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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Family’ Category

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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In Mayan culture, In Lak’ech basically means “I am another you,” and Ala K’in means, “And you are another me.” It is my understanding that this phrase can either be said together (as shown in my title) or separately as a reply to one another.  So if we met and I said “In Lak’ech“, you would reply back, “Ala K’in.”

I was reminded of this lesson during a meditation practice taught to us during satsung.  During meditation we would say a mantra in honor of different people in our lives.  If I remember correctly, we honored ourselves, a significant other, family member, close friend, acquantance, someone we’re not getting along with, people, and finally the world.  We would think of that person, say the mantra, take a few deep breaths, and then repeat for the next person.

Doing this exercise helped me to remember that no matter how different we human beings may be, we are much more alike than we sometimes care to admit.  We all feel the same emotions: happiness, sadness, sorrow, determination, excitement, surprise, fear, etc.  We all want to feel support, friendship, family… love.  While every human being may be different, we are all looking for the same things, just in our own way.

Although they are in different languages, I find In Lak’ech Ala K’in and Namaste to be very complimentary phrases to each other.   To me, Namaste means honoring the divinity and uniqueness in another person, to honor their “Self”.  Yet while honoring thier individuality, In Lak’ech Ala K’in is a reminder than we are also ONE.  There will never be another Self just like you and yet, I am another you.  We are uniquely the same.  We are similarily different.   A brain teaser no doubt but an interesting notion nonetheless.

Current themes in my blog have been happiness, peace, understanding, Self, and love.  It has been interesting to watch these concepts continually weave into one another as my yoga journey progresses.  There are times I’ve felt so profoundly alone and yet other moments surrounded by love and friendship.  It is a journey that continually empowers while still humbling me.   I find solace in knowing that every person in my life is another me, and I another them. 

I think this knowledge will greatly benefit me as I continue to live my yoga and live my truth as best as I can.   I bow to the divinity in you knowing I also bow to the divinity in me.  We are one.  In Lak’ech Ala K’in.

Namaste.

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Guidance

The following is the text for Scroll X of Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World”.  While working on a blog post for the last few days, I have listened often to the words in this scroll.   As such, I decided it deserved it’s own post and it will serve as a prequel for my next post.  In place of the word “salesman”, I think of “yogi” instead.  I hope you find the words as powerful as I have. 

Namaste.

Scroll X – I Will Pray for Guidance

Who is of so little faith that in a moment of great disaster or heartbreak has not called to his God?  Who has not cried out when confronted with danger, death, or mystery beyond his normal experience or comprehension?  From where has this deep instinct come which escapes from the mouth of all living creatures in moments of peril?

Move your hand in haste before another’s eyes and his eyelids will blink.  Tap another on his knee and his leg will jump.  Confront another with dark horror and his mouth will say, “My God” from the same deep impulse.

My life need not be filled with religion in order for me to recognize this greatest mystery of nature.  All creatures that walk the earth, including man, possess the instinct to cry for help.  Why do we possess this instinct, this gift?

Are not our cries a form of prayer?  Is it not incomprehensible to a world governed by nature’s laws to give a lamb, or a mule, or a bird, or man the instinct to cry for help lest some great mind has also provided that the cry should be heard by some superior power having the ability to hear and to answer our cry?  Henceforth I will pray, but my cries for help will only be cries for guidance.

Never will I pray for the material things of the world.  I am not calling to a servant to bring me food.  I am not ordering an innkeeper to provide me with room.  Never will I seek delivery of gold, love, good health, petty victories, fame, success, or happiness.  Only for guidance will I pray, that I may be shown the way to acquire these things, and my prayer will always be answered.

The guidance I seek may come, or the guidance I seek may not come, but are not both of these an answer?  If a child seeks bread from his father and it is not forthcoming has not the father answered?

I will pray for guidance, and I will pray as a salesman (yogi), in this manner –

Oh creator of all things, help me.  For this day I go out into the world naked and alone, and without your hand to guide me I will wander far from the path which leads to success and happiness.

I ask not for gold or garments or even opportunities equal to my ability; instead, guide me so that I may acquire ability equal to my opportunities.

You have taught the lion and the eagle how to hunt and prosper with teeth and claw.  Teach me how to hunt with words and prosper with love so that I may be a lion among men and an eagle in the market place (world).

Help me to remain humble through obstacles and failures; yet hide not from mine eyes the prize that will come with victory.

