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Kindle Reads – “Living Your Yoga” – Part 1b

18 Jan

Image Source: Drew Avery

 

You can find the introduction to this series of posts here.

The final three qualities of finding more awareness in your own life by “Living Your Yoga” are described here.

Faith Practice

This section discusses the importance of having faith – faith in yourself and faith that things will work out as they should.  My faith definitely wavers especially when things don’t work out the way that I expect them to. A quote that really spoke to me on this concept was “belief is a preconception about the way reality should be; faith is the willingness to experience reality as it is, including the acceptance of the unknown.” This one sentence pretty much sums up how I would like to live, although most of the time my preconceptions get in the way. To practice faith, we have to make decisions in connection with our hearts. My favorite mantra from this section was “I have the courage to act from my heart and the compassion to stay open.”

Perspective Practice

This section calls each of us to broaden our perspective and to explore other points of view. Wisdom is really just the clarity of perspective, stepping back and seeing the big picture. You know they say hindsight is 20/20, but perhaps if we are willing to look through a different lens, we can really see what is important and what is not, we can avoid pitfalls or curb negative reactions we may have.  “Your life is as it is. How you feel about your life is up to you.” Ways to practice perspective are to cultivate gratitude (which I’ve been trying to do weekly in Thankful Thursday posts) and to purposefully make a point to look at a situation from a different perspective. My favorite mantra from this section was “It won’t be this way forever.

Courage Practice

According to Judith Lasater, she believe that next to love, courage is the second most important quality to cultivate.  It is knowing when to ask for help, listening to your heart.  To strengthen your courage, practice a yoga pose that you are afraid of. For me that might be a backbend or flipping over from a three legged dog. I can take small steps to work towards each of these poses, having compassion with myself at however far I can get. I need to not do something just because it is scary, “the point is to choose to do what is possible in the face of fear. That choice defines courage. And with it comes a sense of freedom.” My favorite mantra from this section, “Letting go of what I cannot change celebrates my courage.” 

Do you feel that you live your life in awareness?

What areas do you think you can work on on a daily basis?

**All quotes from Living Your Yoga – Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Lasater **

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Kindle Reads – “Living Your Yoga” – Part 1a

6 Jan

Image Source: Lady Tori

One of my Goals for 2012 was to read more and one of the books on my must read list was Living Your Yoga – Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Lasater. It came recommended by Kim over at Forty is (the new) Fabulous and I was intrigued. Now I’m no spiritual guru nor do I tend to be “hippie-ish” in any way, but I thought that there was no harm in learning more about finding more peace and calm in my everyday life. I’ve also been loving me some yoga lately so I thought it was the perfect time to incorporate whatever the author had to share.  I’ve tried reading “enlightenment” books like A New Earth and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle only to get bogged down in the heavy verbiage. Lucky for me, that is NOT the case with Living Your Yoga.

The book is separated into three parts:

Part 1 – “Awakening Awareness: Yoga within Yourself”
Part 2 – “Widening the Circle: Yoga and Relationships”
Part 3 – “Embracing All  Life: Yoga in the World”

Within each part are seven qualities that the author believes should be nurtured within our everyday lives. The author uses personal stories and quotes from ancient spiratual writings to explain the importance of each quality and how each person can cultivate it. She suggests some yoga practices both in the form of poses and Daily Mantra meditations that can help each person focus on enhancing that particular area of their life.

Currently, I have just finished Part 1and wanted to do a download of the practices that I learned and how I can apply them to my everyday life. The sections are short so they are easily reread so that I can get the full understanding of what is being said! I’m a dork, what can I say! 🙂

Here’s the first four qualities:

Spiritual Seeking – Abiding Practice

This section taught that the answers we seek are within each of us and the only way to find them is to develop full awareness of our lives be it in our thoughts, words and actions. This practice requires centering and focusing on the breath and living in the present moment (something I’m sure we all could do more of!). This is much like what you would do at the beginning and end of each yoga practice, but Judith encourages  to do it at any time of the day. There’s no objective to the practice other than to fully experience your own life, free of any distractions.  The place where I have found abiding practice to be the most soothing and calming is in a hot shower when I can clear my mind of the stresses of the day. My favorite mantra from this section is “I commit to living my life fully in this moment.”

