A famous Vedic story
There is a famous story about ahimsa* told in the Vedas, the vast collection of ancient philosophical teachings from India.
A certain sadhu, or wandering monk, would make a yearly circuit of villages in order to teach. One day as he entered a village he saw a large and menacing snake who was terrorizing the people. The sadhu spoke to the snake and taught him about ahimsa.
The following year when the sadhu made his visit to the village, he again saw the snake. How changed he was. This once magnificent creature was skinny and bruised.
The sadhu asked the snake what had happened. He replied that he had taken the teaching of ahimsa to heart and had stopped terrorizing the village. But because he was no longer menacing, the children now threw rocks and taunted him, and he was afraid to leave his hiding place to hunt.
The sadhu shook his head. "I did advise against violence," he said to the snake, "but I never told you not to hiss."
*ahimsa means respect for all life and practicing non-violence towards all living things
by Mehtab Kirtan
We’re all clumsy at times, and can make silly mistakes. How do we treat ourselves afterwards? Do we mull over how we could have done things differently, and consider all the possible scenarios in which the incident could have been avoided? Do we take precious time out of Now in order to call ourselves stupid?
...Who’s side are we on?
Belittling and berating serves to weaken opponents and enemies. If we ever belittle and berate ourselves, we are actively weakening ourselves, and are therefore actively fighting against ourselves.
...Who’s side are we on?
Don’t fight against yourself, Side with your Self.
You didn’t incarnate in your body in order to trash-talk it. You don’t inhabit your mind in order to curse yourself. Your soul chose this body to uplift this body: Your soul chose this mind to uplift this mind. When you side with your Self, you actively take care of your body, and actively care for your mind. To take care of your Self is to love your Self. To side with your Self is to love all aspects of yourself, not just your lovable aspects. In loving all aspects of ourselves, we practice loving all aspects of humanity.
In being forgiving, gentle, and patient with ourselves, we practice gracing this planet with these virtues. As we bless ourselves with forgiveness, gentleness, and patience, we allow the world to progress and heal in a loving manner. We allow love to be primary principle of the new world order.
Fight the fight that’s right: side with your Self.
The pressure is on... to get things done, to share when you don't feel worthy, to communicate something difficult, to figure out how to feel better, to alleviate the overwhelm and make a decision... to not take things too seriously and give yourself permission to enjoy life. I share with you a few powerful, actionable quotes.
When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off. --One of 5 Sutras of the Aquarian Age.
I heard my 16 year old son saying this several times the week before we went away for winter break - dare I say, it was his mantra for the week - and he had an overwhelming amount of work to get done with an unreasonable amount of commitments to manage. He started, and he completed.
When you want to learn something, read about it.
When you want to understand it, write about it.
When you want to master it, teach it.
This quote changed my life. It gave me the permission to teach when I didn't feel I was good enough.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. --Rush song Freewill.
Decide to choose intentionally rather than by default. Overthinking is just your ego wanting to keep its current job as head honcho. Your ego exists to be your servant, not your boss.
Choose the wellness approach over sickness; build your life rather than fight your life. It's easier on the wallet and makes for a much better quality of life that is both healthful and on your own terms. It puts the power back into your hands and cultivates self~ love and authority.
And yes, allow yourself to enjoy life. In Ayurveda, one of the 3 tenets of good health is BLISS. Because without it, are we truly well?
Pressure? Let it out, make a choice, start, and enjoy the ride.
With love, grit and gratitude, Savitree
by Savitree Kaur
We all have blind spots. No matter how much work we’ve done, they exist. Happily ever after happens with commitment and follow through, and by letting your ego to crack open again and again. That cracking is not fun, and in fact it often comes with some unwelcome physical symptoms.
In order to push past the part where you normally get stuck and where the self-sabotage begins… or in case you don’t recognize it as such… where the cycle begins because a behavior or situation outside of you is totally unacceptable so you find yourself responding in a way that is totally justified but also looks familiar…
you will need to break that pattern and respond in a totally different way. That’s transformation.
In contrast, as they say, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
We are blind to our blind spots, and we will defend our position no matter how many times we find ourselves there. Trying to shift out of our recurring issues on our own doesn’t often work because our thinking got us there. That’s why having mentors and coaches is invaluable. Unlike friends, they aren’t afraid of your rejection. They have one job, and that is to place the mirror in the right place so that you can see that blind spot. They are there, not to do the work for you, but to give you the opportunity to do the work yourself by bringing light to it and then by holding vision for you to get there. They assume you are capable and will hold you to that standard.
