Understanding the powerful Success Coaching principals of follow through & routine
Ideas are great, but they are just ideas. In order to make things happen action is essential. I always tell my Success Coaching clients that, “Ideas with out execution, are like seeds that were never planted in the soil.” Each idea is like a seed, which stores great potential. Yet with out the initial action of planting the seed, it will never germinate, sprout or bare fruit.
Success Coaching is predicated on the idea that we must not only create an action plan but we must also follow through with that plan in a systematic way. Clients don’t come to a Success Coach because they are failures, but rather because they want to be more successful. Many times the underlying issue for these folks is a lack of Routine and Systems that would help to facilitate their execution strategy.
Routine doesn’t sound sexy or exciting, at first. But, if I told you that you could enjoy your work with out feeling frantic or overwhelmed every two seconds, I bet you would be all ears. Success Coaching uses inquiry, feedback loops, and quantifiable measures to help you begin to craft a routine that both helps to facilitate execution and minimize overwhelm. A skilled Success Coach should be able to help craft a individualized, organic and sustainable routine for you to work with, while assisting in making adjustments as you determine what aspects work best for you.
Success is only possible with consistent follow through. If we think of our Routine as the car that is getting us to our goal, then Follow-Through is the gas in the tank that makes the car go. Therefore, Routine without Follow –Through, is like planting the seed but not watering it at all.
As a Success Coach, I impress upon my clients the incredible importance of Follow-Through. This essential coaching principal is all about being accountable for taking action. Therefore if you are committed to your follow through that means your are prepared to take prescribed action at the specified time, every time; and if for some reason you are unable or unwilling to take that action there is a logical & significant reason.
The reason why Routine and Follow Through go hand-in-hand is clear. However, there is a common pitfall that has claimed many dreams. Impatience is like getting sand in the gas tank, the car will breakdown almost immediately as the gas becomes useless. However, it is your Success Coach that will help you to combat that impatience, stay accountable, get REAL and get it DONE! Remember you have to plant the seed, water it and nurture it so that it will grown. Holding it in your hand does nothing, taking the initial action with out any additional follow through still won’t glean the result you desire. You have to have a plan, create a routine to facilitate your continued action, and follow-through!
Need help? Contact me! www.AwildaRivera.com . Want more inspiration, and real talk? Listen to my podcast www.AwildaRivera.com/win-life-podcast
How coaching supports authenticity and organic networking success
Being yourself is essential on the path to achieving success. If you don’t know who you are, how could you know what you really want? More over if you don’t know what you really want, how would you discern with any precision the right opportunities to pursue? Or know which People you should align with? These questions must all be answered. Helping my clients first answer these questions, and then take huge strides towards their dreams is what a Success Coach, like me, lives for.
“To Thine own self be true…” is one of the most sage pieces of advice still in circulation, it underscores the importance of knowing yourself. In the pursuit of our dreams it’s easy to get caught up in impressing or imitating others. However, true Happiness can only come from pursuing your dreams. Success Coaching supports and encourages authenticity, because with out it the process doesn’t work.
A skilled Success Coach will help you drill down on your “BIG WHY”, this is the reason behind the action you want to take, that will lead you to achieving the Success you desire. Your “Big Why” should be grounded in reasoning that is not only logical but individual; hence the importance of knowing what you want. Your Coach should be able to help you see how what you want for yourself may differ from what others want for you or even what society tells you should want. As a result, you will feel empowered to begin strategizing so that you can start to take action that will move you towards achieving your goals.
Your coach will also remind you that “no man is an island” and “people need people.” Therefore, its also critically important that you remember to network! However, this is an area where many freeze up. Some even skip networking all together. Skipping these opportunities could cost you invaluable resources and delay your growth. Networking is an area my Coaching Clients and I always cover, especially if it is particularly challenging for them.
The Success Coaching method is already focused on empowering the individual to identify their vision and stand behind it, thus the process organically lends its self to helping clients develop more ease & confidence when discussing their goals with others. Spending time with your Coach bi-weekly working through the fine points of your plan, discussing execution wins & misses, and honing your personal prose around what you hope to accomplish makes a huge difference. The work translates beautifully to improved communication in networking and social situations, where clients can simply be themselves and talk about what their up to with out feeling like they are selling themselves.
There is nothing I love more as a Success Coach, than seeing my clients blossom with confidence and exhibit ease and certainty when they are asked about their goals. For many gaining the ability to speak confidently about themselves in front of others is an absolute game changer. The best part is that they are able to do so from a place of complete authenticity because their actions are grounded in their “BIG WHY.”
Need Help figuring out your “BIG WHY”? Not sure what would you say if some one asked you today what your 3 month goals are? Try the exercise below and get yourself kick started on figuring it all out. Need more help? Contact me!
