Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

skinny versus hot

Recently, I’ve been getting dizzy during yoga and a couple times just while standing. After telling a friend, she simply asked if I am eating well. It hadn’t occured to me that since I’m away from home and returning to practicing yoga 4-5 times per week from 2-3 times, I’m off my routine and not eating enough and lost a few pounds. This is VERY unusual for me. What is especially troubling is that today two women approached me to ask how I got so ‘skinny’ and asked my secret. So, I’m definitely not sharing thier approaching me to brag, I’m sharing this because our ideal is fucked up since I am actually underweight. Can’t we take personal responsibility for our health as a daily routine and not obsess? What stops us from celebrating our bodies for being strong and healthy?

Being thin is a side effect of a healthy lifestyle & if you try to be thin without taking steps & doing the work to be healthy, you’re missing out on the best part which is a healthier life. 

Both women heard the same response ‘I practice yoga and meditate and when you do both on a regular basis, your way of thinking changes and you no longer have crazy cravings on a regular basis but instead, you become mindful of what you’re eating.’ The first woman in a clothing store nodded and we spoke more about yoga, the second, in a crowded aisle at a health food store, developed a blank stare and said ‘so you’re not just cutting carbs or anything?’ I said ‘No, I still eat whatever I want but don’t obsess – I do the work on a daily basis.’ Her blank stare averted and she wandered off.  I was saddened by this second woman and how desperate she seemed. She was not overweight by any means, just desperate. The best think she could have done was taken a yoga class or gone for a walk on the beach. 

The thin body represents health so why do people try so desperately and fail miserably over and over to falsely achieve a thin body without having to do the work? People would rather spend hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of dollars to look a certain way through crappy diet and exercise programs and avoid having to do any work on the inside but without looking within there will still be a feeling of grittiness and dissatisfaction with the self. Lose the weight and you might be surprised that you’re still you, only thinner since we cannot transcend ourselves! If it is truly a priority and you want to be really happy with your appearance, take a long walk in the morning air and then look in the mirror. That glow is one of the most beautiful, sexy glows a person can have – it’s circulation, heart pounding, engaged with the world radiance. Yoga, walks, sex, meditation – really anything done mindfully and regularly will draw more interesting and interested people to you faster than any no carb diet ever will. I’m promising that you’ll be happy with yourself physically and emotionally if you take this path. Engage with life and your gorgeous body will follow. 

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Finding the strength to relax

My head continues to spin from all of the studies.  I have been focusing in on the book “Poised for Grace, Annotations on the Bhagavad Gita from a Tantric perspective” by Douglas Brooks and have been learning so many juicy, chewy things about travelling gracefully through life.  I know that this is a book I will be referring to over the years as well as re-reading to better understand things that I may not be absorbing because I am not ready for the information.  The beautiful thing is that is will be there for me when I need it.  Life presents itself that way. 

While reading the book and listening to the mp3’s of Mitchel’s lectures, I am increasingly feeling the pulse of life.  It is a faint pulse but the pulse is there, beating, contracting and expanding.  I am more aware of the relationships that I have, how I am interacting with others, how those people interact with each other.  What I am reminded of, is that I and you have an effect on that pulse.  We are all connected, we all make the fabric of life and the more you know yourself and are true to that person, the stronger the thread.  The less pain you will experience because you will operate without effort, from a place of love.  Pure, beautiful, open and embracing love. 

Taking this onto the yoga mat I have realized that my aches and pains were often caused by my own clinging to life.  I was trying to force myself into a pose using my strength and at the same time using opposing strength to not allow myself to fall too deep into a pose and thereby protecting myself from injury.  The same could be said for many of us in life though, right?  How many times do we charge ahead to make new friends and relationships only to pull back to protect ourselves and not expose too much of who we are?  Concealment is one thing but what I’m talking about is closing off parts of ouselves that if opened could really expand our conciousness in the world.  Think about your most loving relationships .  They are rich because you can relax into them and be your full beautiful self.  Granted not everyone is open to receiving all of you but the more tuned in we become to this part of ourselves, the more these people present themselves to us.  It raises the standard for those around us and very often, most people subconsciously want to rise to that level also. 

So there I am on the mat, downward dog actually felt a little more loving and I find grace with less force.  I may lack physical strength to do Catarunga push-ups but the flow of breath feels easier and my body is more easily falling into place with a more graceful balance of strength and surrender.  Up to this point, I have had to take a break between yoga sessions because the following one or two days I was incredibly sore.  This week I have done three straight evenings and that soreness has been replaced with muscles that feel strong and relaxed.  This is accomplished because I’m showing open hearted love toward myself.

