Friday, October 28, 2011
For the past two weeks, I have been traveling through Peru with a group of people seeing the many sites and learning about the extraordinary history of the pre-Inka time. Our guide has been a Shaman, but in his native land of Peru, he would be called a Paco, which means Healer. Not only have we been the typical tourists seeing the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, but we've also have the opportunity to sit with our Paco and do some healing work with plant medicine.
During one of our journeys, it was revealed to me that it was time to step into my higher being. What does that mean? And how do I do that? It came to me that I have the ability, strength, and talent, to express myself more openly and freely. This expression will be reflected in the work that I do (Life Coaching, teaching yoga, etc.) and how I relate to people (i.e. my friends, colleagues, and families.) How do I know how to do this? While on my journey, I saw the image of a Bear. In some cultures, the Bear represents Wisdom. Wisdom is found when the Bear goes into quiet hibernation for the winter. In his sleep, answers of Truth are revealed to him that he will be able to share in the Spring. What I learned from this journey that it is important to take time to move into that silence. Settle into my quiet cave at times to allow my dreams to generate which will be later revealed and expressed.
It is not necessary for YOU to go to Peru to do this kind of self exploration. You don't necessarily need to have a Shaman or Paco take you on a plant medicine journey to have these things revealed to you. As you continue to practice yoga, whether it's in a studio, gym, or at home, you can have answers revealed to you. Take the time to sit in stillness. Focus on your breath. Find and feel that quiet within you. Create a space within your mind and heart that allows your Truth to be revealed. As you practice this quiet time regularly, it really doesn't need to be more than 2 or 3 minutes a day, you can experience this clarity. Information will come to you which will guide you along your life journey. As you move forward, you may find that you are stepping into a Higher Sense of Self, your Greatest Potential, your own Higher Being.
Friday, October 21, 2011
As I travel to Peru, I have the fortunate pleasure to be with people from many walks of life. Fifteen of us traveling to a distant land. Fifteen strangers with the desire to visit a new place and experience brand new adventures. Fifteen people of different genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, ages, religious backgrounds, and even different countries of origins. On the exterior, it looks like we are a by divided group. However, as we come together and learn of our intentions on this vision quest, we come to find that we have very similar intentions. Many of us come to Peru to find a deeper connection to ourselves - to delve deeper into our truest identity.
It is like this with yoga. There are many styles of yoga: Hatha, Bhakti, Karma, Raja, and many other ways to practice. I recently read in T.K.V. Desikachar's book, The Heart of Yoga, that although there are many styles of yoga, they all lead to the same place. These many spokes of the wheel all lead to the center intention: Enlightenment. It really does not matter what style of yoga you decide to practice, just as long as you DO practice. We are all headed in the same direction. So if you choose to sit and practice Pranayama or experience dynamic movement and poses in an Ashtanga Vinyasa class, you are headed in the same direction. If you decide to sing devotions to Siva in Bhakti Yoga or sweat in a 106 degree studio while doing Bikram Yoga, you are heading toward the same goal. Our paths may be different, but the destination is the same: finding your Truth. Connecting to your Divine Being.
Just practice. Namaste.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
"The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered 'Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.'"
I was struck by this quote and was aware how true this is. We spend so much time working, sacrificing our own health, that we forget to actually LIVE. We ultimately forget to live in the PRESENT because we are so concerned about the future...something that essentially does not exist.
When practicing yoga, we are encouraged to remain in the present moment while focusing on our breath and postures. But even in Hatha Yoga, we are still in motion as we flow from pose to pose. I thought it would be appropriate, therefore, to focus on a yoga pose where the body and mind are in stillness: Savasana.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This pose is typically done at the end of a yoga practice. After having moved through your poses: twists, backbends, lunges, balances, etc., the body then is ready for rest, peace, and relaxation. The asanas (poses) get us more in tuned with our bodies - with ourselves. It is essentially the "work" that reflects the daily activities of our lives. When we come to Savasana, our work is done, and it is time to relax - to be still. I would hope that we are practicing the same thing in our everyday lives: find moments of peace and stillness in between our active and busy schedules.
In response to the Dalai Lama, I thought it appropriate to take a moment and practice that stillness. Take a break from work and the acquisition of money that compromises our health. Take a break from worrying about the future to savor and appreciate the present.
Lie flat on your back on your yoga mat. If necessary, use cushions, bolsters, or blankets in order to find complete relaxation while you lie in Savasana. Your legs are straight out in front of you, your torso is straight, your arms lying relaxed at your side. Your neck is in full alignment with your spine, and your eyes are closed. Allow your feet, legs, hips, back, and shoulders to fully relax and become one with the yoga mat - one with the Earth. This seems like an easy pose. On the surface, it is. But it is also considered one of the more challenging postures in yoga because of the intention: to be in stillness, to be present. When our bodies get relaxed like this, our minds tend to go into overdrive; it begins to think about things from the past and things in the future. It has a difficulty time remaining focused on the present. To help you, focus MORE on your breath. Breathe in a way that allows you to feel your breath and hear your breath. When you breathe with such intention, it is difficult to think about other things. This practice keeps the body and mind in the present moment. Stay here for as long as you like. It is also okay to set an intention here. It may be as simple as an intention of Peace and Stillness. Or maybe you're searching for Clarity and Ease. Whatever it is, keep it simple so that the main "work" here is to be in complete stillness.
Remember what the Dalai Lama teaches us from the above statement about humanity: live and enjoy the present.