Love

Many people write of love. Love, love, love how do we feel when it arises in us. ? Blissful, wise, connected, grateful, ,expansive, ancient, generous, forgiving, compassionate, still, grounded,sparkling, slowed down, understanding, humble, wonderous,creative, poetic ,aware, joyful,strong,speechless,calm,peaceful,content,caring,
jumping inside with health. hope, grace….. and on and on.

In communion with nature, How?

Slow the breath down, sit or stand and absorb, focused and in the  centre of your being, feel, look,(see)  be aware. Listen around you not allowing any  distractions to sway your attention. Go beyond the visual impact and sense the atmosphere, the energy of where you are now all around you. See if you feel at once wonderous and humble being in the company of such a creation, the nuances all deeply impactful, the intricate web, the vastness of space, the dance of this energy in all of it`s forms noone else can be you, as well , only you.

If you are not in nature at this time remember a time when you felt these feelings of connection go back to that time and rest in this bliss and  joy for several minutes  returning again here when the mind wanders.

When challenged is it possible to understand and forgive on some level?
Buddha said when we are angry and pick up a hot coal from the fire to throw at the object of our anger we are the ones that get burnt. Does this apply to jealousy,hate, irritation, negativity  as well?

And in the reverse the Dalai Lama says  that kindness is his religion.

There are lots of Essential Oils for relaxation these are some of my favourites.

Ylang Ylang

Sandalwood

Rose and Rose Geranium ( A couple of drops rubbed clockwise on the centre of the sternum)

Patchouli

Myrhh

To be used with your discretion and instructions from a supplier aromatherapist.

With Love

 

 

 

Karma

Let’s begin with a story

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life

“A fight is going on inside me” he said to the boy.

It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One is evil- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,

arrogance ,self-pity ,guilt, resentment ,inferiority, lies

false pride, superiority, fear and ego. The other is good-

he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,

kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth,

compassion, creativity and faith. This same fight is going on inside

you – and inside every other person too

The grandson thought about it for a minute and

then asked his grandfather, “which wolf will win?”

the old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed”

Swami Muktananda wrote

“When you experience the inner Self, or God, your bad karma is automatically destroyed. All you need to do is strive earnestly to experience the inner Self. Don’t worry about good or bad karma.It’s wrong to think that after all your karma is exhausted will you experience the Self. It is  really the other way around, when you experience the Self , all your karma is burned up. Its delusion to think that that when darkness leaves, the sun comes., What actually happens is that first the sun appears and then darkness leaves. When the inner Self is seen, when the Inner Self is experienced, all doubts are torn away, the knot in the heart is untied and all karma is destroyed.

Through meditation you can know your own inner Self. That one who understands the most secret things inside you is the Self.. For Example, when you are in sleep there is someone who watches everything , who witnesses everything, who understands everything even though you are asleep and then when you wake up, that being tells you what you have seen in your dream. That being is the Self, so meditate on that inner Self.

Meditate on your Self ,

Worship your Self,

Honor you Self,

God dwells within you as you”

end of quote.

When you are a yoga practitioner it is considered selfless service to help and love others in your community, raise your children to the best of your ability and  to work with others in the world providing love and encouragement when you are able. Create a happy home for yourself let it become your own sanctuary from the world, keeping it clean and tidy,  burn a fragrant  candle or incense, play  uplifting  music. Goldie Horn the American actress said her home was a place free from gossip. Kabir was a poet saint who was a weaver and a householder.

Avoid holding on to outcomes of recent  arguments practice instead relaxation techniques, listening to your breath, practice yoga asana and let  go as often it is fear we want  to let go of . Become aware of what it is you are thinking anger, fear, frustration, jealousy etc. be aware of how these stressful thoughts are making you feel, the sensations in your body and mind and then say to your self I release all these feelings of  fear and anger etc. continue  saying to your self ” I release” until you notice you feel clear . Do these practices earlier on in the day  so when you go to bed in the evening you can relax. Reflect back on your day and 5 reasons to be grateful for what occurred. Sometime the list is very long.

Remember to come back to love and respect for your self and love and respect for the other person even if they are  only 2 years old !! Open the doors and windows and let in lots of fresh air and blow away the  stale air and energy.

As Rumi the poet says”‘ Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers not thunder”‘

The Dalai Lama is an inspiration even having to flee his homeland along with his fellow Tibetians  he recommends to behave with  compassion for your enemies.

