Sometimes, it can feel like everyone else is achieving his or her goals in life, while you’re left struggling to figure out who you’re meant to be or what you want to do. You just can’t seem to make the leap from where you are to where you want to be.Bridge

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are methods to identify what’s holding you back—whether it’s fear, limiting beliefs, or the unconscious mind—and then eliminate each obstacle to reach your goals.

Remember, that you are the only one who has the power to either move forward or hold yourself back.

How to Identify the Obstacles

Excuses—which are often driven by fear, insecurity, or complacency—can hold you back.

Limiting beliefs, which can be influenced by an event or circumstance in your past that made you feel powerless, can also hinder your progress in life.

These beliefs exist on an unconscious level and they drive your every thought, word, and action. They are, in large part, what creates your reality. They’re also responsible for creating the discrepancy between what we say we want and what we actually do.

Imagine that embedded deep in your unconscious mind you’re following an internal set of instructions that determines how you think and behave in every moment of every day. This programming was installed in your unconscious mind as a result of experiences and the meaning you placed on them.

If the experiences you had were positive, you created an empowering internal representation. If your experiences were negative, you more than likely made them mean something negative about yourself, others, or the world. This is how your limiting beliefs were formed.

Sometimes, it can be easy to spot a pattern of negative emotions, excuses, or limiting beliefs because it permeates your conversations or thoughts. Other times, it can be more difficult to pinpoint the obstacles because there is often a layer of truth in an excuse. It can be particularly difficult when there’s evidence that proves the limitation you’re arguing for.

Steps to Work Through Limiting Beliefs

Think of something you want and then ask yourself why you don’t have it. This will begin to reveal negative emotions and limiting beliefs, which end up being some form of resistance and excuses. Then, try journaling about an area of your life where you’re experiencing some frustration or where you haven’t been able to achieve something you desire.

Next, become aware of the negative voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough, or that you can’t have it all. Notice the feelings that arise within you, and begin to write about them.

Take a moment to consider the earliest time in your life when you first experienced these feelings. It will probably be sometime before you turned 11 years old, a time known as imprinting years. What happened? Who was there? Let yourself see that you made a negative decision about yourself or others based on what happened. How did this decision affect you at the time? How has it limited you since then, and how is it holding you back now? Spend a few minutes writing about this.

Consider what you learned from this event to help you see this negative experience as something more positive and even empowering.

Once you’ve chosen an empowering statement or belief to replace the old one, write it down, and come up with a commitment that you will make in the next two days to move you toward what you truly desire. This should be a specific action or a behavior that another person would be able to recognize as having accomplished. 

You may also want to talk with a friend or work with an integrative coach to help you see beyond your perceived limitations.

You should expect other obstacles to pop up as you move towards your goals. These could be a tendency to assign negative meaning experience, trepidation, or an inability to take a risk. Here’s how to handle some of the most common obstacles you might encounter.  

Assigning Negative Meaning

Like most people, you probably have a negative voice that tries to tell you what you can and can’t do. 

When you listen to the voice of negativity, you may tell yourself that “because such-and-such happened, it’s just not be meant to be” or “I’ll never have that.” You listen to the voice, and give up.

Look at where you have made assumptions or created a story around something that may not be true. Challenge yourself to assign a new, empowering meaning to the experience or situation.

Wait-and-See Syndrome

Have you ever been excited to jump on an opportunity because it felt right and it made logical sense but there was something screaming at you to just hold off and think about it longer? The “wait-and-see” approach is based in fear and is filtered through a person’s negative emotions and limiting beliefs.

When you take the wait-and-see approach, you’ll eventually stop seeing the opportunities that are right in front of you.

When opportunity knocks, you’re being asked to heed your call. Evaluate the pros and cons. If only fear remains at the end of this evaluation, then jump. Don’t wait for the perfect moment; it might not ever come. Perfect moments are made.

Test the Water Tactic

Can you think of a time when you wanted something, but decided it would be best to just dip one toe in to test the water?

Hanging out in the gray zone creates confusion and conflict. The Universe responds to how much you put in. This is the law of cause and effect, which states that every action generates a force of energy that returns to it in like kind. What you put in is what you will get out of any situation. Make sure you’re contributing positively.

