A Mindful New Years Intention Mindfulness of Praise

I got given a beautiful gift from a Yoga Teacher who had done Yoga Teacher Training  & Mindfulness Based Restorative Training with Yoga NRG. It was a book of Zen stories.  The book was to say Merry Xmas and Thank you for helping him get back doing what he loves, teaching Yoga when he thought he may never be able to teach again after a brain hemorrhage.

One of the themes in the book was about acknowledgment and praise.

As I sat this morning with my cup of tea, meditating – I noticed my mind being pulled to open this Xmas/Thank you Present (early;) or start putting together a  70-90’s playlist for a Charity Yoga Class to raise awareness/funds for Motor Neurone Disease. Both thoughts/urges had a little tug on my mind strings as I sat to meditate.

(After all, Meditation is not about trying to stop your thoughts from happening) – in Mindfulness the initial suggestion is to be curious about thoughts without judgment.

Then a recent conversation regarding the desire to want to be acknowledged, to be told you’re doing a good job, popped into my head  (This I think comes up for many of us, not just the person I was chatting with)

As I curiously watched the mind, ‘thinking’, I wondered about our relationship to acknowledgment and praise as a collective, as a society.  In this country (in Australia) it’s not cool to blow your own horn.  Fully aware there is a fine line between curiously watching thoughts and being hooked by them.  I made a deliberate decision to see where the contemplation lead. Watching the breath, the mind, just sitting.

An urge came up to want to open the ‘gift’, I put the kettle on for a second cup of tea, (possibly a familiar habit;) and opened the gift. Today wasn’t the day I was going to strengthen patience (or urge surfing for that matter) – and it didn’t matter .

I opened the gift, flicked to a page to read these words by Ajahn Brahm :


“We all like to hear ourselves praised but unfortunately most of the time we only hear about our faults.  That’s fair, I suppose because most of the time we only speak about someone else’s faults.  We hardly ever speak praise

One of the best ways to practice one of the Niyamas in Yoga of Saucha is to stop gossiping or putting other people down. We are not always conditioned to sing each other “praise”

I took another sip of my tea and then a song from ‘back in the day;’ popped in …..




I could even here the stuttering sound of the record scratching of the song “I have to praise you like I should”

A great Yoga teacher Bryan Kest would often say while I was hosting/traveling with him repeatedly “if you don’t feed something it starves and dies”

Ajahn Brahm talks about the same thing ~ “Without praise, without positive reinforcement of good qualities, those qualities wither and die.  But a little bit of praise is a grandstand of encouragement”

I have been through many Yoga Teacher Training Programs, Personal Development Programs, traveling large distances, spending tens of thousands of dollars to “get educated” with the best Teachers on the planet. I’ve been involved in tear you down to build you up type methods,  and although there are huge light bulb moments that can come from this, I was always curious was there another way to raise the same awareness?  Fortunately reading Rumi and learning from Sufis and teachers of Tantra they don’t try and get “rid” of anything – not even a desire to be acknowledged or told you are doing a good job. There’s a great poem (The Guest House) that suggests meeting all thoughts, emotions, feelings whatever they are that arise in the field of your awareness – meet them at the door and invite them.  Treat each ‘ honorably’

A key message from one of my Mentors Dan Millman teaching me there are many paths to consciousness  (“Many fingers point at the moon, don’t focus on the finger focus on the moon”)

I remember returning home from training ( tear you down to build you up type training)  in Hawaii, the Undercover Yogi waiting at the Airport for me.  On the journey home, he said: “So what did you learn mate”?

Well I said, the teacher said I was ‘resistant’

The Undercover Yogi ~ “Resistant, I could have told you that for free! ” we both started laughing. (kind of;) another bicep curl for my sense of humor and humility.

There are times where hearing the truth about aspects of our nature (whether it be resistance or desire for acknowledgment)  can come from a place of love and kindness, where there is encouragement and acceptance. And other times where it may come from a slightly different place that can create more resistance in the mind and heart. There are times where we focus on “what’s wrong with us” and treat it as a defect, something to be ashamed of or “worked on” or something to get ‘rid’ of.  To the point where we may need to sign up for ‘more training’ or told that we do.

As Ajahn mentions in his Zen Story “ We all want to hear ourselves praised; we just want to be sure about what we have to do to hear it”

Wanting praise and acknowledgment is not bad and it’s not something we need to make a big deal out of.  It’s a simple part of human nature.  However when we don’t get what we want we can suffer.  In this country (Australia) we are up against the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” where  if you give yourself a pat on the back you’re  “boasting” you are seen as a bit of a “W” anchor (like the shirt I just bought someone for Christmas says….BUT before you judge at the paradox that is another Mindful Story for another day)

So as I finished this Zen story, finished sipping my second cup of tea, the urge to check “What was the rest of the lyrics to that Fat Boy Slim Song?

Funny how we have to hear the same thing in different ways and repeatedly for it to finally sink in.

Perhaps both Fatboy Slim and Ajahn Brahm were onto something.  Perhaps offering encouragement to others and yourself is where Mindfulness can truly begin….


We’ve come a long long way together

Through the hard times and the good
I have to celebrate you baby
I have to praise you like I should


I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you like I should


I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you

(This is repeated over and over!)


After all, the word Mindfulness comes  form the Pali word “To remember”

Repetition helps us with that.

The more we repeat something in the mind, the more it will respond to that message. The neural pathways (think of it like grooves in the mind) get deeper so if we are constantly putting ourselves down, (the opposite of praise) those neural pathways are the ones that will fire more of the time more easily – and you can get bogged in them.

If we feed something it gets stronger if we don’t it starves and dies ~ so maybe all someone does need to feel that little bit stronger is to be told they are doing a good job, and a little bit of encouragement.

There are many ways to Teach Yogic Philosophy …..

Some people turn it into a song as a way to share it.

Others write a Zen book.

Others just offer acts of service, being there to “pick you up” laugh with you and love you for all that you are regardless.

Maybe you do not need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on personal development.

Maybe the best teachers are those around you every day.

And what if your only job or New Years Resolution was to give thanks and ……

To praise them like you shoulddddddddd….

(That’s me trying to write the stutter rap bit into the blog)

Instead of setting a new years resolution of physical goals of “x” amount of sit-ups / bicep curls, what about setting an intention just to “acknowledge” a  little bicep curl of the “Celebrate you baby” and “praise you”  to help you and others have a

Happy New Year!

If you find it challenging then roll out your mat and pop on a bit of Fatboy Slim perhaps ~ Mindful Messages can come in all different ways.



Tammy xox




Looking forward to seeing those of you who can make it to the

“Muscle Up for MND” Charity 70’s – 90’s Yoga Class with Tammy




(This is to wish one of our very special NRG Teachers Rosie a Happy 40th Birthday, who lost her Dad to Motor Neuron Disease) her wish is for no gifts , just come practice some Yoga NRG, dress up and all proceeds from Tammy’s Class will be given to this charity.

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There are many ways to Practice & Teach Yoga + Mindfulness

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A reminder all funds from Tammys Class will go toward MND ~ Rosies goal is to raise $1000 so feel free to donate on the day direct to Rosie also.


FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MUSCLE UP FOR MND  ~ http://www.mndandme.com.au/


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