8 limbs of yoga

Learn How Expectations Sabotage Our Happiness

Are You Sabotaging Your Happiness?

We often sabotage our happiness, wierd huh? Yes indeed we sabotage happy relationships and even our futures. Why we do this is based on sub concious thoughts that were planted in our minds as young children. Everything that we react and respond to is based on our personal experiences. I have seen it in three of my personal relationships where my guy either cheated or ran out of fear or expectations that I did not and could not meet. It was not until my therapist pointed it out that I finally was freed from sadness, guilt and shame.

Expectations are the root of heartache and yet most if not all of us have expectations. We have self imposed expectations, expectations for others, and others have expectations for us. We tend to have high expectations in relationships; both that they will last long term and for details to which I will return in a bit. We have high expectations for our personal success, parenting, and even reputation. To set ourselves up for success we need to understand the difference between expectations and realistic goals and values. It is a great trait to be self disciplined, but everything is filtered through our personal experiences in life. It is critical to be aware, accept the situation as it is knowing some, in fact most, things are out of our control, and forgive yourself.

I tend to snap yoga photos everywhere I go, not to impress any one, but because it’s a fun way for me to chronicle my trips. Not sure what I was going for with my leg lol. Just remember to have fun and spread good vibes!

I tend to snap yoga photos everywhere I go, not to impress any one, but because it’s a fun way for me to chronicle my trips. Not sure what I was going for with my leg lol. Just remember to have fun and spread good vibes!

Change Your Mindset~ Change Your Outcome

Change is never easy, but it is worth it. Without change we become stagnant and die. Once we learn to respond rather than react we can approach all situations with positivity. The Law of Attraction itself would agree that when we are capable of surrendering our expectations and responding positively great things will come. When you find yourself attached to an outcome, pause, breathe, and observe how you feel. If you feel stress, tension, or resentment adjust your mindset. Chances are if you are angry or disappointed you had the wrong motive in the first place.It is no joke learning to let go. Anyone who says they live completely free from expectation is kidding themselves, but we can all try a bit harder which will lead to increased happiness and decreased stress. Changing our mind set requires us to remain present. You hear many wise people and sages preaching about the power of now and that is because setting expectations is future based and blinds us of possibilities unfolding in the present moment.

Three examples:

If you want your husband to buy you flowers and he doesn’t. This creates dissapointment. The poor guy likely has no clue how badly you wanted the flowers. But your resentment will grow. Learn to use The Five Love Languages to communicate better. There may be things he wants too and he may feel the same dissapointment. Meanwhile, learn to buy yourself flowers. I mentioned earlier that expectations can seem impossible in relationships so try to communicate respectfully and openly with your partner.

If you agree to meet friends at a public event. I definitely struggle with anxiety so showing up alone at crowded venues makes me nervous, but allow yourself options. For example; maybe you have to park far away. You could consider turning around and going home or take an uber. If you cannot find your friends consider just being present and enjoying the event solo.

If you are working hard and expect a raise. Consider the fact that a raise may not be financially possible even though the company appreciates your hard work. Evaluate if you are doing what you love.

The colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway were amazing last weekend. Please remember that sometimes life’s disappointments are actually gifts. I was told this drive would be beautiful, but it surpassed my expectations.

The colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway were amazing last weekend. Please remember that sometimes life’s disappointments are actually gifts. I was told this drive would be beautiful, but it surpassed my expectations.

Aparigraha, WHAAAAAT?

Living yoga is not just a physical practice on the mat. It is a disciplined way of living as perscribed by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali thousands of years ago. It takes daily practice both on and off the mat, but the goal is to reach enlightmenment, or ultimate bliss. Sounds good, right? Of course, but like all things great it does not come easy. Aparigraha is the 5th Yama in the 8 limbs of yoga. It means non possessiveness both physically and mentally. We live in a society plagued with the desire for more. But, it goes back to the principle that our expieriences are each personal. Someone who lives in poverty and has no roof over their head would be ecstatic with running water let alone a hot bath. Someone on the other hand who is affluent may turn their nose us at a Courtyard instead of a Ritz. Everything is relative and yet we all self impose expectations. When we see what and who we need verses what we do not we are then aware and able to move forward free from outcome. When we can observe each situation free from judement it opens to the door to unlimited possibilities.

