Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to deal with hectic lives

It's been a couple of weeks since the last post (dedicated to my dear friend Sarah), and I've got a few moments to focus on what to offer you.

What comes to me is the idea of being gentle with ourselves.

These past few weeks I have been very busy reorganizing my life's investments and taking care of loose ends. I've started a new job, reached out to several new yoga studios, and taken on independent ventures that include sharing yoga to the office people at my primary job. It's been a mess of research, digital notes, follow-up phone calls, commuting and sleeping. But with all the fever of manifestation, I witnessed that ideas and goals I had begun to think about months and even years ago were beginning to take form in my everyday life. It's an exciting experience, and also a bit intimidating. I am constantly reminding myself to step out of the way and, sometimes, this helps put my mind in it's proper place. Due to all the shifting and reorganizing, my hatha yoga practice has gone by the wayside slightly. I've found that gentle stretches at the wall, hip openers and wrist rolls have become something of a routine just before bed.

I've also observed this kind of compression in my friend's lives as well. Life is pregnant [in some cases, literally] with new endeavors, new arrangements. A lot of energy, thinking and time gets invested in supporting the shift and it can be too easy to beat ourselves up for not remaining disciplined to our practice. As a way to cope, I've begun enlisting the support of mantra. I will sing well-loved mantra's to myself in the car, or think to myself, "come what may," enough times to feel connected to my breathing.

When our lives become hectic and our attention is needed in other areas to support important changes to occur, it is reassuring to know that yoga shows up in a variety of ways, to support our body-mind through the transitions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Can't sleep? Try this

"Find your breath" I say sometimes when I'm teaching.

Find your breath right now, as you are reading this. Are you inhaling or exhaling?
Now listen for the opposite. Think of your breath happening in cycles, one inhale and one exhale is the same as one breath cycle.

Find your breath, again. Notice how your belly moves while you breathe.
Take 2 breath cycles to focus just on how your belly moves.

Continue breathing, and for the next 2 breath cycles, notice the temperature of your breath as it moves passed your nostrils.
As you inhale, the air is cool.
As you exhale, the air is warm.

Now take 2 breath cycles noticing both the temperature of air coming in and out of your nose, and the way your belly rises and falls as you breathe.
As you inhale, cool air comes into your nose as your belly expands.
As you exhale, warm air leaves your nose as your belly draws in toward your spine.

Take a few more breath cycles with your eyes closed, and this time bring your attention to your breath as it travels through your body, from the nose to the belly and back again.

Keep bringing your attention to the movement of your breath, and observe the calming effects that this particular breath practice has on your body-mind.

Practice this anytime you feel anxious, nervous or are having trouble sleeping.

In joy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is Mantra?

Mantra is a word or phrase used to bring the mind into stillness. It is usually an audible sound, but can also be performed silently in the mind, like a chant. The mantra is repeated many times until a greater level of stillness is achieved.

Check this video out - it is a ganesha mantra, most known for removing obstacles and bringing mental clarity. Start the video and sit back to listen, join in if you like and notice how you feel after the chant is finished.

Also, something I've been reading frequently this month...

From the Power Path's August horoscope:

August 8-15: You will either be feeling like you have just gotten on the right track or you will be feeling out of control, despairing and confused. This is where you need to turn things over to spirit and to your unseen helpers and allies. This is where the energy accelerates and your mind will have to give up trying to control and figure it out. This is where you have to trust that your intentions will carry you where you need to go. If you are feeling right on track, experiencing synchronicity and things falling into place almost magically, then make sure to pay attention to the details to insure nothing falls through the cracks in your expanded state of awareness. Take time for gratitude for spirit and your allies. Take nothing for granted and continue to upgrade your environment and raise the vibration of your experience.

Sleep well readers!