Limited time

One thing about being a dog sitter and not a dog owner… is that I know it is temporary. I take care of some dogs for a few days and some times a few weeks.

I fall in love with a lot of these dogs I take care of and some of them I see them many more times and some of them I won’t see them for a whole year or maybe never.

When I know the time I have with these dogs is temporary it makes me cherish the time I have with them. I want to pet them more, walk them a little longer, cuddle them tighter, or just stare at them and admire their cuteness.

Last week a dog I took care of for three weeks went back to his family. He was a handful but you can’t help but love this big labrador retriever that loves to be loved. Every time I would pay attention to him and pet him and scratch him he will shake his big butt and swing his thick tail and slap me with it.

When the owner came to pick him up she said “Oh, now he is going to be bored at home because we all tend to ignore him.”

This made me notice how I was soaking up his beauty because I knew I only had a short time with him.

But when you think about it, we have a short time with every thing and every body and a short time on this planet in this life time.

Everything is temporary.

It was a good reminder for me to cherish the things, beings, and the moments that I take for granted.

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moving on

June has come and gone and my minimalism challenge has ended… I got rid of 465 things  last month … but this challenge has awakened a minimalism monster inside me and I continue to get rid of many MANY things.

For example, things that had been there for so long they had become invisible to me… like the bedside table that my parents passed down to me which sat in my dining room with no specific function…

Things I kept because they were expensive… like the leather coat I hadn’t worn in years, jewelry that an ex-boyfriend gave me that I din’t want to wear because I had not-so-great memories associated with it.

Things I kept because I had positive memories associated with it … like the white summer dress I bought in Fiji 15 years ago that actually doesn’t fit me anymore.

Getting rid of all this STUFF that brings back all sorts of memories has made it feel like a slow ceremony of “moving on” to something new.

I have no idea what I’m “moving on” to… but it feels like I’m creating more space physically, mentally, emotionally for something new.

and it feels GREAT 😊

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all the dresses I got rid of

INTENTION behind the gift

While I am doing this MINIMALISM challenge this month,  seeking out what I could get rid of, one day a dear friend of mine left me a gift by my front door.

I opened it, and it was these cute chopstick resets (that I’m using to put my jewelry on).

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The day she left this gift for me just happened to be a day I was feeling sad about something and her gift made me so happy because I felt her ❤︎

This made me notice… yes, we don’t need a lot of THINGS but it is the INTENTION behind it that is important. No, I didn’t NEED these cute little chopstick resets but the fact that my dear friend thought of me when she saw these cute pups (because I’m a dog sitter), made me cry not from sadness (which I was before she gave me the gift), but cry because I was so touched by her thoughtfulness.

So, even as I go through this month sorting out my stuff and deciding to get rid of many things that were given to me as a gift, in stead of feeling guilty that I am letting them go, I am allowing myself to relive the warmth and gratitude that I felt when I received these gifts…

got rid of 378 things so far this month

 

 

 

 

hump day ~ going beyond my comfort zone

Only 5 more days to go with the MINIMALISM challenge of getting rid of the same number of things as the day of the month.

I actually experienced “hump day” at day 19 when I felt like I was running out of things to get rid of…. or I think you could say, that was when I was going beyond my “comfort zone.”

When I practice and teach Yoga and am focusing on making the body stronger, I often think and say “if you don’t go beyond your comfort zone you won’t get stronger.” I think it’s the same even with practicing RELAXING your body in Yin Yoga. You want to challenge yourself to see how much you can actually make your body so relaxed that it truly starts to feel like dead weight.

Well, I guess that really applies to everything in life. If you don’t go beyond your comfort zone there is no growth.

Because after day 19 of this MINIMALISM challenge, it has gotten so much easier to get rid of the things that I initially thought I wanted to keep, that I am starting to think 30 days (which amounts to 465 things) will not be enough for me to feel the way I want to feel when this challenge is over. I’ll see how I feel at day 30 of this month.

