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Where has the time gone?? Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post but I feel like I have been truly living my yoga.  I tried multiple times to write but the words just weren’t ready yet.  I needed to internalize and let the experience simmer for a few days so I could truly appreciate it.  Now I feel ready to share! 🙂

One of the biggest things happening in my life is today is the completion of my 7 day juice fast.  My diet consisted only of all-natural juices, water, and senna tea (to flush out my system of toxins).  This was the first time I’ve ever fasted (for any length of time) and I did it for 2 reasons: 1) To understand/change my bad eating habits and attachment to food, and 2) To detox and cleanse my body.  As I am less than 24 hours from completion, I have to say that this was an amazing, eye-opening experience for me. When I first decided that I was going to fast, my original plan was to consume only fruits, vegetables, and juice.  A few of my yoga instructors were just completing their juice fast but I didn’t think I was mentally, physically, or psychologically prepared to not eat (ie. chew) anything for a few days.  However, the first day of my fast, I was sitting at my table when my grandma placed a bowl of edamame (soy beans) in front of me.  A few minutes later I realized that I had unconsciously started eating it not because I was hungry but because it was in front of me.  That was my first wake-up call and decided to challenge myself to go the rest of the day with only juice and water.  To be honest, I was surpised how easy that first day went.  I rarely felt hungry and no feelings of weakness or being tired.  The next day went by much the same as did the next and I soon realized that yes, I could do a juice fast.  The hardest day of my fast happened on the 5th day.  That night I had a family dinner and having to sit around a table of food for the entire night was the first time I felt REALLY hungry.  I did feel guilty for not “participating” and I nearly succumbed during a moment of weakness but I am proud to say that I didn’t.  This was something I needed to do for me and I’m glad I stuck with it.  One of the unexpected benefits I experienced this week was this happiness and mental clarity I have felt all week.  I want to attribute it to the detox but whatever it was, I’ve just felt happier, more alive, and balanced.  Fellow yogi’s have even said they’ve noticed a change.  They said I looked “clear”.  Overall, I loved this juice fast and I’m so glad I did it! It has been such a huge learning experience for me and I’m looking forward to the healthy changes I will be making in my diet.

Another big thing in my life is a lesson a fellow yogi shared during satsang.  She shared the concept of “Living in Your Own Vibration”.  Our thoughts, actions, interests, values, friendships, emotions, etc. all contribute to our own unique vibration or frequency and it’s important for us to recognize and honor that.  Whenever we lose that vibration (ie. trying to please others, being in uncomfortable situations/surroundings, stressful environments, etc.) we will feel unbalanced.  We are most balanced, grounded, happy, content, and loved when we continuously live in our own vibration.  Once we learn to live in our own vibration, the next step is to become a frequency holder.  Can you go into less than ideal situations and still vibrate at your own frequency?  And the truth is that if you can vibrate and hold at your own frequency, you can help raise the frequency of other people or the entire room.  People will naturally attract and absorb your frequency.  This concept has been huge in my life because for a long time I wasn’t living in my own vibration.  I was so severely unbalanced because I was trying to be everything to everybody.   I was being the person everyone wanted me to be instead of what I needed to be.  I didn’t allow people to just accept me for me and it wreaked havoc on my life.  I lost some of the most important people and things in my life and it took a long time to start forgiving myself, fixing my mistakes, and not feel broken anymore.  As I have begun to live more and more in my own vibration, the Universe has begun to open itself back up.  I finally feel love pouring back into my life again and I feel blessed.

I have so much more to share with you but I think I will stop here for now.  I’m so excited and I should have a few more posts in the upcoming days.  Thank you for your support, I truly appreciate you.

Namaste.

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I’ve recently been reading a book called Yoga Beyond Belief by Ganga White and it has been providing me great insight into my yoga practice and life.  I am still trying to internalize all the things I’ve been learning and understanding how it fits into my life.  Balance, Attainment and Attunement, Energy, Body-Mind Systems, Yoga Styles, etc.  I”m sure many of my upcoming posts will be related to the many great lessons of this book.

However, I just read something that I wanted to share immediately.  Many times I wonder about the growth and evolution of my yoga practice; phsically, mentally, and spiritually.   Is one area more important than another?  How do you measure day-to-day a lifelong process?  Is it even necessary to measure?  I’m sure that I’m not the only one to have these and similar thoughts.  I think Ganga summed it up perfectly in his book and I hope you gain important insight into your own practice as I have in mine.

