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!

 

YOLY Challenge #49: Amplify Your Awareness

For many years, the system of yoga was my “go to” method for health maintenance. After all, it is a terrific course for correcting imbalances in body, mind and spirit. Small episodes of pain and stress would come and go – there was always my practice to guide me through any discomfort.

Until this year. I experienced a rare facial nerve disorder (that I have still yet to diagnose). Although restorative yoga postures, breath work and meditation did help me to relax, the pain and other repercussions of this ailment forced me to search out a viable treatment.

So, I googled my options for healing. You could say that I went on a quest for healing.

And, along the way, I discovered acupuncture, aromatherapy and Jin Shin Jyutsu. Together with the modalities of massage and yoga, these therapies have paved the way toward my well-being.

Because my background is geared to yoga, I applied simple breathing and relaxation techniques to the acupuncture and Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions I received. At first, it merely helped me to stay calm with the uneasiness I felt in these new situations. However, as my comfort level increased, I realized that when I executed these yoga techniques within my treatments, I could awaken my body’s intelligence and amplify my level of awareness. butterfly-492536__340

After a relatively short span of time, not only did my symptoms resolve for longer and longer periods but, in the end, they nearly vanished.

Nowadays, I continue to receive massage and Jin Shin Jyutsu, utilize aromatherapy and am slowly incorporating a stronger yoga practice back into my daily routine. I feel like my body is finally in sync again, a sensation that I had been missing for nearly a year.

Each form of bodywork I experienced has taught me how important the awareness of the present moment is to overall health. I am so thankful that I was able to apply the yogic principles of relaxation and breath work to amplify each modality’s effectiveness.

In turn, I have reapplied this new heightened level of awareness back into my yoga practice. In general, I am staying even more open minded. My body feels a new alertness and there is a deeper level of harmony moving within.

I had discovered that the underlying meaning of each of these modalities is the present moment awareness. And, that, even in the midst of pain, you can lean in, stay attentive and surrender.

Your challenge this week is to locate your own method for generating increased awareness. You may wish to look into one of the modalities that I have mentioned or maybe you already have something simmering on the back burner.

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.

Best wishes!

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