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.
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.
October 17, 2012 § 1 Comment
This spinal series video was requested by a student. Thank you– Please keep them coming!
The spinal series is a quick and easy way to maintain flexibility in our spine, which supports our movement, our structure, and our spinal cord (which allows our bodies to move and our organs to function). A nice, flexible spine also helps prevent or reduce lower back pain and stress on the upper back.
In fact, yoga says that we are only as young as our spine is flexible!
While we would all love to get into a beautiful, full back bend, this is not necessary for increased quality of life. The spinal series is your floor.
Drishti (eye focus): third eye
Mantra (optional): if you would like something to keep you here in the present moment, try mentally chanting Sat on the inhale, Nam on the exhale. Sat means Truth, and Nam means Name. Truth is your name. Truth is your essence. Truth is who you are. It is a bij, or seed, mantra that you can use as a living meditation (while you walk, cook, etc).
Time: 1-3 minutes per exercise. In this video, we practice for approximately 2 minutes each.
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.
August 27, 2010 § 1 Comment
Historically, when I felt anxious, overwhelmed, and completely stressed out, I would go into my soft addictions, which, for me, are eating, talking on the phone, and napping. The one thing I can tell you for sure is that I never felt replenished or energized afterwards. My stressors did not go away. In fact, the monsters grew.
What to do? I am stressed from work and need to step away. Yoga and meditation would probably feel great, but I can’t get to a yoga studio at the moment, and I am distracted by the housekeeping duties that my house nags, and I know I ought to move my body to get my energy flowing…
How do I find nourishment when I am feeling low energy and in scarcity mode? Can’t I nap first and figure it out in 15 (actually 60) minutes?
So I tried something new. I started by drinking a tall glass of water. I realized that I was thirsty after all and didn’t even know it. Then I started picking up the stuff, from where I call the “hotspots,” where things tend to accumulate: my workspace, the kitchen counter, the dining room table, and so on. I turned on some of my favorite yoga music, connected to my breath, and put away one thing at a time with no other thought than the task at hand: this book goes here. these go there. I sprayed and wiped my countertops with my preferred Bliss flavor of the day until I got them clean and shiny. Somehow I forget how good the aromatherapy makes me feel. I proceeded to put the dishes away. The shoes. And so on.
The next thing I know, not only did I find parts of my house cleaner and less cluttered, I also found myself cleaner and less cluttered… I moved through my emotional disarray. All at once, I took care of my space, I moved my body, got intimate with my stuff (finding gratitude for what I already had), got my yoga and meditation in by being in the moment. Mindfulness. I like to call it Pure Presence.
I read somewhere, “studies show that mindfulness can be helpful in stopping ruminations over things that cause stress.. it helps people keep from dwelling on negative thoughts. Mindfulness can also be used to decrease anxiety over the future. It can provide a break from stressful thoughts and allow you to take a mental break and gain perspective, among other things (I found this in my notes, but without a source– I apologize).
I found a great quote by Winston Churchill who said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Indulging in soft addiction is sort of like stopping in hell and anesthisizing myself. Feels good for the moment. The problem is, once the numbing is gone, I am still in hell, and it is looking bigger than ever. Homecaring is choosing to keep on walking, and mindfully “cleaning house,” on all levels. It connects you to your space, your abundance, and it also crosses off multiple things on your to-do list, which is an excellent added benefit!