Choose Yin

save the world

“Our planet will be saved by women not men. Men think they can solve their problems through violence. Jesus, Gandhi and other great souls knew that men have no fear of violence – they’ve been killing since Cain and Abel. So they conquered men by acting like women. They brought yin to the planet, not more yang, and that’s how our planet will be saved.

You can do this too. Choose Yin. Start small. Decide to harm no living thing, including yourself, in thought, word or deed for one hour. Then extend it for two hours. Then perhaps for an entire morning.”

by Sister Mary Ann Kelley.
Taken from Soul To Soul by John Mundahl

This is such a strong statement by Sister Mary Ann.

It isn’t easy to choose yin over yang in a world that dismisses gentleness, and often sees softness as weakness. There is violence everywhere – in a world at war, the news, sports, entertainment and the media. In the words we hear and use, and even in our self talk.

yin tang of nature

Yang is everywhere. Yet as the Yin Yang symbol shows, both are a part of the natural balance of life. We cannot have one over the other. But we can choose which to embrace more in our lives.

I like to think that choosing Yin brings the world back into balance.

Tonight I start a Yin Yoga Teacher Training weekend at Hummingbird Yoga and Massage in Bryn Mawr.

May we all embrace this nourishing peaceful side of ourselves in the learning ahead.

Namaste

Let Go and Find Yourself

” In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. 

It will be a permanent Self, rooted in awareness and creativity. 

Once you have captured this you have captured the world.”                

~ Deepak Chopra

close up photo of woman with her hands tied with rope

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Life is a journey of letting go in order to discover what really matters. Yet we find ourselves clinging to the past and the very things that bring suffering and hold us back.

Letting go is a part of the natural rhythm of life.

Letting go:

Of every exhalation

Of the day as we fall asleep

Of our children as they grow up and leave home

Of things that no longer serve us

Of a past that weighs us down

Of relationships that no longer nurture us

Of roles that we have outgrown

Of over thinking

Of our habits and conditioning

Of “me” “I” and “mine” as we experience our connection to something more than our little self.

  •  Take a few moments to pause and reflect on all the things that you have let go of in the past…
  • The things that you are working on right now…
  • And what you might still be holding on to…

Trust in your ability to let go and embrace it fully with an open mind and heart.

In taking these courageous steps every day we come to know our true permanent Self and move towards real freedom.

Namaste

When You Lose Heart

“The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. 
Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves.
This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering — yours, mine, and that of all beings”.

~ Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap

letting go in yin yoga

Reading these wise words I think of poses in yoga, especially Yin, where we lean in to the physical and emotional discomfort and embrace the sensations and thoughts that come up.

Surprisingly it is the poses of surrender and letting go, rather than strength building that can be the most challenging for us.

Our practice on the mat is a great metaphor for life. We learn to be present with whatever comes up and use our breath to lean into it. Accepting where we are in that moment.

Breathe into whatever is occurring …. knowing it will pass.

Let there be no blame, just presence on our mat and in life.

Namaste

Why do People Blog?

silhouette of people standing neat tree under the moon

Photo by Gerd Altmann on Pexels.com

There are so many diverse people and approaches to blogging in the WordPress community.

It makes me reflect on what my motivation for blogging has been, and to be curious about how others have experienced blogging. (Please add a comment below if you would like to share here)

I started blogging as a way to express myself and to share my message to more than one coaching client at a time. Back in 2014 and 2015, the posts I wrote were to provide new insights to specific clients and others wanting to see things more clearly or to bring about change in their lives.

It was also a way for me to become known and a platform for sharing what mindfulness, yoga and Finding Your Middle Ground was about.

Here, my passion grew and blossomed as I found community with like minded people around the world. It became an opportunity to educate and inspire others to find contentment and peace in stressful times, and to explore our spiritual journey and awakening.

I never thought of myself as a writer, poet or photographer, but I have discovered these aspects of myself along the way.

Blogging is an evolution … if you stay with it.

If you come to blogging with the intention of promoting yourself, or manipulating others, getting the most “likes; and “follows” then you are giving yourself short shrift. There really is so much more here.

Blogging is about connection, being inspired and nourishing each other, building community and finding like-minded souls.

Some times the connections fade or disappear. Other times a new voice and talent emerges and brings new perspectives, inspiration and joy.

