Posts by Yogi Cynthia Bernard

Setting intentions for the new year.

Posted on: January 5th, 2017 By:
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Setting intentions for the new year.

 

Setting intentions for the new year

Last year seems like a blur. So many decisions, transitions and newness tumbled into one. I remember that I knew “this was the year, this was the time,” but being scared to death to leap into the unknown. And now, BOOM. 2017, a new year. I did it, it happened. Now, I am ready to dive into those seemingly murky waters that I find hope in. Hope in knowing that what I envision beginning this year will align with who I am and how I am meant to serve. I am not much for resolutions. So, I decided to share in a communal gathering instead. This allowed me to celebrate the new, let go of the old, and set my truest intention to begin again. Although, we can begin again every day, with every breath, I wanted to be clear as I start this new year. Clear with my intentions for this new journey I am on and to share in the vibration of those trying to do the same.

Communal gathering

It was perfect timing when I saw the post inviting everyone to the Amala Foundation for a New Years meditation ceremony. My partner, Clay and I walked in and quickly found a spot to share among the almost full circle. As I looked around, my heart warmed knowing that everyone there had the same calling to share in this together. The new year brings out so many emotions and to have this supportive space and fellowship led by Jeremy I knew would be amazing. As it began, everyone shared their intentions. What is so amazing is that even though it can feel fearful to open your heart and be that vulnerable, this felt safe. I was safe in knowing that within each sharing, I could relate or understand in some way. No one judging. No longer branded by race, religion or gender, but sharing in this experience. Sharing community with new and old to build the foundation for a better world.

Setting my intentions

Resolutions never work for me. They always lose their luster about two months in. I knew I wanted to set a true intention. One that I could live by, refer to and let be my mantra to guide me into the next 365 days. I had discussed many with Clay on a long drive home in December and I knew he had set his own. But, it wasn’t until it was my turn to share with the circle that the words flowed out of mouth. My heart. {My friend had even asked me earlier that morning and I couldn’t articulate it.} But, at that moment, I knew. I knew what intention I needed to set to continue my growth on this journey and what stood in my way. It was such a relief to say it aloud and to feel embraced by everyone around. I think this process of sharing with others helps you feel it, understand it and live it much more authentically. How beautiful this new year will be, I can feel it!!

Meditation and the tibetan singing bowls

Meditation is now a part of my life, but a community meditating accompanied by the Tibetan singing bowls is something in its own realm. The vibration is higher, you are more clairvoyant, and you are in tune with your body in a different way. At least this has been my experience. Jeremy has a true gift for setting this space and helping to guide it and I am truly blessed to have been a witness and participant. Setting my intentions for the new year helped me find ease and comfort on what to focus on. There were moments that I thought I was the only one in the room, but could feel an energy all around me. The sound of the bowls is indescribable as it pierces every cell of your body. Eyes closed, I was immersed in all of the good intentions in the room and collectively felt as one.

This is how I decided to do it, but I know there are so many other powerful ways to set intentions for anything new. This gave me time to pause, reflect and breathe. I am clear about so many things. If you would like to join Jeremy and this community for other gatherings, here is the link:

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How presence is the greatest gift.

Posted on: December 29th, 2016 By:
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How presence is the greatest gift.

How presence is the greatest gift.

Gifts are wonderful, but I really struggled with what to do this year. What to give, who to give to and how to make it more than just another unused item cluttering space. For some, I made items or baked, but for others it was the same old obligatory “stuff.” It is hard to see the wrapping paper flying, mass chaos at times with no one remembering just what happened. All a blur. But, really…what is the reason for the season? If it is about love and giving, don’t I have the most amazing gift within me? I realized after this weekend, being present IS the greatest gift I have to share. This was a big lesson and I wanted to share some special moments since they were fresh. Hey, it is also free and we can all do it. Simple little gestures if we are aware.

 electronic device down

I know, I know. You, like me, just want to check it. Real quick. I torture myself with this one!! Let me just scroll and check out what is happening. It is a compulsive disorder I believe, lol. What is it that I think I am missing out there in cyber world that is more precious than the life in front of me? I know I can’t nor want to multitask, but I certainly know that I am not sharing the gift of presence when I am reading posts. I looked around at times and I took a mental picture of everyone {including me,} on some sort of device, even the littlest. We just keep saying, “this is the new world we live in, right?” No, we have a choice, I have a choice. From then on, I really tried to hide my phone or turn it off. I failed many times, but I tried. I tried so hard to be present and share this gift. And when someone would look me in the eye and talk to me, I listened and received their greatest gift just the same. Their presence, my presence just being in the here and now.

