4 Non-Physical Benefits of Yoga

While we all are aware that yoga makes you more fit and flexible and is probably one of the best substitutes for the gym, it has other advantages apart from making you physically healthy too.

Yoga has proved to be one of the best methods to stimulate your mind and achieve a zen state which most of the people in our world are striving for these days. But first, make sure you have one of the best yoga mats out there, something like Manduka pro would be perfect.

Following are a few benefits of yoga which entail any description about the benefits of yoga apart from the physical aspects of it:

Increased Patience

In this fast-paced world, none of us have any patience anymore to wait for things to happen. We want them badly and we want them soon. We don’t wish to wait but we forget that anything which is important requires time and patience.

Growing up, finding the job you love, finding the relationship perfect for you, etc. , all of this would require a lot of patience because you certainly won’t find all of this overnight. Yoga helps you in this aspect and makes you more patient with your expectations towards life. As you practice yoga poses, you realize that you won’t master a pose overnight, it would take time and hence in this process, you learn patience to deal with other aspects of your life too.

Improved Concentration

Yoga is all about focusing your mind and body so that they are in the same alignment for you to master a yoga pose. It makes sure that you aren’t getting distracted by your surroundings and just focusing on the act of the yoga pose you are trying to achieve.

Once you are able to focus your mind and avoid distractions, it becomes easier to concentrate on other things in life too. You are better prepared to discard all kinds of unnecessary information and just process the ones important for you. Improved concentration also helps you in retaining more information which can help you in your work endeavors too.

Yoga 1

Peaceful mind

As we already know that Yoga helps in improving your concentration skills, this can come really handy when you have too many thoughts swirling through your head and you need some peace from all these random thoughts.

Yoga teaches you how to control your breathing and mind. As a result, you can tame your mind and neglect all the thoughts which are causing you so much confusion and anxiety. You can focus on important stuff or altogether just relax your mind into a completely blank slate, thereby entering into a peaceful state of mind.

Stress reliever

Stress and depression have grown to become quite usual for most of the people. As our world is evolving and new technologies are being introduced, people are becoming more ambitious and stressed out. All of us are running in a rat race wishing to be first and when that doesn’t happen, we become morose and depressed.

Yoga, as told earlier, helps you in centering and calming your mind. It helps you in taking control of your body and mind with the help of deep breathing. Once you take in deep breaths and focus on your mind, you feel your mind and body relaxing. It’s like a piece of cake. Anytime you feel stressed or depressed, just practice yoga for 5 minutes and you will see a tremendous change in your feelings and energy.

Well, what are you waiting for now? Go and become the master of your mind by performing a few yoga poses every day. You will soon see that not only you have become fit and healthy but mentally proactive too.

Yoga 2

I’m Baaaaack!!!!

 

Hello, World Wide Web True Yoga Blog Friends,

Yes, I am back!  You can’t keep me down or shut me up…

I will always be back, I will always rise…no matter how long it takes.

Several things happened that had me not blog on the True Yoga Blog for a while.  First of all, I had a work position that required me to be very conscientious about my personal endeavors since I was in the public sector for a while.

But, now that I’m back in the private sector that is not cause for concern.

Also, I had no idea that my domain name was deactivated.  The True Yoga Blog email address has become inundated over the years with junk email, unfortunately.  That is why I had to finally take that email address of the True Yoga website.  I had not checked that email in a while since I had been so busy with other things in my life, motherhood, work, moving and more.  They deactivated the True Yoga website and the site was down for a while.  But, I finally restored it once all the dust settled and cleared from the many things that were going on over the past couple of months…

As I mentioned, I relocated for a  job that I love.  I am a Wellness Coordinator for a wonderful company and I LOVE what I do.  I get to focus on helping people to live healthy, thriving lives and I am even teaching Yoga at my work one day a week.  How awesome is that??!!!

I am hoping that you will be hearing from me a lot more now…at least a few times a month now that I don’t have to be censored and concerned about mixing business with personal.  I don’t know how people live that way…Hillary Clinton?  Goodness, gracious…especially nowadays when EVERYTHING is so scrutinized.  Privacy is a wonderful thing I have grown to realize.

