_By Mayuri Gonzalez
VOLUME III Issue II                     January 8, 2012; 3:25pm EST

All of the yoga postures or asana's, provide us an opportunity to play with the ideas of "push" and "yield" and yet we can extend this energetic experience into our daily lives.

       As we approach each yoga posture (or any other physically demanding activity), we need to push ourselves to move the body further into the posture. This allows us to deepen the stretch and challenge our self to exert more effort and strength to sustain the posture or move deeper within the pose. This active energy of "pushing" allows us to build strength, and flexibility. There is another equally valuable force that it is important to bring to the table with our awareness. "Yielding" is a passive force that allows us to wait and listen to the feedback from our body. We are able to let go of resistance without being forceful or aggressive. Often, the act of yielding or surrendering within the posture makes the posture more available to us. I have found in my own practice, that I am often the one that is in the way of my own progress. I have been trapped in the tangle of my own frustration with my body when I blame and get frustrated with the limitations of my body in any pose. When I am able to breathe and relax, or "yeild" into the posture, I am reminded that my body just needs time and practice, pushing, and yielding. Each day that I show up on my yoga mat, my body greets me with new possibilities, and sometimes even new limitations. I can challenge myself and yet stay soft and remember that my practice is a process and I have to be mindful of the "release" that can be experienced through my asana practice.
     We can orchestrate these two forces beautifully and gracefully through the breath. The breath becomes the linking force between active and passive, doing and not-doing, control and surrender, pushing and yeilding. We can learn to be soft and subtle even in the midst of intense physical effort or stressful situations if we can bring our attention back to the breath. The beauty of yoga is being able to remain mindful in the experience and bring an inner attitude of trust and acceptance to our yoga mats.  Our breath can orchestrate the tone of our practice and bring these two energies into balance. 

Contemplation: Stay with this energetic idea of pushing and yielding. How can you use the breath in other areas of your life to balance the active and the passive, the receptive and the expressive?
By Mayuri Gonzalez
VOLUME III- ISSUE I         Sunday, January 1, 2012, 12:45pm

      Happy New Year! _A new year, a new cycle, a new moment. It all feels so fresh and energizing, and yet it's important to remember that there is always a new moment to be relished, if we see it as such. There is always the opportunity to release the thoughts, stories, patterns, and habits that no longer serve us. We don't have to wait for New Years or any other excuse to experience fully this energy of newness. Every moment, every breath, every second is somehow different than the one that came just before it, forever unfolding, evolving, and changing. There will never be a moment that will be the same as the moment that we are experiencing right now. It is impossible. With that being said, there is something to be said of the collective intentionality and hope for positive change that arises and magnifies as we cross the threshold of a new year.
     It is a custom in our culture to create a list of resolutions or commitments we make to our self when we usher in a new year. We tend to end the old year creating our laundry list of all the ways our world needs to change for us to be happier. We look deeply and scrutinize ourselves, looking for all the of things we should be doing to be a better version of our self. While positive in theory, these resolutions can be very limiting and stifling. Subconsciously we are making ourselves feel inferior when we reinforce the belief that we need to be "better" or "different" than we are. We focus on outer goals, like loosing that 15 lbs we have been needing to, and saving X amount of dollars before the end of 2012. We put the pressure on ourselves that we need to be better husbands, wives, and parents, or finally stop talking about giving up smoking and just do it. What if instead of all of these "needs, shoulds, and wants" we affirmed to be more connected to our self? Can it be that simple? What if our new years resolutions shifted away from a list of the things that we need to be happy, and more towards knowing and loving ourselves? Affirm to remain awake and present and take complete responsibility for your state and thoughts. Release your judgements, and beliefs that you aren't good enough just the way you are and affirm to live this moment (not this year) shining forth your highest self.
     I invite you to not limit yourself with traditional resolutions. Affirm to live and relish in this moment. Affirm to be present enough in the NOW to make the choices that are right for your self and awake enough to see the limitless choices and possibilities that are fabricated into every moment, there for your taking!  These moments of choice and possibility weave the very essence of this entire universe.