Even better is when you get to share with others what you’ve learned through your own transformation. Not just the solution, but more importantly the process. Paying it forward is the best part. Because working through your blind spot with a mentor and getting unstuck from a recurring cycle is just the beginning. You get to take that experience and help others through your unique angle, and in so doing, you will find that you continue to help yourself even more than you help the other person. Likewise, your mentor is helped more than you. It’s a beautiful thing.
by Jodh Kaur
Setting goals and making commitments to myself keeps me on track and moving forward. It’s the simple daily disciplines that keep me plugging into my goals each and every day.
For example, I love to run, but I have found registering for a race is the best motivation for me to run consistently and to challenge myself to run farther and harder each week. When I have that race on my calendar, I map out a training schedule and I stick to it no matter what. Likewise, I love Kundalini Yoga & Meditation, but it is my regular commitments to my 40/90/120/1000 day practices and my #forlife challenges that keeps me practicing daily and finding ways to use my practice in my life and in my teaching. Because of this commitment, I do not compromise completing my sadhana every single day.
It isn’t enough to just set a start date. We need a plan and commitment, rewards and consequences. We need to have skin in the game. Achieving the goal should mean something because we know it will really hurt if we fall short. It is this commitment to self and to our goal that keeps us moving forward when we are uncomfortable, tired, lazy, something comes up or we just have a case of the “Idontwannas.”
And the beauty is when we have discipline in one area of our lives, we develop the self-confidence and the knowing that we DO have discipline which means we CAN have discipline in all areas of life - with food, with money, relationships, fitness, our practice, with our time - even with Netflix!
Accountability helps too. Sharing your goal with someone means that person can help you hold the vision for you and your goal and will challenge you when those excuses start creeping in. One of my mentors says “excuses are self abuses” so be kind to yourself, share your goal with an ally, someone who will hold you accountable and not give you an easy out.
Finally, start today. There is no reason to wait until Monday or January 1. Kick start your 2019 with a week of discipline already under your belt.
I would love to hear your goal - what are you working on right now or what are you setting out to achieve for yourself in the next 3 months?
by Savitree Kaur
Life is pretty irritating. The significant other is irritating. The children are irritating. Work is irritating. The cars and cyclers on the road are irritating. Deciding to find time to make dinner (which goes with deciding on what to make) otherwise deciding to spend money to eat out: irritating. How the body feels is irritating. The state of the world: forget about it.
There’s only so much (dark) chocolate one can eat to soothe an irritation.
So, how do you deal with life’s irritations? Is what you do for it a momentary fix, or does it build on you to find a different way to be?
Can these irritations reflect back to you what you need to see in order to grow into a better version of yourself while at the same time examine and love what you are today?
That which irritates you offers you good information on where or how you may not be taking care of yourself. They offer up a worthy challenge to practice proper self-care and self-advocacy, which sets the healthy boundaries necessary to create enough space for what you need to do for yourself and to encourage a more loving and respectful back-and-forth between you and everyone else.
Dig deep. Irritations are a two way street. People and things irritate, and in so doing, they hold up a mirror to take a closer look, giving you a gift opportunity to find what you’ve been holding back from yourself.
by Jodh Kaur
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Consider those around you. Are you feeling inspired, stretched, elevated, uncomfortable or even in awe of what they are doing? When we ally ourselves with those who are living their purpose and accomplishing what they set out to do, we have the permission and motivation to do the same. Who we surround ourselves with matters. It impacts how we spend our time, what we think & talk about and where & how we take action. In fact, witnessing an ally’s action can prompt our own. It motivates us to keep up, to put one foot in front of the other (no matter how scared we are), to live our truth.
In the words of Marianne Williamson:
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
Elevate yourself. Delve Deeper. Teacher Training. Privates. Sadhana.
Treat the next person you talk to as someone whose trust and respect you wish to earn. This means you won’t take them for granted, nor make any assumptions based on “they should know…”
That person wants to be treated like a human being, and all human beings want to be seen, heard and understood. What if you could gift them this experience?
