My Love Affair With Yoga: How Yoga is Like a Long Term Relationship

Yoga and  I  are in a long-term relationship. It is one that I am continually finding new reasons to fall in love over, and over and over again! It’s spicy! I love that it isn’t just down dog and warrior two. Even if those may have been the reasons I fell in love with it in the first place.

No, it’s mysterious. Dangerous! Even more than a hint naughty!

Just when things are threatening to get a bit stale, it surprises me. Sometimes it’s a nuance in the way to place my hands on my mat. Other times, it’s floating into scorpion handstand from the back of my mat. It keeps my interest piqued and coming back for more.

Oh sure, there are days I am so frustrated I want to swear it off all together! We have our fights. No relationship is entirely drama free. I don’t always get my way. I pout. I lay blame where it doesn’t belong. It’s the poses fault I can’t do them. Perhaps I’ll just ignore certain poses as a way of “getting back at them”. Of course we make up and I realize it’s not anyones fault. Relationships are just hard work. Gaining deeper understanding requires a lot of work, time and patience. Patience I don’t always have. It also provides a mirror. One I don’t always want to look into.

Yoga often offers me well meaning yet unsolicited advice. I sometimes feel its being bossy. I don’t appreciate being told what to do. I’m not proud to say that I ignored a lot of it on good days. On bad days, I even did things out of spite! (Oh, I should take it easy today you say?! Well, maybe I will practice twice today….take that! I can do whatever I well please!) I usually come around and realize that yoga does really have my back and is just trying to look out for me. I feel lucky to have it in my life. It seems to know what I need before I do. It brings to my attention that which I would otherwise miss.

However, regardless of the hard work, the ups and downs, and disagreements nothing soothes me like those first few ujjayi breaths in down dog. I am suddenly home. This is love.

The Top 15 Unofficial Golden Rules to Live By

cartoon of guru on mountaintop

So here they are, The Top 15 Unofficial Golden Rules to Live By…according to your non-guru yogi sister Angela..

1. Say “I Love You” to those you care about as often as possible. Look past the petty stuff and blurt those words out as often as you can muster. You can’t say them enough!

2. Remember to say “Thank You”. Let’s face it, you have it goooooooooood! I mean for one thing you are reading my blog, which is a huuuuuuuuuuge! Jokes aside, gratitude is good for you! When you celebrate your blessings you magnify the pleasure you get from life.

3. You are fallible. Everyone is. Get over it!

4. Believe that good will overcome. It always does. Truth prevails.

5. Don’t burn bridges, you never know when you are going to have to take a stroll down the path you came up on.

6. Forgive others so that you may be forgiven. Hatred towards others is hatred for yourself disguised. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Hatred is heavy. Forgiveness is light. Let go!

7. Make your word your bond. If you don’t honor what you say, neither will anybody else.

8. Don’t play the martyr, because you’re not! Everybody has a cross to bear so carry yours with a smile. You might just inspire someone else to do the same.

9. Let your actions speak of your character instead of your words. Don’t say who you are. Be who you are! People who need to brag about themselves rarely live up to the hype.

10. Nice guys finish first. Sure, there are people who will say this isn’t true, and usually they fall into two categories. 1. People who are’t nice. 2. People who think they are nice but are worried they won’t finish first. Problem is, they are both missing the point. Karma catches up with the first kind and frankly the second kind just don’t get it. Doing the right thing is its on reward, and what comes back to you is simply icing on the cake.

11. Be yourself. It’s your story, tell it how you want to. Be different. Be silly. Be amazing! Do it now, and never look back!

12. Be Happy! If finding joy is not enlightenment then it’s pretty darn close!

13. Love! Love till it hurts, love till your heart breaks, and then do it again. Love unconditionally, love wildly, love  because love is all there is. If love is not the meaning of life, I don’t know what is. Love!

14. Don’t listen to the critics. Believe in yourself. Be your own biggest cheerleader. Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t!

15. Laugh as often and as much as possible.

5 Quick Tips For Making New Yoga Friends (and Avoid Having “Yoga Frenemies”)

yoga friends in Italia! Angela Kukhahn, Cortland, Sonya, Desirre, Stephanie, Tara RiceMaking new yoga friends may not be your ‘top priority’ in life, but if you don’t want to make any yoga ‘frenemies’ and you want to ensure that people will move their mats over to squeeze you in next time you show up late to a packed yoga class, here is what to do…

1. Nobody else has the Miley Cyrus ringtone, we all know its you. Be a good yogi and take the walk of shame over to the ‘cubbies’ and turn it off. We forgive you, admire you a little (that took guts!) and you just earned yourself some good karma points too!

2. Leaving your yogitoes ‘skidless’ mat cover rolled up in your yoga mat so that the bacteria can fester and breed in the tropical like conditions of your car trunk is not called being ‘eco-friendly’ it called something else,…disgusting! (Ewwww.) If you breed a new kind of Fungi on that thing that is later named after you don’t say I didn’t warn you…wash it! (The entire yoga class thanks you! )

3. We understand you like burritos and we do too,… but not before yoga class please. (I thought we talked about this, no?)

