Never Force a Pose

Today’s wisdom is that wherever you end up in a pose [Asana] is exactly right for you. No forcing, just being. Never force your body into a position that causes pain. Our bodies all move differently because of how our bones are connected. One person may be able to do full Virasana aka Hero Pose [sitting between the feet] while others may need a variation [sitting on their feet, a cushion or blocks] because of ankle or knee pain. I know it can be hard to be content, and you’ll want to do some of those amazing poses full on, but your body’s wellness is more important.

You will still be able to experience tremendous shifts in your body, mind, and heart while focusing on your safety and wellbeing. Never force a pose, or else you can cause yourself an unnecessary injury. Be humble, explore the boundaries, and see what your body can do. Move with care, have gratitude, and maintain and appreciation of all it can do for you. You can thank your body by taking care of it in return.

 

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Urdhva Dhanurasana by AndysArtworks.etsy.com 

 

 

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Winter Solstice, The New Moon, and The New Year

Winter Solstice and the New Moon on December 21st were a powerful combination. At the time of this writing, not only is it a new year in 2015, the time earmarked the beginning of a new cycle.

The solstice is the darkest day for us in north america, and with each day forward the days will slowly get longer. When spring begins on March 20th this symbolizes new growth and beginnings for us all. The earth will begin its journey for us to tilt towards the sun, and signifies coming out of the darkness and into the light. This is the time to really release what you need to in order to enter into a new cycle with less baggage, wounds and general stuff that has been holding you back. A super powerful time to manifest what you want and to let go of what you no longer need, perfect timing for the New Year recently ushered in.

I thought I would share this positive spin on the longest day of the year, at least for myself. Typically these longer days of darkness make me feel depressed and angsty. Instead I am going to focus on letting go of what’s no longer needed, things that no longer serve me. I am going to count my blessings, and look forward to the new year with opportunities to grow as a person.

Its time to end cycles and welcome new beginnings. What do you need to let go of in order to evolve? What do you want in your new cycle? What do you hope to accomplish and achieve? I’d love to hear your own thoughts in the comments below.

May this new moon and the new year be the start of good things for you. Small or big, near or far, Happy New Year! Many of us are counting our blessings and going forth with hope in our hearts for new beginnings. May this year be filled with love, luck, health and happiness for you and yours!

Image Source:
http://www.vladstudio.com/wallpaper/?neptune_and_triton

Gift it forward, With Last Minute Holiday Gifts!

Still hunting for the perfect last-minute holiday gift? No need to wait on your local shipping company or post office, or deal with the holiday crowds, you can gift it forward this year.

Tis the season to give! be a do-gooder.

here are some recommendations of charity’s or organizations you can donate to:

Greater Good Networks – buy goods and funds are paid to a benefiting organization

The Giving library – Browse nonprofits. Find your passion. make donations to non-profits that match your interests.

Bars of Hoap – artisan soaps made with 100% natural ingredients. All proceeds go towards helping entrepreneurial women in Haiti.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that fights childhood cancers. A donation helps fund research for cures.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders – Your donations can help in the fight against the deadly ebola epidemic.

Heifer International  – gives livestock and other animals to empower people to earn an income and feed themselves.

Ten Thousand Villages – offers goods from local artisans in 28 different countries.

Feeding America – A gift of cash or food to your local food bank will help feed some of the millions of Americans, including children, seniors and active duty military, who go hungry, according to a

Shopping for a Change – works with artists around the globe, paying them up front for their products and work.

WhyHunger‘s – John Lennon inspired Imagine scarf will help you imagine a world without hunger a little bit easier. All proceeds go towards fighting childhood hunger.

Re:loom  – sells uniquely crafted rags made from recycled materials. All of their products are hand woven by employees who were homeless at one time or in risk of becoming homeless. All proceeds go towards employee wages and benefits.

Green Gifts  – offers an array of eco and wildlife friendly gifts that are perfect for your green friends or ways to remember loved ones.

