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yoga moment Doctor Lynn Anderson

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Road to Wisdom

Last month we began our journey by focusing on the abstentions or the branch of yoga that calls upon us to remove negative and destructive ways of living from our life. Last month’s abstention was violence, teaching us that we should strive to practice non-violence in everything that we think, say and do. This month we move to the second abstention which is to abstain from living a life of untruth and thereby practicing truthfulness in everything that we think, say and do. Before we move to the next abstention let me share with you some of my experiences and observations as I practiced and taught non-violence through my yoga over the last month. I must say that practicing non-violence has brought me happiness this month.

Over the month I focused my energy on practicing non-violence. Every day, at least once, something would arise to challenge my ability to practice non-violence and each time I took a moment to remind myself that I was practicing non-violence and with that I would take a deep breath, let the breath go and empty my mind. Each time I was able to do that, I experienced a physical release of tension and stress, a mental quietness, an emotional stability, an inner balance and then a softening that would sunk into my soul and remind me that practicing non-violence in all that you think, say and do is best achieved when you are ready. Over the month doors have opened and I have met many wonderful and interesting people. Creativity, appreciation and humor have been present in my life. What could be better for the soul than living your life in a place of inner balance, where you begin to live your life fully as a series of moments all strung together that are simply opportunities to grow and hopefully attain wisdom, which is the ultimate aim of yoga?

Now that brings us to the next abstention which I invite to experience with me this month. Remember the breath – deep inhale and deep ex-hale and then empty the mind, get centered and balanced and then let’s begin to practice Truthfulness. This may-be one of the hardness things to understand and do. Truthfulness has two levels:

It means conducting your thoughts, words and action according to the truth. It is also as a result o
f our thoughts, words and actions being unified and harmonious. We are truthful to our selves when our thoughts, words and actions are harmonious with each other.

Harmful words should not be spoken, especially if they hurt someone. You should examine all your words before you speak and then only speak what is useful and good. Complications arise when honest words lead to hurt. Also many people find it difficult to know the difference between truth and untruth. Whatever an individual should think the guiding principles should be.

Remember this when you practice truthfulness: always intend no harm and have a true understanding of the truthfulness within your thoughts, words and deeds and how they relate to the whole of life.

There are three levels to the practice of Truthfulness. Intellectual, verbal and physical.

The truth is, simply the observation of your life and how it unfolds in relationship to all that is around you. The truth of your being manifest from your thoughts, words and deeds. If in truth you are angry then your thoughts, words and deeds will make you appear as an angry person and thus the truth of your existence becomes that of an angry person. Intellectual truthfulness begins with accepting what truth is. Truth is you. When our thoughts are thrashing about or being lazy the mind gets confused between truth and untruth. Truthfulness brings about inner balance. The practice of non-violence and Truthfulness together produce a steady mind and a steady mind keeps us centered and grounded. From here we can examine the truth of our thoughts. From the thoughts come the words and action which create our reality. So what is the truth? It is you.

Now the truth can only be spoken when you are grounded in thoughtful truth. We are taught to speak the truth however yoga teaches us first to consider the intent to harm. The truth must only be spoken with no intent to harm, and in a way that benefits others. Many people feel compelled to speak the truth with the intent to harm. There are many truths that can be spoken but if we are truly practicing truthful- ness in the words we speak, we will speak the single truth that does the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Another aspect of truthfulness is keeping one’s word. For many reasons beyond our control or due to circumstances it may be impossible to keep a promise you have made. However if you at least attempt to keep your word with the full intent of living in truth than in fact you have practiced truthfulness. So if you make a promise and the circumstances change which make it impossible to keep that promise while at the same time you fully intended to keep that promise you have lived your truth.

Some people say that truth should be spoken no matter what without consideration. But remember truth has many reflections. Remember you must search inside yourself and live from your truth fully aware that what you perceive to be the truth may in fact be false. The wisdom to discern from a place of steady mind, balanced within, cognizant of your own motives will always allow you to speak that which does no harm and brings the greatest good to the greatest many.

