Self-Compassion

30 Aug

By Linda Scholten

self_compassionAs humans, we are perfectly imperfect. Yet so many of us expect perfection of ourselves and others, even if we don’t call it that. After all, we’re far too evolved to expect something like perfection of ourselves or others. Too perfect to be perfect?

Striving for what is ideal or best at whatever is important to you (health, appearance, relationship, career, finances, fitness, spiritual practice) can be just another form of perfectionism. And when we (or others) fall short of our expectations or ideals, there can be disappointment, frustration, a feeling of letting ourselves down. So often we self-sabotage, rebel against these high expectations and ideals. Many times we give up. Or re-double our efforts and perhaps sabotage ourselves again.   If I say I’m going to eat healthy, why do I go for the chocolate cake?   I have a great yoga session or workout, I worked and sweated my ass off and then I have a hamburger and fries. I say I am going to get some important work done – something I really want to do, and I find myself watching TV, reading a book, looking at Facebook. These are my own confessions – what are your versions of this?

I did some research on New Year’s (NY) resolutions. 62% of Americans either make usual or infrequent NY resolutions. 8% are successful in achieving their NY resolution and 24% completely fail. I pretty much expected this, but here is where the stats get interesting: 49% achieve partial success. AND, people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t.

So I shoot for the stars and hit the moon. In doing so, have I succeeded or failed? It is a matter of perspective.

So what does all of this have to do with self-compassion? I’m getting there, I promise.

We humans are complex – we have many levels – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual is one way to look at this. The part of ourselves that makes a goal, a commitment, a resolution is often the mental part. The part of us that makes the commitment is not the part of us that breaks it. That would usually be the emotional part. Studies of the brain show these many facets are housed in different parts of the brain, but that is a whole other discussion – here, I am making it simplistic enough for me to be able to talk about it.

So I make my plans, goals, resolutions with the mental part of my self. The emotional part of my self has its own needs, wishes and desires, so too, with the physical part of course. The higher part of my self – I’ll call it my Self (with a capital S) the spirit or soul (use whatever word you choose), observes, accepts, has compassion, vision, love. This is where I can have patience and loving kindness for my self – this is where I have self-compassion. This is the still quiet voice. I can access this part of my Self when I turn my attention there and observe the part of me that is the observer.

Compassion for my self is no more and no less important than compassion for others. One cannot truly exist without the other. Buddhism teaches this. The Buddhist compassion meditation includes compassion for self.

Compassion for self is not to be confused with self-indulgence or self-esteem. Compassion deals with what is. No stories, excuses, promises needed or accepted. With self-compassion I have grace, acceptance, forgiveness of what is and what is not. It is all good. All is well. It is what it is.

Applying grace in goals, resolutions, commitments, promises is perhaps the way my self can grasp this. Accepting good enough instead of perfect. Having patience with, and accepting my self when I hit 70%, 80%, 90% instead of 100%.

Shoot for the moon and reach the stars. Or shoot for the stars and reach the moon. Strive – you’re 10 times more likely to get there, than if you don’t. Just remember the gifts from the Self: Love, compassion, acceptance.   From Desiderata: “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here”. Just as you are. Perfectly imperfect.

Trans…Formation

16 Aug

By Linda Scholten

Trans is a big thing these days!!! In the news we hear about trans-gender and trans-racial. There’s a great show on Amazon called Trans-parent. In personal development, we have trans-scend, trans-formation, trans-ition…

13408admiral_butterfly

I love looking words up in the dictionary – there is often a deeper meaning to words than our common use of the word. So I looked up trans, and there were 4 definitions. When I strung them together, here is what came up for Trans: “on or to the other side of: across or beyond; through: so as to change in form or position” I am writing here about the type of trans that I am most excited about: Trans-formation!

