Life Lessons

Kripalu life coaches share their experiences and pearls of wisdom.

Posted on November 27th, 2012 by in Life Lessons

The Politics of Emotion

In the days after the election, millions of people around the world watched as President Obama delivered a heartfelt—and teary—speech to his campaign staff. “What you guys have done,” he said to them, wiping away tears with his finger, “means that the work that I’m doing is important.” It was both surprising and moving to see a man in a position traditionally known for coolness—under pressure always—overcome with such visible emotion.

In fact, emotions came up a lot throughout the election. Some of the most prominent issues were ones that spoke to us, our lives and our beliefs, very personally: our right to control our bodies, our right to marry whomever we want. We saw many tender moments between the candidates—though some more tender than most. Both during and after the election, the emotional vulnerability we saw from Obama far surpassed that of his opponent, making us wonder: Could emptions have contributed to Obama’s win?

read →
Posted on November 24th, 2012 by in Life Lessons

Three Tips to Succeed in Your Life’s Work

Tama Kieves, guest blogger

You may not know what you’d love to do. Or you may be in the thick of living your passion, but want to take your dream to the heights of wild success. The path is the same. It’s about choosing love instead of fear.

Stay true to your desires. Please don’t make them “practical.” This is an inspired path, not a “reasonable” one. Ignore the experts and listen to your genius. Express what you want, not what you think you can have. Undiluted desire excites you. When you’re engaged, you’re firing on all cylinders. When you’re inspired, you’re unstoppable.

read →
Posted on November 1st, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Life Lessons

Election 2012: Can We Agree to Disagree?

In the late ‘60s, feminists coined—and very often employed—the phrase “the personal is political,” and never before has it rung truer. The recent party conventions were deeply personal, with moving onstage tales of hardship that ranged from growing up black in the South to delivering babies prematurely. Social media, meanwhile, lets us express our views—and hear about others’—more explicitly and aggressively than ever before. Views with which we don’t agree often come as a shock, if not a personal blow: I have a friend who thinks that?

“What is it about politics that hits us so emotionally?” asks Aruni Nan Futuronsky, a certified life coach and program advisor in Kripalu Healthy Living programs. While we may be used to—and even welcome—differences of opinion among family and friends in other arenas, politics often seems to warrant a less accepting view. We get defensive and argumentative. We feel very strongly. We try to convince others to see our side—and we often fail. That’s where the philosophies we learn in our yoga practice come into play, says Aruni. “Yoga teaches us to take action and to express our truth, but not get stuck on the outcome,” she says. That is, speak your mind—but don’t expect to change someone else’s.

read →
Posted on October 29th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Life Lessons, Meditation

Meditation in Action

How meditation can help you be a better friend.

Meditation has long been celebrated for all it can do for us, among the benefits: lower blood pressure, reduce stress, help us sleep, and even possibly help us lose weight. But a recent study also found that meditation might help us be better friends and partners. Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta found that many participants who had practiced eight weeks of meditation showed significant improvement in their ability to identify the emotions of people in photos based on their expressions. That is, they were more in tune with the feelings of others.

read →

Permission to Practice

Let me simply say that I didn’t just fall off the mat. Recently, confronted with life on life’s terms, I plummeted, plunged, and wildly tumbled, losing all foothold to the practices that give me perspective and trust. There is good news in this tale though I found my way back relatively quickly. But, in this breach, I endured much self-inflicted struggle and pain.

This story is canine-related. My dogs, Lucy Kay Doodle and Zac Joey Doodle, are gifts of love and growth for me. In their fuzzy, larger-than-life Muppet-ness, they bring me such lessons.They are shiny mirrors into which I see my behavior, recognize my strengths and growth, and see beyond my old patterns of limited thinking. Simply put, my dogs are my teachers. They help me grow.

read →
Posted on October 20th, 2012 by in Life Lessons, Yoga

Rituals of Transition: A Shamanic Approach to Moving Beyond Fear and Anxiety

by Bo Forbes According to clinical psychologist and yoga therapist Bo Forbes, the best tactic for overcoming fear and anxiety is to run toward them rather than away. What do we do once we catch up with our fears? As Bo explains in this article, the wisdom of tribal societies can offer a context and […]

read →
Posted on October 18th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Life Lessons

The Quest for Authenticity Starts Early

Chip Conley, guest blogger

An excerpt from Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness and Success

With a successful career in the hospitality industry behind him, Chip Conley says he’s moved from Chief Executive Officer to Chief Emotions Officer. In his new book, Emotional Equations, Chip explores the idea of using math as a way to better understand and manage our emotions. Two of the biggest factors in Chip’s emotional equations are self-awareness and courage, as this excerpt explains.

Infants begin to gain self-awareness between eighteen and twenty-four months of age, when they start becoming conscious of their own thoughts, feelings, and sensations and how they are separate from other people and objects. From that time on, we struggle to fulfill Oscar Wilde’s famous advice “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

read →
Posted on October 15th, 2012 by in Life Lessons, Meditation, Yoga

Cultivating Inner Strength

Do you suffer from anxiety, poor digestion, or lack of focus? When life’s demands overwhelm us, Angela Wilson, Manager of Evidence-Based Yoga Curriculum for Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living, explains in her R&R retreat lecture Cultivating Inner Strength, our nervous system gets out of balance. Through the practices of yoga meditation, and mindfulness, however, we can build resilience in order to be fully aware of all our experiences.

As Angela explains, there are two main branches of the nervous system. There’s the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight-or-flight response in reaction to stressful situations. It’s a hot, reactive state, which increases heart rate and primes the body for action. The other branch is the parasympathetic nervous system, which is activated when the body is relaxed. The parasympathetic supports a cooling, restful and state. It soothes the system, aids in digestion, and can be fostered through yoga practice.

read →