Breaking down a very common yoga pose that is cued in many yoga practices.
Create Lasting Change
As we embark on a new year it is very easy to set lofty goals and determine that THIS IS OUR YEAR. And then after a couple of weeks, our lives take over and we are left feeling disappointed in ourselves for not staying the course. For not crushing each and every intention we set. But there is a trick.
The trick is doing the work in small bits every day.
Examples of my goals:
- Come into extended compass pose
Each morning, I spend 5 minutes doing yoga poses that open the upperback and hamstrings.
That is it. I am not going to force myself into the pose each day and then belittle myself for no progress. Simply doing the work that will get me to that pose is all I can do.
- Come from a space of more peace.
Each day, when I feel the most anxious, I will set a timer and simply take deep, full breaths for 5 minutes. There is no need to add a 30 minute meditation at the beginning of my morning routine. For me, in the morning I am busy enough and don’t need to shame myself for skipping the mediation when I choose to hit snooze.
- Have a certain amount set aside for a trip
Once a week, I will make a choice, am I going to go out to eat or buy a coffee or am I going to put that money in savings with the travel earmark? There is no need to give up eating out entirely or never have a bougie coffee again. Simply make one change. And celebrate it.
I ran into a problem when I tried Dave Ramsey a few years ago. I did not build in daily pleasure. I did not allow for “fun” in the current status because it was counter to my (aggressive) goals. And as a yogi I am adamant about the balance between our present lives and our future lives.
We have to be careful living too much in the present, sometimes this can lead to excess and gluttony. With no thought to the future, all of sudden we are 65 with no retirement.
But we also need to be mindful that our lives are happening right now. And we deserve joy today (and tomorrow).
As you set your intentions for 2021, I invite you to do so in a manner of ease. Maybe set a first quarter goal and then at the end evaluate how that goal served you and set a different one for Q2. Maybe by month four of the year you are ready to add 20 minutes of morning yoga to your routine or perhaps a dedicated time of day to meditate. Or you had a book to your reading list with the goal of ten minutes a night before bed. Essentially, remove the barriers to joy so that your goals can be easily celebrated and accomplished with less reason to judge yourself.
The holidays are here and it is more important than ever to ensure we are living intentionally. In addition to the holidays we are still mid-pandemic and still preparing for political change.
10 Minutes a day, is all it takes to help keep you in balance or start the return process to balance.
You are loved. If you need anything this holiday season, please reach out. I am holding space for you and your loved ones.
(also, this is not a 7 day “challenge” because life can be challenging enough, so instead it is 7 days of goals.
Mudras are asana for the hands that impact our greater well-being. Many different disciplines use these mudras for their various purposes. Based on who you ask there are up to about 400 different hand asanas.The term Mudra means to “seal,” “mark,” or “gesture.” Each hand placement can be used to impact a yoga asana more deeply or to help your meditation practice with a specific intention.Lam is the most commonly seen mudra and impacts our root chakra. This gesture is made by placing the index finger and thumb together. Some people press their nail into the thumb or press fingertip into fingertip.This mudra is said to help increase focus and decrease stress, anger, and depression.The next time you are stressed, try sitting at your desk with this mudra, with your eyes closed for a few minutes. Perhaps even set a timer. Focus on your breath, your hands, and nothing else.
More Mudra fun to follow. 😊
What is Toxic Positivity?
As per Psychology Today, “toxic positivity” refers to the concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life. It means only focusing on positive things and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions.
This seems like such a great way to live. I, too, love a good “attitude of gratitude” but what happens when this way of thinking is actually harming us?
How could being positive be harmful?
Well, sometimes being positive at all costs is a lie and is repressive and does not honor a person’s human experience. This can create shame. And we all know that unchecked shame can lead us to make some terribly isolating life choices.
There is a marked difference in stopping to reframe a problem with a positive light and being solution oriented versus thinking everything is doom and gloom. But sometimes we have to become keenly aware of the gloom so it can go away.
By avoiding difficult emotions, we actually make them worse. What we resist persists. Essentially, your emotions are messengers and when we avoid the messages they do not disappear they keep coming back larger, louder, and in different ways.
