In late July, during one of these weird, monsoon-style summer storms we're now having regularly in New Jersey, a 50 foot tall, hundred years old oak tree came crashing down from my neighbor's yard...onto my fence, my brick patio and my copper roof.
It was a mess.
I was at the local coffee shop sipping away, watching the storm, and when I came back my house looked like a crime scene: police, fire trucks, electric company, and concerned neighbors
And my poor dog had peed everywhere.
No one was hurt, and, as my friend who regularly cracks up her car said to me, "It's just paint and metal."
But there was something more. At that moment, it hit me:
Just because something looks sturdy, doesn’t mean it is.
People are not that different from trees. Both can look perfectly sturdy, and underneath be rotting away. Both can be more fragile than they appear.
If I had looked closely at this tree, I might have seen the signs...dry, peeling bark. No new leaves. A raccoon family living inside.
I can see it when I look at myself, in the mirror, in hot yoga; past the facade. Yes, the signs are there at other times...they’re just easier to ignore.
Where does our inner life go?
When life becomes too busy, too overwhelming, too much of a juggling act, happiness erodes little by little, until one day nagging dissatisfaction, sadness, tiredness becomes "just the way it is." Feeling off balance. Heading for a crash.
Recently I've been doing "yoga interviews" at Riverflow, to get to know more about you: why you do hot yoga, what are your goals for your body and your life. What obstacles you face. When was the last time you felt in ideal shape, body and otherwise. What injuries you have, body and otherwise.
What happiness means to you.
From your answers, I see that we all want the same things. Flexibility, strength, toning. Focus, balance, patience. To feel worthy. To feel happy. Maybe to feel excited to get out of bed every day.
I've been a student of spiritual studies for over 40 years and scientific research is catching up to what spiritual teachers have always known: You create your own reality. Each time you say you "can't," you're right. Each time you think you're not in control, you're not. You decide. 100%
Happiness is not end-game...like yoga, it's a practice.
In my decades as a yoga teacher/trainer/coach, I felt that my role was to just shine a little light on the dark places, to offer a way to fill the gaps, the broken places, the failing strategies.
But, let me be blunt...I’ve learned so many happiness techniques, I didn’t know where to begin. I've offered them as part of Riverflow Hot Yoga Teacher Training and graduates always said this was the most valuable part, the bonus they didn’t expect, that changed their lives.
So I've made a decision: it’s time to present hot yoga as a happiness practice. Because that’s what it is.
I'm introducing a new class and a new workshop at Riverflow Yoga:
- 1. New Class: YOGA DEEP 60 minutes of warm yoga stretching with guided meditation for body and mind, to reset your happiness meter higher.
- 2. The YOGA OF HAPPINESS: Do conditions control happiness, or can you be in charge? In fact you already are; you're just doing it mostly by default. Can you create your happiness - your reality - your life? Yes...with joyful practice.
Happiness is the point. It is the reason you’re here. It is why you want anything – because you think you’ll be happier in having it. Happiness changes, happiness moves about, but it’s always worth it. You are an evolving being and your desires will never cease and they shouldn’t – they fuel the journey which is all about happiness.
Maybe it's been a long time since you've felt hopeful about your happiness....but it's about to get a lot easier, everyday.