Karma means action “‘what you sow so shall you reap”‘ . Within the acorn is an oak tree but first the acorn  has to planted,  watered,  fed and taken care of. If all of this is done with  good intention and focused  attention the acorn can grow to be a magnificent oak tree. On the other hand if we are careless, indifferent, unmindful of what we are doing the tree may not flourish like we hoped it would.

With Karma there is debit and credit system. Incorrect behaviour thoughts and feelings  go in the credit column but  loving thoughts and feelings for example that would go in the debit   column we are accountable and  responsible for our thoughts and actions. Debit karma should outweigh the credit karma as all action and thought has to be paid back at some point this life or the next. Reincarnation is linked to the idea of karma they go hand in hand. Do your best tomorrow is another day. Enjoy your life it is so precious.

There is a Zen Koan ” before enlightenment chopping wood carrying water after enlightenment  chopping wood carrying water”. When mistakes are made, pick your self up and go on.

Patanjali’s sutras talk about the Yamas and Niyamas these precepts bring  awareness and define  a way to  live  a life that creates harmony for us.

Non violence: in action and thought. Ghandi inspired a nation  when he and his followers walked to the coast for salt in a non violent protest against British rule.

It is said that when someone is truly non violent, animals and birds feel safe to come close and the earth is happy it is walked upon by a truly peaceful,loving person.

Non violence means to develop a love of yourself, everything and everyone and to love the unlovable in ourself and others. This does not mean condoning bad habits Swami Nityananda says to be soft like butter and at the same time hard like steel.

Truth: being open and honest at the appropriate time allowing words and actions to heal not harm.

To remember that even though we appear to be separate we are all one on an energetic level.

Knowing what is right and what is wrong, taking responsibility for our actions and thoughts.

Nonstealing: To be free from craving unnecessary things.

Non stealing means giving recognition and congratulations to others when they have achieved something as well as not desiring what others have be it  for example fame or fortune.

Not taking away the energy of others with negative thoughts, feelings, gossiping etc.

Restraint; Discrimination and moderation choosing the middle way. Choosing to be restrained in our choices and  not excessive.

Purity: Remember there is a higher reality. Look around and see the wonder of this creation. How the earth turns around a central sun, the order of the seasons, everything is in motion even though it appears still, even the rocks and inanimate objects are moving and pulsing , our own physiology/ phychology is wonderous. Having  awareness of our  connection to this Universe in its apparent diversity of many different forms its oneness,movement ,grace and transformations.

Contentment: Being aware and grateful for the good in your life and the teachings and growth that occur because of difficulties. Pray that all beings be content and free including yourself.

Self discipline: try to practice at least 5 minutes a day of meditation even raising your arms overhead and connect with your breath and have a place for your mat or chair for your meditation somewhere in your home that you can go to on a  daily basis.

In a yoga asana when you reach a limit of sensations go 5 more breaths into the sensation but of course if painful cease immediately.

Not going the second coffee or muffin during the week or the extra spread of butter on your toast.!

Self observation or Self study, Every night on your bedside table have a book that inspires you and uplifts you  read a few paragraphs and contemplate them as you turn off the light and go to sleep.

In the daytime be aware of your surroundings and how you are affected by them and how you affect your surroundings. Be in nature somewhere everyday, sit under a tree be aware of the sky and color of the sky, the clouds and the night sky and all the stars.

Is there a particular prayer or Kirtan or mantra you like to recite or sing or listen to.?

Ramana Maharishi suggests to ask “Who am I?”

Surrender to God : All day we perform actions so at the end of the day or when you have completed  your meditation or hatha yoga  practice, offer or dedicate that all beings be content, healthy,  and tension free or another way  offer the blessings of your day and practice to your friends and family and even  others who you know or don’t know but  may be suffering at this time.

Surrender: Being an instrument of peace, understanding, love, joy, generosity for others and  to your self as well. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Contemplate walking a mile in someone’s else’s moccasins to understand them.

Swami Muktananda suggested to seek good company in your life.

and the poet

Rumi says”‘ Set your life on fire, Seek those who fan your flame”‘

“This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival. a joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all.

Treat each guest honourably.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

and then Rumi says

“Wherever you are, Whatever you are be in love”

 

With love

 

Being aware of our thoughts and feelings.

 

The dictionary states attachment is affection, fondness or sympathy for someone or something, a bond, closeness, devotion, loyalty, a feeling that binds one to a person, thing, cause or ideal.