How do I heal from possible toxic negativity?
This is where Buddha saying of “invite your emotions to tea” comes in. It might feel counterintuitive but sitting with all of our emotions and allowing them to be messengers makes the space for them to share their message and then leave.
Make active space for all your emotions by coming from a place of inquiry.
By allowing the space for these emotions we are giving ourselves the opportunity to practice compassion. Self compassion.
But also, if we get real with why an emotion is present, we can retrieve the message our body is sending us. Yes, our bodies are hardwired to have emotions. Therefore, we know that emotions must contain information to help our lives. Our emotions can help indicate when we need to make different choices or change certain behaviors. And sometimes, as with grief, feeling our emotions helps our healing process.
This is a practice just like your physical asana or breathing meditations.
I leave you with the words of Rumi-
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!…
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Patanajli discusses this form of meditation on his work “The Yoga Sutras.” Trataka translates from Sanskrit to mean “gaze” this is a bit different than Drishti. We use the term Drishti in our asana practice as a way to detail the direction of the eyes. Trataka is a type of Drishti. Trataka is cleansing. The goal here is to focus on one point as a form of meditation.
Typically, a candle flame or black dot.
By using the focus of the eye to still the mind it is a type of meditation, specifically one that helps to open our Third Eye Chakra. Meditation allows us mastery of the mind and therefore our bodies and human experience.
Like all meditations, it is a practice. Heck, life is a practice. So, give yourself a little time to get the hang of this stillness.
How to do it:
You will need a candle/matches, table/chair, or comfortable sitting cushion and small table.
It is easier to begin in a dark space and lighting a candle so that is it easier for your eye to follow the flame and nothing else.
Sit comfortably with the candle at eye level, I don’t want you to crane your neck up or down as that is not comfortable and will distract from your practice and is bad for the spine.
Light your candle and set a timer (you pick, maybe 30 seconds or even 5 minutes to start).
Stare, in silence at the flame. Working to not focus on any thoughts that pop up but instead letting them dance away with the movement of the flame. I promise anything of importance or urgency will be remembered when your practice is finished.
Try not to blink, working your focused gaze toward the light for as long as possible.
Once you absolutely must blink, close your eyes, and keep the image of the flame dancing inside them.
Let that image remain near your Third Eye Center (space between your eyebrows) until you hear the alarm ding (perhaps pick a soothing sound so as to not startle yourself).
After the alarm has rung, gently blink open your eyes and blow out the candle. Come from a place of inquiry as to how you are feeling.
Just like with your asana practice there is a difference in coming to your edge and jumping off it. Please do not over strain your eyes or have a “hard” gaze. Let your eyes be soft but focused.
Dr. Hawkins Scale of Consciousness is a fascinating look at how our emotions determine our health. We have all heard the “we just don’t vibe” saying or “we just clicked.” This is typically really about the frequency the human is emitting is attracting like frequencies. So be careful how you vibe because it will attract your tribe.
There is a lot of information and the book Power Vs. Force is where it’s at. The general gist is that each emotion has a frequency (and as humans our emotions vary so to do our frequencies). But there is a line, frequency 200 where once you begin vibing at this level you tend to be in integrity with your truth and therefore healthier. When we vibe at frequency 500 we are working at the highest level of our enlightenment. Think Jesus or Buddah. People who understood and lived unconditional love. This is our goal.
Human existence is fluid so we will fluctuate between levels but the hope is to level up a bit and fluctuate higher.
My default emotion tends to be anger. I get angry when I can’t lose weight or do a full expression of Eagle Pose (even after 20 years of yoga, seriously?). My work is to level up. Having the courage to show you videos and photos of my imperfect yoga asana practice. Affirming myself and by default others that our bodies are perfectly imperfect.
I encourage you to do a deep dive of Dr. Hawkins work and read Power vs. Force and come to view your life with compassion but also a desire to level up and find a tribe vibing at the frequency you desire.
If you are a child of the 80’s you might remember the Gregorian Monk chants that took over the cassette tape industry. People didn’t understand why they loved it so much they just knew it made them feel better. Well, turns out there is some science to the hippie ways.
