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Blog of the Month

FOR (Frame of Reference) (August 2019)


Millennium Yoga All of us have some internal frame of reference. This frame of reference is closely linked to our culture, country of origin, upbringing, education, religious beliefs, thought patterns, genetic and some other factors that we are sometimes totally unaware of.

The idea behind writing about FOR is to look for a frame of reference which is different from ours. Hopefully visiting that frame of reference may result in heightened awareness and increased understanding.
***
“I hate when he/she buys stuff and doesn’t use it”. I often come across this complaint about spouse or children from some of my clients - especially women.

Each person derives pleasure and happiness differently. Acquiring and owning the stuff makes people happy. Maybe they feel increased self-esteem or a sense of achievement linked to owning. Sometimes the actual use of the thing becomes unimportant. Owning itself becomes a purpose and not its use.

People have different objects of attraction. For some these objects are cars, houses, shoes, clothes, toys, games, the latest electronic gadget and the list goes on and on. Certain gadgets are meant for occasional use only and so people are totally fine with owning them and using them rarely.

I fall in a group whose members feel guilty if they have stuff that they don’t use. Unused stuff sitting on the shelves is a big toleration to me, and I look for opportunity to give it away clearing the space (and the associated guilt).

But what about the stuff I don’t see physically?

If I extend the “stuff” to services or software, or the digital data I am holding then I am not what I think I am.

In this digital world the stuff need not be only physical. I sometimes download or buy some software on impulse to try it out but don’t even start it. Currently I know 1 service that I am subscribed to and not using it anymore. Every time I decide to stop it, I think that I “should” use it but never actually do. How different is this than buying and not using the stuff?

Today when my phone warned me to clear the space, I realized how much “stuff” I collected on it without being aware of. Pictures and audio files on my phone are the 2 things that need monitoring.

This is a different FOR for me. Have realized that when it comes to clutter- (as I define it) then I am also a big contributor to it only differently.

Links to previously-written blogs in July.
August 2018: Living Plant In Action
August 2017: Lesson from Mother Nature
August 2016: 8-Are you ready to take mini vacation right Away
August 2015: Am I There Yet?
August 2014: Best Wishes On My Car's Milestone 10th B'day
August 2013: Listening Experiment

No Communication Is A Form of Communication! (July 2019)


Millennium Yoga Masiha got very emotional when she brought in the communication issue to the table during our recent meeting.
Masiha is an overly sensitive girl and it has been almost a year that we are working on systematic desensitization of some of her reactions. The results are amazing and our 6-monthly progress recap pleasantly surprised her.

Being emotional and sensitive is an asset. It’s only when such people take everything inside, then it becomes bothersome and draining. Having objectivity of the third person gives me advantage to point out those to the clients and then work on transforming that sensitive energy to the creative one.

Interactions with people, especially loved ones, is the area that makes Masiha happy and sad at the same time. Masiha is very attached to the family and close group of friends and is very outgoing. She is very energetic and enthusiastic and takes leads in arranging celebrations. She is the one who is always arranging small get-togethers and goes totally out of her way (those are her words) to make others happy. The problem comes when she does not see the same/similar reciprocation from others.

We have been working on managing her expectations and she is learning to let go some of the relations that were draining her. That was a huge step, which she thought that she would never take. Our 6-monthly review affirmed that the act of letting some of the connections go has actually decreased the stress and created more free time for her to express her true self.

Today’s case was little different. It was related to Masiha’s close friend whom she was very attached with. Both attended school together starting with elementary school and shared all secrets with each other while growing up. Things started changing little by little after they moved on differently in their careers and changed still further when both got married. Their relationship continued though as both continued to live in the same city.

Recently Masiha is feeling totally ignored by her friend. A friend rarely initiates a call or text and blames it on her busy schedule. Masiha was upset to know that her friend has time to call and spend time with others but does not have time to respond to Masiha’s voice messages. Things are tricky as Masiha comes from a culture that is very open and the friend comes from ethnicity where not-expressing what you feel is the norm.

I requested Masiha to back-off and not initiate any communication for some time. It is not easy for her, but she fully understands that friendship is a two-way affair and she cannot force her “love” on someone who doesn’t care for it. Masiha also has inkling that her expressions and gestures of love are sometimes suffocating for others.
We have decided to work on the course titled “Being ok with no-communication”.
Masiha has already started working on 2 assignments I created for her and am very positive that after successfully completing this course, Masiha would be able to communicate and interpret “silence” as one important element of communication and be ok with it.

Silence says a lot, and we need to learn to interpret it as a valid form of communication.