Namaste.

Advancing in Yoga

The insights and principles outlined here are offered to assist you in refining your ability to see and listen inwardly and outwardly, on a deeper and subtler levels, as you progress in your yogic journey.  This awareness is more important than merely atttaining more and more exotic postures.  Think of your yoga practice as learning, gathering, and developing the tools for a lifetime practice of self-therapy, self-healing, and keeping your body in balance– remembering that balance is not a fixed place at which you arrive, but a constant adjustment process to the circumstances of each moment.

Advancing in yoga is more related to refining than to attaining.  If you want to know if you are advancing in yoga, ask yourself these questions: Am I gaining greater understanding of my body?  Am I learning how to heal myself?  Am I learning subtler and different ways of using the poses and how each asana affects the body to produce different results?  Am I gaining an understanding of the energy fields in the body and how these energies flow?  Am I beginning to get some control of my own autonomic nervous system and some of the unconscious processes of the body?  Am I less rigid in my beliefs and less fixed in particular systems and structures?   Am I alive and awaki in my practice, constantly questioning and willing to vacate my position– figuratively and actually?  Am I questioning, not only of others but of myself?  Is my mind becoming more open, compassionate, more peaceful?  Growing in these perceptions and capacities provides the necessary ingredients for the evolutionary process of alchemical transformation into radiant health, high consciousness, and wisdom.

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Cocoon

Just wanted to pop in and write a quick post about my class last night.  It was a Jivamukti-inspired class that was fun, challenging, and quite satisfying.  I haven’t learned the background of Jivamukti yet but this style has been quickly growing on me and is becomng some of my favorite classes.  These classes provide a great workout but more important than that, the challenge forces me to stay focused and present.  Although I may be physically exhausted by the end of class, I always feel mentally refreshed.  If you haven’t tried a Jimukti class before, I’d suggest giving it a shot.

Anyway, the thing I wanted to share about class last night came during savasana.  I have found that I’ve needed a little more grounding during savasana recently.  For whatever reason, it’s been harder for me to let my body fully relax and be comfortable.  It’s not anything I’m particularly concerned about, I just know I’ll need to lay a blanket over my thighs or cover my eyes with a towel and be a little more patient with myself.

As we were lying there, my instructor said something that at first seemed a little strange but I quickly warmed to her message.   Another reason I enjoy this instructor’s class is that she somehow always says exactly what I needed to hear.  As we laid there, she softly spoke to the class…

Let go… 

Let go…

Let go…

Let go.

Allow a small piece inside of you to die.  Let it die so that it may be reborn.

Let go.

Let yourself be free.

I needed to hear that.  I have been fighting an internal battle.  There are many new things I want or need in my life but there are constantly battling against the old thoughts, habits, actions, etc that I have grown comfortable with.  I liken it to the life of a caterpillar.  A caterpillar is a beautiful creature and serves its purpose in nature.  It possesses it’s own unique qualities and characteristics.  A caterpillar is… as nature intended it to be.  However, there eventually comes a time when the caterpillar’s life must end so that it may be reborn as a butterfly.  But this rebirth is more about transformation than death.  The heart, soul, and mind of the caterpillar is still there, it never died.  From slowly inching his way through life, this caterpillar has now grown wings and can now fly.  As a butterfly, this caterpillar begins a new life.  A life blessed with new freedom.  A life… as nature intended it to be.

Perhaps that is where I am in my life right now.  I am the caterpillar, building it’s cocoon.  And like a caterpillar who probably does not quite know the purpose of creating their cocoon, they innately know that it is what they are supposed to be doing.  They must trust in the process even if they don’t understand it yet.  Eventually they must give up their life as a caterpillar so they may be reborn as a butterfly.  And I too must let a small part of me die so that it may be reborn again. Reborn so that I can become what I am intended to be as well.

Yoga has been very good to me today and I am thankful.

Namaste.

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Letting Go- Update 1

Four days have passed since starting my new Letting Go sadhana and I thought I’d take a moment to do a quick recap.  I already shared Day 1 in a previous post and Day 2 was pretty much the same.  I was  a litle more conscious of my negative thoughts so let’s just say that my pen and notepad came out a few more times that day.  However, my day still felt satisfying because I was able to successfully throw away and let go of these thoughts almost immediately.  And overall, I just felt better about myself and life.