SELF COACHING EXECRCISE
What you need:
Phone with Voice Recording App
OR Voice Recorder
What your going to do:
1. Light a Candle or Incense (something soothing that has a light scent like nagchampa or lavendar)
2. Put 5 minutes on a timer
3. Lay down on the floor with the voice recorder or phone next to you
4. close your eyes
5. take 5 deep breaths in and out
6. Ask yourself what is one thing I really want to accomplish in the next 3 months?
7. SAY WHATEVER IT IS OUT LOUD NO JUDGMENT
8. Then ask yourself WHY, and answer out loud with no judgment
9. Listen to the recording
Why a Coach can help you Define Success for yourself & how you can jump start the process
In the last 10 years the coaching industry has exploded. You may even know someone who has hired a health, life, or business coach. Despite this rise in the industry there are still a lot of questions about coaches actually do. While I can’t speak for the entire industry coaches, I can confidently give you glimpse of what I do.
Success can be defined in a myriad of ways depending on who you ask. The challenge is figuring out whose idea of Success you are pursuing. The answer to this question can be hard to arrive at, and even harder to process.
In our modern age we are constantly bombarded by stimuli that is attempting to influence our thinking about a multitude of things at once. As a result it is easy to lose track of what we want as individuals, and get pulled into what we feel we should do.
It takes a skilled Coach to be able to help a client respectfully and ethically drill down on their own definition of Success. Since we can get caught up in our own narratives its important to have a professional on our side who is focused on helping us sort through the chatter. True success is built on a foundation of self-knowledge that leads to self-actualization. An excellent Coach helps a client identify what they want from a place of understanding their passion and purpose; as well as the client’s individualized “Why”.
A Success Coach can be invaluable in the process of getting real, drilling down and creating an aligned organic action plan. Anyone can unintentionally become oblivious to the personal narratives or behaviors that do not align with what they truly want. Coaches can be powerful mirrors that close feedback loops and begin forward-looking, solution based conversations that help clients get unstuck and move towards the success they truly desire.
Once a person knows what they are passionate about, feels a sense of purpose in their actions moving forward, and knows Why they are taking these actions they become unstoppable.
The great news is that you can get a jump start on this. It may not be obvious at first how you would define success differently from everyone else. However if you finish the three statements below you will at least start to get an idea of how your definition of success could vary from another persons, even someone in the same industry or career path.
What you’ll need:
A note book
Pencil or Pen
Some Tea or Water
A quiet safe space
Your phone on silent
When you get all your stuff together, and set up, take 3 deep breaths. Then with out judgment or editing finish the three statements below:
Consider it your first Success Coaching Assignment. Be honest, be brave, and be open to what you write down, it may surprise you.
Need help? Ready to take the next step? Visit www.AwildaRivera.com to connect with me.
Our society is obsessed with Love. The Valentine’s Day Machine gets moving on Jan. 1st, and soon after heart paraphernalia fills supermarket specialty aisles, pharmacies and television commercials. It’s a time where everyone becomes acutely aware of Love. Admittedly all the attention during Valentine’s day is placed on romantic love which assumes that we already experience Self Love.
We have all heard the old adage “In order to love someone else you must first love your self.” There are thousands of books, websites and seminars that purport to teach you how to love yourself more, but ultimately the question is “how can I cultivate sustainable Self-Love organically?” The answer lies in being present in each moment with an open heart, which the practice of Yoga can help anyone develop.
Yoga teaches us that we are each our own Guru, and empowers us to be present and open our hearts to the possibility of each moment. Meditation, Backbends and Sama Vata Pranayama are some ways that yoga helps us cultivate Self Love.
Looking within is essential to uncovering the truth of what we feel. Taking a moment to sit or lay with an inward gaze focusing on the internal, on your self, can have powerful results. We are generally so attached to what just happened or is about to happen that we are not present in moment.
Presence of mind in the moment creates a greater awareness of one’s self, this type of internal focus opens the mind up for new perspective. Flexibility in perspective is essential for unconditional Self Love. Allowing yourself the space to change your point of view, while learning more about your needs & wants promotes a more compassionate inward attitude. Meditation provides both a neutral platform for you to assess where your outlook could benefit from shifting, and a safe place from which to begin to make those shifts.
For many, meditation can be a daunting task fraught with more questions then answers. Thankfully the practice of quieting the mind at the beginning and end of each Yoga Asana practice provides an opportunity for us all to strengthen our meditation muscles. Use that time to focus on one word, sentence, phrase, or a feeling – let it be something simple and easy for you to hold in your minds eye. You can do this in your home practice or at the studio. Notice if it becomes easier to hold your focus after doing this 5 times, you may find that it becomes more accessible the more your do it.