I am still amazed at how powerful the changing of the seasons are.  As you know, the Spring Equinox just occurred on March 20.  This is such a powerful time of ushering in change in our lives.  To me, the Spring Equinox has a powerful way of illuminating any and all BS.  Yes, I said BS as in BS.   Those who are operating or functioning from a disingenuous, dishonest place become exposed and those who are seeking to live in alignment with God’s will, truth, love (however imperfectly at times) are strengthened.  From God’s strength, we realize we no longer have to give our power away to those people or those fears.

I realized I was letting people intimidate me.  No more.  That intimidation was coming from a fear of loss.  I finally realized that no one can take anything away from me.  Therefore, no one has power over me but the power I LET them have.  With the igniting of the Spring Equinox I have stopped giving my power away, I am realizing there is nothing to fear and I am letting that ALL POWERFUL LIGHT OF GOD shines truth on everything especially those whose intentions are not Godly or pure.  Bam!

:)

That’s all for now.

Rise.

Rise.

Rise.

And, don’t look back.

And, I will always be back!

Just like the Terminator…I’ll be back! 😉

God bless you all!

We ARE triumphant through God’s redeeming, unfailing love and grace.

Please like the Fresh Fruit Cleanse page if you haven’t.  You will find good info there.  Like this recipe I am eating for dinner tonight:  http://www.honeygheeandme.com/2012/04/crockpot-chicken-peanut-curry/ (Smells SOOO good…it’s in the slow cooker right now…I did less spice…more honey.) Holy yum!  God, it feels good to be free-spoken again.

Thank you, God!!

And thank you faithful True Yoga Blog friends.  Where there is a will, there is a way and God IS the way.  OM.

Right Here, Right Now: Atha and Mindful Eating

And, one more article by the beautiful Melina Meza. Thank you for sharing your yoga-inspired wisdom with us!

Right here. Right now.
Eating mindfully and applying atha to your practice.
–by Melina Meza, RYT-500, BS Nutrition

I’ve been deeply inspired in my daily life by the very first sutra in the classic text called Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The arrangement in which the sutras are placed is related to their significance, so the very first word in the first yoga sutra is central to understanding what Westerners call “yoga.” The whole sutra is atha yoga anusasanam. Atha is translated as now, also referred to as the moment-to-moment transition. This simple word, atha, echoes the basic wisdom often forgotten in today’s society, that in order to feel whole and connected, you must be present. Right here, right now. But, where do we spend most of your life? Somewhere in between the past and future…

I once heard a riddle that asked, “If you had a treasure to hide, where would you hide it?” The answer is, “in the present moment.” What would happen if we started weaving this wisdom from the Yoga Sutra into our daily life and eating? Would our health improve? I believe it would. This first step is perhaps the most important step on this journey because it brings your attention to what you are doing at the moment, no matter what you are doing. How can you ever understand or feel the benefit of a well-prepared meal, restorative or vigorous yoga practice, healthy relationships, parenting, working, or whatever you do in life, if you are always distracted by emails and text messaging or if you are busy fantasizing about sometime other than right now?

One translation of the word “mindfulness” means to pay attention or take care in everything you do. Mindfulness and atha have a lot in common, they both remind us that now is the prime time to pay attention to life and take nothing for granted, they both graciously steer the waxing and waning mind towards one goal, one task versus many. After all, can your energy really go more than one place at a time?
Mindfulness or atha can be used as a “mantra” to be repeated throughout the day in various activities such as yoga, meditation, walking, cooking, paying the bills, or listening to a friend. Repeating this mantra throughout your day will help remind you to stay present and awake, right here and now. What would it be like to wake up to each moment’s sensual offerings and accept that moment as enough?

Mindful eating
What if eating became a part of your meditation practice? Whether you eat three square meals a day or numerous smaller meals, eating food is something every human must do to survive. To maintain healthy tissues and organs, it’s essential to eat the right foods every day. Because we all need to eat so regularly, it’s a great place to consider sequencing in mindfulness and atha into your daily routine. Enjoy how your food tastes, smells, how well it digests, and how much you need to satisfy your hunger.

