I think the best way to describe how to develop present moment awareness through your yoga practice is to look at it as a moving meditation. “Yesterday ended last night” is a good way of affirming and grounding yourself in now. You may be living the consequences of yesterday today, but hopefully your new mindfulness will lead you to make different choices so that when you say this tomorrow, you are actually in a better place.
“Aligning the mind with the experience of the present moment is the fundamental practice of mindfulness…As soon as you become aware that your mind has ventured off into thoughts about the past or the future, slowly reestablish the vertical axis of mindfulness…” ~ Will Johnson
“Being “in the state of flow” doesn’t mean that we spend all of our time in bliss in the nondual realms. Flow means allowing ourselves to be surrendered to life, to the way it is, and to forget ourselves in pure involvement in our work, our task at hand, our love-without worry over the outcome. As Robert Frost said, “Freedom means moving comfortably in harness.”” ~ Stephen Cope
“Mindfulness is not just an action of the mind” ~ Will Johnson
Today, see if you can, every time the mind flies off to yesterday or tomorrow, just stop, take a breath and feel where that breath is moving in your body right now. Do that for just a minute if that is all you have, and see whether exchanging the thinking mind for the feeling self, harnesses your energy and guides you into an aware presence and calm
Heart Chakra Meditation:
Appropriately for this Thanksgiving Day, we turn our attention to the Anahata, or Heart Chakra. If you have been following, today is the fourth day of the series, which originated with an older post I wrote on chakra balance
The colour associated with the heart chakra is green. Today’s meditation: “I listen to my heart and honor its connection to the hearts of others. I allow love to fill me up and guide me in all of my actions. I gracefully move to the rhythm of life.”
Some of the key concepts of this energy centre are: balance, love, compassion, relationship, breath, peace. The location is upper chest and includes the back of the heart space as well. Put into practice with the essential breath on my Yoga Mind cd
breathing for well-being
It’s pretty obvious if you are breathing, you are alive. The breath animates us. most of the time! This means, that our breathing patterns can either be helpful, distraught, or rather therapeutic. For more on that subject, click HERE and you will find a post on breathing for well-being and balance.
Did you know that the breath is the link between the mind and the emotions? Anxiety is an emotional problem that pretty much hits everyone at some point. For some, it can be more intense than others, from ‘simple’ nervousness to panic attacks. Certainly, if you are anxious about real and imminent danger, this is useful, and your breathing is a powerful thermometer for this.
The advice below, “take it day by day and be grateful for every breath” is a great affirmation. However, I think the first stage is knowing who you are as a breather, undoing any unhelpful tendencies and then re-learning healthy techniques. On my Yoga Mind Cd, you will find a track that teaches, guides you into, the natural and essential breath. Once you can do that, then an affirmation is a positive tool to incorporate.
I have given workshops on the breath so if you want to bring one to your studio or have private yoga lessons – contact me
Acceptance quotes can be used in your quiet sitting time when your mind is freer of the habitual thoughts that bind itWherever freedom comes embrace it… This one is lovely; “When I accept myself, I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me.” Sounds like the path to integrity if you ask me!
In yoga, the word jivanmukti means “spiritual release or salvation achieved while still alive”. We best experience this freedom when we are still, quiet, relaxed, and in a state of flow. This being said, if you cultivate this state of mind, it is easier to then foster a sense of self acceptance.
Mantra of the day:
Let’s begin with a definition of the word ‘mantra‘, a noun originally found in Hinduism and Buddhism. Mantra is generally defined as “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation, a Vedic hymn, a statement or slogan repeated too frequently.” The root of the word “man” means think.
