How Can We All Connect?

How can we all connect?

Rubbing shoulders helps us connect

I spent much of my childhood on public transportation and airplanes. We travelled a lot. I was a gregarious kid and travelled hopefully in life. What was going to be the next exciting adventure? It helped show me from an early age that we are all connected. When I was about three, I woke up on a flight – probably overnight from New York to London. The lights were dim and I was bored. I decided to work the plane. I wandered around, keeping my eyes peeled for someone who looked like they’d engage with me. Probably not long after my mother came rushing over and apologized to the man whose ears I was pinning back. He laughed it off, amused.

Fast forward to today – I was telling my husband that I had ‘connected’ with the security guard that the supermarket. I go there regularly and we smile and say hi – exchange a few pleasantries. He even came over with one of the small carts, knowing I prefer them. Those little daily interactions help strengthen our bonds.

Life on on public transportation helps with fear of ‘other’

New York City, Subway, 1970New York City, 1970 New York City, Subway, 1970 New York City, 1970 New York City, 1970

Photos are all from The National Archives

Mum and I spent many hours on the London Tube, Long Island Railroad and the the New York Subway. We regularly took the subway to the Loehmann’s in The Bronx – the Kingsbridge Store. This was in the 1970s and many people wouldn’t go on the subway, thinking it too dangerous – let along taking it to the Bronx. Some might have been horrified that my mother did this.

Mum has a very good radar and we never felt threatened. She’s the type to strike up conversations with whoever happens to be next to her and find and instant rapport.  I learnt it as normal to chat with everyone.

Changing neighborhoods

I saw London change. My grandparent’s flat is in Whitechapel, an area that has always taken in immigrants, put them on their feet and sent them on their way. When I was young, it was still cockney and Jewish. As my childhood rolled along, things began to change as Bangladeshis moved in. The street market outside Whitechapel tube station evolved from cockney accented stall keepers calling their wares – always with laugh and some joshing – to fruits and vegetables that we didn’t know and bright colors against the dull London sky with spicy aromas from the new restaurants. 

See photos that give a good feel for Whitechapel in the 1970s
here and here and
this photo is how I remember just west of Whitechapel Tube Station from that period. 

How Can We All Connect?

I benefited greatly from these experiences which helped me feel that we are all connected. I met people from all walks of life and learnt that ‘we’re all in the same bloody human predicament’ as my mother liked to say. This was a great gift – I can approach people as individuals, rarely making assumptions. I don’t tend to go in with preconceptions.

Yoga teaches us that we are all connected and that has been my life experience. Sometimes it can be hard to feel that way when we meet people who are not like us. Deep feelings can well up: of not understanding, of fear of the unknown – and that is a signal that we have something to probe and figure out.

It’s only by bringing these uncomfortable feelings into the light that we can address them. One of the important things in yoga is to take time and quiet to hear all these voices – we need to understand them, or be at their mercy.

As we move into this year’s holiday season, our feelings of connection will be tested. We will be stressed as we run about. 

Tap into your connections with these free journaling prompts!

Yoga Helps You Gain Clarity Inside and Out

Yoga Helps You Gain Clarity
Inside and Out

Yoga is more than physical – It helps you gain clarity inside and out

Many of us come to yoga for its physical benefits – I know I did! I loved the feeling of how yoga moved me. And it is an important part of the yoga experience.

I’ve written several blogs on asana itself – on aspects of physical yoga practice.

Three Reasons to Use Yoga Straps
How to do Chaturanga and keep your shoulders safe
3 Reasons to use yoga blocks

Yet there’s that moment when you feel something shift inside you and you realize  yoga isn’t just about your body.
Have you noticed yoga  helps you gain clarity inside and out?

yoga, orchids, meditation

The inside shift

Have you pondered how yoga creates more connections in you:  more connections to your body, more connections to your mind and also more connections between your mind and your body.  It’s that connection to our mind that sets yoga apart.

