Too much effort

It is very easy to find comfort in a fixed state. The reason why most people are resistant to change is that they are comfortable with their fixed state. They do not want to change their condition or situation because they have found comfort in that stillness. Life is about movement and change. You cannot simply stay in one place. You have to move on. You have to take this freedom by the reins and control it. There is a time and a place for everything and everyone. Your aim in life should be to reach this state.

Allow Freedom to take Over

We fantasize about something and then we get scared of losing that thing. We are afraid that we might lose it to someone or something. As we get closer to this fantasy, we stay in there. We do not want to leave because we are well-settles in that place in time. However, this is not how it should be. We should accept freedom of movement as it allows us to further in life. When we think of something we want, we make fantasies about it and then our thoughts are only limited to that one thing.

Wise Words of Daniel Odier

Daniel Odier is a Swiss author who is known for his wise words and screenwriting. He is not just an author but also a poet. He mostly writes about religious traditions in the Eastern world. He has written many books and continues to influence people from all over the world. Even though most of his work is not yet translated in English, he is known by the Europeans. He talks about the importance of freedom in life. Your aim in life is not to stay in one place. We do not think of anything beyond our fantasy. However, this is not how it should be. You should always aim for freedom of thought and action. Even though it is one of the most difficult things to attain, we should work for it tirelessly.

“We make too much effort; we want too much a state about which we can make a whole fantasy world. We are afraid of losing a state before we even reach it and, as soon as we do reach it, we actually do lose it. It is not we who reach the state; it is the state that reaches us. It is not we create silence; it is silence that pervades us. Let us allow it the freedom to brush up against us, to penetrate us, to settle in within us for a few moments, to leave us, to come back. If, when silence leaves us, we have impression that we have failed, the tension that our guilt produces prevents any return to the state of unity. This is the most difficult thing to attain: accepting the freedom of movement, the creativity of life, understanding that a fixed state, as marvelous as it might be, is not compatible with life.“

-Daniel Odier, Spandakarika

It is a Holy Woman

It Is A Holy Woman And A Temple 

-Hafiz
It is a holy man, a good poem, and a holy woman;
and a temple and a mosque and a shrine.
Have you not been looking for a companion like that?

For a place of such great refuge,

where time asks nothing of you,
where you can come and go as you please,
where you can control all the rules, because your heart knows best. 

And you don’t have to give up 
any pleasures that might still be working,
adding color to your cheeks. 

There is nothing you touch that you hope won’t fit into a puzzle you are 
seriously working on. 

I know how the eye works, 
what its primary impetus and desire is: 
to lay its gaze upon the beautiful,
and for beauty to wink back.

The eye, like every part of you,
is governed by your great 
and continual need to feel whole and able.
Able to work and learn and give and play
and love and love and love. Who would deny that?

Enlightenment is _______

Enlightenment

One of my favorite topics of discussion, enlightenment. I find the term used frivolously within the spiritual community but rarely dissected. When asked what it means, I’m given the usual spiel: “Freedom”, “Free from suffering”, “Bliss”, “Stillness of the mind”, “Joy”, etc.

There are so many definitions of the term, which one is right? How do you know? Have you every experienced  enlightenment? How do you know you have? Is enlightenment the point of the practice? Is our goal as practitioners the same as the lineage creators had? Why are we trying to put our foot behind our head?

The inquiry continues.

I came upon this article and thought it relevant.

Stay curious 😉

(Below is an excerpt. Link below for full article)

Enlightenment Is ______.

The poll results may also reflect a deep confusion about what enlightenment is—after all, sages and scholars have been debating the definition for millennia. Depending on whom you talk to, enlightenment is a sudden, permanent awakening to the absolute unity of all beings or a gradual,back-and-forth process of liberation from the tyranny of the mind. Or both. It is freedom from feelings or the freedom to feel fully without identifying with those feelings. It is unconditional bliss and love, or it is a state devoid of feelings as we know them. It is a shattering of the sense of a separate self, a transcendent experience of unity, a radical freedom available only to the few who are ready to give up everything and surrender the ego to pure awareness.