Discipline Practice

This section taught that discipline has less to do with the amount of things you can accomplish in a day and more to do with intention and commitment. It says that “yoga , or that state in which fluctuations (or agitations) of the mind are resolved, can be achieved by practice (or discipline) and detachment (or letting go, described in the next section)”. Now discipline as used here is not “Go to the corner in time out!” or “Sorry can’t have that cause you were bad girl!”. Discipline here is resolving to do something with intention (be it reading a book, eating dinner, practicing piano) and  fully immersing yourself in the moment of whatever action you are doing.  I’ve been trying to be disciplined while reading this book. Clearing my mind and fully focusing on the words on the page and their meaning to my life. My favorite mantra from this section is “Discipline is quality, not quantity”.

Letting Go Practice

This section was one that really spoke to me. One that I think I need to embrace whole heartedly. It was mentioned to me before by a co-worked that I need to detach myself from the outcome of a situation (particularly the one of my not getting pregnant). I was a little offended because really isn’t the outcome EVERYTHING?? But, in Living Your Yoga, this message was explained yet again and I think this time I understand (although I’ve been struggling with putting it into practice!). Being detached is NOT being uninterested, it is the act of just living your life and remaining present even with all the crap that is going on around you. I need to give up my attachment to the way I think things should be so that I may be able to experience another perspective. The attachment then loses power over my life. I’m have a GREAT  life with or without a baby. I’m healthy, The Hubs is healthy, we’re financially stable, and life is pretty darn good. Acceptance is key. My favorite mantra from this section is “This is the perfect moment to let go.”

Self Judgement Practice

This section starts out with a quote from the Yoga Sutra (2:46)  which translated says “The posture should be steady and comfortable.” When I read this, I immediately thought of tree pose. This is one pose that I sometimes for the life of me can’t do. I can’t find my balance and am wobbling all around (definitely not steady and comfortable!) and then I proceed to judge myself for not being able to do something that in my head should be simple. But other times, when I’m not thinking so hard, I can balance for quite a while relishing in my strength and balance. One thing I realized I need to remember is that there is a difference from honestly admitting that you may not have done your best and self judgement. Self judgement is drawing a conclusion about how you performed in a situation. It is giving in to the negative self-talk. To speak to yourself softly and compassionately is to live in a comfortable way both internally and in the world.  Living fully there is no space for self-judgement.  There will always be difficulties in life, but my attitude and inner dialogue to these events CAN change! My favorite mantra from this section – “I am attempting something difficult, and I appreciate myself for trying.”

I’ll finish up the rest of Part 1 another day! Don’t want to get too heavy on a Friday, but have found writing this so helpful (especially after a rough day)! Hopefully it speaks to some of you, as well!

Do you practice any of these qualities in your daily life?

Kindle Reads – The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

3 Jan

Image Source: Amazon

I’m a new subscriber to the awesomeness that is Amazon Prime and one of the perks of the service (along with free 2 day shipping) is access to a large Kindle library online.Although it is in the early stages and is a bit hard to search through, I came across the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D. Chapman.

The book was an extremely easy read and quite interesting. It explained the five love languages in detail and how you can tell which one is yours and your spouse’s. It discussed how we need to speak in the proper language that makes our significant other feel love and fill their “love tank”. You may be expressing love in a way in which you partner really doesn’t understand which can cause distance and dissension in a marriage.

At first, I couldn’t tell which was my primary love language as I thought that multiple love languages applied to me, so I took the test in the back of the book. It turns out that I was right. My primary love language is “Words of Affection”, while I am bilingual in my secondary love languages of “Quality Time” and “Acts of Service”. These second two were a close second which is why I included them.

The Hubs’s love language is Acts of Service, followed by Physical Touch. I’m going to try to be more diligent in trying to show my love in his language. This could include spontaenously making a dinner I know he loves, helping him with projects outside (I’m adverse to getting dirty and bugs, so this would definitely show him love!), or giving him a back rub without being asked.