Assign me tasks to which others have failed; yet guide me to pluck the seeds of success from their failures.  Confront me with fears that will temper my spirit; yet endow me with courage to laugh at my misgivings.

Spare me sufficient days to reach my goals; yet help me to live this day as though it be my last.

Guide me in my words that they may bear fruit; yet silence me from gossip that none be maligned.

Discipline me in the habit of trying and trying again; yet show me the way to make use of the law of averages.  Favor me with alertness to recognize opportunity; yet endow me with patience which will concentrate my strength.

Bathe me in good habits that the bad ones may drown; yet grant me compassion for weakness in others.  Suffer me to know that all things shall pass; yet help me to count my blessings today.

Expose me to hate so it not be a stranger; yet fill my cup with love to turn strangers into friends.

But all these things be only if thy will. I am a small and a lonely grape clutching the vine yet though hast made me different from all others.  Verily, there must be a special place for me.  Guide me.  Help me.  Show me the way.

Let me become all you planned for me when my seed was planted and selected by you to sprout in the vineyard of the world.

Help this humble salesman (yogi).

Guide me, God.

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If you didn’t know, April 18 is the 108th day this year.  The number 108 carries a lot of significance in many cultures, religions, and philosophies on life, nature, the world, etc.  Yoga is no exception.  Mala’s usually have 108 beads (or some fraction of that number such as 27 or 54).  In pranayama, it is said that if one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.  Some say that 1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity.  But the reason I will be using for this blog post relates to the Heart Chakra.  The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.

Ahhh, Self-Realization…

As you can see from my recent blog posts, self realization has been a major focus for me in my yoga practice and life.  As such, on this 108th day of 2010 I would like to reflect on my yoga journey since the beginning of the year.   Although I attended my first yoga class around Oct/Nov of last year, January 1st was really the beginning of my yoga journey.  That was when I really began to take yoga seriously and incorporate it into my life. 

As I think back to the beginning of the year, I really can’t believe it has only been 108 days… It truly feels like its been a lifetime since then.  Here are some of my lessons along the way:

  • My year started off with 50 straight days of at least 1 yoga class a day (2 a day when I had the time and energy).  I enjoyed this immensely and it really helped me to refine my asana poses.  Poses became easier and much more familiar.  As I become more comfortable with the basics of each pose, I was able to explore it more fully and learned to listen more to my body and adjust accordingly.  As much as I enjoyed my asana practice, I also realized how much of yoga I had yet to learn, most needing to be done in my own time, outside of the classroom. 
  • I attended my first Kirtan a few months ago, hosted by the yoga studio I attend.  It was a very uplifting experience and the energy, love, and joy you could feel around the room was just amazing.  One of the highlights for me was having to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine” aloud, one-by-one to the rest of the class.  It was a nerve-wracking experience (especially since I had to go first) but the feeling of accomplishment and pride for facing this small fear felt so good!  We weren’t just singing lyrics to a song, it was sending a very important message straight to our soul.  It helped me remember just how important it is to keep this little light of mine burning brightly within me.
  • Also attended my first satsang which was focused on ahimsa (non-harming/violence).  I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for applying ahimsa into our everyday lives.  It is instrumental to my development not only as a yogi but as a human being as well.  One of my biggest lessons is making sure to also practice ahimsa on myself in my words, actions, and thoughts.  Forgiveness is also an integral part of ahimsa.
  • Started blogging.  The inspiriation for this blog came from reading a book called Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater.  I highly recommend this book! It helped me so much in learning how to live my yoga off the mat as well as on the mat.  It gave me direction and guidance when I felt my yoga practice had hit a lull and was unsure what the next step in my journey was.
  • I’ve learned how to quiet my mind much more now during asana practice and slowly being able to incorporate that into my everyday life.  I remember when I first started how scattered my thoughts were during asana practice, especially once I started feeling my muscles burning.   During those times, all I was waiting for was the teacher to hurry up and go to the next pose already.  But now, my mind is much quieter and during times of struggle, I am doing a much better job now of focusing on my breath and practicing ahimsa in my thoughts.
  • I am gaining a better understanding of my body.  Physically, it’s amazing that we can control different muscles through practice and awareness.  To understand how the most subtle movements can be the difference between doing a pose correctly versus “looking” like you’re doing a pose but could be causing an injury in the future.  I am more flexible and loose.  I have less body aches and pains.  I am more conscious of the things I eat and drink because they do have an effect on your body and how it operates.  Having much more awareness and respect for my body makes me think twice about eating unhealthly junk food.
  • I am beginning to find my spiritual family.  I have made great, new friends but also lost others who are on a  different journey in their lives.  I thank the ones who are no longer here for helping me learn and grow and I honor new friends for their motivation and support.

