Aparigraha and living in faith

by Jenna Bacchi

Aparigraha is a familiar term in the yoga community meaning non-hoarding or non-possessiveness. Growing up in a poor family where throwing away anything was a sin lead me to develop attachments to little things I really didn’t need. Things like old clothes, books, lotions, anything. I couldn’t throw it away, that was a sin. Overtime the result was owing a ton of worthless stuff, attaching myself to things that I didn’t need. Living in a life of clutter. It was as if the inside of my unorganized brain spewed all over my home. Offering the onlooker, a sample of what kind of overthinking, over stressing brain I resided in. O.K., my home did not look like an episode of Hoarders, but I had a lot of worthless things that were not serving me. Specifically, this essay will tap into one element of aparigraha, the aspect of hanging onto physical things.

Yoga is a lifestyle of learning about yourself, a lifestyle of self-study. The experience of diving into the subconscious and challenging your own belief system. This belief system I had to challenge was that I had to save everything out of fear of never having enough, had to end. It was the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, that gave me clarity. While listening to this audiobook, I fearfully started packaging all sorts of things for goodwill and throwing out tons of other things. It horrified by then boyfriend, now husband, because it was quite a shocking amount of things I was getting rid of. This required that I started living in faith, instead of fear. Living in faith that there will always be enough. Simply trusting.

According to A light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, “…one should not hoard or collect things none does not require immediately.” I remember Marie Kondo’s advice about allowing things to have rent in your home, whether it is worth it to keeps so much stuff around. Is it worth it to hang on to things you use once a year? If you go camping once a year would it be worth it to rent the equipment you need instead of owing it? Maybe, maybe not, everyone is on their own journey living in their own space. This is not meant to judge anyone, only to express a wonderful concept in yoga.

“By the observance of aparigraha, the yogi makes his life as simple as possible and trains his mind not to feel the loss or the lack of anything. Then everything he really needs will come to him by itself at the proper time”-Iyengar. Let’s visit the goal of yoga according to the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali,” Complete mastery over the modifications of the mind is called yoga.” Therefore, we can see how what Iyengar says about aparigraha and the goal of yoga is a harmonious mix of creating mastery over the mind. When we are not attached to the physical things in life, we free up a lot of energy around physical items. For example, if we lose a pair of sunglasses, we are not burdened by the situation, there are endless amounts of sunglasses in the world. We can drop by the local convenience store and grab a new pair.

The most challenging part of this yama for me is books, they hold so much wisdom and I never know when I might want to go back and read them again – which is funny because I almost never read a book twice. At the end of the day you can always go out and get another – fill in the blank (book). There will always be more, live your life in faith and live your life in abundance, then there is no need to hang on to old things that no longer serve you.

What does non-possessiveness mean to you? Is this something that is part of your yoga practice? What are you hanging onto, is it physical, a belief, energetically?

Right Use of Energy, Brahmacharya

By: Jenna Bacchi

This week the theme of my yoga classes is brahmacharya. This means right use of energy. This really got me thinking as I wrote out some reflections of my own for my students.

What is my own right use of energy? Am I spending time on the things I believe in, on living the life I want, on giving back to my community in a way that I believe in?

Right use of energy can extend into so many dimensions. This could be in the direction of our family, our work, our faith, etcetera. When it comes down to it, it is vital to ponder on what is best for our own missions in our life. It’s vital to ponder on, where our energy has to go to be in that authentic space of living. Where our energy has to go so, we arrive where we want to be, and so we can live a life we believe in. Even to the extent of how you want to be remembered after our time on this Earth is over. This is where we find fulfillment in our lives, and our satisfaction in this human experience.

If we do not put our energy into what we believe in and what we value, then our lives will start to run us, instead of us running our lives. It’s powerful to sit down and look at where we are offering our energy and what outcome we expect to have. Will your use of energy eventually result in what you’re craving for in this lifetime?