Links to previously-written blogs in July.
July 2018: Role Models Are Everywhere- Group At TechCU
July 2017: Can Yoga Do The Magic?
July 2016: Magic In The Front Yard
July 2015: Wisdom To Know The Difference
July 2014: 1.5 Minutes At The Signal...
July 2013: Stress- How Much Is Self-Created?

Role Models Are Everywhere: Thank you Jose! (June 2019)


Millennium Yoga It was a pleasant morning with perfect outside temperature to work in the garden. I first decided to work in the back-yard. Hibiscus is fully blooming and it took quite some time to remove the old flowers from the 3.5 feet hibiscus shrub. I had thought of using of just 30 minutes of Friday morning yet fully knew that it might extend to an hour. Decided to choose a middle way and decided 45 minutes.

The weeds in the back yard were too big, so thinking 45 minutes won’t be enough to remove them, I decided to walk to the front-yard. Am glad that I did as I met 3 of my neighbors who came to walk their dogs and the conversation though brief was very energizing. A city vehicle pulled in and the two uniformed men came out. They were the city employees who were on trimming and cleaning duty to take care of the small park attached to our home. Their faces were very friendly. We exchanged good mornings. One of them said that it might be little uncomfortable for me, as he would be using lawn mower and leaf-blower. “No problem at all, thank you so much for taking care of the park”, I said. The recently renovated park is a pleasure to walk around and I especially enjoy standing on a soft green grass for a while bare-footed. “I never saw you before”, he said. “Oh, maybe our timings did not match. You will see me outside more often from now on as it is getting nice and warm”, I said.

He went on to do his job in the park and I continued to wok on my little front-yard. I heard a loud noise of leaf blower and noticed that he was cleaning my entire driveway. Cleaning my front-yard was not part of his duty and he did it so casually and naturally, and moved on to clean the walk-way in the park. “Thank you so much Jose! I really appreciate it”. I was very touched by his loving gesture. He nodded with a nice smile and continued to do his work.

This is the second incidence during this month. When I went to attend a dance performance in Ohlone college, and the Uber driver dropped me in a parking lot. I was not at the right spot and had no idea how to reach a venue. That’s when a cleaning crew member of the college gave me a complimentary ride to the hall. He said very humbly that it was his job but it was not true. He gladly gave me ride which was not his job without expecting anything.

We are surrounded and helped by many people who go way out of their expected duty to extend help and assistance to us and others unasked. Sometimes people at the receiving end notice and recognize such genuine acts with reciprocating words or actions and sometimes they don’t. There could be multiple reasons known or unknown that such good acts do not receive attention.

Thinking that there might be some thoughts, acts, behaviors or words that I failed to recognize and reciprocate, by saying thank you to Jose, am choosing to recognize and thank them all. Sincerely wish that I may remember to be like them when there is a need.

Links to previously-written blogs in June.
June 2018: Wondering How Things Are The Way They Are
June 2017: The Latest Addiction
June 2016: A Smile Is A Smile
June 2015: Are We Frantically Trying To Separate North and South poles?
June 2014: Why me? Why not me?
June 2013: Striving To Be Perfect?

Learning imperfection perfectly! (May 2019)


Millennium Yoga Taylor is working on being imperfect. Every week I give him assignment to introduce some imperfection in one of the areas of his life and he needs to capture his thoughts as he gets accustomed to it. Initially it took him more time than I anticipated, and my cell phone kept buzzing with frustrating messages about how difficult (and maybe unnecessary) all this exercise was.

Taylor is not alone. Many of my clients are perfectionists. Perfectionism is one of the major stressors in their lives. Many of them know it. If they love their perfectionist selves and determined to continue it, we focus on how to accept and manage ongoing stress associated with being perfect. If at some point they recognize that there is a need to change this habit (at least in some areas), then our lesson on imperfection begins.

For Taylor, it started with just shifting the place of his 5 books. I actually thought of it as one of the simplest assignments I gave him till I started getting frustrating messages from him. After a week, I really had to simplify the assignment to include just 1 book. Yes, you are reading it right, I had to ask him to change the position of just 1 book out of his entire stack and just be ok with it for a week. It took him little over 2 weeks to actually get used to it. This may appear obsessive to the readers, but for Taylor this is the norm and the right way. Taylor’s current assignment is: parking the car at different locations at his workplace.

For Natalie, who is just 10, changing the directions of yoga mats and formation of kids in Kids’ yoga class was unacceptable. She kept complaining about not liking the “new” arrangement (which was different than what she was used to for 2 previous classes). Using some specific tricks to make her comfortable with “new” arrangement helped. Am now working with Natalie on “how to be ok with “new” or “different” in other areas. Deliberately exposing to smaller doses of “imperfection” really helps.