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the things I got rid of at day 22 (minus Kohana, the dog 😂 )

Let there be SPACE and SILENCE

It is day 15 of my MINIMALISM challenge which means I have gotten rid of 120 things already!! WOW I didn’t notice it has been that many until I calculated it just now.

It’s been very interesting so far.

I thought I didn’t have enough things to get rid of because I purged A LOT of stuff after reading Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” over a year ago.

But everyday I end up finding things that I initially thought I would NEED or eventually use… but then on second or third thought, thanks to this challenge, I notice that I am just keeping it because I COULD use it or I have the space to store it.

So now when I walk around the house I feel like I’m assessing what I really need and don’t need so I have enough things to get rid of the next day to meet this challenge.

One AHA moment for me during this challenge is
“I DO NOT NEED TO FILL UP THE SPACE JUST BECAUSE THERE IS SPACE”

Of course this applies to things… Just because I have a big refrigerator doesn’t mean I have to fill it up with food. Just because I have a closet doesn’t mean I have to fill it up with clothes. Just because I have a garage doesn’t mean I have to fill it up with junk.

BUT

I noticed this also applies to words.

About a year ago when I was teaching a Yin Yoga class describing the practice and how you can relax your body to get the stretch to reach into your deep connective tissue, there was a girl that had her mat down at the corner of the room that waved me over.

Assuming she had a question for me I walked over to her and she said, “Can you please be quiet because I can’t relax with all the talking you’re doing.”

My first reaction (in my head) was “Is she telling me to shut up when I’m here to teach?”

But this “complaint” that I got that day has been one of the best lessons for me ever.

After she told me to shut up I did talk way less than I usually do. And it made me notice that I was filling up the silent space with my words because “I” was feeling uncomfortable with the silence.

This made me observe the students in their Yoga poses and how they were reacting while they were holding these poses for minutes at a time. It also gave me time to go up to students individually and help them or just simply give them the time to be with their own thoughts, their body sensations, and also be with the discomfort of silence.

Silence, which is something that is pretty rare these days.

So, thanks to this MINIMALISM challenge and this girl that told me to shut up, now I know that JUST BECAUSE THERE IS SPACE, WE DON’T HAVE TO FILL IT UP

 

Minimalism in my body

I’m playing a Minimalism Game this month and getting rid of excess stuff every day of the month. → Minimalism Game

I started following these Minimalists when I watched a documentary called “MINIMALISM” on Netflix a few months ago.

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In my opinion, this documentary is a MUST SEE and a MUST PRACTICE in this day and age when we are overloaded with STUFF and STIMULATION from every direction.

When I watched this documentary I realized that my Yin Yoga practice is a way of practicing MINIMALISM in my body.

The reason is because when I put myself in a Yin Yoga pose to stretch or “stress” a certain part of my body, I use the minutes I spend in that pose to let go of excess holding and gripping that I unconsciously accumulate in my body so that my body can slooooooowly release into gravity.

The other reason it feels like a minimalism in my body is because when I am in a Yin Yoga pose and release the NEED to feel strong and obvious sensations I get when I pull myself into a stretch in a YANG (muscular) way, I get to enjoy the more simple and subtle sensations that arise as I just watch what happens as I take each easy breath while I am in the pose.

Oh, and speaking of simple and subtle sensations… the feeling when I come out of the pose, which my teacher Paul Grilley calls “the rebound” and I sometimes call “the aftertaste” … it is the MOST subtle yet magical sensations that are changing moment to moment and cannot be described in words. The total opposite of the overstimulating sensations you get when you are doing a very muscular movement or exercise.

I was born with a naturally flexible body (thank you mom and dad) and I admit that strengthening my body balances out all the flexibility I have.

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Some people see how flexible my body is and ask me “do you even need to stretch more when you are already flexible?”

