March 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
A couple of days ago I inadvertently added a new folder to my android wall called Starred. Curious to see what was in there, I opened it up to find the list of contacts that I have -yes- starred: the important people in my life that I wanted immediate access to.
It made me smile. I stared at the list for a while, and I realized how lucky I was to have these amazing people in my life. Then I felt this incredible gratitude for the Universe, and how it is always conspiring to make us happy… that unconsciously I had created this folder; or that the Universe created it for me. To allow me to take a moment in my day to see what I have.
February 21, 2013 § 3 Comments
I have. In myself- how it shifts from day to day- and in others. When I sense resistance, it is a cue to me that I need to look more closely at what is really going on.
When one perceives a lack of control within himself, his response is to lock in. The muscles tighten, the breath shallows, and the mind closes. There are limited options if any. Paradoxically, this is the very moment when it would benefit to be open, examine the fear rather than identify and react, ask questions, and from it identify the desire, let go and be willing to change. His world, then, can be redefined into infinite possibilities.
This practice in catching moments of resistance and harnessing those opportunities to make qualitative change is the Yoga of Awareness leading to a rich, well-lived life.
July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” —Mohandas K. Gandhi
Many years ago when I was in sales, I bought this cassette tape (I said many years ago) on how to be persuasive. It was all about the words we use. Nothing else. Use and instead of but; share what is possible instead of what is not; focus on what works instead of the obstacles. When I found yoga in search for a sense of peace and happiness, I found that, at the end of the day the same principles applied. With the exception that the ultimate goal was not to persuade others but to be happy with myself. Turns out I’m more persuasive being happy. Funny how that works. And when I am not, the world lets me know. A little bit of awareness opens the floodgates to messages all around us with feedback and opportunity to adjust ourselves before we stray too far.
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
How do we do that?
What I found to be the most powerful tool for shifting thought and gaining control over my own thoughts is mantra. Mantra is what you say over and over again, day after day. And the essence of that single phrase repeated gets embedded vibrationally at the cellular level and becomes who we are. Examples of mantra:
I am sensible and in control of my finances.
I am perfect just the way I am.
I’m not smart enough.
I am too old.
It’s his fault.
I’m an idiot.
I am sexy and I know it
Ek Ong Kar. Sat Nam. Siri. Wahe Guru.
And when we say, think, or feel something over and over again, it enforces the pathway towards like action.
What I like about yoga mantra is that I can stay neutral with them. I don’t have to know what Ek Ong Kar means, and when I don’t know what it means, I am less likely to project my own stuff onto it and sabotage my efforts. I can simply say it over and over again and let it do its work.
Because of its power, mantra as a spiritual practice –spiritual meaning to know oneself- is an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety and quiet the chattery monkey mind, which can help relieve insomnia or depression. It can open up the mind to see the gifts of life. It can bring a sense of abundance, calm, neutrality, oneness, self-empowerment, connection, and groundedness, as well as enhance creativity, spontaneity and love of life. Try it.
February 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
One of the challenges to finding something you really really love can be finding a way to share it with others. And we want to share what we love because (a) we need the community support to continue being with it, what, with all the demands on our time, and (b) we know others will love and benefit from it too. It’s not nice to keep something good to yourself… right?
Yogic chanting is one of those things. OK. I’ve done some stuff in my youth that made me feel more comfortable in my own skin, more open and aware, kinda happy, and more receptive to things around me. But chanting is legal, it does all of the above, and there aren’t any serious negative side affects. I should tell you, however, that there are side affects. Possible short term side affects may be a feeling of high, happiness, emotional disorientation, feeling that you are grounded, sadness, a good time, we-are-all-one-ness, questions about current state of personal affairs, and more. Long term affects might include: feeling of inner peace and groundedness, healthy spontaneity, connection to your Self, clarity, ability to sit in silent meditation, and answers.
Chanting from time to time is nice, and when there is a kirtan, definitely go. It’s a wonderful time of communion with yourself and with others. You know how great it feels. Imagine doing it regularly.
Since the beginning of this year, a group of us has been gathering at Las Manos Gallery every other Sunday morning to chant. Since it’s only February 1, this means we only got together twice so far. This Sunday will be the third. Will you join us? Since I’ve described sort of what it’s like above, I won’t go into more about it here, but I do have to share something else. It’s about Yogi Tea. We have two 2-quart thermos pump pots that are being passed around each gathering so that another person can take a shot at making the next yogi tea for our tea time following our one-hour chant. Each person makes it differently. Last time, Sait made it (thank you Sait!!!), and we learned something new. You not only have honey, maple syrup and agave as natural sugar substitutes. Sait used an entire onion, IN ITS SKIN. I’ve added onion to my soups to sweeten, but never thought of using it in my yogi tea. And his tea was delightful. Having had Maureen’s tea, some of us are now using 15 cinnamon sticks instead of 5 or 6 because hers was so fantabulous. No matter the version, by talent, or by grace, each batch is incredible.
Ok enough. We would love you to join us. Bring friends. As I said earlier, it’s not nice to keep something good to yourself.
This Sunday, February 5
8:15-9:00 AM chant followed by yogi tea time
bring your own mug (BYOM)
bring your own meditation cushion or mat (BYOMC)
Las Manos Gallery
5220 N. Clark St.
(just north of Foster on the west side of street. pay-to-parking is ample)
ONE MORE THING: this Sunday, after tea time, we are going a few doors down to Icosium for a yummy Algerian Crepe breakfast. $6 per entree, one extra dollar if you want it to be gluten free.
for Urban Yoga Chicago