Toni Kuhn

April 5, 2017
by Toni
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Basic Needs For Happiness- Part 1

This week we began to study the “9 Basic Needs We Have to Meet to Feel Happy and Alive” By Sara MaudeThe first in this series discusses our need for attention. Our need to be seen, recognized and to connect with others is vital to our happiness. In observing my own need for attention, I realized that my husband constantly reaches out to me to show me he sees me and values me. I usually go to sleep before him and every night before bed he comes in to tuck me in and kiss me goodnight. This is his way of giving me attention and taking special care of me. In turn, I feel cherished, loved and important. I do not take this for granted. I know that his gesture is something to be valued. I make sure to take notice of him and give him attention from me. A spontaneous hug during the day is a wonderful way to take notice of someone special in your life.

Everyone needs attention in one or another to feel happy. The key here, is POSITIVE attention. Kinds words, loving gestures and smiles go along way! Additionally, we must give ourselves the same kind of attention. Nurture and nourish ourselves so that we are able give attention and be able to receive it. Put the oxygen mask on yourself and then attend to others. This is as easy as spending a few minutes alone to recharge, take a yoga or fitness class, or meditating. Even just pausing during the day to observe your breath is a wonderful tool to nurture yourself.

Namaste.

The dictionary  defines Attention as:

  1. Notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important. (Awareness, notice, observation, heed, regard, scrutiny, surveillance.
  2. The action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something. (Consideration, contemplation, deliberation, thought, study)

Here is Part one of the article.

1. The need for attention

We need quality attention from the people in our lives. More and more people in the world live alone. Unless your needs are being met elsewhere, a lack of attention can lead to low self-esteem, feelings of loneliness, and a lack of connection.

Join a meet up group, do an evening course, join a fitness group—anything that gets you out there and talking to like-minded people.

P.S. I have posted some new pictures in my gallery. Take a peek! Just click on the “Gallery” icon at the top of the page.

March 29, 2017
by Toni
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Letting Go Part 5

This is the final part of the “10 Things I’ve Let Go and How This Has Set Me Free ” by Sara Fabia. In this lesson we learned to let go of worrying about the future and to let go of pleasing others. Both of these were very profound for me. I took time to observe my thoughts and found that a lot of my suffering is the stories I create about the future and my insatiable need to please everyone. I discovered that I spend way too much time worrying about others peoples opinions, especially when it is about something in the future. My mind spins through endless scenarios  of the “what ifs?” and “what will they think?” that I end up worrying about the future and placing their needs before mine.

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm”- unknown

I have learned a lot about my behavior through these 10 steps. I know that the first steps are awareness and acceptance. From there I just try to stop my spinning thoughts and learn from observing myself. I practice gratitude everyday to keep me in the present moment. Day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath. I remind myself that I must set myself free from this suffering and that I am the only one who can stop these thoughts. I am the only one who has any control of my mind and heart. I am the only one that can truly set me free.

Namaste.

 

 

  1. I’ve let go of worrying about the future.

I accept that there are things in life that I cannot control, no matter how hard I might try. Each time I find myself worrying, I keep telling myself “Time will tell.”

I might not always get what I want, but I know I always get what I need. I trust the flow of life, and choose to believe we live in an intelligent Universe, where everything unfolds perfectly. Sometimes in life, even the time needs time.

“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” ~Byron Katie

 

10.  I’ve let go of pleasing others.

I no longer seek external validation so that I can feel liked or accepted. Worrying about what others think is a waste of time. Other people’s opinion of me is all about them and what they see in me, filtered through their lenses; it has zero to do with me.

I’ve stopped expecting others to give me what I wasn’t giving myself: love, care, and attention. Loving myself as a whole—body, mind, and soul—is not selfish. I keep my cup full of self-love, and I take good care of my needs and my heart’s desires.

I have learned how to make powerful choices for my highest good without worrying about disappointing people. People disappoint themselves by setting expectations for who they want me to be or what they want me to do.