In the western culture, people are not fully conscious of the fact that they are eating; instead, we are busy driving, typing at the computer, watching the TV or a movie, reading the paper or discussing politics or the latest Facebook events while hanging out with friends. Each of these scenarios requires a certain amount of energy output–energy that is pulled away from the digestive and metabolic functions occurring within. There is a classic saying, “Where your mind goes, your energy will follow.” So, why not focus on eating when eating, to prepare your digestive organs to process the nutrients?

If we were to apply mindfulness to eating, we would start by choosing a special, clean place to eat each meal, free of clutter and distractions. I believe it is valuable to choose a specific comfortable seat just for eating (like you do for meditation) other than your couch, desk, bed, or car because it promotes conscious eating. This also prevents overeating. Consider the classic conditioned behavior patterns described in Pavlov’s experiment. His research proves just how easily you can train yourself to get hungry every time you approach your desk, couch, or car if that is where you most commonly eat. Conscious, mindful eating promotes efficient digestion and metabolism, so you’ll have more energy at the end of the day, week, and year to do your life’s work. When you take the same seat over and over again to eat, you’ll remember that eating is a ritual for nourishment rather than a reward or comfort tool.

By eating in a quiet seat, you also give your body the opportunity to stop vibrating from the day, calm the sense organs, indulge in a few deep breaths, and drop into a moment of appreciation for the delicious food you are about to consume. The food you eat, after all, will soon become you, so it would be wise to be attentive to your new guests and pray for a speedy, harmonious transformation in the walls of your GI tract.

Learn more about yoga, nutrition, and Ayurveda in one of Melina’s upcoming workshops or retreats: www.melinameza.com

The Crow Pose Challenge!

Oh my gosh…first of all, my eyes are burning and everything I’m looking at right now has this haze around it because I spent three hours in the pool being photographed doing Yoga poses by this awesome photographer in Dallas, Kathleen Wilke. I haven’t spent that much time underwater since I was a kid. And, a lot of times when I was a kid I would were goggles. I had forgotten what it feels like to have chlorinated blood-shot eyes…it burns and even makes it hard to concentrate…I don’t recommend keeping your eyes open for very long in a chlorinated pool.

But, I did feel like a kid again. One of my fellow Yoga friends was also photographed with me and it really did feel like we were 8 or 10 just playing in the water. It was awesome. I was just saying in class yesterday how powerful it is to consciously connect with the elements. (especially now in the Spring as everything in Nature is being energized by the expanding sunlight.) As children, we were always immersed in Nature.

For most of us as adults, it requires a little more of a conscious effort. I was saying how powerful it is to practice Yoga poses outside, on the earth, in the sun, feeling the air, and if possible, by water. If we are ever feeling energetically depleted, one of the best remedies and reenergizing techniques is to be in Nature, and of course, practicing a few Yoga poses to really absorb the energy, is even more powerful than just walking, etc.

The reason why the elements energize us is that we are the elements. Our body is mostly space, followed by water, earth, fire, and air. We are a microcosm of the macrocosm, as we know, but sometimes we forget the reason why Nature is so powerful for us is that it reconnects us with the pure essence of yourself.

No wonder why kids have such boundless energy, because they are constantly connected to Nature’s infinite energy supply. So, I’m glad I got to take my own advice because I got to absorb it all spending so much time outside today…

There’s so much I could write…it’s been a while since I last posted. Sometimes, I want to share my whole life story with you, the True Yoga Blog has often felt like journaling to me. But, to spare you, I will say this. Life is good. The experiences we are growing through are ever-increasingly awakening us to the preciousness of life and the present moment. It’s a gift to be awakened, and often, pain is one of the most powerful illuminators.

