Category Archives: FEEL GOOD TOOLS

DO YOU WANT TO BE GOOD OR DO YOU WANT TO BE GREAT!

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I recently re-opened my business bible “Success Principles” by Jack Canfield auther of Chicken Soul for the Soul.  I refer to this book OFTEN.  I’ve read this book several times and at this point I open it to any random page and begin reading there. Like a bible it often opens up to a page that is completely relevant to my life.

The roulette ball landed on a chapter called “Say No to the Good So that you Can Say Yes to the Great.”  The chapter opens with a quote from Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) “Good is the enemy of great.”  The message of this chapter is prioritization.  Sometimes we fill our lives with so many things that are merely “good” goals or “good” activities or “good” people – and it leaves a person with no time to really invest in something that is “GREAT.”  I’ve been a “Yes” girl all my life. Not just because I like saying yes to please other people; also I enjoy so many things in life that when an opportunity comes my way it seems “good” at the time.

I’ve had to take some steps backward so that I can evenly examine a situation and opportunity to assess what’s best for me.  I used to be a “YES” girl but no longer.  I just don’t have enough time in a day and I find that I’ve been way happier and have achieved greater success in my life mentally and physically when I started “loving myself” and taking care of “myself” which meant saying “no” at times.

This year I’ve truly examined where and with who I spend my time.  So much of my life is inside of social settings that when I’m not inside of venues or producing – I really enjoy my calm surroundings.  Walking on the beach, listening to the ocean, making jewelry, reading, exercising, engaging in good conversation, seeing old friends … spending a ton of time by myself. Truly it’s fed my spirit and I thank god for waking up and feeling the way I do INSIDE.

I’m learning to prioritize my time.  It’s paying off!  I’m a work in progress and I embrace the lesson I’m learning.   I live in GREATNESS & ABUNDANCE!

Check out Success Principles:
http://www.amazon.com/Success-Principles-TM-Where-Want/dp/0060594896/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271747348&sr=8-1

DONATION BASED YOGA CLASSES IN SANTA MONICA

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I have a new passion … yoga! Where has this been my whole life!  It’s amazing!  I discovered this studio with my friend Tiffany Bright and I’ve been going back ever since – damn near 3 times a week. The instructors are amazing and completely experienced. These yoga classes have helped me in multiple areas of my life outside of just my health.  I couldn’t keep this treasure to myself – wanted to make SURE I shared it with everyone!

Check out this link: http://www.poweryoga.com/

Info about Brian Kest – The owner of this amazing facility.

About Bryan

Now 45, Bryan Kest has been practicing yoga for more than 30 years. He initially studied in Hawaii with David Williams, the first person to bring Ashtanga yoga to America. He then studied in India with K. Pattabhi Jois, the main proponent of Ashtanga yoga. Kest has been teaching yoga for 26 years. “My primary objective”, says Kest, “besides turning more and more people on to a healthier, more peaceful lifestyle that continually challenges them to grow, is to teach a system of exercise that fully integrates the body, mind, and spirit.

The new trend towards yoga is not surprising, given that the body is limited and the mind is limitless. The combination of body and mind creates an incredibly broad range of fulfillment, including top physical condition and a calm, peaceful, clear mind.”

View our class schedule

The Teacher Within

I’ve been practicing yoga for about 26 years. I started in Hawaii in 1979 with David Williams and Brad Ramsey in the 2nd ashtanga yoga class in the world outside of India. The 1st ashtanga class was another class David Williams started in Encinitas, CA that he disbanded to move to Hawaii (Maui) where I was living and attending his and Brad’s class. This was a great intro to yoga. It seems like the flower children of the 60’s had opened some spiritual doors for western culture and David & Brad and all the people we were hanging out with (all at least 15 years my senior) were all looking to explore the yoga a little deeper. We were all experimenting with something very new.

A new form of exercise which focused more on healthy, clean, organic food that was based on nourishing our bodies first, our taste buds 2nd, not vice- versa. A new lifestyle that focused on quality, not quantity. And also a new view of our relationship with our bodies, our hearts, and our relationships with the people around us, as well as on this planet. This was a very exciting time for all of us. We knew we were on to something very special. Although we definitely were not the first people to experiment with the ideology of yoga, it was very new to us and still very foreign to mainstream America and probably the world. Even mainstream India had put aside these ideas, beliefs and precepts.

The emphasis of the yoga back then was “being connected to something larger than ourselves that we were all part of.” It was about community, hugging instead of shaking hands, cooking not just eating. It was about eradicating the things that separate us all, yet respecting the differences between us. It was all so much more than the physical practice, but the physical practice seemed to be the glue holding it all together.