If we spend copious moments on social media, but our goals have nothing to do with scrolling through your Facebook feed are we getting any closer to the energetic or physical place we want to be? If we’re watching TV at night, but we want to lose weight, it’s time to turn the TV off and spend our precious energy in the gym and cooking healthy food. Think about where you’re spending your time and think about what the payoff is. Looking at that will prove to you whether you’re practicing Brahmacharya.

It’s vital to have concentration (dharana), when traveling on the path that we believe in. This is what keeps us on the right track to achieving our desires and living our best lives. When we use our concentration in conjunction with finding our own right use of energy, the result is a beautiful life that we love living.

Sure, it might seem like common knowledge to put your energy in the direction of what you’d like to receive, but many of us don’t. Some of us are surfing social media, instead of paying attention to family. Some of us are out at the bars on the weekends instead of waking up early and training for 5ks. Where does your energy need to go to live out your duty?

Brahmacharya asks of us to re- evaluate how we spend our time and energy. Brahmacharya gives us an opportunity to reflect on whether our daily commitments, and practices are in line with what we actually want and believe is right for our lives.

To take the time to realize our own right use of energy is important to first identify our mission in life. This can be very vague if you don’t know exactly how you want to contribute to society. Some vague examples include, help people, help animals, serve god or to put family first. This can also be very specific of course, for example, to be a nurse in ICU and save lives daily from 8pm to 4am. From there, we can evaluate if what we’re doing right now in our lives is part of our right use of energy. We can take a moment to reflect on whether where we put our time, energy, efforts and attention are in line with that. When we are in alignment with what we want we live lives of bliss.

Let me know how it went! I hope you all are directing your energy in the direction of what you believe is your right use of energy.

Photo by Pixabay

Stress Management and Attitude

ATTITUDE

By: Charles Swindoll

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”

Stress Management and Attitude

By: Jenna Bacchi

What can we do when there is nowhere to turn, but stress is surfacing to our hearts, minds and through each and every pore? We have the ability to make some quick internal shifts to handle the stress.

One thing I’ve learned from being in the army was that things will be the way things are. What I mean is when something wasn’t the way I would have preferred, guess what, it didn’t matter. That’s the way it was. I realized that I would have to make my own internal shifts to handle situations. Really, our freedom lies within our own two ears, in our mind. We can be a slave to our own reactions of the situation, or we can handle it with our attitude. We have the option to step back and realize that our experiences are a culmination of what we perceive, what we think and how we feel.

Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily, that’s a perception too. To say it’s easier said than done immediately puts up limits on our mental capacities.

We are more than capable of managing our abilities to handle situations. Not to say something tragic won’t evoke some very extreme emotions, of course it will, that is part of this human experience. What it does offer is powerful coping skills. This allows to take our own power back, to roll with the punches and to manage the stress of our lives with our own mind.

When it comes to stress management not everything has to be external. It doesn’t have to be a yoga class, meditation, a massage. We can make internal shifts that don’t add more time in our life. We can change our attitude which allows us to change or handle our perceptions of a situation and design that moment into what we want it to be like. We can use our perception to look at the silver lining. This is important because when we’re in meetings at work, we can’t just say, “hold on boss, I’m getting kind of stressed, I need to go do a yoga class, how about we finish this meeting when I get back?”. Life doesn’t work that way, we have to handle stress in the moment, and we can use our attitude and perception to do so.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have our emotions. What I am saying is we can decide how to perceive our experiences and we can decide to have a positive attitude about how the world is outside of us.

Take a look at your attitude, could it use an adjustment?

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction:

To me the law of attraction is a way of becoming focused, intentional, and to take responsibility for one’s own life and thoughts. Here’s a shortened version of some of my own experiences with this lifestyle that I do my best to embody.

My first memory of exposure to the law of attraction was at about 12 years old (2002, I was in the 6th grade), I remember reading something in a children’s bible it said something along the lines of: “if you believe it, it will come true”. I tried to hang on to that belief for as long as I could, as I got older that thought process seemed to slip my mind.