The Glory of The Shiva-Shakti Principle.

Written by Acharya Kedar for the Supreme Meditation Ashram (located in New Milford, CT)

Sat Chit Ananda Guru Ki Jay.

Shaivism, the worship of the Shiva-Shakti principle, is the highest Yoga. And the purpose of Yoga is the transformation of human consciousness into Divine Consciousness. There is no disparity between worldly life and spiritual aspiration. In fact, the path of Yoga harmonizes these two in the culmination of the yogi’s practice — that of seeing God inside and outside everywhere. Once Liberated, Shiva-Shakti reveals to the yogi the fact that this world is perfect, is glorious in all its expressions, and is, in Truth, a Play of Divine Consciousness.

INTRODUCTION

To begin to understand Yoga, one must believe that ANYONE (starting with you) can become a Saint, a Liberated being, with the right spiritual guidance and practice. If you believe that God only dwells in heaven and that he looks down on us in judgement and punishment, you will find it difficult to embrace the application of Shaivism in everyday life.

To begin to understand Yoga, you have to be willing to, at least, open yourself to the possibility that God actually dwells inside you and that you carry the promise of becoming one with God; in fact, that you already are God.

THE GLORY OF SHIVA

This entire Universe exists inside you. This entire cosmos exists inside a human being. When you experience something, anything, where do you experience it? When you see an object, hear a sound, feel a sensation, where do you experience that? And who is the knower of that experience?

In Shaivism, we refer to God as Shiva-Shakti, the Divine principle or God-principle of Supreme “I” Consciousness that threads through everything created and uncreated in this Universe. Shiva and Shakti are one. When I say Shiva, I am referring to the Shiva-Shakti principle and when I say Shakti, I am referring to this same Shiva-Shakti principle.

This Shiva-Shakti is the Absolute, Anuttara (Paramashiva-Parashakti), by whose light and activity the entire Universe is created, sustained, and withdrawn. Shiva is both Prakasha and Vimarsha; both the light that is above activity (that which gives light to what we know as physical light); and the active energy that contracts to take the form of the objects that we have come to know as people, places and things. Shiva-Shakti is the Supreme subject, the witness to all that takes form and to all that is formless. The Supreme subject, Shiva, through his Shakti, then takes the very form of all the objects in this Universe. Shiva-Shakti actually conceals her true nature from herself in order to take the form of that which allows Shiva to survey himself. In this way, the entire Universe is brought into being.

The objects that we have come to know as people, places and things are all but reflections of this Supreme subject, Shiva-Shakti. Without the Subject, there is no object since the object is merely an abhasa, a reflection of that one Self. Shiva is the knower, that which is known, and the process of knowing.

As is said in the great Svacchanda Tantra
“Na Shivam Vidyate Qua Chit”

Nothing exists that is not Shiva-Shakti, that Primordial being.
Nothing that is not Shiva exists anywhere.

Sat Chit Ananda Guru Ki Jay.

Define your breath

Last week in yoga teacher training, I had a bit of a meltdown.  We were discussing the connection between being mindful of our heart and allowing the heart to lead the mind. Someone mentioned the struggle of being true to herself when our in the real work world she is bombarded by people totally unaware of their actions and lashing out. As I was listening to this woman’s story, my stomache began to knot.  I thought I would throw up as my anxiety boiled to the surface. I had to tell her that she is not alone yet when I tried, I cried. I gasped for air.

In Doug Keller’s “Refining the Breath”, the breath’s response to emotions is simply described. The lightbulb went off! “Fear often comes with quick, shallow and irregular breaths, and the feeling of a tight knot in the belly”. Strangely enough my normal response while at work is anger, which “often comes with shallow inhalations, strong exhalations, and physical tension”. After class I discovered “Grief often comes with a kind of spasmodic, sobbing, superficial breath made up of quick, jerky inhalations and long sighing exhalations, and a feeling of emptiness in the belly”.

Paying attention to your breath is challenging because when you want to pay attention to it, the pace of breathing changes to what you want it to be. The point of Doug Keller’s book is that by training our breathing so we don’t have to think about it, we can in effect, limit certain responses that we might have. It’s like wanting to punch someone but having your arms tied beind your back. At that moment, you’re given a chance to decide your response and in this case, we can tune in to quiet it down and bring it to a more compassionate breath.

It sounds strange but I promise if you practice it, it does actually work!