Coffee on the hilltop

My husband’s family home is on this breathtaking hilltop among tall pine trees. It is where the fields and sky merge and become one. New bones with an old soul. We felt his grandmother’s spirit in every leaf passing by. Every morning, we would sit outside, swing on the porch and have our coffee and talk. No devices, just being fully present with those around us. Being fully present with nature. This was the greatest gift. You learn so much about each other, you share so many beautiful stories that could not otherwise be told when you are hustling and bustling. {We did this with my family on Thanksgiving in the backyard and oh, how I learned so much family history I never knew!} If I could rewind our holiday moments, it would be here. Sometimes, it was quiet, so silent you could hear the squirrels rustling around. We just smiled. Just smiled and relished in what we may not have been aware that we were receiving. But we felt something special that no store bought gift {no matter the value,} could ever give. Those tiny moments. Such a testament of how presence is truly the greatest gift.

presence on my mat

I came back full but exhausted from our trip. I would have loved to have spent the next day lounging, but I knew I needed to be present for myself as well. My mind was spinning with lists in my head for future things I needed to do and it took me quite awhile to rest. Being present for myself is just as important to me {if not the most important,} thing there is. I finally found my space and gave myself this great gift on my mat that evening. Showing up for myself fills my spirit so that I can be more present for those around me. The slow flow and meditation was exactly what my body needed to refuel. I thanked myself and those around me at Sanctuary for this priceless time. Time to realize that within me, I hold the greatest gift of all. Before I left, I gave gratitude for the wonderful life I have and for everyone that did take time to pick out a gift for me, so thoughtful. Maybe next year, the struggle for what to give will arise or maybe it won’t. Either way, I know what do. Be. Here. Now. What a beautiful present.

 

 

How community nourishes my soul.

Posted on: December 15th, 2016 By:
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How community nourishes my soul.

How community nourishes my soul.

Community.

I have come to realize that just as self care, yoga and meditation nourish my soul, so does community. Gathering with those who genuinely want to share their precious time with you and you with them. As I grow within my journey, I realize that I get to choose my community. Choosing to meet those that have similar passions and missions is so important to me on this path that I am on.  I am still transitioning out of my stagnant work environment from the past twenty years, but I have a precious few that I call”family.” For this I am grateful for. Sometimes as you let go of jobs and experiences, you have to let go of people to open space for new. This is how I feel about the community within Amala and being part of their weekly community lunches and yoga at Sanctuary. I have opened my heart to receive and through this, the community has been nourishing not only for my body, but for my soul.

Amala Community Lunches: Nourishing.

For the past few weeks, I have been taking part in Amala’s weekly lunches where the community proceeds benefit the Foundation. They have volunteers that cook, clean and put love into serving their community gathering. Many there, I feel may have been part of this community already but each smile lights up the room welcoming you as you walk in. Any feelings of “the first day of school” jitters quickly disappeared and I felt right at home. It amazes me that when you open up, are open and surround yourself with those that want to be there, what you leave with. Yes, I left satisfied. Yes, even a bit full. But, most of all, I left with this sense of community nourishing my soul. Each time I have visited, I am able to meet and share with those on a similar journey as myself. Seeking community, making changes in their life to benefit the better good, and sharing bravery. I left with supportive stories in just that short time and have been able to give my support and undivided attention while sipping my cup of warm nourishing soup. It is within this that I feel the warmth that these community lunches have nourished and wrapped its arms around my soul, deeper than I could imagine.

Yoga at sanctuary

In my short time practicing at Sanctuary, I already feel when I step in the room that I am part of something bigger. Something divine. This community at many of my mediation yoga classes share their space and hearts in a very deep way. I always feel that those four walls are safe for me. This yoga community and the teachers are always so inviting and I see a sense of welcoming to new and existing students that goes far beyond being nice. They want to be there. They want you to feel that and it is done so effortlessly that my soul is so satisfied, so nourished each time.

 

So, as I move toward my dreams of working with children and community through yoga and mediation, I know that the Amala Foundation and Sanctuary yoga will be part of my new home. If you want to join us, here is the link:

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Letting go of expectations.

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 By:
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Letting go of expectations.

letting-go-of-expectations

Letting go of expectations.

We have them. We think we should look like this, be this or have this. Sometime in our life, we have all felt that way. That little voice in your head that holds on, sticky as it may feel to the expectations we or society have for us. Let’s be real here. It hurts the most when someone you love, has these for you. The idea in their head of what “your” life should look like. Sure, I may have my own and battle with this from time to time, but I am stopped in my tracks when it is someone so close.

I have known that not everyone will nor has to understand this journey that I am on. It is mine. I am still trying to understand it. But, what spins me around and gets me into a messy battle with myself is when it is my momma. Why? Because I know her approval has been important to me for years. Her understanding and support.  Up until age forty, I asked myself before major decisions, “what will my mom say?” She is supportive in her prayerful and loving way, but not understanding where my next “job” will be at is confusing her.