That being said, Days 3 and 4 were a challenge and struggle.  I’ll just share Day 3 because 4 was about the same but on a smaller scale.  Day 3 seemingly started out the same as the previous days but then I had a thought that I just couldn’t shake.  I tried writing it down and throwing it away but this one was persistent.  Being at work at the time, little nuances that I could normally ignore started frustrating me and I could just feel this negative ball of energy just growing within me.  To compound the situation, I was working alone for most of the morning and honestly, being by myself with just my thoughts was the last place I wanted to be.  I wanted to just run away and not be me for awhile.  I could just feel my frustration growing and sadly I gave up on my sadhana at the moment because it was becoming more than I could write down and sometimes just hard to define in words. 

Needing to break out of my slump, I went up to a coworker and asked her to share a funny story with me.  She shared a great one and it did help lift my spirits for awhile.  It was an internal battle for most of the day though.  At one point, I even walked into an empty room, closed the door, and practiced doing a few headstands.  For a few seconds, I even held it without my feet supported against the wall!  That helped lift my spirits a little more.  Also, the thought that someone might walk in and wonder what is this crazy guy doing upside down helped bring a chuckle and smile to my face.  Day 3 was definitely tough.  I’m not quite sure I met these sadhana challenges with success that day but it was still a valuable learning experience.  I wasn’t expecting such a tough day so early in my new sadhana but I knew there would be struggles.  I am learning and exploring my True ME and well… they aren’t called growing pains for nothing.

Within me, I know I have the strength to overcome these challenges and truly be able to let go.  Om Shanti.

Namaste.

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Letting Go

Ever notice how great ideas come to you when you least expect it?  Yesterday I was driving to the store when an idea for my new sadhana practice flashed in my head.   My mind was racing and I was so excited, yet I had nothing near me to write it down so I just kept repeating it in my head over and over again, hoping I wouldn’t forget it.  I didn’t have a name for it but the more and more I thought about it, I realized that this would be a huge challenge/opportunity in letting go.

First, I must let go of the past, especially the fears, doubts, mistakes, and negativity.  Now that doesn’t mean I just give myself a “free pass” to my mistakes and wrongdoings in the past.. No.  Letting go means accepting and taking responsibility for them, asking forgiveness, understanding the lesson I’ve been given, and moving forward without regret or guilt continuing to torture my heart, mind, body, and soul.  And the best way I can “measure” this is to be conscious of the negative thoughts in my head.  One of the main sources of suffering is to let these thoughts fester in your mind and allow them to grow and spread like cancer.  So instead of allowing this to happen, once these thoughts pop into my head, I will pull out my notepad and pen (which I will carry around with me starting today) and immediately write this negative thought down.  Once it is down on paper, it is no longer a part of me.  Then I will take this piece of paper, crumple it up, throw it away, and I will think of it no more. (I’ve also thought about burning them instead.  Although this idea sounds more fun, it would also mean I’d have to “hold” these negative thoughts throughout the day, which I’m not fond of).  I, nor the Universe, has room for these negative thoughts so I will throw them away and let them go.   Negativity will no longer live within me, I will let it go.

Second, all positive thoughts I will say out loud.  While negative thoughts should be thrown away, positive thoughts should be shared with the Universe.  I will let go of my positive thoughts so that they may rain down upon me and everyone else in the world.  And yet even if I let these positive thoughts go, I will find that they still grow larger within me.    I will give of my positivity freely and wholly and in return, I shall receive the same a hundredfold.  Positivity is the prana (life force/energy) we all must share, I will let it go.

Through my new sadhana practice, I seek to fill my heart with love and let it surround me in everything I do.  From my actions to my relationships to my attitude to my soul.  I will be more conscious and begin to rid my mind of negative thoughts so there will be more room for positive.  I’m very excited and see this as my biggest step yet in truly living my yoga.

JAI!!!!!

Namaste.

**********

5/26/10

Today was the first day in my new sadhana practice/journey/venture and I think it was a successful start.  Although I have no intent of keeping a record of my negative thoughts, I thought it would be beneficial to save and share the 3 I had today. They were:

  • I am irritated.
  • I am alone.
  • I have been afraid to let people in.