When I used to stretch my body only in a more of a YANG (muscular) way by pulling myself into certain stretches I feel like I was more numb to these subtle sensations that I am more sensitive to now.

Five years ago I went to my first Yin Yoga teacher training with Paul and Suzee Grilley. I remember we were in Saddle Pose to stretch the quadriceps and Paul walked up to me and asked, “Is this the best way for you to stretch your quadriceps?”

Up until that moment, I had never practiced in a way of letting the sensations of my body be the leader to create my own unique Yoga pose to get the function of stretching certain parts of my body.

I had always created a shape that looks like a certain Yoga pose and made sure I was doing it “correctly” and because of my natural flexibility I could do a lot of these Yoga poses that required a lot of flexibility.

Now I allow my Yoga practice to be a way to connect to all these different colorful sensations that are present in my body and it has made my love for Yoga Asana practice even greater. It truly feels like a communication with my body when I am making sure I am listening to the feedback that my body is sending me as I move or hold myself in a Yoga pose.

And becoming more sensitive to these different sensations in my body that ONLY I could feel, I can say, YES even if I was born with a flexible body I do need to stretch every day because I can feel where and how I am getting tighter in certain parts of my body, and I’ve also noticed my “holding patterns” in my body from being still and passive with my Yin practice.

My habitual place to grip and hold is in my neck, jaw, and skull and when I practice relaxing these areas it feels like it relaxes my whole body. I jokingly say it is “natural botox” when I practice letting go of all the fascial expressions I make in my daily life.

In this day and age when we are always wanting MORE and MORE, which includes body sensations too… STRONGER body, MORE flexible body, IMPRESSIVE looking Yoga poses, being passive in a Yin Yoga pose and just practicing relaxing and being still for minutes at a time might seem boring and a waste of time to some people…

But just the way getting rid of excess stuff in my house allows me to feel clear and appreciate what I cherish, I love my Yin Yoga practice because it allows me the time to practice feeling what it feels like to live in my own body without having to DO MORE, and to be comfortable being with my own body and my own thoughts.

This is my own unique experience that I feel in my own unique body that I have in this life time.

I will be co-leading a retreat this September and teaching Yin Yoga in the evenings. Click here for more information and to sign up → Retreat Website

 

 

SLO life

This past weekend I drove up to the Central Coast to spend some time with my dear friend Stacie. We became friends through Yoga and will be co-leading a Yoga retreat at a beautiful location called Oak Creek Lodge in Santa Margarita, CA this September.

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Yoga room overlooking the pool at the Oak Creek Lodge
I love driving up to the Central Coast. As the bigger than necessary ads start to disappear, and buildings get smaller and fewer, and crazy traffic starts to die down, the sky and land starts to open up. I can feel a sense of relaxation start to sink into my eyes and my body.

If I could find a way to live on a mini ranch with horses and dogs and cats, build a Yoga barn and have classes like “Yoga for farmers” and enjoy a SLOW LIFE I would be very happy. I am a “slow-pace” kind of person. I eat slow (to the point where I annoy people), I process information slow, I even love my Yoga practice sloooow.

Anyways, the reason for going up to the Central Coast was “strictly business”.

My dream job is to be a professional massage receiver so Stacie had me receive a massage to make sure the massage therapist was good for our retreat attendees. We also went to the local winery to confirm they had good wine, and the local bakery had delicious pastries and cupcakes. Like I said, strictly business.

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Stacie and I looking like a couple at Ancient Peaks Winery

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I knew this place called Just Baked Bakery will be yummy as soon as I walked in
I spent the night at Stacie and her husband’s beautiful home close from our retreat location. They made delicious dinner and we drank wine listening to great music in their patio overlooking this beautiful view.

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Just one night of SLO life and I felt like I went on my own mini retreat feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. If you want to join us for our three night Yoga retreat please click here for information and to sign up →  http://hamayareeveyoga.com/

↓ A song I love called “Slow Life” by Chris Pierce

From hate to â¤ï¸Ž

I was born in the States and had to move to Japan when I was 12, right after seventh grade.

