I did write a full blog on the seven chakras if you click through you can brief yourself. I am starting a seven day voyage into the chakras here on my home blog because a student mentioned the chakras to me after my restorative class last night. If you are not familiar with the term, Chakra is the Sanskrit word for ‘wheel’, and these centers are perceived as spinning wheels of energy.
We begin our excursion with the root chakra. As you can see, the colour associated with this energy center is red. The meditation here is an affirmation, that you can repeat to yourself silently and see how it resonates. “I am connected to all that is around me. This connection gives me a strong foundation and does not hold me back. Security and stability in life allow me to move with both confidence and connection to be who I am.”
yoga being and becoming are addressed in this lovely quote
“change is the essence of life…be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become”… yoga practice is a strong reminder of change. Someone can to class yesterday with a sore/stiff shoulder. The practices we did proved very therapeutic to her, and when we left she remarked about it. The photo above draws us into movement – from storm to calm. To some degree you have to know where you are and have a idea of where you want to be, even though there is nothing wrong, in the wholeness of the moment, where you are.
BKS Iyengar wrote: ” life inevitably oscillates, moves, and changes between the known and the unknown. So often we are not ready to accept the flow of life. We seek freedom but cling to “bondage”. We do not allow life to “happen” and take on its own shape. Conflicts, opposition, clash of interests and ideas, collision of ego (personal and collective), and limited understanding are all inevitable parts of life. The yogic solution to all these vicissitudes is to study how to adapt and build ourselves up. The key is to control the emotional disturbances and the mental fluctuations”
There are a few practices on my cd, YOGA MIND which will perhaps help you with this process. Starting where you are, just kind of settle into practice and the journey of it. Also check out my workshops for some key peaceful practices
“just for today do not worry,
just for today, do not anger
Honor your parents, teachers and elders
Earn your living honestly
Show gratitude to every living thing”
What is reiki energy? Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing. It is ‘done’ by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy“, (called Qi or prana) flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.
I have practiced this for many years, and sometimes introduce some self-healing into my yoga classes. It is usually deeply relaxing. This state of relaxation is what promotes healing. I have one track on my Yoga Mind cd, that uses some of the healing principles and healing energy so that you, the practitioner, can learn to enter this deep state of calm and thus access the benefits of the modality. When you are relaxed, and in a non-stressed state, you are more at one with the “universal healing energy”, which is expressed by the above principles. For practitioners and participants, this relaxed state is key and one that should be practiced regularly.
“Healing is not just a physical process, but a process of consciousness” ~ Doug Keller
The body knows how to heal itself. I gashed my thumb the other day and am just amazed at how in just two days, the skin is growing back. We tend to think of using yoga for healing in terms of the injured or sick but that is not always the case. I think an important understanding is that we can have general good health but still merit from a yoga practice that strengthens and supports the immune system, the rest and digest mechanisms, and recognize that managing stress plays a huge part in keeping our minds and bodies fit, resilient and efficient.
Taking our body for granted is a big mistake. Too much activity and not enough rest can interrupt the proper functioning of our inner body/mind and overload it so that it may impede recovery time. If you start to consider balancing out your practice so that there are different components – strength, flexibility and stillness, you are helping to prevent illness, helping to facilitate the miraculous movements that our bodies do silently in 24 hours.
Join me for class to explore a balanced practice, try my breathing for balance exercise or see me for a personalized exploration of healing body, mind, spirit
smile breathe move: these 3 cues can inspire your yoga today
1. Smile – research shows that smiling actually benefits the brain. That simple mona lisa moment activates neural messaging that turns on the endorphins and happiness molecules. This mechanism is what helps fight off the stress molecules, so the minute you turn your frown upside down, the feel good neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins and serotonin) are all released. This induces the relaxation response which can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and potentially act as a pain reliever.
