09 May 2015

Joy That is Yours for the Keeping

That which can be taken from you is not a true source of joy. Ask yourself, “If I lost my home, my books, my TV or guitar, if I sat alone on the street corner with nothing in hand but the clothes on my back, would I still be happy?”  If the answer is “yes,” your priorities are in line with your capacity for bliss. If the answer is no, dedicate some time to meditation and introspection. With a regular and ongoing practice of yoga postures, breathing techniques, and awareness, you will come to know a deeply satisfying experience that is immune to the vicissitudes of life, yours to keep, regardless of situation or circumstance.

06 May 2015

Practice What You Want To Be Good At

People often say they do don't yoga or meditate because their bodies are too stiff and/or their minds are too busy (as though this is the exception, and not the rule). This is akin to saying you’re too dirty to bathe. 

Rest assured: everyone who is new to meditation experiences the challenge of an uncontrolled and undisciplined mind. But it gets easier. And after "easier" comes "tolerable" and following tolerable is "enjoyable" and after that are moments of bliss among the ongoing recycling of the above-noted. Even then, people who have been meditating for 30 years or more will agree that some days are more challenging and more gratifying than others. 

If you want inner peace, you must practice feeling peaceful. If you want gratitude, you must practice the feeling of being grateful. If you want reasons to be overjoyed and excited, simple BE full of joy and excitement. Look around you! There is SO MUCH to be grateful for and inspired by! The simple things that life affords. 

Whatever you feel, the universe bounces back to you in return. It is both that simple, and that difficult. To avoid becoming a master of self-pity and despair, stop practicing those deflating emotions. Practice what you want to be good at. It is at one time that simple and that hard. 

03 May 2015

Enlightened is Your True Nature


The stress and anxiety, heartbreak and worry, that we have come to identify with are the products of an untrained mind—a mind that has forgotten its purpose. Yoga is the solution to this problem. It is the discipline of training your mind and peeling away the layers, the false identities you’ve accumulated over the years, so you can rest in the infinite state of bliss that is your true nature. Hope for a better way of life, Faith that yoga might offer a solution, and Realization of your essence combine to define a path that might otherwise be called enlightenment. 

27 April 2015

Go Green: 4 Simple Tips



“Be the Change You Wish to See in the world.” Gandhi

Green Eggs No Ham
Yoga I Am!

Sweat Equity Magazine
In yoga science, our time spent on the mat is a reflection of a life lived in the world. The converse is also true: our daily lives are the bird’s eye view of the intention behind our practice.

An hour doing yoga postures or 15 minutes in meditation can disclose such subtletiesas inner strength, self-esteem, courage, and resilience. It also mirrors a fundamental pillar of health and well being. That pillar is respect—respect for ourselves, our fellow yogis, our teachers, and–by extension–Mother Earth.

Here are 4 simple ways to tread lightly on the planet:

1.     Hang Dry. Get this,Washing and drying a load of laundry every two days creates more carbon dioxide than flying from London to Glasgow and back.” We all love that newly washed smell of clean towels, but you can still get that with a shorter cycle. Hang clothes to dry and then pop them in last minute for a quick tumble. Your wallet will thank you, too.
2.     
      Size Down. Great, you work from home. You’re not contributing gas emissions or unnecessary electricity for fluorescent lights, but how green is your home office, really? The Internet is said to account for approximately 1 percent of total carbon emissions released into the environment. All your electronic devices, including your laptop, desktop, iPad, and 48-inch big screen all demand electricity. So, does this mean you have to unplug from the world, ditch Facebook, and cancel Netflix? Well, not entirely (we know you wouldn’t, anyway). But it does propose a call to moderation. Are all electronic devices running at the same time? Do they need to be? Perhaps not.
3.     
      Carbon Paw Print.Guess what? Your four-legged friend isn’t as innocent as he looks. That’s right. Fido makes his own carbon paw print. Overspending on unnecessary treats, toys, clothing, booties, and shampoos, and even treadmills and toothbrushes, all come at a cost: carbon emissions and overflowing landfills from manufacturing and transportation fees alone! What’s worse is that that pet paraphernalia sales are expected to grow to a whopping $95 billion within the next 2.5 years! So no matter how loud Fifi begs, when you pass by those funky poodle purses, just keep walking.