Aversion is a strong feeling of dislike, opposition, repugnance, a cause or object of dislike, a desire to avoid that which displeases, annoys or defends.

Through yoga or “union” or to yoke together we hope to return to our natural state of connection with  our own true nature and the divinity in all. Under our skin there is a skeleton, digestive organs, heart, lungs and muscles etc. When we are born we are not aware of culture, religion or nationality or different physical differences. We as children are accepting of whoever and whatever comes to us. There is the time when we are very young that  we don’t worry what the future will bring to us or the past has delivered already, it is as it is. We are happy, radiant and carefree despite our circumstances.

We have approximately 50000 thoughts and a lot of them  repeat the same worries, fears, dialogues, and anxieties memories  of pain and pleasures.  Often these thoughts are the same over and over again about different stories, our relationship to different  people and situations, difficulties, the 6.30 news, music and words of songs, sport  making us separate from the ”present moment”  this internal dialogue  runs on and on and we feel disconnected from our relaxed way of being.

To remain free from attachment and aversion is quite a task. When we use our discrimination to examine our thoughts and feelings daily we can see there are happy  memories and fantasies but  there are also thoughts and feelings that cause us to be anxious or fearful. A useful technique to reverse these stressful feelings is by recognising  what there is to be grateful for. Name one thing about an experience , person or a place that was really nice and then recall another and another and allow yourself to feel thankful. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Give your self a mental break return to the  breath.

When we examine and just observe our thoughts, we can see helpful, caring thoughts about ourselves and others, and then  there are stressful thoughts which are not helped by disturbing newspaper  and  television reports, violent movies and games.  We can use our  discrimination to choose what we are placing into our minds , eyes and ears and  to observe our reactions, our feelings in our bodies when we expose ourselves to some forms of entertainment. Although on some levels media is educational and enjoyable there are studies proving a detrimental effect on our being as well.

Media is a tool to understanding ourselves and others better, to enjoy our planet and all its appartent diversity, it can be used wisely.

To be aware and mindful of what we put in our bodies in the form of food and drinks , using discrimination to negotiate a balance for the ongoing health of body and mind choosing healthy nourishing foods and drinks. Like the French lots of walking during the week and pastries on weekends. Eating like a king for breakfast , Prince or Princess  for lunch and a pauper for dinner even treating  fruit as a treat.

Patanjali suggests to become calm in life situations  cultivate an attitude of friendliness towards those that are happy, having compassion for the unhappy, delight for the virtuous, and disregard or be detached from  the wicked actions of others.(dislike the evil not the evil doer says Swami Amritananda (Amma.)  We can do this by first  writing out this sutra and placing it on the fridge and repeating  to ourselves  daily,  then being aware of what we are thinking, catching ourselves  and gradually over time as the trigger point situations or people come to us Patanjali’s advice arises in our mind and voila the sutra pops up. It releases all fear and love and kindness, discrimination remains. Yeah!!

The  thoughts are connected to the breath so if you are angry and averse to  life and stressed, you are breathing very fast alternatively when you feel in harmony and connected with yourself your breath will be slower and more at ease. You will  feel it rise and falling  in to the belly. Given that we are allotted a certain number of breaths each lifetime it makes sense to try to remain calm in the face of life’s challenges and yes there are many challenges we all know this. Transformation, healingand grace come in the form of  lessons  to help us become closer to our inner self of harmony and love.

We have expectations, frustrations and aversions  but allow the flow of life, jump in. Much easier to flow downstream rather than fight to go upstream. Sometimes we are attached to outcomes such as a completeing a difficult yoga asana, been successful at our chosen career path, we want to feel loved and respected  and safe in our relationships while all this is part of life it is not all of our life. We can become lost  and forget to return to the  stillness, joy, our innate and  beautiful  inner self deep inside us that does not require anything  outside of ourselves to be happy, alive and in our experience.

Mr BKS Iyengar

was quoted as saying

“You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists within your own body, heart, mind and soul.

Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless struggles and stresses of life.

There is a universal reality in ourselves that aligns us with a Universal reality that is everywhere.

The hardness of a diamond is part its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it.

Life seeks fulfilment as plants seek sunlight.

The physical body is not only a temple for our soul but the means by which we embark on the inward journey toward the core.

Yoga is like music,the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”

Bhagawan Nityananda was said to be free of attachment and aversion and this is a great daily contemplation to discover the mystery of this truth that he lived.

