Monday, November 30, 2015

The Little Death

We've come to the last of the eight-limbs, Samadhi. Samadhi is a concentration so deep, that only the essence of the object being observed radiates. It's as if the mind itself is no longer. In this sense, it is a death. The levels of Samadhi deepen until one merges with infinity, never again to return to a fractured state. At each stage something must die so that this joining can take place. 
Figuratively and literally we will all experience death in our lifetimes. Each time we let go of a personality trait, opinion, or limiting idea it is as if a part of us dies. As we shed what we are not, we come closer to the infinite, non divisive being that we are. For instance, to define myself as smart, I must have an idea that somewhere out there exists someone who is dumb. I need also a concept of intelligence which depending how I characterize it, may dismiss particular forms of knowledge. There will come a time when I discover my lifelong "certainties" to be incomplete and realize they have caused me to brush off people and experiences. Some get a glimpse of this and retreat deeper into their previous paradigm, looking for any evidence not to change. As a yogi I must move fearlessly forward. When I open my eyes to a new concept of wisdom the whole world will look different. I will also come to realize there are all these other assumptions I have made that are also limiting or incomplete. I will have to reexamine my whole life and let die what is not true.
Fear, is a reaction from our system that some sense of who we are is in danger of death.  Our ego wants to assert its separateness so it screams to be let loose. The beautiful thing is that each time we deny its hold on us and move through fear toward truth, we teach ourselves that we will be okay. We don't actually die. We can still find our way.
The little deaths we experience in our life are preparation for the ultimate letting go and show us that the more we surrender, open and accept, the easier and more blissful we will be.
It's been an absolute joy dissecting the eight limbs of yoga with you over the last year and a half. To see all the previous discussions visit I'll be doing a full review and offering more in-depth lessons as we aim for the highest expressions of ourselves in 2016.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

More Thanks. Less Full.

Happy Holidays everyone! With Thanksgiving and Holiday time coming up I wanted to share three of my favorite personal tips to keep from overeating.  I hope they help you to stay balanced and gorgeous during this hectic time of year.
1. Eat Breakfast. Many of you get in the mindset that you'll counter the damage of your afternoon feast by saving on the AM calories. This actually backfires. You'll end up eating so much more if you starve yourself during the day, so, even if it seems counterintuitive, eat a sensible breakfast though you know you'll be eating a lot later.
2. Crunchy Healthy Snacks. If your family is like mine, there is a whole period of hanging out munching before the main meal even happens. I keep tons of crispy vegetables out so that if I'm tempted to snack, it's on something healthy. My favorite are organic baby carrots which really take some time to bite into and have a fully satisfying crunch factor. When it's time to dip, I do it in my super simple Yellow Pepper Guacamole. 
3. Sleep. Do Yoga. Meditate. We all have the tendency to eat to fill a void emotionally. This kind of eating is certainly exasperated around holiday time which can be stressful and pull us into old habits. (What can make you feel more like a child than being back in your parent's house, right?) Prepare for these natural inclinations by getting enough sleep, practicing yoga (or some endorphin producing physical activity), and doing a bit of quiet reflection and centering before your meal. You'll thank me for it later! 
What are your best tricks to staying balanced during holiday season? Tweet them out to me at @landlaraland