4.     Go Vegetarian! It’s common knowledge that the energy required to produce meat for our consumption is huge: According to ScienceTime.com, “There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than raising livestock.”You don’t have to toss every turkey for tofu (although it’s a great idea) to support change. Try “meatless Mondays” orvisit the cooking isle in Chapters. Flip through some cool books and try a new recipe. Vegan cuisine offers a break from the usual routine!

Small steps go a long way towards permanent, positive change. In which direction are you headed?


22 April 2015

Yoga is Joy for the Taking


That which can be taken from you is not a true source of joy. Ask yourself, “If I lost my home, my books, my television set, or guitar, if I sat alone on the street corner with nothing in hand, but the clothes on my back, would I still be happy?”  If the answer is “yes,” your priorities are inline with your capacity for bliss. If the answer is no, dedicate a little more time to meditation and introspection. With a regular and ongoing practice of yoga postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, you will come to know a deeply satisfying experience that is immune to the vicissitudes of life, yours to keep, regardless of situation or circumstance.

18 April 2015

Feature Pose: Downward Dog


Adho Mukha Svanasana:
Downward-Facing Dog


Easily one of the most popular yoga poses, Downward Facing Dog requires little introduction. The shape of the posture, hands and knees on the floor, head hanging downwards, tailbone in the air, easily resembles the shape of a dog awakening from a nap and moving into a long, deep stretch—hence the name, Downward Facing Dog. In Nepal, Tibet, dogs have a deeper symbolism, being respected for their role as protectors and guardians of the people.

Chakra: Muladhara Chakra
Location: Coccygeal plexus around the base of the spine, at what is known as the coccyx, or the tailbone. The first chakra is the foundation for the rest of the chakras and represents our innate human instinct for survival.

Supports: A healthy first chakra supports one’s belief in their right to be here, to be in this world as an individual. A person with a well-balanced first chakra feels safe and comfortable in their body. They have no problem setting boundaries and generally feel that the world, and their home, is a safe place to be.

Blocked: People with deficiencies in this area struggle to establish financial security, experience general physical ailment, and find it difficult to trust other people. Relationships are often shaky at best. People with excessive first chakra energy are resistant to change.

Physical Connection: From hands and knees position, spread the fingers wide and turn the toes under. Lift the knees up off the mat and press back into Downward-Facing Dog. Root down through the palms of the hands and the length of each finger. Press downwards into the mat and press the thighs back to create strength and stability in the pose, reminding us of our own strength, purpose, and inherent right to be here. Lift the sitting bones upwards towards the ceiling and soften the heels towards the earth.

Benefits of the Pose: As a mild inversion, Dog Pose calms the nervous system, helping to balance the fight-or-flight tendencies that are hypervigilant in people with a blocked first chakra. While strengthening the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and legs, Dog Pose also helps to correct poor posture by lengthening the spine. Increased mobility of the digestive system is another benefit of this familiar pose.

Modifications: If you have tight hamstrings, bend the knees to establish length in the spine. A long spine is more important than straight legs. People who experience excessive wrist pain in this pose can practice the posture on their forearms. If the shoulders are tight, place the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart. To intensive the pose, stay in Downward Dog for a longer time (one minute or longer).

 **The translation of Muladhara is “root support” in English, which means rootedness or foundation. With a shaky foundation, attention remains focused on survival instincts, inhibiting the healthy development of the higher systems of creativity and spirituality.


***Malfunction in this region physically manifests through disorders of the bowel, anus, and large intestine. Eating disorders are prevalent in people with an excessive (overeating) or deficient (undereating) first chakra.


11 April 2015

Why Having Less is More

"The Less You Have, the Less You Have to Worry About"


Yoga is a lifelong journey. Modern society demands instant gratification, and consumerism responds through lines of credit, credit cards, layaway programs, no money downs, interest frees, and other bargaining tools that ensure we slide deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit of debt. The consequences are not only monetary. With enough anxiety around financial insecurity, you become indebted to the government, too. Indebted to all of the trinkets and toys they promised would bring joy— once you finally acquired them. 

These are stumbling blocks on the path to inner peace and Self-realization. Have you ever tried meditating with creditors knocking at the front door? What’s good for the soul is bad for the capitalist venture. Live within your means, fulfil your needs, and avoid the trappings of a material world. Focus your energy on cultivating the joy that lies dormant within you. Authentic joy can only be lost if you give it away.