Balance

In Patanjali”s yoga sutras there is a sutra  suggesting balancing effort with ease or strength with relaxation.

It is said the bird has 2 wings one wing is grace and the other wing is our own effort. In  yogic thought there can also be 2 obstacles  self depreciation and  self conceit. The first lesson in yoga class is not to compete and not to compare yourself with others or your self from another time. We don’t want to hurt ourselves by pushing beyond our limits of today but make an attempt in a conscious way,  for the fun and also in order to succeed and progress  in our practice. At the same time as effort is required be relaxed for the muscles to let go in the  places where tension is held.

Often  grace comes in a kind helping hand or word of advice by a teacher a fellow student or by an internal revelation. Sometimes turn the music on, dance to shake off the stress and stiffness even moving the arms and hips how you feel you need to ( not in a class situation where you are following the instructor, but at home ) alternatively  return to downdog or child pose if you like and continue on as if nothing happened or sit and meditate after certain poses being led by what arises inside not what you think you should be doing.

There is a problem with telling your self I am injured, haven`t done enough yoga, can`t do that posture, I am tired, I am stressed or the opposite seriously good at this posture, teacher approves of me, I can sit for ages to meditate. both these states of mind are inhibitive of the enjoyment we can be feeling, even missing,  the harmony that can be experienced,  the pleasure of moving the body  or stilling the mind, feeling quiet and at ease .When we allow our busy minds to settle, we can relax and allow healing on many levels to occur.

Swami Muktananda taught to  have love and respect for your self and love and respect for others and this simple sentence can take a lifetime of reflection and has nuances on many levels of ourselves.  It is an important lesson for any kind of lasting happiness  as you move through your life. Through the grace arising as we practice and the effort it takes to undo our stressed and stiff, or even unwell  bodies, minds and emotions, we can actually feel like we are flying like that bird! feeling healthy, learning new ways of living and thinking, letting go of anything that doesn’t serve us anymore and bringing what we have learnt with us into the present.

Shiva Rae suggests as you go into Warrier 2 from the lunge bring the helpful lessons you have learnt from the past, circling the arm and rise into Warrier 2. Having no judgements,  understanding the challenges were meant to  deliver you to your current  circumstances. Putting forth the effort of love and respect actually brings in the quality of gratitude and compassion for your self and others, patience, love and understanding follow. Effort and ease, love and respect, reflect on these words and feelings or use them as an intention at the beginning of practice and then at the end of practice. What  can you bring into the present? Did you notice where you may have decided to let go of anything unnecessary, any places of tension? Make a wish now  that everyone becomes content and peaceful including yourself.

 

With Love

Relaxation

Finding a comfortable position either lying down with a cushion or a rolled up blanket under your knees, an eye bag or a rolled up hand towel over your eyes or eyes in a half gaze ensuring the spine is always always straight on the floor. Alternatively sitting in a chair with your back straight and feet on the floor. Eyes closed or half open gazing at the top lip of the mouth. Think of an intention for this relaxation. Suggestions are to relax, to feel healthy, to feel more peaceful, to sleep more soundly, to be more kind and caring, more aware, wise etc.etc. Noticing what arises for you today.We  do not want to sleep but stay awake and aware.( If sleep does occur, no worries this is normal if we are tired or stressed and this phase will come and go according to what is occuring in our lives. )

Move around until you feel in a comfortable pósition.

Take the mind and the breath into the right big toe, and then each of 4 toes on the right foot one at a time, the ball of the foot, the heel, the arch, the whole foot, the ankle, the calf, and shin, the knee, the four sides of the knee, the thigh back and front of the thigh, the whole leg, the right hip, the waist, and the chest, the right thumb, the 4 fingers one at a time, the palm of the hand, and the top of the hand,  the wrist, the forearm, the elbow, the upper arm, and across the shoulder. Please pause and rest here for a time. begin again.

Take the mind and the breath into the left big toe, and then each of the 4 toes one at a time, the ball of the foot, the heel, the arch,  the whole foot, the ankle ,the calf the shin, the knee, the foursides of the knee, the thigh back and front of the thigh, the left hip, the waist, the left thumb, the 4 fingers one at a time, the palm of the hand, the top of the hand ,the wrist, the forearm, the elbow, the upper arm, across the shoulders. Please pause here and rest again.

Now take the mind and breath to the lower back, to the  middle of the back, and now the upper back with each breath feel your body becoming heavy with relaxation as if you are sinking into the floor or chair and at the same time can you feel the front of the body is becoming  light as a feather.

