Tag Archives: Yoga

Day Eighty-Six: “Not Just Downward Dog”: The Commercialization of Yoga

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There are so many people that buy into yoga because it is a trend.

Yoga has become one of the items on a long list of consumerized

“products”. It has always been there but many people don’t

truly know the delicately weaved history and the multi-faceted

nature of yoga. It’s Hindu Roots stress the importance of integrating

the many paths of Yoga into every facet of ones life and that until

one does that the physical postures are just that-physical postures.

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Here is a link outlining the history of Yoga

http://goldenyogi.co.nz/history-of-yoga/

There are four main paths of yoga which I will be describing in more

detail over the upcoming four posts. There are also many styles

of yoga: Here is a link to a list of styles with descriptions:

http://www.lululemon.com/education/yoga

Integrating yoga into all facets of your life may have

already happened and can happen organically just through the

practice of physical yoga. Just doing the postures can incite

a connection to spirit and allow you to witness a side of yourself

you didn’t know existed. On the other hand if you just use it

as a method of working out and feel disconnected from yourself

even though you are doing the physical postures than you are

not practicing traditional yoga.

Decide what it is you are trying to gain from yoga and then

path the way for yourself by integrating the yogic perspective

into those parts of your life.

Shop around when it comes to instructors; if you have an

instructor that is disconnected from the spirit of yoga and

does not absorb the yogic way of life-that teacher may

not be the right one for you if your goal is to widen your

connection to the source within and outside of yourself.

If yoga did not become so commercialized and maintained

it’s traditional roots I believe there would be more spiritually

healthy and connected people in the community.

On the other hand-the upside of the commercialization of

yoga has brought it into the light and allowed people to

seek solace in it’s practice-bringing them closer to themselves

and to their spiritual side.

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Morning Meditation:

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Journal Entry: What is your connection with yoga? When

was the first time you were interested in it? Does your

practice connect you at a deeper spiritual level or are

you left wanting more? If you have never done yoga;

what do you wish to gain from practicing it?

historyofyoga

The History of Yoga-A Sweet Little Film

The History of Yoga-A Full Documentary

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A Beautiful Playlist for Your Day

Evening Yoga Practice and Meditation:

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Peace, Love & Namaste Em

Day Eighty-Five: “What Do You Mean Your Spiritual?”-The Difference between Spirituality & Religion

Feature Artist-All of His Paintings are on Today’s Blog

Nikhel Big

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http://nikhelbig.com/art-blog/2000/01/12/spiritual-paintings/

When people ask me if I am religious and I retort with the answer

“No, but I am a spiritual woman”. I get the same responses every-time:

a glazed and confused look-as if the individual is too polite to say “What

is that supposed to mean?”; or maybe a “well what religion do you

most relate to?”; or even a quick change of subject to avoid delving

into the conversation altogether.

Being spiritual does not mean that you commit to a specific religion

or way of thinking; it means that you believe in something more than

ego based thinking…that you connect to a higher source be it outside

or inside oneself…that you seek peace and enlightenment and reach

for ways to connect more fully with life and it’s magic.

I am not saying that if you fall under the “spiritual” category that

you shut the door to religion-you may actually connect to aspects of

many, many religions but feel that if you submit to just one that you

will be closed off to learning and appreciating all of the other religions

and what they have to offer.

There are many things in life that make you feel closer to your source

and for us “spiritual folk” that could be something like sitting in a tree

and feeling it rock gently with the wind; a quiet moment of meditation

where you feel so at ease and comfortable with yourself that you are

afraid to stop; digging in the earth as you watch the seeds you spread

grow into vegetables; connecting with the essence of your body during

yoga; listening to your child laugh with wild abandon…

Does this mean that we are all spiritual? I think we all live our lives

seeking the “spiritual experience” and that connecting with one another

regardless of our belief system can also enhance our feeling of contentedness

to our source.

My spiritual path during this very difficult time in my life is what has

allowed me to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes and desperately seek

out meaningful moments all throughout my day as a way of healing

myself. When I reconnect with my “spirituality and practices” I

am either so lost and disconnected and I need it to rescue me, or

I am at my best and it allows me to be even better!

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Morning Meditation: A Spiritual Treasure Chest

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Journal Entry: Map out your spiritual or religious path and take notes

on when you felt the most healthy and connected in your life-was spirituality

present at the time? What are your goals when it comes to spirit? What are

some ways you can connect to spiritual experiences that you love?

