Candlelight Yoga

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Last night I did yoga by candlelight in a darkened room with soft music playing in the background. Some well known truths showed up for me in this sacred space.

1. Things I desire in a relationship. Tantric openness. Intimacy. Being held after lovemaking. Holding hands. Taking our time and enjoying the experience. Kissing with intensity and tongue. Taking things one step farther than just “doing it.” Empowering and understanding his own personal love language in order to create a deeper bond between us.
2. Being vulnerable-both with my self and with my lover. Not being afraid to confess “I need you” when I do instead of acting brave.
3. Being needed. Feeling wanted, needed, and appreciated by him being able to tell me when he is needy for me and for my body. Excuses breed contempt when you keep getting neglected in the physical “needs” department.
4. Being feminine. Being a lady instead of constantly trying to do a man’s job or being too masculine and “in control” in everything in life. Letting the man be the man. Letting him be the provider/hunter/gatherer and man of the house. Being soft instead of trying to be rigid and hard or manipulative.
5. Releasing the energy of attachments to old relationships. When something goes wrong not focusing on attracting the same energy as the last relationship or comparing “well blah blah blah did that same bad habit too” without a feeling of overpowering, emasculating, or getting even tactics.
6. Release the need for sportsmanship or competition within the relationship. My earliest relationship was formed through a time when my ex was very active in sports and auto racing so naturally he felt competition was necessary-even from within our relationship makeup. This put an unnecessary strain on us as partners and co-creators because of me being a woman I could never quite keep up with him. And when I tried I usually fell flat on my face. (Ice/roller-skating-bike racing Etc.. ) plus I was raised with guys that treated me like a tough little sister so I got very competitive by nature while growing up.

Yoga is all about surrendering your ego at the mat..

Allow your practice to come from a place of surrender. Sometimes handling stress can be as simple as changing the way we look at external things that we can’t control. If you are angry-release it. If you are sad release it. Come from a place of total surrender. Let everything and everyone go and focus on the posture and the breath.

Nothing else matters in this space but the posture and the breath. Ujjayi breath can work wonders on a worried overactive mind. Yoga is about feeling good in your own skin. Not just looking good in spandex. Sometimes the postures are like early morning drill master to our overactive monkey mind where as other times postures are like a lover’s soft caress upon our skin.

Things don’t have to “be” a certain way for them to work or for them to be released. It’s about clearing out the gunky stuff that accumulates in our mind and body during a busy work week from stress and eating junk food Etc. Releasing isn’t about expecting/demanding outcomes or trying to control everything around you (people-work-family-self/weight Etc..) Just recognizing when you are “grasping” is also a practice. Have too many thoughts? Journal that shizz out of your system! I spent the better part of the early 2000’s journaling about my health and love or lack there of. It was transformational for me to write my sorrows and mind chatter down on paper in order to release it. Journaling isn’t just for a writer. You can journal about your hopes, dreams, yoga practice. Etc.. You have the freedom to expand your bliss by writing it down. Try a gratitude practice. Pick the top ten things you love most and that add value to your life in some way and write about them.

Try a candlelit yoga practice. You can use a tea light or a flame-less candle for a more ambient effect.If you use a real candle for this practice just remember to place it far enough away from you and your body/mat so it doesn’t come into any close contact with your body or your hair so you don’t get burned. If you feel inspired to try something new now could be a time to try practicing nude yoga. At first I was shy when trying it but during Saturday night Sacred Self Sadhanas. I began exploring nude yoga alone by candle light and it was such a beautiful and inspiring way for me to release the stress that had accumulated during the week in my mind and in my knee joints; which is where I feel most of my tension and pain when I am stressed.

Some things that may come up for you when doing this practice are feelings of:

1. I feel vulnerable and weak when my partner acts out or yells
2. I feel angry at my coworker when she pushes her workload on to me
3. Caring for my special needs child is quite a challenge I want to cry sometimes
4. My physical aches and pains hurt me and make it hard to lead a normal life
5. Going from being too weak and soft to being too masculine/living life too intensly and fast
6. I feel too old/young/fat/sad/hopeless/mad/angry/short/tall/stiff (insert other excuse for self sabotage here)

Some of these things that come up for me are:
1. The rush to complete these summaries is exhausting me and I need extra rest
2. I can’t get everything done in a day-will I run out of time?
3. I am in fight/ flight mode and have been for the last year
4. My body is sore and tired from walking five miles yesterday so I’m not going to yoga class today (or other excuse)
5. Fear of abandonment (even though my mom and dad died of natural causes at different times it still feels like I am a teen again being abandoned by both parents)

Yoga is meant to cultivate a sense of deep relaxation and a sense of rooted connection within the body. Only go at your own pace. If the posture shows an extended version of the pose and you know your body is just starting out don’t try to overextend yourself or your muscles and joints. Do what works and feels right for you. If your body can only do half the posture then do half the posture. Never try to over extend yourself in yoga. Even some of the most experienced teacher’s still have trouble with a rotator cuff, herniated disc, or knee injury they have to work around in their practice.