Yoga practice is an eight limbed system to guide us to a calmer state, one where the thoughts we have don’t run rampant, our decisions get clearer, and we identify less with the active monkey mind, and more with the Universality of peace. To be simple, there are different tools we use, at different times, to calm and heal. Whether you are stressed out, very athletic, very busy, have pain, you as a person repeat certain thoughts which become interwoven in your cells. This poem by Rumi ” I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within” reminds me of the SOHUM mantra ~ I Am … We all have personas and identities but beyond that, when we go into a state of deep dreamless sleep we just ARE. No drama there. A mantra takes us “there” while keeping us wakeful and present. This one is very affirmative
yoga for everybody:
This post is inspired by two things. The first is by this photo. The second, is I recently met someone who said “this body is not meant to do yoga”. the comment made me a little sad that this person felt excluded from the entire eight limbed system of yoga because of the shape of the body this person lives in.
The Western culture very much identifies Yoga with the body. Yes, we do have one, live in one, and use it to move around in, so let us respect it and maintain it. I like how she expresses things up above. “Not all yoga poses are upside-down and pretzelly. They can be simple like this and still work their magic”. I have heard before, “If you are breathing, you can do yoga”. I agree, and as a yoga therapist, I would say that most of the poses can be brought to you, whether through the use of strategically placed yoga props, or modifications, and substitutions. Breathing practices can also find you, as can visualizations, relaxations, and meditation. You can focus on your breath and do a simple joint opening series, and bring mindfulness into sitting at your desk. Not everything has to be bendy and fancy in order for you to be yoga. “All bodies are yoga bodies”. It is not a one-size fits all practice, your uniqueness can be respected and appreciated.
Your peace: No one Can Steal Your Peace Without Your Permission: Life has packs of drama…and we need to cope. I find much of my work as a yoga therapist is to help people find mindful strategies, especially to work with recurring postural habits. As Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do”. If you commonly droop your shoulders, for example, it will show up in your swimming, golfing, walking, sitting, sleeping. Some habits cause pain.
Yoga practices bring us back to our baseline of peace, like in deep dreamless sleep.You become more in tune with your inner self, and more mindful of when something is chipping away at it. At the end of a day, it is just all around better for us to let go the day, consciously and with gratitude – rather than getting dragged into replaying each moment – but if you are having a hard time, download one of my guided practices, that is what I created my CD for
There are tracks where you can learn how to breathe well, and also tracks which will help you navigate the relaxation process. Learning these tools is where you have access off your mat, during stressful times, to ways that bring you back to your peace.
10 Ways To Add A Dose of om off your yoga mat:
Little tips go a long way to encourage us !
Appreciation is the key to a positive day. This is a great affirmation: I open 2 gifts this morning. They were my eyes…
Breathe and Reboot this weekend, whether you practice yoga on a mat, or self-reflect on a park bench…whatever your pleasure, add one of these 10 Ways To Add A Dose of Om !
Change yourself. You are in control. Forgive. let go. Without action you aren’t going anywhere. Take care of the moment. Everyone is human. Persist. See the good in people, help them. Be congruent. Be authentic. Be your true self. Continue to grow and evolve.
The same tips can be used on your yoga mat, after all, if you aren’t present and honest with yourself, that can be when you overdo or, maybe don’t reach into your potential.
There are different ways to get your om on, which is a funky way of saying being in a meditative, or flow state. I wrote a post about meditation awhile back and also have some tracks on my yoga mind cd, but also, walk, write, find a mantra…whatever advice resonates
What a lovely affirmation !
Yoga Sutra 1.36 tells of the inner light within us all : visoka va jyotismati ~ mental stability also stems from serenity linked to luminous lucidity ~ Bounchaud
So for today, just let the light from the center of your heart radiate. You can also download my Golden Light Healing Relaxation practice for a full body-mind experience
Hilarious! As I learn to get around Jersey City, I often think of this cartoon.
The other day I had two navigation systems going and they each chose different routes. Kind of like a yoga practice, different ways to ‘do’ things. My method is to teach skills so each student can find the practice in their own body – we are not all identical. This is what makes a yoga practice ‘therapeutic’… whether you are dealing with anxiety, back pain, knee pain, tight hips… so remember “follow your bliss”