A do-gooder’s holiday gift guide: 5 gifts that give back.

If you have an etsy shop here’s 5 ways you can give back.

Sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/16/living/do-gooder-holiday-gift-guide/

Gift It Forward / Pay It Forward this holiday season.

Some of us have everything we need, so what do you get the person that has everything? I like to give gifts that give back. I feel like I have so much to be thankful for, and that others deserve the same. I choose to be filled with gratitude and open my heart this holiday season. It fills me with love, warmth, and I feel a sense of purpose that I can bring joy to someone and put a smile on their face.

Gifting it forward is my way of paying it forward each holiday season. I am not looking for any type of recognition, I just want to do what I can to make someone’s holiday season that much merrier. I may not be rich, I work hard just like everyone else, but I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes to keep me warm in the blustery winter weather. Not everyone can say that.

Last year in 2013 I sponsored a 4-year-old girl through a local organizations called DFC Department of Children and Families. My instructions were to purchase at least 1 clothing item and 1 non-clothing item and or learning toy. I found some great deals on little things for her so I was able to purchase 2 pairs of leggings, a Merida doll and a learning toy.

Pay-it-forward

This year I decided to go with something that had been weighing on my mind. India holds a special place for me. I have family there, and I wanted to do something to help the future generation. I wanted to give someone the chance to better them self. I kept thinking there must be a way to help support an underprivileged girl. To give her a chance in life. I wanted to be able to provide an opportunity, the tools to succeed in life utilizing the gift of knowledge and support. As a woman who put her own self through school, I feel quite strongly about other girls being able to go to complete school, rise up, and make a better life for themselves and their families.

Facts: One-fifth of the world’s out-of-school girls are in India, and among those that enroll in school, only 3 out of 10 finish 10th grade. Only 65% of India’s women are literate.

I had thought of starting my own organization if something did not already exist. I wanted a way to give back and support many girls in such a way. I wanted a way to make an impact. After much research I found such an organization, Nanhi Kali, already in existence. They help people like me provide a girl the chance to improve her future. Sponsoring a girl child in India provides her a new beginning. Lets work towards making poverty history, promote literacy and higher education, and support the education of under-privileged girl children in India.

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If you’d like to do the same here are some details for two ways to donate through Nanhi Kali. Its worth noting that both not only ensure that such girl children get access to quality education but also complete 10 years of it. Academic support towards improving learning levels, material support to provide access to quality education, tutors, uniforms, bags, books, shoes, pencils, notebooks, even hygiene materials so she can attend school with dignity and social support to ensure that she doesn’t drop out. This Christmas send a girl to school, be her Santa.

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The Girl Store  – Gift her school supplies.
Site gives the flexibility to the donor to donate any variable denominations of payments. You can buy a girl one or all of the items needed to send her to school for a year.

Nanhi Kali Sponsorships  – Sponsor her education.
Support the education of under-privileged girl children in India where you can look forward to receiving a detailed profile of the “Nanhi Kali” [little bud/flower] along with her photograph and regular updates of her progress.

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#behersanta
#payitforward
#giftitforward

To Follow or Learn more:
https://twitter.com/NanhiKali
https://www.facebook.com/ProjectNanhiKali
http://www.the-girl-store.org/shop
http://donor.nanhikali.org/DonateNowMfusa.aspx

I am in no way affiliated with the site or organization. I am someone who believes in their mission, wants to make a difference and offer you alternative gift ideas for any time.

 

The Spirit of Mantra, a 21 Day Mantra Meditation

If you enjoyed the first 21 day mantra meditation journey with Deval Premal and Miten, then you are in for a treat.

The world-renowned chant artists are offering “The Spirit of Mantra” – a 21 day exploration into the transformative power of a daily mantra meditation practice that began on May 14. It’s free to sign up and enjoy. The previous days are still up to listen.

