Category Archives: Peace
I’ll be honest: I’m exhausted. All the hate, turmoil, and fear gets me all riled up and agitated. I want to be loving, open, a kind always but it’s hard to do at times. To help me feel more healed and focused this week, I’m going to use one of the mantras we have learned in my teacher training. It’s simple and is lovely.
Ra Ma Da Sa
Sa Say So Hung
Meant to be sung for 10 minutes or more, it is a healing mantra for yourself, anyone who needs it, or the world. It all depends on who you hold in your heart while repeating it or listening.
In peace and light,
Just expanding a bit on last week’s post. Hope you enjoy and find a little inspiration.
- “Sometimes you’re in the right place looking at things in the wrong way.” – Abraham Hicks
- “You’re never too old for anything.” – Betty White
- “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.” – Buddha
- “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha
- “My religion is kindness.” – The Dalai Lama
- “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks. – John Muir
- “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu
- “The old law about an ‘eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “Do not let yesterday use up too much of today.” – Will Rogers
In peace & light,
Viparita Karani Mudra, or legs up the wall pose, is a deeply restorative asana meant to be held for long periods of time (5 to 20 minutes).
Inverting the body is beneficial to the body’s physical systems – aiding the circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems, and allowing deep relaxation of the muscles in the legs. It is also beneficial for the nervous system – allowing the mind to relax deeply.
Even when the body is in a shape meant to be relaxing, the mind sometimes resists and struggles to remain active. If you find it hard to quiet the mind in this (or really any) asana, here are some tips to try:
- If you’re feeling spacey or scattered, allow yourself to focus on the points where the body is making contact with the floor. Allow yourself to feel grounded and fully supported by the floor below you. Anytime the mind wanders, come back to this feeling of grounding.
- If you’re feeling agitated, angry, or unhappy, focus on the flow of the breath. Imagine breathing in through the soles of the feet into the heart center and out in the opposite direction. Allow the breath to flow over you like a waterfall, washing away any tension.
- If you’re feeling stuck or your mind keeps revisiting past events, focus on opening the heart center with each breath. The heart is the seat of balance, wisdom, and peace. Allow yourself to return to the peaceful present by coming back to the heart anytime the mind gets caught up in thoughts.
Enjoy a little rejuvenation whenever you can!
In peace and light,
I don’t always use quotes in my classes but sometimes my sequences and class themes are informed by different inspirational quotes. Here are a few of my favorites.
- “Upon waking, let you first thought be, ‘Thank you’.” – Abraham Hicks
- “If you seek peace, be still. If you seek wisdom, be silent. If you seek love, be yourself.” – Becca Lee
- “Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life.” B.K.S. Iyengar
- “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha
- “Live with a peaceful heart; cultivate a warrior’s spirit.” – Dan Millman
- “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “A long deep breath is the equivalent of a full stop and the key to centering.” – Eric Maisel
- “Life is a gift, not to possess, but to share.” – Henri Nouwen
- “I am grateful for all that I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu
- “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey
- “By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward happiness, compassion toward suffering, delight toward virtue, and equanimity toward vice, thoughts become purified, and the obstacles to self-knowledge are lessened.” – Patanjali
Ever notice what happens to the breath when we get scared? Anxious? Angry? We usually either hold the breath or breathe in rapid, short bursts. And what happens to the body as a result? It gets increasingly tense. The sympathetic nervous system – the home of our “fight or flight response” – is triggered and our stress levels soar, which triggers more irregular breath.
We may think of these responses as involuntary, but we can consciously train ourselves to stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system – the part of the nervous system that allows us to rest and relax. Slow, deep breaths are the key. Whenever you feel your breath changing in reaction to a stressful or scary situation, remind yourself to pause and take a deep breath in and out. Do it as often as you need to help defuse the situation. You may not be able to control what’s happening, but you can learn to train yourself how to react to adverse situations.
This week’s classes will focus on the theme of the peaceful heart. The peak pose in each class will be a variation of pigeon pose (or swan pose in Yin classes). A deep hip opener, the pose is one that students seem to love or hate. No matter what feeling it evokes, the true goal of the pose is to find the balance between effort and ease. When we find that balance, we uncover peace in the physical body.
We can find that same sense of peace in the subtle body by meditating on the peaceful heart.
- Sit or lie in your favorite meditation position with a straight spine.
- Focus on the breath as it moves in and out through the nostrils. Begin to follow the breath as it moves in through the nostrils, along the back of the throat, and into the heart.
- Maintain awareness of the breath and silently say to yourself, “I am <first name> <last name,” for 3 to 5 rounds of breath.
- Continue your breath awareness and silently say to yourself, “I am <first name>,” for 3 to 5 rounds.
- Begin to silently say to yourself, “I am,” and gradually focus your awareness on that peaceful space and energy after the words “I am”. If your mind wanders or tries to fill in the space, simply acknowledge what arises and return to the mantra.
- Spend as much time in that peaceful space as you wish.
Feel free to come explore these themes with me this week. Here’s where I’ll be:
Wednesday, July 18
*7:15 p.m. – Restorative Yoga, Community Yoga
* 4 p.m. – Yoga at the Museum, The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
October 3 is Keb’ Mo’s birthday, so here’s a little ditty he wrote about his feelings about the Iraq war. I think it’s a fitting song to revisit in light of recent violence in the world. It’s great to meditate, pray, or send out positive energy as you choose, but we can’t let that be all we do. We have to stand firm against hate and darkness.
The 3rd of three annual Emancipation Days of Respect, Dream Day Quest and Jubilee honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by promoting unity, respect and remembrance. Held on August 28th to mark the anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Delivered in 1963, the speech calls for the end of racism in the United States. You can read the full text here or listen to it here.
Unfortunately, racism is all too alive in America. We need to own up to that and we need to do what we can to fix it. Mindfulness can help us build self-awareness but should also help us be aware of others’ experiences. We are all in this together and we are all one.
I have a dream that someday MLK’s dream can be realized and that I will have the courage to help it come true.
In peace and unity,
2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Travel gives us a chance to expand our experiences and get to know the world around us. The World
Committee on Tourism Ethics offers a number of tips for traveling ethically and responsibly. Geared primarily toward international travel, the principles can also be applied to respecting those closer to home, too.
The first of their tips is to “Honor your hosts and our common heritage.”
Research your destination to learn about local customs, traditions and social
conditions. It’s a great way to build understanding of the local community
and excitement for your adventure ahead.
Learn to speak a few words in the local language. This can help you connect
with the local community and its people in a more meaningful way.
Experience and respect all that makes an international destination different
and unique, from its history, architecture, religion, dress and communication
codes, to its music, art and cuisine.
Always ask before taking photographs of other people as their privacy
matter as much as yours.
Enjoy your summer travels!
May 1st marks Global Love Day, a day established in 2004 by The Love Foundation. It is a day meant to celebrate the wisdom of universal peace and love. It’s a great day to practice unconditional love for yourself as well as others. Be aware of your inner critic. Rather than ignore what the inner critic has to say, look at what it is saying without bias. Accept the truth of your own humanity and the humanity of others around us. Reframe any “negative” thoughts in a more positive way. Practice meeting anger with love. Recognize that although we are all different, we are all part of a greater whole and our diversity makes us stronger. Live and love without fear today.