Breathing Exercises:

Breathing is something we all do during our life time. We all know we are going to die if we are not breathing. Breathing is a reflex action done by our body to provide the flow of oxygen around the body to the vital organs.

Wikipedia, online encyclopedia, describes humans breathe between 12 and 20 times per minute, with children breathing faster than adults.

Babies may breathe as much as 40 times per minute. Adults normally breathe about 500-700ml of air at a time. An average 14 year old takes around 30,000 breaths per day.
However, we can control our breathing. We can be more relaxed by breathing in and out so deeply. The more we allow our body to be filled by deep breathing, the less stress we place on our body and mind.

The more we practice our deep and controlled breathing, the more natural it becomes and we can call on it at any time of day to help us through those tired or stressed out moments.

With all the problems we have — either we feel stressed out at work, or at the end of a long hard day and we can’t sleep, or if we just want a few minutes to our self — we will find this simple breathing exercise really beneficial.

Here are some steps to do breathing exercise:

1. You can lie down, sit down or stand up as long as you are comfortable. Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of four. Breathe very deep until all your body feel expanded.

2. Hold on that deep breath for four counts, and then exhale slowly through mouth to a count of eight.

3. Repeat the breathing in – right down so your tummy expands. Hold on to it and then exhaling nine more times.

4. You can breathe deeper once you get used to the above steps by leave one hand on your stomach and place the other lightly across the chest. Breathe right down so your tummy expands

5. When it can’t go any further, breathe in some more and fill the tops of your lungs. Inhalations and exhalation are the same length, eight counts each, without holding in between.

6. When you exhale, let the old air out from your chest then from your tummy. So, you are going to be relaxed.

Relaxing Candlelight Yoga video

The Spiritual Diary…..

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The Spiritual Diary

by Swami Sivananda

Download – Spiritual Diary Form

The Spiritual Diary is a whip for goading the mind towards righteousness and God. If you regularly maintain this diary you will get solace, peace of mind and make quick progress in the spiritual path. Maintain a daily diary and realize the marvelous results.

-Swami Sivananda

1 When did you go to bed last night?

2 When did you get up from bed?

3 How many hours did you sleep?

4 How many Malas of Japa?

5 How long in Kirtan?

6 How many Pranayamas?

7 How long did you perform Asanas?

8 How long did you meditate in one Asana?

9 How many Gita Slokas did you read or get by heart?

10 How long in the company of the wise (Satsanga)?

11 How many hours did you observe Mouna?

12 How long in disinterested selfless service?

13 How much did you give in charity?

14 How many Mantras you wrote?

15 How long did you practice physical exercise?

16 How many lies did you tell and with what self-punishment?

17 How many times and how long of anger and with what self-punishment?

18 How many hours you spent in useless company?

19 How many times you failed in Brahmacharya?

20 How long in study of religious books?

21 How many times you failed in the control of evil habits and with what self-punishment?

22 How long you concentrated on your Ishta Devata (Saguna or Nirguna Dhyana)?

23 How many days did you observe fast and vigil?

24 Were you regular in your meditation?

25 What virtue are you developing?

26 What evil quality are you trying to eradicate?

27 What Indriya is troubling you most?

NOTES:

4. One Mala of Japa is one full turn around the Japa Mala or rosary for a count of 108 repetitions of the Lord’s Name or Mantra.

5. You can perform Kirtan in any language you wish.

Abraham Hicks on Weight Loss

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Thought:  “I Cannot Lose Weight”

I don’t feel comfortable in my clothes and dread shopping for new ones. I stand in front of my closet looking for something to wear, and even though I have some nice things, nothing appeals to me because I don’t like the way I look no matter what I’m wearing.   My body doesn’t move well, and I know that I’d feel so much better all around if I could just lose a few pounds, but I feel powerless to do anything about this excess weight, so I’m very discouraged. 

Abe:  Now we want to begin this discussion by reminding you of the most important part of Deliberate Creation: Creating is not about making things happen through action. In fact, creating is not about making things happen at all. Creating is about allowing the thing that you desire to happen, and the allowing happens through Energy alignment, not through action. 

Sometimes this is a hard thing for you to hear because you know, from your personal experience in life, that action does get results. You know that you have been able to shed unwanted pounds by decreasing your food consumption, and there is no question in your mind that the exercise helped, too. And we are not disagreeing with any of that, for it is obvious that action does have a place in the creating of many things. In fact, without action, your society would be without a great many of its things. 

But when you make action the cornerstone of your Creative Process without considering the vibrational basis of your Being as you are taking the action, you are working under a distinct handicap, for there simply is not enough power in the action itself to compensate for the competing Energies of your misaligned thought. 

You may recall a successful experience where someone offered you an idea regarding losing weight, and you felt an immediate enthusiasm toward the idea. Your enthusiasm could be attributed to the power of the belief of the person who offered the idea to you, or it could be that the idea dovetailed precisely with beliefs of your own . . . but it is your enthusiasm that we want to call your attention toward. Your enthusiasm was the evidence that the vibration of your Being was in alignment. 

And then, remember what happened next: You were eager to take the action—and in taking it, positive results occurred. . . . It is possible to take action because someone suggests it or encourages it or even demands it; and once involved in the action, your attitude can begin to improve. 