Tell me how you noticed the way yoga affects you overall – how did it move from being simply about your body to a more harmonious combination of mind and body.

Yoga helps me channel my emotions

Overall yoga has helped me be more open to change and to be curious about life,  to face things with equanimity – but there are constant changes in the way I feel.

The first thing I noticed yoga giving me was that I was able to channel my emotions better. I have big emotions that flare up inside me in an almost physical way and I can find it hard to come round from what should be a small funk. Yoga helps me shrug off those small things as just a minor blip.

I find it particularly hard with food to adjust. Cooking – my meals – food overall – is an important part of my life. Recently a friend and I were deciding what to order. We each chose, and because we thought the brussels sprouts sounded good we decided to share a portion of them.

When the dish arrived, it turned out my friend had had a different brussels sprouts dish in mind! I felt really bad, but she wasn’t fazed at all. We joked about it, because it barely bothered her and I know if it had been the other way around I’d definitely have work to do adjusting to the different dish.

The things we can shrug off easily as opposed to those that are harder vary from person to person. what do you find hard to shrug off?

Navigating change

We all know that change is a constant in our lives – but it is still difficult and unsettling. Yoga helps us navigate change – both those small tacks we have to make to our course every day as well as the big life changes we have. 

Claim your free video to a luscious short standing side stretch sequence.
It’ll nurture your body, mind and emotions.

What is it about yoga that helps us navigate change?
Before I discuss that in another blog, let me know what you think!

Marie Kondo Method – yoga and friendships

Marie Kondo Method – yoga and friendships

Tending and Ending Friendships

Have you noticed that friendships evolve over the years? We talk a lot about how to tend or how to end a romantic relationship – but not so much about friendships. Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child, but my friendships are very important to me. I nurture them and they give me great joy. What do the Marie Kondo method, yoga and friendships have in common?

My husband’s family have a habit of giving speeches on special occasions. At my Fiftieth birthday party, he gave a speech on the theme that I have a genius for friendship. I would like to think I do, and certainly we should all value our friendships. Yet it doesn’t necessarily mean that all our friendships have value.

Does the Marie Kondo Method relate to friendships? I’ve been seeing articles on that, which has made me think about how my friendships – and my view of what friendship means – has evolved.

How To Use Marie Kondo Method To Break Up With Friends
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Your Relationships)
How to Marie Kondo Your Friends – How to Breakup With a Friend

Yoga will change your friendships

We have different chapters in our life and and what is important to us will change. That means your friendships will ebb and flow. We all hope to have some super friends for life. But as we move through new chapters, our focus will change and we’ll look to different things from our friends.

Perhaps good company and being up for some fun in friendship has given way to valuing loyalty and generosity in the friendship. Time changes what we hold dear in friendship.

Yoga gives us many tools to navigate change, and as we develop our yoga practice we will see our friendships with new eyes

Find Your Supportive Community – Marie Kondo, your friends and yoga

There’s a Buddhist concept of Sangha – that’s your supportive community. It means you surround yourself with people who will be there for you.

Your sangha should of course ‘spark joy’ and have your back – but it should also stretch you and help you out of your comfort zone, encouraging you to be your best self. This is where yoga comes in. As you practice yoga you connect more with who you are.

Valuing Friendship

Three friends and I have a birthday club! I’ve known these people for years – two of them for over twenty years. We get together for lunch four times a year on a weekend near each other’s birthday to celebrate.

As you’d expect, we’ve been through a lot together and we know each others strengths and foibles. I’m the one who can be particular and rock the boat. I’m not rude or incredibly demanding, but I’ll ask if we can have a different table or mention that my chili is luke warm and would I be able to have another bowl steaming from the pot.

Recently I’ve been thinking more about this. I was a very easygoing child, and somewhere along the way I became a bit more rigid.