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Isha-What is Spirituality

The No Bullshit Guide to Spirituality

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Deepak Chopra’s Perception of Spirituality

Healing Spirit-Guided Meditation for Sleep

Peace, Love & Namaste Em

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Day Sixty-Five: How to Stay Humble Without Compromising Your Self Worth

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My mother was a fan of humility. She was very religious and in her spiritual

teachings and in life she was trained to be seen and not heard. Lessons

she stressed to me were centered on giving to others and making them

feel special while sacrificing your own needs.

Innately I have always been very uncomfortable when I am complimented.

It is as though my biggest fear is to seem egotistical or appearing to think

I am better than anyone else. My husband recently shared with me that

I actually downgrade myself in front of others too often. This is a tool I

have always used to be accessible to others so that they know I will not

judge them.

The world has confused me; and maybe yourself as well-Buddhist teaching

and all of my spiritual teachings stress the value of maintaining ones ability

to remain humble and how this trait is revered and encouraged.

Admit it we all can’t stand the people who go around bragging about this

and that and how awesome they are. It also drives us crazy when people

around us keep one upping us-like you buy something and then they buy

the same thing but way nicer and more expensive; or multiple numbers

of the one that you got and then proceed to rub salt into your wounds.

Now the key to being a good person, someone who people can value;

is maintaining our value and appreciating compliments, but in a

way that is not aggressive or egotistical. Self deprecation is an extreme

form of humility-and it damages us. You can be humble, kind and loving

and still value your self worth.  How can we do this? By assessing the

way we speak to others about ourselves.

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Homework: Do something kind for someone today without them knowing.

Pay attention to how not receiving acknowledgement feels?

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Morning Meditation: Humility in the Mountains

Exercise-humility.-Keep-in-mind-that-theres-always-someone-superior-than-you.-Even-a-child-can-teach-you-something-new.allison_image

Journal Entry: When you are with someone do you feel like you need

to compete or prove something to them? How much of your time are 

you living in an egotistical state? How much of your time are you living

in a humble state? How did you feel after doing your homework?

Happy-Monday-From-humble-beginningsHumble+Art

Humble Forbearance Yoga Routine

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Evening Meditation:

Day Fifty-One: Lesson 7-Emerging From the Roots-Muladhara-The Final Chakra

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Am I grounded? If you had asked me that even weeks ago I would have

tried to stifle the out-pour of laughter or tears; but now I could answer “I think I

am getting there” with an average amount of self confidence. I must admit

that my root chakra has always been a kindred spirit; I just didn’t have a

label for it. It is represented in many paintings by trees since it is the human

soul’s version of a root system-hence it’s strength which is to ground us to

our pure version of ourselves. Trees and I go way back-even in my earliest

childhood years-when things at home were dark and foreboding I would

sneak out my first floor window and run to the forest behind my house.

The trees would comfort me and watching them sway gently side to side

made me feel their nurturing, stabilizing power. I felt their energy and today-

my most healing times are those spent in the company of my woodland

friends-Mother Nature’s profound sculptures.

My second level of Reiki; there was a young man there dressed in beautiful

nymphesque clothing-a kindred fashionista; drawn to hippie-natural

threads-we complimented one another on our outfits and then continued

on. He felt very familiar; but I couldn’t put my finger on how, where or why?

At the end of our group Reiki session we shared our observations about the

process and he said that my root chakra was very strong. Though it was

a surprise to me; the amount at which I had grown since my Level 1 class

allowed me to truly believe that all the spiritual work I had done, and

the copious amounts of self Reiki treatments I did had paid off. I felt

like an ever evolving tree; roots finally intact; the rest on its way to

reconstructing itself into something more than I was before life tore

me down.

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Today’s focus will be on raising our awareness of how

our root chakra can be healed and what we can do to strengthen

and balance it.

Morning Meditation: Deepak Chopra

download

A Stunning Playlist while You Write or Work Today:

Journal Entry: Do you feel rooted and grounded? If not remember a

time when you felt sure and grounded; what was going on at the time? How

do you think you could recreate that sense of being in your life?

