Monday, August 03, 2015
Forget about your own selfishness and make others happy. By seeing others happy you can’t be unhappy, but by making others unhappy you will never find happiness. So smile, make someone laugh and you will be giving them and yourself the greatest gift of all – youthful happiness!
Posted on 08/03 at 05:26 AM
Friday, December 05, 2014
The holidays have always been a time of reflection for me. Perhaps that is magnified by the fact that, as well as, Christmas and the New Year, I also have a birthday. I always feel the need to take a little time to pause and reflect back upon both my accomplishments and my disappointments. Reflection has taught me that wisdom is nothing more than the ability to realize that you and you alone create your universe. How you see the events in your life greatly determines the outcome. Everything has a purpose and a meaning. But you must be willing to stop and reflect if you are to discover the underlying meaning. Circumstances may disappoint, hurt, sadden or bring on fear, loneliness and exhaustion, but it is how we see these things and how attached we get to these things that determines the outcome. Circumstances change from moment to moment so that a disappointment can quickly change to an opportunity, but we must be open with a reflective and self-aware mind. Otherwise the opportunity will slip by us. For every loss there is a gain and for every gain there is a loss. Understand this and you will develop an appreciation for all of life.
As the holidays approach I reflect on what they mean to me. First comes my birthday. OMG! I’m another year older. I can’t believe how old I am. I don’t know how I got here, but I do know my mind loves getting older. It has so much more knowledge than when I was younger. It’s wiser. It knows how to hold on and how to let go. But the worse part about getting older is the skin. Yes, I said the draping, sagging, wrinkling skin! That’s the price for wisdom. Something is gained and something is lost.
Christmas means a time of peace and good will towards all. Too bad Christmas wasn’t 365 days a year. But if it were I would not appreciate the nature of both peace and violence. Both serve to teach us how to be better people.
New Year’s always leaves me with a gasp. I cannot believe how fast the year has passed. There have been wonderful moments and there have been stressful moment and lots of other moments in-between. I have accomplished a lot and I have been disappointed by many things. As I reflect back over the year I realize that when guided by balance, strength, flexibility and the moments of peace and serenity I have found prosperity. I’ve learned a lot from my experiences. I owe my gratitude to yoga. It reminds me constantly to stay centered and balanced, maintain an inner strength, be flexible and flow with life, and take time to reflect, relax and be at peace.
Posted on 12/05 at 05:45 AM
Monday, November 03, 2014
How to Manage Holiday Stress
Thanksgiving is a time when Americans give thanks for family, food, safety and health. It is a time of gathering for the sole purpose of giving thanks and celebrating with family and friends. It is about breaking bread and sharing a meal. But it can also be a time of strife, anger and confusion. Families, after all, can and sometimes do, bring out the worst in all of us. Stress becomes the watch word of the day.
Stress affects us all. One of the things I learned early on in my studies was that stress is a perceived notion. This simply means that what may be stressful to me may not be stressful to you because the level of stress is measured by the perceiver. Yes, illness, divorce, money problems, work problems and family can bring on stress, but it is how we view these events and how we react to them that will determine the level of our stress. One of the best ways to manage stress is through the practice of yoga. Why? Yoga teaches us to quiet our minds and when we quiet our minds things take on a note of clarity. The mind gets clear and still. Clarity reduces stress. And in this moment of clarity we realize stress is in the mind of the perceiver. And the perceiver can see things any way the perceiver chooses.
When the mind becomes quiet the autonomic nervous system gets a moment of balance. The physical and mental surges of energy slow down and we slip into a state of reflective balance. In this place between passivity and agitation we experience an opportunity to observe without judgment. It is known as the middle way.
The middle way means to not become identified with anything; love or hate, happiness or depression, attachment or detachment, but simply to come back to the present moment putting aside all attachments to any position. This is not any easy task. It requires us to be content and at peace with our circumstances. It requires us to let go of any hard and fast held positions. Right now one thing may be important, but circumstances will change, and in a flash what seemed important a moment ago may lose all its significance. Stay present and in the moment – that’s the middle way.
Sit quietly, close your eyes and take in three deep breathes. Then sit for a moment and observe what has happened to your body-mind. There is stillness and a sense of balance. This is the middle way; the place between extremes. Walk the middle way and you will always find balance; body, mind and soul.
