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Showing posts from March, 2010

Some days are like that, even in Australia!

It's Wednesday night, 11:35pm. I've written and deleted 3 posts. I probably should just go to bed and put this day behind me. But here we go, last attempt.

Have you ever read that kids book called "Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day"? If you haven't read it, read it. You'll appreciate it. I think of that story whenever I have a day like I did today.

What yoga tools can I use today when everything I did wasn't good enough and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't please anyone? Um.... This is a tough one.

Should I try to remember that everything is perfect? -- I don't know. maybe that would help.

How about remembering that this too shall pass? -- Getting closer.

Okay, I got it. Remember the movie The Lion King? That scene when the monkey hits Simba over the head with his walking stick. Simba says "hey! why did you do that!"
The monkey replies "What does it matter? it's in the past" --

Tomorrow this day…

Day5- Gayatri mantra sadhana

I'd love to tell you that I've had some profound spiritual awakening or felt "kundalini rising" but that would be a total lie. Lying would be
not following the ethical code set down for us by Patanjali in the yoga sutras. Therefore, I'm going to tell you like it is.

This morning I felt like I was meditating in a cage with a bunch of those crazy little monkeys you see in the zoo. You know the ones, they are the ones jumping around, yelling and screaming, rattling their cages to get your attention. Today, they were rattling my cage!

I start off in a comfortable seated posture, I take a few release breaths, close my eyes and begin the mantra. So far so good. It isn't long before I notice a strange sound.

my mind says " Oh, maybe that's the nada yoga sounds I've been reading about".
(It wasn't. It was the sound of the laptop on the table".
I go back to the mantra.....
then my mind says "OMG! did I give my boss the right information …

Life is a puzzle

My family and I have been doing puzzles. We started when we were snowed in and we've completed several really big puzzles together. I set up a folding table in the living room for the puzzle we're working on. I dare you to walk past it and not try to find at least one piece. Then when you find one you get so excited that you decide to look for just one more. Before you know it.... you're hooked.

This current puzzle is impossible. All the pieces look exactly the same. As I was looking at the pieces trying to find just one piece that fits my mind started wandering. I was thinking about how impossible it is to look at one piece and know what the whole picture will look like. Sort of like life. It's impossible to know the whole picture of our lives by looking at just one piece. I think about this sometimes when I'm struggling to understand why things happen. Why we have to struggle so much. Why people have to suffer. I try to remember, when I'm struggling with a di…

Day #2 - Gayatri mantra sadhana

My family just went out for a little while and my ears are ringing!! Have you experienced this? There is so much noise and commotion that when you do find yourself in silence you can still hear the residual noise in your mind?

It's the same with mantra meditation. At first you repeat the mantra out loud, then silently to yourself and then you "hear" the mantra in your mind.

When my mind is racing out of control, like it is right now, I chant mantras. Lately the Gayatri mantra is what I've been "hearing" in my mind. The night before last I was reading a book my teacher gave me. The chapter was about doing a Gayatri mantra sadhana (spiritual practice).

**The Gayatri mantra can be found in a previous post titled The power of Nature**

Noticing the synchronicity of things and acknowledging that the universe provides for us exactly what we need, I have begun a Gayatri mantra sadhana. I will be doing 1mala (108 repetitions) of this powerful mantra each day for the …

My crazy life

Today was a crazy busy day. I had to get my daughter to school by 7:30am - so a teacher could help her with a project - that's what she told me anyway. Rush to work after that. I work in a very busy insurance agency with some very stressed out co-workers. I rush to pick up my son, race home to make dinner, do homework, clean up the dishes so that I can race to teach a yoga class. Funny isn't it, the thought of rushing to a yoga class.

Once I get there, walking into the studio feels like walking into an embrace. I love that space. It feels like home. I admire the new carpets and the freshly painted walls as I walk around and light the candles, put on some beautiful music. Sam Rosetto's Lotus Tatoo was my choice tonight. After a crazy, busy day the sweet sounds of this beautiful CD was just what I needed to get into the "yoga zone".

I'm thinking now of my friend yoga Lu. During our teacher training together whenever we had to practice teach each other her feedb…

Help! My mind has been hi-jacked by a drunken monkey!

Have you ever listened to children talking to each other? I mean really listened to the things they say; their conversations. It's really quite entertaining. The other thing I find entertaining is listening to people excitedly talking about T.V. shows they watch.

I've spend most of the day today in this space of observation. In addition to observing others around me I've also been observing the random thoughts in my own mind and watching how these thoughts affect my mood. I watched my mind take a small random thought and toss it around in my mind until I had created an entire "soap opera" in my head. Someone saying something in passing, which they probably don't remember once it leaves their lips, my mind has obsessed over it. "What did she mean by that?" "Did I do something to offend her without even noticing?" "Should I ask her to clarify?" on and on......