For Dan it was keeping his car unlocked for 10 minutes before our meeting. It helped in removing the intense fear of his car getting stolen.

Perfection has its beauty and advantages. People do love themselves for their perfectionism. Jonathan Livingston Seagull is my hero too, but there are times when even Jonathan dives in water in a perfectly imperfect way hurting his body and wings. He is ok with it. Are we?

The questions to ask are:
• Do I like and love perfectionism in myself but recognize it as a major stressor?
• Is it costing me too much of my emotional energy to continue to be this way?
• Do I think learning to be imperfect in some (insignificant) areas can save my emotional energy? Will it loosen and relax me?
If you have answered yes to all of the above questions, then you are ready to join my learning to be imperfect sessions.

It’s a perfect way to learn to be imperfect! ☺
Links to previously-written blogs in May.
May 2018: Understanding "to understand"
May 2017: Do you see signs that something needs to change?
May 2016: Role Models Are Everywhere: Showcasing Vidya Vaidya
May 2015: Getting a different pair of eyes
May 2014: Am I Choosing to be busy?
May 2013: We may never fully know what we really do…

Pranayama for Home (April 2019)


Millennium Yoga After brushing teeth today morning, I noticed that water was taking more time to drain from the sink. I blocked the sink and while releasing the stopper paid close attention to the familiar whirlpool effect and the sound. Nope, it was definitely taking more time.

I fully knew the reason as I was ignoring “Pranayama for Home” item on my calendar. I knew that it was time to treat it as an emergency and take action.

This item -“Pranayama for home”- sits on my calendar every 3 months. It takes approximately 30 minutes to make all the drains at home breathe clearly by doing this Pranayama right.

I decided to adjust activities on my calendar to create 30-minutes for home pranayama right away after noticing severe congestion.

I started with getting the right tools/ingredients from 5 different storage locations: They were plunger, small plastic hair cleaning tool, plastic bucket, vinegar, baking soda, lemons, salt, and ice. When I stepped in the backyard to get lemons, the ignored garden did everything to get my attention. Humming bird appeared ready for shower thinking I was watering. I would have allowed myself to get distracted, but today was not that day.

The ritual started by first cleaning the hair from sinks and shower stall and the bath-tub. This little plastic brush is amazing and it works perfectly to remove the clog from the sinks. Pouring baking soda and vinegar in all the openings in sinks, tub and shower followed it. Using plunger to push the released residue was the next step. The rhythmic pushes of plunger reminded me of Kapaalbhaati. Then I blocked the water in tub and the sink and released all the stoppers together and simultaneously flushed the toilet. Building the pressure of water columns and then releasing all at once to haul away the clog is surely more organic than using pipe corroding chemicals like Drano. After two rounds of blocking and releasing water, it appeared that all “inflammation inside the pipes” went away and I imagined them breathing smoothly.

Then came the turn of kitchen sink. After enjoying the cocktail of baking soda and vinegar it was ready for another drink. Next was the blend of thinly sliced and cooked lemons, and the ice cubes. By the time the musical melody of garbage disposal ended, the lemon fragrance has filled the entire kitchen.

Another Pranayama I give to home is opening up all the windows and doors and starting all exhaust fans and other fans at full speed for 30 minutes. Today I skipped this as it was very cold and rainy.

The home had performed one cleansing pranayama and somehow I felt that I was breathing better and fuller too.

Links to previously-written blogs in April.
April 2018: What should I do?
April 2017: An Invisible Thread
April 2016: Am I A Bad Girl?
April 2015: Was It A Dream Really?
April 2014: Behavior Change In An Hour
April 2013: Is Life Continuous?

Communication Channel (March 2019)


Millennium Yoga 2 months of the New Year are already over and we are entering into March. The signs of upcoming Spring are visible. The nature is ready to bloom.

There is a yellow daisy shrub (Euryops pectinatus) in our front –yard. I love that shrub because of its bright smiling flowers almost throughout the year. The shrub looks good even without flowers due to its green foliage. The shrub delivered 2 off springs which I could separate successfully and now we have three plants. One is very shy, so slightly hiding and growing slowly. The other baby is very smart and has grown even bigger than its parent. It looks as if it is standing and performing on stage with full pride.