Obstacles are a cause for celebration because they are mile-markers on the path. Think about it, you wouldn’t come up against an obstacle unless you were closer to achieving your goal. Obstacles are your friends because they help you make strides, learn, and, ultimately, experience a level of pride after successfully getting through.

At Spiritual Solutions you will become inspired to break free from what’s holding you back through embracing a more creative self-expression. You will feel confident moving forward by learning to embrace the magic in life.  Click here to learn more.

 

 

As the cold and wetness of winter settle in, in the Northern Hemisphere we are moving from Vata season to Kapha season. In harsh winter climates the effects are obvious, but even in more temperate climates, you can still notice the subtler changes that come with winter. With any shift in season, there are steps you can take to stay balanced even when the weather threatens to throw you off. Spring background with beautiful transparent icicles and ice hanging from the roof, against the blue sky

Ayurvedic Seasons

While we typically think of the seasons as spring, summer, fall, and winter, Ayurveda divides the year according to the most prevalent dosha during each period. The fall and early winter are considered the Vata season, with Kapha making its appearance in the latter part of winter. Kapha season lasts from the second half of winter through spring, and in many areas that means plenty of wet weather even as the summer approaches.

Along with the cold in the earlier parts of the season, it’s this prevailing wetness that defines Kapha season. No matter what your dosha type is, you will be influenced by Kapha’s prevailing influence at this time of year. Fortunately, Ayurvedic medicine offers some powerful ways to not only balance the excess Kapha headed your way, but also to help you thrive.

For Vatas

Since lightness, movement, and dryness are the primary characteristics of Vata, Kapha season can actually be a good time for Vata types during the latter part—from spring to early summer— as the temperatures warm up. This nice mix of wetness and warmth can be soothing for you. However, remember that early Kapha season is also cold, and even as the temperatures change you may be sensitive to this transition.

Coming out of Vata season, it’s important to focus on the centering, grounding aspects of Kapha season. If you live in a cold winter climate, you will face weather that may keep you indoors. Use this to your advantage. Cultivate habits that allow you to enjoy your time inside. Become one with the season, keeping in mind that many of its qualities (aside from cold) are, in fact, balancing to your constitution.

Here are a few more ways for Vatas to embrace the season:

Feed your soul. Enjoy that great novel you’ve been wanting to read. Spend time with your friends and family. Go deeper into your meditation practice and focus on centering. These practices will help you occupy your Vata mind in what could otherwise be an aggravating few months.

Stay warm. When the weather allows you to venture outside, make sure you stay warm. Dampness brings its own special kind of cold, even on semi-warm days, so stay covered up and insulated. It’s especially important to keep your head and ears covered, along with your extremities.

Be good to your body. Give yourself an abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) every day before or after showering, depending on preference. Relaxing Abhy Oil is a good massage oil to use as it’s formulated specifically for Vatas. However, you can also use any of the heavier heating oils, such as sesame and almond, to balance your Vata dosha.

Eat for your dosha. While your Vata dosha is usually soothed by sweet, sour, and salty tastes, this time of year may present some challenges. This is because the very tastes that pacify Vata also increase Kapha. The best approach to diet during this time of year is to concentrate on herbs and foods that carry dual tastes to avoid aggravating your Vata nature while balancing the effects of your Kapha environment.

The following herbs and spices are recommended as they help balance both Kapha and Vata:

Mustard
Cardamom
Licorice
Garlic
Ginger

It’s best to slightly increase the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes in your meals during Kapha season. However, as a Vata it’s important to pay attention to your sensitivity to these tastes, and learn to adjust your diet according to the daily conditions. For example, if it’s a strongly Vata day (i.e. dry and windy) despite being Kapha season, focus on more Vata-balancing foods and tastes. Otherwise, eat to balance Kapha and Vata with warming meals. Also be mindful of your agni or digestive fire. Since Kapha season can contribute to sluggish digestion, eat at regularly scheduled times without skipping meals or overeating. As always, eat your largest meal at lunch, when the digestive fires of Pitta are strongest.

