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Living Your Yoga book discussion > Living Your Yoga part two--first 4 chapters

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message 1: by Meryl (new)

Meryl Landau (meryldavidslandau) | 804 comments Mod
Ok, I think I may be overwhelming some of you with my long list of questions. So for this section, I'm going to make just one question (albeit with multiple thoughts) for each. Let me know which way you prefer.

1) Compassion: (We've discussed this quite a bit already in our prior discussion of perspective.) Have you tried any of Judith's exercises, such as to help the next person who asks you, to pick a specific day to work on being compassionate with as many people as possible, or to notice when you have a judgmental thought about yourself and shift it to a more compassionate one?

2) Control: (I'll confess upfront that this remains a big one for me! Much as I know I can't control either my surroundings or other people's actions, I still try!) Judith writes, "The more we try to control our world, the less control we have. The more we are willing to let go of control and simply stay present with what is, the more control we have." Do you agree? What do you think of Judith's practice suggestion of allowing someone close to you to make all the decisions for 24 hours (what radio station to listen to, what to have for dinner) so you can observe what your mind does? How about the one to switch where you usually stand in your yoga class to someplace else? (She didn't say this, but I suspect you'll also rile up someone else's sense of control when you take their spot, lol!)

3) Fear: Here Judith takes a very Course in MIracles approach, that all emotions are either fear or love. Do you believe that? If so, how can you use that information in your daily life? Judith also notes that we mostly tend to fear intangibles and what-ifs, like future illness, loneliness, poverty or (the big one--esp for Suzanne Morrison in Yoga Bitch!) death. Does this describe you? If so, can you bring mindfulness to your fears as she suggests and realize that in the only moment that matters--right now--there is nothing to fear?

4) Patience: It's interesting that she notes that patience is not mentioned directly in the Yoga Sutras. What do you think about patience? Do you think, as Judith comes to believe, that feeling impatient is linked to our need to accomplish enough to boost our self-worth? Can you pay attention to your thoughts of impatience in the moment, until they disappear? Have you tried Judith's suggestion to choose the longest line at the bank or grocery story to watch your bodily sensations and learn to become one with the perfection of the moment? (This is definitely on my to-do list next time I'm in the store!)

Meryl Davids Landau


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

3) Fear: Here Judith takes a very Course in MIracles approach, that all emotions are either fear or love. Do you believe that? If so, how can you use that information in your daily life? Judith also notes that we mostly tend to fear intangibles and what-ifs, like future illness, loneliness, poverty or (the big one--esp for Suzanne Morrison in Yoga Bitch!) death. Does this describe you? If so, can you bring mindfulness to your fears as she suggests and realize that in the only moment that matters--right now--there is nothing to fear?

I can respond to this one (also in context of the chapter on Suffering, which I read this morning). One of my biggest stressors is getting to work on time in the mornings. I get up at 5:30 to do everything I want, and have a relatively easy 30 minute commute. Yet when I leave my house at 8:30 and have a 9 am meeting, I get worked up the second I get onto the highway. My heart starts pounding, my chest gets tight. (It's only lately that I've been able to even notice this!) I know this has to do with my parents being ridiculously strict about punctuality when I was growing up, and of the fear of getting in trouble if I'm even a minute late, because in my house, getting in trouble was a pretty significant thing, speaking of the fear of death. :-/ So this morning, I decided that when I noticed the physical sensations I would pay MORE attention to them. I also created my own little mantra: "I'm not late until I'm late". Although I had to do this several times, I think it improved my commute a great deal, and I'm going to continue to try to do this every morning until the fear has subsided. (And, I'm confident it will.)


message 3: by Meryl (new)

Meryl Landau (meryldavidslandau) | 804 comments Mod
Jen wrote: "3) Fear: Here Judith takes a very Course in MIracles approach, that all emotions are either fear or love. Do you believe that? If so, how can you use that information in your daily life? Judith als..."

Great story, Jen! And a fabulous illustration of Judith's point that when you notice and breathe into resistance it melts away.


message 4: by Amy (last edited Nov 14, 2011 04:10PM) (new)

Amy Greenblatt I really like the observation that feeling impatient is about not being in sync with the speed of things happening. When you slow down to match the speed of other people and events, you feel much more relaxed and more often than not, the things you want to happen happen (in their own time)

Some interesting phrases my mother used a lot when I was a child was, "Find someone your own speed" or "He's more my speed." Curious phrases that I've not heard other people use, but they really speak to impatience and feeling in sync with people and the world as a whole.


message 5: by Rikke (new)

Rikke Jacobsen | 7 comments The chapters about control and fear are those that I can mostly relate too.

As Jes I'm often afraid of getting late to work or to an appointement event through this is quite ridiculos. But I cant help it.

My hole life I have always tried to be in control of everything...

This means that I often feel very stressed. This is one of the reasons why I started doing yoga about 6 months ago.

I will certainly try some of the excercices about letting the control go for 24h by letting the decisions to someone close...and of cause take anoter place in my yoga class....


message 6: by Meryl (new)

Meryl Landau (meryldavidslandau) | 804 comments Mod
Great comments! I do think control and impatience are frequently linked, because we're impatient that we can't control the situation. When we really think about it, very little is under our control, and acknowledging that is very freeing.