BackBends/ Heart Openers:
Your physical heart & your heart chakra are the your energetic love centers. Most humans spend their waking hours sitting - at a desk, behind steering wheel, on the couch or doing a combination thereof. Our sedentary lifestyles cause us to hunch forward, curl our shoulders forward, and drop our head which has the effect of closing our hearts.
Backbends offer us a way to open our hearts through Yoga Asana. When you incorporate backbends into your practice you are engaging in heart opening activity that in turn cultivates a foundation for sustainable Self Love. Your Heart must be open to Love. You must be open to loving yourself. A prescription of: 3 Baby Cobras per vinyasa, followed by 3 Cobras per vinyasa and then 1 Up Dog per vinyasa would help anyone begin to physically open their heart; as the movement in backbends originates from between the shoulder blades. Foundational backbends such as the ones I just listed work as well as more advanced backbends, like Camel or Cosmic Dancer. Remember Yoga is negotiation with the body, finding a happy medium between effort and ease is paramount. If try to muscle yourself into a more challenging backbend injury is almost certain, so go slow and always consult a teacher if you have any questions.
Sama Vata Pranayama, is equal length breathing out of the nostrils which is key to being present with an open heart.
When we breathe using our nostrils, exclusively, we are activating the Parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system controls our bodies: rest, relax & heal response. Conversely, mouth breathing activates our fight or flight response. As you can imagine, when one is in a mental state of fight or flight it is virtually impossible to be present in the moment because one’s survival is at stake. However, when you are nostril breathing the body can find a calm homeostasis and take in your surroundings in a relaxed fashion.
Practicing Equal length nostril breathing is a wonderful way to create sacred space for your self in any situation. All you need to do is focus on your breath. Let your inhales and exhales be the same length, speed, and pressure. You can begin by counting how long you inhale is and counting down for the exhale. Over a few rounds let your self organically find an even flow. Do this for several cycles. When our finish notice if you feel more present and open to your surroundings.
I invite you to use the practices detailed above to support your Self Love cultivation. Cultivating Self Love is a process, it can be elusive and slippery. Thankfully as long as we return to the timeless truth that “in order to love someone you must first love yourself” we will never forget the importance of Self Love. Namaste!
Although the long and short-term medical benefits of Yoga have been widely documented, many people still refuse to try it. For the longest time I couldn’t understand why people seemed to prefer high impact, body jolting, injury promoting fitness regimes over proven low impact Ancient methods. It wasn’t until I moved to the South that I realized, I had failed to notice the elephant in the room. For many Yoga is off limits because they do not want to compromise their Faith, for them the question remains: “Isn’t Yoga a Religion?” In the South Eastern United States where most identify as Christians, this question looms large.
Thankfully, I can say honestly and with great integrity: YOGA IS NOT A RELIGION.
Religion is categorized by both a belief in a God or group of Gods and an organized system of ceremonies to worship a God or Gods. Yoga has no God or Gods and therefore no one to worship. However Yoga & Religion do have some parallels.
The world’s various Religions exist to promote greater connection for man with the natural world, his divine origin, his spirit, and himself through his devotion to a God & obedience of divine law. While Yoga has a divine origin, if the myths of its creation are true, its philosophy is purely secular. The preeminent work on yoga philosophy – Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras – clearly explains that Yoga is not a Religion but rather it is a vehicle for self-transformation.
Yoga is about You. Yoga promotes introspection, increased physical &emotional awareness, perspective shifts, release of stagnant energy, personal growth and internal peace. The truth is that Yoga and Religion have one obvious parallel: each promotes positive self-transformation through action and reflection. Yoga does this by causing the individual to come to the mat and experience themselves in that moment with out any buffers.
The act of engaging in mindful movement & breathing, while focusing on the intentionality of one’s acts gives each person the opportunity to dive deeper into themselves. During a Yoga Asana practice, One will inevitability confront some truths about oneself that will not be pleasant. On the mat you’re safe to explore those experiences, and you’re free to cultivate a foundation for resolution, release, and renewal.
Some of you are thinking, “None of this explains why there is giant Elephant headed dude in that Yoga Studio I visited,” and your right - it doesn’t. What is important to know is that Yoga has many lineages, these lineages are all influenced by the different Yogi’s who started them. Since Yoga originated in South East Asia, many Yogis did incorporate some of their Hindu beliefs into their yogic lineages – while many others did not.