What’s happened in our world recently has shaken us out of our comfort zone. Or, as Shiva Rea would say, it’s been a Mooladhara (1st Chakra) shaking and awakening. And, we are blessed to realize our true security is not fiscal but spiritual. This teaching is scriptural and the strength of Spirit is found in yourself as we realize Sangha, the gift of spiritual friendship and community. I’m inspired when I think of the community that’s evolved through the True Yoga Blog, and the community of readers that has grown as we share these thoughts and ideas together, awakening us to new states of awareness individually and collectively.

In one of the books I’m reading right now called The Mystery of 2012 it talks about the rapidly evolving consciousness because of the profound interconnectedness of everything these days, due to the groundbreaking pathways of communication we’ve realized over the past, (it’s hard to believe), but, just 20 years. (not even that long)

If you had told Mozart that in the future humans would own tiny boxes the size of a coin, made from some strange material that was neither wood nor metal, with two strings coming out of the box that, when placed in their ears, would enable them to hear any of his compositions as clearly as if they were in a room with an orchestra, would he have believed you? On the contrary, he would probably have thought you mad.

THE OMEGA POINT
One person who believed our destiny was indeed a collective spiritual awakening was the French priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Exploring the evolutionary trends toward greater complexity, connectivity, and consciousness, he argued that humanity was moving toward an “Omega Point” – the final end and goal of evolution.

He believed that the universe had been through several major stages of evolution, starting with what he called “cosmogenesis,” the birth of the Cosmosphere, the universe. Next was “geogenesis,” the birth of the Earth (geosphere); following that, “biogenesis,” the birth of life (the biosphere). With human beings, there came “noogenesis” and the “noosphere,” the sphere of thought. He predicted that the final stage, the one that led to the Omega Point, would be “Christogenesis.” This would be the birth of Christ consciousness, not in an individual but in the collective-the spiritual birth of humanity as a whole.

Teilhard de Chardin believed this Omega Point would happen thousands of years in the future. Like many others, he did not take into account the implications of ever-accelerating change. In his later years, he commented on the impact of radio and television in bringing humanity together. Technologies like these, he said were bringing the Omega Point much closer. Just before he died, the first computers were being developed. Perceiving the potential of this new technology, he predicted that they, too, would bring the Omega Point even closer. If he had lived to see the emergence of the Internet, he would probably have realized that the Omega Point could come very soon indeed.

BREAKDOWN OR BREAKTHROUGH?
When we look at what is happening in the world today, it is understandable that we might scoff at the very idea of a collective spiritual breakthrough. The daily news may well lead us to believe that we are heading ever more rapidly toward breakdown rather than a breakthrough.

That is, indeed, one likely possibility. I do not want to downplay the dire urgency of the world situation. If we don’t make some radical changes, we are surely headed for a disaster of one kind or another.

I also believe that positive change is possible. If we can develop the wisdom needed to navigate our way through these turbulent times safely, the potentials are staggering and unimaginable in scope. Let’s put our hearts and minds to proving that we can pass Buckminster Fuller’s final evolutionary exam and become a truly magnificent species. We are, after all, our only hope. – The Mystery of 2012

One of the things you can do is take positive action. Of course being in service is one of the best ways we can take positive action. One of my teachers says the most powerful practices are Study, Service, and Meditation. When we yoke these three practices together it becomes a trinity and amazing things awaken within us and around us. The one I get to be committed to, that I have yet to develop a consistent practice with, is service. It is my commitment to awakening this third practice as I grow into the Spring.

I also encourage you to take personal action, meaning, what are the ways in which you can better yourself. Of course practicing Yoga is one way. But, our Yoga practice must go beyond our weekly practice. That’s why I’m encouraging each of us to cultivate a daily practice of Crow Pose throughout Spring. The reason why I am suggesting Crow Pose is that it is the foundational arm balance in Yoga. The arm balances are the way we awaken optimal core strength, there is simply no other way to awaken your core strength that deeply.

So, the arm balances, and specifically, Crow Pose, is just a place we get to grow into and practice, consistently, if we aspire to realize real progress and positive change. What kind of progress awakens from a consistent practice of Crow Pose? While each of our practices evolves in a personal way, some of the awarenesses I’ve awakened to through Crow Pose are that it activates Manipura Chakra (3rd Chakra). The 3rd Chakra is the center of will and determination, self-confidence and energetic strength. It is the place where we realize our potential, what’s possible when we commit ourselves to a vision.

