May 2nd, 2013
In August 2011 I wrote a blog post on Receptivity and today I’d like to revisit that concept, because today is a beautiful day.
Today is a beautiful day to take stock of your ability to receive. Take a few breaths, and just notice, are you accelerating at a top speed of giving and doing? Do you run through your day in high mode of action and reactions? Are you exhausted, frazzled, tired, disgusted and just plain old fed up?
Today is a beautiful day to take one more inhalation, and then take a long slow exhalation and pause. Take note of how you feel, and what it is you are receiving right NOW.
At first you may not notice anything, as you have been on action and giving mode for so long that you can’t be still and just feel. You may start to wonder, “what is it I am supposed to be doing here?” Just take note of what you are feeling and thinking. Keep taking a simple, easy breath and allow yourself to slow down a bit.
When things settle a bit, start to notice your capacity to receive. Take that next inhalation and feel how your body is receiving it. Does it feel tight or restricted? Take another one and see how you can open to receive it. Then reflect on the last time someone offered to help you out, or gift you with something. What is your first instinct? For many the answer is a form of rejection or resistance, similar to the sense of tension we breathe with.
Maybe you notice that you don’t feel worthy unless you are doing or giving yourself. Or for some of us we only feel safe when we are the ones doing, and it feels too out of control when we allow someone else the space to give.
Today is a beautiful day to start opening to a graceful and grateful attitude of receiving. Just as you may feel wonderful when you are giving, it is equally powerful to create the space for others to feel dynamic by opening to receiving their gifts. Sometimes even more empowering than gifting is the way in which we openly receive what is being offered to us
Today is a beautiful day to believe in how beautiful YOU are. Express that beauty in BOTH the ability to give and to receive in a gracious and grateful practice.
Today is a beautiful day!
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April 5th, 2013
BY Céline Peccatte
When I come to my yoga mat, I ask myself what kind of yoga practice is going to help me rebalance my energy today?
“Do I practice in a Yin way, holding gentle poses for a few minutes and relaxing into my body or do I move my body through a flow of poses, engage in a more active form of yoga?” When I practice in a Yin way, the poses are the platform where I explore the concept of simply being in my body and allowing the sensations to come and go, relaxing my usual physical and mental reactivity. When I practice in a Yang way, I engage my muscles to hold poses with steadiness and I make constant adjustments to find more strength and ease in the pose.
According to the Taoist philosophy, all forms of energy that materialize contain two complementary polarities called Yin and Yang. Yin is the hidden, cold, still aspect of things while yang is the exposed, warm, moving aspect. It is also expressed as the Tha and Ha of Hatha Yoga, the reflective moon energy and radiant sun energy. These two aspects always coexist. This concept is really important, Yin and Yang are never separate, they constantly change into and become the other. They are constantly seeking for some equilibrium. One is not better than the other, although our Western culture certainly values more Yang aspects of ourselves and our life: light, activity, excitement.
Imbalances in these opposites can manifest in various forms. In my twenties I was caught in a constant swing of very excessive Yin and Yang episodes, known in the western medicine as manic depression. Through both Yin Yoga practice and meditation, I was able to nurture and accept myself and I learned to relax into overwhelming sensations of anxiety. My active Yoga practice helped me move energy blocks, gradually regaining confidence in my body and mind’s abilities and flexibility. I truly understand now the necessity of including both Yin and Yang practices to heal and to find a sustainable sense of wellbeing.
Balancing Yin and Yang in our daily yoga practice and life starts with becoming aware of the imbalance. With Yin and Yang being present in everything, the practice of balancing is always happening. It is a perpetual dance with opposites: doing and being, changing and allowing, becoming and awaiting, acting and observing… The swinging motion is always here, the more we practice, the more it becomes graceful and graceful feels good!
Posted in Articles, Guest Post, yoga, Yoga Classes, Yoga Philosophy | No Comments »
January 30th, 2013
Picture your mind like a body of water. Sometimes it is calm and serene, the essence of tranquility as portrayed in this picture, reflecting so beautifully the nature of who you truly are. At other times it can be like a raging sea, tumultuously vacillating from one thought, belief or story to the next, violently covering over your beauty. You may have heard this analogy before, but it is worth repeating as it so beautifully expresses the path of yoga.
Sages, gurus and enlighten beings have shared with us through the teachings of the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita that the path of yoga leads you to discover the qualities and gifts of the tranquil mind. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.33 describes it this way, “By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” (Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation.) Patanajali is offering us the awareness that it is possible to be in the world, with all that is happening and sit in the vast sea of the tranquil mind.
For many the question is how do I find the tranquil mind in the day to day nature of my life with all of the stress, time challenges, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Here are a few quick ways to attain the tranquil mind.