4. Chewing gum is a yoga don’t, and it’s not just because everyone is jealous over how cool and nonchalant you look rolling into class with a mouthful of Blueberry Blast Bubbalicious. (Although admittedly, that is a factor)

5. There is your ‘garden variety’ moaning, and then there are moans of a different ‘variety’,…let’s keep it PG here people. Do it for the children,… and the people around you trying really hard not to die laughing. (or throw up a little bit in their mouth)

BIG HUG!

Angela

Are You Addicted to Being Unhappy?

love. hands in the shape  of a heart holding a rose

Addicted to suffering?

Surely not, right?

As crazy as this may sound, many of us have become addicted to feeling bad. When things begin to get too good we find reasons and ways to be miserable.

Playing the victim is easy because we don’t have to take responsibility; it’s much easier to blame someone else for our own unhappiness than to face the fact that we may be creating our own problems. Ever notice how some people drag around their problems with them like some strange badge of honor?

Suffering is not a ‘badge of honor.’ It does not make you more interesting, more spiritual, or a better person. Perhaps for some suffering has long been associated with being a better person. I assure you however, playing the martyr for its sake alone, will not help you, or anyone else become more enlightened.

The problem with being the victim is you will miss out on experiencing the beauty of the present moment.

If we constantly are dredging up the issues of the past we make enjoying what ‘is’ impossible!

We all have an unlimited supply of Love-consciousness inside of our being. This unfaltering supply of love, fulfillment and creativity is always available to us whenever we want to tap into it. Until we reconnect to this source of unconditional love we will feel insecure, and incomplete.

When we experience love-consciousness, we realize that everything is perfect exactly as it is. This does not mean we shouldn’t want to improve our situations and grow. Evolution is the nature of life, and everything is always moving forward; but if we choose to embrace the beauty of what is happening right now, instead of focusing on what we perceive as wrong, love grows, instead of fear.

We must learn to be okay with the natural cycles of life. Letting go of feelings of sadness and regret. It is of the utmost importance for your own happiness to realize creation and destruction as natural parts of life.

We must learn to embrace simplicity and spontaneity and let go of the questions, controls, and opinions.

In order to find true freedom from suffering, we need to begin to find happiness within. As adults, we may resist taking responsibility for our own unhappiness. It’s easier to blame the enviroment we live in, our parents, lovers, friends, our bosses, and so on. We can change our external circumstances, but in reality that will never change anything.

The outside is just a mirror of our own discontent. Fulfillment, peace, joy, and love do not come from outside, they come from the inside.

If we find ourselves constantly chasing romance and feel an aching inside to be desired what we may be actually seeking is a distraction: the excitement and fantasy are just ways of avoiding the lack of love we feel within ourselves. When we truly connect to the love within ourselves, this need for distraction falls away. All the expectations we place on the outside and on our partners — all the reasons we feel unfulfilled within our relationships — just vanish, because we have created a relationship with ourselves. Once you have discovered love of self, romance might appear in your life as an added bonus, but it will no longer be a requirement for your contentment.

When people are complete within themselves, they stop needing to protect, control, or grasp because the nature of love, is to give to every aspect of itself. Love perceives itself in everything. It perceives no scarcity or lack.

We can find freedom from our addiction to suffering when we choose, instead, to focus on love.

Men, Yoga and Relationships

Man in tree pose on top of car for manduka yoga mats

Although most yoga classes are made up of predominately women, the landscape is starting to shift. These days about 30 – 50 % of the people coming to classes are Men. Regardless of its stereotype in the west, yoga was created by men for men.

Although most of the guys I know may have introduced to yoga by a woman friend, they found that they enjoyed it, and continued to come, sometimes even after the relationship ended. Men may initially think they will not be able to relate to a form of excersize that is not a sport, or goal oriented. However, they may find they enjoy the community that a yoga classes provides.

Men as they age tend to meet fewer new friends than women and that can be isolating. Yoga classes provide a enviroment in wich they have the opportunity to know themselves in a deeper way, as well as become a part of a community of like minded individuals.

Yoga is all about relationships, internal as well as external.

How completely we understand and relate to ourselves has a huge impact on how we relate to others. Men may find that through regular yoga practice they begin to connect more deeply to their intuition and emotions. This deeper connection to their own emotions, has a positive impact on all of their relationships, intimate or otherwise.

Yoga not only connects us to our bodies and breath, but also to the people we love, our communities, and finally the world at large!

What Love Is

“Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

What’sLove Got To Do With It?

What has love and finding love got to do with the Yamas you ask? (Yogic guidelines for living peacefully and abundantly)Well,…alot, actually!

There are Yamas and Niyamas. The Yamas are how you approach the world and the Niyamas have to do with your inner world.

With Valentines Day fast approaching I have noticed every list imaginable on the internet. “5 to Find Love Fast”, “Ten Tips for Dating” and so on and so forth. I figured I may as well jump on the list bandwagon, but in my case see how the Yamas might be helpful in guiding you in your quest for love.

