November 13, 2013 § 1 Comment
I borrowed this slightly revised title from a newsletter I wrote last Spring about an all day meditation course called White Tantric Yoga (WTY), and I thought, this is totally what I am feeling right now about my morning Sadhana practice!
WTY is known as “the spring cleaning of the subconscious mind.” In Chicago, this event happens every April. Similarly, morning sadhana is a daily clearing of the subconscious mind. I don’t know about you, but I can use a DAILY. The sadhana that I practice, called the Aquarian Sadhana, consists of a 20 minute prayer called Japji (Song of the Soul), followed by about 30 minutes of yoga, followed by 62 minutes of chanting meditation. Sadhana- whether you are doing it for the first time, or re-committing to it- works on you. Things will shift in your life. Sometimes things get messy before they get better. But they do get better. And the greatest blessing for me right now is that I have the gift of a group to practice with, which I have taken advantage of by joining them almost every morning.
Sadhana has been my forklift. Equally, so has been my community. We celebrate each other, and we hold each other up. We help each other see what we need to see, and this includes our blind spots as well as our super awesome spots. Our friends are here to uplift us; to show us what we are capable of, and to hold us in that space. We can worm and wriggle, because things may get uncomfortable, but deep down we know that we are worming and wriggling our Selves into our greatness.
True, we can only look to ourselves to make us whole, no one can do that for us, but this connection to others absolutely makes a world of difference. So much, that it is said that we can only go as far as the 5 people closest to us (so choose your community wisely). At the very least- we know that we are not alone in our quest.
Experiencing pain is a part of being human. The question is, while you are in it, while you are sad, heartbroken, confused, afraid or angry, do you know that you are still perfect in your unique, delicious way? If yes, then go into your human-ness and feel what you feel knowing that your feelings do not define you. If you have self-doubt, then reach out. Connect with the people that show up for you and hold you high. Because their vision of you is Truth.
Sadhana is a powerful boost for elevation. But in the end, what we need is each other.
September 18, 2012 § 2 Comments
These two videos are dedicated to students who are starting out in their own personal practice in the privacy of their own home and without the teacher in the studio.
First, congratulations! In this tradition, we like to say, “Wahe Guru!”
Please email me with questions regarding this practice anytime.
Tuning in with the Adi Mantra is important. It calls on, and connects us to, the wisdom of all ages that reside within us. We want this intelligence guiding us in our practice! The Mangala Charan mantra is technically optional, but I think it is very important. It protects us from harm.
Then the close. Ritual is good. It lets our bodies know that we are transitioning from one thing to another, and ritual allows us to pause for a moment, pay attention and be present. This close centers us in our Truth as we step away from our mat, or meditation cushion, and into our busy lives.
Here they are. Enjoy your practice!
Tune in with Adi & Mangala Charan Mantras
Close with Long Sat Nam
August 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
I just watched The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. It is a powerful film (and book) that inspires one to take a closer look at synchronicity, intuition, flow and seeing the beauty and intelligence of everything. When we are fully open and paying attention, the world guides our next steps. Our call is to do just that: be open and pay attention. And trust our intuition. Click here for Celestine Insights.
Feeling disconnected from our own energy source, we try to take from others by controlling and manipulating, and this is how conflict and power struggles happen. It would seem that is how we diminish our selves as well. James & Salle Redfield hosts what is called the Celestine Vision, a bi-weekly telecast, where we can join in prayer and meditation for peaceful resolution of conflict in this world.
How does prayer and meditation work? From the inside out.
July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
When chanted eleven times, each pauree in Japji produces a certain effect. This one is for prosperity and fulfillment of all of your needs. I’ve chanted this once through so that you may get the pronunciation of it, along with the transliteration so that you may follow along visually. Until I figure out how to repeat this eleven times and transfer it into a YouTube video efficiently, I ask you to replay it ten additional times to get your eleven. Sorry.
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
June 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
Yes, I’m doing it again. For only 40 days this time…
To those of you who are joining me, I am very excited to be doing this together! This kriya is quite special. I won’t say more. Below are instructions on how. I have taken this directly from the KRI International Teacher Training Manual Level 1 to ensure accuracy:
*Sit in rock pose. The heels are under the sitting bones. The knees are together.
*Stretch the arms over the head with elbows straight, until the arms hug the sides of the head.
*Interlace all the fingers except the index fingers. Men cross the right thumb over the left. Women cross the left thumb over the right.
*Begin to chant “Sat Naam” with a constant rhythm of about 8 times per 10 seconds. As you pull the navel in and up toward the spine, chant “sut” from the Navel Point. Feel it as a pressure from the 3rd Chakra center. With the sound “naam,” relax the belly.
During Sat Kriya we focus on the Navel Point motion. Pull it inward and slightly up as you say “sut.” Release it with “naam.” Continuing rhythmically, the root and diaphragm locks are automatically pulled. The steady waves of effort from the navel gradually enlist the movement of the greater abdomen, just as the small rhythmical ocean waves will gently rock a large boat. The force is through the navel but the two locks come along sympathetically. This natural pull of the two locks as we focus through the navel, creates a physiological balance. Blood pressure is maintained evenly.
Breath regulates itself- no breath focus is necessary.
The spine stays still and straight. The rhythmic contraction and relaxation produces waves of energy that circulate, energize, and heal the body. This is neither a spinal flex nor a pelvic thrust. Remain firmly seated on the heals throughout the motions of the kriya.
Continue for 3 to 31 minutes. [the majority of this group is doing this for 11 to 31 minutes. Know where you are on your journey.]
To end: inhale and gently squeeze the muscles from the buttocks all the way up along the spine. Hold it briefly as you concentrate on the area just above the top of the head. Then exhale completely. Inhale, exhale totally and hold the breath out as you apply a firm mahabandh [all the locks: root, diaphragm, neck]- contract the lower pelvis, lift the diaphragm, lock in the chin, and squeeze all the muscles from the buttocks up to the neck. Hold the breath out for 5 to 20 seconds according to your comfort and capacity. Inhale. Relax. If you practice this as a complete kriya in itself, the relaxation is ideally twice the length of time as you practice the Sat Kriya [at minimum, rest in savasana for equal time given for the kriya].
Any questions, contact me. Enjoy your journey! Sat Nam.