Amy, I like your mother's phrase "he's more my speed." I've heard that type of comment before and never thought about it in terms of a person's rhythms. So interesting to really ponder the meaning of expressions. My favorite is when we say "I'm beside myself," because now that I've dissected that expression I picture my crazed self in that situation literally standing next to my calm inner being.

Meryl Davids Landau


message 7: by Amy (last edited Nov 16, 2011 04:07PM) (new)

Amy Greenblatt I like that phrase, Meryl. It's different than "I was out of my mind" which implies absence or taking leave of one's senses. "I'm beside myself" may imply a witness/observer so there's at least a modicum of sanity that's looking after the crazed self...an awareness from a part of you that knows things can be perceived differently & perspective shifted.


message 8: by Meryl (new)

Meryl Landau (meryldavidslandau) | 804 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "I like that phrase, Meryl. It's different than "I was out of my mind" which implies absence or taking leave of one's senses. "I'm beside myself" may imply a witness/observer so there's at least ..."

I hadn't looked at that phrase that way but I like that too! I've thought of it as the crazed self outside of the calm self where she belongs, but I like the idea that the self that's outside me could also be the calm one looking at (and laughing at) the nut-job!

I also want to comment on Judith's chapter about fear. Unlike many people, I don't have a fear of death. What comes up for me instead is a fear of being judged by other people. That's very much a work in progress for me, but I'm taking baby steps to get to the place where I don't think about, or really even care, what others think.

Meryl Davids Landau


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

"My favorite is when we say "I'm beside myself," because now that I've dissected that expression I picture my crazed self in that situation literally standing next to my calm inner being."

I like that one Meryl. Very true.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Meryl wrote: "Ok, I think I may be overwhelming some of you with my long list of questions. So for this section, I'm going to make just one question (albeit with multiple thoughts) for each. Let me know which wa..."

Meryl, you wrote "The more we try to control our world, the less control we have. The more we are willing to let go of control and simply stay present with what is, the more control we have." I do agree absolutely!!! And: it goes together with patience. To let go very often you need a very, very big portion of patience too!!
About fear: if you realize how big is your fear to be jugded by other people you can see how many baby steps you have to take running away from this state of mind. It´s a long, long way - I can see this in my job every day, and last year this brought me to the point to chance my position in my job, because every time when it came to situations where I had to take serious decisions panic struck me only by thinking I could make a mistake.. It was awful!! But meditation and yoga helped me very much at this point!


message 11: by Meryl (new)

Meryl Landau (meryldavidslandau) | 804 comments Mod
Ok, this morning I had a perfect opportunity to practice the principle of letting go of "control." I got to my gym this morning where I love the woman who teaches yoga (I actually don't mind that it's in a gym; the class is very meditative) and the teacher wasn't there. In her place was a teacher with whom I take a strength-training class during the week. So my first thought was that she isn't really a yoga teacher, and I am sorry I am here as I'd rather be home doing my own yoga practice, yada-yada-yada. I didn't enjoy the first 15 minutes of the class; basic calisthenic-type stretches and her talking nonstop, plus it was hot in the room as the air wasn't working right. I was mentally complaining a lot during those 15 minutes, until I finally caught myself and laughed.

It finally struck me (and I'm glad it did; I am not annoyed with myself that it took 15 minutes) that I can make any class a good yoga practice if I focus internally and on my breathing and, of course, stop judging! I can't control who is teaching the class, but I can control my enjoyment of it. So I began breathing more deeply in each stretch and feeling the space open up in my body. And a funny thing happened--not only did my judgment go, the teacher suddenly started doing more interesting and challenging yoga poses! It turned out to be a really good class. Yet another great lesson about control learned!

Sabine, thanks for your comment about fear. I agree that fear can limit both our mind and our actions, and mine is something I have been working on for many years. Your story about your work is a really powerful one; fear can be paralyzing if you let it--and I definitely used to let it. Thankfully, now I am in the place where it only rears its head occasionally, although I would love to be at the place where, as Wayne Dyer says, what you think of me is none of my business. Hopefully someday!

Meryl Davids Landau


message 12: by Julie (new)

Julie (julie1014) | 195 comments Meryl wrote: "Ok, this morning I had a perfect opportunity to practice the principle of letting go of "control." I got to my gym this morning where I love the woman who teaches yoga (I actually don't mind that i..."

I love your post, Meryl! You did a GREAT job of letting go of the judgement, dealing with the situation, and making the most of it. It's amazing how if we realize we may not be in control, but how we react can turn something into a positive! :)

As far as judgement goes, I occasionally worry about what others may think of me, but I try not to. What matters is if I am happy with myself. My grandfather, God rest his soul, used to say, "Watch out for number one. If not, you'll step in number two, LOL!"

I have seen some posts relating to the topic of fear. I haven't jumped in because I feel I could write a narrative. Fear is very crippling to me. Fear of the unknown. Fear of losing control. Fear of death. I have many fears. Possibly a topic of discussion for me if we do the next book you suggested,

Learning to Breathe: My Year-Long Quest to Bring Calm to My Life by Priscilla Warner.


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