But the deliberate alignment of your vibration, first—which then inspires successful action—is a much more powerful approach to whatever it is you want to create. 

During your discouraged moments as you acknowledged that your body was not as you would like it to be, you were launching rockets of desire about what you preferred, and within all of that processing of life—and without realizing it—you have been adding to your Vibrational Escrow. You have created a vibrational version of the new-and-improved physical version of yourself. 

We want to help you understand that this is not a flimsy dream floating somewhere in your imagination. This is not a delusional departure from reality. This is a creation in the making, and it is being created in precisely the same way that everything you see around you has been created: 

The living of life gave birth to the idea or thought—which, in time, with focus, became what you call your “reality.” So the discouragement that you have been feeling is indicating the discord between the continually evolving creation of your beautiful body and the thoughts that you continue to think regarding your body. Your body has been vibrationally evolving, but your old patterns of thoughts, your beliefs (which are only thoughts that you continue to think), are causing a vibrational discord. And under those conditions, successful action cannot be inspired or performed. Under those conditions, all action is harder, yielding little or no results, causing more discouragement still. 

The key to bringing your body to a new place is to see it differently from the way it is. It is necessary that you focus upon the body that is coming and distract yourself from the negative aspects of your current physical body, for as long as you are seeing your body as it is, you are contradicting the vibration of the idea of a slender body. You cannot create a new reality while looking at your current reality. 

So now that you understand why it has been so difficult to find the inspiration to act and why the action, even when you did offer it, netted you very little results, let us show you some very simple things that you can do that will begin the process of aligning your Energies immediately, for by understanding the Laws of the Universe, and by understanding the basis of your creation (which is the simple alignment of vibration), you will now be on your way to the outcome that you desire: 

• Your choices, right now, do not include whether you are at your perfect body weight or not. 

• You have no choice other than to be at the body weight you are at right now. 

• You are going to weigh about the same thing tomorrow as you do today, and the next day, too . . . and so on. 

• Changing your body weight right now is not an option. 

• Changing your vibrational alignment right now is an option—a powerful one. Also, you are not, right now, choosing between feeling fabulous or terrible. 

• You are not choosing between feeling enthusiasm or discouragement. 

• Your choices, right now, are more subtle and more fine-tuned than that. 

• You are making the simple choice of feeling a little better or a little worse. 

• You can choose an upstream thought or a betterfeeling, downstream thought. 

• Those are your only choices: upstream or downstream. 

• But those choices are enough. For example, imagine you are at an outdoor shopping center. You are moving in and out of many beautiful shops, and there are hundreds of people moving in and out of them with you. These individuals vary in size and shape and wardrobe, but you are predominantly noticing nicely dressed, nicely shaped, beautiful people all around you; and as you see them, you feel self-conscious. 

You are now awkwardly aware of what you are wearing, and you are unhappy with the way you look today. You turn to see your reflection in the window as you are walking, and you are extremely unhappy about the way you look. You feel agitated, discouraged, and unhappy, and you are not having a good time on this shopping outing at all. You have now lost interest in the reason why you came to the mall. You do not feel like shopping anymore. 

In fact, the only thing that is appealing to you right now is the idea of getting something to eat. There are good-smelling things in the air, and you realize that you are hungry and that you do want a snack. There are several choices within view, and from the fragrances in the air, you know there are more choices nearby. Any one of several things sounds good to you: ice cream, candy, maybe something more substantial such as a sandwich. Actually, all of that sounds pretty good to you right now.  

Your urge to find a quiet place to sit while you eat something is becoming quite strong, and while you are trying to fight the urge to follow through on your impulse, it is much easier to just give in to it and get something to eat. As you are standing in line at the ice-cream counter, you notice the slender people waiting in line with you. They are annoying, and as you are annoyed, your urge for the ice cream grows stronger still. . . . 

Before we continue with the details of this example, and before we offer guidance to assist you in improving your situation, we want to explain something that most people do not understand and, in fact, have a hard time believing: Whether you gird up your willpower and walk out of the ice-cream parlor or whether you go ahead and select—and eat—a large tub of ice cream, there is absolutely no difference in the effect of one of those actions over the other! 

Even if we are talking about 1,000 days of walking out as compared to 1,000 days of eating a tub of ice cream, the action choice of one or the other makes no difference. It is not your action that matters; it is your vibration. It is not your action that makes you fat; it is your vibration. It is not what you are doing that makes the difference; it is how you are feeling about what you are doing. 

In the beginning of your vibrational alignment regarding your body weight, you may begin to feel enthusiasm for some changes in your diet, and many would say, “Well, then, I don’t see how this approach differs that much from just going on a diet as I’ve done so many times before.” But we would ask you to notice how much easier it is this time in the feeling of enthusiasm rather than the discouragement that you have been acting from before. 

You will also notice that in this state of improved emotion, you will find an appealing idea, and then another. You will begin to find a sort of rolling out of a continuous path of good-feeling new ideas. You will begin to feel carried along by those new ideas rather than struggling to find them, and, before long, you will begin to see physical results. 

