Metta For These Times

I close each of my yoga classes with an offering to all beings everywhere, that they may have happiness and be free from suffering.   These two wishes are part of The Four Immeasurables, as described by Lord Buddha, which consist of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity.  We work with these four qualities so that we may cultivate wholesome attitudes towards all sentient beings.

Loving-kindness, the first immeasurable, is the wish that everyone, without exception, have happiness.   Loving-kindness feels much the same as the sincere good wishes a mother feels toward her new-born infant–that he or she will enjoy good health, be intelligent and successful, and make good friends.  This immeasurable counters ill-will.

Compassion, the second of the immeasurables, is the wish that everyone be free from suffering.  When we witness suffering by those close to us, family, friends, even a pet, we experience the ordinary quality of compassion.  To reach the sublime level of compassion, is to extend it out to all sentient beings in all realms of existence.  This immeasurable counters cruelty.

My wish, as we navigate our post-election world, is that we remind ourselves on a daily basis to connect with loving-kindness and compassion.

See you on the mat!


THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings never be separated from the happiness that knows no suffering.
May all beings live in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.


 

Dying To Our Perceptions

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.”
–Pema Chödrön

The leaves are beginning to turn, a final blaze of color to close out another year of growth.  Fall is a time for letting go of old clothes, old habits, old ways of being.  Echoing Pema’s quote, each and every time we turn to face our fears is an opportunity to shed them.  To also quote my teacher, Jennifer Prugh, we continue to “die to our perceptions, over and over” until we reach the eternal, indestructible Truth.

This month we will explore the themes of letting go and riding the waves of change.  What does your world look like when experienced upside down? Do you resist flipping your perspective?  Why is that, and is it True?

See you on the mat!

Harvest time!

Namaste my fellow yogi/yoginis!

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.

See you on the mat!

Meditation Myths & Truths

Truth.  No one type of meditation is better than another.  What matters most is consistent, persistent practice of a method that feels right to you.  We will be practicing consistency today, 2:00-2:30pm at Breathe Los Gatos.  See you on the cushion!

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/3-myths-about-meditationand-the-truth?utm_campaign=Weekly+Newsletter&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=32798269&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9Dx_s7Oh_Q-UtMXlxtezt6nrzvMwLh14Ofd_Lva_I8wRswj_A5YBMx2DjMyMZ5JIXWWc1EFyNQ0COSo-wDeOi077EIesHQokeoImRBKDtoEoCE7Uo&_hsmi=32798269

Summer Challenge

Looking for a fun little challenge this summer that will up the peace quotient in your life?  The Breathe Los Gatos 2016 Summer Games begin June 5th!  The Summer Games are a fantastic opportunity to check out yoga classes you’ve never taken, and to help you establish a regular yoga practice.  Full participation includes a chance to win some amazing raffle prizes!

Full details here:  http://breathelosgatos.com/?tribe_events=summer-challenge-2016

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Compassion in Action

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.  It’s a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” –Pema Chödrön

Compassion in action begins with self.  Notice how many moments during your average day, when you are unkind to yourself.  Self-judgement, feelings of unworthiness, comparison of self versus another are just a few of the ways we are unkind toward ourselves.  This month we will explore the many ways we can soften the relationship we have with self and others.

See you on the mat!

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The Essential Breath

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras outlines an eight limbed path to self-realization, or enlightenment, called ashtanga.  Ashtanga translates literally to eight (ashta) limb (anga).  Pranayama, or breath control, is the fourth limb, and one of the key components to both asana practice (the third limb) and meditation (dhyana, the seventh limb).  Breath both carries and sustains us during asana practice, and provides an anchor for meditation.  Pausing and paying attention to our breath is also very useful in everyday life, helping us to respond rather than react when encountering stressors.  Join me this week for dedicated pranayama practice, along with meditation, at our new time:  Breath & Meditation, 2:00pm, Fridays, Breathe Los Gatos.

P.S.  This video gives a beautiful explanation of the science behind breathing and its affect on the nervous system.

Watch ‘The Science of Breathing’

Yes! Dessert Can Be Healthy!

Berries are some of my all time favorite fruits to eat.  Mix in a little shaved dark chocolate, and you have one heavenly bowl of goodness.  Try this dessert out tonight!  http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/recipe-for-health-cherry-berry-fruit-salad-with-shaved-dark-chocolate?utm_source=FitnessConnect%20February%202016&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=February%20Client%20Newsletter%202016%20(8)

Breath Science

We do it every day, every moment of every hour in a day, and usually with very little thought devoted to it.  Breathing.  Inhaling and exhaling.  Simple and autonomous, and yet so much more.  B. K. S. Iyengar wrote that prāna is “breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy, or strength.”  Prānāyāma is essentially the science of breathing.  Body and mind, breath and mind, are inextricably linked together.  When we work with our breath, we directly affect and influence the physiology of the body.  Steady, even inhalations and exhalations help balance and regulate the nervous system.  Longer exhalations shift the body in to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is calming and soothing to the body (think slowing down of the heartbeat).

As the body calms, desire diminishes and the mind settles.  This is why in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, prānāyāma is described as a precursor to concentration.  Concentration is one of the core precepts of meditation.  With a calm mind, meditation becomes effortless instead of a struggle.  Then we can begin the work of sifting through the layers of “stuff”–thoughts, feelings, memories, emotions, boredom, the endless play of life–until we reach Source.

Beginning this week and continuing through the year, we will be learning and practicing a series of prānāyāma techniques as an integral part of our meditation practice.  Join me every Friday, 1:30-2:00pm, Breath & Meditation, Breathe Los Gatos. http://breathelosgatos.com

How to Exit “Auto-pilot” Mode

Remember back to the last time you got angry, or upset, about a situation or a comment.  How was the next hour or the rest of your day affected?  Emotional reactions often feel like overwhelming surges that keep us caught in their momentum, making it difficult to respond with thoughtfulness or any kind of awareness.

This article gives a very simple and accessible way to handle the release of difficult emotions.  The next time you find yourself caught in a web of reactionary emotional responses to a situation, take a moment to simply pause.  Slow down and BREATH.  Then RELAX.  FEEL, WATCH, and ALLOW the felt physiological sensations to wash through before making a response.

http://invokemagazine.com/practice-series-a-brain-scientists-advice-for-letting-go/?fb_action_ids=10153764293322250&fb_action_types=og.likes