It has been a few weeks, and I have thought about how and what I should say. Maybe an email, maybe really sharing with her how yoga and meditation have made such an impact on my life that I want to help others. Sharing with her that I love children and our future and I see hope for them through these teachings. She would understand, she would have to, right? Then I thought, WOW, I need to be the one letting go of expectations. I need to stop carrying that weight around. This isn’t about her.

Began to first realize this during a guided meditation with my acupuncturist. I had shared all of this and it was heavy on my chest. This bond is thick, so I knew it would take time to heal the wound I had let those words place on me. I spent the next week unbalanced and draining it all. Literally. I knew this was part of the process. It wasn’t until last night, when I was reading an expert from Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth. It all made sense, by letting go of my expectations of how she should feel or react, I could let go of my own. What a heavy burden released, indeed dear Eckhart!! I could have chosen to carry that for years and accumulate more and more or let it go. I woke up lighter, easier to breathe. Less congested. Not totally balanced, yet on my way.

Think I need to do some flow today as I take to my mat and continue letting go of expectations. ALL of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing with loss.

Posted on: November 17th, 2016 By:
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Dealing with loss.

fullsizerender-5http://tinybuddha.com/blog/dealing-with-loss-and-grief-be-good-to-yourself-while-you-heal/

Dealing with loss is difficult. Whether you felt a sense of loss in last week’s “results” or you lost someone you love, it is tough. But, truly understanding how to deal with it is part of your healing. It is easy to use shopping, food, alcohol or some other deterrent to cover the pain at first, but it will still always be there. I have done that, I have learned. All of those are just band-aids.

A month ago, we lost our beloved, sweet Staley boy. At almost fifteen, he had been my husband’s wing man. The most loyal dog I have ever witnessed. I knew he didn’t have too long left with us, but that day we weren’t ready for him to go down so quickly. His eyes told a story that he was ready to go home. They say, you should always live today as your last, but we let so much interfere with cherishing each moment . Staley did this. He was the prime example of living in the moment and taught me so much about life in the short two years I was given to love him.

Dealing with loss also means dealing with the empty space. The shift in energy. Our space, our home dynamics instantly changed. I found us walking around staring at each other and wondering how would we ever feel normal again? We had heavy hearts and a sense of confusion. I kept asking myself how would I ever make up for the pain that my husband was feeling? What can I do to make it better? The answer is, I couldn’t. And I had pain too.

We had many emotions swelling up inside and each one of us had to deal with them individually and still come together to be strong for each other. The above link really helped me when I wondered not only about the stages of grief, but tips on how to begin mending. My favorite is to “allow light in the middle of it all.” During any loss, you may be so struck with such heartache.that the last thing you want to do is go to work or go out with friends. But, that is what you need to do. Life is a celebration and being among those that love you and can support you is important. Remembering that self love is crucial and that loss is part of the big plan for us all.

Staley lived a beautiful life, but it was in those last few months that he was the greatest teacher I may ever meet. I miss him daily and my heart still aches for one last hug or to help my husband with him one more time at night. To see him cuddled on the couch, chase a squirrel or look into his big, beautiful chocolate eyes.

So, with whatever loss you may be going through, let “time and space” happen. My pain, our pain will not go away today, nor tomorrow but knowing how to deal with it when it arises is the best self care practice you could ever do for yourself.

 

 

I vote for compassion.

Posted on: November 8th, 2016 By:
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I vote for compassion.

I vote for compassion.

I vote for compassion.  On and off my mat.

Last week at yoga, I felt a sense of safety. You know, those rare moments that you belong exactly where you should be at that very moment?? In the company of those that are feeling what you are feeling?? Love and compassion for my journey, my story, and why I was there. To be able to share with total strangers what is in my heart and what I am feeling at that very moment {and they with me,} takes it to another level. Pushes me out of my comfort zone. Moments of excitement and anxiety always surface when it is my turn to share but always ending with such beautiful relief to “let it all go.” On this day (oh especially THIS day,) I vote for compassion. For myself, for others, for everyone I meet that I don’t know their story. It is the clear winner. Every time.

Our yoga instructor took such a delicate approach with us and I was genuinely thankful to have shown up for myself that day. Thirty minutes before the class, I was still talking myself out of it. Funny when you are not working, what a best friend the cozy couch can be, LOL!! {Funny, NOT funny.} Still getting used to this no job to go to thing:) It is amazing how instructors can really “feel” a room, the energy, adjust, and lead us in such healing without many words spoken. What an incredible hour of being gentle with ourselves and showing compassion even when it felt tough. Although it felt like I had stretched myself harder in those moments than before, compassion for what my body could and couldn’t do on and off my mat were in my mind. No judgement. A feeling of home and always back to child’s pose.