Of course, upon seeing the physical results, your feeling of enthusiasm will be even greater, and then you are really off and running toward the outcome that you have been seeking. And as you achieve your desired body weight (and you will), you will say to yourself after the fact, This time it wasn’t difficult, and this time I’ll keep it off. And, in any case, I now know what to do, whenever I decide to, about achieving whatever physical bodily condition I choose. 

Consider This: If being slender matches the emotion of happiness . . . and you were to consistently eat ice cream while feeling happy . . . you would be a slender person who eats large quantities of ice cream. If your desire to be slender while you are currently not slender matches the emotion of discouragement . . . and you were to consistently eat ice cream while feeling discouraged . . . you would be a fat person who eats ice cream. 

If your desire to be slender while you are currently not slender matches the emotion of discouragement . . . and you were to consistently use your willpower to keep yourself from eating ice cream . . . you would be a fat person who does not eat ice cream. Some would ask, “Abraham, if being unhappy makes you fat, why are there no fat people in an environment where food is scarce? They are unhappy, and they are not fat. They are often starving to death.” 

And we would answer, if you are focused upon the current situation of food scarcity, and you feel fear for yourself and your loved ones, you are a match to what you do not want. It makes no difference if not wanting to be fat is the issue that turns your thoughts upstream or if the idea of  starving to death is the issue that turns your thoughts upstream: Your thoughts are still upstream— which is resistance to what you desire, whether your desire is slenderness or enough food for your family. 

Being slender matches the emotion of happiness. (downstream) Being fat matches the emotion of unhappiness. (upstream) Having enough to eat matches the emotion of happiness. (downstream) 

Not having enough to eat matches the emotion of un-happiness. (upstream) The key to creating everything that you desire is to find a way to turn to the better-feeling, downstream thoughts, even when the current situation does not evoke it from you, and to use your willpower to focus your thoughts in the direction of your desire and who-you-really-are, rather than using your willpower to try to produce action against the Current. 

So, in the beginning, your thoughts may be something like the following: I am fat. (upstream) I don’t want to be fat. (upstream) I’m so tired of being overweight. (upstream) I don’t like how I look. (upstream) I don’t like my clothes. (upstream) I don’t want to shop for clothes. (upstream) I’ve tried so many things. (upstream) Nothing works for me. (upstream) 

Remember, you do not have to fix everything. Just try to find a thought that feels a little bit better: I wish I could find a way. (downstream) My feet would feel better for sure. (downstream)  Again, these are not earth-shattering statements, but they do feel better, and therefore they are downstream—so your work, for now, is done. 

Whenever you find yourself beating the same old drum about your body weight, if you would make an effort to turn your thoughts downstream and stay focused upon the subject until you feel a slight turn, in a very short period of time you will improve the vibrational relationship between where you are and what you want, and you will be amazed at the leverage this improved vibration will give to your process. Everything about this will get easier and easier until, in time, your desired body weight will have been achieved. 

So now, let us say that you are at work. You have not been focused on your body or your weight because you had things to accomplish and you’ve been busy at those things. But now it is lunchtime, and as you are walking past the vending machine, you feel an urge to buy a cookie. You put in your money, the cookie drops through the chute, and while you are unwrapping it, the feeling of discomfort comes over you. “Here I go again,” you say, feeling the discomfort washing over you. 

But the urge is strong, and you take a big bite of the cookie. You feel worse still as a strong feeling of disappointment now rises within you. But this time things are slightly different from ever before because you have some positive momentum going from those statements you have been making about the subject of your weight.  

You remember, It isn’t about what I’m doing. It’s about how I’m feeling while I’m doing it. So you pause and look at the cookie, and you make the following statements: I shouldn’t be eating you. (upstream) You’ll only make me fatter. (upstream) You are delicious, though. (downstream) And you’re not all that big. (downstream) I could eat some of you now and save some for later. (downstream) I like having choices. (downstream) I like making deliberate choices. (downstream) I like being in charge of my actions. (downstream) If I had stopped to think, I may not have been so quick to put my money in this machine. (downstream) I’m really making quite a big to-do over eating a little cookie. (downstream) You’re a tasty little cookie. (downstream) Well, I’m enjoying you, cookie. (downstream) I’m deliberately enjoying you. (downstream) And sometimes I’ll choose to eat you, and sometimes I’ll pass. (downstream) Right now I’m going to eat you. (downstream) And I’m going to enjoy you. (downstream) 

You have just accomplished something that is rather unusual for you. You are eating a cookie, and you have talked yourself into alignment with yourself and therefore with your desire to be slender at the same time. You are in alignment with You, which is much more significant than anything you are doing—or not doing—with the cookie. And now, a very slender person walks up to the machine, pulls out a cookie, and begins to eat it. And as you watch, you can tell that this person is truly savoring this cookie. 

In the past as you watched a slender person eating a cookie, your thoughts would be: It’s not fair. (upstream) Her metabolism allows her to eat tasty things and still be slender. (upstream) She’s probably unhealthy, and that’s the only thing she will eat today. (upstream) But this time, because of the vibrational work you have been doing, you think instead: Ah, there is evidence of someone who’s in alignment with her desire of eating a cookie. (downstream) It is all about vibrational alignment. 