Buddhists and yogis tend to agree that in a sense we are already enlightened; we are already there. “Enlightenment is really just a deep, basic trust in yourself and your life,” says Zen priest Ed Brown. The work that awaits us is stripping away the layers of delusion that we have accumulated through our karma, so that our natural state of peace and wholeness can be revealed. “Enlightenment is not a new state that is in any way obtained or achieved,” says Richard Miller, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, “but rather, it entails the uncovering of our original nature that has always been, and always is, present.” Or as Robert Svoboda, the first Westerner to graduate from a college of Ayurveda in India, says, “The enlightenment process is much more about getting rid of stuff than grabbing hold of it.”

To understand how the concept of enlightenment is framed by today’s Western ambassadors of the yoga tradition, YJ interviewed five prominent teachers whose practices in yoga and meditation collectively total 125 years and span many traditions. When we asked them whether we must aim for enlightenment to practice authentically, the conversations often turned to intention—a word that comfortably carries the weight of hopes yet doesn’t sink under our expectations. The teachers agreed, and their own stories reflect, that our intentions often start with ourselves—we want to soften our stiffness, dampen our anger, quell our fear—but widen and deepen organically in the alchemy of practice. And this is a good thing.

When asked how they hold the goal of enlightenment in their own spiritual practices, not surprisingly, they each had unique ways of relating to liberation. But whether they view awakening as rarefied, permanent, and sacrosanct or hard-won, human, and imperfect, they all spoke of enlightenment as coming home to our deepest truths and aspirations—a gift a teacher gives or one that emerges from the depths of solitary practice. And like most precious gifts, it remains a mystery until we receive it, until our hearts open and do not close.

 

–Written by Colleen Morton Busch, at yj.com

 

PS.

Practice yoga online with me or catch me at my next yoga event

 

 

 

108

online yoga classes healing 108 meaning

The Mystic Meaning of the Number 108

Throughout history, the number 108 has held a multi-dimensional meaning.  In geometric terms it is a natural division of circle (108=36+72=9 X 12). In the Eastern part of the world, different traditions talk about the108 navamsas.  The Shiva malas, or rosaries, both Tantric and Tibetan are composed by 108 beads. The number 108 is also one of great significance inside of the Rosicrucian order, since it exemplifies the time frame of some of their cycles. Interestingly enough, a leap year displays 366 days and 3 x 6 x 6 gives 108.

The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and connected yoga and dharma based practices. Even the pre-historic monument Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter.  108 is a number known to be referring to spiritual completion, and it is no surprise that the early Vedic sages were renowned mathematicians and in fact invented our number system. 108 is a Harshad Number, an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad in Sanskrit means “joy-giver”. 108 was the number of choice for this simple reason: 108 represent the whole of existence. There are said to be 108 types of meditation. Some say there are 108 paths to God. Indian traditions have 108 dance forms.

Another interesting example, Hindu deities have 108 names, whilst in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, there are 108 gopis of Vrindavan. Recital of these names, often accompanied by the counting of the 108-beaded Mala, is considered sacred and often done during religious ceremonies. The recital is called namajapa. Accordingly, a mala usually has beads for 108 repetitions of a mantra.

In some schools of Buddhism, it is believed that there are 108 defilements. In Japan, at the end of the year, a bell is chimed 108 times in Buddhist temples to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana. Likewise, Zen priests wear juzu, a ring of prayer beads, around their wrists, which consists of 108 beads. The Lankavatara Sutra has a section where the Bodhisattva Mahamati asks Buddha 108 questions.