Posted on 11/03 at 08:16 AM
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
The Greedy Mind
In Yoga the opposite of contentment is craving and craving produces greed. It is a disturbed mind that keeps us in the constant battle with our cravings. The purpose of yoga is to bring peace to the mind so that we can gather the energies of our conscious and subconscious mind and balance out our energy. Here is a good example to follow – if after the Halloween party you vow to stop eating candy bars, but you keep thinking about all those mini 3 Musketeers left over from Halloween, wouldn’t it be better to eat just one, happily enjoy it and then spend the rest of the day with a less scattered mind?
But what if you work hard to suppress your desire for the candy? With yoga we are not trying to discipline the conscious mind. Rather we work to discipline the subconscious mind so that your thoughts come through from the subconscious into the conscious creating a state of mind that is conducive to contentment, happiness and peace.
So here is my Halloween candy yoga suggestion- take out the left over candy and take out your favorite candy. Sit quietly and take a few deep breathes. Quietly examine the wrapper, gently unwrap, close your eyes, pop it into your mouth and savor the texture, the flavor and the smell. When you’re done, open your eyes get up and throw the left over candy away. You won’t crave it any more. Happy Halloween!
Posted on 10/01 at 05:44 AM
Monday, September 01, 2014
In yoga anything that is excessive, “inflames” our passionate and emotional self. We know that excessive physical and mental stress can lead to problems with physical inflammation. Excessiveness can also lead to a mind that becomes “inflamed”.
The body has a wonderful way of telling us when something is wrong. It also has the incredible ability to correct a problem. The body can withstand tremendous pressure, severe illness and exhausting times and still remain healthy and strong. The problem is that if we continue to overtax the body it will eventually weaken and turn on itself. That’s why simple yoga poses can be very helpful in helping us to cleanse and detoxify the body.
Half wheel pose is a simple pose that anyone can do. It cleanses the liver, spleen and intestines by putting slight pressure on the lower body area. This pressure squeezes the organs, pushing out toxins and allowing fresh blood and oxygen to enter giving the organs a cleansing.
Stand straight and lift your arms up over your head with the palms pressing up towards the ceiling. Exhale. Now inhale as you bend forward, keeping the knees straight and allowing the arms to swing behind your back palms pushed towards the ceiling. Keep the knees straight. Exhale as you come back up bringing the arms over your head, palms to the ceiling while slightly arching the back. Do this about five times.
Now sit cross leg or in a chair. Close your eyes and take in three deep long breathes. The mind quiets and the body rejuvenates. Inflammation dissipates.
Posted on 09/01 at 11:40 AM
Friday, August 01, 2014
There are eight essential stages and practices of yoga. In the western world we usually concern ourselves with the third stage or the asanas, also known as the postures and poses. But to truly understand yoga it would be a mistake to only study one part. As a naturopathic doctor my belief is that we are a tri-part being; body, mind and soul, and if we are to achieve perfect health we must address all three. What happens to one part has a profound effect on the other two. In yoga it is believed that once you understand the truth within your body-mind you will understand the truth of the entire universe. This simply means the unification of the two opposite forces within the universe; matter and spirit. Together these two forces bring about awareness. My book Aero*boga- the way of the heart is about spiritual fitness. It reminds us that true fitness is a body, mind and spiritual experience.
Posted on 08/01 at 11:40 AM
Saturday, July 05, 2014
Taking a stand.
The warrior pose represents the strength within each of us. Not strength of brute, but the ability to be aware of what it takes to win the war over the battle that goes on in our minds. This is a discipline that allows us to be ourselves no matter what. But it also involves control. Not control over another person, but control over ourselves. When we lose control we tend to either repress or inappropriately express our emotions. We are afraid to honestly express ourselves and therefore become the victim. The warrior on the other hand learns to refrain from expressing emotions until the time is right and the circumstances are appropriate. That means that the warrior is aware, in control, and then waits to express or act in the right way and at the right moment, and not a second before. The warrior is never surprised, but always in control and therefore is always impeccable. Like the warrior, become aware of your emotions, control them with your thoughts and thereby control your behavior. Express your emotions in the most appropriate way and at the most opportune time, and you will always win the battle. This is what it means to be the mighty warrior and not the poor victim.