Dr. Joseph Puleo re-discovered that sound frequencies and tones can have healing effects on the body. He used mathematical numeral reduction to identify six measurable tones that bring the body back into balance and aid in healing. It just so happens that centuries old Gregorian Monk chants happen to be at these healing frequencies.
Dr. Glen Rein has done extensive research on music and UV light absorption. Here is a list of his articles.
In 1952, German physicist Winfried Otto Schumann mathematically documented the electromagnetic resonances existing between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere—the electrically charged part of the Earth’s atmosphere. Schumann discovered that these electromagnetic waves, originating from discharges of lightening, resonated at a low frequency ranging between 7.86 Hz to 8 Hz. He determined that this frequency was, in essence, the Earth’s heartbeat. It has since been coined the Schumann resonance after its founder.*
Each chakra has an associated frequency and therefore our emotional well-being has the opportunity to become balanced via music.
When I am living my anxiety life (I, personally, identify with a ten point scale to self-check my anxiety). When I am over a 7 (which, frankly, I should start helping myself well before that but…) I sleep with Solfeggio music. YouTube has hours and hours of this music free. It is magical and I am grateful for those producing this healing music.
When I am preparing to teach a class I listen to various frequencies to help unlock my creativity and open me up to what Creator wants me to share with you. You can imagine the difficulty in creating a virtual class without knowing your energy and needs. This is why I ask you to tell me what you need. It is important to me to give you more than a work out.
If you want more information on the frequencies and the history of how humans have inherently known to use them check out this link.
Hopefully you can give YouTube a quick search and figure out how to help make your life and health more balanced by simply listening.
Love you all,
Pranayam is breath. Prana is also our life force and a link to our soul. Pranayam is also one of the 8 limbs of yoga. We can extend and restrain our life force through our breath.
When we practice physical yoga our breath can really help us in a physical pose. Our breath can help us relax into a pose or dive deeper into a pose.
In the 8 limbs of yoga, prana is the 4th limb. You can sit and intentionally breath and be living yoga.
Ujjayi is one type of pranayama. Based on your yogic school of belief determines how many “types” of pranayama exist. For the sake of most of my practices here, ujjayi will be most helpful to master. We use this breath to create internal fire and focus the mind. By focusing on our breath we have little time to focus on the thoughts that pop up. Pranayama is a great practice for meditation.
I will be very honest, I do not know the history of this type of meditation. What I do know, I was a very anxious child and my mom taught me this technique to help me calm down.
The goal of the meditation is to remind us that we are in God’s (the Universe, etc) light. By actively inviting in this light and releasing our fear, pain, anxiety we come back into balance.
Begin seated or lying down. I personally prefer all my meditations reclined because holding up my head is too much work when I am trying to relax.
Start by becoming aware of your breath.
Slowly begin to deepen your inhales and exhales. No specific count is needed just what feels good.
Bring your awareness to the crown of your head. Keep your awareness here until you begin to feel warmth or tingling at that point. Once you physically feel your activation beginning invite in a warm white light.
The white light can be God’s love , the heart of the Creator, the pulse of the Universe. Essentially, you are welcoming pure unconditional love with every inhale and dropping any fear, anxiety, sickness with every exhale.
I work my way from the crown of my head down to my toes saying things like:
“a warm white light of love is washing over my face”
“unconditional love and healing fills my belly”
If I know I have something to let go of, I give it a color and texture and invite it to leave through the soles of my feet and return to the Earth to be re-created as love.
“the sticky, black anxiety about finances leaves my body through my feet to return to the earth and be re-born as love”
You get the drift. Based on my stress or sickness I might spend more time on a certain body part.
“the sickness of asthma leaves my body and return to healthy breathing is filling my lungs as a warm white healing light”
I do a final wash over my body envisioning the warm white light shining out of my skin until my being is as close to Creator as possible.
Then I spend a few breaths enjoying this new sense of calm.
This can also be done with a golden, radiating light.
Each chakra can be addressed allowing for a total consumption of white light. YOU ARE GOD’S LOVE! If you are religious we believe we are created in God’s image and therefore capable of unconditional love. This meditation/therapy is meant to bring us back to that love.
I hope this helps you return to balance and love.