Bigger isn't Always Better...

In order to evolve ourselves both materially and spiritually, besides following the guidelines of Karma, Bhakti, and Jnana yoga (another blog for another day), we must CHOOSE a field of activity, a JOB, that aligns with our nature/personality. In Sanskrit, the term is, svadharma, meaning one’s own nature. Activities opposing one’s nature, termed paradharma, impedes material and spiritual growth. One knows if they are following their svadharma by their material and spiritual progression.

Are you moving forward at your place of work; being paid accordingly and appropriately; gaining more peace and happiness in general; functioning at high levels; and experiencing less anxiety, stress and agitation on a daily basis? Even if you're not interested in spiritual advancement, it is still worth taking part in svadharmic actions!

Paradhamric action is akin to running up the sand dunes, which I recently tried to no avail at Sleeping Bear Dunes. You may get there eventually, but it’s harder, tiresome and frustrating! Svadharmic action is akin to running down the sand dunes; freeing, fun, and gaining momentum! A better example, from the masters on the subject, is the difference between a tailwind, and headwind… Please do not QUIT your job today because of an epiphany! However, for success, prosperity, AND spiritual growth, following svadharma is a necessary prerequisite.

We can argue about how joining the family business is your duty, an easy way to make a living; your choice to go to medical school and become a doctor because your parents encouraged you, even paid the way; perhaps you wanted to be wealthy and you’ve achieved this; you’re super intelligent and now raking in the dough; or that all humans can be anything they want and have the capacity to change themselves in any way… This all may be true. But, are you happy to go to work every day? Do you have an attitude of service and sacrifice? Are you cheerful, grateful, thriving, more peaceful, less stressed, popping out of bed ready to go, eager to start again, resting easy at night, and able to fall asleep without drugging yourself? Reflect upon these questions. Human beings are meant to progress and evolve to their greatest of heights. To ensure this happens, let’s DO that which lines up with who we are.

Who are we? Well that is a loaded question! Let’s keep it simple for the sake of this topic. We are human beings who can do a lot! We all have distinct personalities, inclinations and tendencies that have been consistent from childhood till now. What are they? These do not define us, they let us know our nature. We can utilize this information to lead us into a proper work category and environment for our life’s development.

From childhood on I was artistic, creative, introverted, athletic, coordinated, and had a big stage presence. In high school I fell in love with yoga because it calmed my anxiety, felt good, and made me think about myself and life on a deeper level. My growth was stunted in my first year at Michigan State University. It’s vastness ate me up. I was lost, became depressed, gained weight, and my grades went south. An art class saved me. It was quiet with one-on-one instruction and I was good at it:) This awareness lead me straight to art school. At least I knew enough to attend a smaller school and study a subject that aligned with my nature! At Ringling School of Art and Design, in Florida, I reconnected with myself, and excelled. Next was Otis College of Art and Design in California, where I obtained my BFA. Smaller was better! Because of this, I found my way back to yoga, and took it to another level.

While living in Los Angeles for four years, I discovered a new love and gift that came effortlessly; teaching yoga. Coincidentally my brother, Eric Paskel, also discovered the same gift! When he opened up a yoga studio in Michigan, I moved back home and began my yoga career! It started off great for my material and spiritual maturation. When one studio turned into two, three, four and more, my role drastically changed. I did not fully understand or accept why I felt so overwhelmed and disconnected, nor that I pushed myself into too many paradharmic actions.

This leads to the second tier of svadharma; that not only what we DO, but WHERE and WHO we do it with, is just as important. A disagreement amongst owners and a huge shift in the company's direction woke my ass up! Once their vision took a 180 degree turn, it forced me to exit. Actually I was fired. They knew I wouldn't roll over and do as they wanted. I’m a team player when the team stands for something I believe in, otherwise not so much. There is nothing wrong with company x. There was something wrong with me working for it, as it no longer lined up with my beliefs, morals, values or higher goals in life. Time to do the right thing.

I opened EnSoul Yoga in Ferndale, Oct. 8th, 2016. In one month of being open the studio already feels like home, not just for me, but that is the word on the street! A student wrote, “EnSoul Yoga studio feels like I am walking into a giant hug”. I’ve created and built conducive job and environment to ensure my material and spiritual growth with the higher intention of generating a space for others to realize their truth and potential within.

My connection with my staff and students is on a whole new level in such a short time! Why? Because for me, bigger isn’t always better. Yes, I may open more EnSoul Yoga studios. Yes, I want to expand. EnSoul’s mission is much bigger than me. Now I know where I stand; what I stand for; my boundaries; and my nature!

Sometimes we do not know that we are stuck or involved in actions and environments that are paradharmic, until we get out of them... If we are not rising up, up, and up, something's not right. If we are more agitated, something's not right. If we are devolving on ANY level, something’s not right. Are we moving toward greater heights or away from them? Are we initiating more peace and harmony within and around, or less?

If we are not going upwards on every level, be it material or spiritual as human beings are meant to do, then what are we doing? Let’s support our evolution by honoring our nature, CHOOSING what is best for us, and going for it!