What is transformation, really? “A complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form, etc.” There are many versions of a saying that makes me think of transformation – I liked this one by Jessica Savitch: “I worked half my life to be an overnight success, and still it took me by surprise.” Transformation is like that. We move across, go beyond, go through – so as to achieve that complete or major change in our form. This moving through, going beyond and going across, is the work of transformation.

We’ve all seen the before and after pictures of people who have had a major weight loss. I don’t know about you, but I have fallen for the quick fix. I want the after – now! There are multi-billion dollar industries built around the lure of “after”, the quick fix. I remember watching Oprah one day, and she was talking about her weight and health. She said something like – I have money – if there was a quick fix, I’d have bought it. There is no quick fix to transformation. If you are practicing yoga, following a food plan, meditating, or any other form of discipline, you know this.

The formula for transformation is simple (which is not to say easy)!

Where do you start? Where you are right now! Own it! There is no “wrong” place to start if it is truly where you are. This is your unique point of origin. The caterpillar doesn’t become a butterfly by denying that it is a caterpillar right now. The potential, the possibility of butterfly absolutely exists in the caterpillar. But he’s got a few things to go through, across, beyond, to get there. Let’s call this point of origin “A”.

Where do you want to be? What is your vision for where you want to be? This is your point of destination. The more specific and richly you envision this, the more compelled you will be to get there. Let’s call this point of destination “B”.

Now for the good stuff. As a coach, this is the action I live for: getting from A to B. This is the journey, the getting through, across, and beyond. This is the stuff of transformation. Let’s call this process “C”.

Here is how I’ve seen it drawn up:

A -> ___________________ -> B

C

See, I told you it is simple! This diagram illustrates transformation, and it also illustrates the process of coaching. “C” also stands for the coaching that supports you in getting from A to B.

You want the best shot at transformation? Get a life coach. A coach supports people in their transformation, on their journey. Coaching accelerates the process, deepens awareness, self-knowledge, and strengthens the connection to transformation. Having a coach is having a team. You think Oprah, Olympic athletes and the other greats, get there all by themselves? The more support we have the more likely we are to create where we want to be.

Remember to celebrate and reward yourself along the way. Every step is a step forward. Even if it feels like a step back, or you feel stuck and need to overcome a challenge or obstacle, or you’re in the muck of transformation and can’t see the end goal (think of the chrysalis stage between caterpillar and butterfly). These are all part of the journey of transformation.

Here’s some final great advice on transformation from Dory (from Finding Nemo): “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming”!

Linda Scholten’s Biography

Linda’s purpose and passion as a professional coach is to inspire, motivate and partner with clients to open up to their possibility and greatness– to live their lives with purpose, intention, and passion – to achieve their potential, experience transformation, and create the life of their dreams. Linda owns and operates Integrity Coaching Unlimited (ICU), and is a mentor coach at Accomplishment Coaching, “the world’s coach finest training program”. She brings powerful insight and keen intuition, humor, calm, compassion, integrity, strength, focus and loyalty to each of her clients. Clients often choose coaching to work on areas such as career, health, wellness, relationships, family, dealing with life’s challenges, burn-out, navigating transitions, etc. She supports clients in creating their vision, examining their beliefs, looking at what is currently working in their lives, what is holding them back, and champions them to create the life of which they’ve dreamed, in harmony with their values, passion and purpose.
Linda brings to her coaching, a background of over 30 years of experience in counseling, and has a BA in Psychology, and MA in Counseling. She has worked as Coach, Counselor, Supervisor, Clinical Director, Manager and Business Owner. She has a strong value in serving humanity, has facilitated self-awareness seminars for 15 years, writes articles on self-awareness and personal growth, and is committed to creating peace in the world, and in ourselves. To discuss coaching or to schedule a complimentary sample session, contact Linda at 360-836-9004 or email her at: Linda.Scholten@AccomplishmentCoaching.com

Bikram Yoga AZ’s Rev Up Workshops: Levels of Love

19 Feb

Love is a universal magnetic energy.  In the English language we have just one word for love.  When I say, “I love you”, you don’t know if I love you like I love chocolate, if I am IN love with you, or I love you like family.  There are many different levels and types of love that exist.Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

The Greek language distinguishes at least four different ways as to how the word love is used. The ancient Greek words for love are: éros, storgē, philía, and agape.

  • Éros (ἔρως érōs) refers to love, mostly of the sexual passion. The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.”
  • Storge (στοργή storgē) means love, affection and especially of parents and children. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant.
  • Philia (φιλία philía) refers to brotherly love. It is an affectionate friendship usually between equals. Like Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. It is a bond that is cultivated.
  • Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) refers to unconditional love. Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character.  My teacher George Addair distinguished it as the ability to love the unlovable, give to the undeserving, and forgive the unforgivable. Agape love is peaceful, it is content, it is not possessive, it does not seek rewards and it is not seeking to be loved… it is seeking to GIVE love.

All the levels of love that exist are necessary and appropriate in their realm. Eros love keeps the human race alive by sparking chemistry and desire so that we continue to propagate the human race. Storge and Philia impact our relationships and help us to create bonds with one another. Agape love is universal, without conditions, often referred to as divine love.

Seeking love comes from a hunger to be loved. It often comes from a feeling of emptiness or inadequacy. The desire to give love comes from a place of adequacy, affirmation, and love fullness. Agape love is motivated by an attitude of “what can I give” instead of “what can I get”. I think of Agape love like sunshine. It gives without thought of return, equally to everyone.

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.” ~Rumi.

Agape love comes from fullness. When you have your ‘love tank’ full, when your needs are met, when you are taking care of your physical needs, when you have an attitude of gratitude in your life, when there is time for calm reflection, enough sleep and exercise to recharge your batteries then you have access to love. When you seek for love outside of yourself in hopes of it filling your tank it becomes dependent, demanding and possessive.

“True love has no objective and no demands. It is a condition of love fullness that flows like rain and falls on everything without judgment. True love allows everything to fulfill itself in its own way. It has no need to control others or to withhold itself.” -George Addair

When we love from a place of fullness it becomes sharable and highly contagious. It isn’t limited to romantic or family relationships. We can smile at a stranger with pure love and start a ripple effect of goodness into the world. I believe that we are connected as human beings.  Your well-being affects the people around you and then they affect the people around them and this goes on and on.  One random act of kindness can change the course of someone’s whole day.

Our greatest desire is to love and to be loved. Whatever it is that we want in our lives we have to first become a match for it. We have to be willing to give away the very thing that we want. If you want love in your life you must be willing to give love and to give first. To give agape love would be to give without conditions expecting nothing back in return.

Agape love is pure and perfect in nature. We are human, so we will fall short of this from time to time, but we can try. Conscious acts of Kindness and Secret Acts of Service can start to bring the practice of Agape Love into our lives. When you give…sometimes give in secret. When you practice this there will be no external recognition, no one to tell you good job, no one to say thank you, but you will have given for the pure joy of giving. Make it a habit to make another persons day everyday. In the morning you can think, “who’s day can I make to today?” “How can I make that persons day?” And then do it. In the happiness advantage they showed studies of people who do conscious acts of kindness for 21 days in a row become happier. These people were able to decrease stress levels and enhance mental health. To get the most benefit, acts of kindness should be deliberate and conscious.

We are programed to think there is not enough, there is a lack, there is scarcity and we have to get our share in order to survive. But this is an illusion of human animal. When we come from human spirit we realize that like a candle… we lose nothing by lighting another candle. It cost us nothing to love. Each act, each thought, each encounter creates a chain reaction in our world. When you create conscious kindness and conscious love it spreads through the world like wildfire. What better way to Change the World?