As we stoke the fire, which is the element connected to 3rd Chakra, unhealthy, heavy egoic habits are dissolved and the lightness of inspiration is awakened. It literally strengthens your energetic field (aura) causing impure influences to be impenetrable, especially the negative intentions of other people. So, yes, Crow Pose is all this and more. Start practicing it each day, for just a few minutes, and you will be amazed at what transforms within you and all around you as we grow into the Spring season of our Soul.

Namaste!

Open to Your Higher Power with Integral Yoga

Did you know there is a style of Yoga known as Integral Yoga? It is recognized as a system in and of itself, just as Hatha-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, Mantra-Yoga, Laya-Yoga, Jnana-Yoga, Kriya-Yoga, Raja-Yoga and Samnyasa-Yoga are. Oh, you mean there is more than one style of Yoga? Yes, indeed. The physical style of Yoga we practice in the West is all part of the style known as Hatha Yoga or “forceful Yoga.” Hatha Yoga is the Yoga of postures and any Yoga practice which predominantly involves the practice of Poses, whether it’s Vinyasa, Bikram, Power, Hatha, Kundalini, Iyengar, Astanga, etc. are all a part of Hatha Yoga. All forms of Yoga have the same fundamental objective: to transcend the egoic consciousness and to realize the Self, or divine Reality. Hatha Yoga is quite a complex system, involving postures, breathwork, meditation, concentration and so on. Often Yoga teachers will incorporate sophisticated breathing practices into their classes as part of a Yoga practice….

What I love about Integral Yoga is the founder of it, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), developed it as a way to adapt Yoga to our Westernized world. As we evolve in our practice, all of the different styles of Yoga eventually intersect and we begin to integrate different aspects of them into our Hatha Yoga practice. Integral Yoga, though, simplifies the approach, which at times, can appear to be complex as we deepen in our journey. Here is an excerpt from The Yoga Tradition about Integral Yoga:

Integral Yoga is the synchronized action of personal aspiration “from below” and divine grace “from above.” The essence of aspiration, however, is self-surrender, which must be complete for grace to do its transformative work.

Integral Yoga has no prescribed techniques since the inward transformation is accomplished by the divine Power itself. There are no obligatory rituals, mantras, postures, or breathing exercises to be performed. The aspirant must simply open himself or herself to that higher Power, which Sri Aurobindo identified with The Mother. This self-opening and calling upon the presence of The Mother is understood as a form of meditation or prayer. Aurobindo advised that practitioners should focus their attention on the heart, which has anciently been the secret gateway to the Divine. Faith, or inner certitude, is deemed a key to spiritual growth...”

It’s important to know that no Yogic path is an easy one. The practice of self-surrender, or surrendering to Divine Will is the journey of a thousand miles…. Yet we can simplify our approach to it. It is said that one can reach enlightenment through the constant repetition of a Mantra over and over again. Integral Yoga resembles the teachings of Jesus to me…to open up one’s heart and to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within it. I love that Yoga strengthens whatever our personal faith is, giving us a direct and tangible experience to continue to deepen and grow spiritually, as well as, physically, mentally and emotionally, ever-evolving into our Highest Good.

Namaste!

Take it Easy…

I workout about 5 – 6 times per week. My weekly routine consists of 4-5 days/week of a 20-minute cardio workout, followed by light weights and some abdominal strengthening exercises. I also an incorporate few backbends into my daily routine and some stretching. I usually practice Yoga about 3 days/week and incorporate 15 to 20 minutes of meditation into my daily routine most days of the week.

Because I teach Yoga, I spend even more time than this stretching daily when I am demonstrating certain poses in class, or even sometimes joining in on the Yoga practice with the class to flow with them from time-to-time.