Root Chakra Information from Chakra Anatomy Website

http://www.chakra-anatomy.com/root-chakra.html

The Root Chakra is the first chakra and is located at the base of the spine. It is the root of your being and establishes the deepest connections with your physical body, your environment and with the Earth. Muladhara is the most instinctual of all chakras – it is your survival centre. Your fight and flight response is initiated from this chakra. This is your primal, animal nature.

root chakraThe energy of Muladhara allows us to harness courage, resourcefulness and the will to live during trying times. It connects us with spiritual energies of our ancestors, their challenges and their triumphs.

Since Base Chakra carries our ancestral memories, basically everyone experiences challenges or blockages within muladhara. War, famine, natural disasters, and any events that threaten our basic survival, are all recorded within energies of the first chakra.

These memories are imprinted in the subtle body and are passed down from generation to generation creating unconscious generational patterns. It is our work to take responsibility for our own lives and bring to light that which is unconscious.

All of the seven chakras are important and interconnected with each other. Usually, balancing one chakra will create change in another chakra.

It is important though to balance the Root Chakra first, before we proceed to others, or we will lack the stability and rootedness necessary for true transformation and personal growth. We cannot grow and change unless we feel safe and secure.

First Chakra at a glance:

Root Chakra Affirmations

I feel deeply rooted.
I am connected to my body.
I feel safe and secure.
Just like a tree or a star, I have a right to be here.
I stand for my values, for truth, and for justice.
I have what I need.
I am grounded, stable, and standing on my own two feet.
I nurture my body with healthy food, clean water, exercise, relaxation, and connection with nature.
I am open to possibilities.
I am grateful for all the challenges that helped me to grow and transform.
I trust in the goodness of life.
I make choice that are healthy and good for me.
I trust myself.
I love life.

Sanskrit name: Muladhara – root support
Element: Earth
Color: Red
Shape: Square
Petals of the lotus: Four
Seed sound: LANG
Vowel sound: O
Rights: To have
Endocrine gland: Adrenal cortex
Physical association:The skeletal structure, teeth, large intestine, kidneys, blood
Psychological function: Survival and self preservation
Identity: Physical identity
Developmental stage: Womb to 12 months
Challenge: Fear
Plane: Physical plane
Planets: Saturn, Earth
Deity: Brahma, Dakini, Ganesha
Mythological Animal White elephant with seven trunks
Sense organ: Nose
Predominant sense: Smell
Incense: Cedar
Herb: Sage
Sephira: Malkuth
Tarot suite: Pentacles

root chakra yoga poseYoga Poses (Asanas)

Learn about yoga poses to balance your first chakra. Yoga is an exercise for your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. By practicing yoga, you can connect with the deeper parts of yourself that may not be accessible to you during your daily life. You will also learn to releaseexcess root chakra energy.

Yoga Session for the Root Chakra

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Evening Meditation:

10fbbb72e1818f55045dcea4a970f7d4 Peace, Love & Namaste Em

Day Forty-Nine: Lesson 5-Let Your Manipura Glow-The Solar Plexus Chakra

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Our solar plexus is the core of who we truly are. Yesterday we looked

at the throat chakra and learned that in strengthening it we are able

to more freely speak our truth. When we balance and give our solar

plexus power we act our truth.

During my life I have tried very hard to grasp onto meaning wherever

possible and succumb to the powerful lessons I learn about how to

be a better person in our world. I think we all do? Do we? That is

a profound question-one worth exploring more…

When one is disconnected to their core or solar plexus (Manipura)

their self esteem is at stake and wavering-they begin to make snap

judgements about others as a way to temporarily soothe the

emptiness they feel within themselves. Think about it people,

have you ever felt evolved after talking nastily about a fellow

human being? I think not-as each nasty word flows from our

lips we are pushed further from our source of being.

The first time I did the pitta solar plexus meditation below I

felt like a glowing yellow paintbrush entered into my soul

and with its artistry created a masterpiece of solidity and

ethereal beauty. This meditation can be done at any time;

it is short but extremely powerful.

Morning Mediation: 

Solar Plexus Chakra Information-Chakra Anatomy Website:

http://www.chakra-anatomy.com/solar-plexus-chakra.html

The Solar Plexus Chakra, located between the navel and solar plexus, is your power centre – your Core Self. While the Sacral chakra seeks pleasure and enjoyment, the third chakra is all about who you are.

