Meditation

Meditation

The benefits of meditation are becoming more and more widely recognized. Most of us like to participate in it because of how we feel afterwards – less stressed, more clear, more peaceful and happy. What we may not realize is that under the surface, lots of AMAZING physiological events are taking place that collectively give us that feeling of well-being we love.

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Stability Leads to Freedom

Stability Leads to Freedom

As yogis, we are attune to the fact that we are spiritual beings, and most of us are open to using our yoga for finding new ways to improve ourselves. When a challenge arises, we seek to learn from it so we can grow and evolve to do better next time. But, often, what is hidden underneath are old habits that do not serve us, called samscaras, in Sanskrit, which linger and keep us from making progress or replacing the old, limiting habits with the new. It is too easy to let our old habits lead the way and it is rather challenging to be mindful to embrace new ways of doing things.

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Where Does Our Freedom Come From?

Where Does Our Freedom Come From?

This is indeed a thought provoking question, and can mean many things to each of us. First of all I want to acknowledge that we live in the greatest country and as my neighbor so thoughtfully added, “at the greatest time on earth” (with regard to abundance of our blessings). Yes, the myriad of freedoms we enjoy in the US come from our founding fathers (and mothers), folks who work in the judicial system and law enforcement, the men and women who have served and currently serve to ensure these freedoms, and the list can go on an on. We can and should include the teachers who empower us, health care providers and researchers who keep us as healthy as possible so that we can lend our efforts, artists who inspire us, religious leaders who lead us toward spiritual growth so that we better understand our place in serving our world,… Your list might be similar and more detailed too.

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Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations

The “Summer Solstice,” June 21, the longest day of the year, is approaching. This auspicious day and the weeks leading up to it, have been celebrated throughout time among yogis and in many cultures. On this day, we have 12 hours of sun in our area of the world. Furthermore, we are encouraged to meditate and focus on “light.” Ancient cultures recognized that the sun, which provided energy for our existence here on earth, was in fact Divine light, put there by a Higher Source, and thus much reverence is built around giving attention to the Sun. Yogis practice Sun Salutations, in Sanskrit, Surya Namaskar, at the summer solstice. In some lineages the idea is to use the auspicious number 108 and repeat a sun salute any increments of 3 or 9 repetitions, building up to 108 rounds. Remember that each round is actually one repetition with the right side leading followed with another repetition of the left side of the body leading. It is only good that we build up our practice of many repetitions, remembering “ahimsa,” doing no harm or nonviolence, so that we do not overdo while building tolerance, gradually increasing the number of repetitions we can do in a practice session. There are many variations on the Surya Namaskar and you can see/follow from the Morning and the Strengthening Sequences in our book and DVD, Essential Yoga Practice.

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Release that which does not serve – the physical and emotional benefits of forgiveness

Release that which does not serve – the physical and emotional benefits of forgiveness

One of the best definitions of forgiveness I’ve ever heard is: “To completely give up the wish or desire for a different or better yesterday.” Just close your eyes, take a breath, and think about that for a few minutes. Think about a few times someone did something to irritate you, or take advantage of you. Think of a time when someone close to you did something that felt like utter betrayal, leaving behind heartbreak. Think of something you did to yourself that you just don’t know if you can put behind you.

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How to Nurture Our Future Unfolding

How to Nurture Our Future Unfolding

Epigenetics is a fascinating topic. Scientific discoveries are ever-expanding, and it is now known that our environment can change the expression of our DNA. Epigenomes, the chemical markers that lie along the length of our DNA, can be as important to our development as the genes we inherit. And the epigenome can be altered by various lifestyle choices we make. Think about the implications of this: We inherit certain genes that impact how we think, react and feel in certain situations. If we change our diet, our exercise regimen, use pure and potent essential oils, create authentic and loving relationships, and/or experience a paradigm change in how we view the world -- all these factors can influence and even completely change the expression of our DNA because these lifestyle changes affect our epigenomes.

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6 Ways to Honor the Connection we have with special women in our life

6 Ways to Honor the Connection we have with special women in our life

Isn’t it interesting how Earth Day and Mother’s Day are close together? What is interesting all the more are the parallels.  According to one of my teachers, Indu Arora, “Both nurture, nourish and provide consistently and unconditionally. It is one of the highest dharma to practice non-violence towards these mothers and to repay the debt by taking care” of the earth we live in and the people who nurture us and to whom we have been entrusted

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Get Out in Nature, Go Straight to Samahdi (Yogic Bliss)!

Get Out in Nature, Go Straight to Samahdi (Yogic Bliss)!

As we celebrate Spring and Earth Day this week, we contemplate the connections of being in nature with the practice of yoga.

As humans, we experience an undeniable pull to nature. When we are outdoors, our body and our mind automatically feel lighter and life seems simpler. Nature immediately takes us to a place of being that can sometimes take years of dedicated yoga practice to achieve.  There are many ways that nature and yoga parallel significant lessons. To intertwine them is a harmonious  practice.

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Understanding the 5 Subdoshas of Kapha

Understanding the 5 Subdoshas of Kapha

According to Ayurvedic wisdom, our body and its functions are governed by a unique blend of the three doshas, or mind-body principles: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

“Kapha is that quality of our physiology which increases with close contact of water,” says Dinesh Gyawali, PhD, a classically trained Ayurveda Vaidya (Ayurvedic expert) and Assistant Professor at Maharishi University of Management. Generally speaking, Kapha has a binding quality in the body and governs structure, lubrication, and nutrition. It moderates things like weight, growth, lubrication of the lungs, and formation of the seven tissues: blood, fat, muscle, bone, marrow, nutritive fluids, and reproductive tissue. It also has a cooling influence, according to Gyawali. “Ayurveda compares Kapha with the Moon. It keeps our body nourished and cools it down just like the moon.”

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Bridging Transitions

Bridging Transitions

One of my favorite yoga poses is bridge, done while lying with back body supported by the floor, feet planted under the knees, eyes focused toward the infinite space above. The movement into bridging requires core engagement to rise up against gravity, the strength of the back body, the willingness of an articulating spine. There is no absolute one place in the body that defines strength of the holding pattern – an example in the ideal that the whole is more than just the sum of its parts.

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Daily Ayurvedic Rituals to Serve the Body, Mind and Spirit

Daily Ayurvedic Rituals to Serve the Body, Mind and Spirit

According to Ayurveda, how you start your day is intrinsic to the “care and keeping” of mind, body and spirit, and can direct the course of how it will unfold.  Developing a morning ritual is called Dinacharya and this is an evolving process, originating with how your unique constitution could use certain steps, some automated, to allow the mind to slowly meet the day while leaving space and time to adjust for what arrives anew daily.

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Daily Essential Oil Rituals to serve the Body, Mind and Spirit

Daily Essential Oil Rituals to serve the Body, Mind and Spirit

Since pure essential oils work chemically in the body, there is much we can do to support our emotions, our stress level, and all the physical systems in our body on an ongoing basis. Essential oils help bring our bodies to balance so that our bodies can do the ‘heavy lifting’ required to keep us well and healthy. Here are some simple ideas you can incorporate on a daily basis to give yourself some Body-Mind-Spirit love:

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