Fortunately, spending the holidays with my family does not create stress for me, but traveling to see them does. After 2 flights, almost a full day in the Newark airport, and at least a 5 mile walk of the Atlanta airport schlepping all of my stuff, I arrived exhausted and in serious need of a hot shower and a long meditation.
For those of you that are feeling stressed by the holiday season and are in need of some mental refreshment here are 8 easy steps to finding a meditative state. Belly surfing on the couch in a food coma does not count..
1. Sit comfortably where you will not be disturbed and close your eyes.
2. For a few minutes simply observe the inflow and outflow of your breath.
3. Take a slow deep breath through your nose while thinking the word So.
4. Exhale slowly through your nose while thinking the word Hum.
5. Allow your breathing to flow easily, silently repeating, So.... Hum.... with each inflow and outflow of breath.
6. Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts in your mind, sounds in your environment, or sensations in your body, gently return to your breath silently repeating, So... Hum.
7. Continue the process for a long as you can- up to 30 minutes with as much effortless ease as possible.
8. When the time is up, sit with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes before resuming your holiday activities..
Happy Thanksgiving. Namaste.
When I was in the process of getting certified to teach Yoga, some of my co-workers and friends were kind enough to let me teach them, and many of them had not tried Yoga before. One male friend from work who was curious about the practice and trusted me enough to let me lead him loved the experience so much that he has been doing Yoga ever since. He is so excited to show me how he can do Tree Pose or Eagle. He loves it! And it’s so much fun to see an adult turn into an innocent 8 year old right in front of you from the excitement of discovering something new- something that they had no idea that they could do.
Here are my Top Five reasons why everyone should try Yoga:
1. You have random aches and pains.
2. You often forget to breathe..
3. Yoga butt. Need I say more?
4. It will make you more popular. Trust me. People will like being around you more when you’re calm, balanced, serene and uplifted from your post Yoga bliss…
5. You will not be able to think about your laundry, your bills or anything else while trying to balance in Tripod- it’s awesome!
Deepak Chopra and David Simon say, “ Yoga is a state of being in which the elements and forces that comprise your biological organism are in harmonious interaction with the elements of the cosmos”.
I just watched the 2008 Yoga documentary “Enlighten Up”! by Kate Churchill. Yes, I know 2008 was a long time ago, but I had completely forgotten about the film sitting in my Netflix instant que for at least the last 2 years.
I liked the film, and connected to the main character Nick- a non-spiritual, non-yogi, cynical New Yorker exactly my same age. He comes to find out that Yoga Asana or the physical practice of Yoga is so much more than that. In fact, the physical practice of Yoga that we know and love in America is only 1 of the 8 branches of the complete practice. Also, the question of how old the practice really is, is discussed. .
While the philosophy of Yoga dates back roughly 2,500 or so, the physical aspect as we know it (a series of movements designed to improve your health, flexibility, and the way you look in tight jeans) is only about 100 years old. I was a little surprised to learn this even as a certified teacher.
I recommend seeing the film if you want to dive just a little deeper into the origins of Yoga and what it means to you. There are also rare interviews with some of the founders of the more modern styles that are popular here today.
And, if you are still mystified or intimidated by the practice- afraid of doing it wrong, afraid of falling out of Tree Pose, looking silly or chanting out of tune (these are things that I hear often).. Well, lighten up a little. There is no right way or wrong way. There is no definitive authority or style on the subject or history of Yoga. Find a teacher that resonates with you and just go with what feel good. I promise that it will be worth the time and effort.
What does Yoga mean to you?
The following is a SHARING by one of my favorite teachers and a dear friend- Mary Beth Canty, owner of innerfairy- www.innerfairy.com.
I asked her if she wanted to give this short excerpt from one of her newsletters a title. She reminded me to use all the spacing she uses to represent breath... thought... and purpose. And... she decided to call it...
"Let's keep it real."
"I sat down to write this missive on 11-1-11. That's a series of 1's. New beginnings. Anybody who follows pop spirituality will hear about gateways from time to time. Hint: watch for numerology alignments and planetary alignments for gateways -- and take what you read or hear about them from others with a grain of spiritual salt.
Lately, it seems every time I get on the internet, someone is talking about a gateway. I'll open the link, read about 3 sentences and then my head starts swimming.
Anyone who knows me knows that I value practicality with my spirituality. I am, in many ways, about as "out there" as you can get, but I'm very careful about how I share the information I access.
What good is information if it sounds dismissible at the outset?
Sometimes I have to wait weeks before sharing. Sometimes months. Sometimes years.
And then there's the stuff I just have to sit with. (And that's the fodder for ALL of my work.)
But let's face it... And be honest about it... When you start poking around and through the dimensions, you can access Crazytown. :)
No doubt about it.
Suffice it to say, that my credo is, if you can't bring what you detect back into 3-dimensional reality in a way that is listenable, you need to keep working on it.
But back to 11-1-11. Yes, I know we're erasing the 20 in 2011, but that's how we write the date in America. (In Europe, it would be 1-11-11.)
That, my friends, represents an alignment of the numeral 1. The first integer. One of the components of all 1 O data. 1. A symbol, that once upon a time, was channeled to represent an idea, a concept. A symbol that impressed enough people that they agreed to use it together to express, in written form, something that they collectively intuited or felt to be true.
Symbols are powerful things. And we seldom stop to think that the Arabic numerals we use to express counting, the letters in the alphabet that we use to create words -- were once channeled to solidify and represent something previously intangible.
Really, seriously, have you ever contemplated why a 1 looks like a 1? The form of it expresses something.
And that something is in the breathless place of pure idea. And that takes you somewhere."