The first yoga Studio I ever visited was adorned with many Hindu fetishes, images of Gurus hung on the walls, and the air was heavily saturated with rich incense. I had no quarrel with the iconography, but it did not resonate with me. The next Studio I went to was bereft of any spiritual imagery and displayed a strict minimalist philosophy with its exposed brick, wood floors and space heaters. This second Studio seemed more amenable to me, but I was still looking for something more. After continued searching, I came across a Studio that felt right. Its natural wood floors and paneling coupled with lotus tea light candles felt like home from the moment I walked inside. The final Studio was able to achieve a balance between spiritual and physical that was perfect for me. However, there are many Yogis who prefer a Studio that teaches yoga absent of spirituality, and even others that prefer Studio’s with Guru based lineages. Ultimately the choice is yours.
Be open to exploring the abundance of options. You will find that some teachers will vary the extent to which they focus on the spiritual during their Class, some pepper it in while others completely leave it out. While certain Yogic lineages can certainly offer a spiritual outlet for those looking to mix in mythology with their movement, there are many lineages that focus on self-exploration through movement electing to highlight physiology, alignment, and introspection. The one fundamental truth is that Yoga is certainly not a Religion.
 Yoga was said to have been created by Shiva during a 1000 year mediation.
Yoga offers much more than postures for the body. The dense volumes that contain the texts of Yoga philosophy are rich with wisdom. On the tree of Yoga the Postures are only one branch. The questions becomes: “If Yoga Asana is but a branch, what are the roots of the Tree of Yoga?”
The Roots of the Tree are called The Yamas, they address how one should interact with the World. These precepts provide a basis for the ethical foundation of Yoga. The 5 axioms, classified as Yamas, are steeped in centuries of rational investigation of the truths of being, knowledge, & conduct.
The five Yamas are Ahimsa, Asteya, Satya, Asparigraha, & Brachmacharya.
Ahimsa, non- harming, speaks to the ideal of non-violence. Ahimsa is most well known as the philosophy of the Ghandi, who rallied his countrymen for independence using non-violent protests in the face of Imperialist aggression. However, Ahimsa is also relevant in the moments when one attempts to force oneself into a physical posture, mental space, or emotional state. The use of force equates to the use of violence. Once I learned what Ahimsa meant, it was easy to identify the many places in my life where I failed to act non-violently. The dozens of times I was in Yoga class and consciously pulled myself more deeply into a forward fold, risking a slipped disk. The awkward moments I forced myself to remain in an uncomfortable social situation when I could have left. Ahimsa provides much needed perspective for Americans who are accustomed to forcing themselves to keep working, exercising, doing and socializing.
Asteya, non-stealing is rather self-explanatory. Yet, it is the nuances that are worth noting. Taking something that is not yours is stealing, even when what is being taken is an intangible resource. Time is one of the most highly stolen intangibles. Stealing Time is easy, especially if one is unaware of what is happening. Have you ever been late on purpose to a meeting? Kept someone on the phone longer, so you could keep talking about your problems? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions then you have stolen Time. Our desires cause us to act impetuously, which can result in the mindless theft of tangible or intangible resources so that we can get what we want. The principle of non-stealing calls on us to apply a macro perspective to our actions so as to recognize and put aside our immediate wants, only then can we be sure we are acting with Asteya.
Satya, is the principle of Truthfulness. Truthfulness can be mistaken for the idea that you must be brutally honest all the time. B.K.S. Iyengar said it best, “We should not use truth as a club with which to beat other people…Truth has got to be tempered with social grace.” Speak and live your truth, but do so with compassion. As a child I prided myself on being blunt, I ran about volunteering my opinion with no tact or filter. I wrote off those who were offended by my words as thin-skinned. As I aged I realized that speaking your truth does not mean volunteering unfiltered commentary on what is observed, but rather to speak truth is to use your voice to clarify and edify for the overall empowerment of those in your environment.
Asparigraha, non-attachment, is one of the most challenging Yamas. In American Society we are programmed to cling to what we desire. The most common example is that of the woman who meets a guy at a bar, and gives him her phone number. If the woman proceeds to check her phone every 5 minutes for the next few days, it is clear that she is clinging to her desired outcome. However, if the woman continues without concern for whether the man will call her, then she is operating in a space of non-attachment. Attachment results in suffering. When we cease to cling to expected outcomes, embrace being present, and act without an agenda we are operating in a space of Asparigraha.
Brachmacharaya relates to self-control. In our high consumption society self-control is invaluable, because we are incessantly bombarded with stimuli that arouses our desire to consume. Our country’s mantras are “Bigger is Better” and “One can never have too much”, as a result we are encouraged to ignore our impulses to act with self-control. Empowering ourselves to act with restraint allows us to have control over our desires, so that our desires are not dictating our behavior. Choosing to act with self-control will always minimize the inevitable suffering caused by excess and impulsive decisions.