The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is that I am becoming increasingly aware of how overexertion or being imbalanced in our physical wellness routine can affect us and be detrimental to our overall goals physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Last night, as I was teaching Yoga, I was speaking to the class about being balanced and taking time to rest. That when we do too much we create imbalance and this can be counter-productive to what we intend to create…

As I said this, I heard a voice inside of me say, don’t workout tomorrow. Take it easy tomorrow and rest. Do nothing. What?! What I find though, is when I give myself permission to rest, when I do return to my daily regimen of health and wellness, I feel much stronger, calmer and energized than before.

We experience this all the time when we let ourselves come into Child’s Pose in Yoga class. One of the most challenging parts of creating balance in our lives is actually giving ourselves the permission to get down on our knees and put your head on the ground and just let go and DO NOTHING.

So often my Yoga teacher will mention how the benefits of DOING NOTHING can be way more powerful and transformational on every level of our Being than overexerting ourselves to do something, i.e. making sure we get our workout/yoga practice in, etc. How overexertion can produce unhealthy levels of cortisol in our body which has the body be unresponsive to our efforts. She uses the imagery of the person who goes to the gym every day and yet never seems to change anything. Their bodies are stressed out and the only way to bring the body back to a balanced state is through a relaxation promoting practice like Yoga, Meditation, Massage, etc.

With this being said, I thought you might enjoy reading this article about stress from overexertion and how it affects our Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Take time to take it easy…

Cortisol and Stress: How to Stay HealthyFrom Elizabeth Scott,
Your Guide to Stress Management.

Cortisol and Your Body
“Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:

-Proper glucose metabolism
-Regulation of blood pressure
-Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
-Immune function
-Inflammatory response

Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night. Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.

Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects:

-A quick burst of energy for survival reasons
-Heightened memory functions
-A burst of increased immunity
-Lower sensitivity to pain
-Helps maintain homeostasis in the body

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response to be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that functioning often doesn’t have a chance to return to normal, producing chronic stress.

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

-Impaired cognitive performance
-Suppressed thyroid function
-Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
-Decreased bone density
-Decrease in muscle tissue
-Higher blood pressure
-Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, as well as other health consequences

Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs. You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place. The following have been found by many to be very helpful in relaxing the body and mind, aiding the body in maintaining healthy cortisol levels:

-Guided Imagery
-Journaling
-Self-Hypnosis
-Exercise
-Yoga
-Listening to Music
-Breathing Exercises
-Meditation
-Sex
-Other Techniques

Cortisol secretion varies among individuals. People are biologically ‘wired’ to react differently to stress. One person may secrete higher levels of cortisol than another in the same situation. Studies have also shown that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol in response to stress also tend to eat more food and food that is higher in carbohydrates than people who secrete less cortisol. If you’re more sensitive to stress, it’s especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle.” From: http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm

Isvara Pranidhana-Let go and let God…

Since the time I was a child, I can remember praying at night and saying, “God, please give me a voice, please give me the opportunity to make a positive difference.” I would pray this relentlessly. Then, one day five years ago, I took a Yoga class. It was like I came alive again, my inner child reawakened and I felt full of life. Not long afterward, I took my first job in an Advertising Agency in Corporate America, at the age of 23. It seemed the natural path, my dad had owned his own advertising agency for over 30 years in Cleveland, OH. However, I found myself at work, feeling unfulfilled, and spending a great deal of my time surfing the web and reading about Yoga, my true passion.

Then, September 11th happened, and I began to realize I was spending my time and energy in a career I was not passionate about. And, that my life was precious and too short to be spent that way…

So, in February of 2002, I decided to follow my heart, regardless of the price, and quit my job to teach Yoga. After moving back in with my parents for a while to lessen the blow from the loss of my corporate income, I eventually relocated to downtown Dallas (without their financial support) where I moved into a pretty crappy, old apartment. I worked at a restaurant, initially, to give myself “enough” income so I could afford to live and teach Yoga. It was a life of struggle, living in efficiency apartments and crying many tears over the pain of not really being able to afford anything, except the bare necessities, and barely even that.