Do not look for immediate measurable physical results. Instead, look for improvement in your mood, your attitude, and your emotions. When you feel better, you are more in alignment—and everything else will follow. It is Law. 

#Abraham-Hicks

Excerpt, Astonishing Power of Emotions

Wordless Wednesday

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To engage with art, we have to be willing to be wrong,

venture outside our psychic comfort zones, suspend disbelief,

and remember that art explores and alters

consciousness simultaneously.
~Jerry Saltz

Mindful Monday Musings

Fresh impression of the art of mindful living taught by Thich Nhat Hanh and practiced by friends in Plum Village, France.

This clip is a beautiful preview of the 40 minute movie, “Mindful Living Every Day”. Available, along with an additional 40 minutes of guided meditations and “Each of My Steps is a Prayer”, on DVD. Deer Park & Plum Village with English and Spanish soundtracks.

Look for it at Parallax Press
http://www.parallax.org/cgi-bin/shopp
Also….. Pachamama teaches us about Mindful Monday so as a part of Living my Yoga practice in 2015 I have chosen to be more mindful every day. There is never a better time than now to start practicing this truth so I am going back to my very foundations this year and diving in deeper into what mindfulness means to me personally. Both as a student, a teacher, and as a caregiver to my mother who just celebrated her 87th birthday and is experiencing declining health due to her age..

Being Mindful isn’t about sitting in one place all day meditating peacefully instead of going in to work or staying in bed all day instead of playing with your children. When we focus on the things we don’t want to do it raises our stress hormones and if allowed to build up in our bodies these cortisol levels can wreck havoc on our immune system and can cause adrenal fatigue if not controlled.

Being Mindful means using your internal guide to find something beautiful to appreciate on your way to work or finding something memorable and magical about your child as you play with them instead of focusing on their hyperactivity etc… and on how tired you might be as you play with them.

Focus on your awareness in the moment, maybe it might be on the beautiful flowers you pass on the way to work or on your child’s eyes when the light makes them twinkle like stars. Mindfulness is observing the world around you. Ask yourself a question if you need a first step “What am I doing right now?” “I am reading these words.” is a good place to start. Check in with yourself often.

If you are feeling rushed and angry in a traffic jam on your way to work you could instead of reacting angrily like you normally would, just repeat the mantra “I am sitting in traffic right now.” “I am turning the wheels now.” “Traffic is starting again now.” in order to disconnect the ego from the traffic jam.

You can even make a small haiku out of your day similar to this one:

Flowers at work
people passing by
brings me to back
to my state of mind

or if you are very angry at someone make a silly haiku. It doesn’t have to make sense to work.

I am angry as a rhino
that plays in the mud
he has thick skin
and wears a bird hat
When I first came to Buddhism I worried a lot. I cried a lot. I worked 2 jobs and didn’t know how to Meditate. I focused too much on the future and not enough on the here and now by just letting things be as they are.
As a creature of habit I always wanted to make my surroundings better by making the bed, sweeping the floor, doing the dishes (even at midnight) so I had no idea what genuine relaxation was.

Over the years I developed a wonderful patience that I never knew I could create through finding stillness. Anyone can create this same stillness.

May you be Well.
May you be Happy.

30 Day Yoga Challenge

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During the last 18 days I joined the 30 Days of Yoga Challenge and it has been amazing! A great way for me to get back on the mat!

It has kept me in tune with my body and it has had a wonderful impact on keeping myself accountable for what it is that I am eating and at snack time.

As you know from a couple of my posts my problem with committing fast food sin in 2013 was really high. In 2014 I tried a 30-60-90 day salad challenge and have stuck with it for majority of the year and am still doing it currently for lunch every day because it has made such a powerful impact on my health. *I am uploading pics of my salads on instagram to add support and accountability to the salads I am choosing instead of junk food so they aren’t just another thing added to my meal time every day. And I want to show people that it is perfectly okay to eat salads! And I have found a hundred different ways to make them every day.

The biggest part of my 2015 goal is to forgive myself and move forward with my life. By keeping myself accountable for what I eat my health is doing very good. I am so proud of my willpower!

This year my word is Forward as to move out of the cycle of repetition from the past and push myself forward to my limits where my health is concerned..

I have some new hopes and dreams/goals as to complete a marathon and after a few minor details are finished as per my doctor health wise it will be a done deal. This year is totally about making my dreams come true. I have been off the mat since taking a few other courses ~besides~ my Yoga Teacher 500 Training.

Trying to cram for the essay part and the book and studying part plus combining the other courses has really been kicking my bootie but the results will be worth it.

When I first started with a Reiki and Yoga Lifestyle in 1999 people said a lot of things living in the back woods part of the Bible belt such as “Well, it is a nice idea but Reiki isn’t really a thing you can sell to people.” and “Meditation is only for Buddhist monks, nobody here would pay for that kind of stuff.” so I allowed these negative beliefs from others to block my creativity and my efforts for starting my own studio but I stuck with it.