The list goes on and on.  As I keep rereading this, I realized just how much I have learned but it’s more than I can fit in a single blog post.  I’ve grown as a human being, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  My life has been filled with much joy and sorrow, smiles and tears, Love and heartbreak, and much more.  January 1st sure does seem like an eternity ago which amazes me when I think how different my life has become in just 108 short days.

After a short moment to reflect, I am now ready to continue on my journey and look forward to the new lessons and adventures the next 108 days will provide me.  Let us continue to move forward and find within us our Divine Self, full of truth, happiness, awareness, understanding, compassion, friendship, and most importantly… love. 

Love Is So Amazing.

Namaste.

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“Our spiritual family is our true home, an environment where we can live the life we are born to live.”

-Robert Kiyosaki

I learned the concept of a Spiritual Family from the book “Rich Brother, Rich Sister: Two Different Paths to God, Money, and Happiness” by Robert & Emi Kiyosaki.  In this book they explain that in our lives we have 2 families; our biological family and our spiritual family.  Our biological family is pretty much a given.  It is the family we are born into.  It’s our parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, nieces/nephews, etc. 

Our second family is our spiritual family.  Our spiritual family gives our lives meaning, purpose, a calling, etc.  It is where we feel the most alive, appreciated, respected, and fulfilled.  Our spiritual family can be found through marriage, friends, church, career, education, etc.  It shows and teaches us the life we are supposed to live.

Personally, I’ve always considered my friends as my spiritual family although sometimes I wonder if they become my friends BECAUSE they are my spiritual family… I think it is important to note that my spiritual family has changed and/or evolved as my life, values, and purpose changes.  Also, I think I have more than one spiritual family.  For example, my love for yoga has introduced me to a new spiritual family.  They have shown me a life highly conducive and attractive to the way I would like to live.  However, I also have a high entreprenurial spirit which connects me to a different spiritual family.  My entreprenurial family and yoga family fulfills different parts of my life.  Both of these families bring me tremendous satisfaction and I think provide me a nice balance.  However, for the intent of this blog, the spiritual family I will be focusing on is my yoga family.

Although I am still in the beginning stages of my yoga journey, I feel tremendous excitement and appreciation for what I have learned so far.  Yoga has provided me  a deep satisfaction that I feel straight to my soul.  It is providing an element to my life I didn’t fully realize I was missing before.  Even in frustration and disappointment, I now still find a measure of peace, love, and understanding within it.   Yoga challenges my body, teaches my mind, and nourishes my soul.  Yoga has shown me a deeper connection between myself and nature that surrounds us.   Driving home from work today, I looked out in the distance and felt a deep appreciation for the sun and blue skies above us, the mountains standing majestically on the horizon, and the wind blowing against my face.  I felt the prana within me and it brought a genuine smile to my face.  For even just a few moments, the world paused and let me enjoy in its splendor.

Being in class with my fellow yogi’s is also a deeply fulfilling experience.  To be with like-minded individuals as well as an instructor inspiring you to greatness is, in a word… amazing.   Few things in this world provide me the same level of joy and fulfillment as a satisfying yoga class.  A fellow yogi and I were joking recently how amazing it is that we can sometimes have our feet resting on or near another person (especially during a supine twist) and yet it is completely normal.  In any other type of environment, I’m sure most people, myself included, would be having a serious personal space crisis! Lol.  And yet during a yoga class, you would hardly notice it.  If THAT’S not an example of a spiritual family at one of it’s best, I don’t know what is!! 🙂

Through yoga I have also met people who, to me, are the epitome of love.  That’s not to say they are perfect, we are afterall only human beings.  As humans, it is inevitable that we all make mistakes, have flaws, struggle, and have moments of weakness or despair.  However, it is their being that impresses me.  It is their spirit that influences their attitude, personality, and demeanor.  It fosters the type of people I want to be around and surround myself with.  Stand in a room full of passionate yogi’s and you’d be hard-pressed not to feel uplifted and energized.  It is an amazing feeling that truly humbles me.  I love yoga so much and am so thankful for the opportunity to practice and continue to better myself.

By reading this, I would like to acknowledge and thank you for being a part of my Spiritual Family.  I look forward to continuing to learn and grow together.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.

Namaste.

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