Posted on 07/05 at 07:07 AM
Sunday, June 01, 2014
The Blessing Mudra
Stop! Take a deep breath and relax. Then let me ask you…what have you blessed today? When we think of a blessing we often think of a prayer. But a blessing is actually an act or words that are meant to bring happiness and well being.
In yoga we use a hand gesture called the blessing mudra to bless our food and our life.
It is usually combined with the chant of a mantra, “Om shanti, shanti, shanti”, which means, ‘Oh lord of life, of laughter, of love, reestablish in all the facets of my being tranquility, serenity, harmony and peace.
Bless your life today! It’s a gift!
Posted on 06/01 at 06:08 AM
Thursday, May 01, 2014
Mudras, in yoga, are hand gestures that help us to regenerate our life current back into the spinal column’s chakras, whereby we can then emanate that energy outward into our everyday lives. One of my favorite mudras is the lotus flower. In Buddhism the lotus flower represents an opening heart chakra. The flower blooms on the surface of the water, anchored by deep roots that hold it firmly. It is a symbol of light and beauty emerging from the darkness.
Sit in a cross leg position. Sit up tall and wrap your hands into the lotus mudra. Place the mudra against the heart chakra and begin to take in deep long breathes. Feel connected to your roots, and remember the greatest source of steadiness in life is an awakened heart.
Open your heart and experience a moment of quietude and peacefulness and you will discover why the lotus mudra is one of my favorite gestures.
Posted on 05/01 at 10:25 AM
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
The Chakras according to yoga are seven major energy wheels that move up and down the spine, as well as, hundreds of minor wheels that are distributed throughout our body and make up the energy field knows as our aura. At the base of the seven we find the three charkas that make up the base or triangle from which we establish balance. Once established we can move into the higher chakras or higher levels of consciousness. The real task is the balance of the lower triangle. It is made up of the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras. The root chakra is considered the center of physical and material existence, health and survival. It is essential that this center be balanced; otherwise we suffer and struggle with our basic existence. Health and survival are at the basis of all human existence. Without our health and our ability to survive we would perish.
When the root is balanced our instincts and habits are grounded. We are dependable, realistic and secure. But how do you know if you are out of balance? Too much energy in the root leads to greediness and feeling stuck, and not enough energy in the root makes you feel fearful and nervous. To balance out your energy; if you are feeling fearful and nervous wear the color red, eat red foods such as tomatoes and red berries and wear or carry a red gem stone.
If the root is over active (feeling greedy and unsatisfied) wear something blue, eat blue berries or grapes and carry a blue gem stone. Like colors we are energy vibrating throughout the universe. Balance the colors of the chakras and you balance the energy of the body, the mind, and the soul.
Posted on 04/01 at 10:00 AM
Saturday, March 01, 2014
That which is taken from us is not really taken from us, but replaced by that which we need more dearly. Sometimes this is a difficult pill to swallow. We cannot always see why things slip away and what good has come to replace them. In yoga it is the practice of contentment. Being happy with your life just as it is in the moment, realizing that life is constantly changing, and realizing what might be important today, may be of no value tomorrow is the essence of contentment.
Contentment reminds us of the importance of balancing the energy of the lower chakras or energy centers of our being. The base or the lower triangle of the chakras must be balanced so that we can obtain peace of mind, which is needed so we can tap into the energy of the higher chakras.
First we must find our footing in the first or root chakras, then second establish the fine line of balance between giving and receiving in the sacral, and third establish ourselves within the seat of our power or the solar plexus, which is our ability to stay focused and fearless in the face of life’s events.
When the base is solid and grounded, and the energy is balanced, we stand strong even in the face of uncertainty and disappointment. We don’t let life’s constant changing throw us off balance. We remain content with the full knowledge that what is here and important today may be of little importance tomorrow. In this moment be content. Life is just as it should be.
Posted on 03/01 at 09:05 AM
Saturday, February 01, 2014
We give off and we collect energy. How we balance our energy has a direct bearing on the nature of our lives. It is said that our bodies contain hundreds of chakras or spinning wheels of energy and that these wheels of energy are keys to how we exist as soulful beings. These spinning wheels draw in energy from our environment. The energy we draw in has a profound effect upon the physical, mental and spiritual selves. That is why toxic environments and other people’s moods affect us.
