Friday, June 19, 2015

Both eyes open

by Sammy Garrett, Zuna Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate

Something happens post Yoga Teacher Training. Yes, of course there are significant internal shifts with such great growth and learning, but I want to talk about something different. The external shift. It’s as though the person who entered the training on the first day leaves their old eyes behind, and upon completion steps forward with brand new vision. Speaking from experience, this new pair of eyes completely alters how the external world is perceived.  

Alignment? What alignment?
I have no doubt that many people have wished for new eyes or better vision, I feel blessed as that is exactly what my training with Zuna Yoga has given me. I am now the proud owner of fresh, bright, clear eyes which see much deeper and further than before. What I see has altered. There are things I notice that weren’t there before. For example, how can I ever look at a sensational yoga picture without analyzing whether or not the model is in correct alignment or hyper extending? First world problems alright! I will never again be able to look at yoga profiles on Instagram in the same light.

Looking past the superficial, these new eyes can break down layers and barriers in relationships and the surrounding environment, surpassing the ego and instead connecting with the innermost essence. I find myself amazed at the finest details and being drawn to things of significance, only later realizing their importance and meaning. In reality, the eyes are merely a tool of the mind, one of the senses which allow information to be received and deciphered. This is the way our surroundings speak to us. How this process occurs is entirely unique to each individual. Are you the master of your mind or is your mind the master of you? Is it what you see or how you see it? Perception is everything.

Sammy takes in the view
If the eyes are the lens through which we see the world, don’t we want to service our lens and keep it in clean working order? Yoga and meditation are means to do so. Think of it as servicing your car. Just as your car needs a check up to make sure everything is in working order and operating smoothly, so too does your mind. Therefore, for the senses to run optimally as we go about our day, it is vital to regularly service the mind. Yoga and meditation are the daily servicing my mind requires to be thriving and operating at full potential. Both eyes are open and I can see clearly.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Giving back

by Sammy Garrett, Zuna Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate

Can you recall a time when you gave without expecting anything in return? Nothing beats the joy you have created by giving unconditionally to another. A mentor of mine recently said that one of life’s secrets is to teach what you love. She explained that when sharing that which is most sacred to you, it keeps it alive and at the forefront of your mind. Personally, I love yoga, and since completing my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Zuna Yoga I now have the ability to teach what I love. And that’s exactly what I am doing, sharing my passion and knowledge of yoga in service to my local community. Now is my time to give.

I recently had the opportunity to take part in a charity event, offering yoga as a way to fundraise money for a branch of the Cancer Society. Of course I said YES! Never mind the fact that I had only recently completed my yoga teacher training and would be teaching to a group of over 70 people. Talk about diving in head first. The fear I felt was nothing compared to those who battle terminal illnesses such as cancer. I reminded myself I have all the skills I needed to instruct a large group into a series of basic postures. It was only my mind, operating out of fear and ego, which was telling me otherwise. The whole event was a huge success and the money raised was such a wonderful collective achievement.

The experience of giving is glorious. If I could, I would give, give, and give all day every day. I love making a difference in people’s lives and nothing lights up my day more than seeing people smile. It’s not so much the act of giving, its rather the outcome of giving. Seeing the reaction and the change I can make in others by offering random acts of generosity. For me there is no need for gratification, it is enough to know that my cup is so full that I can spare some to those in need. Ideally, we should all have the ability to fill our own cups to the brim with goodness. However, sad but true, this is not always the case. Look out for those who may need a top up and reach out to them today. Be it a stranger or a good friend, you may surprise them and yourself with the precious act of giving.

Those who follow the path of personal integrity are able to clearly understand themselves and share their learnings with the world. Yoga teachers are key examples of this. Our teachers before us gave their wisdom and I believe it is our responsibility to honor this by continuing to share the message and gift of yoga. I put myself first and foremost because I know that when I am operating from a place of peace and happiness, I am in a state to give selflessly to others. Next time you are in doubt, I invite you to share, teach, give, offer service. Take note of what follows and how it makes you feel. It’s our time to give. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Balancing faith

by Sammy Garrett, Zuna Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate

How I miss the tranquility of Indonesia’s islands. It’s not very often that distractions are as limited as they were during the stay on the silent sanctuary of Gili Meno. I’ll be completely honest; I’ve been struggling to find balance since returning from my 200 hour yoga teacher training at maoMeno, a place dedicated to nurturing the practices of yoga day in day out. It all seems but a distant dream …

The yoga teacher training runs for three intensive weeks, whereby nothing else matters other than getting the absolute most out of the training. It’s all about YOU, your practice, your growth, your learning. Afterwards, the real world sure provides a rude awakening. Although all of us Zuna Yogis had a lovely break and switched off for a short while, there’s no doubt each of us holds varying forms of responsibility and commitment upon returning to ‘everyday life’. The secret is juggling these daily demands with a dedicated lifestyle of yoga and meditation, thus finding the sweet spot we call balance. 