It is my hope that this brief exploration of the Yamas, illuminates some of the key fundamentals of Yoga philosophy for you. Dare to explore these rich roots and see where you may be able to grow.
Yoga is an individual practice, and we all begin our Yoga journey at different spots. It is easy in athletic pursuits like Tennis, Climbing, Swimming & Running to mark your development. Progress is not so easily measured in Yoga. The question becomes: How do I know if I am improving if I can’t easily mark my progress with a physical measure?
In the West, we are attached to labeling our level of ability. We are taught to go for the gold, and we are encouraged to be competitive with our bodies. Exercise regimes like CrossFit play to the desire of many to see how much they can lift, because the visual representation of 180lbs on a barbell communicates a form of measurable improvement to their brain. Similarly competitions like the Tough Mudder & Spartan Race offer easily measured results for those who chose to participate, a contestant either finishes the obstacle course or they do not.
Yoga philosophy teaches us that the practice of Asana is intended to be a prescriptive one (i.e. a practice that is tailored to the needs of the individual). Additionally it is important to note that every human has a different skeletal structure, which could result in an inability to practice certain postures. While it is tempting to choose to mark your progress through the accomplishment of a seemingly difficult posture, that could be dangerous and is not advisable
In the West we are taught to ‘push it’ & ‘leave it all on the field’, however this mentality can lead to forcing the body to do what the mind wants which can result in injury. Yoga encourages quieting the mind so that it can listen to what the body wants to do. This type of internal listening is counter-intuitive for Americans during exercise.
I came to Yoga as a former Collegiate Varsity Athlete with a wrist injury. At that time, I still believed that exercise needed to be fast paced, sweaty and required an almost dizzying rapid heart rate. Initially as a result of my wrist injury, even basic poses like Table were challenging for me, it was infuriating. I thought to myself, “I don’t know if Yoga is for me. I am just going to get more pissed off when I go to class because I can’t put any weight on my wrist.” Quickly I realized that I had to release my subconscious desire to measure my progress by my ability to do a Hand Stand.
As soon as I began to let go of the need to have a visual physical representation of my progress I allowed my self to cultivate internal listening.
The exercise of quieting the mind cultivates our ability to listen internally. The world we live in is full of sensory information and the mind is easily distracted. The mind is programmed to examine available options, eliminate some choices and make a selection. The challenge in quieting the mind comes from embracing a no mind state. A no mind state is one in which the individual is simply present and is not reflecting on choices made or to be made.
The truth is that mind is the most difficult muscle to exercise. However, in yoga the progress of the mind is the more accurate measure of progress than the achievement a particular pose. I challenge you to begin to notice how well you can quiet your mind and listen internally. The next time you take to your Yoga mat let you body tell your mind what to do, and let your ability to listen be your indicator of progress.
My Grandmother was instrumental in my upbringing. A spitfire, funny, go-getter she only has a 2nd grade education; yet, she taught me many things about my culture and history. She educated me in the ancient ways of the Taino & African Spiritualist healers through oral tradition. Now at 89 ½ the strong woman, who reared an entire neighborhood, spends her days in a senior home fighting a disease that is eating her memories. Alzheimer’s disease steals your memories, and erases your ability to complete small yet vital tasks like eating, talking and walking. For the aging, the issue of memory loss is one that predominates their thinking, however memory loss is something that can affect any of us at any time. When confronted with the truth of aging and memory loss the question becomes: “Is there any way to help fortify our brains so that we can minimize memory loss, even if we are diagnosed with Cognitive function disease like Alzhiemer’s?” Countless studies have discovered that Yoga may be the answer.
3 key aspects of Yoga known as Pranayama (mindful breathing), Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation) can be instrumental in the fight against memory loss. Used in combination, the 3 afore mentioned aspects of yoga have been proven to increase brain health, cognitive function and memory retention at any age.
The “SA TA NA MA” exercise utilizes Pranyama, Dharana and Dhyana. This chant has been widely studied over the last decade, the chant brings our awareness to the truth of who we really are. Studies have shown that spending 8-12 minutes reciting the “Sa Ta Na Ma” chant while touching thumb to index, middle, ring and pinky fingers, respectively, produces measurable benefits in the human brain. The act of touching the thumb to the each fingertip stimulates energetic pathways to the brain which when activated bring the biorhythms of the brain into balance.
Practicing the “Sa Ta Na Ma” chant has been proven to improve the mental function of individuals with Alzheimer’s as well as those without the disease. One group of Scientists found that individuals who were effected by Alzheimer’s and performed the “SA TA NA MA” chant for 12 minutes using the corresponding finger positions experienced “positive changes in mood, anxiety, and other neuropsychological parameters, and these changes correlated with changes in cerebral blood flow” . These findings directly contradict the widely held belief that there is nothing that can be done to improve the brain function or memory of someone living with Alzheimer’s.