Now that I have shared that… *crumple them up* *thrown away*  One of the things I realized today was that this may be a little more challenging than I expected.  At first glance, 3 negative thoughts in an entire day seems pretty good.   But then I realized a probably more accurate truth… 3 is the number of CONSCIOUS negative thoughts I had today.  I’m sure I had many more but I may be so used to them, I didn’t even realize it when it happened.  This could turn out to be a VERY interesting experience in self-realization for me.  As I wrote these negative thoughts down, I think another thing I will add to my sadhana is that as I am throwing away these negative thoughts, I should say an affirmation to truly let go and rid them from my life.  For example, as I throw away the “I am alone” paper, I could say, “I am blessed with people who love me.”  I think this will help strengthen my practice exponentially!

Overall, this was a huge step and learning experience for me!  I already feel like I am making progress and overall, I felt pretty happy throughout the day.  That’s not to say it was not without it’s difficulties, I just chose to stay positive and look on the bright side of things.  Today, I feel very fortunate.  Before I go, let me leave you with a great quote and something to think about:

“If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, what good is our spiritual practice?”

– Maha Ghosananda –

 

Thank YOU for being you and for being a part of my life.  I appreciate you.

Namaste.

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Day 13 was about Saucha.  As I already shared in my last post, my Sarvangasana‘s (shoulder stand) did not feel right so instead I used my sadhana to help stop the downward spiral my mind suddenly found it in and also to release tension in my body.  I did this through a series of forward folds: Baddha Konasana, Paschimottanasana, and Kaptoasana.  By the end of practice I felt much better and helped rid myself of the toxins in my mind and body.

Day 14.  I used my sadhana to meditate.  Turned the lights off, put on some soothing music, sat in silence, and lost myself in the moment.  I did not meditate anything in particular, just took the time to enjoy the here and now.  It was not long, perhaps 15 minutes.  I then laid down for savasana and fell asleep shortly thereafter.

Day 15.  To be honest, my sadhana feels complete. While I still have a lot to learn about Sarvangasana, I think those lessons would be better served in class. This is actually something that has been on my mind for the last couple of days.  I’ve wondered if I’m just lazy or quitting.  I’ve wondered if I should just force myself to continue.  And while it is only 2 more weeks, I do not like the notion of doing something  just for a number.  No, I really feel like my sadhana (or more specifically, Sarvangasana) is complete.  It is time to move on.  I will continue and grow my asana practice at home but I will search for a different sadhana. 

I do not know what the next few days will bring but I will stay open to the possibilities.

Namaste.

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Tapas + Saucha = Tejas

5/22/10    11:45pm

A few moments ago I was sitting at my computer just mindlessly surfing the internet and not doing anything much in particular when a bunch of memories, thoughts, and regrets just suddenly hit me at full speed.  I don’t really know what triggered it but it caught me so completely by surprise, I was content one moment and the next dazed and confused.  It took me a few moments to finally realize what happened but when I did, I turned towards my mirror, stared at myself for a few seconds, and said out loud, “Stop.  Dude, you have to stop.”  A few days ago, a friend shared with me some great advice.  She said that we cannot dwell in the dark places in our lives.  We cannot change the past.  We must work towards the future.  With that in mind, I think it would be appropriate to begin my sadhana practice for the day.

**********

5/23/10    12:30am

Sadhana wasn’t what I was expecting but I still feel was a success nonetheless.  After some stretching I tried doing a few shoulder stands but my body was still much too tight.  As such, I was fighting and struggling to properly align my body which didn’t seem to be doing much good so I stopped.  Instead, I decided to focus on loosening up my body, hips and legs in particular.  The 3 poses I did were Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), and Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) forward fold.  I decided to hold each pose for roughly 5 minutes.  Especially feeling tight, these poses were going to be a challenge physically and mentally.  Each time my mind and body were screaming for release, I focused on my breath.  I knew that if I could endure the initial pain, my body would eventually relax.  Perhaps this breath or maybe the next but the pain would eventually be replaced by steadiness and ease.  It did.  When that moment came, it felt as if I just melted into the floor and could stay here forever.

As I was practicing, I was reminded of a lesson shared by my instructor earlier in the day.  She said:

Tapas (fire, intent, purpose) + Saucha (twist, cleanse, wring out, change)

=

Tejas (Inner Light, Brightness)

First, I committed to the pose, accepted and allowed the pain to settle in my body (Tapas) and when steadiness and ease replaced the pain (Saucha), I smiled and gained victory from within (Tejas).  Through these asana’s, I found again the contentment and peace I had temporarily lost.  I thought about attempting another shoulder stand but decided not to.  My sadhana felt successful and complete, I honored that. Ended with an extended savasana and went to bed shortly thereafter.

It was a good day.

Namaste.

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