In modern Gnosticism, through the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, it is believed that  an individual has 108 chances, or lifetimes, to eliminate his egos and transcend the material world before “devolving” and having the egos forcefully removed in the infradimensions. In other words, each one of us carries the reminiscent memory cells of at least 108 previous incarnations, which constitutes the body of our incarnational selves. Inside of this essentially holographic template is stored the repository of the emotional and spiritual involvements that your Soul may have experienced and have retained the impression of, but that needed to be cleansed and  integrated in order to continue the spiritual evolution.

The Buddhism tradition talks about the 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 lies humans tell and 108 human delusions.

The esoteric presence of the number 108 can be seen in various spiritual practices and theories: In Kriya Yoga, the maximum number of repetitions allowed to be practiced in one sitting is 108. Also, 108 Sun Salutations in yoga practice is often used to honor change, for example the change of seasons, or at a time of tragedy to bring peace, respect and understanding. It is said that if one can be so calm in meditation practicing pranayama to have only 108 breaths a day that enlightenment will come.

Energy Point

There are said to be 108 energy lines, or nadis, converging to form the heart chakra. Marma points are like Chakras, or intersection of energy, with fewer converging energy lines. On Sri Yantra, the Marmas have 54 intersecting energy lines where three lines intersect. Each has feminine, or shakti, and masculine, or shiva, qualities. 54 X 2 = 108. Therefore there are 108 points that define the human body and the Sri Yantra or the Yantra of Creation. The same rule is observed in the Sanskrit language, with its 54 letters, both representing the two genders and they are also called Shiva and Shakti respectively; again, 54 X 2= 108.

Importance in Astronomy and Astrology

The earth cycle is supposed to be of 2160 years = 20 x 108. The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. The universe is made up of 108 elements according to ancient texts. The current periodic table claims a few more than 108.

There are 12 constellation and 9 arc segments. 9 times 12 equal 108. The 9 planets travelling through the 12 signs constitute the whole of existence. 9 x 12 = 108. The 27 nakshatras or lunar constellations spread over the 4 elements – fire, earth, air, water or the 4 directions – north, south, east, and west. This also constitutes the whole of existence. 27 x 4 = 108.

 

Keep reading the rest of the article here:

Source of article: http://humanityhealing.net/2011/08/the-mystic-meaning-of-the-number-108/

 

 

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Japanese Yoga

Japanese yoga funny vid

The beauty of yoga is that different cultures and regions have been using it the way they find it best. Yoga is a broad concept and different kinds of yoga are fruitful for different reasons. Japanese yoga is an ancient practice that is still practiced by fitness gurus all over the globe. It is believed, and proved, that this yoga helps in healing one physically and mentally. If you are suffering from any kind of ailment, you will find betterment with the help of Japanese yoga.

How is Japanese yoga different?

Even though it is as effective for the body as other forms of yoga, Japanese yoga is slightly different in terms of practice. It changes as the seasons change. Depending on the season, the movements of this yoga differ. Also, you will be focusing on different things in different seasons. The reason why people do this yoga is that it helps in dealing with any kind of physical or mental illness. Whether the pain is in your body or your soul, this yoga relieves you from it. You will be performing several repetitive actions and they will help in reducing anxiety, promoting sleep, preventing digestion and improving digestion.

Sometimes, it is not about your health. You just want to improve your posture and be more flexible. Japanese yoga helps in keeping you flexible and also maintains your posture. With this yoga, you will be in charge of your health. As a result, you do not only build strength on the inside but also on the outside. Even if you are already doing yoga, you can bring variation in it by trying out Japanese yoga. Soon, you will see the multiple benefits that this yoga has for your physical health and cognitive functioning.

Benefits of Japanese Yoga

Japanese yoga is quite advantageous for your physical and emotional wellness. First of all, it brings mental clarity to your body. If you are in a bad place in your life and the depression is making you lose productivity and peace, you can relieve the stress and anxiety through yoga. It will help you relax so that you can think rationally and make better decisions with a clearer mind. Life can get hard these days, with all the things you have to manage at home and at work. Personal relations also get hard from time to time. Japanese yoga induces the release of endorphins in the body so that you can feel relaxed and happy.