Saying no to things we don’t want to do is a learned practice and a sign of self-care. If it sounds like a “should,” I don’t do it. I go for the things that feel like a want. My wants come from myself, instead of being imposed on me by others. I always choose how I am spending my precious time and with whom. I know my time is my life, and it’s never coming back.

My life is about me and I have the right to make my own choices. Life is to be lived, not existed, and I choose to live it authentically, with no apologies and no regrets.

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz

March 22, 2017
by Toni
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Letting Go Part 4

This week we moved on to part 4 of “10 Things I’ve Let Go and How This Has Set Me Free” By Sara Fabia.  Number 7 talked about letting go of competing with others. After reading this and contemplating it, I found that I have been competing with an older version of myself. The younger one, the thinner one, the one without arthritis. This was very profound for me. Why am I chasing my old self? I love my life and where I am at right now. This is something I will need to explore more. Number 8 talked about letting go of chasing happiness. Live every day fully and experience every moment. Don’t wait for the weekend to live. Be grateful for all the good in your life. This is another great reminder that if we continue to rush through our lives, we will miss some of the greatest and happiest moments.

The first step to letting go is awareness. The next is acceptance. Remember you are a different person every day. Start each day with a fresh perspective and let go of yesterday. Live life day by day,  moment to moment, breath by breath.

Namaste.

  1. I’ve let go of competing with others.

I now know that my need to fight is nothing but my ego’s scream for self-validation. I don’t need anyone to lose any game so that I can feel good about myself. I love harmony, collaboration, and win-wins.

I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I choose to connect with people from a place of love instead of fear, and I believe in abundance. I choose to believe that we live in a supportive Universe, where there is enough of everything and for everyone, including myself.

“Love is cooperation rather than competition.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

  1. I’ve let go of chasing happiness.

I no longer project my happiness into an imaginary future, hoping that someday, when I have that job, that house, that car, that success, I will be happy. I have learned to find happiness in the small pleasures of life, and I embrace the only reality that is, the present moment, with gratitude and much joy.

I stopped waiting for the weekends to feel like living because each day is a gift and every single moment is precious and equally important.

The day I shifted my focus from stressed to blessed, everything changed. I am thankful for everything I am and for everything I have: a healthy body and mind; a loving family; a few genuine, last longing friendships I’ve made over time; and a job I love and believe in.

“I have noticed that the Universe loves gratitude. The more grateful you are, the more goodies you get.” ~Louise Hay

March 15, 2017
by Toni
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Letting Go Part 3

This week we move on to part three of learning to let go of things that restrict our mental freedom. Number 6 has really resonated with me this week. As I started to pay close attention to my thought process I noticed I seem to “create” or “replay” scenarios over and over. Part of this hamster wheel of thoughts is due to my need to please everyone. I tend to blame myself for other people’s feelings or actions and then I start to criticize and harshly judge myself. Sound familiar? As you can see the previous items on the list of the “things to let go” are intertwined and they often initiate each other. But remember, this is a process and the first step is awareness. We all have had these thoughts at one time or another. Just keep trying to be the best version of yourself everyday. Breathe and let go.

Namaste.

5. I’ve let go of judging.

I know that everyone is on their own journey, and my job is to focus on my own. I also know that each time I am judgmental with people, I’m reacting to something that bothers me about myself. If I believe you are mean, it means I can also be mean; how could I see that in you, otherwise?

“Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgment gives you the power to change them.” ~Byron Katie

 

6. I’ve let go of making assumptions about what other people feel, want, or think.

I am not them, so there’s no way to know what they’re feeling and thinking.

I stopped making up imaginary scenarios and letting my mind play with me. Each time I find myself disturbed by what people do or say, I know it’s time for a reality check.

