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A Road to Self Care

  "Self care is not about self-indulgence, but about self-preservation." ~Audrey Lorde   Yoga means to bring together, balance, join, connect. We can also understand this joining on levels of the individual with the collective, the outer experience with the inner one, the mundane with the mystical. Aside from our yoga practice, in what ways do we care for ourselves in maintaining health, harmony and balance?   When we focus our awareness to our actions, activities and outer/inner environment, we gain a greater sense and perspective of ourselves.   Our Actions and Activities What actions and activities maintain health, well-being and balance? What is the influence of our actions and activities? Once we have an awareness of our actions and their influence (whether positive or negative), we are then able to change negative influences to positive ones.   The Influence of Others Do we allow other people have an influence on our health and well-being? Once we have a greater understanding of the influence of others, we can [...]

By | 2013-09-09T19:49:49+00:00 September 9th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Patience and Impatience

  "Patience is having respect for the present moment." ~ Rob Burbea, guiding teacher of Buddhist meditation   What is our capacity to accept or tolerate difficulties, delays and troubles without getting upset, angry or annoyed? Are we quickly irritated, provoked or feel a restless eagerness? Our acceptance or non-acceptance is the experience of patience or impatience.     As we endeavor to cultivate patience, we can use the four week awareness practices below to deepen our understanding of ourselves.     Week One: Noticing Impatience Can we notice when feelings and thoughts of impatience arise and why? When there is impatience, are we blaming a person, an object or the situation? What is impatience when we go deeper into it? When experiencing impatience, shine the light of attention to it. What about that moment is so terrible? And, is there a beauty, a lesson or a gem of wisdom in that moment? In this way, impatience can then become a time of possibility rather than a time [...]

By | 2013-07-02T13:13:14+00:00 July 2nd, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Change

Accepting Change... "The only constant is change." ~ Heraclitus Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, is known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe. So, with the only constant in life being change, we can ask ourselves: How accepting are we of change?   In yoga, we learn tools and techniques to make difficult change easier to manage. With change being ever-present, how can be begin our process to not only open up to change, but to also accept it?   Types of Change When we consider change, we can break it down into two types: External change - something new that comes into our life Internal change - something new that comes from within us. External changes may be more obvious, but can we notice those more subtle, internal changes? As we continue to recognize external and internal change, we gain insight as to how we react or respond to these two types of change.   Our Emotions and Change When change occurs, what emotions arise? What [...]

By | 2013-06-07T16:15:36+00:00 June 7th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Seva

The Yoga of Helping Others "Yoga must be unified, freed of separate ideals, power struggles and narrow concepts of spiritual attainment. Attitudes must change, barriers must come down, so that a new Yoga can emerge. This will be the Yoga of Unity, of giving, sharing and uplifting, as one team. As organs and parts of one body, we must work together in one connected and concerted effort to serve humanity, to share our knowledge, our gifts, our capacities, our labor, for the common good, for a better world." ~ Swami Satyananda Saraswati   Seva is a yogic practice of giving selflessly, unconditionally and with compassion. The intention is to help and fulfill the needs humanity. It is the most effective method and sadhana (yoga practice) for cleansing the mind and purifying the heart. Negative qualities constrict the heart and limit the mind, separating us from others. Selfless service opens the mind and expands the heart. In seva, we endeavor to harmonize the connection between head, heart and hands [...]

By | 2013-05-08T17:56:17+00:00 May 8th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mindful Moments

Ways we can be more mindful in daily life... Part Two: "My path is the path of stopping, the path of enjoying the present moment. It is a path where every step brings me back to my true home." ~ Tich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk     When we can be completely aware of what we are experiencing in the present moment, we are being mindful. Our practice is to recognize when we are on auto-pilot and pay attention to this moment. Our mindfulness practice continues...   4. Being Mindful of our Thoughts How often are we caught up in thought that we miss what is happening in the moment? How often do we not even realize we've been caught up in thought? One of the ways we endeavor to mindful in daily life is to be the watchful observer and activity of the mind. When is there more noise in the mind? When is there silence? When is there clutter? When is there clarity? When [...]

