December 31, 2011
Here we are, experiencing the delight of longer days, more sun, warmth and an abundance of light pouring in our lives! A new year is upon us, filled with opportunity, beginnings, freshness, and renewal.
During the end of a cycle, a year, or event, we have a tendency to reflect upon our past. We allow ourselves to release old habits, old thought patterns, stuck energy within our bodies and minds. Upon a new year, we may set goals, resolutions, and shine our light toward a bright future. We see this as an opportunity to start our lives anew.
Please keep in mind; how we choose to live in this current moment is how we are living our lives. So honor your resolutions, open to new opportunity, invite a sense of renewal right now, in this moment. You can best take care of the future, by taking care of the now.
Greet the sun with a smile each morning upon awakening. Feel the knowledge that you are blessed with another day. Set a daily intention. Remind yourself of this intention throughout the day, no matter where you may be. Honor your current physical, mental, and emotional state by checking in with all of them. Ask yourself how you would like to feel today, and commit practices that help guide you there a part of your daily life. Today is now. Live fully today. Truly, this very moment is all we really know for sure. How do you want to feel? How will you cultivate this feeling?
January is a big month, with lots of opportunity for Yoga, study, practice and insight. Check the website for offerings, and I look forward to seeing you all in class very soon! The monthly Vinyasa Chill/Yoga Nidra practice at Gotta Yoga is tomorrow, New Years Day 6:30-8:00pm. Happy New Year!
Breathing in light, breathing out radiance.
December 14, 2011
When we first begin a formal meditation practice, we may quickly become aware of the countless ways our mind chatter takes us over. Maybe we ask ourselves; who knew that I had this many thoughts in just a few moments? Distractions may enter our awareness as random thoughts, or self-questions. For example; “Am I doing this right? Did I turn the oven off before I came here? This incense smells nice. Don’t forget to send those cards after class.”
Sometimes distractions are a result from a real-occurring incident during this meditation time. Maybe someone outside the room made a loud banging sound with a door. Maybe someone next to us has fallen asleep, and is snoring out loud while we are trying to maintain a state of inner peace. Notice how the distraction is not the actual event that is happening, but rather that your mind has decided that it is one. By changing our perception of what we observe, what was once thought of as a distraction can be now regarded as simply, an observation that we’ve made. With practice, we learn to acknowledge these observations briefly, and then return to the focus of our own breath flowing throughout and nurturing our bodies.
Treat yourself with forgiveness each and every time the mind wanders. This is the practice. Distractions are not external events, but rather pointing us in a direction to look within ourselves. What we may find here, is an opportunity to release judgment, and to let go of what we are observing externally and practice being aware of our own body, mind and spirit sensations. We can choose to greet these sensations with acceptance, and gratitude.
This is also how we can deepen our Yoga practice, by looking deeper within ourselves. As T. K. V. Desikachar states; “If we do not pay attention to ourselves in our practice, than we cannot call it Yoga.”
Meditation is a limb of Yoga, and can be a tool for shining a light upon who we are, beneath all of the external layers of the self. If we only meditate, we are not necessarily practicing Yoga. But if we have a Yoga practice, then meditation is a necessary aspect. What a fabulous gift; to allow ourselves to be fully present with our own sensations, without judgment of ourselves or others. Experiencing stillness of the mind chatter, and being aware of the full, nourishing breath will show us inner peace.
December 10, 2011
This warming Dal recipe is packed with fiber, protein, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Enjoy!
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
minced red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup red lentils
1 sweet potato, skinned and diced
4 cups spinach
salt & pepper to taste
Saute onion and garlic with a little water for one minute. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until water is gone. Stir in turmeric and garam masala. Add broth and uncooked, rinsed lentils and bring to boil. Cover, reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, bring to boil then reduce back to low and simmer for 5 minutes more. Sweet potatoes should be fork-tender, and lentils fully cooked. Stir in spinach and salt & pepper right before finished cooking.
December 6, 2011
During the busyness of this season, it is imperative that we practice ways to remain calm, connected to our physical bodies, and centered in our subtle (energetic) body. Sama Vritta Pranayama could be part of this practice.
We know that Pranayama means “breath control”, and this is a way of regulating the breath voluntarily. Sama; translates to “same”, and Vritti; “to move”. Sama Vritta Pranayama is simply balancing the inhalation and the exhalation. Allow yourself the time and space to observe the breath throughout your body as your life-force energy. Be aware of it’s nourishing quality.
Discover balance within the breath by counting to yourself slowly on both the inhalation and the exhalation, making both counts equal, or the same. Be aware of every single moment within the inhalation. Be aware of every single moment within the exhalation.
This practice helps to calm the mind, and balances also our Prana (life-force). When our breath and subtle energy is balanced within the body, then our thoughts become centered and clear, as opposed to being scattered and chaotic. This is Yoga.
December 1, 2011
Our crown chakra, or energy center located at the crown of the head, is the main coordinating center of the body. This is our mind/body coordination, and our sense of interconnectedness with one another, as well as with our primal Source, or Universe. The crown chakra relates to consciousness as pure awareness, and brings us knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
The brain and pituitary gland are important areas in the body where this energy may be balanced, or imbalanced. The best way to invite balance and harmony to the Sahasrara Chakra is through the practice of meditation. With the crown Chakra cleared of stresses, a sense of lightness, clarity and belonging flows through the whole chakra system.
Open yourself to the power of silence. Allow yourself space to be fully aware in your body, thoughts and feelings. The essence of your being is light and peaceful. Invite and feel the infinite power of the Universe within you.