SOM_lp_header2

This new program offers another opportunity to explore the deep inner peace found in chanting these ancient sound formulas. Like the first mantra meditation journey, Deva & Miten will share a new mantra every day, with an explanation of the meaning, and a guided meditation into the chanting. This year’s program includes seven brand new chants from their album Mantras for Life. The

This free streaming 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey has begun! Join me &  register here

A few words from Deva & Miten:
Mantras make a difference, not only for the benefits they bring us on a personal level, but also as a healing balm for our troubled world. With this in mind, we have chosen mantras that help us meet life’s daily challenges, including blessing and protecting our children; healing body, mind and spirit; caring for the animals; and celebrating Mother Earth.

 

Note:
I am not affiliated with this site and or Deva and Mitten.

Image Source:
Mentors Channel

5 Things Yoga Has Taught Me On My Journey

Yoga continually teaches me new things, about myself, about life, and the world around me. This is just one of the many reasons I like it so much. I like to reflect on how far I’ve come, see what I have learned over time from these experiences, and observe what new knowledge I have gained along the way.

Buddha

Byodo-In Temple , located in Valley of the Temples. Oahu Hawaii.

A few things Yoga has taught me.

1. Honor your body
Don’t push your self too far past that edge. Its okay to push your self a little, but if you go to far past that boundary you can injure yourself. Your body will subtly let you know how far is too far. Its all about being mindful and listening to what your body has to tell you.

2. Let go of things that no longer serve you
This can be anything. It doesn’t have to be a physical object, although cleaning out that closet stuffed to the gills can feel cathartic. It can even something invisible such as anger. Every minute you spend angry, you give up 60 seconds of peace. Get rid of what you don’t need, physically and metaphysically.

3. Breathe
We often forget all the benefits of breath. Aside from the fact that we need it to live, there are other benefits to the breath. It grounds us, and forces us to be in the present when we focus on it. It can help us overcome obstacles, think of  lamaze breathing when a woman is in labor. I’ve even been able to get through what could otherwise have been a painful experience at doctor appointments, dental appointments, or even those few body piercings or tattoos just by focusing on my breath.

The breath is more powerful than you think, and there are even many types of “breaths” out there. To name a few in case you are curious, look up bhastrika, pranayama, Ujjayi, Shitali, Agni-Prasana, 3-breath practice, and 2-breath practice. I’m sure there’s others out there, in the vast yogic system. I’m always curious to learn and discover more. Feel free to comment if there’s any you want to share with me. 🙂 Our breath balances us and additionally helps us balance. I find this latter especially true when I focus on my breath and or a fixed point in those difficult poses where sometimes only one limb is touching the ground. Our breath fosters healing and allows us to extend our vital life force. Everything always comes back to the breath.

4. Be present and okay with it
Be present. Live in the here and now. Stop worrying about the future and the what-if’s. Don’t live in the past, and don’t dwell on the I should of’s. If you have trouble focusing on the present, your breath can guide you. Live in the present moment,  and be content with it. Live like there is no tomorrow, be at peace, and be happy in that state. When you try to control everything, or worry about the future or the past, you won’t be able enjoy what’s right in front of you. Relax, breathe, let go and enjoy the present moment. Even life can subtly remind us to be present. For me the winter weather reminds me to turn inward, slow down, and make time for myself. Be like the Buddha on his lotus leaf  under the bodhi tree living in the present moment.

5. You can achieve more than you think
Believe in your self. Sometimes we have to take risks in order to achieve our goals. Sure its scary, and may not be easy but no one ever said life was. We all have dreams, goals, hopes, wishes, and aspirations. Stop making excuses on why you can’t do them, and take baby steps to get there. We can all do more than we think, if we test our limits.

I wasn’t sure I could ever do crow pose, but knew I wanted to be able to “fly”. I was a little apprehensive but I didn’t let my fear stop me. Sure I fell on my head a few times in the learning phases, but as I discovered even someone who is a very seasoned yogi can have an off day and fall in an asana [pose] they have been practicing for years. We don’t always see everyone’s mistakes but we all make them. Eventually we end up where we are supposed to be and can achieve things we never thought possible.

