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Posts Tagged ‘Yoga Philosophy’

Change

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Anyone else notice that there is a shift in the way of the world?  Change.

Faster, quicker, more often seems to be the way of change for so many of us these days.  Some speak of it in terms of the astrological alignments we are living through, while others see it as the results of the technology we are governed by.  Regardless of the why, the sooner we can be aware of it the easier it is to ride the wave.

Like death, change is one of the few absolutes that exists.  You may not know when, what, where or how but you sure know it will happen.  The challenge for so many of us is how you adapt to the changes when they do happen.  How to be creative in the light of the shifting nature of time, circumstances, choices or opportunities is one of the challenges you are being asked to face.  There is a deep calling for us to develop, evolve and mature the habits that are our initial responses to change.

Take a moment to think about your immediate reactions to change.  Do you want to fight it, deny it, fix it or pretend it isn’t even happening?  Do you freeze like a deer in headlights? Our initial response to change is often one that is born from the hypothalamus, in the brain, which houses our fight or flight response.  NO, is the internal scream of our mind/body/spirit when we function here.  We tend to react impulsively rather than respond.  Again like death we go through stages of “grief” with change.  Starting with denial, then anger, then we move into a phase of attempting to control what’s happening.  Eventually we come to a sense of defeat or depression, which if we are blessed rises into Acceptance! This has been the way, but it is not the ONLY way.

This time of change is inviting us to rise up, and I do mean that literally as well as figuratively.  The cerebral cortex of the brain is above the area of the hypothalamus, and houses our higher consciousness responses.  Our ability to process information, be creative, be aware, develop perceptions, and raise our consciousness is all housed in this area of the brain.  When we access our cerebral cortex we are more likely to be able to accept what is happening, and then create our life possibilities from the starting point of what IS rather than from what was.

In the moments when life changes appear, take some time to pause, assess and access.  First pause and take some time to recognize your life landscape has shifted.  Assess the new landscape, including all of the familiar that remains, as well as the new that has appeared.  Then access your ability to perceive clearly rooted in this moment, right now.  Be conscious of ALL that is rising up or dissolving, and begin to process all of the potential that is present.  It may take a lot of effort in the beginning to make this shift, as you will be exercising your mind from its old patterns into a new way!  But after a while, blissfully, it can become easy, like sliding on a new pair of shoes.  Once they are worn for a bit they can get very comfortable.

One more thought, sometimes your impulse to run around and “fix” things or do something about what is happening is more destructive than constructive.  It is the gut responds of the hypothalamus to do something, and quickly!  Allowing time to pause, access and assess will give you the space to let your awareness mature or rise up.  Once you do, get ready to experience the bliss of higher consciousness.  A becalming sense of serenity and peace will envelope you, and all those who come in contact with you.  This gift becomes you, and anyone who you share it with in your presence.

To Change and Beyond….

 

 

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Samskara

Monday, March 7th, 2011

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”

Gail Sheehy

As a teacher I find it a gift to share concepts and philosophy along the yoga path.  Recently I have been inviting students to explore the path of transformation, as they find themselves in Samskara.

Samskara in Sanskrit means acquired subliminal impressions, or habits.  I like to call them ruts.  The vision for me is that we find our way that works for us in a given moment, and then travel it day after day.  In the beginning we do it with some awareness and because it benefits us at that time.  Slowly we start to just do it because we have been.

After a time we stop being aware of the reason we initially choose to do it, eventually the rut gets so deep that we can’t even see that there might be another option, or that situations have changed.  The ruts become valleys over our awareness.  Life becomes dim.

One of the many gifts of yoga is the time we spend reflecting on ourselves.  We gift ourselves with this time to simply see ourselves, free of judgment.  We notice things and begin to see a pattern, Samskara.

It could be a breathing pattern, a way we react in a given situation that might not always be in our best interest, or something that continually causes us suffering.  Moksa! In that moment of awareness we find the crack of light that leads us to Moksa (freedom/liberation).