 

The gift of this chakra is sensing your personal power, being confident, responsible, and reliable. The third chakra is the centre of your self-esteem, your willpower, self-discipline, as well as warmth in your personality.

The energy of this chakra allows you to transform inertia into action and movement. It allows you to meet challenges and mover forward in your life.

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The main challenge for the third chakra is to use your personal power in a balanced manner. What does that mean? It means consciously harnessing the energy of the solar plexus chakra. It means being proactive rather then reactive or inactive.

People with excessive third chakra energy react to life circumstances, they have emotional outbursts and are often stressed out. People with blocked or deficient third chakra are passive and inactive – allowing life to pass by while they do nothing.

Strong third chakra reflects the ability to move forward in life with confidence and power. It reflects the ability to make conscious choices to choose and to act.

The message of the third chakra is: You have the power to choose. Your can choose to achieve your life purpose or you can live out your karma or past experiences.

What do you choose? Do you choose love, light and healing? Do you accept that you have the power to choose? Do you feel a sense of freedom when you make a choice?

The third chakra is the centre of your self-esteem. Every time you judge or criticize yourself, you deplete this chakra and weaken your willpower. Self love, self acceptance, and acknowledgement of your own worth are the building blocks of the third chakra.

A woman with an open and balanced Manipura Chakra values herself and her work, is confident in her ability to do something well, loves and accepts herself, is willing to express herself in a powerful way, knows that she has the freedom to choose to be herself and direct her own life.

Manipura-3rdChakra-SolarPlexus

Solar Plexus Chakra at a glance:

Art Journal Exercise: Purchase a canvas or a pad of watercolor paper.

Draw a circular mandala design and paint or colour it in shades of

yellow-write as many or all of the affirmations below on the artwork.

Hang somewhere you will easily be able to access.

 

Solar Plexus Chakra Affirmations

I love and accept myself.
I stand up for myself.
I am strong and courageous.
I am worthy of love, kindness, and respect.
I choose the best for myself.
I express myself in a powerful way.
I am proud of my achievements.
I honor my self.
I choose healthy relationships.
I am authentic.
I direct my own life.
I appreciate my strengths.
I feel my own power.
I am free to choose in any situation.
I seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
I am at peace with myself.

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Sanskrit name: Manipura (lustrous gem)
Element: Fire
Color: Yellow
Shape: Triangle (downward-pointing)
Petals of the lotus: Ten
Seed sound: Ram
Vowel sound: Ah
Rights: To act
Endocrine gland: Adrenals, pancreas
Physical association: Digestive system, liver, gall bladder
Psychological function: Will
Identity: Ego identity
Developmental stage: 18 – 42 months
Challenge: Shame
Plane: Celestial plane
Planets: Sun and Mars
Deity: Rudra, Lakini
Mythological Animal: Ram
Incense: Saffron, musk, sandalwood
Herb: Cinnamon, ginger
Sephira: Hod, Netzach
Tarot Suit: Wands

solar plexus chakra bow poseYoga Poses

The best solar plexus chakra yoga poses are those that strengthen your core and help you to feel more powerful and confident. Step into the Warrior I pose to access your inner spiritual warrior or go deeper with courage into the Bow pose. Continue into part 2 yoga poses, such as Boat pose or Lion’s pose.

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Music for the Solar Plexus by the Stunning Sheila Chandra

A Delectable Playlist for the Solar Plexus

Yoga for the Solar Plexus:

Evening Meditation:

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Peace, Love & Namaste Em

Day Forty-Three: Soul Medicine-The Ancient Art of Ayurvedic Healing

Luckily our modern society is moving towards healing the mind, body and

spirit (soul). Doctors who, in the past, were married to their narrow scientific

views of how to treat the physical body, are even beginning to realize that their

patients have reached a higher awareness of the importance of treating the

‘whole’ person. The ultimate healing integrates all forms of therapies whether

they are scientifically traditional “Western” or more natural/holistic “Eastern”.

Ayurvedic Medicine is one of the most ancient forms of healing and is now

gaining worldwide acknowledgement. Formerly it was thought of as “New

Agey” or “Puff Science” but it is now revered and supported by some of the

most traditional Doctors. Though this is true I still find myself hesitating when

I go to share the incredible results of some of the Ayurveda tools I use-I

usually scope out the person for awhile before I open the door to those

conversations. When that door opens though my passion explodes on

the topic.

