One day my favorite much-used mala broke. I set about re-making it, and haven’t stopped knotting since! During my early teens I had a passion for making macrame jewelry. It was tiny, intricate work that I loved very much. Making malas has reconnected me with that early creative drive.
Japamala (mantra recitation) is a significant part of my yoga practice, and I use my malas to recite mantra during meditation. There are 108 beads (not counting seed beads, extra decorative elements, or the guru bead) on a full mala. Each round of 108 recitations is like sending out 108 prayers to the universe.
My little labor of love is now LIVE on ETSY! I design and hand-knot unique one-of-a-kind japa malas. I also offer custom made-to-order malas, along with repair or restring of an existing mala. Each mala I create is imbued with mantra as I knot. My intention is for these small offerings to bring peace to each wearer/user. It would bring me great joy if you checked my little shop out. Please share and/or favorite!
Look for the NEW! CUSTOM MALA JEWELRY link in the menu. Or, click the link below.
“When the storms of life come, if they come to me personally, to my family, or to the world, I want to be strong enough to stand and be a strength to somebody else, be shelter for somebody else.”
–Anne Graham Lotz
Self-care in these turbulent times are essential, not just for ourselves, but also for our loved-ones, our neighbors, our fellow human beings sharing this beautiful planet we call Earth.
I have had many moments over the last three weeks where thoughts, fears, and feelings have overcome me. I know I am not alone in this. If you are feeling overwhelmed by emotions, reach out and talk to someone, write it out, dance it out, get some sunshine, pet your beloved dog or cat, do yoga, do any positive activity that helps to balance/level out the intensity of the energy you are feeling.
Some of my self-care go to’s are:
Limiting my daily news exposure to once, maybe twice, a day–like a status check-in.
Keeping a daily routine of showering and dressing like I would if it were a normal day (e.g., no pajamas, wearing my AppleWatch–the activity tracker is a great motivator, putting on mascara–yep!).
Making a healthy, yummy smoothie every morning.
Getting out for a walk, or a bicycle ride, in the neighborhood every single day.
Meditation. Every morning, first thing when I wake up.
And finally, I have been slowly (and quietly) creating a Vimeo video channel for a while now. There you will find my past videos, and new ones. Some are guided meditations that are useful for reducing stress (Yoga Nidra, Leaf Meditation, and 4-7-8 Breath). The newest videos are active sequences designed to get the body open and moving. Find the videos here: Claudia on Vimeo
As we continue to navigate the waters of these strange times we are in, I am slowly working on adding more online video offerings. Some are guided meditations that help you to ground and find peace. Others are short sessions on improving active ROM. My newest one is 20 minutes of standing leg strengthening and stretching. My hope is that they are useful and helpful!
Contentment brings supreme happiness–so translates Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 2.42. This contentment (santosha) is the result of being just as we are, without going to outside things for our happiness. Things come, and we let them come. If they do not, it does not matter. Letting go of attachments allows us to rest in the here and now, content, not living in the past and not anticipating the future. In this way, it could be said, we walk the middle way.
When we review those occasions when we have been truly happy, “…we shall almost certainly find that they had one characteristic in common. There were times when, for this or that reason, we temporarily ceased to feel anxious; when we lived–as we so seldom do–in the depths of the present moment without regretting the past or worrying about the future.” [Christopher Isherwood]
Practicing santosha actively in our lives requires a certain amount of willingness to enjoy exactly what each moment brings, no matter how it arrives or what it contains. Peace of mind can never be dependent on external circumstances, which are always changing in ways beyond our control. It is easy to practice santoshawhen things are going well. But, if we are able to be content when things are difficult, then we are truly free.
We practice santosha in small ways on our mats, by accepting what our practice looks and feels like, just as it is, on any given day. Daily, hourly, even moment to moment, we continuously practice letting go of the past. As my teacher puts it, “Hold close the yogic premise that whatever we have in the present moment is enough.”
A mantra practice to try anywhere, anytime: Breathe in, “I am.” Breathe out, “Enough.”
My favorite time of the year is just around the corner–Fall! It is the perfect time to contemplate how prosperity is manifesting in your life right here, right now. The universe, your physical body, your mental thoughts, the objects and people that surround you, abundance both given and received, are energy bound in different forms. This month we will be exploring prosperity and abundance, both physically and energetically, via our hips and mantra.
Mantra is a repeated word or phrase that is meaningful or sacred to the practitioner. Mantra can elevate or modify consciousness, through meaning, sound, rhythm, tone, and reflexology of the tongue against the palate of the mouth. Mantra helps us connect with, and embody, positive, meaningful, or sacred energy. One of my favorite mantras we will be working with this month is “Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha.” This mantra invokes the energy of Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity who is known as the Remover of Obstacles and the Lord of Beginnings. Ganesha helps clear the way for success and abundance to flow more readily in our lives. Below is a brief video clip of me working with this particular mantra. And, just in case you were wondering–after watching the clip–mantra can also be silent! Chanting or singing out loud is always optional.