Fitness is another aspect of your life that is enhanced with Japanese yoga. When you do yoga, your agility increases and the muscle tone improves over time, allowing you to be more productive. Consequently, your improved bone health will give you the ability to be more active than you have ever been in your entire life. Thus, you can expect an overall effect of Japanese yoga on your long-term wellness.

Sometimes Carolyn and I like to make funny things, this one is a video.

 

Check it out.

 

 

Allow the world to touch you deeply

A path with heart Jack Kornfield

Depending upon the lineage you follow or study, the practice is either to move away from or towards your strong emotions. As someone who lives in the world, meaning not in an ashram or hermitage, I find that working with and embracing the many aspects of myself has created a more integrated me. I have found that when I shy away from my strong emotions (which I can have many of), I tend to leave my body, to check out. As Jack Kornfield says so eloquently below, the practice of staying present to the feelings/emotions/sensations takes courage and compassion; to be honest with what is arising and to truly feel it. When we can be in the feeling, there comes what he calls “wise understanding”, that pain, grief and sorrow are inevitable. From this understanding, we can find peace with those feelings, with those parts of ourselves and from there the self-inflicted war can stop. This can be a life long process so be patient with yourself but continue to stay present and observe the inevitable shift within you.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt as much as I do. Much love. xo

“The purpose of a spiritual discipline is to give us a way to stop the war, not by our force of will, but organically, through understanding and gradual training. Ongoing spiritual practice can help us cultivate a new way of relating to life in which we let go of our battles.

When we step out of the battle, we see anew, as the Tao Te Ching says, ‘with eyes unclouded by longing’. We see how each of us creates conflict. We see our constant likes and dislikes, the fight to resist all that frightens us. We see our own prejudice, greed, and territoriality. All this is hard for us to look at, but it is really there. Then underneath these ongoing battles, we see pervasive feelings of incompleteness and fear. We see how much our struggle with life has kept our hearts closed.

When we let go of our battles and open our heart to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and the end of spiritual practice. Only in this moment can we discover that which is timeless. Only here can we find the love that we seek. Love in the past is simply memory, and love in the future is fantasy. Only in reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world.

A sign in a Las Vegas casino aptly says, ‘You Must Be Present to Win’. Stopping the war and becoming present are two sides of the same activity. To come into the present is to stop the war. To come into the present means to experience whatever is here and now. Most of us have spent our lives caught up in plans, expectations, ambitions for the future, in regrets, guilt, or shame about the past. When we come into the present, we begin to feel the life around us again, but we also encounter whatever we have been avoiding. We must have the courage to face whatever is present–or pain, our desires, our grief, our loss, our secret hopes, our love–everything that moves us most deeply. As we stop the war, each of us will find something from which we have been running–our loneliness, our unworthiness, our boredom, our shame, our unfulfilled desires. We must face these parts of ourselves as well.

You have may have heard of ‘out of body experience’, full of lights and visions. A true spiritual path demands something more challenging, what could be called an ‘in the body experience’. We must connect to our body, to our feelings, to our life just now, if we are to awaken.

To live in the present demands an ongoing and unwavering commitment. As we follow a spiritual path, we are required to stop the war not once but many times. Over and over we feel the familiar tug of thoughts and reactions that takes us away from the present moment. When we stop and listen, we can feel how each thing that we fear or crave (really two sides of the same dissatisfaction) propels us out of our hearts into false idea of how we would like life to be. If we listen even more closely, we can feel how we have learned to sense ourselves as limited by fear and identified with that craving. From this small sense of ourselves, we often believe that our own happiness can come only from possessing something or can be only at someone else’s expense.