Truth that is understood in thoughts and words expresses itself in our actions. Truth must be unified in thoughts, words and actions. Truthful actions uplift the spirit of the individual and this uplifting releases energy that is strong, enhancing and enriching. This leads to wisdom. However in our modern day age the wisdom to discern in a world that will often use you and hurt you and still remain true to you is the key to a life that is based upon truth.

Truth is not as simple as black and white. There are many gradations and many perspectives. The path of truthfulness begins and ends within. You and you alone are your truth. Live by your truth, do no harm and think, say and do what brings the greatest good to the greatest many.

Remember many people find it difficult to distinguish between the truth and not the truth. Whatever works for each individual, you should do so by being mindful of; no intention to harm and a true understanding of your own truth and how it impacts to others.

So to sum it up, it works like this: if you are angry in thoughts and understand this about yourself you will realize that the expression of that anger in words and actions may hurt others. Being honest with you, the anger is within you, step back take a deep breath and for a moment practice non-violence. Step back into that quiet silent place and within the quietude of yourself examine your truth and again adhere to the two guiding principles:

Do no harm

Understand the true nature of truth (within you) and how your truth relates to the rest of life.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 02/01 at 01:04 PM

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year’s Resolution

I invite you to share in my New Year’s resolution; to find contentment and with contentment to experience happiness and peace of mind. The pathway of yoga will take us there. Over the next year we’ll explore the many paths of yoga beginning with the abstentions and observances.

If the pursuit of wisdom is our objective and yoga is the vehicle we use, than each stage of yoga must be examined. The abstentions and observances (two branch of yoga) cleanse the mind whereas the postures and poses cleanse the body. The two working together cleanse the entire vehicle known as the body-mind. The purpose is to cleanse the body-mind so the energy of self can connect to the higher planes with the spiritual self. Let’s begin our journey with the first of the eight stages or the abstention. The abstentions teach us to strive to abstain from injury, lying, stealing, sensuality and greed. The first abstention is the practice of non-violence. Each abstention must be practiced intellectually, verbally and physically.

Intellectual non-violence teaches us that the main source of non-violence is within our intellect. We ascertain within our minds (thoughts) harmonious and inharmonious energy. Later these thoughts manifest into words and actions. Therefore to practice non-violence we must practice in thought, speech and deed.

When we think of violence we think of hitting, hurting, and destroying. However negative thoughts against us, others or any part of the entire universe are considered violence.

When you practice non-violence it is believed that you bring about good karma in this lifetime and in succeeding lifetimes. Non-violence also brings about non-agitation of the mind so that concentration is possible. Through focused concentration we can attain peace of mind, strength of body and spiritual enlightenment. When the mind is peaceful creativity evolves and life’s goals and accomplishments become manifest.

Non-violence magically and mystically draws into your life non-violent people and events. Your interaction with others becomes filled with happiness and pleasure and there is an effortless exchange of human consciousness.

When you realize that life is really about spiritual evolution, your intellect or thoughts are not disturbed even when you become hurt or insulted. You remain calm and the mind is still. A non scattered mind is at peace. It is focused and this focus brings about success.

What would happen if we practiced non- violent thoughts and applied this energy to our everyday lives? What would the mind hold in its thoughts? Perhaps it would think thoughts of empathy and compassion and see the world not as a fearful and violent place but as an experience that is meant to be lived and appreciated every step of the way.

How do we master intellectual non-violence? As the thoughts arise and they will, take deep breaths and step back for a moment and examine the nature of the thought. You and you alone have the power to give it energy or not. It is not about replacing the thought with a positive thought but rather to exam the effect it has on the body-mind and through the practice of yoga choose to transcend and release. Just as you feel the power and effect of taking a deep breath and releasing the breath so goes the practice of intellectual non-violence.