I hated that I had to move.
I hated the fact that I was Japanese because that was why I had to move away from a place I was so familiar with.
I hated the fact that my parents put me in a very strict all-girl private school.
I hated feeling humiliated in this new school because I was academically behind. SO behind.

I used to study Japanese by reading Japanese comic books but I guess that was not enough because I was called into the teacher’s office one day to be told that the scores that I was getting for the Kanji tests were not acceptable.

Kanji is the Chinese characters that we use in Japan… ONE of the characters we use because we also use Hiragana and Katakana.

But this Kanji thing is the one that looks like a little bundle of scribbles and if you miss one tiny brush of a whisker, UNACCEPTABLE.

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I remember thinking…. I HATE KANJI!!!! but I studied it and I practiced it until I was able to read and write these bundles of scribbles.

This memory came back when I was studying to be an interpreter for David Kim’s Yin Yoga teacher training in Tokyo.

I usually don’t teach Yoga in Japanese and I am not an interpreter… but when David asked me to be his interpreter and I instinctively said, “SURE!” I noticed that I had to study Japanese… again.

But as I studied Yoga and anatomy vocabularies in Japanese, I realized how beautiful this language is and how beautiful Kanji is.

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Kanji characters are like a poem because one character has a meaning. For example, I write my last name “Hamaya” 浜家 in Kanji. “Hama” 浜 means “beach” and the character for “ya” 家 means “house” so my last name means “beach house.”

For this reason, studying anatomy in Japanese was not as difficult as I initially thought and I actually enjoyed it. I noticed that certain muscle names or bone names when written in Kanji tells you what it does or where it is just by knowing the Kanji characters.

Not only did i enjoy studying and preparing for this interpreting gig, but I also enjoyed this new experience of being an interpreter in my home country using this beautiful Japanese language.

I am so grateful for that time many MANY years ago that I felt so humiliated that I studied this language.

With only a few more days before I go back home to the States, I’ve noticed that I love this country Japan and I love the Japanese language and of course … I LOVE Japanese food 😋

Join me and Stacie Reeve in beautiful Central California for a Yoga retreat where Stacie will be teaching Yang (flow) Yoga in the morning and I will be teaching Yin Yoga and meditation in the evening. Link for the retreat below ⬇️

http://hamayareeveyoga.com/

Feel the REBOUND

When I started practicing Yoga I learned the “root and rebound” concept. When I actually felt the rebound in my body, standing in the simplest asana like Tadasana with my feet rooting down and the energetic rebound going upward….

I fell in love.

I fell in love with that feeling of lightness in my body, that feeling of connecting to both earth and heaven energy, that feeling of “playing with gravity,” and it got me hooked to practicing Yoga which led me to teaching it.

Then, fast forward a few years, I attended my first Yin Yoga teacher training with my teachers Paul and Suzee Grilley.
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That is when I heard Paul use the word “rebound” as well, but it was a different “rebound” from the “root and rebound” concept.

First of all, in a Yin Yoga pose, you are not rooting your body down like you would in a Yang pose because you are practicing yielding into gravity, so there is more of a sinking feeling while you are holding these poses for minutes at a time.

Once we come out of the long-held pose, Paul or Suzee would tell us to rest in a comfortable position and “feel the rebound” while keeping our body still and silent.

This meant feeling the effect of the pose once you come out of the pose with no expectations. Just receiving and observing the energetic rush and swirls and response that your body is feeling, which you will probably miss out on if you rushed to the next pose or if you didn’t pay attention.

I fell in love.

I fell in love with the indescribable sensations that arise in my body and how I almost feel hypnotized by them, sometimes making me not want to move for a very long time. I loved how it made me notice how there is something to feel AFTER you practice a Yoga pose, whether it is a Yin or Yang Yoga pose.

