Archive for ‘meditation’

September 24, 2011

September 30: Save this Date … Time for Yoga

by Yoga Karma

September is National Yoga Month.

For the culmination of the Yoga Month, organizers have put together the first annual Time for Yoga Global Community Practice. Yoga students are encouraged to practice yoga together as an international observance on September 30. Will you participate?

National Yoga Month was started in 2008 by Johannes R. Fisslinger, with the support from Rachel Levine at the National Institute of Health. Held each September, it’s billed as “an awareness campaign to educate about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle,” according to organizer Sora No.

While the month is coming to a close, there are still a lot of free events, concerts, film screenings, Global Malas, and other cool things happening until the end of September.

For the culmination of the month, on September 30th the organizers have put together the first annual Time for Yoga Global Community Practice: At 7 pm local time, yoga students are encouraged to practice yoga as an international observance.

“A one-hour yoga practice will be followed by savasana beginning at 8 pm, and a 15 minute meditation for universal peace and well-being at 8:15pm,” explains No. “By participating during your own local time, a wave of yoga will take place around the globe.

September 22, 2011

Fall into Autumn with your yoga practice

by Yoga Karma

Every season is associated with one of natures 5 elements.
In Autumn the metal element is at peak, which governs the energy of our lung and large intestine health.

Autumn is the time to Let Go…… see it in nature as the leaves wither, die and fall to the ground. Old feelings, beliefs and attachments leave, creating a fresh space to grow with new wisdom and compassion for ourselves
. Autumn is all about elimination, and the metal element houses our source of inspiration (literally our breath) for new ideas. Also our emotions, the impact on our health are understood when lung health and energy is compromised sadness and grief.

In Autumn, lung conditions such as colds flus bronchitis and asthma can be experienced. Other symptoms like sinus congestion, allergies, constipation, diarrhoea and fatigue all signal a possible metal imbalance within us. When these organs are working well our bodies have an effortless rhythm about them.

Healthy lungs refresh and inspire with each new breath, while our body literally blow off wastes and toxins with complete exhaling. A healthy functioning colon assists the body to rid the waste from digestion and cellular breakdown. we keep what it is needed and let go of what is not. Impaired elimination clutters our body and we feel heavy, lacking focus and motivation, even toxic.

Yoga poses in autumn focus on body areas that hold and store excess: outer hips, side waist, back of thighs and aims to free up and open our upper chest shoulder region. In yoga practice the poses will open and release these areas for greater health. We become more toned and improve the contractive elimination of our body. In letting go of excess we improve our lung health and soften chest, shoulders and neck.
Improved breathing results with more life force qi, prana to inspire ourselves and be motivated and full of energy.

It’s wise to look after your lungs in preparation for winter. The lungs are sensitive during Autumn, as the air quality changes, more cool and dry which does affect our lungs and skin. Keep up your hydration with sufficient warm fluids like herbal teas, green tea, fresh ginger tea and liquorice tea. Dryness also affects our skin, so massage yourself after showering with good quality oils.

The change in air temperature can make us susceptible to sore throats, coughs and colds as our body removes old toxins. To remain well, keep yourself warm during the cool crisp periods, at day break and sunset, when the air temperature can drop rapidly. Protect yourself from drafts, especially neck, wrists and ankles.

Healthy functioning colon is helped with plenty of in season fresh organic fruits and vegetables. look for and fill up your shopping basket with apples, pears, mandarins, pumpkins, parsnips, turnips, carrots, onions, ginger, leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, celeriac, as you can see there is plenty on offer!

Also include fibre rich grains, like medium grain brown rice, barley, millet & oats. Think of warming comforting soups and casseroles with all these yummy vegetables and barley and all this in season produce makes for more delicious sweet nourishment. Miso is fantastic for our lower body health and learn about the awesome heath giving qualities of sea vegetables like kombu to add all the minerals for balanced health. Sweeten your food
with stewed fruits and bake lush desserts like crumble with in season apples, pears and rhubarb.

Our well-being is not just isolated to our physical bodies and the 5 element system, with its relationship to organs and energy channels, \see your balance in Autumn from an emotional spiritual perspective as well.

In Autumn we have the potential to create and feel refreshed and inspired in our thinking and our experience. Our deep sense of personal worth is found at here, with the letting go and finding space for new opportunities in autumn all with the above ideas for a healthy balanced metal energy. We can wipe clean the slate, blow off the the old dust to find a fresh clear perspective.

In autumn, our minds become clear, like the fresh crisp days; we loose any heavy sluggish feeling and replace it with heightened energy, vitality and motivation.

Autumn is a time of Transformation: see what you can create in yourself, with healthy habits, great nutrition and yoga. With this, you enjoy a clear perspective, inspiration and an open heart .

Article from The Manly Daily

September 21, 2011

Being Still For 15 Minutes A Day Can Change Your Life

by Yoga Karma

Renew yourself. Spend time alone. Being still and resting in silence is one of the most healing and restorative practices you can do.

Why sit still and do nothing for 15 minutes a day?  Because in this busy, crazy, over stimulated world its essential to come back to your centre and find  your “peaceful place”.

Being still for 15 minutes (which by the way is only 1% of your day) creates the space so you can disconnect from the outside world and turn your energies and awareness inwards.  It gives your mind and body the opportunity to rest and digest the day so far.

Being still is nothing more than intentional rest.

Bottom line it allows you to listen to your life, tune into how you are feeling and pay more attention to the needs of your body.  It’s a gift to your health and well-being.

Here’s a simple stillness practice. Breathe in through your nose and tell your mind to stay focused on your breath. Voila.

14 great reasons to be still by the experts:

Relax you are here now.

Hope you enjoy my little inspiring collection of quotes on stillness.

1. “When you don’t know what to do, get still, the answer will come” Oprah Winfrey

2. Silence helps to settle and calm your nervous system.

3. “Being still is a key factor for hearing our best lives calling us”  Martha Beck

4. “One way people can develop peace in themselves is just by sitting quietly and breathing”  Thich Nhat Hanh

5. “When you experience yourself in stillness you experience yourself in clarity”  Eckhart Tolle

6. “When you lose touch with your inner stillness you lose touch with yourself”  Eckhart Tolle

7. “Sitting, lying or walking peacefully un-distracted for 15 minutes will activate different aspects of your nervous system and immune function. Your body will soon start to replenish itself again”.

8.   “It is not wise to dash about. Shortening the breath causes much stress. Use too much energy, and you will soon be exhausted. That is not the Natural Way. Whatever works against this way will not last long.”  Tao Te Ching

9: “The aim of  stillness is simple.  To pay more attention to your inside world rather than your outside world”  Carole Fogarty

10: “Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance” Morgan Freeman

11: “Through return to simple living comes control of desires.  In control of desires stillness is attained.  In stillness the world is restored”  Lao Tzu

12: “Wherever you go in the midst of movement and activity, carry your stillness within you.  Then the chaotic movement around you will never overshadow your access to the reservoir of creativity, the field of pure potentiality”  Deepak Chopra

13: “It is the stillness that will save and transform the world”  Eckhart Tolle

14. To know who you really are and to find how you are really feeling can be discovered in stillness

Article from The Healthy Living Lounge

September 11, 2011

Yoga Journal 7-Day Fall Detox

by Yoga Karma

Yoga Journal will guide you through a 7-day cleansing program with recipes, meditations, and yoga practices. Yoga Journal invitez you to start by taking the Dosha Quiz to discover your dosha and plan your personal detox.

Sign up to receive your 7-Day Fall Detox newsletters for recipes, tips, and more at Yoga Journal.

 

September 10, 2011

Are You Practicing the Law of Love?

by Yoga Karma

By Share Yoga

 

All religions teach love

New yogis (or those who are “yoga curious”) often wonder if Yoga is a religion. It is not. Regardless of your personal belief system, you can practice yoga. Yoga teachers need to understand this so that they can include people from all backgrounds and belief systems. If you attend a class where the teacher says something that makes you feel left out or goes against your religion, you may want to stay after and let them know so they can adjust their language for future classes. A mindful teacher will be open to your feedback.

As I continue my comparative religions study, the more I realize that all the world’s religions have more in common than they realize. Every religion teaches kindness; just as every religion teaches compassion and love.

Yoga helps us get in touch with our similarities and reminds us that we are all together on this one planet.

Thank you to The Leadership Blog for compiling these scriptural quotes from the world’s main religions.
Buddhism
Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. Udanavarga 5.18.

Christianity 
Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the Law and the Prophets. Bible, Matthew 7:12.

Confucianism 
Do not unto others what you would not they should do unto you. Analects 15.23.

Hinduism 
This is the sum of duty: Do nothing to others which if done to you, would cause you pain. Mahabharata 5.1517.

Islam
No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.Traditions.

Jainism
In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon others such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves. Yogashastra 2.20.

Judaism
What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary. Go learn it. Talmud.

Sikhism
As you deem yourself so deem others. Then you will become a partner in partner to heaven. Kabir.

Taoism
Regard your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. T’ai shang kan ying p’ien.

September 8, 2011

Yoga Lifestyle

by Yoga Karma

What is a yoga lifestyle? Attending a bunch of yoga classes every week? Wearing tight yoga pants and, every time you get a chance, flinging silk scarves made in India around your shoulders? If I say “Namaste” when I greet someone, or “Om Shanti” when I leave, does that make me a yogi?

While all of the above choices are perfectly in line with the newly-born and rapidly expanding yoga culture, yoga lifestyle means something entirely different. It has nothing to do with the style of yoga people practice, their style of clothing, the type of work they are involved in, or anything else that is externally imposed by fads and culture.

Yoga lifestyle is about one’s internal values: What moves or motivates a person to do what they do? Yoga lifestyle is also about the process: How one goes about performing their daily actions. That person can be an artist, a carpenter, a construction worker, a plumber, a car mechanic, a yoga teacher, or a cop. These external descriptions are like the seasons in New England – they are in constant change. They describe a temporary occurrence. Our essence remains the same. Our core values determine who we are and if we are living a yoga lifestyle.

Several years ago, I witnessed the following scene in New York City.

A hot and humid summer afternoon was drawing to a close. The busy sidewalk glistened in the slanted sunrays weaving their way through the tall buildings. A young woman with a baby carriage stopped at a street vendor to buy a bottle of water. For a moment, she let go of the carriage handle as she reached for her wallet to pay. In that moment, the baby carriage started to roll down the sidewalk and toward the speeding traffic.

All of a sudden, a teenage boy darted away from his ‘gang’ across the street and sprinted toward the rolling carriage while dodging cars. His sharp and urgent voice “Watch the baby! Watch the baby!” jerked the young mother’s head around. She grasped the invisible air handle realizing what happened, and ran toward the carriage, which was already falling over the edge of the sidewalk and into the hands of the teenage boy.

The mother broke into tears and hugged the boy. The boy smiled and shook his head. His friends across the street started clapping their hands. Several other people joined the standing ovation. The street vendor cheered the passers-by to notice what happened. For a few seconds, the busy street stopped, and celebrated the moment.

In those few seconds, a wave of love and gratitude rolled through the crowd. Everyone smiled. We all felt connected. We all felt compassionate toward one another and united in our human condition here on planet Earth, regardless of our background and beliefs.

What moved the young man to sprint through the traffic risking his own life? What moved the young woman to hug the boy? What moved the gang of young teenagers to applaud this event?

Many yoga masters and spiritual teachers have defined yoga as “perfection in action”. A perfect action means “an action that benefits someone and harms no-one”. It is an action rooted in non-violence and compassion coming from a deep source within. When we are living our life in accordance with this principle, we are living the yoga lifestyle.

Non-violence, which stems from compassion, is thought of as the most important yoga principle. It’s called “Ahimsa” in Sanskrit and applies to everything: our deeds, words, and thoughts. Gandhi dedicated his life to Ahimsa. He was a great yogi and a wonderful example of the yoga lifestyle.

There are four more yoga principles of social conduct: truthfulness, non-stealing, faithfulness, and non-greed; and five rules of personal conduct: mental purity, contentment with what we have, accepting suffering as purification, self-study, and surrendering of ego.

No one said it was easy. However, as you begin to quiet your mind and listen to your heart, the natural sense of compassion and non-violence awakens, and there’s no stopping it. All other yoga principles become our choices and the natural extension of the original awakening to the compassionate voice of your inner heart. The yoga lifestyle is the next step in the evolution of the humankind.

Article from Yogi Mir

August 30, 2011

Desiderata poem – what Max Ehrmann has to say…

by Yoga Karma

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.  
As far as possible without surrender 
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; 
and listen to others, 
even the dull and the ignorant; 
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, 
they are vexations to the spirit.  
If you compare yourself with others, 
you may become vain and bitter; 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
 Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career,  however humble;
 it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
 for the world is full of trickery  .
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
 many persons strive for high ideals; 
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
 Especially, do not feign affection.
 Neither be cynical about love; 
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantmen t
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, 
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
  But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.  
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  
Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, 
no less than the trees and the stars;
 you have a right to be here.  
And whether or not it is clear to you,
 no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
 and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world. 
Be cheerful. 
Strive to be happy.

August 27, 2011

Quote for Today

by Yoga Karma

Kiss your life.

Accept it, just as it is.

Today.

Now.

So that those moments of happiness you’re waiting for don’t pass you by.

Unknown

August 23, 2011

Amazing Places To Experience Around The Globe

by Yoga Karma

 

Breath-taking images by ‘The Cool Hunter’ on Facebook.

View the album on Facebook: Amazing Places To Experience Around The Globe

August 22, 2011

Aspiring Moms Use Yoga To Ease Stress Of Infertility

by Yoga Karma

 

Studies have shown the practice of yoga to be beneficial in helping those who are struggling with infertility to cope with its considerable stresses.

 

MONTREAL — Tasha Lackman  has chosen to share the story of her journey through the dark country that is infertility  in the hope, she says, that it will give others hope.

Those who have been there know it is a difficult and lonely place, one in which they are plagued by the belief their body has betrayed them.

Fertility  treatments, for those who choose them, carry their own baggage — the tests, the drugs, the waiting, the setbacks — and can be so all-consuming it’s impossible to think about much else. Such was Lackman’s experience.

Today, though, she is the mother of a two-year-old, Frida Maya Sternthal, and she has embarked on a quest to help others — through yoga .

Yoga had long been a part of her life but, as she tried to get pregnant , it became more of a focus. Lackman, a certified yoga teacher, has developed a fertility yoga workshop that, since March of last year, has been attended by more than 100 women and 35 couples.

Close to 15 per cent are pregnant now or have had babies.

The workshop has not necessarily helped the women to become pregnant — there is no evidence yoga increases conception rates — but studies have shown the practice of yoga to be beneficial in helping those who are struggling with infertility to cope with its considerable stresses, said Janet Takefman, director of psychological and patient services at the McGill University Health Centre Reproductive Centre in Montreal.

“Whether it improves outcome is almost irrelevant to me,” she said. “If it can make women who have lost a feeling of control over their lives feel that they have that control back, then it’s win-win.”

Marie-Eve Lapierre, 29, signed up for the workshop with her husband. The couple had been trying for a year and a half to have a baby.

“It was important for my husband to see that it was not just me — that what I was feeling was not all in my head,” said Lapierre.

Janou-Eve LeGuerrier — a 33-year-old illustrator and graphic designer — had tried for more than two years to conceive when she signed up for the workshop.

“It is not an illness that threatens your life — and yet your perception of the future is turned upside down,” said she said.

It was a year ago this month that the Quebec government started to underwrite the cost of fertility treatments, thereby bringing hope to many struggling with infertility. But with hope came waiting lists: at the MUHC Reproductive Centre, Quebec’s largest fertility centre, the wait for treatment is six to eight months.

The main reason people cite for dropping out of these programs, Takefman said, is stress. The dropout rate increases over time — and people drop out even before they have used the three subsidized cycles of in vitro fertilization per pregnancy.

Lackman learned at 20 that she had a condition known as polycystic ovaries; she was told it was unlikely she would get pregnant without medical assistance. “And you hold these truths in your body,” she said.

She married at 30 and tried, not long afterward, to get pregnant. She underwent three unsuccessful cycles of interuterine insemination and was prepared to go to the next step, and attempt IVF. But before starting, she realized, as she put it, “I am a complete mess. I need to get my body ready.”

She immersed herself in yoga, which is more than a series of postures, as she explained, but a way of approaching life: from a yogic perspective, for instance, it is important to do such things as take the time to eat properly and get a proper night’s rest. She began to research what she described as “specific yoga for fertility postures and approaches,” began acupuncture treatments, consulted a nutritionist and started to see an osteopath whose treatments focused on fertility.

Ultimately, she became pregnant without medical intervention.

“If yoga wasn’t the thing that caused me to get pregnant,” she said, “it was the thing that helped me to pull myself together and helped me to carve out the space in my life to make room for a baby.”

And she has chosen to use yoga to try to help other women do the same thing.

Lackman, 36, is a commercial lawyer in the Montreal office of one of Canada’s largest law firms. Next month she will cut her law practice back to halftime to devote more time to her yoga for fertility workshops.

She offered her first five-session workshop in March 2010 and, with little publicity, 15 people signed up.

A second workshop also filled up and demand has been such that she has run them almost continuously since February.

Yoga for fertility workshops have become increasingly popular, according to a recent story in the New York Times; students say the skills they teach help them to feel less alone and to let go of their feelings of worry and stress.

For LeGuerrier, who is expecting a baby boy in December, Lackman’s workshop was “my favourite part of the week — a sacred moment.” It helped her “to find a balance with my body and my spirit. I felt happier, more serene.”

Lackman spends the first hour of each two-hour session on a discussion of a specific topic, like diet, exercise or mindfulness, and provides written handouts that have been vetted by Takefman. The second hour is spent on yoga postures — gentle, restorative poses. “The yoga postures we focus on are excellent to elevate mood and calm anxiety,” she said.

Many participants have undergone at least one IVF cycle and about 20 per cent are experiencing secondary infertility: that means that, although they have been pregnant once, they’re having difficulty getting pregnant again. Some have suffered a miscarriage; miscarriage affects about one woman in four.

“There is a lot of sadness and anxiety that comes with trying to have a baby and not being able to,” Lackman said. “We take a lot of time to do deep, progressive relaxation and visualization around fertility — around creating a sacred space for themselves with guided imagery.”

“Tasha teaches us to relax and the importance of being calm and of thinking about ourselves,” said Lapierre, a yoga teacher herself who became pregnant in May.

Charmaine Lyn and her husband had their first child, a son, in 2007. “We had a very easy pregnancy, great labour and delivery,” she recalled. “I felt very cavalier about my ability to get pregnant.”

Then in 2009, she had a miscarriage “and I went through a pretty serious grieving process that kind of blindsided me.”

When she and her husband tried to conceive again, it didn’t happen. She knew Lackman from law school at McGill, but this was her first encounter with Lackman as a yoga instructor.

“Tasha did this work for herself and now she wants to share it,” said Lyn, who is 38.

“The first class was very emotional because people were telling their stories,” she said.

“For me, it was a way of letting go. Positive, empowering space, one that stopped me from going down that slippery slope of trying to control the process and let me breathe easy about it — just letting my body and my spirit recover.”

And in the second or third week of the workshop, she and her husband conceived their second child: Aonghus Dunlevy was born last November.

Article from the Vancouver Sun

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