We all experience thoughts of anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, jealousy, revenge or any other negative emotion. When we feel the thought push into our head if we stop for a moment we can also feel the potential for that thought to move through our body and effect our perceptions, words and actions in life. Negative thoughts are mostly destructive to the self. When they arise (and they surely will) the practice of non-violence simply identifies the thought as destructive and then consciously removes the thought before it can manifest in words and deeds. But what do you do when someone hurts you and you have thoughts of revenge or hatred? Practice yoga. It is the path of least resistance. Once you stop to identify the thought or emotion, you give yourself a chance to neutralize and find a sense of balance. From there you can objectively assess the situation and make the best choice; being that which produces the greatest good and brings a sense of peace to the body, mind and soul. This will bring health, happiness and peace into your life.

As thoughts arise they have the potential to become verbal and so we must also work to practice non-violence in the words we use to communicate. Violent words manifest into violent actions. We must first train our minds to retreat from violence. Without violent thoughts, violent words and actions cease to exist. Practice non-violence for one month. When thoughts arise; stop, identify and remove. You will then be on the pathway to practicing yoga and find peace in all that you think, say and do.

Happy New Year
Doctor Lynn
Posted on 01/04 at 07:54 AM

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Wisdom - Ever felt like you failed at something in your life? Wisdom teaches us that most of life is unpredictable and uncontrollable. However there is one thing we can control and that is our attitudes. Success is not found in the accumulation of wealth but in our ability to see both sides of any situation and find the middle spot called balance.

If there is a purpose to yoga it is the attainment of wisdom. There are eight essential stages to the practice of yoga. Contrary to what some believe yoga is not about self denial but rather about removing negative emotions and physical and spiritual imbalances. Yoga teaches us to seek balance in all things and in all things find balance or in other words to seek moderation in all things.

The eight stages of yoga are; abstentions, observances, postures, life-force control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and contemplation. The first four stages work together to cleanse the body-mind so that the life force can flow through activating greater consciousness and self conscious awareness as well as greater balance. The fourth stage; life-force is known as prana or cosmic energy. It is the breath and the nature of existence. When realized it brings the nature of our life into mental and physical balance and harmony, and with that comes happiness, bliss, ecstasy, joy and wisdom.

As we gain control over our life-force we learn to balance and neutralize the restless mind. This produces a calm, serene and harmonious being. We realize that every day experiences are just vague and blurred states of consciousness.

When we look at nature we find that everything in nature just like our breath has a rhythm. This points out to us that both in yoga and in life all stages, all moments must be worked at rhythmically and harmoniously not only within themselves but also in relationship to each other.

Success and failure are but measurement of how we embrace each moment of our life and balanced it out against the next moment. Success in the end is simply measured by the love you have given and receive and the wisdom you have obtained.

Through Kriya Yoga we are taught that the person who knows a drop of water knows all water no matter where or when it is found. This basically means that there are two opposing forces in the universe: matter and sprit. When these two forces come together we realize that life is not an illusion; the world is real and eternal. The world is here so we might have real experiences through which to gain real knowledge and this real knowledge leads to wisdom. Yogis would say that truth is not something that we can simply intellectualize. Truth must be lived and thus experienced.

This brings us to the eight paths of yoga of which the postures or asana are but one path. Over the next few months we will explore the paths of the abstentions and the Observances in an attempt to find wisdom, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. It is through an understanding of the nature of things and wisdom that we discover the secrets of a successful life. For in the end all we take with us is the love we have given and received and the wisdom we have gained.

Next month we will look at the abstentions beginning with non-violence.

Doctor Lynn
Posted on 12/01 at 05:37 AM

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Living in a World of Stress

A wise person once said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember in the scheme of things it’s all small stuff!” Easy to say but much more difficult to live by. Stress affects all of us and has devastating effects on our health. If it isn’t bad enough that the economy is down and we’re all struggling financially the flu season with threats of the swine flu is now upon us. Stress wears down the immune system and when the immune system is down we are all subjected to illness and disease.

