Jan 032014
 

Meditation is hard for several reasons.  Number one, we are not trained to sit quietly.  We are trained since birth to look and explore and accomplish things.  As we get older we are told that success is measured by how much money you make, and how many new things you acquire.  Sitting still is basically “wasting time” right? Time that could be spend accomplishing things.

When we do hMeditation pictureave “down time” we turn to email or social media, t.v. or even radio to fill the silence.

“Ok” you say? “I’ll learn how to be silent and quiet; I can do this.”   Then you sit down to meditate  and immediately you start to think about that conversation that you had last night with your spouse.  You got defensive, you snapped at him and made him feel badly about something that shouldn’t probably have been an issue.  Why can’t you just keep yourself in check and You know you hurt his feelings but you were trying to explain to him that you were feeling hurt also.  Herein lies the hardest part to meditation…. clearing out your demons, that energy of hurt or anger or frustration or fear that we harbor inside when things in our lives aren’t at peace.

I think it is Iyengar who says that you can’t just practice one limb of yoga… you have to practice all of them. Living right- following the Yamas and Niyamas is an important part to the Whole of a Yoga Practice.
Just as practicing the Yoga Asanas helps you to sit more comfortably in meditation, and Pranayama practice helps you to breath more steadily and focused, the Yamas and Niyamas help to guide your life so that you aren’t harboring pain or sadness or fear from the way you are living your life.

This happens to me often when I start to meditate… things come up that I haven’t resolved.  I think it is best to not fight it -not try to ignore it just so you can say you meditated (there’s that pesky ego).  But to acknowledge it, to work through it and maybe even to write about it or do something to resolve it….?  When you have cleared that bad energy or made peace with the people that have hurt you or that you have hurt…. you can sit once again in stillness and begin to really enjoy the energy of meditation.

Peace and Namaste.  Happy Meditating!

Mar 282013
 

Spring FlowersYesterday was  a gorgeous day– I know the warm wonderful weather is coming! It’s so nice to get outside and feel the change in the air after a long winter…

Another way to shake off the winter blues is to do a little yoga practice everyday… even if it’s just in the bathroom after you brush your teeth– a few stretches and breathing a long inhale and exhale a few times.

And, if you are ready to make changes to your diet that are pro-active- amping up your immune system and actively working to ward off cancer…  is Eat more LEAFY GREENS-
There is a great book called Green for Life and it tells of all the great benefits to eating more (like a whole head or bunch a day) leafy greens.
And the easiest way to do this is to make a green smoothie each day (it’s a great morning to afternoon drink to sip on)
The greens bring the SUNSHINE straight to your organs and blood and make you healthy from the inside out.

My favorite green smoothie recipe:
A whole bunch of baby spinach
a handful or less of baby arugula
1 cup mango juice (I get the Bolthouse farms– but you could also put in frozen mango)
1-2 bananas (you can also freeze old bananas and stick these in whenever you make a smoothie)
1 cup water

Sometimes I add an apple or a kiwi or I change up the greens…. I like romaine or the mixed greens (that come pre-packaged).
I’ve tried Dandelion and also beet leaves and mustard greens and parsley too– but that’s getting wild, so start off slowly and make sure you like it so that you want it
everyday or every other day at least!

That’s all for now!
Peace and Namaste!
:) Kelly

Mar 222013
 

YogaYou know how you feel about going to the gym…? Just get in and get out and get that work out done!

Or how you feel about cleaning your house…? Its got to get done, its just GOT to get done!

Sometimes we take this kind of approach to our YOGA practice.  You might fly through the door, 5 minutes late, make everyone move their mats, then the throw the mat down and join the class halfway through a twist that you are only going to get on one side… but hey, I made it!  oh… and did I remember to turn off my cell phone…?

(If you don’t already) Think of Yoga Class as a sacred time that you have given yourself.  I mean, you are connecting with your SOUL here, your SPIRIT, your SELF! This is SACRED STUFF!

HONOR it by making time for it, by showing up 15 minutes early to class and walking in slowly– enjoying the moment.  Stopping to smell the roses on the way in, or look at pictures on the walls, absorbing your surroundings.

START practicing yoga the minute you get in the car to drive to class.  Put on some uplifting music, or just let your breath fill the sound in the air.  Start to focus your mind on the gift that you are about to give yourself… 1 hour or more to just TURN OFF and TURN IN.