2. Breathe – the breath is the link between the mind and emotions. For basic tips, I invite you to download the YOGA MIND cd. Diaphragmatic breathing is associated with the relaxation response as well. Learning to breathe properly can lengthen life span, slow the heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and help you maintain a calm inner state during stressful situations. Good breathing increases energy, helps overcome headaches, helps restore emotional/mental balance, and helps decrease anxiety and sleep disorders
3. Go slowly. Well, mindfully and at your own pace. Everyone is unique so you need to learn to know and trust what you are feeling, and move from that place.
smile breathe move
yoga and resistance:
Do you ever stretch in a pose and come across a sensation where the body/mind won’t budge? Did you ever have to get moving on something (like a project) and meet with a reluctance to begin, or a lack of impetus and focus to sustain the project once you have started it? One definition of resistance is “a force that tends to oppose motion”. I like that, as it pretty much covers the physical, mental, emotional components of life, and I see life as a moving meditation.
Sometimes we hold ourselves back from positive change, especially when things are unfamiliar. Sometimes we refrain from pushing ourselves into a yoga pose because the resistance is a closed door, and we know busting through willfully will likely lead to injury. There is certainly a spectrum of what is appropriate. In fact, our immune system is the best example of resistance in that it is built to ward off sickness and disease. A good question to ask oneself is whether there is some kind of fear lurking in the mind that is preventing and sabotaging our potential new growth, purpose, or path. Certainly, deepening one’s awareness, one does come face to face with revelations and truths that staying distracted can camouflage.
The mindfulness built into yoga can help. I chose this quote because I think acceptance is key. Know who you are, honour yourself, and choose to challenge yourself purposefully bit by bit. Accepting where you are takes the resistance out of the moment, and may teach you a thing or two about what, if anything, is standing in your way of moving forward or beyond
Word of the day: Dharma
This quote reflects the meaning of the word dharma in the yoga tradition. In the broadest sense, the word signifies ‘life purpose’. Many people find, once they start to practice yoga, and experience a quiet mind, they can hear the voice of intuition and inner guidance. This is different from the “I should do” voice, and often, people start to align more with a sense of what I am here to do. Is this you?
“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it” ~ Buddha. Yogis believe that finding your life purpose, or dharma, can be a vital component of balanced and healthy living. With the sensitivity and self-study that are cultivated, we often find we make more nourishing choices. Self-examination is not just about uncovering negative thought patterns, but also, extends to lifestyle.
Are you living in a way that promotes healthy thinking, eating, behaviour? Do you get enough rest and sleep? Could you organize your life differently, eat more regularly? Do you work too much or not enough? Is your work meaningful or, is there a meaningful aspect of your life that you could devote more energy to? Just questions.
In any event, I am off duty today, Labour Day, and conserving a bit of energy for the busy week ahead. I have updated my group class schedule and available for private yoga lessons in Hoboken, and Jersey City. Some of the group classes require registration.
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
Yoga and Union
My teacher always said there is fear/panic/anxiety on one side and trust/calm/spirit on the other. If you practice and keep building up the surrender/relax side you feel more of a symbiosis with your life, more connected to what is happening. It is an easier way than fighting it, for sure.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the great yogi warrior and Godhead of the Indian bhakti movement, Krishna emphasizes that yoga is union, love, the source of all things:
He who is rooted in oneness
realizes that I am
in every being, wherever
he goes, he remains in me.
When he sees all beings as equal
in suffering or in joy
because they are like himself,
that man has grown perfect in yoga. (BG 6.29-32)
In the yoga sutras, Yoga is set out as :
Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodahah— which is translated as follows by Georg Feuerstein: Yoga is the restrictions of the fluctuation of consciousness.
The term yoga is derived from the literal meaning of “yoking together” (horses) but came to be applied to the “yoking” of mind and body. Certainly, when your mind is focused, and you go beyond the distractions and drama in life, you feel more connected to everything, more plugged in. This is a nice way to affirm that concept: “The way to become one with the universe is to trust it”
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.