By | 2013-04-07T00:36:33+00:00 April 4th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Mindful Moments

Ways we can be more mindful in daily life... Part One: "Mindfulness isn't difficult, we just need to remember to do it." ~ Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation   Mindfulness is the capability to be aware of what we are experiencing in the present moment. How often are we paying attention to this moment in daily life? How often are we on auto-pilot? Mindfulness is a way we can be in touch with our experience in the present moment and appreciate the wonder and beauty in life. With continued practice, mindfulness can lead to being less judgmental of ourselves and others. When we are able to notice things as they are right now, we may find ourselves taking less things in life for granted. Mindfulness practices can be helpful in dealing with the stresses of life more effectively. When we can acknowledge and accept the present moment as it is, we are one step closer to reducing mental turmoil.   Here are a few practices [...]

By | 2013-04-07T00:37:08+00:00 April 4th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Cultivating Compassion

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." ~ His Holiness, the 14th Dali Lama     1. Compassion for Self Our practice of compassion begins in wishing lovingkindness (metta meditation) for ourselves. Take a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focus to the to heart space (hridayakasha) and mentally repeat: "May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful." In this way, we learn and experience to be compassionate with ourselves, resulting in less inner turmoil and more self acceptance. 2. Compassion for a Loved One What we wish for ourselves, can we wish for others? Bring to mind someone you have a fondness for, maybe a friend or a loved one and mentally repeat: "May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be peaceful." In this way, we cultivate compassion not as an insistence, but as an articulation of the heart. 3. Compassion [...]

By | 2015-05-04T21:59:47+00:00 February 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Silence, Right Speech and Right Listening

In December 2012, our daily yoga practice was focused on making time for silence, being mindful of what we speak and offering complete attention to others. Mouna (silence) is a fast for the mind. Many of us have a heavy diet of sensory overload, constant conversation and continual interaction. This over-stimulation causes mental indigestion which can result in ill health, insomnia, excess stress, worry and energy depletion. When we practice mouna, we offer ourselves the opportunity to unload the heavy baggage of the mind. Energy typically used in excessive talking and interacting is instead, directed inward. When we consciously choose to disengage the senses and can sit be in silence, we naturally reduce stress, have more energy and experience inner peace. Practicing mouna for just 30 minutes each day can be of great benefit. For that time, resist the urge to talk on the phone, watch tv, listen to the radio, work on the computer or any activity that engages the senses. Tune the mind in and try [...]

By | 2013-02-15T12:54:35+00:00 January 3rd, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Trigunas (The Three Gunas)

Qualities around us, Qualities in us   Tri: Three Gunas: qualities, energies, states of mind     An understanding of the trigunas, the three qualities in nature, helps us to better understand ourselves and the world around us. 1. Tamas (तमस्) inertia, stillness, resistance to action Tamas manifests in positive and negative ways. In the positive form, tamas is strength and stability. In the negative form, tamas is and dullness, inactivity, laziness. Can we notice tamas in the world around us and within us? Where, when and how do we experience tamas?   2. Rajas (रजस्) action, change, movement Rajas is the Guna, or quality of activity, dynamism and the impetus to change, to do, to create. In the positive form, rajas is energy, positive action, enthusiasm and enterprise. In the negative form, rajas is domineering, negative action, loud and destructive. When rajas is in balance, we make progress, achieve great results and feel in flow with life. When rajas is out of balance, we lack focus, become [...]

By | 2013-02-15T12:54:58+00:00 December 4th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Yoga of Awareness

Self Evolution   In September, 2012, we continued our Yoga of Awareness practice and explored our own process of self evolution. How have we changed? In what ways have we remained the same? Our yoga practice doesn’t conclude with class, but continues as we aspire to live a yogic life.   1. Self Evolution: Physical Well-Being How has our physical well being changed in recent days, weeks, months and years? What choices do we make in daily life that has a positive or negative effect on our physical health and well being? As we reflect on what we do that nourishes or depletes our physical well being, we can take action to incorporate more positive changes into our everyday life. 2. Self Evolution: Our Actions What positive or negative action have we taken in recent days and weeks? Is how we act, react and respond today any different than actions we have taken 1 year ago? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? If any actions are different than [...]

By | 2013-02-15T12:55:17+00:00 October 2nd, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments