Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Knowing Your Truth

One of the themes that we discuss in all yoga trainings, workshops and practices is knowing your truth. And the biggest question that I am always asked is, "how do I know my truth."

What a very good and difficult question to answer. Each time someone asks me this I ask myself if I really know my own truth? How do I define my truth? And am I living in my truth? And in the vein of truthfulness, I must confess that I often get mixed results with the answers.

The problem with knowing our truth is that it is clouded by ego and illusion. First of all: the ego. It is defined by its separateness from Oneness. It creates our identity of singularity and the whole "I, Me, Mine" thinking. There are times in our life - as in life threatening situations - when the ego has been good for us. We needed it for survival and safety. But there are many other times when it simply gets in the way of our Understanding. Coming from ego is a very small way of thinking and being. And in a big way it often causes us many problems.

Next: Illusion. This is the demon of the 6th Chakra (third-eye). When the 3rd-eye center is closed, what we see is out of using the two physical eyes of through the ego's view. It is not based in truth because we aren't looking at the full scope of the situation. It is mired in incomplete data and therefore cannot ever show us the truth.

So what are we to do in our quest for finding our truth?

One way is by learning what is NOT true. The old method of kissing a lot of frogs before you find your prince is one way. This is a difficult method and often full of strife and drama. Its the usual method that most people begin their life with. But certainly not the methodology that one would want to continue using throughout adulthood.

Another method is by learning to connect to the body and know what FEELS either right or wrong. The saying, "I had a gut feeling," is true. THE BODY NEVER LIES. The 3rd Chakra is located in the solar plexus (abdomen) and is open when we are in balance with our ego-state. This means that we have managed to determine the difference between when we need to stand in our ego and when to let it go and honor Oneness. It is a very tricky place to be because the ego is like a strong spice: a little goes a long way, and before you know it, you've ruined the broth with too much. But if you can focus on the sensations in the gut when something arises, then with mindfulness and openness you can learn to know when something feels wrong or right. Usually knowing when something feels wrong comes first with sensations of nausea or queasiness or general unease. Then over time, you begin to identify with the lightness of the right things.

Flow is another measure of truth. You know, when you are trying so hard to make something work, but it just keeps hitting one bump after another? So, this is the absence of flow. Things are not moving naturally, but rather they are stuck or stagnated. No flow means the person, place or situation is not aligning with your greater truth. Once we can move this issue out or change it in a more positive way, then things start flowing again. And that's when you know you are back in your truth.

For many years I wondered if I was really in my truth. Some times things went well - or at least for some time. But then something would happen and things would stall, fail or worse, move backwards! And even though I try to remain positive, grounded and move from a good place - a place of love - things don't always run smoothly. In those times when I ask if I am in my truth, I sometimes encounter confusion and hesitation. My first thought is to check and see if Mercury (my ruling planet and the planet responsible for aligning the energies of communication) is in retrograde. If yes, then I blame it on that. If no, then I am forced with looking at myself. And even if it is yes, when Mercury goes direct and things still aren't aligning then guess what? Yup, back to taking personal accountability.

I have been quite fortunate recently to have encountered certain people and places that have helped me reaffirm my truth. Certain synchronistic events, happenings, and energies simply cannot be ignored for they are bigger than I. I love teaching yoga, but most of all I love helping people. Helping them feel better mentally and physically and also helping them find their light and their truth. If true yoga is self-awareness and yoking or joining together the ego with One-Consciousness, then it certainly aligns with my path and truth. But even yoga is full of rules or paths. And I can honestly say that as soon as I am told that something has to be done this way or that way, - even in order to achieve liberation and bliss - I immediately feel that gut-wrenching truth of illusion. Yes, absolutely, yoga can assist you in finding your truth. But as soon as someone tells you that there is only one true way, then you can be sure it is full of ego and illusion and has the potential to take you away instead of towards your truth. ..that is, unless that way aligns with your truth!

My step daughter recently told my husband and I that we are problem solvers. Yes! I love to put the pieces of puzzles together. In my life I have gathered pieces from everywhere: a dash of this, a sprinkle of that, and a little hocus-pocus too. Just like any nurturing concoction, I continue to gather the pieces of my own puzzle and let them marinate together. And what I am finding is that my puzzle is our puzzle. The truth behind each and every one of us is that we are limited in human form. We will only ever know the pieces. But we can conceptualize the wholeness and vastness of Reality. Many people are talking about it. Since the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, the rise of the Age of Aquarius, the awareness of the 11:11 Energies, and more, more and more people are opening up to the energies of Consciousness/Wholeness. And it is through those doorways that we will encounter our truth.

So what to do for now? For now, continue to listen to your body's wisdom and know when the ego is firing out of turn. Catch a situation that is not flowing and with courage and honesty, move the blocks that impede the flow out of the way. Slow down and start learning more about these new energies and how to unlock our truth. I'm still learning myself, but I am here to guide others. And I'll give you one simple key: at any given moment, time or situation, ask yourself when you are reacting if it is coming from a place of LOVE or FEAR. Guess what? LOVE is the path to truth. If it's not coming from that place, then it's wrong. And if it's wrong, then you can redirect the energy with mindfulness.

In Love, Service & Wisdom.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September's Theme: " LEARN"

The month of September brings teachers back to teaching and children back to learning as schools reopen for a new school year. So our theme for September is "LEARN."

We should never stop learning. The only way we continue to grow as human beings is to learn new things. Whether you read a new book, take a course on a subject, immerse yourself into a lifestyle or learn from making mistakes, it's all a part of this process.

Since September is also National Yoga Month, maybe you can immerse yourself into a fresh yoga practice with a new perspective. When on the mat, we encourage you to try new things. Perhaps you engage different muscles while in a posture, and learn how that feels. Maybe you'll go back to a beginner mindset and take gentler classes and learn to let go and relax. In fact, one of the biggest and most important things to try and accomplish on the mat is that beginner's mindset - to let go of all that you think you know and be open to learning. The more "stuff" you hold on to, the less room you have for anything new to come in anyway.

So, for those returning to the school system for a new year of education, we say, "have a wonderful school year!" And to those who are not, seek another way to learn something new. And on our part, we will continue to teach you new aspects of yoga throughout the classes at One Yoga Center.

In Love & Light.
OYC Founder, Tracey L. Ulshafer & your OYC Teaching Staff

When I sit down to write the monthly newsletter I pull an "OM" card which has one word on it for our theme. I made the cards myself, which gives them more energy and intuition. So, when I sat down to write for September and "Learn" came up, it was another continued validation of these energies.

Of course it makes sense that September is about learning - it's when schools reopen. In my mind, September begins a new year. It feels more appropriate to me than January ever did, but that's probably because most of us grew up going back to school then and everything changes in a big way. This year marks my 30th High School reunion, if you can believe it! Wow, the time flown by!

I never really enjoyed learning in high school or college. I was an average student who didn't try really hard either. I just did what I had to to get by. Now as an adult, I crave learning new things. I am currently enrolled in an online program by Sanskrit scholar Christopher Tompkins on the Tantric Origins of Hatha Yoga, and finding some new and exciting information that I will soon be able to share with my students. Once I found something I was truly interested and excited about, then learning became less of a chore and more of a wonderful gift to give myself. I admit, I do not always have an open amount of time to dedicate to learning something, but I try to do something for my education once a year - whether it is taking other yoga classes or workshops, traveling somewhere new or learning something online.  

When we stop learning - we stop growing as human beings. I, for one, do not want to let that happen to me. So, cheers to continued learning - even for old folks like me.

In Love, Service & Wisdom.
Tracey L. Ulshafer,
Founder/Director, One Yoga Center