March 25, 2010
So, one way that I replenish my personal energy is by feeding my brain. I love to read. I love to read both fiction and non-fiction, but it is the non-fiction that seems to have the most nourishment for me.
My personal library of books on health and Yoga has expanded to the need of additional bookcases to hold them all. I frequently reference them, and the fuel for not only the mind, but the soul as well always feels fantastic.
I am currently reading perhaps one of the best Yoga books I have come across in some time. We know that Yoga is so much more than physical postures, or asanas. Even when simply looking at the eight limbs, the first two, Yamas and Niyamas (moral observances and restraints) are crucial to having a wholesome practice of Yoga.
Yoga for a World out of Balance, by Michael Stone is a refreshing book dealing with the Yamas (described in the Yoga-Sutra), and how interconnected we are to every single aspect of the world around us. Let’s face it, we are out of balance. As Michael states, “It is difficult to be present from moment to moment in this attention-deficit society.”
He explains how social action in our world is actually the path to maintaining balance in our lives through our Yoga practice. He shares an inspiring message that Yoga belongs in our world, and the world belongs in our Yoga. It is also so refreshing that finally, someone is addressing how to maintain the blissful feeling of Yoga into the fast-paced world around us. Giving my two thumbs up for this one, and thank you!
March 23, 2010
Yoga teaches us to listen more attentively to the needs of our bodies. We surely acknowledge that we have one body throughout this lifetime to take care of and to honor, but how often do we protect our body when it comes to the food that we feed it? The food we eat has a direct impact on our physical health and our emotional life.
Sometimes even when we maintain a generally healthy diet, we can hurt ourselves in other ways. For instance, when we feel tired we reach for caffeine or sugar to “pick up” our mood. But these substances often create “crashes” that leave us feeling worse than we did to begin with. Perhaps when we feel distressed, we reach for a “comfort food”, like chips, a pastry or other sweet temptation. When our bodies try extra-hard to digest these, we end up in more discomfort than we were in beforehand.
When choosing what foods to eat, a healthy diet are simply matters of education and listening to what foods best serve your body’s needs. Sure, we know that choosing baked or grilled foods over a fried-food meal is a better option and we are reminded of this when we choose the latter and our body speaks to us shortly afterward. We may moan in discomfort, and hope for time to go by faster so our bodies have time to digest what we have fed it.
Why not listen to your body BEFORE making food choices? Try to remember the last time you chose to eat a certain something and how your body felt afterward. Was it rewarding? Was it nourishing? Did it leave a sense of guilt, or physical discomfort? Your body can tell you what it likes and needs and what it doesn’t, but your listening senses need to be open.
When we think of our bodies as our magnificent temple that we have to protect our energy throughout this lifetime, having this mindset can help us make better choices when it comes to what foods we choose to eat.
As quoted from B.K.S. Iyengar,
The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.
Once again, yoga can also help. The next time you need a physical or mood pick-me-up, don’t automatically reach for a dietary crutch. Instead, try a natural stimulant, like a quick walk in the sunshine, some deep breaths of fresh air, or your favorite yoga pose. It’s amazing how powerful just a couple of Sun Salutations can revive the body, mind and spirit. Your favorite breath technique (pranayama) can also help oxygenate, and wake up your body and mind.
March 10, 2010
Clear, smooth, & graceful meditation is the ultimate direction for our Yoga practice. Yoga is not the asanas, or physical postures. Yoga is the blissful feeling we get when we are aware of the stillness and lack of movement of our thoughts. We simply use the asanas as a forceful way to give us freedom of thought. This is quite effective and respectable, however we cannot leave out meditation from our practice, or we will always rely on the physical postures to find peace of mind. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have this peace of mind regardless of where we are, or what we are doing? Our meditation practice helps us control the mind in a way that we can be at a place of total inner peace at all times.
Don’t be afraid to meet and greet resistance in meditation. Make the commitment to sit and meditate regularly. A willingness to stay present with the resistance that surfaces during mediation will help you cope with those complex emotions that continually arise in daily life.
While meditating, the mind starts to open; there’s an expansion of awareness. Allow yourself to melt into that spaciousness. Sit slightly longer and greet the resistance that often stems from fear—fear of your emotions, fear of the unknown, and, lastly, fear of your own essence, your own grandeur.
Listen to your resistance—it almost always has something useful to tell you. Often resistance masks fear, an unwillingness to move deeper or to engage a block, a reluctance to explore an unexamined belief. Experiment with staying inside the meditation posture until you feel shifts—then try staying a little longer and feel the new level that has opened up.
Mindfulness is a meditation path that teaches us how to be completely present in this moment. We learn to let go of thoughts from the past, and future. We become an observer, a complete beginner at noticing this current moment. Then letting go of judgment about this moment, we open ourselves up to spaciousness and clarity.
Experience mindfulness practices this Saturday, at Balance Wellness Center for my Mindfulness Meditation Workshop. Learn ways to be still in your mind, and take that stillness with you wherever you are. Details below. See you there!
“Make Room for Quiet Time, for The Divine Whispers, and The World is Loud.”
March 8, 2010
You do not want to miss this Spring Workshop! Open your mind to a delightful new way of seeing and listening to your SELF. Only a few days left to get the pre-registration discount!
THIS SATURDAY, March 13th:
Mindfulness Meditation Workshop at Balance Wellness Center in Concord
This glorious 2-hour workshop infuses the feeling of refreshment, openness, and bliss! It includes:
– A slow-flow, mindful asana practice
– Breathing techniques to bring calmness and centering
– Formal sitting meditation
– Walking meditation
– Exploration of the senses through body movement practicing mindfulness techniques
Bring yourself, a water bottle, and an open mind. Call Balance Wellness Center to register and save $5. Only $25 if pre-registered, or $30 on day of event. 704-721-5976
See you there, and Namaste.
March 1, 2010
Getting ready for a good nights sleep, your body may ask you for Yoga stretches, calming breathing, and something for warmth such as tea, and/or a warm blanket. If insomnia is a problem, don’t overlook the decor of your bedroom. Ideally, your bedroom should be restful and energy should flow freely. Banish all paperwork and the television to other rooms, keeping clutter to a minimum. Invite soft colors, warm candle-lighting and soft textures for the bed.
Furniture, plants, and other objects should never loom or hang over the bed; they can threaten your subconscious mind. My acupuncturist has also recommended to remove electronics, as even a ceiling fan can interrupt the positive flow of energy in the space. Plants should also be alive and green, not dry (suggesting death or morbidity) or spiky (threatening).
As for the bed, place it so your head is either facing north or east—experts disagree on which is best—in a spot where you will not be startled if a family member enters. And don’t let junk accumulate under the bed. It can disturb the flow of chi (energy) and affect your sleep.
Follow these tips, and welcome sweet dreams!
Adapted from Yoga Daily Insights.