The Hubs and I have a happy marriage, but I think that armed with this information we can make it even better. I know that if we both make the effort to speak in the other’s love language that we will both so appreciate it and get the little butterfly feeling of first love for years down the road!

I would definitely recommend this book to others. It’s an easy read with lots of good information for couples and singles alike!

Have you read The Five Love Languages? If so, did you find it helpful?

What is your love language and that of your spouse?

Kindle Read – "One Day, All the Children…"

24 Sep

Image Source: Amazon

 
Although this book isn’t a Kindle Read, I still wanted to post a short review on it since I found it very interesting and inspirational.  I actually found this book on my company’s book exchange shelf. I probably never would have read it (or even know about it), had I not just happened upon it as I was perusing the books while my lunch was heating in the microwave.

It’s no secret that I LOVE school. Sometimes I still think that teaching might be in my future…

So I was really interested to hear how a recent college grad, Wendy Kopp, created one of the country’s largest teaching movements, Teach for America. I didn’t know much about Teach for America prior to reading the book and personally only know a couple of people who have been involved (including Kimberly Michelle).

I enjoyed reading about how Teach for America started and the struggles and triumphs of these young college grads in building a national non-profit core of teachers from the ground up. It was so inspiring to hear how Wendy and her team persevered through times when they almost couldn’t secure enough fundraising money to make payroll. They were all so committed to making sure that children in low-income areas received the same educational opportunities as children in more well-to-do areas that they weren’t going to be knocked down that easily!

I think my favorite chapter by far was one where Wendy traveled to different schools to see Teach for America teachers in action. By doing this, she was able to see what set some teachers apart and made them (and subsequently their students) more successful. She noticed that to be a good teacher, you needed to be a good leader. Someone who could set goals and motivate students and their parents to help him/her meet those goals. A teacher needs to work relentlessly to achieve the goals they have  set and constantly assess their effectiveness and improve their teaching techniques over time.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading inspirational book and who is interested in education.

Do you have any inspirational books (educational or not) that  you would recommend?

"Kindle Reads" – Pioneer Women – Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – A Love Story

8 Apr
Image Source: Bookswim

 
Everyone in the blogosphere is familiar with The Pioneer Women, also know as Ree Drummond. She has this amazing blog where she documents her life on her husband’s (aka Marlboro Man) cattle ranch. Also an amazing chef, she writes about all kinds of culinary deliciousness complete with step by step instructions and beautiful photographs.

I knew she had written a book, but it wasn’t until I saw that Nie Nie (a very inspirational blogger if you don’t already follow her) was reading it and loving it that I decided to download myself a copy.

This book, Pioneer Women – Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – A Love Story, is the story of her romance with Marlboro Man. I guess she had started documenting the story of their love on her blog (before I was a follower) and people loved it so much she ended up compiling the posts and some additional stories into this great book.

I love me a good love story and this sure is one of them. The best part is that it is TRUE! I love all the intricate details Ree remembers about her quick courtship with Marlboro Man and the funny stories she has to tell about her acclimating to life on the ranch. Let’s say hilarity ensues when she is require to take a cows temperature! hehe 🙂

I just finished this book recently and was sad to see it come to an end. I really wanted to know more about her life and love, but I guess I’ll just have to stay tuned for her blog for more of her love stories!

Anyone else read Black Heels or are you content just trolling The Pioneer Women for your daily dose of love story?

"Kindle Reads" – The Help

15 Feb

I had wanted to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett since probably September after I saw a couple of my SWE friends reading it while at a conference. I put it off as I finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and as I tried to read the first book in The Outlander series (which I still haven’t finished). I finally finished the book yesterday and REALLY enjoyed it.

It is a story told from the point of view of two African American maids during the Civil Rights movement and one young white woman who wants to try to understand their lives and make a difference. The relationship between these women is VERY complicated as they dance around the fact that there is obviously an inherent social hierarchy. You get to see both the good and the bad of people on both sides of the racial divide. It also not only deals with racial discrimination, but also womens’ rights and their place in society. Kathryn Stockett did an amazing job and allowing the reader to fall in love with the characters and feel for them during every triumph or heartbreak.

Did anyone else read The Help and love it as much as I did?