In theory it sounds good that love doesn’t cost us, but many of us have been hurt in love and have fear and sadness around loving again. Sign up for our next Rev Up Workshop on February 16th when we talk about barriers to love and how to overcome them. Looking forward to another workshop with you. — ND

Bikram Yoga Az’s Rev-Up Workshop: Let Nothing Steal Your Peace Away

5 Dec

By Nicole Deacon

My favorite season is the fall. I love when the leaves turn colors (sometimes have to travel to see it) and the weather starts to get the way I like it! It becomes perfect for nights on the patio, afternoon bike rides, and hiking. Summer ends…fall begins… and then we do it again the next year. We accept that there are seasons in the weather…but there are also seasons in our life. Everything has an ebb and a flow. In some ways both are similar to transitioning from one yoga pose to another. We all have moments of joy and clarity and moments of sorrow and fear.   We have new love come into our lives and loved ones we cherish leave our lives. This is life…seasons.unnamed-2

Bikram Yoga helps us to stay calm, peaceful, and joyful no matter what season of life we are in. It is easy to be peaceful in a happy situation… yoga practice teaches us to remain calm among the storms of our life as one stays composed during a yoga pose. We start to accept things as they are, instead of as we wish them to be.   We learn to control and direct our minds to create the experiences we want. Consistent yoga practice disciplines us to balance how things are and how we want them to be. We do not always have control over the events that happen to us (the weather, parents passing, wars, traffic, etc) but we do have control over how we experience them. We can train our mind to find the value, and to appreciate each moment that comes to us for what it is.  If we can remember Rollo May:

“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness. “

Yoga class is ultimately about self-awareness and self-realization. Bikram yoga helps us to be conscious of our breathing and more aware of ourselves. Yoga poses challenge us… in a hot, stinky, difficult position… can you breathe? can you find peace… and can you find joy?

It is through continued yoga practice; putting ourselves in a challenging environment that we get better and better at finding peace no matter what is happening around us. Through yoga, we eventually reach that point of bliss where nothing…no one… can steal our peace away.

 

Student Spotlight: Christina

25 Jun

Our June Student of the Month is Christina Mackenzie, also known as C-Mack! She is a smiling, happy face around both studios and we love her story about her first class experience! “A friend introduced me to the yoga. Like most people, I hated my first class. I went up to the front desk immediately afterwards and asked if they offered a non-heated yoga class, or one that did not last 90 minutes. Receiving a “no” answer to both questions, I was frustrated because I had already purchased a 30-day package. I walked to the grocery store next door and bought a ginormous bag of gummy bears.  I sat in front of the store in my sweat-drenched clothes and ate the whole thing. About mid-bag I started to notice how amazing I felt, and I knew it wasn’t because of the gummy bears. I went back a few days later and have been hooked ever since.”C-Mack

She has been consistently practicing 5-7 days a week since completing the 60-day challenge in February of 2012. “It’s the only exercise I’ve been able to stay consistent with. I’ve done spin, pilates, boot camp, and just about every fitness “groupon” deal out there. Every Bikram class is a great workout, but there are so many other benefits too. Every aspect of my life has improved since I started practicing Bikram Yoga. For one, my diet has improved. No longer do I binge on bags of candy and overall my appetite is more controlled. I choose healthier foods. I lost 25 pounds after doing the 60-day challenge in 2012 and have kept it off. I am never sick and generally feel good all of the time. I can’t remember the last time I had a cold or the flu. Even a headache is rare for me. I was always worried about my weight, diet and exercise. I was constantly thinking, ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that’ or ‘I need to go to the gym.’ The yoga has established routine and order in my life. I don’t really worry about those things anymore. I just go to yoga every day.”

Christina’s favorite posture is Standing Head to Knee!! “When I first started, I could barely hold my foot and never dreamed I’d be able to “kick out.” Now I can kick out and touch my forehead to my knee…and sometimes even hold it there for more than a few seconds! I am constantly working to improve this and every other posture.” While she is improving her postures, she has also noticed some more mental and emotional benefits from the practice. “I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had any injuries. However, I suffered from anxiety and mild depression in the past and was on medication for several years. Since practicing Bikram Yoga regularly, I no longer need any medication. I am naturally more relaxed, calm and happy.”