Peaceful Gili Meno
Incorporating the learnings from the 200 hour yoga teacher training into daily life is happening with slow and steady progress. With plenty of bumps along the way, persistence has been the key. When life hands you a challenge, you learn from it, right? It’s easy to find excuses as to why our best intentions aren’t being lived up to, or punish and guilt ourselves until we lose motivation completely. Treating myself with kindness and patience, I think of my goals. Stay focused. Breathe. I’m not trying to run a marathon, but I do know which direction I’m facing, and the focus is to simply put one foot in front of the other. For now, this is enough. 

Balance requires constant work and assessment. Just as we must be aware of every cell in the body to find strength, stillness and stability in asanas, we must also remain soundly alert throughout everyday life. Constant awareness helps in staying grounded and strong in our true selves. Acting as my own test dummy, I have been exploring by tipping the scales each way, precariously finding a stable middle ground. I am determined to stay true to myself. It hasn’t been easy and at times I have felt lost and alone, discovering that a strong support network is fundamental to success. The key is to surround myself with those who respect and honor my passions, gently reminding me of my purpose should I lose my way.

yoga teacher training Bali
Zuna Tribe
Oh how wonderful it would be to let my hair down, break free from all obligations and roam this world as a carefree, spirited yogi. Alas, society does not operate this way. We are social beings, we form relationships and participate in communities. So why not make that community a loving, yogic one? As a self confessed travel junkie, I have realized I no longer need to search the globe to find my tribe. If I shine my light brightly enough, I will attract those who share the same values and beliefs. I have faith.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Learning to thrive

by Everett Newell, ERYT 500, Founder of Zuna Yoga

yoga teacher training bali
Life is full of big decisions: education, career, finance, family, where to live … with virtually an infinite number of choices to explore, how do we confidently know what choices will lead us toward meaningful reward? Is purpose something we just randomly decide, or is there a luminous dimension of authentic individuality waiting to shine and be shared? If there is purpose to our existence, how do we find it and effectively integrate it into our lives? Even as a child, I pondered the importance of these elusive life questions. Through the years that followed I found myself questioning whether it was even possible to create a recipe for authentic happiness, let alone be sustained beyond the fleeting moments of triumph we experience as we pass by the obvious landmarks of professional and financial success.

For years I struggled with many attempts at creating a satisfying foothold in various careers and relationships, none of which led me to true fulfillment. Then something shifted. I stumbled upon a philosophy and system of practice that lead to me to the answers I’d been searching for. It was a slow and methodical turning point that transformed a seemingly random, circumstantial life into a masterful experience of authentic joy and purpose. This began to fluidly integrate into nearly all my thought and decision processes. And then there was an awakening. Like experiencing the glorious dance of colorful morning light as the sun auspiciously begins to rise, I felt the the blossoming of fulfillment as I realized I was actually living a beautiful and purposeful life. It felt authentically organic. My life, relationships, career, everything, were being experienced on a level I had never known before. The events of my life were no longer a collage of random experiences, but were now more like the elegant brush stokes of a masterful artist on the canvas of life.

For the first time, I felt joyously driven and in command of my life. It was as if the voices of

truth that belonged to the saints and sages of tradition were guiding me. Yoga is not only a discipline to teach us how to transcend suffering, but most importantly a science that teaches us how to thrive. I had deciphered a modern interpretation of a deep and meaningful promise of yoga and I knew it needed to be shared. There is so much more to yoga than simple postural perfection. The postures, methods of breathing, meditation and contemplations are like the threads of a fabric. When woven together with intelligent structure, they create an experience far greater than the sum of their individual parts. I made note of what had transpired, and continued to refine my knowledge of the practices and their supporting philosophy that led me to my own realization. Over the next few years, I assembled what I had learned into a concise recipe of tradition and science. This was the birth of Zuna Yoga, and I have been dedicated to sharing its spiritual alchemy with others ever since.

bali yoga teacher training
In the years to follow, I’ve seen many students pass through our yoga teacher trainings. I’ve never experienced anything more fulfilling than being witness to their dedication for inspired conscious living, and seeing that dedication rewarded as they reveal their own authentic voice and vision. The testimonials we receive that speak to the discoveries made while attending this program fill me with hope that it is possible for us to share in a world where we can all thrive, powered by authenticity. 

Managing the growing list of life’s choices requires us to be more informed and deliberate when choosing a course heading through life so we may arrive at a destination of happiness and fulfillment that is equal to the desire for it to be realized. Awakening the wisdom and the will to authentically thrive in the modern world is the purpose of Zuna Yoga.

Come join us and be inspired to THRIVE.