Number one: take stock of your breathing, and on the next exhalation make it a long, slow, easy breath. Too many of us let the stress build, and forget the powerful relaxation response that is built into an exhalation. The tranquil mind can be reclaimed in a single exhalation, and lost again a few breaths later. The beauty of this practice is that all day long you have the opportunity to exhale mindfully and clear or calm the mind. You are free to repeat as needed all day, all night.
Number two: sit quietly for only a few minutes each day and listen for the sound of AUM. It only takes a moment or two to sit quietly, fall in rhythm with your breath, soften your ears and simply listen. Allow yourself to listen beyond the usual sounds around you, and see if you can hear the sound of AUM humming. Fall in rhythm with this sound and you will be “attuning” yourself to nature. Immediately you will feel a softening in the tightness you have been experiencing.
Number three: recognize that the way you are living, is born from a habit that will repeat itself unless you make new choices. Start with numbers one and two, then open to other ways of shifting your life from a pyramid of stress upon stress lifestyle to one of tranquil mind. I sometimes see the mind like an etch-a-sketch and the breath as the way we can shake it clear. If you only discover it for a brief moment at first, the feeling of relaxation will be tantalizing.
Exhale, soften, create the space and make new choices. With every breath the cycle renews itself, and when you bring yourself to be aware of this, things will change. AUM!
Posted in Articles, yoga, Yoga Philosophy | 3 Comments »
January 14th, 2013
Last week we had the opportunity to offer a personal retreat to a mother/daughter as a Christmas gift from the husband/father. It was so much fun, and an honor to create the space for their personalized retreat day. They began their day with a Yoga on the Beach class, and then we offered them tea by the sea, as they relaxed and communed in Ft Zachary State Park. (Want to read the view from our clients, check out their blog.)
Then it was off to a beautiful garden setting for their massages provided by Ocean Wellness Spa. In the shade of the palm trees with the waterfall singing the song of relaxation each of them had a personal and healing session with their massage therapist. They showered off and freshened up and then it was off to the kitchen for a little detox and dine session with Celine Peccatte.
Celine offered a hands-on kitchen session for each of them to learn more about how to explore detoxing for the body, healthy eating and food preparation with the end process being their healthy lunch. YUM!
Next they sat outside doing a mandala coloring meditation. Choosing their own mandala they sat in the quiet of the yard, picking their colors and delving into the healing powers of their mandala. They loved it!
Their day ended receiving a Reiki session with Nancy Curran and Don Bartolone. Their one hour hands on healing session offered each of the retreatants time to breathe, relax and find a deep sense of inner calm. They gently drew themselves off the tables grinning, and in deep gratitude. What was wonderful was how the feeling was across the board as all of the Yoga on the Beach and Ocean Wellness Spa facilitators felt the same way.
Posted in Bodywork, Guest Post, Key West Secrets, Retreats | No Comments »
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January 2nd, 2013
Yesterday I became aware of a gift from my Yoga practice. I love those moments when I recognize that the seeds that I have planted in my practice have matured, ripened into a full sense of existence within me. In this case it was seeing the maturation of clarity as an offshoot of my ability to be still, centered and observant.
As we were setting up for yoga class I realized that we did not have a receipt book. We use the receipt book to give receipts to students who want to come back to the park any time after class that day. My first impulse was to jump on my bike, ride home and get one. There was an impulse to go into action. As I took my next breath I felt this sense of calm come over me and I thought, “why not wait?” I realized that maybe no one would need a receipt, and if they did I could go get them during the class (I was not teaching this day) and be back before class ended.
I enjoyed checking people in, meeting new students, discovering where they came from and helping them set up for class. Then I had another moment of clarity. I realized that I could simply bike down to the entrance to Fort Zach and pay for the entrance fees directly, getting a receipt for anyone who wanted one.
So rather than ride another 3 miles round trip, to get the receipt book, bring it back to the park and then back home, I simply got receipts from the park. It was simple, easy and felt like it came from some place calm, centered and deep within.
Some of you know I love to garden, hence the analogy to planting. Sometimes I plant seeds and nothing happens, while other times a bounty of plants sprout, and then there are times that something grows when I never planted any seedlings. That has been my experience along the yoga path as well.
While I don’t remember consciously calling out for patience to materialize within me, as I explored a heart based practice I discovered a sense of patience was so very available to me. It was a gift born from my practice very much like airborne seeds planted in my yard. Other times I have set myself down on my yoga path with clear intentions to lay down a seed, and then used my practice, intention and awareness to mature the seedling.
Whether it is a seed of the physical body, emotional body or mental body, know that they are related and will be affected by each other. The physical body in growing flexibility, well being or strength, will touch the emotional body with inner peace, emotional agility or compassion, stimulating growth in the mental body like clarity, calmness, or mental elasticity. And with all this the spirit grows.
Here is to your practice. And to growing with intention while seeing the fruits blossom so that you may share them with others.
Posted in Articles, Inspirations from Class, Spirit | 3 Comments »