Ever notice how prevalent even the word anxiety has become since the evolution of smart phones? This connection is ‘food for thought.’ Notice and observe screen time (phones, computers, devices). Notice posture and the structure of the body.
In addition, another body system is deeply impacted. Our respiration. Find some time in the day, even first thing or last thing, to breathe deeply. In gentle yoga classes we practice deep yogic breathing at the beginning of every class, no matter the type of class, or the body parts we’re focusing on. This targeted method of deep breathing goes by many different names, but they all mean the same thing. Deep breathing using the lower belly signals the nervous system to calm down. Building this breathing practice benefits sleep patterns, lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, and enhances the digestive system.
Research indicates that 9 out of 10 people are chest breathers who take short, shallow breaths into their chest all day. This method of breathing tells the nervous system the body is under stress. The body reacts by releasing cortisol, increasing blood pressure. The body and immune system become strained. Next time something or someone is prompting anxiety – find your breath – it’s right under your nose!
Come learn more about deep breathing in my Gentle Yoga classes. Go to the “About, Programs, Schedule” page of this blog to find out more about classes/programs or contact me at email@example.com.
This is one of my favorites by Pema Chodron…
“In life we think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem. The real truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together for a time, then they fall back apart. Then they come together and fall apart again. It’s just like that.
Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery is self-inflicted, when we are expecting the “idea” to overcome the “actual,” or needing things (or people, or places) to be different for us so we can then be happy.
Let the hard things in life break you. Let them effect you. Let them change you. Let those hard moments inform you. Let this pain be your teacher. The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don’t cop out on that. Don’t run away and hide under your covers. Lean in to it.
What is the lesson in the wind? What is the storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage? With full honesty and – lean in to it.”
By request, I’m posting this poem by Danna Faulds. I’d like to add that I’m thankful for all of my students who put up with my inspirational reading, writing, and sharing — it’s joyous for me! It is my hope that choices and the power of words will be the platform and impetus for transformation and going deeper into the practice of yoga. Namaste all!
Let It Go
by Danna Faulds
Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectation – Let it all go.
Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go.
Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith; the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless.
Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams or destinations.
Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.
Let Silence Feed Your Soul
In a yoga class, the practice of Yoga Mudra shifts focus from the outward body-centric movements to an inward experience of quiet space. You deepen this inner focus in the Yoga Nidra practice. For many, this may be a first glimpse of a non-enhanced selfie.
To cultivate pratyahara you can:
-Practice the pause a day before clicking “BUY” or a few hours before responding to a text/tweet/email, or a few minutes before ordering dessert.
– Practice keeping your gaze soft, thus adopting an attitude of receptivity instead of a narrow focus which makes you more critical.
-Use breath awareness as an early warning system to nip unwelcome emotions in the bud, by mindfully slowing and deepening your breath when you notice it become tight and shallow.
-Commit to gifting yourself a few minutes a day to sit in silence with your eyes closed, your breath deeply comfortable, and your thoughts positive.
Practicing pratyahara helps you to hear the whispering of your innate intelligence. The more trust you place on your internal guidance, the less external input is needed to feel satisfied in who you are.
Sandi Merrill is an everywoman who stumbled upon yoga 20+ years ago. After some “taste-testing,” she found joy in the Integral Yoga tradition. She is honored and blessed to be able to share the teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda. Yoga teacher training uplifted her life. Today, she is one of the lead trainers for the Integral Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training when she isn’t globetrotting with her newly retired hubby.
Meditation is not about sitting in a certain position with candles and incense burning in a darkened room. That’s all well and good if that’s your desire, but it’s not necessary. It’s not about seeing flashing colors. It’s not about seeing celestial beings. It’s about being comfortable and listening in your sacred place in however that looks to you. Life will always give us what is needed in the moment we are in. The very core of our true nature is Peace. It is here in one’s sacred place that peace lives silently in the stillness of the mind quietly leading the heart along the way. Breath is a meditation with life.
By Guest Blogger: Sunita Kalapatapu
OM or AUM is the imperishable, primordial sound which has always been in our past. It is in our present and will be there in our future. The three elements of AUM refer to the different states of consciousnesses which are waking, dreaming, and dreamless. The silence followed by OM chanting (also called Akasha) can take us into the fourth superconscious state.
Chanting OM is like speaking a universal language. It is believed that the entire cosmos was built with the OM (sound). When we chant OM we merge with the supreme self, like rivers flowing toward the ocean.
Experiments by Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist, proved that when OM is chanted, Sri Yantra (a geometrical representation) is formed in our surroundings. This represents the sacred sounds of the universe and helps us to connect to universal consciousness.
A few more benefits of chanting OM:
-It balances the three energies in us, creation~preservation~