July 25, 2011
Practicing the lotus mudra can instill a sense of purity, unity, and openness. The lotus flower represents compassion, and the beauty of the soul, as it grows out of muddy swamp waters, reaching above toward sunlight. As it lengthens above the water line, the petals open to reveal its magical beauty.
In our physical sense, we practice the symbolism of the lotus blossom, remaining pure of heart so that the muck of earthly matters, do not cling to us. The yogi knows this muck as the dirt of avidya, the great mistake of identifying with ourselves with something other than our divine nature. In many cultures, it is believed that our soul is located at the heart, and practicing this mudra can open our heart chakra, allowing for a greater sense of compassion and inner peace.
We define ourselves by our names, careers, family, injuries, age, race, religion and all things that separate ourselves from one another. If we are not careful, and aware, these labels keep us submerged in the muck of duality, and we fail to see others and ourselves as being part of one whole. Yoga seeks to join, or unite all beings, no matter how they define themselves.
Bring the hands together, maintaining connection at the heels, and open the fingers, bringing the thumbs together, and matching the little fingers together as well. The fingers represent the blossoming of a lotus flower. Hold the hands at the heart, and affirm: “With a compassionate heart, I am open to receiving all that comes to me at this time.”
July 21, 2011
A fun-filled day of celebration through Yoga and love is approaching! Register now and mark your calendars!
Yoga, Reiki, Chair Massage, Raffles and More!
- When? Saturday, Sept. 10th 7:00am-5:pm
- Where? Locke Mill Plaza, 1 Buffalo Ave., Concord, NC 28205
- What? Yoga, Chair Massage, Reiki, Raffles and More
- Why? Proceeds to benefit The Junior Charity League in Concord (helps to clothe the neediest children in our area)
- How? Register for THREE Yoga classes for only $40, and all of this fun! Visit www.YogaJamNorth.com
July 18, 2011
With so many aspects of living, balance may be the most important, yet challenging goal that we strive for, from day to day. We make great efforts to create balance between work and play, family and friends, activity and rest, sound and silence, effort and surrender…the list goes on. We can acknowledge the yin and yang energies in everything we do, and within all things around us. What we may not always be cognizant of; is how we can maintain harmony in our lives by blending a little yin with our yang, and vice versa.
Summer is upon us in her full glory of active, stimulating energy. This may manifest as greater obligations, more celebrations, festivals, vacations, etc…. I invite you to join me in celebrating every day as a gift to savor the beauty, relationships, and vigor of life. (not to be taken for granted, as many are not offered this miracle)
Swirled within these summer, yang, energies; a higher level of anxiety within the body and mind may be in the mix. We are balancing energies during these hot months, by cultivating a yin practice. Oh yes…more yin postures, longer holds and resting periods, peaceful meditations, cooling breath and everything chill.
Also, mark your calendars for Sunday, August 7th, for our monthly Vinyasa Chill/Yoga Nidra evening practice at Gotta Yoga Studio 6:30-8:00pm. This is the perfect invitation to experience relaxation and cool-down at its finest.
There’s no better way to celebrate life, than to be completely present. Challenge yourself to show up for it, and discover balance this season on your yoga mat, whether in class or at home, through practicing meditation and inner-awareness. To better balance all of our active energies throughout summer, the best action to take is to slow down! Don’t miss a thing!
Qualities of YANG: Sun, Hot, Surface, Flowing, Active, Bright
Qualities of YIN: Moon, Cool, Deep, Still, Resting, Dark
July 14, 2011
It is at times in our lives where we feel truly tested, that the Universe reminds us of how important our Yoga practice is. While spending hours yesterday in the nuclear medicine department at the hospital, receiving another dose of radiation, I was pleased to walk out on my own two feet instead of having to be wheeled around on a bed like just months ago. My husband was by my side, as he has been throughout this life-changing process. It was our wedding anniversary, and even though he had to keep his distance once I was radioactive, and I felt like I should look as if I was glowing green-he still made it a point to tell me how beautiful he thought I was.
The day before, I allowed my emotions to be stirred as I learned that I was going to have a much larger dose than I was expecting. I also thought I was just having a body scan, and we were planning on going to dinner afterward to celebrate our love and pray for positive results. For the first time in the past year, I vented out loud, asking the Universe what message there was for me in this. Then I got responses, and lots of them. I was flooded and surrounded with messages from friends and family; letting me know that I was not alone, that I was loved and to know that there is a lot of healing energy and prayers being sent to me.
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, meaning to join, unity or yolk. Feeling Yoga, is feeling that you are united with all of the loving energy surrounding you, having awareness of our inherent interconnectedness, feeling the freedom of “getting out of your own way”, and ceasing the stories that your mind tells you that the situation you are in is not a good one. This message came to me, loud and clear. If any situation is judged as being good or bad, it is only because your mind has told you such. On the surface, my situation felt all-around disappointing. Then, I was reminded that I am alive because of this crazy nuclear stuff, and I have never been alone on this journey, filled to the brim…no…overflowing with love.
This teaching can be applied to every moment in your life. When you are on your mat; breathing, or in asana, if feelings of discomfort arise, Yoga teaches you to open to and to surrender to that sensation. Anytime in life, as feelings of discomfort arise, this is an opportunity to practice your Yoga. Even if you’ve never taken a Yoga class; you practice Yoga when you open to this grace and with realization that you are right where you are supposed to be, connected to every sentient, and non-sentient being. Give yourself permission to surrender to that sensation, and allow a sense of peace to penetrate your wholeness. I feel you all in my heart every day, and I hope that you feel me in yours, as we are one on this path. Thank you, for reflecting Yoga back onto me.
July 7, 2011
If you are like me, and are growing yellow squash in your garden this year and have them coming out your ears, here is a recipe that I love this season:
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 2 lbs. baby pattypan or small crookneck squash, halved or cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil
- Toast pecans in dry skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant, shaking pan often. Set aside to cool.
- Fill large pot with 1 inch water. Set steamer basket in pot, cover, and bring water to a boil. Place squash in basket. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and steam 4 to 6 minutes, or until squash is tender.
- Transfer squash to large bowl. Toss with olive oil, basil and pecans. Serve hot, or at room temperature.
July 1, 2011
We’ve had a glorious practice of celebrating “thanksgiving” in June, and setting our daily inspiration as a word that represents what we are thankful for each day. Enjoying this simple practice of gratitude doesn’t have to be temporary. I invite you each day, to continue this gratitude practice.
As we used these words to guide us through our mat practice, they had become our mantras. Within yoga, mantras are based upon sounds that reflect the energy of our divine nature. The word mantra comes from the combination of two syllables: “man,” meaning “to reflect,” and “tra,” meaning “agent of.” Chanting “OM” is also a mantra. It invites the mind to settle, draw inward and cultivates balance.
Allow your daily mantra to guide you through short meditations throughout your day. At any time that you feel tension within the body or mind, take a short break to connect with your breath. Once you feel like you and the breath are one, say your mantra to yourself with each inhalation and exhalation. For example: Inhale; “Love”, Exhale; “Love”
Let your mind come to stillness, and soak in the tranquility of your day.