Its important to note that a cognitive function disease diagnosis is not the only cause of memory loss. Doctors at the Calm Clinic highlight the correlation between stress, anxiety and memory loss noting that while they seem unrelated memory loss and anxiety go hand in hand. Anxiety and stress cause the release of Cortisol which is a toxin to the brain that has been directly linked to short term memory loss.
Working with Pranayama, Dharana & Dhyana will inevitably increase an individual’s mindfulness. The truth is that "[b]y simply becoming more aware of what you think, feel, say and do, you train your brain to become more organized and calm,…Stress diminishes, and life begins to feel more pleasant and rich." On a biological level the combination of focusing on your breath, concentrating and meditating will help not only improve cognitive brain function but also increases brain size, reduces stress, improves brain chemistry, and improves blood flow to the brain. Luckily 8-12 minutes of the secular practice detailed below, can really save your brain. I have incorporated this practice into my life, and use it often. I have seen a change in my stress levels, memory recall, and overall well being. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!
“Sa Ta Na Ma” Exercise:
First Round – Using your normal speaking voice for 2 minutes
Second Round – Using a whisper tone repeat the steps above for 2 minutes
Third Round – Void of vocalization, silently intone the sounds and repeat the steps from round 1 for 2 minutes
Fourth Round – for 2 minutes repeat round 2
Fifth Round – for 2 minutes repeat round 1
Keeping our energy balanced is critically important to remaining healthy and happy. We can all use tools that help us to stay steady, productive and balanced. Yoga is a wonderful tool that can help you to not only manage but also transmute and shift your energy.
For those of you who may be unsure if you know when you energy is out of balance; here is an example:
Tom is usually high energy, with a positive outlook but the last 2 or 3 days he has been easily irritable, suffering from Poor Sleep, and hasn’t been super motivated. Tom is energetically out of balance. Thankfully, Yoga exists!
Yoga will help you manage your energy with more ease over time. The actions that you take on the mat are nurturing the seeds of self-awareness & self-management which bloom when you are challenged off your mat. The marvelous thing about Yoga is that it can help you learn these skills with out even realizing it.
Here are 3 ways that Yoga will help you manage your energy that are guaranteed to make you a happier human:
Awareness is important. Yoga means to ‘yoke’ thus the philosophy is predicated on the idea that we, each, work towards attaining unity of heart, mind, spirit, and body. When you consistently come to your mat and face the physical challenges of the practice, the by products are plentiful. Someone who has a consistent practice will inevitably come into a deeper understanding of themselves. There is component of personal mastery that comes from the self-discipline required to be consistent with your Yoga practice. Once you are more connected with yourself, you will also begin to key into the various moments in your day when you may be triggered, or may have acted out of character, or behaved in manner that was inappropriate. Yoga will sharpen the picture so you can see yourself more clearly.
2. Yoga will help you become more PATIENT
Things have a way of happening at their own pace. This is one of the greatest lessons Yoga can teach you. When you give your self permission to surrender to this deep truth then you also give yourself permission to be a happier human. Yoga teaches you patience first with your body, then compassion & acceptance of yourself as you are. Then, from a place of empathy and understanding we start to be inevitably become more patient with others. Remember, that the speed with which our Yoga practice increases our capacity to exercise patience is related to our efforts to surrender and simply participate in the process of personal growth.
3. Yoga will help you be more MINDFUL
Yoga helps you learn to live in the present. Being in the Present is what
Mindfulness is all about. We all suffer from becoming distracted and Yoga can help to nip that in the bud. Its hard to be distracted when you are balancing on one foot with your hands in the air. The practice of being mindful on your mat encourages you to be more mindful off the mat. Slowing down to be present, take in the moment and truly live.
Curious if you Yoga can make you a happier human? Go out and give it a try. Want some more insight and inspiration on your personal growth journey? Check out my Podcast “WIN LIFE with AWILDA RIVERA” available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Overcast, Anchor, Pocketcast and ALL SMART SPEAKERS! Want to read more about Yoga visit my site: www.AwildaRivera.com . Until next time, Namste!
 This is NOT a medical diagnosis, this list is not exhaustive and is intended to give the reader context to understand how they maybe able to identify a difference in themselves energetically. ****if you have symptoms that have persisted for 2-3 weeks that could be a related to a mental health challenge please contact a licensed physician immediately.
