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Episode 102: Embrace the Incompleteness with Tias Little

Tias Little on Yogaland Podcast | Yoga Podcast

There’s a special place in my heart for Tias Little. I studied with him many years ago and the vivid imagery and metaphor he used had a profound impact on the way I think about the body. He’s also got this dry, dry, dry humor that I love. In the years since I studied with Tias, he has started doing dharma talks and one of them inspired this episode.

You see, I think most of us are perfectionists. And, as much as I love to put in a hard day’s work full of drive and goal-crushing, perfectionism doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s an illusion of control that (mostly) takes us out of the present moment and into a myth of life being neat, tidy, and complete. It can also bleed into our relationships with those we care about most — friends, partners, children — creating conflict and suffering that’s unnecessary.

In this episode, I ask Tias how we can use yoga and Buddhist psychology to become aware of our perfectionist tendencies and reframe them. Over the past few weeks since our conversation, Tias’ words have stayed with me and helped me find more freedom and ease. I hope it does the same for you.

Here’s a little more about Tias:
Along with his wife, Surya, Tias runs Prajna Yoga in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tias synthesizes years of study in classical yoga, Sanskrit, Buddhist studies, anatomy, massage, and trauma healing. Tias began studying the work of B.K.S Iyengar in 1984 and lived in Mysore India in 1989 studying Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with Pattabhi Jois. Tias is a licensed massage therapist and his somatic studies include in-depth training in cranial-sacral therapy. Tias is a long time student of the meditative arts and Buddhist studies beginning with Vipassana and continuing in Tibetan Buddhism and Zen. Tias earned a Masters degree in Eastern Philosophy from St. John’s College in 1998. Tias is author of three books, The Thread of Breath, Meditations on a Dewdrop and Yoga of the Subtle Body.


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RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS
Prajna Yoga
Yoga and Perfectionism: A Dharma Talk by Tias Little

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Episode 59: Jason Nemer — Listening, Growing, Falling, Getting Up Again

Jason Nemer is the co-founder of AcroYoga and has spent the past decade on the road spreading the practice around the world. Acro is a beautiful, vibrant, playful practice and it’s an amazing practice for developing trust, confidence, and communication.

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RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
About Jason Nemer & AcroYoga
AcroYoga Flash Mob

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What to Say When a Friend Has Cancer

You Got This
When I was diagnosed with cancer, my friend (who is also a cancer survivor) texted those words to me. I cherished this text. He said exactly what I needed to hear. It made me wonder if I’d said “the right” thing to him when he went through treatment. All I remember is offering him a bed to sleep on after surgery (he took it), ginger tea, and some homemade cookies. Other than that, I think I was completely at a loss for what to say.

When someone close to you tells you that they are diagnosed with something terrible, it’s easy to go into panic mode where you tell them how horrible you feel for them. The truth is, there is no one right thing to say to anyone and even when people said insensitive things to me, I didn’t get angry. (Like I said above, I’d been on the other side, not knowing what to say.) But at times, it made an already difficult time even more stressful.

So, I thought I’d share four of my favorite resources for communicating with and supporting a loved one who has cancer.

1. When someone is going through a rough patch – any kind of rough patch – the best thing you can do for them is to pause, stay calm, and listen. This is where your mindfulness practice comes into play. Instead of going with your gut reaction – which may be to scream “No!!!!” or otherwise react dramatically — do your best to hold the space and be supportive. I realize that “hold the space” may sound a little woo-woo. What I mean is, keep your energy and facial expressions even while they talk to you. Create a safe, supportive environment for them to share (or not share) exactly what they can handle in that moment.

And BE POSITIVE. It’s not their job to take care of you and your emotions right now. It’s your job to simply be there for them. This video is THE BEST for giving you encouragement along these lines. My favorite line is, “If you come across cancer, let it transform you into your most positive self.”

2. If you need to talk through your own fears, sadness, and terror, that’s OK. Just don’t do it with the person who has cancer. And don’t do it with their husband. Or mother. Or sister. Do it with someone who is further away from the patient than you — this is what’s called the Ring Theory or Comfort In, Dump Out. I learned about it from this article that ran in the LA Times: How Not to Say the Wrong Thing

3. It’s important to know that everyone’s diagnosis and case is different. Even within breast cancer, there are many different types and classifications. It’s easy to slip right into, “Oh, my neighbor died of that cancer in three months.” But, doctors and scientists are making great strides with certain types of cancer. This article from the Wall Street Journal about “super survivors” chronicles patients who outlived the odds because of a new treatment that harnesses the immune system to fight the cancer: How the Promise of Immunotherapy is Transforming Oncology

4. And this last one is a link to Emily McDowell’s brilliant, funny line of cards. If you’ve found yourself hiding out from your friend and don’t want your first words to be face-to-face, you can send him or her one of these cards, designed and created by a cancer survivor. My personal favorite: “Please let me be the first to punch the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason.”

So, there you have it. These links have helped me immensely and I still look at them from time to time. I hope they’ve helped you, too. And if you’ve got an uplifting cancer-related link to share, please do so in the comments!

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