Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Value Yourself

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize that there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzusay-yes-to-the-live-2121044__340

In the context of our next yama, non-stealing or asteya, this week we will value what we have. Therefore, find one attribute each day that you are thankful for and celebrate it on your mat. If you are confident in your downward dog, do a practice that salutes that posture. If you are a patient person, try holding your poses for a little longer than you normally would.  If you are good at standing up for yourself, work on those balancing postures a bit more. 
Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Value Yourself”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: What is Your Truth?

…we should progressively embrace what is real for us, so that we may find health and harmony. As you go deeper into yoga, remember that you are doing this study in order to remember yourself, to come home to all of you…  – Rolf Gates

In our practices this week, let’s focus on the second ethical quality or yama known as truthfulness. As a moral principle, truthfulness or satya, as it is called in Sanskrit, asks us to convey truth responsibly. Like the other yamas, we should consider truthfulness in thought, speech and action.

This week set a goal for yourself to be more authentic in your asana practice. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: What is Your Truth?”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Get Balance & Seek Harmony

temple-2891941__340Now that we have built our foundation for a steady yoga practice, we are ready to begin  supporting our practice so that we can keep it going. In my experience, I have found that the best way to keep a steady practice is to form balance. Balance teaches us to be moderate and achieve evenness – it keeps you upright and steady. And, in order to form balance you need to establish pillars to hold up your practice. We will begin with the yamas and the niyamas. These are the yogic branches of abstentions and observances that can stabilize your asana practice.

The first yama is ahimsa which is the Sanskrit word for non-violence. The obvious definition for non-violence is to do no physical harm onto others. However, ahimsa goes way beyond the obvious. Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Get Balance & Seek Harmony”

Stay in the Center of the Circle

rays-656583__340It feels as though everything is in a state of flux lately. For me, it started with the solar eclipse last month. I found that particular occasion to be the point when the proverbial line was drawn in the sand. Since then, I have had a perspective change in a precise direction, one which I hope will lead me to a positive transformation. 

For thousands of people, the natural disasters that have occurred over the past few weeks have drastically changed their lives; in ways unfathomable for the rest of us. Loss and devastation to property and whole communities has many people turning away from the places they once called home. 

Yoga teaches it is not what happens to us in life, but what we choose to do about it, that reveals our true nature. On the mat, we use our breath to confront any barriers so that we may flow with ease and comfort. Off the mat, the same is true. We must find coping measures to face our limitations and move onward with grace.

In these changing, and, for some, violent times, we can all persevere by connecting with our centers. Here we will find the heart to move through our challenges and the fortitude to proceed with our lives. Our centeredness will become the anchor that weathers the storms.

When complications arise, I turn to this simple quote by Lao-Tzu:

“Stay in the center of the circle and let all things take their course.”

Although we will still be in action, clearing the debris, rearranging our homes, taking care of loved ones and other inevitable duties, it is the act of acceptance, of surrendering into what “is” that allows us to know that we are exactly in the center of our circle – right where we are supposed to be. This is the place where we can locate our peace.

I would like to pass onto you a portion of Yogananda’s text Inner Peace. As you meditate on it, may it help you to find moments of comfort and clarity in these times of disruption and transformation.

Fix your mind inwardly between the eyebrows on the shoreless lake of peace. Watch the eternal circle of rippling peace around you. The more you watch intently, the more you will feel the wavelets of peace spreading from the eyebrows to the forehead, from the forehead to the heart, and on to every cell in your body. Now the waters of peace are overflowing the banks of your body and inundating the vast territory of your mind. The flood of peace flows over the boundaries of your mind and moves on in infinite directions.

May peace bring balance to your existence and vibrate out to those who would benefit.

 

What’s Really Important

amazing-736885__340During my in-depth yoga practice this month, I have re-learned one simple and most important thing – that the breath is everything.

The breath in yoga can captivate the mind. And, if you’re lucky, the breath mesmerizes the mind so that nothing else matters. Because when the dance of body and breath come together, the mind is free to be. In this beautiful, tranquil state, the mind gets to rest and enjoy the present moment.

It’s what yoga is all about – it’s what life is all about.

And, that’s it for today. Experiencing viniyoga and its purpose has been a joy for me. Thanks to all who have come before and continue to provide their expertise and wisdom.

hands-705716__340Namasté

Migrate Back to Your Spiritual Nest

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Today I am introducing what may be the most effective concentration/meditation technique that I have encountered in my training and practice. It frequently helps to remove the attachments and fluctuations from my mind so that I can focus on my breath and generate positive energy.

The technique is called Hong Sau – a name that originates from the Sanskrit word Hamsa which means Holy Gander (that migrates back to its spiritual home). Its concept is symbolic. Geese migrate or wander; yet no matter how far they fly from home, they always return. Like the gander, we strive to migrate back to our higher self or spiritual nest so that we may experience joy and contentment. Continue reading “Migrate Back to Your Spiritual Nest”

You Are the Light That Is Returning

Today is the occasion of the Winter Solstice. On this day,  I usually reflect on the meaning of the season – this period of stillness when the sun stops before it once again begins its ascent.  The origin of the word solstice comes from the Latin word for sun, “sol” and the Latin word “sistere” which means stopped or stationary.  Over the years,  translations of the Latin derivations were converted into old French and then middle English to create the one word “solstice”.

I became most connected with the meaning of the solstice with the help of one of my teachers. David Lipschutz or Swami Enoch Dasa Giri gave a wonderful dissertation on the Winter Solstice back in 2001.  I try to listen to the recording each year to remember the significance of this phase in our cycle.  This year, I transcribed it so that I could read it again and again (also, I don’t know how long my old cassette player will continue to run). Copying down the words summoned a new intensity and brilliance for the piece.  The wonder of its simplicity was fresh and motivating.  I would like to share some of my teacher’s words with you.

“You are the light that is returning. You are the sun that has returned. You are the light that grows every day; you are the gift that is to be given. Dedicate yourself afresh to finding that light with delight and being a source from which that light emanates. For there are others near you who are hungry. They have forgotten what is it that they seek. If you wish to be peaceful, give that peacefulness to others. If you want to be loved, give that love. If you want to be taught, teach.

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Love, appreciate and accept those around you – especially the ones that annoy you. They are the ones that are waiting for someone or something to reveal their beauty to them because they have forgotten the snows of yesteryear.”  –Swami Enoch Dasa Giri

Go in peace, be at peace and share that peace with those around you.