 This can vary based on the person, for some people this means 3 times a week for others daily based on their physical threshold and what they are focused at this juncture in their personal development journey
You don’t know everything. There I said it. You may know A LOT, you may have studied yourself thoroughly or be a scholar; however I know that the one thing we have in common is that neither of us knows everything.
Maintaining a healthy awareness that we don’t know everything is essential in life and Yoga. The Masters call this awareness “The Student Mind”. We are all eternal students, continuously learning through our experiences of reality in each moment.
The problem is in our very face paced, technological world we have loss respect for the journey. Between all the life Hacks, youtube DIY videos, and online courses most folks are focused on getting quick results. The truth is that despite our desire to create short-cuts for EVERYTHING, there are no short cuts to inner peace.
As we age it is especially easy to forget that we don’t know everything. This false confidence can cause one to over look valuable resources that will actually help us know more. The best way to illustrate this is the analogy of Yoga Blocks.
When I first started taking yoga, like most folks, I wanted to be an expert the moment I hit the mat. I never wanted to use blocks. I thought that blocks were for those who were less able. I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG….I thought I knew it all. Of course, I knew nothing.
In fact, there is no level at which a Yogi should ditch props. Many Yogi Masters still use props. The benefit of props is that they give you the support you need to safely experience various postures without the risk of injuring yourself.
Trust me, I understand those of you who are out there thinking: “I DON’T NEED NO STINKING PROPS.” I used to feel the same way. It took a trusted, brave and dedicated teacher of mine to really wake me up.
I can admit, when I first started practicing yoga, I was out there on my mat completely forcing it. It was the worst whenever a teacher had Triangle pose in the sequence. I would grit my teeth, hold my breath and stretch until it felt like my eyeballs were sweating. The pose felt wrong. I could feel that I was missing it somehow.
One evening after class I approached the teacher to figure out where I was going wrong. She very candidly asked me why I never used any blocks. Of course I had no good answer, I didn’t have the nerve to say “because I don’t think I need them” even though that is exactly what I thought. She quickly demonstrated what I had looked like doing triangle pose in class. It did not look good at all. She explained that if I kept doing the pose that way I could end up injured because my body was not in correct alignment. She went on to say that all I needed to do to experience an immediate improvement was to give myself permission to use the blocks. She demonstrated triangle pose with the use of the block and it looked completely different! I was awestruck.
It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I had unknowingly abandoned my student mind to my detriment. There were important resources available to me that would immediately improve my experience and help me learn more, but I had overlooked them. Now not only do I use blocks frequently, But I also encourage my students to use them. The blocks have become a reminder to maintain my Student Mind.
Thus maintaining a Student’s mind is a of continuous benefit to you. You be able to recognize essential resources and happily utilize those resources in order to accomplish your goals with more ease. You’ll be open to the guidance of others and you’ll more readily appreciate the journey!
Long story short… Let your friends, family, teachers, environment, and experiences be your Yoga Blocks. Resources abound, all you need to do access them is maintain a Student’s Mind. Remember life is better with props.
As I have said many times, YOGA IS NOT A RELIGION. Yet one can not ignore the fact that it seems to have some connection with some of the Eastern Religions. Most people are familiar with Yoga’s connection with Hinduism, because of the Hindu iconography found in Studios around the world. You know what I am talking about…. Paintings of Ganesha or Shiva, maybe a Hanuman statue sitting on the reception desk or a pictures of Lakshmi hung in the practice area. Moreover, there are entire lineages of Yoga predicated on ancient Hindu philosophies found in Sacred texts like The Bahgavad Gita. But did you know that there is a link between Yoga and the ancient philosophies of Buddhism??
Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Many of its philosophies are predicated on ending suffering of all being through the daily practice of Compassion, Self Reflection and Mindfulness. Similarly, the true practice of Yoga is the challenging undertaking of choosing to combine meaningful actions and intentional behaviors in order to be your best self – on and off the mat. There are even more striking similarities that will not only highlight some of the linkages between yoga and Buddhism, but also explain why lineage there are also entire lineages of Yoga based on these ancient Buddhist teachings, like Purna Yoga.
One of the most fundamental connection is between the Eight Fold Path and the 8 limbs of Yoga. The Eight Fold path is the over all guideline for those choosing to adopt Buddhist philosophies. Likewise, the 8 limbs of yoga give a guideline to those choosing to practice Yoga as a method for living their best life.
8 limbs of YOGA
8 FOLD PATH
When its laid out in this fashion the overlap between Yoga & Buddhism is more evident. Ethical Discipline, Moral Conduct, Compassion, Meditation & Self Awareness take center stage across when we take a closer look at the connection between Yoga & Buddhism. But Why does this matter anyway?