CP

 

The True Treat

WHO eats the WRAPPER?!

Yoga without philosophy is like eating a Hershey kiss with the wrapper still on. It just isn't right and tastes like crap! Who would eat the foil? Right?! Who wouldn’t take the time to unwrap the kiss to get to the sweetness? Only someone who doesn’t know better… Anyone who knows the chocolate is inside unwraps the candy!

When I began practicing yoga, I did not know the treat that was inside of myself. My body was just a covering, a foil. I thought the poses were the chocolate. So, I kept doing them over and over while my mind remained the same. I was full of agitation until I discovered the philosophical teachings from sacred ancient scriptures, the eternal truths of life laid down in Vedanta.

Without a doubt the physical yoga was and continues to be valuable. However, the purpose of asanas is to wake us up, get us thinking, and inspire a further investigation of ourselves and life. A strong and healthy body is essential for optimal function and a prerequisite for spiritual evolution. Without higher knowledge, we are just posing. We won’t get to experience, or taste, the most delicious part of yoga -- our soul!

I worked at a company for over eleven years. They chose to continue chewing on the wrapped candy. And, this is why I left and am opening my yoga studio. Now that I know what is within the foil, I recognize the value of the wrapper but more importantly the sweetness of the candy within.

I know where I stand and where the truth is found. I know what not to throw away. Vedanta philosophy has saved my life many times over. It continues to do so as I study, reflect and live by those principles. I vow to carry this message! 

you deserve the tasty treat

My intention is to spread the knowledge, keep teaching in this manner and give the knowledge away. Otherwise, you can visit most any studio to just get the foil. Don’t you feel that? YOU deserve the tasty treat inside?

Rest assured, all our classes are fun, juicy, and a great workout. But, they also have food for thought to further develop our self and to help us work through our life challenges and changes. Remember: the most important part of yoga is that everything we need is, has always been, and forever will be inside of us. Yoga is merely a process to get acquainted and connected with that treat: the spirit, soul, within. ENSOUL!

Due to legal entanglements, I had to change the name of my yoga studio. The why does not matter. There is a long story that is unnecessary information to disclose at this time.  The new name has deep meaning and hopefully resonates with you as much as with me, as we are in this together. The studio is just a conduit for a community to build up, grow, and have a home to practice and share love, spiritual education, and inspiring classes led by qualified, compassionate, and honest teachers.

Ensoul Yoga, formerly known as Electric Soul Yoga MI, is our new name. Ensoul means to place, receive or cherish within the soul. The soul is the real treat--the only piece in you, me, and one-and-all that persists.  

Layers upon layers envelop our soul. These layers are always changing while the soul survives. As Ensoul Yogis, we are survivors, electric, energetic, awake, aware, active, soulful, silly, intense, and driven. We stand for the higher eternal truths of life upon which yoga is founded. These values are tried and true; they are the real deal. The name is a reminder and a representation that everything is changing except the true light within us. This is our pursuit, our yoga, our soul, and the true treat.

Our SOUL is who we are. ENSOUL YOGA is a place where we practice. Here’s to rising above a name and unwrapping the true treat to find the sweetness inside.

Aho & namaste!

CP

 

Building Blocks

Roadblocks

When we come to a roadblock do we give up or find another way? We are equipped with a body, mind, intellect, past knowledge, experience, information, and intelligence. Most likely we have access to a phone, support system, map, Google, or a navigation system. How the heck could we truly be blocked? There is always another way through, around or out. It is up to us.

A building for my yoga studio location fell through. (Is that so?) While there were some tears, fears, and refunds, I carried on, stayed the course, and took the right actions that landed in a better building and location. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell.

   “  When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”   Alexander Graham Bell.

I'mma Die Tryin'

Yoga philosophy, particularly Vedanta, taught me to pitch up a higher goal in life beyond my selfish interest. The goal should be in line with one’s nature/personality/tendencies, take into account the greater good, and must be seen through to the very end. Falling short is not failure; it is progress. Like CeeLo Green sings, I'd ever stop now, I'mma die tryin', I'mma die tryin' And sometimes I get weak from walking the road I'm on, But I'mma keep on, I'mma die tryin'.... What we think is a block might just be an opportunity to build ourselves up, use our resources within and around us, gain strength, steadfastness, perseverance and to rise above!

Doing what is right, to attain higher goals in life, is bittersweet. It is much easier to fold and take the easy route, staying in what seems to be comfortable, safe and provides a steady paycheck. I made a good living, I had many offers thereafter, but the consequences were too grave. It would mean sacrificing who I am, what I stand for, and my own evolution as a human being. Life changes every moment and so do we. How we change is in our own hands, for the better or the worse. Transitions can be quite sticky but we do not have to get stuck! Move forward, do the right thing, it will always be the best move.

The Secret of Change

The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates. I have grown leaps and bounds, become more at peace, less agitated and stressed. Along the way, I found out who’s who, what I am truly made of, and that I am much better off! I won’t stop until I get there. A building that falls through is not the universe telling me that I should go backwards, or cave in. It was a problematic building, landlord and management company that created a roadblock. When life gives us a roadblock, it is what we make of it that matters. We thrive by choosing to focus on what we can change rather than what we cannot. It takes wisdom to know the difference.