Taking the mind and the breath into the neck, the front and back of the neck.  remembering the longest journey we have is from the head to the heart. Meaning our thoughts can be so noisy that is is difficult for us to listen to our intuition and inner knowing so taking the mind and breath into the neck  now,the back of the head, and the top of the head, the forehead see it smoothing out like a satin ribbon. the jaw much tension is held in the jaw relax the jaw , relax  the eyes and around the eyes, the eyelids as if they are heavy velvet curtains, and deep behind the eyelids,around the nose, relax the ears, and around the ears, and relax your cheeks.

Relax the organs and all systems of the body, relax the brain and nervous system, relax your skin.

Now Upper body totally relaxed,and the lower body is totally relaxed. Whole body Whole body Whole body totally relaxed. please pause here for a time.

Scan the body, mind and heart by taking the breath and mind over the body ?Are there still places of tension? Breath gently into these places. Can you now isolate the thoughts, feelings or anxieties and stresses that are disturbing you  see them leaving your being without   judgement of yourself or others  letting go at this time. Breathing gently into the belly as you do so. Please pause here for a time.

Take as long as you like to do this process when you have finished feel the effects of this letting go. Now thinking  and feeling happy, healthy, contented, loving, wise, positive, grateful thoughts and feelings whatever arises in your mind These are only  suggestions.Other ideas may arise for you at this time. Pause and take as long as you like here while you increase this more sustaining and nurturing energy. Take these feelings and thoughts with you as you begin to integrate back into your life.

Reflect back on your intention from the beginning of the relaxation.

When you feel it is time to move then wiggle the fingers and toes take a  stretch and sigh! sigh !Enjoy a deep inhalation and sigh as you deeply exhale. roll to one side in fetal position and open the eyes when ready sit up and move slowly as you integrate back to your life.

Suggestions:1). If possible allow 30 minutes for this practice but shorter or longer is also okay.

The above could be recorded by you and then play it back when you are ready. if you do record on your device leave gaps of silence so as you can keep relaxing and letting go.

 

 

With love

The Breath.

Standing with good posture .

Lleaning back a little into the heels being aware of the four corners of the feet on the floor( mounds of big toe and little toe inner and outer heel). hug in the hips (gentle) sitting bones pointed to the floor the lower ribs in towards the spine.

The very top of the arms back shoulder blades together (quietly) and loosely down the back. spine long and the head resting on the shoulders chin slightly in but not tucked and neck long even rest a book on your head to make sure you are in alignment.

Press the ears gently back.

Do you feel comfortable? Check in to feel if you are okay?

Would you like to sit in a chair if so place the feet on the floor, sit bones half way back on the chair spine long and then follow the rest of the directions for the standing pose above. Do you feel comfortable ? Check in again.

Would you like to lie on the floor  ensuring you are not crooked stretch the arms overhead and lengthen the spine stretch away from the waist with the arms and stretch away from the waist with the feet.The chin is  slightly tucked and if you like place  a cushion under the knees. Are you comfortable?

Take your attention and awareness to your breath, follow it, listen to it for some time now maybe try  to lengthen the breath not as a competition or a comparison with others or yourself from  yesterday. As you breath in allow thoughts and feelings of good health to arise and as you exhale allow thoughts of tension to be released. continue in this way for 5 minutes.  Pause and  rest.

If you feel you would like to continue this practice.Let the thoughts and memories arise of sport, TV, shopping lists, parents, friends, children, worries. lists, holiday plans, anger, fear, envy, fatigue, sadness, our many human experiences and plans etc. etc.  With awareness bring your attention to the breath give yourself a break of kindness to your self, of generosity,of amusement, of respect and love. It is okay there is only you and your breath no one else is here at this time relax and rest renew your body, heart, mind and receive your breath. cooler inhalation and warm exhalation. sigh! Give in and relax.

Is there somewhere in your body mind or heart that is unwell or tense.Ttake the awareness of the breathing process there inhaling to that place and exhaling and letting go of these tensions residing in the tight spots that you are already aware of or have now become aware of. Are there situations in your life that you could also stand back from count to 10 and have another look at them with the breath. Breath into the belly feeling the gentle rise and gentle fall as you look at these situations that you find tense.Are there solutions arising now that you are more breath focused? Are these solutions more nurturing and wise and understanding?  Time is a great healer give your self time to breath.

with love