Mindfulness, Social Justice, Ego, Equality
We so often focus on mindfulness for ourselves or to be better there for our family or friends.
This week, I've been focusing on mindfulness and how it can lead to social justice, betterment for humanity, for something on a greater scale. As we practice mindfulness, we sometimes become more aware of our ego. Our false sense of self, our identities that we cling onto, how we choose to be to fit in, how we set ourselves apart from others. Our ego separates each of us from each other, and those identities can be beautiful, but it can also include feelings of dominance, superiority, judgement, defensiveness, prejudices, or black and white thinking.
When we are mindfully checking ourselves, acknowledging the role our ego is playing in our lives, we can start to let go of our attachment to our ego. As we start to detach from our ego, we start to see that we are much more than these stereotypes, these identities, and that we are constantly changing, as all others are too. We never know what each day will surely bring. We are never the same from one year to the next. We start to realize that we aren't us versus them. We aren't superior or inferior. Our ego just longs for us to think so. When we aren't trying to differentiate ourselves from others, it is so much easier to see what we all have in common, that we are all living beings on this earth, bread from very similar DNA, all facing challenges day to day, just under different circumstances.
And this, transcending our ego, seeing our true equality as humans, this right here is what leads to social justice. Because when egos are ruling our lives, we are inclined only to stand up for those that we see as equal to us, or superior to us. Without our egos and attachments and differences being our guiding force, we can see all beings as equals, we can more easily practice compassion towards anyone, we can more easily set out for social justice for anyone who is treated less than due to someone else's ego.
So be mindful of your ego. See where this practice can take you. Our egos influence our lives in so many more ways than just what I've written here, so follow whatever path arises for you in this contemplation, but I invite you to discuss with me how your ego has played a role in your life, your treatment of others, your worldviews. I'll spend a lifetime considering this, checking my ego, but each little bit of my ego that I can transcend, the better I will be for it.
Please read this, as it is so important to me on this Mindful Monday and this week I want you to be mindful about what you say to others. What prompted this to come into my mind this week, as it often does, was a comment made by a doctor. What does this doctor say in front of an absolutely beautiful child with an incredible personality and a bright future? She asks if this child wants reconstruction for her congenital abnormality (even though this doctor wouldn't have anything to do with reconstruction) as if the only option is to try to look like the norm. When reconstruction was denied as an option being considered right now, because the child is perfectly happy with how she was born, the doctor continued to say well at least she can cover it up with her hair. In front of the child and the mother who clearly didn't think this way.
Now, we need to be mindful with what we say to other people for multiple reasons. Obviously, one is how it will affect the person or people listening. Who is one to put negative and harmful pressure on a person, when the person is perfectly happy? Why introduce to a person that they may be viewed as something "wrong," when that person has nothing wrong with them. And even if the person views themselves as imperfect or ashamed, why feed into that behavior? Unless a person is actually asking for help or change, why offer it when it won't offer any good? How we say something, and what we say matters. Think before we speak. Be mindful when we speak.
Now alternatively, how does being mindful about what you say to others affect yourself? Well, voicing thoughts like this are reinforcing negative views you, yourself, obtain. This is when practicing mindful thinking about how you view others and their differences comes into play. Whether it is color of their skin, a congenital abnormality, the way they speak, the way they look, how much they weigh, how they dress, how they wear their hair, how they present themselves, why have a negative response in your thoughts or in your expression to them at all? We are all different, period. No one is completely alike and it is what makes the world so beautiful. There is no norm that needs to be held to. Our beauty, our creativity, our self expression comes from all of these differences.
Take time to observe your thoughts. Your reactions to others. What you say. Make it a priority this week. Don't judge yourself harshly if you notice that you fall into some negative thinking or reactions to others, but just pause and think how you can change your worldview, change your reactions, change your response. Once we realize we can have some control over our thought patterns to view others as beautiful and with love, and some control over our reactions to not produce harm, we will feel more positivity and love.
Today in the USA we are celebrating our Independence and Freedom as a country, which has got me thinking about our independence and freedom as yogis!
Yoga can bring freedom and liberation to many people, from what has been holding them back, or bogging down their minds. In yoga we strive to feel this freedom and liberation in our body and our minds.
Then there is yoga as a peaceful rebellion. As yogis we question the status quo of living, possibly against what others we know might think or think best for us, yet we know and trust ourselves more and more as we deepen our practice. Continuing on the path that we feel called to, knowing it may not be societies' norm, but that it is right. We willingly rebel against how society has told us to handle our emotions, to behave, to think about our bodies, to heal.
Independence comes from knowing our "Self," from our practice we learn how to comfort ourselves and heal without the need for unhealthy actions or co-dependency to survive.
Freedom, Liberation, Rebellion, Independence. Today we are celebrating them in reference to our country, but I'd love to hear also, what they mean to YOU.
Yoga, dance, art, creating themes for my kids birthday parties, decorating my home, creative outlets in all forms. These have all helped me with self-expression. They have helped me transform into a happier, healthier person. They have helped me heal. They have helped me find mindfulness. They have helped me BE me, in my most authentic form.
We all contain creativity, although some may not feel like they do. Fear, self-judgement or confidence could all get in the way of feeling your creativity. While it may seem so easy for some people to write, sing, dance, paint, move, play music, express their creative selves, or simply to think outside the box, other's feel blocked. Maybe experiences of humiliation in past en devours of creativity, lack of nourished creativity as a child, high self-expectations, or simply a lack of perceived time in your life, or a number of things have caused this. Yet creativity and self expression can be so important for the soul, as our souls are creative in nature. Our human ability to be creative is fascinating in and of itself. Unlocking your creative soul can foster empowerment, self-love, self-confidence. It can be freeing, liberating, joyful, or cathartic.
Whether you feel that you are already embracing your creative soul, or whether you feel you need to do some digging to release yours, I encourage you to consider this. Consider how creativity plays a role in your life, how creativity makes your soul feel.
Find inspiration and unlock your creativity. Looking for inspiration? Reach out to me. I'd be happy to help guide you into a direction that might help!
Been thinking of starting a yoga practice or just started one? Begin where you are.
Not sure where that is? Contact a yoga studio or yoga teacher. Ask them what might be a good class for you or a good starting teacher. Often, studios have beginner classes or gentle yoga classes. If you are unsure of your practice, these are wonderful places to start. The class pace will be slow, and it'll give you a great chance to practice each pose, the alignment, and the breath work. And guess what? Some students stay in beginner or gentle classes by choice. You may truly enjoy these classes.
Can't get yourself to get to a class? Maybe one or more private sessions with a yoga teacher is the starting point you need.
There is no competition in yoga, no need to go through a rigorous or fast paced class if it is not calling you. Begin where you are. Do this for YOU. Better yet, keep your eyes on your teacher and your own mat. Comparison to other students doesn't matter in yoga. It's the beauty of the practice. It's YOUR practice. And it's just that, a practice.
I'm so excited to officially introduce Essentially Ellie!
I've been using and sharing my blends for a while now at home, with family and friends, and as special take homes for Workshops. After wonderful feedback, I've been working on a little project to name and label them!
Essential Oil Roller Blends are wonderful for personal use to keep in your purse, your bedside, or in a cabinet. They make for wonderful little gifts too.
What blend might be right for you? Looking for stress relief? Anxiety reduction? Mood boost? Libido lift? Menstrual relief? Migraine relief? Insomnia relief? Calm and relaxation? Oils can be wonderful to assist with all of these.
https://www.kidsyogawithallison.com/store.html has info on each blend. They are available online with free shipping or purchase in person for a reduced price!
How do you use essential oils in your life? If you haven't tried incorporating them or if you have any questions, comment below!
I'm a Senior Consultant for Beautycounter. Why? Our health. My health, your health, the health of everyone I know.
My family and I have been plagued with auto-immune diseases and other health issues for years. 4 years ago we gave up all highly processed foods and took a long hard look at the products we use to clean our home. 3 years ago we decided to eat mostly paleo, as a way to combat our health issues. Changes were happening. We got off medications, saved thousands of dollars a month, started feeling incredibly better. Changing what we put into our body was our best medicine. We felt better with the products we were using in our home and the foods we were eating, especially with our kids.
Yet, after years of trying brand after brand of safer skin care, safer sun screen, safer make up, we could not find an effective safer option for us, which resulted in disappointing use of a product until it ran out, or use of products that weren't serving our bodies in the way we knew we should.
Your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs everything you put on it. If we are watching what we put into our mouths, what we clean our homes with, why aren't we worried as much about what we put on our skin?
The USA only bans or restricts 30 ingredients from being in our skin care and make up products. Europe bans or restrics 1400. Beautycounter bans 1500. 1500 ingredients and chemicals that can cause health problems, cancer, infertility, you name it. They lobby the government for stricter and safer beauty standards. They educate people and the industry on what is safe to be on our skin. They test ingredients that aren't being tested elsewhere. They list every ingredient that is used in their products. They are transparent. They are on a mission to educate and bring safer beauty products to the world. This is my why.
I was fortunate enough for a friend to share her products with me, sending me with a basket to try. This stuff was effective. The skin care products are making my skin look even better than the best products I used before. The Countersun mineral sun screen is a saving grace from torturous applications of other mineral sunscreens at the beach. The make up is so natural and light feeling I can't believe it, even though I am hardly needing much make up anymore!
Safer and effective. My why.
Tell me, what Beautycounter products have you tried? What skin care or make up products are you looking to replace with a better or safer product? Comment below, send me a message, and check out my website to see what Beautycounter has to say about their mission: https://www.beautycounter.com/allisoncarvalho?goto=/our-mission
Breaking down some FAQ today!
What is Om? What does Namaste mean? Is Yoga a religion?
Let's dive right into it. Om is the most important seed mantra stemming from Hindu and Tibetan Buddhism. OM is the most elemental of vibrations. Say it with your mouth. It starts in the back of your mouth and works its way forward. Say it slowly with length, like a long chant. This is what the yogis and Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist believe is the sound of the void. It is the seed sound of the universe, the vibration that created everything. Many other religions have similar sounds, including the Christian "Amen."
Namaste. Namaste carries the meaning of "the divine in me bows to the divine in you," or can be understood as "the light in me honors or bows to the light in you." Literally, Namaste means "salutation to you," or "bow to you." It is commonly used in India as a respectful "hello." Usually, your hands come together, palms facing and touching each other, at your heart center, like prayer hands, or wishing hands. You then bow your head forward while saying namaste. This is a greeting often used at the end of a yoga class.
Is Yoga a religion? No, but it can goes hand in hand with religion for Hindus and Buddhists and other religious sectors. Yoga came from the same holy Indian scripts written thousands of years ago, the Vedas, that Hinduism and Buddhism also stem from, and thus the ties are very close in their use. Yoga is non-sectarian and as seen in the USA and many other countries, is used most often in a way that emphasizes Hatha Yoga (the postures, the breathing, etc.). Hatha Yoga prepares the body for meditation, or the ultimate goal of reaching a personal enlightenment. There are other types of yoga, including Bhakti Yoga, which emphasizes devoting oneself to a personal God and is stemmed from Hinduism. So yes, it is tied to religion, but not one in and of itself. Yoga is practiced far beyond India, from the USA, to Brazil, to Italy, to Iran and more.
For further insight, Sri Swami Satchidananda explained as he was bringing yoga into the USA, that he believed that all religions share universal principals and that yoga was not a religion, but a combination of teachings that form the foundation of anyone's spiritual practice. He is famous for saying "truth is one, paths are many," and this is why.
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg for explaining these FAQs, and these are solely my take on the answers. If you'd like to learn more or have a more in depth conversation, please reach out to me! I'd be happy to provide material for you to read or answer any questions. Otherwise, I just hope this provided some insight into those little questions we ask ourselves in class!
Why I practice:
To escape. It started with simply wanting to have my own alone time as a Mom to 2, but quickly morphed into a long list of reasons. Reasons that keep me returning to my mat, returning to mindfulness, returning to meditation.
For relief. Relief from arthritic pain, migraines and auto-immune diseases. The physical movement of yoga has helped provide me with so much relief from physical pain.
For strength: Because even though yoga isn't only about the postures, the postures brought me strength in physical and mental stature that I had never known.
To Heal: To heal from past physical and emotional traumas.
To breathe. To have the knowledge and ability to use breath to change my experience in a situation has been so powerful. Our breath and our emotional responses are so tightly wound, that one can be used to control the other.
To live in the present. A mindfulness practice reminds me time and time again to live in the present. There is nothing that can be changed about the past, and the only guarantee we have to live for is the present. Exist here and now. Let go of all the pesky thoughts. They are just thoughts.
To have patience. Yoga has brought a sense of patience and calm into my life. Less striking reaction, more patience. Patience to deal with chaos of raising children, patience to deal when everything in a day seems to be going wrong, patience to deal with the horrible things in the world that I just can't control. Patience to not react quickly, but, remain calm, give myself the chance to see the big picture, to not obsess.
To accept. To accept and love myself as authentic, truthful and whole. To accept others for their whole beings as well.
To practice gratitude. Counting the blessings allows me to see the beauty of everything I have, everyone I love, and brings joy to each day.
To practice karma. By giving to others in whatever way I can, without expecting anything else in return. Practicing and acting on my compassion for others, because the world and all in it need as much compassion as we are able to give.
This is why I practice. Tell me, why do you?
yoga, food, family, and travel. these are what drive my life! as a stay at home mom of 2 little girls with an active yoga practice. i longed to find the perfect yoga class for my own children. i felt a calling to a kids yoga teacher training in early November, 2017 and answered the call. in 2018, i felt called towards a greater mission. teaching teens & adults. today, i am living my dream.