"Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of the mind."

-From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjani 1.2 and 1.3

Tranquility Yoga

235 Littleton Road, Unit 1
Westford, MA 01886

978-729-4731

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A recent post on Facebook really brought me up short. For over 3o years since my father died, I have felt his presence many times, and very often when I feel it the most, I find dimes. For a long time, I have felt like this was just a quirky thing that was unique to me and my family, but after reading this post, I am not so sure: When a dime is more than just loose change.

I first noticed this about 3 – 4 months after my father passed away. My mother and I went on a short get-away and were on a remote beach in the Bahamas, just sitting there watching the scenery. My mom found a dime in the sand between us, and said "Oh, that's just your dad's way of saying hi." My father had been one to find change everywhere. In fact, about 3 weeks before he died, we were at a funeral for a cousin of mine, and my dad found some change in the parking lot. I remember him looking at it strangely and saying that he wasn't sure this was the best place to find money.

When my mom found the dime, I told her that was strange because I had been finding a lot of change recently, and after that, I started taking note of it. It was quite amazing – EVERYWHERE I turned, I seemed to find change – mostly dimes. While often it seemed pretty random, there were definitely times when it was clear to me that this was a message from him. At almost every major crossroad in my life since that time, when I have taken a step forward and made a conscious choice about my life's direction, I have found change in odd places, and had a very strong sense of my dad's presence.

Several years ago, while cleaning out my closet, I came across a piggy bank with money I collected during the first few years after my dad died. I counted it and it totaled about $140.00. Since this money came from small change, I thought that it would be appropriate to continue to grow this fund with small change. I put collection box at Tranquility Yoga, labeled it the "Karma Fund" and invited students who were so moved to add to it in whatever way they could. Their collective contributions over time have helped other students come to yoga classes. I seeded this fund with the $140.00 of "found money" and have kept it running for the last 5 years. I intend to keep it running as long as there is money in the pot to fund it. Know that any money donated to this fund will be used exclusively to fund students to take yoga classes at Tranquility Yoga – students who would otherwise not be able to afford to take yoga classes.

If at any time, you or anyone you know would like to benefit from this fund, please contact me, and I will let you know what is available. The amount you pay will be worked out on a case by case basis and will be kept completely confidential.

As always, I thank you all for your continued dedication to Tranquility Yoga!

 

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When you go to Yoga class, do you always set up in the same spot? Do you get annoyed if you arrive late to class, and someone else has already taken “your” spot? If so, you are not alone. I find that many students gravitate toward a particular area of the room over and over again.  
 
When I first designed the studio, I worked with a Feng Shui consultant, Natalia Kaylin. Natalia mapped out the room and showed me which areas corresponded to various aspects of life: wealth, spirituality, relationships, career, etc. We are all sensitive to these energetic vibrations, and it is likely that the spot you consistently choose is one which you were drawn to because it served you in some way when you first came to class. However, that spot may have been chosen several years ago, and perhaps your needs have changed. It is possible that you are now simply in a comfortable rut, and the idea of stepping out of that comfort zone is… well, uncomfortable. 
 
In yoga classes, it may seem like we are working on creating more flexibility in your body. However, there is a direct connection between flexibility of the body and flexibility of the mind. As Swami Nirmalananda once said: “Nothing tightens you up faster than your mind.” 
 
You can see this for yourself right now by doing a short little exercise. Do a lunge on one side. Feel how your body responds. Really allow yourself to sink deeply into the pose. Now do the other side, and after about 10 seconds, start worrying about something. Whatever the first worry is that comes to mind – settle on that one! Really worry! And see how your body responds. Are you even able to sink into the pose at all? Stop reading and try this exercise now! 
 
This is why we start every class with a guided relaxation in Shavasana and Ujjayi breathing. This way, when you start getting into the active poses, your mind has settled a bit, and the poses can do their magic. The mind/body connection in Yoga is huge and it is one of the things that distinguishes yoga from other forms of exercise.  
 
During the next few weeks, I am issuing a challenge to all of our yoga students. The next few times you come to class, try a different spot in the room. And notice your reaction to that. Be aware of your feelings about it, both positive and negative, without being sucked into the feelings. Step back, and simply observe with interest. As your body opens up more and more in classes, your mind will also begin to soften, and these new openings will begin to become more apparent in all areas of your life.
 
I look forward to seeing you in your new favorite spot in the room!
 

 

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Three months ago I made a New Year’s Resolution to blog more often. In fact, it may have even been to blog weekly – I can’t even remember. Like most people, I started out the year with great intentions, and then lo and behold, life got in the way.
 
We all do this. It’s called the human condition. We make wonderful promises to ourselves and others, and then when we fall short, we either forget about them, or worse, use the lack of progress to beat ourselves up. Based on our yoga class attendance in January, I am sure that many of our yoga students made resolutions to come to classes more regularly, and many new students decided to try yoga out. And then February hit with all its snow days, and those wonderful promises went out the window.
 
As I thought about this recently, I realized that we always have a choice about how to handle this. We can simply forget about it, and go on with our lives, as if the promises were never made. Or we can use our failures to fuel the negative thoughts that we have about ourselves: “I’m not good enough,” I never do what I say,” etc.  
 
Or… we can start fresh. We can revisit those resolutions, and make a conscious choice about them. Is this really a goal that I want to achieve? If so, what do I need to do to get back on track? Or maybe this isn’t really a goal – maybe it was just a pipe dream and if so, I can let go of it and move forward with things that are truly important to me. Either way, April is a great time to examine those resolutions and make some conscious choices for yourself. Whatever your goals were, take a good look at them, hold them up to the light, and either drop them or run with them!
 
If doing more yoga was part of your life improvement plan and continues to be so, I look forward to seeing many of you at yoga in the coming months!
 

 

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My dog Comet loves the snow and loves to play fetch. Chasing snowballs is one of his most favorite activities. If we throw a snowball, he will try to catch it – and if he can't catch it, he will dig for it in the snow. Yesterday, while shoveling our driveway, my son made a fascinating comment about this: "Comet is so silly! He just doesn't understand that when a snowball lands in a pile of snow, it merges into the pile of snow and is no longer a snowball."

That brought me up short! As I reflected on this, I thought that it is kind of like how our minds work when we think about Consciousness. One of the basic tenets of Yoga is that we are each individualized forms of Consciousness, which has contracted to become us. While we all have the capacity to be aware of Consciousness, we often can't see it because our minds get in the way. We are too busy preserving our own individuality – digging for it in the snow, so to speak.

We are all unique, yet we can merge into the larger Self through Meditation. When we do this, we remain our own individualized snowflake, yet at the same time we have a keen awareness of being a part of the greater field of snow. Not just a part of it, but we ARE it. It is us. In a field of snow, there is no difference between one snowflake and another. Just as in the ocean, there is no difference between the individual drops of water. And perhaps, with greater awareness, we humans will learn that there is no difference between us, either.

Meditation is a time-tested way of getting past the mind and realizing the Self. Come to one of our Satsangs and see for yourself what happens when you merge into the greater field of Consciousness!

 

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