Stress is multi-dimensional and it includes the physical, emotional, environmental and spiritual realms of our lives. It is a combination of anxiety (fear about the present or future) and depression which is sadness about a loss either actual or perceived. Yet to our bodies the source of the stress is irrelevant. Our bodies just know how they feel when stressed and can’t distinguish between economic stress, environmental stress and any other forms of stress. And although scientist can’t agree on a definitive definition of stress they can agree that 80 to 90 percent of illnesses are related to stress and nearly 100 million Americans suffer from stress related illness.

With medical cost climbing and medical insurance becoming a major issue there still are three things we can do that are low cost and effective in dealing with stress. The first is exercise which is probably the cheapest form of natural medicine. Exercise increases the body’s ability to mobilize energy and deal with the effects of stress. It also reduces anxiety, blood pressure and relieves depression.

The second most important thing we can do to combat the effects of stress is to eat a healthy diet. Green leafy vegetables, fruits and other vegetables as well as green tea have all been shown to boost the immune system.

And don’t forget mind-body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, breathing and meditation. Relaxing and resting is the body’s way of rebuilding and rejuvenating. Take time each day to relax and let go. (See the five minute meditation download in our products section).

Keep a focus, stay positive and be good to yourself. Your health is the most precious gift you have in life. As long as you are healthy anything and everything is possible. Protect your health in body and mind, and your spirit will see you through all the turbulent times of your life with a sense of wisdom that teaches us to surrender and embrace all of life, for in the end all that matters is that you lived life to its fullest in health, happiness and peace.

Doctor Lynn
PS Next month we’ll discuss the ten most important things you can do to protect yourself during the flu season.
Posted on 11/01 at 01:11 PM

The Path to Wisdom

The path to enlightenment is simply the accumulation of wisdom. We spend so much of our lives accumulating “stuff” that becomes meaningless in the end. However as we transcend through life a home, transportation, education, food, clothes and several luxuries make life an easier path.  It is so easy to talk about being altruistic when you are warm and secure and quite another thing to feel generous when times are tough.  But one thing I have learned along my path is that a conversation, a hug, listening and reassurance are generous gifts we can all share with each other. In my own experience it is the moments when a student shares sadness, a joy, a birth, a death or any of life’s experiences with me that I feel the most satisfied and gratified in life. The shoes, the jewelry, the clothes come and go but the touching of souls in a heartfelt way is everlasting.

Doctor Lynn

Posted on 11/01 at 12:22 AM

Monday, July 06, 2009

Have Wisdom in Your Actions and Faith in Your Merits

Simply put; as you perform the actions of your humanly existence it would be wise to consciously examine the consequences because every action creates a reaction. It is the basic law of karma.  Your merits are your achievements which define your character. If your merits are virtuous then have faith that in your actions you have done that which ultimately will bring the greatest good. This of course brings us back to the examination of wisdom…the ability to transcend the ego.

In yoga there is a mudra or hand gesture that symbolizes wisdom. The hands are placed in the lap with the palms facing up. The index finger is bent inward and the thumb is placed on top of the index finger. This symbolizes the spirit (thumb) on top of the physical (index finger). It is the ability to let the ego step aside and let the natural harmony of life begin. When we act from the spiritual place we consciously, through experience manifest wisdom into our physical world. Our actions then define our character. 

Yoga teaches us that when we leave this physical world we only take with us the wisdom we have gained and the love we have given and received. This wisdom-love bestows upon us the ability to manifest our spiritual essence. Love and wisdom endure long beyond the physical world.

The beginning point of yoga is quiet different from psychology or psychiatry in that it’s goal is to bring about a realization of the answer to this question;
“Traveler, what do you seek here…since this world is not your final resting place?”

If you seek wisdom (experience and knowledge) as well as to give and receive love then your actions are performed from a place of wisdom and your merits (character) are not based upon material gains but on faith that can come only from the essence of your soul.

Traveler…travel with me over the next year as together we seek out the answer to the question…what are we here for? Each month in my newsletter travel with me on this journey of wisdom and merits.

Doctor Lynn

If you are a member you can log in to read my book, It All Began at the Chase Hotel… where we’ll seek the answer to the question…what is it a woman desires most?

Posted on 07/06 at 06:00 PM

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