Wednesday, October 02, 2013
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 10/02 at 04:19 AM
Sunday, September 01, 2013
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 07:16 AM
Thursday, August 01, 2013
Mind the Mind
The body, although complex is really very simplistic. Each part has a job to do and given we stay healthy all the parts work together. The heart pumps the life current through our body. Its only job is to keep life flowing. Likewise the liver works to detoxify the body. Its only job is to cleanse and purify. But the mind is a bit different. The mind likes to mind itself, its body and the minds of others.
The mind is constantly moving, but what is it really doing? Does it keep the body alive and healthy? Yes and no. It is not necessary to sustain life, but it is an essential part of living a full and conscious life.
In yoga mind stuff is called chitta. It is the accumulation of your sensory experiences, your intellect and your ego all coming together to create what we call the mind. Yoga teaches us to slow down and become aware of how the mind works and how we can learn to control it. Not control by force, but control through relaxation. This creates a stage for peace of mind. Peace of mind is one of the ultimate aims of yoga. Mind your mind. Pay careful attention to how your senses affect your thoughts, how your intellect interprets information and what your ego chooses to do or not do.
Posted on 08/01 at 12:22 PM
Monday, July 08, 2013
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 acts 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 therefore 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 07/08 at 04:49 AM
Friday, June 07, 2013
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!
Posted on 06/07 at 04:26 AM
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
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 04:50 AM
Monday, April 01, 2013
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 chakas 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 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 than wear something blue, eat blue berries or grapes and carry a blue gem stone.
Each chakra has a different level of consciousness. We must balance out the lower chakras if we are to open ourselves up to reaching the higher levels where peace and serenity exist.
Posted on 04/01 at 01:30 PM
Monday, March 04, 2013
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 content with your life just as it is in the moment, realizing that life is constantly changing and what might be important today is of no value tomorrow.
Contentment reminds us of the importance of balancing the energy of the lower chakras or energy center 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 to tap into the energy of the higher chakras.
First we must find our footing in the root chakras, second establish the fine line of balance between giving and receiving in the sacral chakra and third establish ourselves in the solar plexus, the seat of our power, so that we can be 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.
Posted on 03/04 at 01:20 PM
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
We both give off and 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 the operation of our being. These spinning wheels draw in energy from our environment. The energy we draw in has a profound effect upon the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of ourselves. 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 off set your energy field. That is what is known as getting a good or bad vibe from a person.
Posted on 02/05 at 01:05 PM
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
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 unties 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.
May your days be filled with health, happiness and peace.
Posted on 01/09 at 05:12 PM
Monday, December 10, 2012
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 12/10 at 06:30 AM
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Karma is an often misunderstood concept. We think of it as good and bad when it fact Karma simply means action. Anything that we think, say or do becomes the energy that creates Karma. At present we are the accumulation of all our past thoughts, words and deeds and where we will be in future begins at this very moment with our now thoughts, words and deeds. We cannot escape karma for it is action and life is action based. What we can do is learn to consciously examine our thoughts, words and deeds and make conscious choices that will lead to a more harmonious and peaceful life. In this way we can direct our individual karma. However we do not live in isolation. We are affected not only by our own choices, but by the collective karma of the universe. All of the universe is energy in motion and it is this dance of energy or action that creates life which affects us all. To coin a famous phrase,” the flapping of the butterfly’s wings in Hong Kong, affects the hurricanes forming in the South Atlantic.” Remember your personal life experience is inextricably entwined with the whole. We are in a greater sense truly one with the universe. With all your thoughts, words and deeds choose wisely.
Posted on 11/06 at 07:13 AM
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
The Warrior Pose
One of the poses we work on in Aero*boga and in my yoga classes is the warrior pose. The warrior pose works to balance the third chakra located in the gut area corresponding to the ego. Warrior is an important pose because it teaches us to stop and focus on finding awareness. This awareness leads to discipline. We become aware of the greatest enemy of all and that enemy is the negativity within our own heads. With discipline and awareness we begin to learn how to control ourselves. We learn to refrain from outwardly and inwardly expressing negative energy. The difference between the warrior and the victim is that the warrior refrains and the victim represses. The warrior has learned how to refrain from expressing emotions until they can be expressed in the right degree and at the right time. The warrior stands tall and breathes through life’s obstacles turning them into strength.
Posted on 10/02 at 07:47 AM
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Now we know that by the time we’re 50 the heart beats about 2 billion times. Yoga can repair some of the wear and tear by lowering the heart rate, relaxing our blood vessels and reducing stress. One study found that 36 percent more heart attacks happen on Monday morning as opposed to Sunday when we are more relaxed. It’s important to start your morning off with a few yoga exercises to balance the body-mind and reduce stress. The Sun Salutations are a great comprehensive yoga exercise because they bring strength and vibrancy to every part of the body including all the organs. The arms and the legs become flexible and symmetrical and thus we establish balance. On a mystical level the Sun Salutations awakens the kriya kundalini – our dormant potential life force that rest at the base of the spine. When we lift our life force up above the day to day stresses of life we open the doorway to experiencing love, creativity and spiritual enlightenment.
Do 4-5 Sun Salutations daily.
Posted on 09/04 at 07:40 AM
Friday, August 03, 2012
The Niyamas – the practice of observing
The first two Niyamas – Purity and Contentment were covered in the June and July Newsletter. This month we will look at the third Niyama or Austerity. Austerity is defined as the power to withstand hunger, thirst, heat and cold, as well as other discomforts. It is through mental, verbal and physical austerity that we release the life force to attain that which is unattainable.
In the intellectual realm there is what is called contra-currents running through our brain. One is the realm of thought and one is the realm of emotion. To best understand this – our thoughts may tell us we can do something but, our emotions may tell us we are afraid to do it. Mental or intellectual austerity means to balance these two opposing currents so the mind becomes quiet (austere). This removes the ego, attachment and conceit. When these are removed the mind is not distracted, and when the mind is not distracted we can enter into a deeper realm of balance and begin to tap into our eternal spiritual energy. It is through mental austerity that the mind is withdrawn from outward movement and brought back to inner awareness.
Posted on 08/03 at 06:03 AM