I could do with more relaxing. In fact, I haven’t so much been thinking about it as yoga has been evening that out a bit more. It’s one of the profound changes yoga is bringing to my life. I talk more about that in an earlier blog I wrote.

Yoga isn’t making me fully into a ‘go with the flow person’, but it’s helping me to understand where I want to put that energy. I mentioned this recently at one of our birthday lunches and got a round of applause. These friends kindly rib me about my foibles but also support me as I try to grow.

At the same time, food is important to me and being able to increase my enjoyment of a meal out gives me great joy. I still want see if my delicious bowl of chili can be nice and hot – that would really enhance my enjoyment. Yoga is giving me the ability to work through things and zone into my true self.

Finding Joy in Your Friendships

Yoga helps us understand what it important to us – and important in our friendships. It also helps us navigate change so we can have harmonious friendships that we enjoy.

Unsure how to delve into your friendships? I’ve a free meditation to help you on this journey.

Good Boundaries Free You

Good Boundaries Free You

Last blog dug into ‘I have no choice’: how it takes away your power and how you can take  back agency through a considered decision. There’s another part to this – and it’s boundaries. Good boundaries free you.

When we make decisions from a place of agency,
we understand why we’re making that choice.

How can we continue to feel good about that choice
and stick to it?

Good boundaries free you

It can be hard to hold a boundary. Some people don’t want to take no for an answer and are trying to guilt you into changing that to a yes. Perhaps they’re even used to you caving in if they keep wearing you down.

Have you unwittingly trained people to keep nagging you –
knowing you’ll eventually cave in and change  your no to a yes?

Do you want to give your valuable time and energy to the person who tries to wear you down pushes the hardest.

You can hold you boundaries with love: out of love for yourself and for those you care about. You can do it with a loving intention.

Know where to put your energy

A while back I was making dinner for a relative who was in town. About an hour before she was due for our nice get together, she started texting me a stream of moving targets telling me how late she was going to be for dinner. At first it was half an hour – I think she ended up an hour and a half late. I was upset – it didn’t feel this was at all respectful of the fact that I was timing cooking our dinner and that we’d planned a nice evening together.

She arrived full of apologies. She had been helping a friend and it took a lot longer than she thought it would. It seems this friend kept telling her things like ‘oh it’ll be just  another few minutes’ and ‘I don’t know if I can finish this on my own’.

It’s so easy to go along with that – the person in front of us often gets our atttention. Yet there was another action she could have taken.

She could stepped away from the pressure of her friend, realized that her priority should be to the person making her dinner and offering hospitality. She could have stayed firm to that and left, lovingly saying ‘I’m sorry this is taking so long – but that means I now have to leave.  I’m already late and it’s unfair on the person cooking me dinner’.

It was hard for her to step way from the the friend she was helping’s pressure – but if it had been you, wouldn’t you have felt better being kind but firm you had to leave and honoring the meal your relative was preparing?

Have the conviction of your values

This is where digging into your priorities and how you actually want act is so important. Then you’ll find good boundaries free you – and help you feel confident in how you move through life. 

When you do that, and when you’re grounded in that way, not only do your actions come from your values and your heart, it is so much easier to be clear about this and to stick to it, with grace and love.

You can tune out the noise and the pressure, tap into what you should be doing to be true to yourself and then lovingly hold your boundaries.  Maybe you’re even on time for dinner!

Want help tuning out the noise and pressure
so you can keep you steady center? I’ve a free brilliant calming and centering meditation to get you on your way.

I Have No Choice And Gaining Agency

I Have No Choice And Gaining Agency

I have no choice and gaining agency

Does your life feel out of control? Do you find yourself saying in your best harassed voice I have no choice? So often we end up rushing around, feeling like we’re on a hamster wheel, muttering I have no choice. I’ve been caught up in this, just like you  – and we react this way because it seems like there’s no time to do anything else.