The Yamas:

1. Ahimsa ~ Nonviolence

The obvious of course is you don’t want to date someone who is physically violent, but hopefully you guys already have that one figured out. I would like to point out however it is important that you date someone who is not violent to themselves either. By non-violent I mean someone who is confident, happy, and secure. Another form of violence to oneself comes in the form of abusing ones body. You want your love muffin around for a long time don’t you? Well, then pick someone who is active, cares about what food (or anything ELSE they are putting in their body) and are emotionally healthy as well.

2. Satya ~ Truthfulness
Someone that is truthful is priceless. This is a non-negotiable! Watch out for the ones who lie about little seemingly insignificant things or tell tall tales. Just say no to Pinocchio!

3. Asteya ~ Nonstealing
Stealing comes in many forms, none of which are good. Notice, does this person take advantage of your time? Your good will? How about taking credit for things that they did not do?

4. Brahmacharya ~ Restraint
If you are not familiar with Brahmacharya it is typically used to describe the ethical guidelines for sex. If you want to save yourself alot of akwardness and grief, get to know someone before hitting the hay so to speak. Unless of course, you enjoy a luke-warm plate of awkward with a sprinkling of “I’m such- a- idiot” with your breakfast in the morning.

5. Aparigraha ~ Nonpossessiveness
Someone that allows you to be who and what you are in all your glory. A non-stingy lover of life! Someone who does not covet or horde things, or you for that matter.

Remember, like attracts like! Be the kind of person you want to have in your life and you will draw them in like a magnet.

(A big hot human magnet that is!)

Change: Friend or Foe?


Everything in life has a natural beginning, middle and ending. *sigh* I know, what a downer, hu?

You’d think as we get older and we do this “beginnings-endings” business it would just get easier, right? (I mean, throw me a bone here I am even starting to show some crow’s-feet….)

Nope.

It is tough.

Change is tough!

Darn!

The thing is with change I have learned however is that it teaches us non-attachment which is to me the real essence of yoga itself.

Whether something is good or bad, it changes.

One day you have a pounding headache, you’re stressed out, hating life and then you meet prince charming and poof troubles begone!

Okay, maybe not like that, but what seems important today or in this moment someday will be forgotten.

The pain you may feel, the heartache, the desperation, whatever it is had a beginning, and it has an end.

If you learn nothing more from change, learn that.

The pain that I feel in this moment had a beginning and it has an end.

so simple.

ahhhhhh.

No pain lasts…

Friends Forever


In my short lifetime I have had many “BFF” moments. You know, the moment you look at your new buddy and declared that your friendship would last to eternity!

Sure, it’s a nice thought, but let’s face it, finding a friendship that lasts is challenging. Here are a some things to look for in a friend.

1. Friends should lift you up when you are down.
No, your friend is not responsible for your happiness, and I am not suggesting you expect them to make putting a smile on your face their utmost priority.That being said however, a friend is someone who wants to make your world a happier place, and has your best interest at heart. Do you have a friend who consistently drains you of positive energy? If you find yourself feeling depleted after being in the company of someone every time you hang out you have yourself a toxic friendship!

My advice:
Move on and find someone who actually cares about uplifting and supporting you from time to time! Remember, friendship is a two-way street!

Ask yourself: Do I in some way encourage neediness from my friends? If so in what ways and why? Sometimes, we enable neediness from others so that we feel validated ourselves.

2. Friends who are a good influence.
I am not talking about the friend who encourages you to have a second glass of wine, share a decadent dessert, or stay up past your bedtime once in a while! You need people in your life that help you, live a little! What I am addressing however, is the friend who is constantly sabotaging your best efforts! You know, the one who makes you feel bad about eating healthy in their presence? Yep, that’s the one! Or how about the friend you tells you how lame it is that you are not willing to get drunk with them because its Tuesday and they said so! Although its okay to enjoy being a little reckless once in a while, making it a way of life is self- destructive! Unfortunately this kind of friend is unwilling to accept accountability for their actions in their own life and will not want to see you act responsible in yours either! If they are unwilling to mature properly they will only stand in the way of your growth!

My advice:
Stand firm on the choices you make for your life! If they are really your friend they will respect and love you for it. (It is even possible that they may become inspired and follow your lead!) If they are not a true friend they will resent the positive changes you are making in your life. Either way you will know whether they are a true friend or not.

3. Your Friends tell you the truth (even when its hard)
This one is so important! Friends are people who tell you when you have something in your teeth, they scold you when you act in a way that is below your moral caliber, they tell you when your new man is inappropriate with them ect! This is not easy! Not only is it hard to say to your friend, it’s also hard to accept sometimes. No matter how tough however, cherish these friends! They love you enough to help you hear the truth, and that is priceless!

My advice:
If you tend to react negatively in these types of situations ask yourself why? If your friends can’t tell you the truth, then who will you listen too?!? It is dangerous on many levels to isolate yourself from people who will be straight up with you!

On the other hand beware of people who in the name of being “honest” seek to embarrass or humiliate you! These are not your friends, these are “frenimies” drop them like a hot potato!

Well, that’s all for now, good luck finding your next
“bff”or “bro-mance”
or whatever the cool kids are calling friendship these days!

Your New BFF!
Angela