At one point, when a check had bounced in my bank account, I sat with the few dollars I had in my hand at my desk, and crumpled them up, threw them and said, “I hate this stuff, I hate you, God, why do you have to make the world like this, this materialistic place where all that matters is money, why does it have to be like this.”

Even though the struggle, I managed to open up my own studio, under the guidance of a “friend.” This person told me he’d pay the first few months rent, though he never did. For a year, I struggled to keep it alive. But, after a year and without any capital left, I hit rock bottom this past September.

Overcome with financial struggle, I was talking to my friend on the phone and told her, “I’m going to slit my wrists.” Not knowing what to do, she called the cops and at about 1 am in the morning, the police knocked on my door. Though I had absolutely no intention of hurting myself, and of course realize the detrimental effect of saying these words carelessly, it was a cry for help. It felt like I was going down and no one was there to save me, not even my parents. Actually, that was the first time in my life I had called my parents, and they did not return my phone call the same day. It felt like I had no one.

When the cops arrived, I began to cry. I told them I was going through a hard time, letting go of a relationship, my business was suffering, and I was financially devastated. They told me I must call a family member or friend to stay with that night. So, when I finally got a hold of my brother, the police drove me to his house about 15 minutes away from downtown. It wasn’t easy showing up at my brother and his fiance’s house at 1:30 in the morning with the police. In fact, it was one of the most humbling moments in my life, where I felt completely revealed and naked. Like I could hide nothing.

But, from that point forward, I let go of the wheel. I decided to stop steering and to truly let God lead my life. I decided to let go of my wants and needs and thinking I know what is best for me, and chose to let the Divine Force of Life move me in the direction of my highest good. The interesting part is I thought I’d been doing this all along, but realize now, I hadn’t. I’d been trying to run the show my way.

In Yoga, this letting go of control is called Isvara pranidhana, or Surrender to God’s will. It can be a difficult process to get to this place…we can fight it and struggle with it for some people that may mean months and years, for others maybe even a lifetime. But ultimately, at some point in our journey, all that remains for us is to surrender our Ego and let go of our own interests to be lead by our Highest Good.

“After one has exhausted one’s own resources and still not succeeded, one turns to the Lord for help for He is the source of all power. The student prays: ‘I do not know what is good for me. They will be done.’ Others pray to have their own desires gratified or accomplished.” Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar

As long as we are consumed by our own “needs” we can not see there is something Greater intended for us. We have our pride so wrapped up in itself, we will often take ourselves to a place of desolation before we will let go of the steering wheel. Most of the time, we just keep thinking things are going to get better, we can turn the car around, and we keep hoping this is so. But, at some point, Authority/God steps in and says, “If you want to get his life turned around, you’re gonna have to let me drive.” When the cops came to my house, I could feel it was really God working through them.

I share this with you today, because of the radical transformation I’ve experienced in the few short months since I let go and let God. Letting go of having a studio was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. My entire identity/ego was wrapped up in being a Studio Owner and a business owner in Dallas, TX.

Once I allowed myself to surrender my identity, my ego, my life began to open up in ways I’d only dreamed was possible. In two weeks, I’m going to be traveling up to Ohio for the New Year to see my grandmother, sister, nieces, and nephews, who I haven’t seen in over 2.5 years, as well as, dear friends. When I was doing things my way, I never felt like I could afford the trip up there. Now, I have the resources and the time, thanks to God.

I’m getting to realize my dream of doing what I love and earning a living at it. Maybe one day I’ll have a studio again, but for now, I’m listening to the voice within me and allowing myself to be guided by that, rather than listening to other people tell me I need to do certain things (like own a studio) in order to be successful.

And, most of all, I’m getting a second chance, an opportunity to start over, wiser and stronger than before, and share my love of Yoga to even more people with an abundance of opportunities before me. Above all, I feel grateful. Grateful for the fresh start, grateful to be able to make a difference more and more all the time, and grateful to have struggled, only to awaken to a new appreciation and joy for living that’s sweeter and deeper than ever before. This year really will be a Happy New Year.

Click here to listen to a song about letting go and letting God:

Namaste!