From “The Work” of Byron Katie, I’ve learned to examine the thoughts that trouble me and ask myself: “Is that true?” Many of my assumptions likely aren’t. For example, I might assume someone doesn’t like me, when really she’s just having a bad day. Or maybe she’s just shy. Not everyone is the same.

The moment I realize I can’t know what this person thinks, simply because I am not her, my mind gets clear and I am able to meet her with an open heart.

“I found that my unquestioned assumptions were the cause of all war and all peace in my world.” ~Byron Katie

March 8, 2017
by Toni
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Letting Go Part 2

This week I continued to read excerpts  from an article “10 Things I’ve Let Go and How This has Set me Free” by Sara Fabia. We discussed letting go of self- criticism and blaming. These portions of the article are at the bottom of this post.

If you are looking to deepen your yoga practice and explore the Niyamas – “right living with our inner minds and thoughts”, check out my schedule of yoga retreats. 2017 Yoga Retreat Schedule.

For more information about my yoga retreats click on the icon at the top of this page.

I hope you enjoy today’s reading and that you have gained some tools to develop your own personal freedom.

Namaste.

 

  1. I’ve let go of self-criticism.

I pay attention to my inner talk; I don’t call myself names, and I treat myself with dignity and respect. I stopped telling myself things I would never tell a good friend. I am enough, whole, and complete.

I have come to understand that in life, we don’t get what we want. We get what we think we deserve. That’s why it’s necessary to believe in ourselves and see ourselves as enough and worthy of the best things life has to offer.

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise Hay

  1. I’ve let go of blaming.

I now know that each time I blame someone else, I am making myself a victim. Blaming others for taking my time, my money, or my love is unfair, because I always choose how much I give and to whom. No one can hurt me or upset me without my conscious (and often unconscious) consent.

Instead, I now take responsibility for the way I feel, act, and think. I am in charge of my actions, and I know my future is the result of my current choices. I am what I believe and whatever I choose to be.

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, it will not change you. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.” ~Wayne Dyer

March 1, 2017
by Toni
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Letting Go Part 1

This week in my yoga classes I read excerpts  from an article “10 Things I’ve Let Go and How This has Set me Free” by Sara Fabia. I read the first 2 things and I got an overwhelming response, so I thought I would share it with you. I will post the next two next week. I hope you enjoy these tips.

Yoga Retreat Update:

I have received a lot of reservations for my yoga retreats. Both May & June are half way filled up. Be sure to reserve your spot early! Here is the June flier. June 10 Yoga Retreat

 

  1. I’ve let go of the need to be perfect.

I am perfectly beautiful and beautifully imperfect, and this is what allows me to be me.

Perfection is an illusion—it doesn’t exist. I stopped stressing myself out trying to be perfect and now I am always aiming for “good enough.” I have learned to embrace my mistakes as much needed opportunities for growth, blessings in disguise that make me wiser. If I fail at anything, it doesn’t mean I’m a failure, because I am not what I do. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn. We never lose.

“Your best is going to change from moment to moment: it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz 

  1. I’ve let go of the need to be busy all the time.

Being in a rush isn’t a sign of virtue. I have learned to listen to my body, and I no longer feel guilty for doing nothing. I know I sometimes need to recharge the batteries of my body and soul, and I don’t feel like I owe anyone any explanation for doing that.

If I don’t have time for myself, I make it. Watching a good movie, listening to relaxing music, reading a good book, singing, taking a walk to connect with nature—I do whatever makes my heart sing.

“I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer 

February 11, 2017
by Toni
1 Comment

Life Is Why

In honor of National Heart Month, I am going to share some facts about heart attacks in women. You see, many women have undiagnosed heart disease because many of their symptoms are not the same as what you see on TV or read about. Women can have what appears to be indigestion or anxiety and it turns out to be heart disease or even a heart attack.  The key to having a  healthy heart is to be educated, reduce stress, exercise, eat healthy and know your family history.

Here is some information from Go Red For Women which is part of the American Heart Association. https://www.goredforwomen.org/

It’s true: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in women. Yet, only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.