Her advice for new students: Give the yoga a chance. Eventually you will forget about the heat, and maybe even start to like it. You will get better at the postures and experience so many benefits doing it! Bikram Yoga really will “change your world.

Top 5 Thoughts That Pop Into My Head During Class.

1 – He (she) is holding triangle way too long.

2 – Please turn the fan on.

3 – No, don’t turn the fan off!

4 – Is she walking towards the door?  Is she opening the door? YES!

5 – (At the end of class) Man, that was awesome. I love this yoga!

Top 5 Herbs to Support Bikram Yoga Practice

11 Jun

Processed with MoldivBy Nikki Starr, aka “Starr”

These are my top 5 herbs to support my Bikram Yoga practice. When I use them, I use them consistently for a period of time in order to supplement my practice; however, I do not use them on a constant, month-to-month basis (except for Coconut Oil, which I do use everyday, often a few times a day for skincare, haircare, and also for cooking). I cycle them in and out of my routine depending on where my body is at and what it needs.

Before Class:

Ashwagandha

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), or “Indian Ginseng” is one of the world’s most potent adaptogens
  • Helps the body adapt to and increase resistance to physiological and psychological stress
  • Powerful rejuvenative, promoting strength and vitality
  • Ashwagandha can be both calming and energizing, depending on your body’s needs
  • Normalizes Energy & Mood, relaxing the mind and rejuvenating the body
  • Helps repair depleted adrenal glands (damaged by coffee, alcohol, nicotine, stress, etc.)
  • Promotes healthy Immune system & Stress Response
  • The literal translation of Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “One who possesses the strength of a horse”

Rhodiola Rosea Extract

  •  Helps people deal with physical stresses.
  • Rhodiola appears to augment physical and mental work aptitude and productivity.
  • It strengthens the nervous system, immunity, exercise capacity, energy levels, memorization, mood, and may even lengthen lifespan.

Tumeric

  • Antioxidant activity in Curcumin defends against free radicals
  • Natural inflammation response, promoting healthy joint movement
  • Curcuminoids and Turmerones assist in defending against free radicals
  • Maintains healthy, younger looking skin
  • Supports cardiovascular and liver health
  • Cleanses the blood, strengthens digestion, and eliminates toxins

 Triphala

  • Supports healthy weight loss
  • Nature’s best detox and purifier
  • Triphala helps maintain a healthy digestive tract
  • Powerful herbal antioxidant – Rich in natural Vitamin C
  • Improves digestion, elimination and assimilation of nutrients
  • Cleanses, nourishes, and strengthens the entire body
  • Balance and tone all systems
  • Tri-Doshic – good for all bodily constitutions
  • Considered one of the most important of all herbal formulations in the Ayurvedic system of health

After Class:

 Non-GMO Cold-pressed Coconut Oil

  • 100% Certified Organic, Cold-pressed Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Natural Source of Energy
  • Excellent skin moisturizer
  • Stable & Healthy Saturated Fat
  • A Deliciously Healthy Cooking Oil
  • Nature’s Ideal High Temperature Cooking Oil
  • Rich in Lauric Acid
  • Cruelty Free, Dairy, Gluten, Wheat & Soy Free

These may work for you or they may not. I do not take them all at the same time. I do not have any official herbal training (please consult your specialist to see if these are right for you). It is up to you to take from this list of supportive herbs what you will and try them as you wish. Enjoy!

“Life is Like Coffee” Movie

4 Jun

Do you know people that just seem to be happier in general? Do you say to yourself, “I want to be more like them”? Often, the happiest people in the world dont have the best of everything…they just make the best of everything!

Click the link below and enjoy this short video about how “Life is like Coffee”… and make the best of everything today!

Life is like Coffee Movie

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