Last thing, I read a quote the other day that said, “The funny thing is, nobody really ever knows how much anybody else is hurting. We could be standing next to someone who is completely broken, and we wouldn’t even know.” Right??? Some people are great at putting up a front for others, me included!!! Feeling broken HURTS and is difficult. Yoga and mediation have helped me heal so many wounds and begin the process of not only “duck taping” myself back together, but feeling whole again. So much beautiful change. Going from anxiety years ago to being able to find a place of compassion on and off the mat is a continuous work in progress.

I vote for compassion. This is not a place of rest but a true dance, on and off my mat.

 

Checking in with my space.

Posted on: November 2nd, 2016 By:
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Checking in with my space, my heart. We don’t give ourselves this opportunity too often in life. This is new for me to have the time to feel again, discover, create and let go. To check in every moment with myself. Mostly, I was rushing into life instead of savoring it. I spent years with a “to do” list and it is a hard habit to break. Actually, the other day I grabbed a new calendar just to feel like I had appointments on my schedule again, LOL!!! Classic me, list maker. Really, they never end. The struggle is real.

Starting fresh and checking in with my space can take me DEEP. At times, I just sit with myself for hours. Sometimes forgetting who I am and succumbing to that same old thought pattern. Taught (like most of us,) at such a young age that we are our name, our race, our religion, where we are from and who we should grow up to be. Falling into this category for much of my life but never feeling like I quite fit into the “right” mold. I was always too “this” or not enough of “that.” Constantly giving up my power to be me, listening to societies rules. After years of trying to follow them, I am confident that I am in a better space. Always looking for creative outlets to express who I truly was. Used to have those stuck feelings tangled up inside. Oh yes, major tummy issues but that is another blog post! Coming to realize that I don’t need a new work schedule quite yet, but I do need a routine or daily ritual.

Here are the three ways I will be checking in with my space:

Be gentle.

This is a BIG one for me. So many times, my own personal expectations are HUGE. Wanting to perfect things for no reason. Going with the flow and making peace with my new pace is important to me. Connecting with myself instead of thinking I should be “doing” at every moment isn’t as easy as it sounds. Enjoying my lemon water reverently, staying in bed five more minutes, meditating when I am ready. Just being.

Self love instead of self judge.

Secondly, THIS! It is true that I love myself but it is also true that there are days that I make myself feel guilty for sitting on the couch. Literally, I jump up when my husband comes home unexpectedly just looking for a “chore” to get myself into, hahahaha! Going through moments that I feel guilty for not working. Less of this is necessary. Less judging. Knowing I am on the right path and that it will all unfold when it is time.

Listen to my body.

Telling myself that I NEED to go to yoga or run daily is tons of pressure. Plan on listening more to my body. Not only with what it is called to do each moment, but why it is. Listening to how I feel when I eat or don’t eat something. Taking this time to truly nourish myself inside and out. This includes what I put on my skin too. And if I need a nap or a day off, enjoy it and thank my body.

 

Yoga pants: Putting them on one leg at a time.

Posted on: October 25th, 2016 By:
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Hello,

My name is Cynthia. Three weeks ago, I chose a new magical journey. One that will bring me closer to my mat and in turn to myself. After 20+ years of working for corporate America with endless amounts of travel, I moved on. I let IT go. All that did not serve me anymore, I sent it packing. The Universe has sent me beautiful signs to let me know that it has my back. Time to get comfortable in my new space as I learn to put my yoga pants on one leg at a time. Easy, right?

Suddenly, it hit me. I DON’T HAVE A JOB. Ha, ha, ha, ha, I knew that was coming! I really don’t have a job?! Breathe. Deep breath in and exhale. I am starting over. First of all, I will { in this new life I envision for myself,} be the “new” one again. After years with my company, I was a leader. Yes, I was always learning but a “veteran.” Confident. Therefore, doing it in my sleep almost perfectly. Letting that “ego” lift will happen, but it will take time. Excited to dedicate my life to passions that have me leaping inside!! Teaching children and adults yoga/meditation while helping to take us all back to the place we came from, LOVE.

Consequently, after months of travel this year, my personal yoga practice suffered and I feel it. As a result, I am not as flexible, I am forgetting my posture and FORGET about any inversions, ha! Last Monday’s class I was extremely focused on trying to “perfect” my poses vs. breathing. I needed some time. Time to understand the loss of moving on from what I have known for more than half of my life. Just be. Needless to say, it was a LONG week.

So, today I felt ready. The yoga and meditation class was calling me. Due to me going more inward, I was in a better energy space. Before I dressed, I reminded myself of one crucial element. You are just like everyone else there, they are just like you. You all put your yoga pants on one leg at a time. Hence, this is about my own personal practice and where I am IN this very moment.