I used to be that way. We are so giving aren’t we – and it’s in our nature to say ‘yes’ so we do. We then tie ourselves in knots fulfilling all these commitments.

This had to stop – I was run ragged and resentful. I knew something had to change. Lets examine I have no choice and gaining agency.

Where is your agency?

I Have No Choice

I’m radically against the phrase I don’t have a choice. Your choices might be limited and seem unattractive – but there are still choices to be considered. Are you just floating along bemoaning the situation and going in the direction of whoever is pulling hardest through things like guilt and manipulation?

Are you just floating in the direction of whoever is pulling hardest – using guilt and manipulation to wear you down?

Comfort with Agency

How often do we go into situations with our arms crossed, determinedly knowing it’s going to be hideous?

This often happens with something related to work or family because of obligations. Lets talk about a family member we don’t like but feel we have to visit. This really happened to me – I’m guessing you’re familiar too! We roll our eyes and sigh and try to put it off.

Joe is mean to you and his family. He says things that are snide and belittling using guilt and manipulation to get his way. In short, Joe is nasty and demanding. Unfortunately, he also complains bitterly if you don’t visit. After months of this sniping, you sigh and say – I don’t have a choice, I’ll just have to hold my nose for a few hours and visit Joe. Lets get it over with. When, in the end, we arrive at the front door you are sure it’s going to be awful. Your arms are crossed. You think I don’t want to be here – but I have no choice.

We’ve all been there – this is not an unusual situation.
So how do we re-frame it and why do we go anyway?

In fact, you do have a choice – you can just not visit. You can let Joe be as nasty as he likes. You can be cheerful about it and ignore it as interference, not worrying about any flack coming your way – it’s more about Joe than it is about you.

So lets dig deeper to see why you still choose to visit Joe. Obviously, you don’t want him to complain and moan about you. But is there more?

You know Joe will go on a rant to his family about you, because that’s what he’s like.  He’s the type to go on multiple tears. If you don’t visit, Joe will  sound off to his family about how selfish you are and how that’s not how family behaves  etc.

Joe’s family will have to bear the brunt of your decision not to visit. You might not have to deal with his meanness, but the unpleasantness will be passed onto them.
His family will pay the price if you don’t visit.

In fact, you realize your visit helps the rest of the family!
This is why you do it – so you can give them some relief!

You’ve made an altruistic choice. It’s something to feel good about. You’ll also find that when you understand why you’re doing something, it resentment. Surely you don’t want to be a martyr?

Understanding that you’re helping out members of the family can help you to sail through visiting Joe with grace. Rather than feeling like I don’t have a choice you understand why you are making this visit and you feel good about it.

Agency – owning our decisions

What’s hard about taking back our agency is seeing clearly. This digging deep into why you’re making these decision is difficult. There is so much noise – in our lives and in our head. It makes it hard to tune into your choices and understand why you are making these decisions.

It’s all the noise – the cacophony of daily life that gets us pulled hither and yon, so you’re reacting rather than acting.

When you make a commitment to yourself to tune into understanding why you do things you will step forward with clarity of purpose as you say ‘yes’ or even ‘I won’t be able to help with this – but I wish you well’.
Your resentment will decrease and you’ll be freeed up! That can only be good for you and those around you.

I’ve some luscious free journaling prompts to help you on your way.

This is deeps stuff – so find a quiet few minutes to dig into understanding when and why you say I have no choice and transform reacting to acting with clarity. You owe it to yourself and others – you’ll step forward with equanimity and less resentment.

Interested in digging deeper? Email me to set up a chat.

Yoga’s Mind Body Connection – Two Minutes or 40 Days

Yoga’s Mind Body Connection –
Two Minutes or 40 Days

40 Day Kriya or short standing side stretch – it’s all making the magic

Do you sometimes have an aha moment after the fact? That kept happening while I was doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I chose to do the hour Kirya – and that time every day shifted so many things. It was obviously quite an commitment – but you can find the same yoga mind-body magic yoga  in something as straightforward as a luscious standing side stretch. Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Surrendering to the 40 Day Kriya

I surrendered myself to the discipline of this Kundalini yoga. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new.  That’s why you should start at the beginning again if you miss a day – your energy is building.

Understanding imagery

This journey had lots of twists and turns. During the first week, I had vivid images – the Gordian Knot symbolism that I wrote about here was one of them. I kept reporting amazing things in my journal.  One day, my heart went through the basket ball hoop of my Third Eye. Those of you who know me will understand that sports metaphors are not at all something I’m liable to use. 

 Digging deep into the pose

Day by day I became more and more in tune with the physical aspects of the practice. This asana  part of the hour Kriya took 35 minutes and had long, long holds. There’s a locust variation and baby cobra which are both held for 2.5 minutes – and then glorious rests!

These are active holds – in movement,  in strenth and in alignment. My brain began to quieten and I began to feel the different aspects of the posture more intensely and my focus shifted.  I often felt fully wrung out.

Locust Variation

Baby Cobra

Silent transformation

The Kriya has meditation and silent mantras along with the poses – with a beautifully designed arc. Some days I couldn’t get into it and muttered under my breath, some days I expanded with wonder – and of course, there were the almost psychedelic visions I had during my first week.

The last 15 days of the Kriya is just bells for transitions. There’s no talk, you can watch Brett move though the practice with you – silently. I soaked uptake hour of silence and found profound depth in it.

I was in London for the last five days of the 40 Day Kriya. I spent two weeks there clearing mum’s flat – and it made all the difference.  What a huge task – yet I was able to be flexible and approach this very intense task with equanimity, thanks to yoga. I wrote more about this journey here. (The photo at the top is in London).

Yoga’s mind body connection – two minutes or 40 Days.

Whether it’s a 40 day Kriya  or something that just takes a few minutes, yoga’s mind – body connection makes all the difference inside and out. Interested in exploring – I’ve got a luscious free, short side stretch sequence. You’ll be amazed.

Find out more about Brett Larkin here.

Snag your free standing short side stretch video sequence and
tips on finding your yoga home


Comfort with Fluidity

Comfort With Fluidity

I love a plan – a goal. We’re taught that this is the right way to approach life. When there’s only so much planning you can do or when you find you can’t control outcomes it leaves you with many negatives feelings: rudderless, unsuccessful, frightened. That sort of focus can also lead to tunnel vision, so you aren’t open to opportunities. Recently I was in London clearing out mum’s flat after she moved into a care home – I did this in two weeks. Unlike the US, Estate Sales aren’t a thing in UK and often in London charities won’t collect.  I had to have comfort with fluidity.

Everyone thought I was bonkers – even I thought I was bonkers. 

On the one hand, this huge task was overwhelming – the property managers need to do their refurb before we let the flat. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to get back over. It was four years since I’d been to the UK. That’s the longest I’ve even been away – but looking after mum, I couldn’t leave her for more than a few days. 

Refurb, clearing out, yoga

To remain flexible

Clearing the flat contained so many moving parts and imponderables that having a plan was well nigh impossible. I was incredibly fortunate to get excellent help along the way – both before I arrived and during my trip. 

Let your mind go to an extremely cluttered flat with bursting closets and an overwhelming amount of furniture to understand the extent of this task.  I could only have the barest sketch of a plan and each day I had to step forward with trust and confidence that things would work out.

Several weeks before I headed to London, I began Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. I surrendered myself to the discipline. You do the same practice every day and if you miss a day, you have to start from the beginning again. The idea is that this builds energy to break negative habits that stop you from expanding and stepping into something new. 

What I really noticed is that I was able to go with the flow.
I trusted that it would all work out. 

Yoga gives the quiet and the space to have comfort with Fluidity 

The main thing that yoga gives me is the space and the quiet to face what the day brings with equanimity. So often we’re running, and in the midst of a cacophony of noise. Our life is a whirl. The quiet can be difficult – but it’s important.