There are tons of misconceptions about Yoga. The errant idea that Yoga is Hinduism or a Religion of its own is silly. Yoga is a dedicated practice of self- improvement with some roots in the ancient philosophies that were prevalent at the time when it was created. At the end of the day Yoga is NOT Hinduism. Yoga is NOT Buddhism. Are there tenants of each that can be linked to the underlying philosophies of Yoga, ABSOLUTELY. Whether you can relate more to the philosophies of one or the other as a means to help you get more connected to your yoga practice is your personal choice. There are some Yogis who choose to embrace the whole spectrum of Yoga and its subsequent interconnections, some choose to embrace only certain synergies and still other have found a way to practice in such a way that neither effect them.
The truth is that the aspects of Eastern Religions that have been incorporated into Yoga over time have added to the beauty of the woven tapestry of philosophy, movement and meaningful action that is YOGA.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Brett Larkin of the Sivana Podcast. We chatted candidly about the phenomenon most call the "Yogic Release" that moment when your suddenly on the verge of tears on your yoga mat, and you not quite sure how you got there.
Take a listen as Brett and I discuss how you can dig deep, breathe and coach yourself thru those moments. The rewards you reap from surviving a Yoga breakdown are HUGE. These can remind you both of the temporary, yet interconnected nature of all things.
To live we must breathe. It is the oxygenation of the blood and brain that keeps us going. The way we breathe affects our mood, energy level and ability to function.
In Yoga the breath is SUPER IMPORTANT. Pranayama, also know as the Yogic Breathing, is the practice of conscious breathing as a method to help control ones vital energy. Therefore having the ability to tap into your breath as a source of self control and power can have absolutely liberating effects!
Conscious breathing encourages us to embrace the present moment, and be mindful.
In this era of cellphones, ipads, & smart watches we are constantly being notified about everything from our friend’s recent engagement to airline price drops. We can be so focused on the future or past that we are totally disconnected from the reality of the NOW. When the focus is on the breath, you are not thinking, saying or doing anything else; as a result, you must be completely present in the moment.
The differences between Pranayama (Yogic Breathing) and regular breathing are: (1) conscious awareness & (2) the technique. Yogic philosophy believes that we can create different effects in our mind & bodies with our conscious breathing.
I want to share 3 basic Pranayama Techniques with you that you can try at home: Sama Vata Pranayama, Sitali Pranayama, Nodhi Sodhana Pranayama.
A WORD OF ADVICE BEFORE YOU DIVE IN: I would recommend trying each of these techniques for at least 5-7 minutes in order to truly get the full experience. You can sit in a chair that has back support with feet firmly planted and palms face up OR you can sit cross legged with your back against a wall and palms face up on your thighs. Make sure to gently firm your abdominals while you are seated to give your back extra support. If sitting is extremely uncomfortable do to lack of mobility then you can try the techniques while laying down; however make sure not to get so comfortable that you fall asleep.
Sama vata Pranayama - equal length breath. This calming & grounding breath uses nasal breathing to queque the ‘rest & digest’ or Parasympathetic nervous system. The goal is to reach equal pressure, length and speed of breath on inhalation & exhalation. The trick is to relax the palette of the mouth, muscles of the face and body, focusing only on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your nose. You can count internally – if you are concerned about having an accurate measure of the breath.
Sitali Pranayam – cooling breath. This breath is used if you are over heated or need to refresh yourself. You inhale through parted lips, the air is cooled as it moves over your slightly protruding, flattened tongue. Then you exhale through the nose. The goal is to allow this cool breath to cool the body and ground the mind through physical sensation.
Nodhi Sodhana – balancing breath. This breath is used to energetically balance the left & right side of the body. After taking several deep breaths using both nostrils, breathe in deeply, then use the index finger to cover the left nostril. Breathe out of the Right nostril, and then breathe in the Right nostril. Release your left nostril and cover your right nostril. Exhale through your right nostril, then inhale using your right nostril. REPEAT breath with alternating nostril closed several times. Once complete release nostrils take BIG breath in through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Don’t worry about getting these techniques perfect the first time. Don’t judge your busy mind when it vacillates from thought to thought as it begins to learn to calm down. Simply give yourself permission to practice with out judgment. Make your aim incremental progress rather than instant mastery. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy practicing Pranayama.
Now that you have a handful of technique to try, take a seat, slow down and just breathe….until Next time, Namaste!
Yoga heals. There are tons of scientific research studies that confirm this to be true. However I want to share my own personal story of healing with you all this month.
Welcome! I am so glad you found this area of my site! It is my intention to share a tone of awesome free content with you all here. Feel free to comment, email or share posts that you enjoy! Thanks for visiting!
**All blogs written by Awilda Rivera, unless otherwise indicated therein.