To stop the war and come into the present is to discover a greatness of our own heart that can include the happiness of all beings as inseparable from our own. When we let ourselves feel the fear, the discontent, the difficulties we have always avoided, our heart softens. Just as it is a courageous act to face all the difficulties from which we have always run, it is also an act of compassion. According to Buddhist scriptures, compassion is the ‘quivering of the pure heart’ when we have allowed ourselves to be touched by the pain of life. The knowledge that we can do this and survive helps us awaken the greatness of our heart. With greatness of heart, we can sustain a presence in the midst of life’s suffering, in the midst of life’s fleeting impermanence. We can open to the world–it’s ten thousands joys and ten thousand sorrows.

As we allow the world to touch us deeply, we recognize that just as there is pain in our lives, so there is  pain in everyone’s life. This is the birth of wise understanding. Wise understanding sees that suffering is inevitable, that all things that are born die. Wise understanding sees and accepts life as a whole. With wise understanding we allow ourselves to contain all things, both dark and light, and we come to a sense of peace. This is not the peace of denial or running away, but the peace we find in the heart that has rejected nothing, that touches all things with compassion.”

Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart

 

 

PS.

Practice yoga online with me or catch me at my next yoga event

 

 

 

Little Dragon Yoga Playlist

Little Dragon yoga playlist

Little Dragon Yoga Playlist

Yoga is a medicine for your soul, not just for your body. You have not experience the wonder of yoga if you have not had Hozier playing in the background. Some songs just go really well with yoga and it is very easy to forget which song you were listening to that last time that you did yoga. This is why having a playlist comes in handy. You just have to play the playlist and let the music take over you while you do different yoga exercises. Even as a yoga instructor, you will need different playlists for teaching your students.

The thing about yoga is that it works in wonderful ways for everyone. It might be a source of flexibility for you while for someone else, it is a source of mental peace. This is why many people do yoga regularly as they want to maintain their physical and emotional health, both. It is not uncommon for yoga instructors to have different playlists for different classes. Some might have different playlists for each month while others curate playlist based on the exercises they are doing. Whenever you take out your yoga mat, you will need some soothing music in the background that you can lose yourself to.

Effect of Music During Yoga

While in other kinds of exercises, you can synchronise your movements with the beat of music, in yoga, you can actually feel mesmerized by the music. The music should be good for the movements that you are going to do. It should be relaxing and gentle so that you can find yourself in the words and the beat of the music. This is why there are certain songs that are associated with yoga.

Spotify is a good place to find music for yoga. There are thousands of options that you can choose from. You can make your own playlists but there will come a time when you will need some expert’s advice. If you are going to try out new yoga routine, you will need some new songs too. For the faster movements, you will need fast-paced songs while slow-paced songs go well with slow and flexible movements.

Little Dragon Playlist

The Little Dragon Playlist is suitable for beginners and experts. You will surely find a song that you can relate to, during yoga. The whole playlist is on a relaxing note and you can just play it every time that you are doing yoga. There are songs from artists like Boards of Canada, The Knife and Little Dragon. Some of the songs are longer, for exercises where you have to stay in a certain pose for a specific duration. This playlist is pretty awesome for vinyasa yoga, whether you are teaching or doing yoga at home. As a student, you can also suggest this playlist to your yoga instructor so that the whole class can benefit from the relaxing tones of these songs. If you want to see more playlists curated by me, you can search for them on Spotify.

 

PS.

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Yoga Playlist-Banks

Yoga Playlist-Banks

There are different kinds of exercises in yoga and it depends on the yoga teacher which exercises they are doing that day. If you are part of a yoga class, your teacher will inform you beforehand which exercises you will be doing that day so that you can come prepared for it. Back bending is a part of yoga and most of the pictures you see of yoga online are of yogis doing backbends.

More about Back Bending

Back bending involves bending the back forward or backward. You would be surprised to see what it can do for your physical and spiritual health. Our spines are strong yet flexible. While bigger bone in the back give us strength and the cartilage provides protection, the joints allow the back to be flexible. So, you can get into any pose and it would increase the strength of your back, if you are doing it right. Back bending is quite effective for physical wellness. Since the activity is invigorating, it helps in stretching the neck and back while keeping your chest flat. If you do these exercises regularly, your legs will gain more strength. It also makes arms and back stronger. Basically, the mobility of your back muscles is increased so the incident of back pain is reduced.

