18 Ways Yoga Changed My Life

The term “yoga” is a Sanskrit word that means “union” or “to join”. This refers to the union of body, mind, and spirit (pretty holistic, right?). Yoga is a 5,000 year old system that analyzes everything from conduct and philosophy to breath and meditation. Though most Westerners turn to yoga for relaxation and its other health benefits, the ultimate aim of yoga is something much bigger. Through the process of purifying our thoughts and actions, yoga gives us a clear path to attain bliss, peace, and self-realization. This practice is very near and dear to me because it’s radically transformed my life from the inside out.

18 Ways Yoga Changed My Life
Among other things, yoga has helped me to decrease stress and anxiety, increase my range of motion, boost my immune system, improve my posture, heal injuries, and learn how to really concentrate. After five years of practicing yoga, you might imagine that I have developed more strength, flexibility, and balance as a result. And I have, but in more holistic ways than you…

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Mother Teresa’s Prayer

Deliver me, O Jesus,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the desire of being popular,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being suspected.
Amen.

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My First Tattoo

“Practice and all is coming.” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Kalava TattooSee that on my pinky? That would be my first tattoo! It’s based off of the red/yellow string that you see wrapped around my wrist. In India, this is a blessing that you receive each time you visit a temple. It’s placed on your wrist after the priest blesses you and is used as a reminder of your commitment to God. In the opening ceremony of our yoga teacher training, we each received one to symbolize our devotion/commitment to yoga. (Remember, “yoga” is not just stretching–it’s a lifestyle that unites body, mind, and spirit and seeks to free us from ignorance and illusion.)

The tattoo is on my right hand because the right side represents giving (left = receiving) and it’s on my pinky because that represents the smallest/weakest part. In other words, I commit my practice to the smallest, weakest, most vulnerable parts of my being. That’s (part of) what spirituality is to me and that’s (part of) why I do yoga.

Five of us got this tattoo together. Once the program is over we’re going to travel together throughout Varanasi,…

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The Dalai Lama’s Prayer

May I become at all times, both now and forever,
A protector for those without protection,
A guide for those who have lost their way,
A ship for those with oceans to cross,
A bridge for those with rivers to cross,
A sanctuary for those in danger,
A lamp for those without light,
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter,
And a servant to all in need.

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In Berlin With Walls On My Mind

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya,
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya,
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya

 

Lead us from Illusion to Reality,
Lead us from Darkness to Light,
Lead us from Death to Immortality

I must admit that I didn’t have high expectations of Berlin. I had planned to avoid Germany during this trip; I just didn’t think there was anything here that would interest me. The train route had a short layover in Berlin, however, so I decided to extend the time in Berlin and boy am I glad I did! It turns out that Berlin is…magnificent. I guess the ultimate compliment I can give a city is to say that I would go back. And I do indeed look forward to my next trip to Berlin.

People in Berlin were much more friendly than I had anticipated them to be. Many of the older women reminded me of my grandmother (come to think of it, she was probably German), which comforted me. Most everyone smiled AND SPOKE ENGLISH (#winning!). I’m not a huge proponent of their native language or cuisine, but to each their own. I’ve been surprised to discover that yoga isn’t nearly as popular in Europe as it is in the States; in order to find a studio, you…

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