Liberation begins when we see the Samskara.  In the light of that awareness we start to see that there are other possibilities.  Maybe we breathe a deeper breath.  Or we might try a new direction.  Just as we do in our asanas (poses), we attempt something new and discover the joy of flexibility.  Don and I often refer to this experience of the “yummy of living.”
Take your yoga practice off the mat this month, and stretch yourself in your life patterns.  Go ahead try something new, and see what happens.  Lokah!

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Life Lessons

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I love the “rush” that comes with the aftermath of a life lesson that we actually experienced rather than just read about or saw in a movie. Often it isn’t a lesson that’s having its first round with us but the same lesson at a deeper level. For me it came recently in the form of awareness.

Yoga speaks of being aware or conscious, raising our consciousness and paying attention, living in the moment without distraction and being immersed in the activity at hand. Most of us are familiar with the most common forms of lack of consciousness in the forms of sleep, watching TV, alcohol and drugs, addictions, and so the list goes on.

Recently I was gifted with the awareness that consciousness is also lost when the Egoic mind wants control. That is to say, when our ego goes into high gear and ignites our power center into super warp speed to get what it wants when it wants. It does this in many ways and convinces us that we are right and righteous and “should” have what we want in the face of any other signs and messages. It creates blinders that disconnect us from the stream of consciousness of infinite possibilities, narrowing us down to that one our ego is holding to. (more…)

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Passages

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

My mother died recently.  I write this not to implore your sympathy but to share my awareness, as I believe it is my destiny to live this life and share the lessons.

Yoga has taught me so many things and as I moved through the experience of losing my mother the past few years to Alzheimer’s, I celebrated the parts of her that remained, as they were some of her greatest strengths.  Her love for family and food never waned.  Her sense of humor and kindness held firm.  She forgot some memories and details of her life but never Love and kindness.

At the same time I was aware that the way to support my mother was to practice non-attachment (aparighara), one of the disciplines of yoga.  It was an amazing experience to continually be aware of the opportunities day to day, to honor her life path, see that there was something bigger at hand, and let go.

Death; it is something that we fear so deeply and yet it is one of the few things we can be certain of.  So what is there to fear?  From the yogic perspective we learn non-attachment, as it lifts us from misperception (avidya) that fear injects into our lives.   Yet when we can lift the veil of misperception, we recognize that with the experience of life comes evolution. Things change.  The more we can embrace that, and release a need to hold on, the more clearly we see things and experience life purely.  (more…)

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Opening

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

rosebudThe theme for August’s Yoga Unplugged workshop brings me to sharing a bit this month with all of you. Opening! Why is something so beautiful so difficult for many?

I often envision a flower when I think of opening. It begins as a small, tight bud with all the potential tucked inside. When allowed to nurture itself into full bloom, the opening happens as if like magic. Gently, gracefully, full radiance extends itself into the world and we are privileged to be in its presence.

In classes I often share the concept of integrating the elements that are often in opposition. We have been taught the power and importance of duality. Dividing and separating has been expressed (or should I say overexpressed) in our culture for thousands of years. It is a new direction when we begin to open, and in doing so we integrate.

Living from the mind/body that is divisive is downright scary. There is so much to fear when we judge things in opposition. The good vs the bad, the right vs the wrong can be a very scary place to live. Of course we need to know how to be closed with so much to fear and judgment around us! It makes us feel safe.

Yet like the flower, we can nurture a mind/body to understand the AND rather than the OR nature of living. We can integrate those things that we used to see in opposition, to see them as part of a whole. We come to know the power of acceptance that leads to OPENING, rather than closing.

What does it feel like when you stop thinking about whether it is better to be good or bad, and accept BOTH? What feeling goes with the idea of being in a space of non-judgment? How does your heart feel and the body breath when the war in your mind comes to know peace? Safe? Relaxed? Overjoyed?

The way of opening is a gentle nurturing of thoughts that brings things together, feelings that unite, and respect for the way of acceptance. Bend gently into the breeze as you practice this. Allow yourself and others the time and space to open into a paradigm that sees a world in safety, that is connected and integrated. Let the war of judgment in your mind come to know peace, again.

Namaste.

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