We can never truly posses anything that is not meant to be ours. Jeleousy is a dangerous game where we never win. Envy is similar. So let go of outcomes and possessions. Live from a heart centered  place rather than an ego driven one. Take only what you truly need. Give love when you can and take some when your cup is low. When we have faith that the universe provides what we need when we need it the stress dissipates and life becomes abundant. As you enjoy the autumn leaves and all their glorious color remind yourself that just as their leaves fall we too need to let go.

Peace and Joy,

Libby

Taking time out for yourself, especially in nature, is a great way to nourish your body, mind, and soul!

Taking time out for yourself, especially in nature, is a great way to nourish your body, mind, and soul!

Non-Attachment Is The Way To Freedom

As we practice awareness we move into a state of acceptance. In this state of acceptance we learn to let go of outcomes or attachment to what will be, and instead we learn to observe or simply witness free from judgement. Live in the now with what is and simplify life.

When you free yourself from attachment, you are able to live a happy life. You no longer feel stuck or “married” to a specific ending. Feeling stuck or trapped is a very negative feeling and most of the time, sadly, we do it to ourselves. 

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Attachment is really about fear, ego and dependency. When we are living with attachments, whether it is to things, to people or whatever, we are living in a negative place.

WE aspire to live a positive life. To raise the vibration we need to live from a place of love. Love allows us endless possibilities free from attachment, guilt, shame and fear… Love allows us to grow into our best selves and into oneness with the universe free from all attachment, which is a state of ultimate enlightenment.

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In Ashtanga Yoga we practice the 8 limbs of yoga. Part of the 8 limbs are the Yamas & Niyamas.  The 5th Yama is Aparigraha, which means non- attachment or non possessiveness. This means to not be attached to outcomes, to not take more than you need and to not live with jealousy in regard to yourself and the world around you.  

The Sanskrit word, Parinamavada, is the teaching that everything is in a constant state of flux.  Everything changes and when we embrace this, just as we embrace the trees losing their leaves in the fall and the flowers blooming in spring, we know that life is cyclical. When we let go of outcomes and accept what is, we embrace our freedom.  

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APARIGRAHA! Shout it out loud and embrace the concept of non-attachment! Let go and feel the resulting freedom. There is nothing to worry about and nothing to fear. Stay in the present moment. Allow what may come to come and let go of what no longer serves your higher purpose. Do not take more than you need. Do not eat more than you need. Apply this concept to every aspect of your life.

Attachment holds us back because we do not want to accept change and yet change is inevitable. Change is transformation and growth. Take love for example. Many people cling to the person who they love out of the fear of losing them, which can create a self fulfilling prophecy. Instead, embrace the concept of setting that person free. If you truly love that person free from attachment and they love you, they will want to stay. Placing restrictions will make them feel trapped and imprisoned, which takes us back to that negative cycle which no one enjoys. So, give love, give away all that you can and it will all come back to you! That is a key to the Law of Attraction! 

Peacefully,

Libby

P.S. - Yoga is so much more than a physical practice on the mat. It is the journey of the self through the self to the self. Please check out my new website www.TOTALSOULFULJOURNEY.COM for more helpful articles and grow with us in a like minded community of positive people. We are launching this website next week and I am so excited for you to see it!

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5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude in your Daily Life to bring Abundance

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The great poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said it so wisely, "cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously." When we live in the present moment and are aware of our thoughts, words and actions, and practice gratitude then and only then will we truly live in the abundance of all that we desire. Being grateful is the key to a happier and healthier life. Gratitude shifts our focus into the present moment. Being appreciated and feeling connected, feeling needed and desired are deep human needs. You can practice gratitude simply by thanking someone for a job well done at work or for something that you like that they did. A simple compliment or pat on the back goes a long way. Simply acklowledge the people you come in contact with with warmth and compassion. Set your phone down in the check out lane of the grocery store or drive through, and take a moment to say "thank you."  It does not take much to practice gratitude.  You will feel better and so will those around you, improving relationships and decreasing stress!

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So here are my top 5 Suggestions for How To Practice Gratitude Daily to Create Abundance in Your Life:

1. Journal:  write down one to five things you are grateful for each and everyday this month! Some days may be simple and other days may be more complex and that is ok.  Do this without judgment of any sort. There are no wrong answers.

2. Random Acts of Kindness:  Give what you can when you can. This has a ripple effect like you cannot imagine. which raises the vibrational energy all around you bringing you love and good energy. Hold the door open for a stranger, smile, buy a hot meal for a homeless person, volunteer (giving your time is an amazing gift), pay the toll for the person behind you, donate your old coats......