I believe I first read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne in 2008. My parents gave it to me as a Christmas present. This might have been my second exposure to the law of attraction. I found it rather ironic, since my step-mom’s favorite phrase while I was growing up was: “if it’s seems too good to be true, it probably is”.

I’ve had this ebb and flow of working on being intentional with my thoughts followed by my own forgetting to be in control of them the next moment for a long time. At times I get so busy or hyper focused on my work, school, activities going on in my life that the concept that my thoughts and focus in creating my life can be forgotten and just brushed to the side. Although I may forget to be intentional, the law of attraction is still working through me as the activities I work on bring more of that into my life.

In recent events, it was my honeymoon where I saw the world bringing this message to the forefront of my mind. Not long before my honeymoon I went to a used bookstore (one of my favorite places to be), I had been thinking about the book, The Secret, for a while by then. I couldn’t find my old version and I wanted to take another gander at what the book had to offer. No surprise that I found it, as many used bookstores have many copies. I picked up that book, amongst my heaping armfuls of other books, and proceeded to the cash register. This book was marked at $5, the cashier looked at that price and said to me, that’s a bit much, how about a dollar. It was as if the universe wanted me to hear this message. I went home with this book and set it aside, as I do with most books that come home with me. Now this was I believe July, my news year resolution earlier that year was to just read half a book a month. Well, that didn’t happen. Fast forward to my honeymoon, I took that little book with me on the plane and finished the whole thing. Ok, if you’ve read the secret you know it’s an easy read nevertheless, the whole year I hadn’t finished one book and here I am finishing this one. I brought those ideas and intentions on my honeymoon.

We were on Roatan Island and just finished a remarkable experience of interacting and enjoying our time with multiple monkeys as they walked all over our shoulders. We were waiting for a late bus to take us back to the boat and that’s where we met Louie. It was like the universe wanted to bring Louie into our lives. Louie was a man who lived with intention, who knew the power of his mind. He understood what kind of power the human held. On the bus ride back to the boat he didn’t hold back in expressing to me and my husband this message. As he spoke to us it was as if the messages about the law of attraction (which he didn’t even connect to the law of attraction) flowed through his essence. He never read The Secret, he just knew these things to be true. He didn’t know what the law of attraction was, he just understood. His entire being just radiating wisdom. He told us a story of how he wanted to see what a million dollars in cash looked like, and how he found himself standing in a room with a million dollars. He expressed to us how he built a successful business, and the people he’s met, all though his own intentions and beliefs. He was truly an inspiration that my husband and I still talk about to this day. We are so grateful for that encounter.

When I look around at the life I’ve created, it’s literally everything I’ve asked for. I know this because I wrote a letter to myself in the 8th grade. That letter was sent to me years later and I had achieved almost everything on that list. I’m still working towards honing in on what I want in this life, but that’s part of the fun. I look forward to continuing to see what I have asked for come into my life.

When I give surface thoughts to the law of attraction I can relate the concept to creating clarity of what is wanted, focusing on it, moving towards it and allowing the universe to help along the way. When we are intentional with what we want, we get it. When we have positive feelings about the things we want, we get it.

If it speaks to you today, get clear on what you want. Write it down, look at it, envision it in your life, and make the path for it to come to you. This is your life and you are in control.

Namaste,

Jenna

My husband and I at Roatan Island.

Grace Under Fire

What a powerful concept tucked into a short phrase, which leads to the concept of control, courage and level headedness. It’s the concept that when everything is chaos around you, you stay calm and controlled. It’s something I’ve tried to embody (with some failures along the way) most of my life. Not to say I ALWAYS fail at this, I can remember getting rear ended, calmly getting out of my car and thinking, “I would have preferred that had not happened”. That’s the kind of surrender and attitude I strive to bring into all situations, that I don’t prefer.

