Tuesday, March 4, 2014
"I am given more life, more hope, more moments, the more I let go. The more I let go, do without, reduce, the more I feel. The more I let people be who they are, instead of cramming them into what I need from them, the more surprised I am by their beauty and depth. "
Monday, March 3, 2014
Limb of yoga: saucha
"When done properly, Ujjayi (translated as "victorious") breathing should be both energizing and relaxing. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali suggests that the breath should be both dirga (long) and suksma (smooth). The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. Gently pulling the breath in on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation against this resistance creates a well-modulated and soothing sound—something like the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out."
"The root of your problem may be as simple as the effort you exert to perform Ujjayi. It is important to remember that the key to Ujjayi breathing is relaxation; the action of Ujjayi naturally lengthens the breath. Some small effort is required to produce a pleasing sound, but too much effort creates a grasping quality and a grating sound."
"To practice the inhalation, focus on creating a soothing and pleasing sound that is unhurried and unforced. I suggest working on your Ujjayi breathing in a seated, relaxed cross-legged position. Imagine sipping the breath in through a straw. If the suction is too strong the straw collapses and great force is required to suck anything through it. Once Ujjayi breathing is mastered in a seated position, the challenge is to maintain the same quality of breathing throughout your asana practice."
"The second of the eight limbs of yoga is the Niyamas, translated as the observances or how we treat ourselves. The niyamas are about self- regulation – helping us maintain a positive environment in which to grow.
Saucha is purity that operates on many levels. We aspire to cleanliness for our bodies by washing ourselves, maintaining clean and orderly homes, eating healthy food and drinking clean water. We aspire to cleanliness in our minds and speech by not polluting our minds or speech with negativity or grasping after emotionally and physically charged obsessions.
In addition to the obvious advantages, there are a number of side benefits to eating unadulterated food, breathing clean air, having the ability to clean ourselves within and without and residing in clean homes and neighborhoods. Cleanliness and order lift our self-esteem, reinforce our knowledge that we are worthy of good experiences, and improve our personalities so we can experience balanced self-awareness. When we feel pure and clean, we can be clear about our intentions, unencumbered by gross and subtle imbalances."
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I recently watched the documentary Yoga Is - a documentary of a transformational journey by Suzanne Bryant.
I enjoyed it so much I actually watched it twice to write down some of my favorite parts the second time through. It is available on instant stream through netflix. If you do not have access or time to watch it right now here are some great things to think about and apply into our lives:
We are all searching for happiness and the only constant thing is change. Change is always happening.
Yoga is connection. Once yoga is open it is open.
The deepest relationship you will ever have is with yourself. You can't find love anywhere unless you can find it within yourself.
All stress happens from being disconnected from ourselves.Yoga says perhaps there's another way.
You run from your fears for so long until you turn to them and say I'm not going to fear it anymore. Lead me from untruth to truth.
The more I see the less I know. The world we live in is a projection of our own thoughts.
Yoga offers us a route back to our truth. There's a flow to life.
All we need is a little clear space and some fresh air. Life is not that complicated.
Anyone that can take any situation and turn it into bliss is the true yogi.
I challenge you to read each of the following again. After reading one of the quotes close your eyes and repeat it to yourself as many times as it feels right. Then move on to the next and do the same. You may repeat a quote only once and the next a hundred times.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Asana (pose): chair
Pranayama (mindful breathing): the breath of joy
Limb of yoga:Pratyahara- turning inward
Here's what we learned this week on pranayama:
Breathing can shift the body from flight or fight to relaxation.
Your breathing reflects the state of your mind and body.
The breath of joy reconnects to inner joy. Breathe in with a soft smile and imagine your heart expanding.
When you learn to breathe in a way that supports feelings of comfort, safety and joy you choose those over suffering.
The best way to practice breath awareness is just to close your eyes and notice what you notice.
The breath can be the anchor that keys you grounded and safe in a storm.
Here's what we learned on our limb of yoga:
Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. Keenly aware of, yet cultivating a detachment from, our senses, we direct our attention internally. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: habits that are perhaps detrimental to our health and which likely interfere with our inner growth.
"Pratyahara is related to all the limbs of yoga. All of the other limbs — from asana to samadhi — contain aspects of pratyahara. For example, in the sitting poses, which are the most important aspect of asana, both the sensory and motor organs are controlled. Pranayama contains an element of pratyahara as we draw our attention inward through the breath. Yama and niyama contain various principles and practices, like non-violence and contentment, that help us control the senses. In other words, pratyahara provides the foundation for the higher practices of yoga and is the basis for meditation. It follows pranayama (or control of prana) and, by linking prana with the mind, takes it out of the sphere of the body."
Sunday, February 23, 2014
I've shared my pregnancy journey before:
Pregnancy is often viewed as a "disease". Diseases are ugly. Pregnancy is beautiful and no where close to a disease.
and was reminded how beautiful pregnancy is while taking maternity photos for a friend.
Pregnancy is the time more than ever to nourish your body and baby with nutrient rich foods.
Becoming a parent means you are making decisions for someone else now. It starts with birth, educate yourself on your decisions.
Birth is an endurance activity, keep your body active throughout pregnancy.
Pregnancy may be something a woman experiences once or multiple times in their life, make it one of the healthiest times of your life.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
There's a few things I keep in my house that I find to be inspiring and what I need when I need it.
This is a gift I received from a friend for my birthday this year. This is the card I drew today:
Energy- " when you hold back and repress what you feel, your body and spirit become drained; when you try to please everyone and deny yourself, your life force wanes. If you strive to meet everyone's expectations but forget to honor your own needs, your energy field becomes full. Allowing your emotions and needs the freedom to be spontaneously expressed, however causes waves of energy to expand inside of you."
This is a changeable sign I received as a Christmas present last year. Each day as I feel inspired I draw a card from the bag without looking. This was today's card.