You might not have expected it when you first started doing back bending but it also has energetic benefits for your body. When you feel that you are in danger, your body has a natural reflex to curl up. Since the torso is the most vulnerable part of the body, as this is where the heart lies, our body tries to protect it by curling up. However, when you are doing backbends, you are making your body open. By exposing yourself, you are utilizing your courage. This also helps in giving you more courage and the ability to fight your fears.

Music for Back Bending

There are a lot of things that are important during back bending. You have to make sure that you do not end up injuring your back. This is why you must do back bending under the supervision of a teacher, when you are doing it as a beginner. Over time, you will learn to what extent your body can be flexible. This will prevent any injury. Also, you should do warm-up exercises so that your body does not get physically harmed during yoga.

Secondly, good music is very important. Expert yogis are able to do yoga even in silence and by listening to the sound of nature but when you are starting out, you need some background music. I have made this playlist for back bending lessons. Even if you are doing it at home, you can just play from the very beginning or choose any song to play for your exercise. Some of the songs in the playlist are longer so you can stay in your position for a longer time. I hope you find this playlist helpful.

 

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Yoga Playlist-Magic

Magic yoga playlist

A playlist inspired by Coldplay…

 

 

 

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Widen the pot and let the universe spill in

Daniel Odier's Tantric Quest

Happy Autumn Equinox!

This is my favorite time of year because we move from being very externally focused to the internal. As I wrote my intentions for the coming season, I came upon this passage and felt it was only fitting. In joy!

More good words from Daniel Odier’s Tantric Quest…..

 

“You see, ecstasy is the natural human state, and the obstacles we create to ecstasy are part of a dictatorial state our thought makes us live in. Ecstasy is simpler than suffering. It smells good. It is present throughout. It is with us always. There is nothing to do and nothing to look for. It’s enough to stay totally open and let things occur without worrying about changing their nature. By our being really present, continuously present, all reality becomes a source of joy and happiness.

You know that the moment for us to take leave of each other has come, and you won’t suffer because the bond that unites us doesn’t unite us to each other but simply passes through us to extend to the whole universe. You don’t belong to me; I don’t belong to you. We belong to the world, to the divine, and at this moment we know what with our whole being. Our bond isn’t subject to time or space. I will be everywhere you look. You have planted yourself firmly in the heart of the goddess, in my heart, just as the goddess remains in yours, as I remain in yours. We are a divine waterfall for each other where we can bathe ourselves in light and quench our absolute thirst.

The universe is a great pot that we never stop shaping with our flesh, our hearts, our thought–with all those little things that we love to separate from one another by artifice. But a good potter sinks their hands into the divine and lets the divine take varied forms. They know that the earth contains the thirty-six modalities of consciousness, and they don’t spend time analyzing them.

While man thinks, the tantrika [practioner] makes a pot. While man confines his consciousness, the tantrika widens the opening of the pot and lets their consciousness experience the void. Distinguishing between what’s insides the pot and what’s outside is possible only if you forget that a pot needs an opening, without which there is seclusion, darkness, rot, and decay.

The tantrika widens their pot. They enjoy letting the universe spill in and penetrate it. When they meditate, they experience a single space. When they undergo change, they experience a single space. When they dream, they experience a single space, and when they die, they experience nothing other than a single space. So for them, there is no difference between meditation, living, dreaming, and dying. To experience a single space–that’s absolute love.”

What I love about Tantric philosophy is that everything is an opportunity to get you closer/discover/remember divinity. Why shy away from adversity or uncomfortable situations that make their way onto our paths? It’s all an opportunity to go deeper into ourselves and let go of more stories/shit that we think we need to hold on to. Widen your pot, watch with wonder as the universe spills into.

Wishing you an awe-inspiring autumn!

 

PS.

Practice yoga online with me or catch me at my next yoga event