For Pittas

Kapha season is a mixed blessing for Pittas. While its cooling temperatures may be balancing to your fiery nature, the practices that best help balance this season invariably involve warming. So while Vatas and Kaphas need to protect themselves from the cold, you may actually need to spend some time in it. Of course, this isn’t to say that you should go outside in short sleeves while the world is bundled up. But you will benefit from using this time for some light, non-competitive, outdoor activities. Just remember to stay dry. Cool is good; cold is bad.

Eat for your dosha: Kapha season brings about the need for more pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes. As a Pitta, you will do well to increase the bitter and astringent tastes in your diet, while decreasing the sweet taste, which increases Kapha. While you still want to include the sweet taste to balance out your Pitta, be mindful of its Kapha-increasing effects. Many people will want to add extra spice or sourness to their foods or drinks during this time for their phlegm-loosening effects, but Pittas need to be careful of the herbs and spices they choose this time of year. Here are a few that will help balance Kapha without irritating Pitta:

Coriander
Cardamom
Turmeric
Cilantro
Licorice
Licorice in particular is good for you at this time of year as it is Pitta-pacifying and phlegm-loosening.

Pittas also need to avoid stimulants like caffeine during this time of year. Many warm drinks that are appealing in cold weather, such as chai, coffee, and hot chocolate, contain caffeine, and you may end up inadvertently increasing your caffeine intake. Be aware of this as it can contribute to a Pitta imbalance and symptoms of irritability.

For Kaphas

It’s tempting to think that it would be easy for Kaphas to stay in balance during Kapha season, but unfortunately that’s not true. Rest assured—you can still enjoy the season if you focus on balancing the increased effects of Kapha. The main areas for you to consider during this time are:

Staying warm
Being active
Eating well
Kapha season is a great time for you to go deeper into your exercise program with specific attention placed on movement. Remember that Kapha tends towards stagnation and heaviness if it is not properly invigorated. As a Kapha type, you should be particularly sensitive to this characteristic during late winter and throughout spring. This is a time to find balance in movement.

As in most things, nature is the best teacher. While the weather and temperature may be Kapha-like, plants and animals come to life as winter becomes spring. This is no accident and something that should be mimicked. If you’re not already involved in an active lifestyle, this is a great time for you to start one. Otherwise, the increased cold and wetness in your environment may lead you towards increased sedentary ways.

Ayurveda recommends that Kaphas wear bright, warm colors during this time of year and invigorate themselves with scents such as eucalyptus, sage, and rosemary. To stimulate your circulation, perform a daily self-abhyanga using Invigorating Abhy Oil or any light Kapha-balancing oils infused with warm, stimulating aromas. You can also balance your Kapha with a daily dry massage known as a Garshana.

Eat for your dosha: Stick to your usual Kapha-pacifying diet during this time, paying extra attention to avoid sweetness and cold. Invigorating, warming spices, as always, are best for you. Limit your salt intake as well as it may cause you to retain water if eaten in excess.

– See more at: Chopra Center

The natural Yogic quality of motherhood as it pertains to the Yamas and Niyamas. The Yamas: Part Two

12794940_873118582817862_7420660041485959639_oSatya -Truthfulness: Can we see the truth of our child in front of us, and of our own mother-self, without attachment, ego, or pride? Can we be truthful about our needs as mothers?

     Being honest with others requires first that we are honest with ourselves. In the quiet (or not so quiet) space of our homes, we probably have an easier time facing down the truth of where we’re at physically, mentally and emotionally with ourselves and our family. And for many of us, it’s an exhausted road of tantrums, crying (for littles and us) and conversations crying out to be shared with your partner. We want to feel NORMAL and be reminded that this is part of motherhood that we all go through, ups and downs. Let’s face it though, in a crowded room of family, friends or even other mommies, we’re probably the worst at sharing the REAL truth of where are needs are at. We too often try to candy-coat our truth with practiced smiles and stories of all the super mom accomplishments we’ve completed or wish we had. The truth is that the opposite reaction is felt for many – regret, guilt, exhaustion. Why do we feel the need to close doors when really we should be spilling the hard and beautiful truth to those around us? I believe it all comes back to the loss of our once coveted VILLAGE. Where mamas, dads, sisters, grandmothers, daughters and sons shared all of lifes joys and defeats and witnessed the healing of the support from others. I digress, more on Villages in a later rant perhaps.

