Expectations and Non-attachment

Few years ago I participated a 10-days Vipassana meditation course.
Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique brought from India, it was taught more than 2500 years ago in India. Vipassana means to see things as they really are, the technique teaches you, transform you with the help of self-observation.
What I remember most and took with me from this course was the deep interconnection between mind and body. The observation of our body to the molecular level, to the atoms that constantly changing, moving in our body, moment to moment, we are different every millisecond from inside and out.  

During the course you are not “allowed” to talk to anyone else, it is a retreat in silence. You are not supposed to do any activity with your body (any kind of sport), you are not even allowed to look at the people around you because the course is meant for a very deep self-observation without any distraction. You are, however, allowed and encouraged to ask questions (in particular times of the day) and refer them to your teacher who will help navigate you through the process.

I had only ONE question the whole time that really bothered me and did not align with my understanding.

How can you live your life without expectations? How can you live life just by floating from moment to moment, I mean OK, you live in the moment, but what about goals? Plans for the future?
I do wish to myself some kind of things in the future (you can call it goals, hopes, dreams, plans) – should I throw it all to the garbage bin and just live the moment?

My wise teacher had a wonderful answer – I carry it since then with me all the time.
It is about one of the Buddhist believes – Non Attachment.

There is a very important distinction between detachment and Non- attachment.
Non Attachment sounds negative, but it is not detachment, it is merely not being dependent on the results of your expectations.
 Sure, you can (and should) have aspirations in life, goals and plans. Sure you do need to plan your future to some extent. But you should also trust (the universe and yourself), the process, your being and karma. You should not react over dramatically if your plans have changed, altered or dismissed even.

Trust your-self, believe in your-self, gain the knowledge you want and need for your goals, gain experience, have failures and success, know your limits, know the market (the world) limits, know that it is a way – a path. You should react to everything that happens to you with the SAME reaction.
And then you can always start again, try again, change. Whatever fits. Live the moment – moment after moment. React to these moments with the same stability of mind.
No attachment is being non-attached to the result, be it bad or good. It teaches the EGO humbleness, it teaches us acceptance and these are all great tools for life.

Wouldn’t you want to be that person that reacts calm to every situation? We are not robots and of course emotions are always going to surface, but even after all that is happening to you, you can still come back to calmness. And keep on moving forward with ease.

You should and can have expectations, but do not get attached to the results.

**   If the atoms in our body keep change, if our cells are constantly being regenerated - why can’t we?
I think these are fabulous news for us – the ability to change every moment and the ability to accept every new moment is empowering and giving us a lot of freedom.
Here is a link that explains a bit this phenomena https://goo.gl/G58UMC 

Yoga Blog Amsterdam



Is Yoga good for gaining strength and losing weight?

Yoga might be perceived as a very cool, relaxed kind of Sport. The kind that you don’t sweat a lot during. Obviously I am talking about Traditional Hatha Vinyasa flow, not all the hot/ Bikram modern styles nowadays. Although sweat should never be your criteria to a healthy effective sport as all of us have different systems and sweat differently from each other. 

There are new types of Yoga today that resemble more other sports or the Gym. For example Buti Yoga, Yoga with weights, Cross Yoga, Hot yoga etc.
When we speak about the traditional (Hatha or Ashtanga) Yoga we usually see a lesson that include meditation and breathing techniques in it, poses (Asana) and restorative poses in between and at the end (Savasana).
So, if you are the type of person that feel more connected to this kind of Yoga, you probably ask yourself, is it possible to even lose weight with this practice? Is it possible to gain muscle strength?

The answer is yes. And no :)
I mean, it depend on what your goals are.

Yoga definitely strengthen our body (and mind). If you practice yoga routinely, your muscles and body will become stronger. Many poses and sequences in yoga are built for that. The flow between the poses, together with the breath, together with staying in poses for long periods - contribute to the skeletal and muscular systems tremendously, creating space, oxygenated blood and fluids transitions, activating, stretching, contracting the muscles, joints and internal organs of the body. It also works on intrinsic muscles, those that in general sport activity are not receving enough attetion. 

So, health wise & strength wise – Yoga is a good tool.

If you are interested in losing weight also, Yoga alone might not be the solution, however it will attribute a lot to your metabolism, digestive and nervous systems. Practicing yoga will contribute to your process of losing weight. It can be added as complementary practice to running / cycling or other activities that you aim for aerobic and cardio.   

Of course all of this, goes without saying, must be accompanied with a healthy balanced diet.

With all that said, there is also a way to use only Yoga as a tool for losing weight and gaining strength: Yoga with weights, resistance bands, kettle-bell workouts, Yoga combined with Pilates repetitions, Buti Yoga and all kind of Hot / power Yoga, practiced more than twice a week – will show results quickly. Even without adding any other sport to your practice.



Hero pose & Variations

Hero pose is also one of the great sitting postures that has many fun variations.

It starts with sitting comfortably with your sit bones on your heels.
If already there you feel pressure, place a bolster/folded blanket/pillow between your heels and buttocks. With time and practice, you will feel comfortable enough here and then can continue to hero pose. 
Spread some distance between the legs and sit in the middle, sit bones on the mat or on a block – this is Hero pose.
Sit with straight back, gaze forward, hands resting on your legs.

When you feel comfortable enough sitting here, you can also reach the arms to the sides and up for some stretches. You can bind them behind your back.

You can bring heels up and stay on your toes for an energizing massage to your feet.  

Hero pose Yoga Amsterdam

You can come laying on your back on a mat or a bolster. I used folded blanket and a pillow. 

