Autumn leaves teach us the beautiful lesson that everything in nature, including ourselves, is cyclical -the continual cycle of birth, sustenance and death. Just when the leaves are at their peak of beauty, with all their abundance of color, they "fall" to the earth and provide nutrients for the soil so that this abundance will shine once again in the Spring. Fall is a time of letting go... In the practice of yoga we call this Aparigraha - meaning non-clinging, non-attachment, non-possessiveness and also... letting go. How often we cling to our possessions, people in our lives and our inner thoughts. Take some time this fall to practice letting go by doing a more mindful and grounding yoga class. Check out my video Let Go - The Lessons of the Fall Leaves.
Here are some more inspirations for you during this change of season.
Read The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia
Ponder on the following Poem called She Let Go by John Siddique which can be heard on the App Insight Timer.
She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
And finally for all the Star Wars Fans - ponder the wisdom of Yoda…
Yoda: Premonitions, premonitions. These visions you have...
Anakin Skywalker: They are of pain, suffering. Death.
Yoda: Yourself you speak of, or someone you know?
Anakin Skywalker: Someone.
Yoda: Close to you?
Anakin Skywalker: Yes.
Yoda: Careful you must be when sensing the future Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.
Anakin Skywalker: I won't let these visions come true, Master Yoda.
Yoda: Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is.
Anakin Skywalker: What must I do, Master Yoda?
Yoda: Train yourself to let go... of everything you fear to lose.
Star Wars Episode III - A Dark Path Leads to The Revenge of the Sith
Dinacharya are self-care rituals that are part of Ayurvedic health and wellness. Especially having a morning and evening routine is so important. Try one or two of the ideas below and gradually let the rituals grow!
This week I wanted to incorporate some Ayurvedic practices into my classes. Ayurveda is the sister-science to yoga and guides us to healthier live styles and healing through many different modalities including diet, herbs, supplements, and massage. Combing yoga with Ayurvedic practices truly begins to make yoga a lifestyle. With this intention it brought up the question for me - why yoga?
Here is my personal reflection and list:
There are many more reasons to “Why Yoga”? You can google it yourself but I think my personal list would entice anyone to give it a try. Change first begins with daily commitment and with daily commitment maybe we can even transform!
Enjoy the journey!
I read the following passage from How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach to my students this morning which is so relevant to the current divide in our country and around the world. This deep divide painfully saddens me and exists even within our own families and close circuit of friends. How many times have we excluded someone from a group because of their race, social status or religious affiliation? I remember my mother sharing with me that some of the family members did not attend my parents wedding because it was an interfaith marriage. Although she suffered her own personal prejudice in this situation, ironically she herself took offense to same gender unions. Kindness and acceptance starts within our own families. What are we teaching our children? Are we teaching our children to only play with those children within the same socioeconomic community, or do we encourage acceptance of all communities? Are we threatened with envy to those people with more money and a "higher status" or can we see that we are all One in the same? I am so grateful to the yoga teachings that continually celebrate our "Oneness".
Reflect on the beautiful passage below....
My favorite meditation App that is one of the most important resources that I recommend for my students is called Insight Timer. It is the best meditation app with the world's largest FREE library of more than 55k guided meditations, 8k teachers & the best meditation timer.
What I love about the timer is that you can choose background music to accompany your meditation. My favorite is the continuous Ohm. You can find it under "ambient sounds" then choose the ohm symbol. You can also create and save different timed meditations. I have one set for 11 minutes ( what I find to be the perfect time to come to a deeper state of consciousness and calm.) I also have a preset timer for 20 minutes when I have more time. For my yoga classes I have a preset with a bell sounding after every minute with the "ohm" ambient sound in the background so that the class can practice holding poses for one minute intervals. This makes for a beautiful mindful class and some of my students find it to be their favorite class!
When you choose to do guided meditations you can put any subject for your meditation in the search engine and hundreds of meditations on your chosen subject will appear. Here are some ideas to put in the search engine...
Sleep ( or yoga nidra)
When I have a set an intention for a yoga class that I am teaching I will often type the intention in the search engine which provides me with helpful meditations to use for my classes.
`One of my favorite meditations is "Bone Deep Sleep". A poem that I love is "Poem: She Let Go" by Siddique
Another one of my favorite guided meditations is "Rise of the Phoenix" - a very powerful meditation using deep shamanic breathing. This is great when you are experiencing stress and challenges in life.
These are just three of the 55,000 meditations! Enjoy and deep gratitude to the founder Brad Fullmer!
This month we explored the chakras accompanied by live music which reflected each chakra. If you would like to further explore the chakras check out Anodea Judith's book Wheels of Life. Below is a summary of the seven major chakras.
1st CHAKRA - MULADHARA (root chakra) “I am always safe at the center of my being”
Location - pelvic floor perinium, coxis
Element - Earth
Balanced- grounded and feels safe
Out of Balance - fearfulness, may eat too much or too little
Yoga postures -- any pose feeling connection to earth
2ND CHAKRA -SVADHISTHANA “I flow with the rhythms of life”
Location - below the naval
Element - Water
Balanced - if it is balance you are healthy sexually
Out of balance - trouble with intimacy and emotions
Yoga postures - hips
3rd CHAKRA MANIIPURA “I stand in my personal power”
Location - solar plexis
color - yellow
Balanced - healthy self esteem
Out of balance - social issues, digestion
Yoga postures - twists, standing postures
4TH CHAKRA - ANAHATA “I open my heart fully to living”
Location - heart
Element - air
Color - green
Balanced - unconditional love
Out of balance - depression, pessimism, respiratory
Yoga postures - back bends, lateral bends
5th CHAKRA -VISHUDDHA “ I follow and speak my truth”
Location - Throat
Element - space
Color - blue
Balanced - easily able to communicate communicate
Out of balance - speech thyroid
Yoga postures - using voice, throat openers
6 TH CHAKRA- AJNA “I follow my intuition, the path of Truth”
Location - 3rd eye -intuition
Element - includes all
Color - violet
Balanced - calm and focused
Out of balance - confusion about spiritual path, problems with senses
Yoga Postures- balance postures with dristi,
7th CHAKRA- SAHASVARA “A greater spirit connects me to all that I do”
location - crown of head
Element - beyond
Color- crystal light
Balanced - unity consciousness
Out of balanced - spiritual separation
Yoga postures - wheel, savasana