Peel Away the Layers – Modern Life and the 5 Koshas

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, it’s easy to see how hectic our lives are.

Even without the chaos of preparing for the perfect day, modern life tends to have a frenetic layer of haste.  We find ourselves multi-tasking throughout the day.  Add to that the layer of noise – from our children, friends, families, the news, your podcast, your playlist, the classic rock station playing while you shop.

With all of this hustle and bustle, it’s difficult to find the time to tune in to yourself.  Each layer of distraction pulls you away from the present moment, from that constant serenity and peace, the infinite space and possibility imbued with Isha, the divine presence, that dwells within each of us.

It is with that in mind that my friend Paty and I set about creating a Retreat to Reconnect.  We want to help you peel away the layers that are stopping you from connecting to your sacred self, so that when you step back into the beautiful whirr of your life, you step from a space of power and truth.

When we lose our connection to self, we might find ourselves reacting to small things with annoyance or frustration.  Perhaps you’ve gone all day today without taking a full breath, or had a full conversation with somebody without really hearing a word.

If we spend weeks, months, or years in this state, it’s easy to lose track of your Dharma, the goal that is your life’s destiny.

Modern life is a constant distraction, and we all get sucked into the mundaneContinue reading “Peel Away the Layers – Modern Life and the 5 Koshas”

Staying Healthy During Transitions

As our Summer in Florida finally transitions into Fall, I find myself and my daughter coughing and feverish as our bodies catch up to the changing seasons.  

Sick happens to everyone, and even more so to people who interact often with others!  Below, I’ll share some of my favorite preventatives and remedies, and how my yoga practice shifts when I’m feeling under the weather. Continue reading “Staying Healthy During Transitions”

Barriers to Practice

Creating any healthy new habit is not easy.  It’s heartening to me that Patanjali acknowledges this in the Yoga Sutras.  As he’s espousing the many benefits you’ll gain from your new yoga practice, he stops to mention the barriers you will encounter.

As with other truths discussed in the Yoga Sutras, these obstacles are as relevant for people today as they were for yogis committing to the practice thousands of years ago.

All nine obstacles are disruptions to the heart-mind field of consciousness (citta) and can be debilitating to a practice, because distracting thoughts and emotions (vrtti-s) arise when antarāya-s are present.  These nine obstacles are:

Disease

Apathy

Self-doubt

Carelessness

Fatigue

Regression

Sexual preoccupation

Erroneous views

Ungroundedness

~Nicolai Bachman, The Path of the Yoga Sutras

It’s great to know that these obstacles are out there, because, with planning, you can anticipate them and stop them from disrupting your practice.

Continue reading “Barriers to Practice”

Breath as a Bridge to Joy

“The yoga tradition tells us the mind and breath are twin laws of life, they travel together.  When the mind is calm and clear, the breath flows smoothly.  Conversely, when the breath flows smoothly, the mind calms and clears.

The condition of one determines the condition of the other….We experience the boundless joy deposited within the mind itself, which manifests when the mind is able to plumb its own depths.”

~Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, The Secret of the Yoga Sutras

When I started my yoga practice, I was regularly not breathing.

Crazy, right?  But my body’s reaction to stress was to tense EVERYTHING up, including my abdomen, and just hold my breath.

In that state, my feelings of stress would increase to feelings of panic, and everything would feel like a life or death situation.  Psychologists call this “fight or flight” syndrome, and it’s a classic reaction to stress.

Continue reading “Breath as a Bridge to Joy”

Heartbreak

Please accept this as the first of several posts designed to illustrate seasons of life where your yoga and meditation practice will be helpful.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had your heart broken….

Crickets?  Probably not.  Unfortunately, this is one big, painful part of the human experience that we all must traverse.

What is even more heartbreaking than heartbreak is giving up on love

 

Here are some ways Yoga and Reiki can help you find your way through the wilderness a broken heart and back to living and loving from your fullest

Continue reading “Heartbreak”

Sahasrara, the Seventh Chakra

We complete our study of the chakras with the seventh chakra, known as the Sahasrara Chakra.  Each chakra has been a progressive journey from our connection to self and the world to a union with the more subtle aspects of interconnection.  This chakra, located at the crown of the head, governs our connection with the divine.  Some say that as yogis practice consistently and awaken the kundalini energy within, this travels up the Shushmna, or central channel of energy within the body along which all seven chakras are aligned, and bursts through the crown chakra to complete the union of our earthly selves with the limitless that is the divine within and around us.

Seventh Chakra

Continue reading “Sahasrara, the Seventh Chakra”

Ajna Chakra

The sixth chakra is located between and above the eyebrows.  Most often referred to as the Third Eye Chakra, the sixth chakra gains the moniker Ajna in Sanskrit meaning “to command.”

The Third Eye Chakra governs the neutral mind, allowing us the perspective to balance the warnings offered by the negative mind with the optimism of the positive mind and see reality for what it truly is beyond the veil of maya.  The gift of the sixth chakra is to see beneath the surface.  A balanced Ajna chakra gives insight and strong intuition – the ability to perceive what is, and a strong imagination – the ability to see what is possible.

Los Angeles Spraypaint of the Third Eye Chakra
Los Angeles Spraypaint of the Third Eye Chakra

Continue reading “Ajna Chakra”

Vishuddi, The Throat Chakra

The fifth chakra vibrates to the color blue and governs communication.  This chakra sits over our throat and literally gives a voice to our internal inspirations and creativity.  Thus, the Vishuddi chakra is a chakra of manifestation; connecting Shiva with Shakti, limitless potential with life-giving energy and consciousness.

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The throat chakra finds expression through speaking, chanting, and singing.  When one is able to clearly state one’s unique view on the world, the throat chakra is open and energy is moving freely.  Continue reading “Vishuddi, The Throat Chakra”

Japa Japa Japa Jai!

Many people talk to me about the struggle of overcoming the mind.  It’s interesting to note that this often appears to be a unique problem that we each are struggling with much more than other more well-adjusted people.  Luckily, that this struggle is unique and separate is only an illusion.  The busy chatter of the mind is one of the blessed challenges that we’ve been gifted with overcoming as part of the One Human Condition.

We’re offered many options from different cultures and religion for how to overcome the monkey mind, from devotion to others, keeping too busy in our external worlds to listen to the internal messages, and of course, prayer, yoga, and meditation.  Patanjali speaks of using a mantra as a connection to the divine by repeating mantra while seated in meditation and throughout your day.  This is called Japa Yoga, and I’ve found it to be very helpful in interrupting negative or repetitive thought patterns.

Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya

Continue reading “Japa Japa Japa Jai!”

Find Your Path

When you align yourself with intention, the universe begins to open for you.  That’s not to say that suddenly your days become easier, the dishes do themselves, and responsibility fades away.  However, when you begin to take action towards a goal – no matter how small the action — the goal gets closer to you.

“When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.”

~Yogi Bhajan

Sometimes it’s difficult to take action because you don’t have a clear idea of what the goal is.  In those instances, quiet yourself.

Breath of Life by Dizzyflower28
Breath of Life by Dizzyflower28

Continue reading “Find Your Path”