21 Day Mantra Meditation Journey Returns

First and foremost, I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve written, I’ll address that in a separate post later, for now I will leave you with one of a few posts from my exciting things to share list =)

Back in May, the Mentors Channel hosted the 21- Day Mantra meditation. I have great news friends. Due to popular demand they have decided to run the free course again coinciding with the world tour of Deva Premal, Mitten and Manose. The 21 day program begins on SEPTEMBER 10th 2013.

Below is my original post from may since the below links etc… apply once again. I hope you take advantage of this special opportunity and join me.

Below is Re-posted from my May 4th entry on the journey:

I am someone who enjoys having things to look forward to each day, especially when they not only make me feel great and refreshed but can make me a better person. Things like yoga months, or a themed type of yoga 21 day challenge, etc… This month my “I feel great and I am excited to get up in the morning even though its cold and barely daylight out” journey is a 21 day Mantra Meditation Journey being presented for free from Deva Premal and Mitten on Mentors Channel.  Want to join me on this three-week  journey into the powerful world of Mantra? I have listed some details below on how you too can participate.

21day

Let me start off by saying that I am not affiliated with this site and or Deva or Mitten.  I’ll be honest I was not a huge fan of Deva and Mitten prior to this transformative journey, and never really listened to their other albums. I’ll have to check them out and give them a chance, but my point is that even if you are not a huge fan of Deva and Mitten I think you will still enjoy this special gift and should take advantage of this opportunity. There’s a saying, there’s no time like the present, so if you have been putting off trying out meditation well, why not grab life by the reins and do it now?

You too can join me and the thousands of mediators worldwide as and explore the healing power of these ancient sounds. You can join by email or Facebook. When you join [for free] you get access to the daily mantra sessions as they are released. You will receive daily emails with the link to the new mantra sessions, as well as some suggestions on ways to bring the mantra practice into your daily activities.  Each day they introduce a mantra with a guided meditation, followed by an exploration into its energies and meanings. If you decide to give it a whirl you can discover how these ancient sound formulas carry us into a state of inner peace and well-being.

meditation

This is an opportunity to acquire for yourself a potent tool for healing and transformation; one that will support and nourish you on your journey through life’s adventures and challenges.

Deva & Miten launched their first 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey April 23.  We are invited to spend 15 minutes with them every day for three weeks. They share a new mantra every day, explaining the meaning, chanting together, and meditating on the mantra’s essential energetic quality. A program of 21 days provides the possibility for real and lasting change to occur, in body, mind and spirit. They say it takes 21 days for something to become a good habit and integrated into our lives. You can register here for this transformative inner adventure.

A few words from Deva and Mitten’s site: “We look forward to sharing these precious and sacred moments together with you, with the intention of making this world a better place”.

21dayregister

Image Source
https://www.mentorschannel.com
http://williamoconnor.files.wordpress.com

21 Day Mantra Meditation Journey

I am someone who enjoys having things to look forward to each day, especially when they not only make me feel great and refreshed but can make me a better person. Things like yoga months, or a themed type of yoga 21 day challenge, etc… This month my “I feel great and I am excited to get up in the morning even though its cold and barely daylight out” journey is a 21 day Mantra Meditation Journey being presented for free from Deva Premal and Mitten on Mentors Channel.  Want to join me on this three-week  journey into the powerful world of Mantra? I have listed some details below on how you too can participate.

21day

Let me start off by saying that I am not affiliated with this site and or Deva or Mitten.  I’ll be honest I was not a huge fan of Deva and Mitten prior to this transformative journey, and never really listened to their other albums. I’ll have to check them out and give them a chance, but my point is that even if you are not a huge fan of Deva and Mitten I think you will still enjoy this special gift and should take advantage of this opportunity. There’s a saying, there’s no time like the present, so if you have been putting off trying out meditation well, why not grab life by the reins and do it now?