When I was in London, I didn’t get too stressed at the twists and turns of getting the flat cleared.  I didn’t, as it were, ‘borrow trouble’. I still kept my sense of proportion. I hoped that the furniture I put on freecycle would be taken – although I was prepared still to have clearance / to haul away.  At the same time, I knew that no matter how hard I worked, there would still be things for Clearance to take.

I just kept plowing away. I talked to people, kept myself open to ideas and rolled with whatever came my way.  All the time I had faith it would all get done. I made sure I did my yoga!

Unsure how to tap into this energy?
Use my free meditation on exploring fluidity.

Dissipate the Negative Voice with Yoga

Dissipate The Negative Voice
With Yoga

What is that little voice in your brain telling you?

 

What is that little voice in your brain telling you? We all have one – mine has been telling me all my life that I’m too excitable. I’m not just exuberant, I’m Jack Russell Terrier level.   It’s difficult to shake that voice though, isn’t it. What is yours? That voice – you are too much / you are too sensitive / you are not good enough is holding us back – dissipate the negative voice with yoga.

My family is ‘let it all hang out’ and I was lucky to be encouraged by my parents to become my own person – with my own identity.  Over the years I’ve learnt to channel that boing boing, what’s our next adventure energy and use it better. But my parents never tried to dampen my very strong enthusiasm. They helped me to dig into that and to understand that it wasn’t the only way to be but was a wonderful way to be. They certainly never told me I was ‘too much’ or ‘overwhelming’.

I think I was very lucky that I wasn’t given the message that my level of excitability was bad – but that it was something to harness. Yet I still have that voice in my head wondering if I’m too strong a taste.

Dissipate the negative voice with yoga

Yoga has given me the ability to be more grounded. Recently I’ve been doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. That hour a day is shifting so many things.  It’s also helping me remain composed through the little curve balls life throws us – when I might normally have growled and whined a little .

yoga savsana dissipate negative voice

Step into yourself, step into the magic

Yoga helps us be more ourselves – and be more self-assured as ourselves.

Stepping into who we are, living that sense of self, gives us a great confidence in how we move forward in life. When we have that authenticity within ourselves, when the little voice dissipates, the magic happens – and yoga takes us there.

Oh and we did have a Jack Russell when I was a kid – the two of us manically ran about the woods and took bike rides together.

Want to start dissipating that little voice your head?
Don’t miss your free video and journal prompts on understanding how it holding back.

Yoga Gives Me Understanding and tools

Yoga Gives Me Understanding
and tools

The Struggle is real

How do approach a struggle in your life? The struggle is real and yoga has really been helping me with my struggle toolkit. My mother is the kind of person to ignore a problem and hope it will go away. I take more after my father – I deal with it straight on. To be honest, when I was younger this could end up being more like a full frontal attack, I’ve channeled that better as I’ve matured. But my instinct is still to go at a problem straight on. This can be helpful – I’m organized and on top of things. Yoga gives me understanding and tools – more tools to be skillful.

Recently I’ve been doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. That hour a day has really been shifting things with lots of inspiration and lightbulbs. One day I had a vision of a huge knot – imagine a massive ball of wool. It looked like that – only it wasn’t wool and I knew For A Fact it was a Gordian Knot. The Gordian Knot was the huge tangly knot that no-one could unravel – then Alexander the Great came along and cut through it with a thrust of his sward.

(You can get more details on the Gordian Knot story here).

The Gordian Knot

That my vision was a Gordian Knot made absolute sense to me. It’s how I go about solving a problem. I take the most direct approach and I usually tackle it immediately, if not sooner. So it came as no surprise to me to have a Gordian Knot materialize. 

