Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Stoke Your Inner Fire

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“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

To stoke our inner fire this week, we are connecting with our Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra and the asanas that relate to this energy source. The solar plexus is the region that covers the mid-body and can be associated with the stomach or gut yet is literally a ganglia of nerves located behind the abdominal region at the level of the first lumbar vertebra.

The third chakra is related to our power, our intention and desires. The balanced movement of prana through this area gives us self-confidence, motivation and direction.

Find your intention by balancing your Manipura (solar plexus) Chakra with these powerful, energetic postures: Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Stoke Your Inner Fire”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Zest Things Up!

“May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” ~translation of Sanskrit Mantra Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

This week, we will continue to explore the individual poses of yoga or the asanas by addressing the second energy center that is located at the level of the pelvis. It is called the svadhisthana chakra or the pelvic chakra. It also strongly relates to the planet Pluto. A practice for this chakra will be very fluid and energizing.   Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Zest Things Up!”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Hold Your Ground

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“Just being low down in a room tends to clear the mind. Maybe it’s because being on the floor is so foreign to us that it breaks up our habitual neurological patterning and invites us to enter into this moment through a sudden opening in what we might call the body door.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

This week, we will begin to explore the individual poses of yoga or the asanas. This is the 3rd limb of the yogic system. Although it is self-evident that a steady yoga practice will involve the postures themselves, in the vast scope of yoga the asanas have a specific role to play. The intention of asana is to bring attunement (or greater awareness) to our instinctual responses. For that reason, many of the poses derive from animals who, by nature, are strongly instinctive.

The other main purpose of the asana limb is to balance the energy or prana within our bodies. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Hold Your Ground”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Do It Daily

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“In the beginning you have to make room for yoga in your daily life and give it the place it deserves. But after some time yoga itself will pull you up by the hair and make you do it.” – Vanda Scaravelli

The most important aspect of supporting a steady yoga practice is creating a daily habit at home. This is a difficult task when you lack motivation or don’t know where to begin.

So, I thought that I would take this opportunity to bring back some tried and true techniques for establishing a daily home practice: Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Do It Daily”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Bow to the Teacher Within

Om Namah Shivaya

Our final niyama, Ishvar-Pranidhana, is often defined as “centering on your Ideal.” It is a simple pledge to honor the indwelling teacher. Ishvar-Pranidhana is a practice of attunement that brings us to the apex of our study of the niyamas.

This week, make an effort to salute yourself, your teachers and all of those who have come before you. Practice chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” at the end of each meditation or asana practice.  aware-1353780__180

In Sanskrit, the meaning of the chant is:

Om– Ever present, it is the pulse of the universe and the source of our whole being.

Namah–  A word that means to bow.

Shivaya– Literally it means Shiva; but more than that, it represents the inner self.

For your reference, here is an audio link to the pronunciation of Om Namah Shivaya

When understood fully, the phrase translates to “I bow to the inner Self.’ In class, you may have heard me say, “bow to the teacher within”.

A wonderful set of words that expresses exactly how I feel as I end each and every practice. Bowing to the teacher within me is saluting all of my wisdom and where it stems from. It is how I respect my journey and honor all those who have made it possible.

My deepest gratitude!

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Expand Your Horizons

landscape-1115428__340“As a bee seeks nectar from all kinds of flowers, seek teachings everywhere. Like a deer that finds a quiet place to graze, seek seclusion to digest all that you have gathered. Like a mad one beyond all limits, go where you please and live like a lion completely free of fear.” – Dzogchen Tantra

I would like to propose that we all pledge to expand ourselves during the first week of 2018. This may sound like a great contradiction to all of the resolutions you will be hearing about today. But let me be specific, I am suggesting that you expand yourself mentally.

Broadening the horizon of your awareness requires experience and study. Svadhyaya is the sanskrit term for self-study. And, as we have learned, increased awareness brings you true happiness. This week, check out some of my recommendations for enhancing your practice and choose a prop, health aid, or reading to expand your yoga.

Please keep in mind that whatever you choose should grant you a deeper connection to Self. It should awaken you to your true nature. Only then will you be able to see things as they truly are and live in the present moment.

Check out this previous post Amplify Your Awareness – a personal story of awakening.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Light Your Fire

“The wider practice of yoga is not about arranging our life so that it is perfect and easy and non-challenging. Rather it is about using the discipline we find in asana practice to be able to remain easy in the midst of difficulty. That is the true measure of freedom…” – Judith Lasater

The Sanskrit word tapas is the third niyama on our list. Tapas is often defined as heat. Yet it’s more ancient roots explain tapas has having the ability to remove impurities. In fact, the word tapas is used to define the process of heating alloyed gold until the debris is burnt off, revealing only the purest product.

Through the practice of yoga we can also use heat to burn away the nonsense and expose our true power. sun-1106981__340This does not just apply to intensive ashtanga, hot or vinyasa yoga forms. Any type of asana, pranayama or meditation can generate tapas.

This week choose a portion of your practice where you feel you need to apply more will power.

If you can’t sustain downward dog without stressing your shoulders, approach the posture through child’s pose and gradually build on the time you remain in downward dog until you feel stronger.

Maybe you can’t relax in savasana for more than 5 minutes. Use a timer to add one minute to each practice until you relish a full 10 or even 20 minute savasana.

As you bring more self-disipline into your practice, you will realize that you have more confidence. This “I can do it” attitude leads to greater contentment. Ultimately you will find that when you persevere in your practice (and your life), you feel more balanced, purposeful and joyful. A little work will release your attachments and free up your consciousness for higher realizations.

If you are interested in learning more about the concept of tapas, click on this previous post: “Tap Into Your Strength.”

Be the Light!