And Then This Happened...

#Day1  

#30DaysOfGiving

Yoga Ambush at Griffith Park.

Starting off the 30 Day Challenge today, I decided to take my practice outside near the Observatory at Griffith Park.  I hiked up with my yoga mat and found a spot that was a little bit off the path.  It was one of those gifts to myself where I wasn’t sure it was really a gift.  I mean, it sounds so good in my head, but did I really feel like doing yoga outside on such a beautiful day?  The paradox of resisting things that I know will make me feel good still exists so I decided to challenge the resistance and do it anyway.  The practice felt amazing.  It was surprisingly quiet and the breath re-balanced me in a way I only find when I practice.

And then it happened.

I heard some people gathering around a picnic table nearby.  And by people, I mean a family of about thirty.  I heard these little voices crying out “yoga!” with an hispanic accent.  I also heard them saying they were hungry.  Part of me suspected they were not literally hungry for food.  So often we reach for food to fill something else, a desire to connect perhaps?  

So I ended up doing a little yoga ambush with a bunch of kids from ages 6-13.  They don’t have yoga at their schools, but they knew what I was doing.  Suddenly, they weren’t so hungry.  They just wanted to learn more poses.  I taught them tree pose.  I taught them triangle.  I taught them ujjayi breath.  And they could pronounce uddiyana bandha without hesitation.  They were hungry for something else.  And suddenly I realized what a profound gift I had indeed given to myself.

Join the Challenge!   30 DAYS OF GIVING.

30 Days of Giving

A New Approach to New Year's Resolutions is Here

So often, I talk to students who make resolutions and there is one common thread year after year.  We are making the same resolutions.  So why not shift the focus a bit?  

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Spend thirty days focused entirely on how you give to yourself and to others.  Perhaps at the end of this time, we will have new perspective on our resolutions, our purpose, and our intentions.

While I am introducing it at the onset of 2014, we can choose to start this any moment we wake up to what is present.  I encourage you to do this with friends, share your experiences here in the comments section, and on my Facebook page. 

You can do this all privately or do this with a friend and have an accountability partner.  Social media comments and Video blogging are welcome!  #30DaysOfGiving  #Day1  #AlexDawsonYoga

Here's how it works.

FIRST TEN DAYS:  GIVE A GIFT TO YOURSELF!  

In order to help other people, we have to be willing to help ourselves.  Put the mask on your face before trying to help someone else, just as they teach us when we fly on airplanes as a safety precaution.  If you feel overwhelmed in your life, these first ten days are crucial.  Some may have an easier time with this one.  Enjoy.  Be creative.  Giving does not always equate a financial reward and certainly doesn't suggest racking up debt.  

Think outside the box.  What can you possibly give to yourself during this time that will help you grow or create more ease in your life?  For many people, the answer has to do with time.  As a yoga teacher, one of the most common reasons I find people coming to practice is to help with chronic stress.  It seems to be a fundamental condition of life, but it doesn't have to be.  Maybe there's a "better" way to say this, but here is a simple truth:  We can't get what we don't got.  So if you're wanting more things to come to you, learn how to do it for yourself.

SECOND TEN DAYS: GIVE A GIFT TO SOMEONE ELSE!

Now we enter into the second phase of giving where our focus is on how and what we could give to others.  This can include loved ones, colleagues, people you don't like very much, people you don't know, people who won't be able to do anything for you in return.  The dynamic of giving may include 

financial contributions, but remember: there are many ways to give.  Who is that person who reached out and needed a recommendation from you?  Who can you mentor?  What can you make for someone?  Who needs a ride to the airport?  (I know the "airport ride gift" may feel like it should count for two days, but it doesn't).  What single mom or dad do you know?  I bet they'd love a night off while you play with their kid.  Who can you listen to better?    What sword do you need to put down to open your heart to healing? 

THIRD TEN DAYS:  GIVE A GIFT TO SOMEONE ELSE...ANONYMOUSLY!

During this time, it is especially important to change

gears and keep the giving anonymous.  Keep it anonymous to the person and keep it anonymous to the world.  This time is about giving without ever being acknowledged for your actions.  It is about deepening true generosity.

Rediscover Beauty

If you look at someone long enough and pay attention, you will see their beauty.  It’s true.  Our eyes are trained to scan for conventional beauty that is programmed into our perceptions.  But, what about the uncommon beauty?  So often it is there and we miss it.  I am sharing this with you because I keep noticing it as I teach yoga to so many different people.  And I’m telling you, I see beauty everywhere.  (Not just at Equinox in West Hollywood).  I see it in a physical form on a regular basis and I am charmed when I sense it in the subtle body.

The shift that needs to happen is in the critical mind of what defines beauty.  Okay, sure, there is something to be said for geometry of the body and I’m sure Vitruvius and Da Vinci could probably explain it better, but consider the fact that there is beauty to be discovered in our imperfections.  A new world awaits all of us.  It is vastly larger than our often limited thought can imagine. We only need wake up to this.  Good genes are great.  Taking actions that create health and balance and cultivate truth and love are even better. 

The overweight or underweight person needs love, not judgment.  The person who saw the really bad plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills needs love, not judgment.  The woman who wears too much make up to a spin class needs love, not judgment.  The person who’s too short, too tall, has thinning hair ...they all need love, not judgment.  

Time will keep passing and all of this will change, except our ability to love.

 

 

 

 

The Root of Your Purpose

Do you want to be a rock star or a musician?  A celebrity or an actor?  Do you want to have kids or be a parent, wear a ring on your finger or create a marriage, be beautiful or feel beautiful, be loved or be love?  Where is the root of your purpose?  Living in the root will bear the fruit and you will already be fed before it’s even on your plate.