So How was your Christmas Lovelies?

Christmas has always been a time that opens us up.  For the good and for the bad.

It allows our vulnerable parts to show.

Whether it be from feeling the capacity to love others as we love our self, or it can be through a challenge or the loss of a loved one or taking refuge from the hustle and bustle of family that can come for special celebrations like dinner parties.

Occasionally these gatherings don’t make us feel good at all or they can cause us to lose sight of our inner Buddha nature. They can promote feelings of unexplained jealousy, anger, inadequacy, or the rehashing of old an argument with family members or old relationships suddenly brought to light that may need dealt with.

During the New Year’s Season it is the perfect time for Meditation.

Taking a few steps back from the Black Friday rush, or the crowds, and our anxious mind or body to feel the feeling of peace and aliveness within our body.

Many people feel terrible health wise right after the Holidays and mindfulness can certainly help.

Centering your heart. Being open to the universe. Forgiving yourself for what you ate or what you spent over the Holidays.

Doing daily body scans to connect and find any place within that might be holding on to some light tension, vulnerability, pain, doubt, anger, or fear.

If you find an area in your body like this send it love. Touch the area gently and see if it evokes a memory or feeling that is trapped.

When I am rushed my heart beats fast and my chest hurts. I sit down with my breath and place my hand over my heart and sense the feeling of fear that comes up when this happens.

I take a few deep breaths and center myself, telling my heart “thank you for beating today. It’s okay to slow down.” and stay in the feeling for a few minutes instead of trying to keep going with the anxious feelings.

This can lessen the inner chatter that is so frequent this time of the year. This time of the year has always been about those pesky New Year’s Resolutions.

And instead of focusing on them this year and the old anxious way of thinking about what you didn’t get done last year, think instead about the things that you desire fully in your life this year.

What do you yearn for in your life?

How do you want to feel right now?

What would make the rest of the day perfect for you?

What do you need to do right now to feel good?

How can you make these little day dreams or prayers come true?

After this mini connection to your dreams and your body scan do you feel the light and warmth now surrounding you?

How will you receive these gifts of loving care from the universe as you dissolve into a feeling of receiving from the universe?

Let go of rushing and live in this moment. Feel your awareness growing and counterbalancing the negative self talk and doubt that may surface during this connection with your body, your breath, and your spirit.

For those of you that have never Meditated before…

Meditation refers to a state where your body and mind are consciously relaxed and focused.

Practitioners of this beautiful art know that there is an increased awareness, focus, and concentration, as well as a more positive outlook in life when meditating.

Meditation is most commonly associated with Buddhist monks, mystics and other spiritual disciplines, as well as daily practitioners.

However, you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk or mystic to enjoy the benefits. And you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it.

You could even try it in your own living room while sitting on a yoga mat or pillow. Although there are many different approaches to meditation, the fundamental principles behind it remains the same.

The most important among these principles is that of removing obstructive, negative, and wandering thoughts and fantasies, and calming the mind with a deep sense of focus.

This inner silence clears the mind of debris and prepares it for a higher quality of activity. If you are a Reiki practitioner you can also connect to Reiki during your meditation time.

The negative thoughts you have – those of Holiday stress and drama, past drama, noisy neighbors, social media scuffles, bossy office-mates, that parking ticket you got, and unwanted spam– are said to contribute to the ‘polluting’ of the mind, and shutting them out is allows for the ‘cleansing’ of the mind so that it may focus on deeper, more meaningful thoughts.

Some practitioners even shut out all sensory input – no sights, no sounds, and nothing to touch – and try to detach themselves from the commotion around them.

You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your goal. Sometimes I use a simple dollar tree sleeping eye mask to keep myself from “peeking” out while meditating. It helps me focus instead of looking out the window.

It is okay to experiment with Meditation. The silence may seem deafening at first, if you are unaccustomed to it since we are all too used to constantly hearing and seeing things, and too much input but as you continue this exercise you will find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you in the room and less on what is outside the window.

Soon you will be able to focus only on what is inside of you and be able to shut out the rest of the world when you sit down to practice in silence.

If you find the meditating positions you see on television threatening – those with impossibly arched backs, and painful-looking contortions or poses can create feelings inside of us of inadequacy, but you need not worry.

The principle here for this practice is to be in a comfortable sitting position conducive to concentration. This may be while sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down, and even walking if you choose to do a meditative walk.

Anything that involves you with your breath. If the position you choose allows you to relax and focus, then that would be a good starting point.

There is no strict protocol here.

While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not tense or tight. In other positions, the only hindrance is slouching or falling asleep because if your body is exhausted then it is already crying out for rest or a good nap.

If this happens take the nap then meditate once you have awakened fully. Otherwise you could keep nodding off and this will hinder your practice for this session.

Comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight fitting clothes have a tendency to choke you up and make you feel even more tense.

The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere. It may be in your living room, or bedroom, or any place that you feel comfortable in.

You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on the more challenging positions (if you feel more focused doing so, and if the contortionist in you is screaming for release).

You may want to have the place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses.