You too can join me and the thousands of mediators worldwide as and explore the healing power of these ancient sounds. You can join by email or Facebook. When you join [for free] you get access to the daily mantra sessions as they are released. You will receive daily emails with the link to the new mantra sessions, as well as some suggestions on ways to bring the mantra practice into your daily activities.  Each day they introduce a mantra with a guided meditation, followed by an exploration into its energies and meanings. If you decide to give it a whirl you can discover how these ancient sound formulas carry us into a state of inner peace and well-being.

meditation

This is an opportunity to acquire for yourself a potent tool for healing and transformation; one that will support and nourish you on your journey through life’s adventures and challenges.

Deva & Miten launched their first 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey April 23.  We are invited to spend 15 minutes with them every day for three weeks. They share a new mantra every day, explaining the meaning, chanting together, and meditating on the mantra’s essential energetic quality. A program of 21 days provides the possibility for real and lasting change to occur, in body, mind and spirit. They say it takes 21 days for something to become a good habit and integrated into our lives. You can register here for this transformative inner adventure.

A few words from Deva and Mitten’s site: “We look forward to sharing these precious and sacred moments together with you, with the intention of making this world a better place”.

21dayregister

Image Source
https://www.mentorschannel.com
http://williamoconnor.files.wordpress.com

Lessons in Life Sometimes Bring Gratitude

I’m on cloud nine and have been this whole weekend for a change of pace. This weather and some changes at work had me feeling really down and out, additionally it left me in a negative head space. Most people who know me well would be surprised that with the gloomy weather outside, to find me in such an upbeat mood today.

I’m feeling such joy, gratitude, love and warmth in my heart. The kindness of strangers can go a long way my friends in cheering someone up. My family was distraught when one of our little chihuahua’s escaped unbeknownst to us. Possibly when a contractor came to work on mom’s kitchen remodel. The temperatures dropped where my family lives, and they couldn’t find our Chi – Steven. After a few days had passed, and fliers had been put up, they still couldn’t locate him, and were beginning to lose hope.

We were worried that due to old age and cold temps, that he had frozen to death somewhere out there, in the pale moonlight. Mom was upset and in trying to make her feel better I mentioned how perhaps since he is really quite old maybe it was his time, and maybe just maybe he wanted to just be alone and not be a burden on us. He has led a long life lovely after all at 15 human years I reminded her.

I continued on with what I hoped was comforting words and went on to say, Now he can run across the rainbow bridge in the sky with his brother Greedo, [another chi we had that passed away a few years back] and they can have all their fill of dog bones, pig ears and “greenies” to their hearts content. Mom laughed and I could tell she felt better. I was so relieved. She does not handle down trodden times well. We spoke for a while more and once I was certain she would be okay we disconnected the line.

When I reached home I lost myself in painting, art through meditation. I chanted a sloka [mantra]. Gayatri, that which saves, brought us back our little furry family member. I learned first hand how  Gayatri mantra are very powerful meditation aids.

A  few days later came our Happy Ending. My heart is absolutely brimming with love and appreciation. I’m grateful and it’s because there really are still good people out there in the world. Some young girls down the street found Steven and returned him home to my family. My family has such gratitude that Steven was found.

My yogaverse:

[aka life in my universe]

Life doesn’t always have happy endings, many things happen so our souls can understand. So we can take in what we needed to learn from these situations. Even if we could wave a magic wand and change things, they would only change back until our souls understood what it is that we needed to learn and experience in this life.

In this latest life lesson, it brought gratitude, hope, contentment, and love. Along with all that, the gentle reminder that as above mentioned, there really are still good people in this world.

“Ribbon Lotus”: Art through meditation, depicting gratitude and love

A New year, and A New You!