    Satya and seeing our own truthfulness. We can start to understand, share and maybe even rethink parenting obstacles by seeing the truth of what they are – not what society or the random advice-giving person at the grocery store thinks they should be. They are the raw truth of life – the raw emotion of a 2-year old trying to figure out boundaries and limits by screaming and hitting, while yearning for guidance and compassion. The up all night with a crying or hungry baby who is growing faster than you want and needs you to help them understand it. The loss of a former life of freedom to the constant feeling of being needed by everyone around you all the time, and your quiet scream to be held and listened to. The quiet moment when everyone has decided that today nap time is on the schedule, and you have an hour of “me” time and a hundred things to cram in to it. These are all raw truths – and they are all powerful when we stop to see the strength they require from us but also bestow on to us. Take a moment in the coming days to stop and really look and listen to your baby/toddler/partner and allow yourself to feel the raw truthfulness of who they are, what they need, and where they are going. The truth is that this is the hardest endeavor you will ever find yourself in – allow your satya to be there for your children, your partner, your friends, those mommies you don’t even know – then swing it right on back to yourself…Rock on Beautiful Mamas, you are Amazing!

      “Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be…There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God/the Divine within us. It is not in just some of us. It is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

      “As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.”~ Marianne Williamson

Kandee Khodl is a Yoga Teacher at Falcon Yoga. Read more about Kandee HERE

I want to take a few moments throughout the next couple of weeks to consider the natural Yogic quality of motherhood as it pertains to the Yamas and Niyamas. Yamas being the moral observances; our guiding principles for how we deal with others. Niyamas being our personal observances; the principles of how we deal with ourselves. It’s intriguing to stop and take a look at how many of these qualities are a natural outpouring of the postnatal period, and how we can use our yoga practice, especially postnatal classes, to enhance the first year of mothering.

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The Yamas: Part One
Ahimsa – Nonviolence: How can we be more kind to ourselves? Build patience with our children? Partners? And most importantly let go of perfectionism.

We must start by taking care of “us” and providing the self-love to heal and create peacefulness in ourselves. This is done by providing time during our busy days for meaningful activities such as meditation, journal writing, and postnatal practices. When we constantly allow ourselves to be consumed by the stress and anxiety that parenting brings, we bring that into our relationships with our children and spouses. Creating, finding, and providing ourselves with “me time” during the day/week, allows us to channel our energies into a positive place where we can practice, meditate and exercise our minds and bodies. For after we center and refocus personally, can we address the paint and permanent marker smeared across the living room walls. And find breath and patience during the 4th, 5th, 6th time the baby wakes at night.

Our commitment to time for personal healing, recovery, strengthening and mental focus allows us to communicate and share with our partners as well. After a night of little to no sleep and a full day of excessive toddler energies and rousing tantrums, it can be easy to start in on your partner the moment they walk in the door. Some private space and time can be the key to mental clarity and a new-found excitement when revisiting the day’s chaotic events. Most importantly it is time to put down the how-to, help books and unplug from the myriad of Facebook mom groups, to allow yourself a candid look at how your children are thriving – because of you and your good work. No it/you will never be perfect, but in that knowledge comes compassion, acceptance and love for the difficult and selfless job of motherhood.

Being able to understand and walk next to your child during emotional upsets, looking into your partners eyes and having them know how best to support you, and finishing your bedtime routine by spending a few moments in front of the mirror praising yourself and all your efforts – I believe that is ahimsa, that is motherhood!