This to me was an amazing intro into yoga. We all had this opportunity to step out of the rat race and live in this very special manner. So the yoga encompassed our life (every aspect). It wasn’t just a physical exercise done once a day and then back to the rat race. Not long after I moved to Maui (6 years), I then moved to India for a year to get a stronger hit of this yoga. This was not a common practice for a 21-year-old Detroit boy to move to India to study yoga, so it was very exciting. My destination was Mysore, a medium size town in deep southern India. I wanted to meet and study ashtanga yoga with its main and only proponent (of this variety of ashtanga), Pattabhi Jois.

This was not such an easy and fashionable thing to do back then. The nation’s economy was not booming yet, and there wasn’t the Internet that seems to have shrunken the planet. And of course, yoga seemed odd to most people. But yoga not being fashionable yet was a good thing for me. I didn’t have to deal with any trendy energy, and it all seemed very unexplored, strange, interesting and esoteric. I was following my gut into new territory. So new, that when I found the ashtanga teacher, Jois, there was only one other student there practicing. All the better! I had him all to myself and could absorb as much info as I wanted.

As well as practice every morning with Jois and having tea with him and his wife in the afternoons, I immersed myself in the culture and sought out other yogis and teachers. India was an amazing experience, and I still look forward to another journey there.

Once I returned from India, I continued practicing the yoga I had learned from David and Brad and continued to make an effort to study with teachers and instructors whom I heard good things about.

Now here I am, 26 years into this journey, still just a child (maybe a teenager) on this spiritual journey. Where do I find myself? What have I learned? What is the point of this article?! What I’ve learned, I couldn’t find words to explain, although I am always trying, and some people understand.

The point of this article is this. Looking back over my experiences in yoga, any and all of the spiritual information I have acquired has not come from someone else. I am not parroting what a great yogi or saint has said; the teachings, the message and knowledge come from me. I find the knowledge that I have congruent with most of the teachings from yoga philosophy as well as that of many great saints. It makes me feel I am on the right track when my understanding parallels that of great teachers and saints. And the parallels make sense because truth is truth.

What I’ve learned is that my greatest yoga teacher is within! The knowledge I’ve acquired is a direct result of me quieting my mind and being open enough to receive the teachings coming through. The greatest job any yoga instructor can do is create the right environment for the practice of yoga (quieting the mind) and reinforcing the truths being exposed. Yoga practice is my opportunity to quiet my mind. Stepping away from the judgments and labels that separate me from myself and all things. Quieting my mind gives me the opportunity to tap into the universal depository of all knowledge and all things. This is not something I can control (yet) to the degree I can get any info I want. Yet, when my mind is quiet and open, it seems I fill up with understanding, knowledge and love. This understanding is not intellectual. I can’t explain the meaning of life or anything. I simply don’t have to explain it because I know it and trust it.

I walk away from my practice feeling whole, complete, satisfied and full. I don’t believe any other person can give you that. They can only help you to create the environment, so as you yourself can tap into it. Nobody can do the work for you. I have to untie my own knots. I have to develop the strength to disempower my own habit patterns. Nobody can do this for me. And this is what the practice is all about. Quieting the mind means disempowering the habit patterns of thinking, judging, competing and attachment and being open to what I am feeling or knowing. In other words, “the teacher” waits patiently behind the busy mind. And when I quiet my mind (yoga practice) and experience where I am and what I am feeling, the wisdom starts coming through. Real knowledge of whom I am and what I need manifest as it is supposed to. And there the real yoga begins “living my truth.”

So let’s use our yoga classes and our yoga practice to create the most ultimate environment to quiet the mind, so we can access the teacher waiting inside!!

Pertaining to the physical practice “asana.”

The body talks to us in the language of sensation! It says, “that feels good” and “that does not.” The reason for this is to keep us safe. Why would we not listen to what we are feeling? How far we go in a pose should be directly related to how it feels and whether we can breathe free, not holding the breath and straining. Remember there is no proof that looser people are healthier or happier people. So we are not trying to get loose, we are trying to get well or maintain wellness. That will not happen if we do not honor what we are feeling. This is not a sport. There is no proof that athletes are healthier or happier people. In my experience, health is a state of balance brought about by moderation among other things. Moderation is the opposite of being extreme. And happiness is a state of mental balance. Not craving and clinging, but accepting who we are and where we are at, instead of rejecting where we are at in a constant pursuit to get somewhere. Most people bring their craving and clinging mentality into the yoga class, and then the practice is polluted. In yoga class and maybe in life, let the practice be, “I am not trying to get anywhere, I am trying to make it OK to be where I am at” because I love myself and value my process!!
Aloha!

