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!

Daily Yoga Practice Week #4

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It’s amazing how just 6-8 minutes of breathing/meditating per day can change your entire system.

This week, I reviewed my average resting heart rate (this is why I purchased and wear a Fit Bit). It was no surprise that I found it to be significantly lower over these past two weeks. I am pretty certain that this can be attributed to my daily breathing/meditation routine and the fact that I am drinking more water. Taking in 6-8 glasses of water each day has been a difficult challenge. I have never been a big water drinker. But, the endeavor has had such dramatic and immediate effects on my overall health that I am sticking with it. My skin is less dry, I am digesting foods more easily and my mental state has been especially peaceful.

So now, I’m on to the final week of my July Challenge. This week’s plan will be similar to last week’s with the addition of a technique I am calling, “Enjoy the Stillness”.

Week #4’s Breathing & Meditation Practice:

1.) Centering (Sacred Space, Invocation & Resurrection Breath).

I’ll be focusing on the niyama santosha (or contentment).

2.) Sipping Breath (we covered this on week #1).

3.) EEEE Mantra (we covered this on week #2).

4.) Neti Neti Neti (introduced last week).

5.) Enjoy the Stillness – merely remain in the moment and see what surfaces.

Starting this week, I will also be adding an evening ritual called tarka.

What’s tarka, you ask?

Tarka is the practice of self-reflection. It’s to be done at the end of each day.

Before sleeping, preform the resurrection breath (see above) and sit/lie quietly with your eyes closed. Take a few moments to review what has been meaningful, unusual, or challenging in your day. In general, consider what you have learned about yourself.

Tip:  Formalize your tarka practice by setting up a spiritual journal. Record your observations each week – Sundays are good reflection days for me. Practicing with ahimsa and satya, be honest with yourself. What have been your greatest challenges and how have you handled them? 

Have a blessed week!

 

The Truth is – You’re Not Who You Think You Are

Throughout our lives we are subjected to impressions of who we think we should be. We absorb these distorted beliefs and allow them to influence us. A lot of times we even define ourselves by them. Why do we do this?

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Because our minds are quick. They receive stimuli and respond immediately. When we instantly react to situations, we are functioning on a purely emotional level. Usually these responses come from a place of fear or conditioning – from sources that are generated outside ourselves. In order to recognize the truth of who we are, we need to provide time and space for inner reflection.

So, when a feeling rushes in, take a moment to observe what has come into your mind. Is this thought really accurate? Is it who you are? This is the first step toward connecting with your authentic spirit.

To gain space for true perception, you’ll need to release those random thought patterns. The ones that spring out of emotion-based thinking. A simple way to remove “mind banter” is to use the technique called Neti, Neti, Neti.

Sit quietly and focus on the space between your eyebrows. Attempt to clear your mind. This will be a challenge as thoughts will definitely arise. When they do, silently chant the words: Neti, Neti Neti.

The first Neti means “I am not this thought”, the second Neti signifies, “I am not this thought that is thinking I am not this thought” and the last Neti points out that, “I am not thought at all.”

Practicing the method on a regular basis will give your mind the opportunity to empty. Clear space will then enable new thoughts to arise, thoughts that give way to the true You that is within.

If you’d like to begin building a steady meditation practice, join me on my July Challenge.

Namasté!