You can reach your arms to stretch above your head while in the pose.

You can add some core action, lifting yourself to the elbows

There you have it, some nice variations to Hero pose. Only come to this pose after a thorough warm up. Be gentle with your knees, make the mat thicker by adding another one on top or folding it for the knees area. 
Have fun practicing :)

Replace fear with Love Part II

The fear of people judging or criticizing you, is a work on the ego of course but it is also about exchanging fear with love.
What do I mean? When we work with emotions, we work with the opposites. For example if we want to work on our insecurities, we will flush our subconscious with the opposite, with security. We will strengthen security in ourselves through therapy. So when we think about opposites, the opposite of Low self-esteem will be – worthiness, believing in ourselves. The opposite of Shyness is confidence. The opposite of Anxiety is safety, the opposite of depression is happiness, joy. The opposite of fear is love.

If I want to work on my fear from people I should turn it into love. I should look at people from a loving point of view. I should approach every new encounter with love, without prejudice, without judging.
I should accept and love myself. I should love people and be compassionate (it also feels good).
I should accept rejection, once it occurs. This is for me the meaning of acting from love and eliminating fear.

Let’s translate it to an example:
Social anxiety, which is fear from any new person we meet, If it is for the first time, if it is a stranger, a colleague; people who have social anxiety are basically afraid of human interactions in general.
So why not overcome this fear with love. Once you act from love and with love, fear has no space to exist, they work on opposite energy vibration.
Loving yourself (and the other) in the next social situation can bring you calmness and ease, no matter what will happen.

Let’s break it into details:
Don’t judge yourself so severely, love yourself instead. Love your-self in your lowest moments!
Give yourself compassion and support even (especially) when you feel down.
If you repeat the same patterns that lead you to wrong results. If you are disappointed from how you acted in a situation. If you feel down from the talk you just had at work with your boss.
Love and accept yourself! Be there for you in the harsh moments.
Next time you are going to talk with your boss, come from love, not from fear.
Think about all the things you love (admire, respect) in your boss, as a person and as a professional colleague. Think about all the things you love in your-self, and at your work.
Don’t come to the meeting from fear or making yourself smaller, Come to the meeting with self-love and love for the others.

Direct love to the people you meet, and to yourself, fear won’t be there anymore.
The first part of this post was about action curing fear, this part is about love. When you combine them together - you can act from love

*This paragraph is from https://goo.gl/Q3QQMV

Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, argued that we all have certain traits that we hide. From the time were little we realized that this was necessary if we wanted to be accepted.
 The set of features that we do not accept in ourselves is like a shadow that emerges at some point in our lives. Next to “the shadow”, we develop what Freud called “the ideal ego”, which is a self that we created to fit our environment and not be rejected.
The rejection of the shadow causes many problems because when we do not accept ourselves out of fear, we do not love ourselves. Fear is the opposite of love.
What would you do if you were not afraid to accept yourself, recognize yourself, or be rejected? You’d be free and would enjoy the love you have for yourself and others.


Replace fear with Love Part I

I received this to my email few days ago from Marc and Angle (www.marcandangel.com)
Signs for a wake-up call:

·  If your life is on auto-pilot, this is your wake-up call.
·  If you never put yourself first, this is your wake-up call.
·  If you've become someone you don't recognize to please other people or to chase some
    version of success that doesn't resonate with you, this is your wake-up call.
·  If you are constantly numbing out with food, shopping, booze, TV, or other distractions, this
    is your wake-up call.
·  If you are worn down, beat up, stressed out, and completely depleted, this is your wake-up

Getting a wake-up call is easy, answering the call demand some work. You don’t want to wait until things are too severe to fix. It leads to poor health in many levels.
When you want to change a behavior that causes you problems, you need to try and change it – see if it works. I mean try as give your-self assignments and homework.

The first step is to study this behavior, where is it coming from, what does it serve? The next step is to change and see if it serves you better.

One of my limiting believes and behaviors were – avoiding confrontations.
Not telling someone in his face what I really want to say.
I wanted to work on the way I see other people, not to be afraid of them. I wanted to stop obsessively think that everybody must like me!
I wanted to act as myself – no matter if the person next to me does not agree with what I think.
Trying to be OK with everybody, trying to make everyone around me happy and satisfied with me; I have become someone I didn’t recognize to please other people.

This behavior was hurting me, although it came from good intentions (our behaviors result from a higher good intention):
my negotiator character want everyone to get along. My ego want to be liked by everybody. My pacifism and non-competency part does not want fights and arguments.

Sometimes however, confrontations are needed.

So I decided to change my behavior and try say more what I really want to say. Tried to be MORE myself. Tried to let the real me shine. If people will not like the real me, or reject it – I cannot take it upon myself.
It is impossible to be liked by everyone. When you meet a group of people, 1/3 of them will like you, 1/3 won’t and 1/3 won’t care.

Besides, if behavior did not serve me good until now – let’s find out if different behavior can.
A matter of trying and actively changing, instead of keep on pondering.
I gave myself assignment, homework to see if I can confront people when needed.
I also used communication skills, ones that will make everybody feel comfort without compromising who you really are. If the higher good intention is to make a confrontation less harsh, we can achieve it with other type of behavior, not necessarily an avoiding one. 

I found it very relieving after this experiment. I decided I don’t want to go back to my old habits.
Authenticity really sets you free.

There are 2 ways to overcome fears, action, and love. Tomorrow read about the second part of this therapy journey, how to replace fear with love.