Growing up in a household where a rational reaction was to anything was to scream, and fight, a concept such as “grace under fire” was foreign to me. I had to and continue to work on this daily. For me it’s a way of coming into my own power, calming taking on any situation, because I have the power to control how I react. Although, for many-like me, that reaction is not innate; but it is something we can train ourselves to embody. It’s something I started to master, or at least start to come into an understanding of when I was on my first deployment. I started with all the self-help books I could find. I mean, I really needed some help. From there it continued, and I experienced a constant rollercoaster of ups and downs; sometimes moving away from my “self-improvement” train, and of course always coming back. It’s a process, and I am constantly bringing in new tools.

Yoga is one of those tools I use to bring myself into my own power and to grow into a controlled and calm state of mind. The tools I’ve learned from the yamas and niyamas show up more in my life than I realized until I started writing. As I write I see how many themes are attached to the yamas and niyamas, and those concepts are bringing more clarity on how to react and handle situations. There is less guessing and figuring out how to handle things on my own. A niyama that comes to mind is surrender, opposed to negative reactions when a situation occurs, for me I try to surrender to that situation at that time, until I have the means to work through it. Sometimes that surrender means, accepting things that are not controllable. Isn’t it all too often we want to react to situations we have no control over? Grace under fire would ask of us otherwise. The training tools that yoga brings into my life are forever flourishing and offering me more abilities to be the grace under the fire.

My bag of tea, (Yogi tea), had a little quote at the end of the string: grace is kindness, compassion and caring. How powerful to replace “Grace” with “kindness, compassion and caring” under fire. When adding those adjectives in place of grace it can give us an opportunity to think even deeper into what it means to have grace under fire. Is it possible to be in a hectic situation and still hold onto kindness, compassion and caring? I know I’m not at a place where I can do that in every situation. Perhaps few chaotic situations, here and there, but overall, there are many situations where I find I have too much of an energetic investment in whatever the situation may be, and therefore still am not at a place where I can find my own neutral mind amidst the chaos. Therefore, I continue to use the tools from yoga and from different gurus to bring me into my own power, and abilities to construct as much power in every situation that is appropriate.

Take a moment to reflect on what grace under fire means to you and how you might want to bring it into your own life, and into the new year.

Namaste,

Jenna

Move into the New Year with Clarity: How yoga as a lifestyle can help you control your life

Move into the New Year with Clarity:

How yoga as a lifestyle can help you control your life

Allow me to begin this article with a little irony. As I sat down to write this article I immediately got up to grab a few reference material items. All of my paperwork, and most things, have a place in which they always reside. These items do as well. For some reason way beyond me, they were not where they should have been. It is with irony that I frantically looked for them, instead of using my steady yogi skills which this article is about.

Let’s start, as this year begins most of us start with intentions to have the best year possible, whether that means fitness, having fun, spending time with family, calamity of mind, flexibility, or in general yoga; yoga can advance our abilities to efficiently and intelligibly reach these goals.

The word Yoga means yoking, or in another sense, bringing together, union or connection. This brand-new beginning, new years, is a time to bring new intentions in with healthy habits from the previous year.

Yoga is a lifestyle, it’s more than an asana (poses) class you do once a week. Yoga is 8 limbs to follow. Yoga is the Yama: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, non-possessiveness. It’s the Niyama: purity, contentment, austerity, self-study, centering on the divine. Yoga is breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and enlightenment.

Yoga includes balance. Balance is essential to bringing in new goals and intentions into our new year. To maintain this balance, we must find out own ways to manage that. Yoga can be the balancing force that allows you to take a step back when things get a little too busy, with food prep, taking kids to practices, hitting the gym, etc. It’s the silent time in the day where one sits and refocuses, relaxes, re-energizes. Yoga is self-care that helps you perform at your greatest potential. To take a moment to step back and have a yoga practice allows one to move forward with life and their intentions at a much quicker and efficient pace.

Balancing the eight limbs of yoga in with new years resolutions or goals and intentions is an intelligent way to push forward and sustain those resolutions, goals and intentions all the way until December 31st, 2018.