The parent daisy shrub, sitting in between the boundary of our front-yard and the adjacent park, is slightly tilted forward due to its weight. In spite of trying to adjust its balance by appropriate trimming, I decided to let go of that thought and left it as is. After a few months, I noticed that the big pepper tree decided to talk to this daisy plant by sending one branch down. One of the branches came way down to touch the daisy. Every time I see it, it appears that the pepper tree wants to offer support to bring daisy back upright. Or maybe it is whispering some advise in daisy’s ears. Daisy- not being a climber-cannot hold hands with pepper tree, but am pretty positive that some communication channel has opened in between them.

With gentle wind blowing, the daisy and the pepper tree branch dance together. In strong winds they appear to compete and run after one another. The daisy is ticklish and giggles when pepper drops rain droplets over it and sometimes they are just quiet as if mad at each other without talking or any eye contact.

***
Trees talking and exchanging information with each other is now known. Scientists are researching that trees communicate using fungi network on their roots.Check out article

It’s amazing to imagine and recognize how everything in the Universe is closely linked. Sometimes these communication links are used to support the other and sometimes to sabotage.
***
As I look out of my living room window looking at both of them, I admire the friendship between these 2 very different species.

Links to previously-written blogs in March.
March 2018: Voice Messages
March 2017:On Being Creative
March 2016: Finding and Cultivating Happiness
March 2015: Learning to be “Self-Eesh”
March 2014: Am too overwhelmed…
March 2013: Teacher In My Class

Role Models are Everywhere: Doreen Tiwari (February 2019)


Millennium Yoga My profession gives me opportunity to meet wonderful people with varied skills, backgrounds, cultures, personal/professional expertise, and energy. These people bring in their unique selves and also life experiences to the session and make my life very rich. I always look at them more as teachers than as class participants.

These are my “Role Models”, and through this series, I intend to introduce them to you.

Am extremely happy to share about Doreen Tiwari in this blog.

It has been over 4.5 years that Doreen is attending yoga sessions at TechCU . TechCU corporate yoga program started on June 5th 2014, and Doreen is one of the most consistent participants in the group since then. The entire TechCU group is amazing and I have already written a blog post on this group before. If you are curious why I chose to talk about Doreen after already writing a blog on the group, please read on.

Doreen is very systematic, disciplined, and always willing to give her time and energy for others in whatever ways possible. Her love for her family, relatives and friends and her caring gestures do not go unnoticed. Tidiness comes to her naturally and so does love of plants. She is a born leader and courageous enough to stand up for what she truly believes in and what is right.

When it comes to daily routine, Doreen is one of the most self-disciplined persons I know. After learning and attending yoga sessions, she has created and incorporated yoga in her daily routine and practices it very diligently.

It was just another TechCU Yoga day. We ended the yoga session and Doreen started walking with me to the parking lot. Initially I thought she needed to take some stuff from her car. When asked, she said she was on PTO that day and just came to attend the yoga session. Till that day, I could not even imagine someone driving 20 minutes, when on leave, to come to office just to attend yoga session. I felt grateful and was very impressed at her dedication. This according to me is the height of sincerity and self-discipline and consistency. Am sure Doreen has done it multiple times and not just once.

With this act, Doreen has taken what Sage Patanjali calls “Abhyas- consistent practice- to a whole new level.

Doreen, am very positive that whenever there will a temptation to let go of the task on my part, I will remember you and will be able to push myself through it.

Thank you for your teaching!
Namaste.


Links to previously-written blogs in February.
February 2018: Beauty of Not Knowing
February 2017: Doing Yoga Consistently Works
February 2016: Role Models are Everywhere! Showcasing Rajashree Suraj
February 2015: Role Models Are Everywhere: W1 and W2
February 2014: Managing Guilt
February 2013: Starting Self Exploration

Monitoring creativity (January 2019)


Millennium Yoga Wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy and Fun-filled New Year 2019!

How do you start your New Year? Are you the one who makes some resolution at the beginning. Making a New Year resolution/s is not me, but this is something I am choosing to develop as a habit going forward during this year.

As creativity is considered to be a spontaneous phenomenon, the title may sound paradoxical. Creativity just blooms in the areas that we are passionate about. Starting this year, I am choosing to observe my actions, behavior and thoughts especially in the areas that do not interest me/come naturally to me.

Am giving this observational assignment to myself and will keep you-my readers- posted about the learning in January 2020.

Do you have anything specific in your mind for this year?

Links to previously-written blogs in January.
January 2018: Simplifying Multitasking
January 2017: Gratitude Rain
January2016: Ramping up in the New Year!
January 2015: Tracking the true inner voice…
January 2014: Welcoming New Year
January 2013: Exploring Self

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