Bryan

WORDS FROM COLIN POWELL…

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A close friend of mine … send me the below quote:

“The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.Consider this:Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.”A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate – for the good and the bad.Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes…do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.”In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends.””Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them.””If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude..”

-Colin Powell

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: The Courage To Be Yourself by Sue Patton Thoele

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Written by Sue Patton Thoele

To Purchase: CLICK HERE

I highly recommend this book titled “The Courage to Be Yourself-A Woman’s Guide to Emotional Strength and Self Esteem.”  This book actually caught me off guard because it covered topics outside of the conventional “self help” topics I’ve read about. It descriptively breaks down the women’s issues that invade us everyday – Topics range from friendship, to facing fears, expectations, limits and boundaries, appeasing, emotional wisdom, courage, abuse, inner strength, praying, love, the power of thought  and the list goes on.  Certainly this book helped me to reflect on some of my actions and how they effect relationships (friendships, family, business etc.) both positively and negatively. It allowed for me to think more objectively about my life, my decisions and how/what/where my views and position stand as a woman.  I’ve recently endured a rather painful situation in my life and read the below excerpt that spoke to me and helped me think differently about the way I handled it internally

Resistance Magnifies Pain
“Natural childbirth classes teach mothers-to-be that the pain of childbirth is greater when you resist it and grow tense with fear.  They tell you to “breathe into the pain,” not because deep breathing decreases the pain, but because relaxation increases your ability to accept pain….I encourage them to turn toward it, relax into the experience of pain, give themselves permission to feel it and act on it.  This frequently amazes them because most have been taught the sitff-upper lip appraoch to both physical and emotional pain. Resistance magnifies pain.  The more we resist difficult people, concepts, or circumstances, the more we draw to us exactly what we’re trying to resist… Resistance causes tension.  Tension creates tightness, stiffness, and inflexibility…..”   Often times, friends/peers/loved one have the best intentions and give the advice to ” don’t cry”  “don’t be angry” …but dammit sometimes it’s part of the process of working through one’s pain. LOL. I’ve crossed paths with individuals who hold everything in, and they’ve shared how it’s inhibited their current/future relationships, caused serious health issues or worse.  Just remember to BREATHE!

Book Recommendation: WHAT I KNOW NOW…LETTERS TO MY YOUNGER SELF

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I loved this book.  It takes the accounts of women in various fields and backgrounds and features letters these amazing women would write to their younger selves.  The letters are honest, vulnerable and allow the reader (us) to really relate to some of the stories and even may change the way you view/I/anyone may view their current situations.  Please take the time to check it out.
Check out the website: http://www.letterstomyyoungerself.com
To purchase on amazon: CLICK HERE

About this book: *Taken from http://www.letterstomyyoungerself.com”

“We don’t always have the wisdom we require at the time we need it. We struggle. We worry. Often, only later do our choices make sense to us,” says Ellyn Spragins in WHAT I KNOW NOW: Letters To My Younger Self (Broadway Books; April 2006) The book contains letters from forty-one famous women reflecting on significant moments in their lives and sharing the advice they wish they had known at that time.

After losing her mother suddenly several years ago, Ellyn Spragins found herself asking questions about her mother’s life as she navigated her own. She was curious about how her mother felt during some of the key moments and how she would feel about them having the benefit of hindsight. This personal reflection is what ultimately propelled Spragins to approach women she admired and respected about what words of wisdom they wish they had known during pivotal times in their own lives.

Cokie Roberts, Queen Noor of Jordan, Macy Gray, and Ann Curry are just some of the many well-known contributors who participated in this deeply personal exercise. Others who also opened their hearts in WHAT I KNOW NOW include:

  • Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State – addressing herself when she was still reeling from the breakup of her marriage of 23 years.
  • Trisha Yearwood, Singer and Songwriter – encouraging herself in her early twenties not to look for validation from others.
  • Heather Mills McCartney, Activist – learning to say “no” sometimes to people that just take and take and do not try to help themselves.
  • Olympia Dukakis, Actress – encouraging herself to find some happiness in trying situations rather than just being bogged down with all of the difficult things she was faced with.
  • Maya Angelou, Poet, Author, Playwright – telling herself at age 17 that she will succeed when she first left home with a newborn baby.
  • Eileen Fisher, Clothing Designer and Entrepreneur – encouraging her younger self (early 20s) to embrace her independence and not to be afraid to be alone.

WHAT I KNOW NOW not only offers insight into the private lives of several inspiring women, but creates a springboard for readers to reflect on some of the important choices they made in their own lives. As Spragins says, “Choosing to grow during trying life passages can be lonely work. I hope this book will make that choice less solitary because you’ll be in the company of great women.”