Here’s an exercise:
Go in to your next interaction without any agenda but to be fully there. Take an exhale, surrender into that moment, look at that person with genuine happiness to be there with them, smile, and say, how are you, or ask any real question, and truly want to know.
There are no thoughts running through your mind on how you will respond or what you wish to say. Just listen intently because you care. This is your opportunity to really see the other person. As well as yourself.
Make eye contact. Let the breath respond while they talk.
If you feel so compelled to interrupt, offer a solution, or talk about yourself, even if it’s something related to what they were saying… first ask yourself, what is your need? What are you hungry for? Can you hold back for now to be the fulfiller? Can you stop your thoughts in your tracks about what you will say when they’re done? Can you trust that you will have something worthwhile you say later if you do that? Or will this be about you? You decide. Compare and contrast how it feels to interact this way versus another.
Holding space for someone like this, even upon saying hello, is a good skill to cultivate. Try it with a client, a friend, your significant other, co-worker, family member, anyone. You may find that you get a lot more back in return, and you will learn a lot more about them (as well as yourself), in the process.
by Jodh Kaur
Autumn is here and shorter days, colder weather and the holiday season are all right around the corner. This can be a tough time for many of us - Seasonal Affective Disorder, feeling blue, managing family and old (and new) conflicts around holiday time. Even those with ideal situations feel the stress of expectations that come in the last months of the year.
This time of year it is critical to establish a daily ritual or practice that will build our reserves so we can manage life’s challenges with grace and compassion for ourselves and each other.
At Urban Yoga Chicago, we regularly encourage our clients in class to commit to a 40 day practice and in response, we often hear things like:
“How do I get started?”
“I need to create an altar.”
“I need a special space in my home and need to paint, move furniture, get a mat, buy a cushion, get some photos, collect candles etc (you get the picture 😜).”
“I’ll start on Monday.”
As human beings we tend to stand in the way to our own salvation by making things so much harder than they need to be. Discipline isn’t something certain people are born with, it is something we are all capable of creating with daily activity. While it’s nice to have a dedicated space and an altar, these are not necessary prerequisites to having a daily practice. All that is required is for YOU to take time each day to devote to YOU and the nourishment of your soul.
Here are 5 simple steps to create a daily practice:
After you get going with your practice, feel free to add any of the bonus steps:
Yogi Bhajan said, “Having no self-control is like driving a car without brakes. Having no self-esteem is like driving a car without gas. So how far can you go?”
A daily practice gives us both. And yes, You are worth it.
I would love to hear what you are commiting to for the next 40 days.
Reply here and let me know!
by Savitree Kaur
Be… ACT….greater than what you think of yourself.
I mean, this is the next step after getting buoyed by this KY practice.
I mean, why else are we practicing?
The limiting beliefs are there, I know.
I have them.
They are not just nuisances. They are downright debilitating.
But they don’t have to be.
I get to decide that they won’t control me.
I get to decide not to waste a moment defending myself and making (arguably legitimate) excuses.
I get to decide that I can risk whatever I think I am going to lose by putting myself out there because the risk of not doing it is worst. It’s worse because those consequences don’t go away until I self-correct and put myself out there. Because what’s worse than playing it safe is living in a state of chronic, low-grade flat-line of constant regret or something unspeakably missing underneath the veneer of “I’m good”. And then feeling hungry for something and being unable to pinpoint what that is, leaving me confused or malaised.
We all had dreams, and then we became practical. We found “balance” in our lives, and we compromised.
But did we really? Or did we misuse those words? Did we use them to make excuses for not acting?
I’ve looked back on when I’ve been tired, and when I’ve had sustained energy, and I found that I got tired, not when I’ve had “enough sleep” but when I’ve felt I’ve self-compromised. I experienced sustained energy on much less sleep when I rode the incredible waves that were the culmination of decisions that I made to act from my gut and my soul’s calling rather than my stupid head and nevermind the practical opinions of others or the imagined conclusions I thought they’d have about me, and most importantly the constraints I placed on myself by believing somehow I wouldn’t be able to pull my dream off, or I didn’t have the brains, the memory, the time, money or energy for it. The weight those fears carry. It seems like it would just be easier to take the damn risk.
Take the risk. Delve Deeper with:
ChildPlay Yoga November 9-11, 2018
Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training February-October 2019
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House