   "The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."  Socrates

"The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates

The true roadblocks are our own fears, laziness, inability to handle our own emotions, take the pressure or criticism, let our pride get the best of us, throwing in the towel when things get tough, things become harder than we thought, someone says no to us, cuts us off, disappoints or threatens us, or more money is needed... Whatever be the case, my gurus taught me to stay the course and I will get where I need to go. Swamiji says, "Just be in the struggle… Do what you ought to do in life. Go about it in an independent spirit, Work then becomes a pleasure." Roadblocks and building blocks are just openings and opportunities for us to step up to the plate to keep going! . 


The community of Electric Soul Yoga has already begun to come together within my own soul and the souls of others… Our electricity is glowing and growing… However, we also need a studio to plug it in and a space to lay our mats down and gather. That location is now in the making! Electric Soul Yoga studio has landed at 210 W 9 mile Rd. right in the heart of downtown Ferndale! A lease has been signed and we are in the process of opening the doors to you!
 

Upcoming Events:

June 18 - Yoga Gives to St Judes Children Hospital - @ West Bloomfield Sports Club Registration: http://bit.ly/stjudeyogaMI

August 30-September 7 - Life & Teacher Training w/ Eric Paskel - Camp Tamarack Registration: http://bit.ly/1Y3NBtj

Plug in and stay tuned,

 

Caren Paskel

AKA CP

 

 

 

From Shock to Gratitude

 

At first I was in shock. Nothing life threatening or anything like that, but for me it was a big deal. An eleven year job over. In a blink of an eye, all my relationships changed. Yes, I am one of those who truly believe that people are honest. It has taken me 37 years to learn how to trust myself instead. Not many are honest and it does not matter. My guru, Swami Parthasarathy, taught me to lead the way; do what you are supposed to do, and don’t worry about who is full of shit, (my words not his). Our job in life is to become the best version of ourselves, and not by kissing the you know whats of others. Because that is a full time job leading nowhere, ending up in disappointment.

My release, we will call it ;) was a blessing in disguise. Although work was a mess for a long time, I held on because of my role, my love of what I do, and the people involved. It was comfortable and I was making a decent living. The point is, we are meant to grow and evolve. We are not made to get stuck in muck. When we do, it is hard to get out of it. I went from being totally shocked in a pile of muck to being fully grateful, rising above the swamp, like a lotus leaf! How? Well, for one thing, I stopped taking everything so darn personal. Sheesh, it is not all about ME, and thank God for that!

When Swamji says, “attach you lose, detach you gain”, I did not truly understand its full meaning until I actually applied it. This break up was the perfect chance to set myself free. Because of my attachment to what I did, where I did it, and who I did it with, I lost. When it was over, I felt betrayed by so many who I believed had my back, were my friends, and close colleagues. How could they? I knew these feelings were on me, that nobody controls others.  But damnit, I still felt that way and could not believe the fall out and reactions of those I thought I knew and knew me. The shock shook me. I was deeply hurt. My hurt took me to some dark places, but that just did not seem right. So I lifted myself up, dug myself out of a hole and rose above. Restoring my vision and higher goal in life is what pulled me out of the mud. Looking back, I say thank you so much. I now can move forward, and I know who has my back. If, for some reason I am wrong, it is ok. I’ve got my own back!

When something big happens, whatever the magnitude, we can go from initial shock to gratitude. Where there is attachment, there will be pain. This does not mean we have to protect ourselves from everyone and everything and live in a bubble. This means have an understanding of changes, turns, fluctuations, and never depend on any job, person, place, or thing for our own happiness. Nobody can possibly be responsible for that, only we can. How many times did I say, “I cannot believe he or she said that, or did that, or did not respond, or lied, or took advantage… or, or, or, or... “? I suggest not going there. It is a dead end.

What are we feeding; shock or gratitude? Let us be thankful to all those who have betrayed, abused, misused, miscommunicated and misguided us, and not take it personal. Even if it was meant to hurt, it is up to us to control how much we are affected. We have a choice in this! Every hurdle we jump over, our legs become stronger. Sometimes we do not make it over, and we fall. Get back up and train again, jump again. Then look back and say thank you, what a freaking gift!

My shock was selfish as it was all about me, poor me. This attitude got me nowhere. As soon as I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about how best to serve others, my shock transformed into immense gratitude. This powerful and positive force catapulted me out of where I was and into where I am. The fact of the matter is that we cannot thrive with negativity surrounding us. When we get to see anyone’s true colors, we should be jumping for joy. Usually it takes something pretty horrible for this to happen. When it does, smile and wait. Sit back and watch. You will be able to see everything crystal clear.

There was a shock. It shook me up. I woke up from my slumber. I regained my confidence. An ideal was put in place; people came; a team was formed; gratitude took over, with no regrets, staying true to higher goals. Whoever wants to be a part of it, will. No force is needed. “Nothing forced is ever forceful”. Swamiji

 

CP