Come in contact with someone who is depressed, angry, or manipulative and you can feel the energy begin to penetrate and throw your energy field off balance. That is what is known as getting a good or bad vibe from a person.
The best way to protect from disruptive energy is to build a strong energy field within you. In yoga we refer to this as your aura or the shield of energy that surrounds your body-mind. The aura is a by-product of the chakras. If the aura is strong and balanced then negative toxic energy finds it difficult to penetrate your being. Instead you deflect the negative energy. Balanced chakras protect the health of the body-mind, and the sanctity of the soul.
What is the best way to balance your energy? First surround yourself with healthy people and then live a healthy life. Practice yoga, eat healthy, smile, laugh, and remember to seek balance in all things and in all things find balance.
Posted on 02/01 at 12:43 PM
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
A Yoga Moment
If there is one thing you do this upcoming year, let it be finding your Ishvar. It is that thing, that energy, that you can devote yourself to for the purpose of finding joy, peace and happiness. Yogis refer to the Ishvar as the energy that is beyond form. It is the cosmic energy of the universe that unites all of us. The Ishvar is a devotion to bringing balance and harmony to all of existence; body, mind and spirit.
Whatever action you perform it should not be done for the purpose of obtaining something, but because it has meaning and purpose within itself. This is what it means to reach cosmic consciousness.
In this New Year follow your passion. Live your life to its fullest. Laugh, love and play. Whatever you do, do it gently and with love and always give all your action a little conscious forethought. In this you will find your Ishvar.
Check out my Ishvar https://www.facebook.com/Andla123
May your moments be filled with health, happiness and peace.
Posted on 01/01 at 01:42 PM
Sunday, December 01, 2013
In the yogic tradition OM is the symbol of reality and the sound of eternal peace. This is the time of year when most people stop to wish each other a happy and peaceful holiday season. When I was a child I believed that the whole world was at peace on Christmas Eve. Growing up in an isolated Christian based community I knew little about the outside world. To me the world celebrated the symbol of Christ which was peace on earth and good will towards all. It was the one night that everyone, everywhere was at peace. When I grew up I realized that this was not true. There are many beliefs and many times a year when different cultures celebrate and honor their chosen following. But I still think it would be wonderful if the whole world could come together on one day and celebrate humankind as one, wishing for peace on earth and good will towards all humankind.
The mantra AUM is the mother of all sounds. It is Om, it is Amen and it is the sound of all blessings. When it reveals itself, introspection is attained and obstacles are removed. And what is the quickest way to establishing peace on earth? A little introspection into the nature of life and removing the prejudice obstacles that stands in our way and keeps us from becoming one. To everyone…Ommmmm may you enjoy health, happiness and peace not just for the Holidays, but for all the days to come.
Posted on 12/01 at 08:01 AM
Friday, November 01, 2013
Thanksgiving is a time when Americans give thanks for family, food, safety and health. It is a time of gathering for the sole purpose of giving thanks and celebrating with family and friends. It is about breaking bread and sharing a meal. But it can also be a time of strife, anger and confusion. Families after all can and sometimes do, bring out the worst in all of us. Stress becomes the watch word of the day.
Stress affects us all. One of the things I learned early on in my studies was that stress is a perceived notion. This simply means that what may be stressful to me may not be stressful to you because the level of stress is measured by the perceiver. Yes illness, divorce, money problems, work problems and family can bring on stress, but it is how we view these events and how we react to them that will determine the level of our stress. One of the best ways to manage stress is through the practice of yoga. Why? Yoga teaches us to quiet our minds and when we quiet our minds things take on a level of clarity. Clarity reduces stress.
When the mind becomes quiet the autonomic nervous system gets a moment of balance. Somewhere between passivity and agitation we experience an opportunity to observe without judgment. It is known as the middle way.
The middle way means to not become identified with anything; love or hate, happiness or depression, attachment or detachment, but simply to come back to the present moment putting aside all attachments to any position. When we take a hard and fast position we slip from the sharp edge of the moment and risk hurting or getting hurt. Right now one thing may be important, but circumstances will change and in a moment what seemed important may lose its significance. Stay present and in the moment – that’s the middle way.
Sit quietly, close your eyes and take in three deep breathes. Then sit for a moment and observe what happens to your body-mind. There is stillness and a balance. This is the middle way.
Posted on 11/01 at 01:08 PM