Thank you for being here and making it all possible. You are the inspiration.

 

 

 

Yoga with Val – Teaching Schedule

Here is the latest update on my teaching schedule.

Good Karma Yoga and Barre, 55 State Road, Media (at the corner of S Overhill Road),PA

Hummingbird Yoga and Massage 940 Haverford Road, Bryn Mawr, PA

yoga class


Monday         
9.30-10.45 Mindful Hatha at Good Karma Yoga, Media, PA

Tuesday:
11.15-12.30 Dynamic Gentle Yoga at Hummingbird, Bryn Mawr, PA

Wednesday:
9.30-10.45 Mindful Hatha at Good Karma Yoga, Media, PA

Friday:
9.30-10.45 Dynamic Gentle Yoga at Hummingbird, Bryn Mawr, PA

Saturday:
Once a month – 9.30-10.45 Mindful Hatha at Good Karma. This class is followed by Restorative Yoga or a Kripalu Yin Workshop.
11.00-12.15  Other Saturdays I teach a Gentle Yoga class at Hummingbird and offer Kripalu Yin workshop for each season of the year.

Sunday:
9.30-10.45 Gentle Yoga at Hummingbird, Bryn Mawr, PA


December Restorative Yoga Workshops

Take time out after the Holidays to restore and nourish yourself.

♥  Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra at Hummingbird in Bryn Mawr on Saturday December 28th from 12.30-2.00

 Restorative Yoga at Good Karma Yoga on Sunday December 29th from 11.30 – 1.00

Spaces are limited, so please reserve ahead of time, via the website or on the MindBody app.


NEW for 2020!

In the New Year I will be offering a weekly Gentle Yoga with Chair class at Hummingbird in Bryn Mawr.

This differs from most Chair Yoga classes as we focus on three specific areas:

  1. Sitting to bring awareness to the breath, quieten the mind and seated postures to increase flexibility
  2. Standing postures for strength, stability and better balance
  3. Floor postures to support the back and build core strength. This is optional for those with limited mobility, however, the intention is to become more confident and skilled in getting down and up from the floor, as this is such an important life lesson for older adults.

Chilling at Kripalu

~

Kripalu sunshine

Warm glow and pranayama

Found my Mother Ship

~

I am taking ten days for learning, chilling and Middle Ground nourishment.

May you too find space to expand and quiet to drop into this week.

Namaste

Learning Something New – Be Like a Toddler

This re-post is dedicated to the people I have the privilege of teaching and mentoring.

ooOoo

As adults we are so used to being competent and knowledgable…. at least in some areas of our lives!
So when we take on a new challenge or want to learn something new it can be difficult.

I teach new yoga students and yoga teachers, and see how tough it can be for some to get their heads around being a beginner again.

Learning something new as adults makes us feel vulnerable. It’s a time where old fears about our worthiness surface, self doubt seeps in and egos rush to defend ingrained thinking and old beliefs.

beginner's mind

One way of countering this all too human reaction is to apply the Zen wisdom of Beginner’s Mind. This concept refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level.

Here are some steps to practice:

1. Be open and curious. Beginner’s Mind is about using the spirit of enquiry.  There’s a Zen story about this:
A student visited a Japanese master to inquire about Zen. The master served tea. When the visitor’s cup was full, the master kept pouring. Tea spilled out of the cup and over the table.
“The cup is full!” said the visitor. “No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” said the master, “You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

2.Take one step at a time and let go of the outcome. Focus on what needs to be studied at each step.

toddler running and falling

3. Be like a toddler. Fall down seven times, get up eight times. Celebrate falling down as well as getting up.

4. Let go of knowing. Embrace “I don’t know” thinking rather than conditioned “I know or I should know” thinking. We only know things up until now. How can we expect to know something beyond our experience?

5. Shake off shoulds. Shoulds are imposed on us. Instead, be the best you can be in that moment and take responsibility for your actions. Own your own life rather than ‘shoulding’ all over it.

6. Use your experience. Keep an open mind on how to apply your experience to each new circumstance. Get creative with what you know and what you are learning.

7. Experience the moment fully. Slow down and pause. Be fully present to what is going on around you and within you.

When you do this your mind quietens and you make space for the new. You find your Middle Ground.

Namaste