Take Amy Heinl, for example, an avid marathon runner and fitness devotee. Heart disease was the furthest thing from her mind – until she collapsed during an early-morning workout. A diagnosis of heart disease followed, and it took her completely by surprise.

“I really couldn’t believe this happened to me,” Amy says. “I thought of myself as a healthy person, and I was exercising when it happened. I truly believed I had pulled a muscle.” Which is why her friend called 9-1-1, not Amy.

The truth is, women are less likely to call 9-1-1 when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack themselves. It simply doesn’t occur to them to do so. And why would it? The bulk of media attention on the disease is focused on men.

Here are more unsettling facts:

  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.

How can I prevent it?

Many things can put you at risk for these problems – one’s you can control, and others that you can’t. But the key takeaway is that with the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended.

Studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day. Here are a few lifestyle changes you should make:

January 19, 2017
by Toni
3 Comments

Work Addict

work2Today is another snow day for me and I am unable to head down to SCV to teach my classes. Instead of feeling free and happy, I am filled with guilt for taking the day off. My name is Toni and I am a work addict! I know this sounds completely opposite of what a yoga teacher should be feeling, but truth is, I really am a work addict.

I took a quiz, so it’s true! LOL!

So what do I do now that I know the truth? I start by allowing myself to acknowledge this new information without judgment and to let go of the guilt of not being able to fulfill my commitments. Who-ya! That’s a lot to start with!

Here are a few things that I learned from my quiz.

  1. I try to fill as much of my time with work. If I am not teaching I am working on teaching, answering emails, billing, making fliers or thinking about what I should be doing.
  2. When I am home I am peppered with quick calls, emails or text about my work. There is always someone or something that needs my attention and that can’t wait. ( in my head)
  3. During my leisure activities, I am plagued by guilt when I am not working.

So what do I do with this knowledge about myself? I start by forgiving myself. Then by taking a good look inside myself to find the root of my problem. I asked myself the hard questions; Is this about my ego? My self esteem or self worth? Is it fear? Is is money? It turns out that none of these are the reason I am addicted to my work. It is my deep rooted sense of commitment to others. I put others before myself because I want to help and heal people. I put other peoples happiness before my own. Who-ya again! This is a lot to take in. What this really says is that I am addicted to helping others, which is the very nature of being a yoga teacher.

( Deep breath here)

So how do I continue being a yoga teacher without compromising  myself? I think the answer to this question starts again with my awareness. Now that I know the truth about myself, I must separate my work from myself.  I am going to start by creating a more structured work schedule. For example, setting specific times to answer emails , texts and inquiries. No longer will I get up from dinner to do these things, or worse, do them while I eat! Nor will I keep answering them after dinner and cut into my time with my husband. These steps sound obvious and simple, but they will be a challenge for me.

35001ae9f1636ad03200d9db180ea084So my first step of action is to take the day off! I am going to spend time with husband, enjoy the snow- without guilt.

It will be a work in progress, but I am ready to start!

One moment at a time. One step at a time.

Namaste.

 

 

December 23, 2016
by Toni
2 Comments

Merry Christmas

1929921780-zen_christmas_wreath_greeting_cards_pk_of_20”I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” ~ Gandhi

I love this quote, especially at this time of year.  It serves to remind all of us that we must recognize each other, respect each other and love one another. This week I was reminded of how kind people can be. We have had some rainy/snowy weather and many of my friends checked to make sure I was safe. I was touched that during this busy time of year they took the time to check in with me. This simple act  rejuvenated my faith in humanity. These past few months has been filled turmoil between the news media and all the violence that it has been difficult for me to feel this faith. But today, I woke up full of peace, love, and joy that I thought I would share it- exchange it with you.

Let us take a moment to pause today and feel gratitude for all that is good in our lives and to remember that peace begins within our selves. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi

yoga-santa

 

Merry Christmas!

Namaste.