Give the GIFT of YOGA to yourself as a SPA TREATMENT.  Even if you are in a class and the person next to you is irritating you, or your mind is trying to coherce you to think about the list of 100 things you have to do… LET IT GO, and ENJOY the moment, as you would if you were getting a massage or facial, or any other spa treatment.

What a gift.
Make your practice sacred, and put it above almost all else.

Om
Kelly

Mar 052013
 

WaterSometimes when I think I’m having a terrible day because I’m tired and can’t seem to get out of the Funk, I remember to take a big glass of water and mindfully gulp it down.  Most of the time I realize I was thirsty… and my body thanks me with renewed energy– and that’s when I wonder why I don’t remember more often how important hydration is to the body.  It’s SO SIMPLE!  and can have a HUGE impact on how you feel!

When you are dehydrated, your blood volume begins to drop, your body may restrict blood flow to less “important” areas of the body and your respiratory rate starts to drop*.  These are not good things!  They can make you feel fatigues, foggy and overall terrible! Not to mention that the body get rid of waste by using water.

The last thing I’ll say about water is that we should take some time out to have immense gratitude for the fact that we have VERY easy access to clean drinking water.

Take some time out of your day, drink a tall glass of refreshing H2O and be thankful  and you nourish your body with this simple compound (the chemistry teacher is coming out…)

*I stole this from “Painful Yarns” by Lorimer Moseley– my favorite authority on Pain.

Dec 052012
 

One of the pillars of a yoga practice, is to live a spiritual life, one of compassion and love.  Seva is loosely translated as giving selfless service.  When we think of others, we once again get out of our “minds” and into our hearts and that is where God is.  And as I see it, the goal of yoga is to help bring you closer to God or your divine nature.

A Seva practice can be many different kinds of service– small things, big things, selfless things.

If you want to seek out some concrete volunteer opportunities for you to create more Seva in your life… here are a few links that I found in my Parent’s Magazine:

DOINGGOODTOGETHER.ORG
Packed with suggestions for volunteering with your family whether you have five minutes or five hours

BIGHEARTEDFAMILIES.ORG
New ideas for age-appropriate, kid-tested projects posted daily

VOLUNTEERMATCH.ORG
Plug in your zip code to see where your town could use a helping hand.

FAMILY-TO-FAMILY.ORG
Helping families and children in need, from sending a birthday party in a box, to organizing a book drive.

Oct 032012
 

photo credit Sean Boggs

What is “meditation”?  It means many things to many people but one thing is for sure, it has been practiced for thousands of years… and people keep doing it– why?

To practice meditation means that you are moving from a state of intellectual input and output (or what I call “living in your mind”) to a state of calm, peace and presence.

There are many benefits of this change ….
One benefit is the chance to calm your mind and your emotions.  When we live in the area of the mind that is of stress, frustration, anger, fear, or other negative emotions and thoughts, this creates a physical response in the body which creates adrenaline and other stress hormones that can be toxic to the body if not used up (in our fight or flight nature).  So regular meditation helps us to tell our nervous system that we are ok, we can be calm and that we don’t have to release so many of these chemicals into our bodies.  Spending more time each day in a state of peace is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Another reason people practice meditation is to seek oneness with The Divine, or with their Divine nature.  To sit in silence, very calm and focused, practicing one pointed concentration and letting go of the daily grind of thoughts and emotions, means to hear the stillness around you.  When you start to become part of that stillness, you realize that it is not really stillness, it is all energy, and you are that energy, and God is also that energy.  So everything in this Earth, everything around us and in us, everything that came before us and after us, is energy.  Can we connect to that?  Can we feel our own Divine Nature… what came before and what comes after?  This is not an easy task and thus why we call meditation a “practice” .  It is not something to accomplish (that can be argued), but something to get better and better at and to notice that as we practice…the perspective we have about our lives will change, and the things we worried about before may start to seem small compared to the realization of our connection to the Universe– how small we are, and yet how big we are.

Keep PRACTICING meditation.  Make a special place in your house to go and seek out this peace.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (Peace)

 

Sep 252012
 

I love this poem that I found in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (which is an amazing book by the way)

The author is unknown….but is titled
“Autobiography in Five Chapters”

1.  I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost…. I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2.  I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3.  I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there.
I still fall in…. it’s a habit
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately

4.  I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it.

5.  I walk down another street

I have to re-read this poem every year… but each time I do I realize that once again I’ve fallen in the hole and blamed everything else- and when I realize the only thing I can change is myself… I do something different, and it makes all the difference.