Take your intention, and bring use the Yama, non-violence to have a non-violent view of your intention. This means to not have any judgement of yourself for what you intend on achieving, be truthful with what you can achieve in what time frame. Do not allow this goal to steal you away from the other important things that must continue to be in your life, use self-discipline to make your intention come to fruition. And do not become possessive of what may result or be intended with this intention.

Continue up the eight limbs of yoga with your intention and use the Niyama purity to cleanse your living space and body, this will allow you to have a clear mind and body to stay focused on your intention. Less distractions. Contentment with where you are at the moment will take away stress or anxiousness that comes with trying to achieve a goal or resolution. Maintaining austerity will allow you to focus on your goals. Self-study can reveal anything that may be standing in your way, reasons why you haven’t achieved this goal in the past, and moving past that. Centering on the divine can bring you back anytime you feel as if you’re over consumed by the changes you decided to make this year.

Bringing in the posture practice of yoga can keep your body limber and young, what ever your goal is, it is vital to be in peak physical condition. Nothing should distract you from your goals this year. Joints that function, and muscles that are flexible and limber are vital to moving forward to attain goals.

Have you ever been so busy, maybe trying to juggle 5 different tasks, and you can’t remember where you put something? Or you just can’t figure out how to solve a problem. When you finally relaxed the answer came to you? Breath control and sense withdrawal allows us to move into our new year with clarity, calmness and a healthy state of mind. We can put ourselves into that state of calmness where things click by controlling our breath and taking ourselves away from media, and constant bombardment of our senses. We can put ourselves in this state of mind daily, we can train ourselves to be calmer and content in the moment. If this practice can help you achieve more, to reach your goals, would you do it?

Meditation is a daily lifestyle that can change brains. To achieve greatness, we must control our bodies, to control our bodies, we must control our mind. To control our mind, we meditate. To achieve balance, greatness, and new years resolutions, I recommend using meditation as your most powerful tool. There are many different ways to meditate, and you may resonate with one the most. Take that and use it to enhance your own personal power.

In the end perhaps we shall reach enlightenment, and if we are so blessed to reach enlightenment we have truly mastered all of the other limbs and are truly achieving the most incredible gift.

Take yoga into your life, take the time for yourself. This is an amazing time signified with new beginnings. I truly believe New years is the most incredible holiday as it’s a holiday where people all over the world vow to become a better them, and self-improvement is what keeps life interesting. It’s what allows us to help ourselves and others. Keep moving forward and consider using yoga in your journey.

If you’re interested in becoming a yoga teacher and diving deeper into these teachings and how your can help influence other’s lives with them you can join Temple Yoga on February 3rd for the next class that starts for Yoga teacher training. This class is Yoga Alliance approved and organized by Edge Yoga School. Start using these fundamentals in your life and helping others do the same!

Happy 2018 friends,

Jenna Bacchi
Owner of Temple Yoga in Dekalb, IL

The eight limbs of yoga:

  1. Yama-restraints
  2. Niyama-observances
  3. Asana-postures
  4. Pranayama-breath control
  5. Pratyahara-sense withdrawal
  6. Dharana-concentration
  7. Dhyana-meditation
  8. Samadhi-enlightenment

Holiday Classes

Classes Announcements:
Monday December 18, 2017 is the last Kundalini Class of the year. Sonja will continue on January 3, 2018. There will be no classes on December 23, 2017, December 25, 2017 or on January 1, 2017. Have a lovely holiday!

ACE Personal Training Prep Course

Edge Yoga School is offering a Personal Training Prep course located at Temple Yoga, 147 N. 2nd st suite 11 Dekalb, IL. This course will prepare the individual for the ACE Personal Trainer test. This is an opportunity for individuals to advance, change, or supplement their career into the health and fitness field. This course is taught by Jenna, who has 4 years experience as a personal trainer. Her passion and dedication to helping you learn will greatly impact your confidence when you graduate and pass your test. Contact Temple Yoga at templeyogafitness@gmail.com