Category Archives: Yoga
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,
New to the blog this week is #FeatureFriday, a chance for me to share that which inspires me in some way.
This week, I’d like to share J. Brown’s Yoga Talks podcasts and blog. J. Brown came to my intention early in my teaching career, when I felt somehow out of the loop with my gentle style of teaching and was searching for like-minded individuals. Searching for “gentle yoga” led me to J.’s website. His motto, “gentle is the new advanced,” thrilled me. Here was a more experienced teacher in a major market (he was based in New York at the time), who shared many of the same philosophies on yoga. His blog is always thoughtful and thought-provoking and his podcasts feature some of the most well-respected senior teachers in yoga like Erich Schiffmann, Judith Hanson Lasater, and Richard Miller. You should give him a listen. Even if you don’t agree with everything he has to say, you will likely learn a lot about the history and philosophy of yoga.
In peace & light,
Yoga is about going deep within to discover the true Self and the unity of all beings. How you get there is your path. Do the practice, the style, the study that works for you where you are now. There is no one way to get there. There are many paths to the one Truth. Find yours.
In peace and light,
- “This practice of yoga is to remove the weeds from the body so the garden can grow.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
- “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.” – Buddha
- “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” – Greek proverb
- “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “I believe we are here on Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all to enjoy freedom.” – Rosa Parks
- “The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.” – Rumi
- “Keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.” – Thomas a Kempis
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
Most western yoga classes are accompanied by music. Some of mine are and some aren’t. When I teach, I try to play either atmospheric music or classical. When I practice at home I tend to listen to music that’s a bit less traditional but helps me feel energized. Here’s a link to my morning playlist.
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.