Sep 152012
 

About twice a year I lead a 4-6 week detox and yoga program that helps people reset their lives and refocus on what is important to them. I mostly stress that your health should be the number one priority every day.  If we don’t start the day off feeling good, how are we going to accomplish all the things we need to do that day as well as find our inner peace and happiness?

This is the reason I give for doing a daily yoga asana practice every morning.  After teaching 5,000+ yoga classes, I’ve seen A LOT of people go from tired and cranky before yoga class, to blissed out and ready for the day after the class is over.  People are always pointing out how great they feel and why don’t they do this EVERYDAY? 

I don’t know– why don’t they do it every day?  We brush our teeth every morning because if we didn’t, we would have yuck mouth and feel gross the rest of the day (not to mention the risk of tooth decay).  We brush our hair and put on clothes to make us feel good.  How long does it take YOU to get ready in the morning?  Have you ever considered that just 5 more minutes in your morning routine (that’s right!  just a 5 minute yoga practice), can change your WHOLE day?  Try it… what do you have to lose….5 minutes?

You will start the day feeling great and thus everything else that comes your way will be seen in a different light.

Daily Yoga Practice

Daily Yoga Practice

What’s the magic behind it all?  It has to do with the nervous system.  Have you ever considered why a big stretch in the morning feels so good and so natural?  It’s your body telling you it wants to, it needs to, stretch out.  Consider how you feel after a long car ride.  Your body hasn’t moved for hours… you feel stale and sore and tired.  Why should you feel tired after sitting in a car for hours?  Because the energy in your body has gotten sticky (odic), and your nerves are stuck and all kinked up.  When you stretch out (or practice yoga), you make the energy change to active, light (actinic) energy, and your nerves stretch out and the electrical impulses that control our bodily functions work better– and poof- it’s magic- you FEEL great!

So try it out!  Don’t set unrealistic goals, just start with 5 minutes a day (you can do more yoga in your yoga classes– but start a daily practice on your own).  Choose the5  best poses that feel good to your body, do 3-5 sun salutations to warm up and open up your whole body.  And finally, spend a minute or two in the final resting pose, Svasana, focusing on your breath and challenging yourself to quiet the mind and not get pulled into thinking about your day…. it’s challenging!  But YOU CAN DO IT!

Peace and Namaste!

Sep 122012
 

Yoga makes life better.  Everyone who practices yoga on a regular basis knows that it is a magical thing that can make everything about your life better.

Helping others also makes one’s life better.  When we put our focus outward on others, we change perspective and forget to feel so sorry for ourselves, and in return we feel happier- lighter.

Shopping doesn’t really “help others”, in fact it tends to simply “help ourselves” -making us feel good at the time… but never leading to a sense of contentment and bliss.

But today, after purchasing a few things a the thrifty shop this afternoon, I noticed that I actually left the store feeling like I did something good.

Usually after I’ve spent money on something I feel heavy and guilty( and broke)… but I spent $10, and walked away with a fall hat, a long sleeve shirt for my 1 1/2 year old daughter, a few very well loved books, and a naked barbie (which Lily wasn’t going to part with).  Oh, and a gently used kid backpack with a broken snap.

And what I felt was a sense that I was not terrorizing the Earth with more stuff that I was going to pack into our home,into our drawers,  while discarding with ease the items that were replaced by these new goods.  Instead, I felt like, I gave these items new life and  the money even went to support a local alternative high school.  I spent less, gave more and in the end, felt absolutely NO buyers remorse (which is typical after a shopping spree of mine).

So, next time you are thinking you NEED something… possibly take a look at a thrifty shop…. it’s a good way to honor the Earth, to help others (many thrift shops are non profit or go to a good cause), and to feel good about reusing what others felt was good enough to pass along instead of throw in the trash!

Hat and Bag

Reuse and Recycle

Sep 122012
 

I want to extend my sincerest thank you to my friend and teacher, Dandapani for all the help and support he has given me.  Dandapani, you have taught me many lessons that I have implemented in my life, and you have helped me time and again with websites, marketing and anything else I seem to need– even a listening ear.  Is there anything you can’t do?

Have a great trip to India, I look forward to the day I can travel on one of your amazing adventures, and I also look forward to future workshops with you so I can continue to learn and grow!

Thanks again Dandapani!

For more information about Dandapani and his beautiful offerings of spirit (workshops, travel adventures and much more)
http://www.vedicodyssey.com/index.shtml

Class with Dandapani

Workshop with Dandapani