“Ahimsa means not to injure any creature by thought, word or deed.
True ahimsa should mean a complete freedom from ill- will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all.
Ahimsa is the attribute of the soul and therefore to be practiced by everybody in all the affairs of life.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Kandee Khodl

The never-ending flow of information from news sites and social media feeds can cause even calm people to feel anxious or stressed. It’s no wonder that some 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Many alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda can help; follow these five yoga poses to get your anxiety under control.
Anxiety typically affects your breathing first. When you feel threatened or have received information that causes anxiety, you start to breathe shallowly, faster, or you might hold your breath altogether. 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 6.08.36 PMNadi Shodhana (Alternate nostril breathing) is a way to control your breathing and ensure that oxygen-rich blood gets to your brain. Sit in Padmasana, lotus, or any seated cross-legged position and make sure your spine is tall. If you’re already feeling the effects of anxiety, you may want to ground yourself by sitting against a wall with pillows under your knees. Start with your left hand facing up on your lap. Take your right hand and bring the index and middle fingers in between your eyebrows to rest there as a shelf. You will alternately close your right nostril with your thumb and your left nostril with the inside of your ring finger. At times you will hold both nostrils. Begin by inhaling deeply through both nostrils and exhaling deeply through both. Then, hold the right nostril and inhale through the left only and count to two. Hold both nostrils closed and count to six. Let go of the right nostril only and count to four. Then inhale through the right for two, hold both for six and exhale through the left for four. Repeat the whole process for about two minutes.


 

To prepare for your anti-anxiety yoga poses, have the following yoga props: a mat, two yoga blocks or small pillows, a bolster or rolled up towel, an eye pillow or rolled up hand towel, and a blanket. 


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 6.09.31 PM For this pose, make sure you have an open wall space and a rolled up towel or yoga bolster. Start seated sideways to the wall with your knees; one hip should be touching the wall. Swing your legs vertically up onto the wall as you lie down on the floor. Place your rolled up towel or bolster underneath your hips at the area of the sacrum. Allow your legs to extend completely upward with your toes facing the ceiling. Bring your arms out to the sides resting slightly below your shoulders. If you’re feeling anxious, face your palms downward toward the floor. If you’re feeling vulnerable, place a blanket over you. You can remain in this pose between 5 and 15 minutes. 

 


Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 6.10.03 PMBegin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Make sure your feet are parallel and your arms are alongside you with the palms facing the floor. Press down on your palms, raise the pelvis upward, and squeeze your bottom. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths. You can support your bridge pose with a yoga block. Place the block underneath the sacrum just above the tailbone. Allow your lower back to rest on the block. This inverted posture will bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain, which has a calming effect. 


 

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Start by sitting on your heels. Bend forward with your arms outstretched and bring your torso to the mat. If your knees are bothersome, open them wide like a letter “V.” You can also wrap your arms alongside of you with the palms facing up. If this pose still isn’t comfortable, place a pillow underneath your torso to bring the floor closer to you. Child’s pose is a gentle inversion. Alternatively, you can do a puppy pose where your bottom stays aligned with the knees to create a 90-degree angle with your lower legs. Again, drape the blanket around your lower back to keep warm and to keep you grounded.


 

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Begin this pose in a seated position. Place a bolster or rolled up blanket behind your tailbone. Gently lie down on the blanket or bolster, and place your feet together with your knees open in a butterfly pose. If you need knee support, place your yoga blocks or pillows under each knee. Your arms can either be placed on your stomach or outstretched to the sides, allowing the heart and chest to be open. To benefit from full relaxation in this pose, you can place a blanket over you and an eye pillow or rolled up hand towel over your eyes.


 

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

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Crocodile pose is deeply relaxing and it facilitates full, diaphragmatic breathing. Begin by lying facedown on your mat. Open your legs a little wider than hip-distance apart with your toes going outward and heels pointing inward. Bring your arms in front of you and fold them with your hands wrapping around opposite elbows. Now draw the elbows in toward you so your shoulder and upper back are slightly off the floor. Rest your forehead on your forearms. Your belly will rest on the floor easily. Begin taking deep abdominal breaths. This pose relaxes your abdomen, enabling you to expand into the lower back. To release tension in the shoulders and neck, you can alternatively place a rolled up towel under the upper chest and underneath the armpits. You can hold crocodile pose between 5 and 10 minutes. Try practicing a couple of these poses each day as a preventive method against anxiety. Having effective yoga tools when anxiety hits is useful. Keeping your body and mind healthy with consistent practice can prevent anxiety altogether and keep you in a more peaceful state of being.


 

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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