Thursday, December 24, 2009

Spirit of the Season

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I wanted to say for my Karma Yoga class on Christmas day. I was not raised as a Christian but it seems to me, there is something to be remembered when we acknowledge Christmas. When I think of Christ, I think of love, not all the warped things done in his name or of the giant commercial holiday we so often associate with Christmas.

At the heart of Christ's teaching is the message that all beings are worthy in God's eyes. The humbleness of ones origins, ones profession and ones wealth having nothing to do with ones value in the universe. What really matters is what we make of our time on this earth and how we treat our fellow man. There is more to be gained in giving than in receiving. Christ said, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven," so why not give freely of what we have to offer? That is Karma Yoga at its core.

The story of Christ whether it be myth, legend or fact teaches us to love and value our fellow man. It teaches us to look beyond the outward packaging at the light shining from those around us. The word Namaste is loosely associated with the phrase, "The light within me acknowledges the light in you." I believe that this was part of Christ's message as well: look beyond the exterior to find the beauty in others. When I think of Christmas in this light, it brings a smile to my face and a longing to my heart to give something to others and to bring them some of the comfort and joy that giving and teaching brings to me.

On this day which is at its core is about love, think of someone in your life or in the world who is struggling. Fill your mind's eye and heart with this person and then offer up and dedicate your practice to them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spirituality and Compassion

For me, the word "spirituality" means learning from our experiences. It's not about striving for ultimate perfection or achieving Nirvana or Samahdi. Spirituality is something much more concrete. It starts with compassion for self, forgiving oneself for real or imagined transgressions but then allowing oneself to learn and grow from the experience.

I had an experience today that gave me pause: somehow it fit the season. I was at Target getting chai at the in-house Starbuck's, when I sensed a man staring at me. I was annoyed. I wanted to say something rude like, "Take a picture it will last longer," but I refrained and glanced back at the man instead. I realized then that his mouth hung open slightly and his eyes were unfocused. I also realized that he was "special." I felt like a bitch for judging him and noted my own reactions.

I moment later, I turned and saw that he had fallen sideways in his chair and was sliding towards the floor. The man near him caught him and lowered him gently to the ground. I realized he was having a seizure and with a strange calm, I told the man next to him to help me roll him to a fetal position. Then I called the Barista to help and the three of us managed to move him. I was no longer needed but I was moved to watch the man who had helped me to turn the seized man stop to cradle the other man in his lap. The Barista also held and talked to him. Neither man panicked, or shied away, they just handled the situation with compassion and love.

I still am not sure what all I was meant to learn but I walked away, greatly impacted. What I did take from the experience was a renewed appreciation for the compassion humanity sometimes displays and the strong sense that we can never judge others by their packaging.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Karma Yoga for Christmas

Get your Karma Yoga on…

Give good karma for Christmas and enjoy a donation-based Hatha Yoga class with our beautiful yoga community.

What: hatha yoga class on Christmas day
When: 12:00 pm-1:15ish, Friday, December 25, 2009
Where: Harmony Yoga, 560 S. Holly Drive Denver
Why: Support Denver’s Urban Peak Shelter with cash and non-perishable food donations then enjoy a relaxing hatha yoga class

Join Nadja Tizer and the Harmony Yoga Community this Christmas day to help out Urban Peak. Urban Peak supports, shelters and educates homeless and struggling teens in the Denver area. All of your food and cash donations will go directly to the shelter in the name of Harmony Yoga. This is a great way to celebrate all we have and to help others in the process. Please join us Christmas day for this special karma yoga class. Reserve your spot today!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You only live once so make it count!

I cannot trace,
I have not found mention
Of the notion in yoga,
That there is anything beyond this life.

This is unimportant--
Whatever you believe,
Why not make the most of each instant,
Each second you draw breathe upon this earth?

A life unlived seems wasted.
A life trapped by fear,
Seems irrelevant--
There is only this moment.

Our hearts beat
Our breathe flows
In and out
Like the tides.

There is beauty in this simple pleasure--
A pleasure we cannot capture in words.
A beauty purely sensory
That can only be felt and experienced by living each day as your last.

We cannot know what the future holds,
We cannot know what life will bring,
But we always have this--
The present, so make it count!