You may want to do a light yoga stretch before sitting to relax your muscles and joints. I often find yoga stretching before meditation a great way to relax my body while being fully present.

Silence helps most people relax and meditate, so you may want a quiet, isolated area far from the ringing of the phone or the humming of the washing machine or dryer.

You can say something like “I am going to practice silence now.” so you can work your way into setting the mindset of silence a few minutes before hand.

Pleasing scents also help in relaxing in your chill zone, so stocking up on aromatic candles or incense to help focus the mind on your silent practice and is also a wonderful idea. Something soft like ocean calm, clean laundry, or floral scents work best instead of anything food scented like strawberries or watermelon that may make you focus on food and eating instead of on the calming beach waves type of Mp3.

The Buddhist monks you see on television making those deep guttural sounds are actually performing their mantra.

This, in simple terms, is a short creed, a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value. It can be a simple word repeated over and over again such as Ommmmmmm or it can be a sound that reverberates through the chakra system opening up your chakra centers to bring further bodily healing.

Again it’s totally up to you. You don’t need to perform such a task on your first time sitting silently; however, it would pay to note that focusing on repeated actions such as breathing, and humming help the practitioner enter a higher state of consciousness.

You don’t want to eat spicy foods or anything that may give you heartburn or gas or make your tummy rumble during your session because once you surrender to the silence it can be very distracting to frequently burp (or toot) so it is better to eat light or wait until after you meditate to eat in order to avoid this heavy or full feeling in your stomach that may also tempt you to fall asleep during your practice.

The principle here is focus. And to find stillness. You could also try focusing on a certain object or thought, or even, while keeping your eyes open, focus on a single sight right in front of you a couple of feet out. Some people use the word Smile as it has a nice feeling of happiness when repeated silently in the mind. And it helps bring more awareness to your smile.

One sample routine would be to use Yoga nidra or “yogi sleep” is a sleep-like state which yogis report to experience during their meditations.

Yoga nidra, a lucid sleeping state is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. (Lucid dreaming is an unrelated phenomenon.)

The distinguishing difference is the degree to which one remains cognizant of the actual physical environment as opposed to a dream environment. In lucid dreaming, one is only (or mainly) cognizant of the dream environment, and have little or no awareness of our actual environment. While in a meditative state – silently name every part of you body very slowly and focusing your consciousness on that part of you as you speak.

Such as “Wrist” as you focus your attention on your wrist then pause to connect to that part of your body while sending it love, then taking a breath or two before moving to the next area.

Moving down to “Fingers” as you place your concentration on your fingers then pause again to connect then release your breath before moving on. While doing this you should be aware of any tension or pain in any part of your body.

Mentally visualize releasing this tension and sending love and kindness to the area as you breath and connect. It works wonders.

In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice because your not exerting yourself and its benefits are well worth the effort (or non-effort – remember we’re relaxing).

It is so much better than being overbooked and being trapped in overdrive all the time. Meditation helps repair the nervous system and this helps us to let go of things that no longer serve us for our highest good. That’s really what a New Year’s Resolution is all about. Making changes you can live with permanently.

Studies have shown that meditation can bring about beneficial physiologic effects to the body.

And there has been a growing consensus in the medical community to further study the effects of such. So in the near future, who knows, that mystical, esoteric thing we call meditation might become a science itself! All of us Metaphysical junkies are hoping so!

All people can benefit from a Meditation practice.

The most important thing is going at your own pace. Sitting in silence can be hard for some people that have constant stimuli around them (such as a busy home or work area) so continuing to go at your own pace is the key to Meditation.

Your friend may be a Zen Master but you can only commit to doing a few minutes per day. That’s perfectly okay too.

Here are some general ideas for establishing a Sitting Practice.

1. Finding the time to Meditate.

2. Finding the Location to Meditate.

3. Finding the mindset to commit to a sitting practice daily.

4. Not being disturbed once you start the practice.

5. Knowing what you will focus or not focus on while sitting.

6. Remembering why you are doing this practice. (Stress relief.)

7. What’s happening outside of us is much less important than what is happening inside of us.

8. Don’t judge your experience on how good or bad you are feeling during your practice.

9. Don’t give up after only one time. If you don’t succeed at first try and keep trying again another day.

10. Don’t let your mind get highjacked by the phone, friends and family, or the microwave.

Be safe and well.

Learning about Ayurveda

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What is Ayurveda?
It is the science of preventive health (take care of health so that disease does not get a chance to get in) and the living habits that check over indulgence in physical senses, going against conscience and natural resistance to the call of the soul (refusal to enjoy the present moment) .

What if when someone is already ill ? It deals with internal medicine (kayachikitsa), surgery (Shalyachikitsa), Treating eye,ear,nose and throat (shalakyachikitsa), Pediatrics, gynecology and osterics treatment ( kaumarabhritya) and mental health (bhutavidya).

Body Elements & Constitution (Prakriti)

In Ayurveda we are taught that there are five elements of which the human body is made up of : akasha (ether), Vayu (air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Prithvi (earth) and when we live in accordance with these elements through our dosha our body feels more at ease.