Do you ever just observe your thought process? Try it. It's really e…

The power of Nature

GAYATRI MANTRA
Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo devasya Dhimahi
D'yo Yona Prachodhyat.

translation: Earth, Mid-heaven, Heaven! Let us meditate on that most excellent light of Divine sun, That it may illuminate our minds.

I've been teaching a Sunday morning yoga class at Seva Retreat now since November.
Since I start there I've been thinking about teaching outside. The grounds of the facility are beautiful. Well, today was the day! We dragged our mats and blankets outside and set ourselves up on the lawn over looking the pond.

With our feet feeling the support of the earth beneath us - (literally), we swept our arms up over our heads as we look up at beautiful blue sky and feel the warmth of Surya, we began our Sun Salutations. The sound of the birds serenading us while we practiced was the most lovely music ever! We ended our practice with meditation.

One of the students mentioned how powerful meditating outside was for her. I totally agree. The closer to nature …

How to deal with difficult people - lesson 1

I was chatting with a fellow meditator once, about a year or so after we both started meditating regularly. "Why is it that since I've been meditating I'm finding myself more annoyed by people? Shouldn't meditating make me more tolerant and more patient?" She asks. I too was finding it challenging to deal with difficult people. That was a long time ago but I was reminded of this conversation today.

I spend the last 3 days attending Shiva Das' morning yoga retreat. I spent the mornings in the most wonderful, supportive, nurturing environment and the afternoons enjoying the sunshine, reading, spending time with my children. Today, I returned, reluctantly, to my normal routine of work and chores and well, stress. I found myself thinking about that conversation from long ago. "Why am I feeling annoyed by people and their drama?" "I'm a yogini damn it! shouldn't I not be affected by the negativity?"

All these years later I have come to t…

Vishuddi Chakra

Do you remember that feeling of being self-conscious that you had in high school?
For me it was especially present during 9th grade swim class. Oh! I remember feeling like I'd rather stick a fork in my eye than to put on a bathing suite in front of my peers! I had a flash back of that feeling today during yoga class.

The theme for this morning's class was the Vishuddi Chakra (the throat). I knew that the dreaded Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) would be part of the practice. Shoulderstand increases the blood supply to the throat, head and brain and it opens us up to new ideas. All great reasons to practice this asana, I know, but I hate it. There, I admit it, I hate shoulderstand! My body just isn't made for shoulderstand.
Today we used the wall to gently move into shoulderstand which I do prefer but I couldn't help feeling self-conscious about the fact that I just can't do this asana.
How can I call myself a yoga teacher when I can't even do Shoulderstand?!

Here…

Perfection

"Everything is perfect" my beloved teacher is always telling me. My mind is saying "Perfect? maybe in yogaland but not here in the real world where I live!"
But I love and trust my teacher and I know he wouldn't steer me wrong so let's take a journey here and explore this idea of "everything is perfect". Where I have seen perfection is in the synchronicity of life. Yesterday I sat outside to read. Here is the first thing I read:

"Thou art divine. Live up to it. Feel and realize thy divine nature. Thou art the master of your destiny. do not be discouraged when sorrows, difficulties and tribulations manifest in the daily battle of life. Draw up courage and spiritual strength from within. There is a vast inexhaustible magazine of power and knowledge within. Learn the ways to tap the source. Dive deep within. Sink down. Plunge in the sacred waters of Immortality. You will be quite refreshed, renovated and vivified when you go to the divine source …

My Bhavana for this Blog

I often start my day by setting an intention for myself. As I mentioned in the previous post, this week it's about practicing contentment. The beauty of setting an intention is that the universe graciously provides us with opportunities to practice. (Try to remember this - this is key) When we are faced with challenges we need to look at those challenges as the universe giving us opportunities to practice yoga. Real yoga, the yoga that happens when you step off the mat. That's what I hope to share with this blog, how to apply what you learn on the mat to your life off the mat.

It's so easy to practice contentment while your practicing yoga with your favorite teacher. Who doesn't feel contentment there? It's another thing practicing contentment when you have 4 people pulling you in 4 different directions. What yogic "tools" can we use in that situation to practice contentment? Well, think about Vrksasana (tree pose). How do you find balance? Grounding in T…

Samtosha = Contentment

This week's bhavana (intention) is Samtosha, contentment. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali says "By contentment, supreme joy is gained". Swami Satchidananda's translation goes on to say "Contentment means just to be as we are without going to outside things for our happiness. Means neither to like nor dislike."

Contentment means accepting what is without judgements, without disappointments. Simply accepting. It's so incredibly difficult for someone like me, who is always expecting things to be "the way they are suppose to be". Whenever there is an expectation there is almost always disappointment. I've learned that in order to truly experience Samtosha you need to trust. Trust in the Divine. Without trust in the Divine, Samtosha is impossible.

I set this intention as my bhavana for my yoga class today. I was expecting several people for class. The weather was awful this morning and as I was driving to class a tree had fallen and blocked my way…