I sometimes describe it as taking a bite of something super yummy, closing your eyes, and savoring the after taste in your mouth…. or striking the singing bowl and listening to the reverberation until it feels like you can’t hear it anymore.

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Which means there is a “rebound” to everything.

Last year when I went to attend a Yoga training with Paul to study the Yoga Sutras, the study and talk was sometimes too deep for my limited brain and it almost felt like I could feel the “????” hovering above my head… and maybe Paul saw them too because that is when he said “Just the way you don’t practice Yoga poses so you can MASTER them, it is okay if you are not grasping everything you hear. Just the fact that you are interested in studying this and opening up your mind to it is enough. Take in what you can and then feel the rebound.”

I must admit, these words made me tear up.

Partly because I can feel the panicked feeling of “not understanding everything” melt away, and partly because I thought it was so beautiful to think that there is even a rebound to receiving and studying a certain subject.

Since then, it seems like I feel the REBOUND in almost everything I do.


I am co-leading a “ROOT REBOUND REFLECTION” Yoga retreat with my dear friend and Yoga teacher Stacie Reeve. Please go to our website for more information and to sign up!

http://hamayareeveyoga.com/

Tidying up to feel good

Almost two years ago, I was at a session with my life coach Gage and came up with a fun challenge of doing what feels good deep inside for 100 consecutive days. It was a few months after I separated from my husband and I wanted to focus on discovering who I am and what makes me truly happy.

On day four, I decided to clean out my closet and just pick out the clothes that feels good and get rid of the rest.

An inspiring lady that has been taking my Yoga class since my first day I started teaching Yoga, saw the Facebook post of me cleaning out the closet and gave me a book called “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.

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The method I had used to clean out my closet was basically the same way this book instructs you to tidy up. The author of this book says you should hold each item in your hand to notice if you feel a “spark of joy” (in Japanese called “tokimeki” ときめき) and if you do, you can keep that item even if it is old or out of style.

I loved this.

I loved it because this method was something that makes you tune into your intuition instead of THINKING about what you should do with your belongings.

I got hooked and got rid of A LOT of stuff. I even folded and stored my clothes exactly the way she tells you to and it felt SO GOOD to be surrounded by what makes me feel good and to feel organized. (I must admit… a lot of what I got rid of is now in my garage and I still have major tidying up to do there…)

All this “tidying up” is cleaning up what you can see. Clothes, books, paper, pictures, etc.

When I practice my Yoga, especially Yin Yoga, I feel like it is a “tidying up” of my body. Tidying up the invisible… the tension that gets stuck in my body, especially from past thoughts and emotions that I don’t want settling deep into my body.

It’s not that I am resisting emotions. I admit I feel guilt, anger, frustration, even hate towards certain people and/or events, especially with what is happening in this country right now.

But I don’t want those thoughts/emotions to accumulate inside me, just the way I don’t want unnecessary and unwanted possessions to take over my house.

So, what I do is when I come into a Yin Yoga pose, like the shoelace, making sure that I feel the good stress in the target area (which is the glutes/IT band/spine), I become still…. I focus on FEELING the sensation of relaxation sloooooowly ripple across and through my body as if this sensation is cleansing my body from any negative thoughts/emotions that would have become stuck otherwise.

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If I let the sensations of anger, fear, hate, reside in my body, I think I will be more prone to feeling those emotions over and over again, which means it will accumulate even more. On the other hand, if I practice letting go of the tension that arise with those emotions through my Yin Yoga practice, I can catch the sensations when they surface and decide if I am going to give it permission to reside in my body or not.

Just the way I still have to tidy up my garage, which has been on my to-do list for the past …. months, okay maybe years… I know I have a lot of tidying up to do with my emotional body, but I am SO very grateful for the tools I have.

Whether it is my house or my body, I want to create and save room for FEELING GOOD.

click here for information on a Yoga retreat I will be co-leading this September in Central California → hamayareeveyoga.com