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!
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
“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!
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.
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
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.
I am working on the final touches of my workshop, and I am pretty excited about sharing it with you! In this workshop you will explore the Koshas, using them as a roadmap for deepening your connection to your energy bodies. We will be discussing, practicing, breathing, meditating, and journaling. I hope to see you there!
For more information, and to register:
Kosha Workshop Flyer
Stretching the chest is essential for most of us! These five are great variations. I also would add a sixth restorative variation: Supine over a yoga bolster or a rolled blanket. Place the bolster behind you on the floor, with your hips on the floor and touching the end of the bolster. Lay back along the length of the bolster. Your head should be supported on the bolster, or with an additional pillow or folded blanket. Your legs can be straight on the floor, or bent with the bottoms of your feet together and knees apart on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor at about shoulder high, or slightly lower, palms up. Stay for 2-3 minutes, breathing comfortably.