Because of the above five elements, all human beings are constituted with a combination of two or three primary ones. Those are called body humours or Doshas: Kapha, Vata and Pitta. Any person is easy to treat with the identification of his/her category.

Vata category is combination of space and air elements : People can be fearful, illogical and sometimes insecure.
Skin is dry. They have thin hair. They have dark brown or grey eyes. Vata activates the nervous system, hearing and speech and the persons is a great enthusiast with creativity. However, the state of his/her mind can get imbalanced easily because of conditions like insomnia, cramps, and constipation. I fit into this category but sometimes fluctuate from Vata to Pitta. So does my Daughter and my Mother.

Pitta category is fire element : These people are achievers, intellectual, fiery, angry, judgmental, with clear voice and precise expression. They have soft and fine hair. Eyes are blue, grey and hazel. They are good leaders and warm personality when healthy. Because of emphasis on metabolism and anger, they suffer from acidity, ulcers and rashes and also thinning of hair occurs.

Kapha category is(water and earth element : They have thick lustrous hair. Eyes are blue or brown. People have great endurance capacity with calm and steady mind. They are capable of forgiveness and intense love. Sometimes they are greedy and possessive. Kapha is the lubricant that keeps the joints working, keeps the body vibrant and balanced with immunity. Too much of it leads to lethargy, congestion, allergies and weight gain.

After the Prakriti is decided, one should know the nature of the diseases(Vikriti). It is imbalance obviously, but there are tow extremes to every imbalance, either deficiency or excess. Those are heavy-light, slow-sharp, cold-hot, unctuous-dry, smooth-rough, solid-liquid, soft-hard, stable-mobile, subtle-gross, and non-slimmy. When corrected, Prakriti or original constitution is restored.
These characteristics with regards to one’s basic constitution will decide the treatment that is right for you. These may be caused by wrong foods causing improper digestion, wrong sleeping or lack of good sleeping habits, improper mindset, anxiety, fear, worry, anger Etc.

The other type of ailment is clogging or blockage (Ama) for life energy to circulate for vitality. When this is corrected, it produces energy, perfect immunity, physical strength, and hence a general sense of well-being and happiness which is summarized in Ayurveda in one word called Ojas. When our Ojas are strong we feel on top of the world. Ojas is a Sanskrit word which literally means “vigor”.

According to the principles of Ayurveda, it is the essential energy of the body which can be equated with the “fluid of life”. Those who practice Ayurveda say that Ojas is the juice of one’s life energy which, when sufficient, is equated with immunity and, when deficient, results in weakness, fatigue and ultimately disease.

Ojas (pronounced oh-jus) is the ultimate refined result of digestion, metabolism, absorption and assimilation. The substance that connects the mind to the body and consciousness, it is a wholesome biochemical substance that nourishes all body tissues and has a direct influence on the nature and quality of physical, mental and emotional life. Ojas’ primary location is the heart, from where it circulates to and pervades the entire body. Ojas is collected from the body’s seven tissues — plasma, blood, muscle, adipose tissue (fat), bone, bone marrow, and reproductive tissue (semen and ovum) — by the influence of enzymes (Agnis), similar to how a bee collects honey from the essence of many flowers. The purest substance in the universe and omnipresent in the human being, ojas is responsible for higher states of consciousness, purity of thoughts, perfect health, positivity in feelings, love, joy, better immunity, longevity, intelligence, creativity, memory, bliss, and thought process. When an individual’s inner consciousness awakens spontaneously, ojas increases. In a nutshell, ojas is the sap of the entire physiology and sustains the life of an individual.

After my accident, I discovered that I wasn’t as healthy as I thought I was. I felt terrible most of the time.

I suffered from arthritis, high blood pressure, low white blood cells, back and hip pain that bothered me so much I tossed and turned on the bed at night trying to find a comfortable position to be in so I could get some much needed rest.

That is when I joined a group of yoga leaders that had Yogi Bhajan in it. As I listed my complaints he was quick to ask more question of me and then more. After I was done I felt as if I had discovered a hidden treasure trove of information.

I know this may even sound like a cheesy infomercial but I don’t think my health would have ever gotten better if it weren’t for Yogi Bhajan. And although I exercised I had never tried yoga before. I thought it was just for real bendy people. And I wasn’t one of them due to severe back pain from a herniated and bulging disc. When he suggested some Ayurveda remedies I tried them and within a few short days I was feeling much better and much healthier. And I was able to sleep at night.

My friends thought I was nuts when I started getting more and more yoga equipment, clothing, videos, Yoga and Ayurveda training but it has been the greatest experience of my life but when I first started doing it I asked myself the question a lot of “Can I really do this????” it was something I always wanted to do but something I needed to complete to prove to myself that even in my pretty bad physical health and starting in mid life I could still complete something. Yoga helped to ease my physical pain and panic attacks that were caused from the accident and Ayurveda helped my internal body heal. I became more focused on healthy choices and took notice of when I was eating the wrong things in my diet; which happened more times than I expected it would. It took a lot of patience, honest, self respect, and self care for me to feel myself being healed. It didn’t just happen overnight..

Keywords:
Ayurveda, natural treatments, herbs, herbology