me believe in the grace of divine timing and that something above is conducting my every move.  So, thank you Hawaii, for calling me once again… for making me believe in something bigger than myself… and for rescuing me from “stagnant energy and resistance.”  I can’t wait to see what you have to offer me this time.

May you all tune into this powerful time and connect with your own callings and your own new beginnings.

aloha & namaste.

linda

Early Morning Arrival

What a gorgeous day… blue skies, a fresh breeze, and the smell of summer lingering as I walk happily in the the light step of my flip flopped feet.  I’m so grateful for this day.   Yesterday- May 28th, 2010-  was  my last evening on the schedule of a Bar/Restaurant I have been working for for almost 8 years!  My “means to an end,” as they say… has ended!!! And today – May 29th, 2010- is the first day stepping into the life I have been working towards in many ways- and that is a life where I wake up with the Sun!!!  Dear Tomorrow-at-5:45am… I can’t wait to see you.

I always knew I was a morning person.  When I was in high school, I would wake up at 5:30am to do a Kathy Smith workout video so I could get the most optimal workout in.  In college, I purposefully scheduled my classes at 8am so I could focus.  My energy is most abundant in the morning.  It is when I am productive, alert, in-tune, and most present.   I love early mornings especially.  I love that time when the majority of others are still sleeping, and I feel like I have the world to myself- even for just a moment.  I love watching the sunrise.  I love the calm of the ocean.  I love the stillness in the air.  I love the chirping of the birds and the crow of the Rooster (if I lived on a farm, that is, I know I would love it).  I love the idea that each morning is a new beginning to a new day, and I love setting aside the time to meditate and set an intention for my day.  I love knowing that I have the whole day ahead of me still to do what I need to do or be where I need to be.  I could go on and on.  But, the main thing is that I know I love it.  And, I know I have been denying myself this time because of the nature of my serving job and the late nights.  So, here I am- So grateful because of where I have been, where I am going, and where I am now.  There is nothing like the feeling of knowing you are living the life you want.  I hope all of you reading this are able to feel this as well- whether it’s now or in the future.  It may take some time- 8 years, perhaps?..But it’s worth it- because, after all, you really quite don’t know where you are until you know where you’ve been.

namaste.