Ayurvedic healing can assist in complimenting any healing regiment

but there are some places-like mental health-where it has allowed for

a change in perceptions on certain illnesses that were treated as

animalistic in the past. When Western medicine prevails in treating

mental illness the patient sees a Psychiatrist and is given pills to

balance the chemicals in the brain. This is an important step but

imagine how much more rapid the healing could be if holistic/Ayurvedic

medicine could introduce practices that “identify a person’s ideal state of

balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions

using diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and

meditation to reestablish balance.”

“According to Ayurveda, each of us inherits a unique mix of three mind/body

principles which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics.

These three principles are called doshas.”

Take The Dosha Quiz here at the Chopra Centre:

http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/

Source-http://www.chopra.com/our-services/ayurveda

Read More About the Specifics of Ayurvedic Healing 

http://www.chopra.com/our-services/ayurveda

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Today’s focus is to educate ourselves about the importance

of healing the whole self-body, mind and soul. 

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Morning Meditation:

Journal Entry: Complete the Dosha Tests #1 & #2-Write down

the weak points and any solutions you feel can be integrated into your

life.

Some helpful & handy charts

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A Very Informative and Inspiring Film based on the Topic

http://www.healingthemindayurveda.com/healingthemindayurveda/welcome.html

Thirty Minutes of Physical Activity

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Natural Home Remedies for Ayurvedic Healing

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Ayurveda-Art of Being-Full Film

Playlist of Ayurvedic Music

Evening Meditation:

Peace, Love & Namaste Em

Day Sixteen: Does Good Karma Come to Those Who Wait?

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Being humble has always been a trait I’ve revered in other, more

fully evolved peers. It is my belief that, in being humble, one will

automatically attract copious amounts of good karma.

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Definition: (Wikipedia):

Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म; IPA: [ˈkarmə] ( ); Pali: kamma) means action,

work or deed;[1] it also refers to the principle of causality where intent and

actions of an individual influence the future of that individual.[2] Good intent

and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad

intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.[3][4]

Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in some schools of

Asian religions.[5] In these schools, karma in the present affects one’s

future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives

– or, one’s saṃsāra.[6] With origins in ancient India, it is a key concept in

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism,[7] and Taoism.[8]

If being humble is revered in our society; why then, does it seem like

the more aggressive bird catches the worm. Does the aggressive bird

then feel consumed with guilt, surrounded by negative karma at the

end of the day? Does the humble bird, soar, wings outstretched flying

with no chains on the airwaves of super-charged karma at the end of

the day? Or does the humble bird have to recover, mending it’s

tattered wings, too tired to fly at the end of the day?

Our society has been encouraging, brainwashing us to believe that it

is a dog eat dog world. That once we have clawed our way up to

he top we have reached the pinnacle of success where we can bathe

in the richness of material wealth and status. Holding our noses up at

the humble birds who flit around somewhere in the middle or at the

bottom.

There are many signs indicating a silent, loving revolution. Small 

gatherings of humble birds are speaking out against the negative

forces. They are flying in groups to try and change the aura of

the universe. To move and create a spiritual, peaceful utopia. To

move away from ego-based thinking and towards love and authenticity.

karma3(All of the Art Pieces Showcased today are From the New Dawn Collection

by Rassouli) http://www.newdawncollections.com/ArtNouveau.htm

 

The focus today will be on how to live with grace and attract good karma

to you. Our meditations and teachings will all come from Deepak Chopra;

a wonderful, world renowned spiritual teacher.

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Morning Meditation:

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Journal Entry: For today’s journal entry assess your actions and how you live

your life. Thinks about the last time you did something positive and directed

by love. How did it affect you? Do you think it elevated your karma? Now think

of a negative action and how you could have acted in a more positive manner.

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Inspired Reading: By Buddha Dharma Education Association

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/karma.htm

Inspired Karmic Music Playlist:

Inspired Viewing & Listening:

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Today’s Physical Activity is 56 Minutes of Karma Yoga:

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Here’s an Inspiring Project called the World Karma Project:

http://www.worldkarmaproject.com/

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Evening Meditation: Liberation from Karmic Chains:

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Enjoy Your Process

Live in Love

Peace, Love, Namaste

Em