Then something strange happened. The knot, far from being wool, appeared tone  made from some sort of plasticine, which is like is Play Doh.  Like many a Seventies London child, I played a lot with the basic gray/blue plasticine my grandparents always had in stock. So plasticine taps into some of my earliest memories.

Plasticine

Spoiler: it wasn’t a Gordian Knot

There I was, in the middle of my Kriya thinking how interesting, how peculiar that the huge Gordian Knot was actually made of plasticine. Then things got even weirder – the plasticine began to soften. Soon the knot was gone – it had softened and unraveled.

Here’s the shocker: this was a situation that didn’t need a full frontal approach. Apparently it wasn’t a Gordian Knot at all. The better approach was softening. Yoga gave me understanding and tools

yoga, thread the needle

Yoga gives me understanding – and more tools for life

Recently I’ve been trying to add this tool as an option to how I approach a problem. Sometimes my direct, can do attitude can means that I don’t let things sit enough and I go off half cocked. I am loving working with learning how to soften my response and when that approach is more skillful than the direct approach.  And my vision of the Gordian-Knot-That-Wasn’t really captures that journey.

This is the most amazing thing about yoga – it helps us understand ourselves better and become more skillful – in our communication and in our life.

Claim your free video – 20 minute softening sequence.
We could all do with a bit of softening.


Emotional yoga: why are you embarrassed?

Emotional yoga:
why are you embarrassed?

Does someone’s behavior reflect on you?

I became a vegetarian in 1996, when I was 29. A few months later I was due to visit Hungary with my father. I didn’t occur to me that my vegetarianism could become an issue and I wondered – why are you embarrassed?

I had visited with my Hungarian father many times – but not in ages. In fact, it was my first trip since ‘the change’. I was looking forward to seeing what post communist Hungary was like.

My father balked. He literally said to me ‘you’re going to be finished with this vegetarian phase by the time we go to Hungary, aren’t you’! This was with the same tone that you might use with a 15 year old ‘you’re still wearing that black lipstick and black eyeshadow’! Apparently kids never do grow up.

We went to Hungary and it was fun – in spite of my father’s rumblings in advance.  I got gently teased by family friends and at every meal there was a consultation with the server in Hungarian to explain that I was a vegetarian. I always ended up with beautifully breaded and fried vegetables. This was 1996 – there were not a lot of vegetarians in Hungary, so delicious but not much variety.

I couldn’t understand why my father had got his knickers in such a twist and why he put quite a lot of pressure on me to mend my vegetarian ways. Then it hit me: he thought it reflected badly on his parenting that he could raise a child who became – shock / horror – a vegetarian.

Hungarian Emboidery
My grandmother embroiled the placemat and cushion cover. The box is from Transylvania.

Why are we embarrassed for other people?

I think we’ve all been embarrassed by our parents, especially while growing up and that we take that feeling into adulthood. Do you find yourself feeling responsible for the behavior of others? I’m not talking about anything outright shocking or dangerous – but something a bit eccentric or outré … like being a vegetarian. I’m an advice column junkie and  there are many columns written about this – especially concerning weddings.

In a sense it’s understandable – we’re not just used to societal norms but we also naturally cleave to those who are like us. So it’s easy to cringe at someone else seemingly embracing themselves. If that’s a spouse or parent or someone you’re close to it’s easy to feel like their behavior is a reflection on you. Why are you embarrassed?

It’s you not them – why are you embarrassed?

An important part of yoga is not just the physical practice – but also the mind body connection and the inner work. Yoga helps us dig into ourselves and know ourselves. We peel though those layers of assumptions and ‘shoulds’. Why did it make my father so uncomfortable that he had raised a vegetarian? Why would that be a failing on his part? When you notice these sorts of feelings well up, yoga helps you pause and understand these reactions and where the come from. Perhaps they are indication of more work to be done.

The more we understand ourselves, the more we can act rather than react and that can only help us live well. Yoga helped me do that – why not investigate how it can help you

I have a gift of journaling prompts to get you started.