2012 has gone and left us. We have passed the milestone marker of the longest day of the year. I can’t tell you how glad I am about that last one. The cold, dreary, and dark mornings make for “Ugh, I am too tired, and don’t want to get up Asana”. Now its a time for the returning light of the upcoming year, to illuminate us and guide us through the times to come. We are well into 2013, whether we want it to be or not. The new year often brings about reflections and resolutions. As time marches us forward, we reminisce, and we contemplate.  We reflect memories past to  learn from our mistakes. It’s a time count our blessings and not our worries. We set an intention to become our best selves possible each year. To be true and authentic. To evolve into the most amazing version of ourselves we can be.

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Reflecting on the most recent holidays passed, I’m sure a fair portion of us may have fallen off the healthy bandwagon onto the sugary horse or even into the lack of motivation saddle. Whether its been due to either the colder weather, lack of sunlight, or holiday spreads, the new year provides us the perfect motivation for change. The time to detox or begin a new healthy habit! The simplest of detox’s could be getting back into your yoga practice, and leaving out all those tasty but sinful if you will items we need to detox from. Drinks and foods such as alcohol, sugar, caffeine, fried foods, and processed foods.

Looking out the window at this wintry weather, as we move closer to the shift, where the days become longer, it will become even that much easier with each passing day. Why not take the first steps to a new, healthy you in this new year. If you are looking for a detox plan with a bit more to oomph it, I recommend you check out this plan put together by the lovely Esther.

yoga-lord-dance-sunset

Don’t beat your self up if a plan you pick seems like a lot. Just take things slow, take baby steps and you’ll get to where you want to be, and on the path you envision yourself on. Some days are admittedly easier than others. Don’t beat your self up about it if you have a day where you have to repeat a day of your detox plan or yoga practice. Maybe your like me and somehow twist your back the wrong way at the office and have to take a week off to heal before you can pick up your regular practice. Just accept things for what they are. This transformative journey of our lives includes acceptance for who we are, it’s part of the reward. Don’t do something you’re not comfortable with but at the same time know its okay to gently challenge ourselves a little.

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Don’t feel discouraged in your practice, just put on your favorite yoga pants of transformation and all will fall into place. Remind yourself there’s no such thing as a perfect pose, rest when you need to. It’s okay to make adjustments and do modified poses. Instead of giving up yoga completely due to injury, I made a new adjusted plan in the interim. Like the ocean, I decided to move gently like the  ebb and flow of the tides. I decided to follow a somatics therapy practice to aid in healing my back, and alleviate me from the awful back pain and muscle spasms. Sometimes pain and sickness I find serves as a reminder of how important ones health is both physically and mentally. How we really have to take care of ourselves.

Sometimes small changes and adjustments in our lives can be a good thing. I found my self so slow-moving in the am due to pain and extreme tiredness, but didn’t want to give up a practice in the am while I had to rush out the door on time for work. I adjusted, went with the flow and did a short am practice and a longer practice after reaching home from the office. I found that the extra restorative motions have tremendously put me on a path toward a quicker paced recovery.

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Some day’s are harder than others. I can’t deny it, it’s not always easy, but there are lessons to be had in everything and its important for me to remember that. I am living in the present moment today.  I feel like a new person today after this mornings practice and the newly discovered self myofascial release / trigger point therapy. Today I am happy there was sunshine on my face streaming in through the window. I am glad to be alive. Today I find myself focusing on life, love, happiness, and peace. I feel inspired and motivated. I have lots to be thankful and appreciative for. I am generally healthy and these recent back issues serve as both a reminder of how important ones health is, and not to let such challenges force me to give up. With consciousness in your heart, repeat to your self I can do this!

 

 

Image Sources:

http://inwardoffice.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Secondary2.png

http://tv.naturalnews.com/v.asp?v=99C007ABC0A057775E88ADE8D0DEBE88

http://www.eastwestyoga.com/images/styles/therapy_flyer.jpg

http://res.mindbodygreen.com/img/ftr/yoga-lord-dance-sunset.jpg

http://res.mindbodygreen.com/img/ftr/yoga-lord-dance-sunset.jpg