3. Be grateful for what you already have. Practice the concept of needing less.

4. Know that you are ENOUGH. Practice the I AM mantra each morning when you wake up. Say I AM and then follow that with possitive affirmations such as I am enough, I am loved, I am strong, I am forgiving, I am compassionate, I am grateful, I am kind.... Then look in the mirror and say "I LOVE YOU" yes, to YOURSELF! Practice loving yourself! It is amazing how far this will go.  You must first love yourself deeply before you can love others and before others can love you. 

5. Finally, learn from your own experiences. Be aware of what shifts your energy from dark to light, from sadness to happiness... then do more of what makes you happy and THAT will bring gratitude. 

Often the people who have suffered the most trauma and hardships in life are the most grateful and for the most simple things.  So, my advice is keep it simple, stay aware, stay grateful and keep your heart wide open.  Let that love energy flow freely. Peace and love to you all this holiday season and throughout the new year!

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Much gratitude, 

Libby

 

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Learning the Art of Surrender when Faced with Life's Challenges

We all face challenges at different points in our lives. It is how we manage the stress of these challenges that matters. The truth is what doesn't challenge us won't change us. And we ultimately grow stronger with each challenge that we conquer. But... As a whole, we are resistant to change. We resist change for two main reasons, in my humble opinion, and please feel free to comment below on how you feel! I feel we resist change because of fear and attachment to the outcome.  The truth is without change there is no growth and without growth we remain stagnant. 

We are taught as a society that quitting is giving up and that is a sign of failure. But many times it takes the most successful person to recognize that it is time to move on. I would rather call it surrender. Surrendering is far different from quitting. It means acceptance of what is without battling against what you thought it should be. It is the full release of the ego centered mind. It is a full letting go...  

Anytime you feel stress, be it from a relationship, work, school, traffic, financial pressure, just surrender to what is and let it be. Breathe, release, let go. Sometimes this requires big life changes and breaking through major barriers of fear, but please believe me when I tell you it is so worth it! I have lived through this so many times in the past six months.   

Most recently I closed my yoga studio. This was heartbreaking! At first I saw it as failure. Then I took some deep breaths and practiced everything that I truly believe from my years of yoga practice, spiritual studies and business lessons. I realized it was not at all a failure, but the beginning of the best journey of my life. My friends and family stepped up so beautifully, moving me out of the studio, showing up with meals and pies, hugs, notes... And this week a HUGE limb mysteriously crashed down in my backyard. It was not raining. There was no wind. Miraculously my dogs, who were playing in my yard, were not seriously injured or worse.  It was a really close call for Luna, but she fortunately escaped unharmed. Anyway, my daughter's friend showed up without being asked, cut up the wood and hauled it away. He even cut my grass. These acts of kindness are the light at the end of the tunnel. Accept the kind acts of others, surrender pride and practice gratitude.

So you see, I never needed the studio. That was just the physical space that allowed me to bloom for a short period into who I am today. I can do my work anywhere, which is a liberating feeling. I am unbound and so aware of the miracles around me. I have let go of almost all fear (I am still human so...). I practice complete and full acceptance of myself and others and I welcome change. Surrendering to what is and what will be is my new motto because the truth is we are in control of very little. We can control our breath, our thoughts, our behavior toward others and our reactions and that's about it my friends!  

Truly, I have been touched by the outpouring of support. Once I surrendered, I realized the difference between surrendering and quitting. I felt tremendous relief. Quitting implies failure. There was no failure in closing my studio. There is no failure in divorce. There is no failure in changing careers... Sometimes making a decision for change is the most courageous thing you can do to propell yourself toward upward growth. Surround yourself with like minded, positive, supportive people and everything will be ok. Listen to your intuition. Trust, trust, trust...  

Faith & Hope, 

Libby

PS, I hope you will watch the video below for many reasons.  Music touches our souls and affects our emotions in many ways.  The message is to simplify, which is so beautiful and is one part of the 8 limbs of yoga, which is non needing and non hoarding, which goes in line with the Yama of Aparigraha, and also in line with the Niyama of Santosa, which means contentment or being happy with what you have.  Ultimately, once you realize you have all that you need, you will be a much happier person.  Yoga is far more than a practice on the mat ;)