Reuse. Reduce. Recycle. OK, we get it. We buy local and organic. We walk, ride our bikes, or take public transportation, and always carry our own shopping bags. How else can a yogi honor Mother Earth? How can we cultivate a harmonious environment within our yoga practice? And how can we utilize the tools of our practice to help change the world around us?
We begin within ourselves. Try turning everything off, including the chatter of the mind. We de-frag our computers and sync our iPhones, try doing the same for yourself. When we meditate, our blood pressure and heart rate lowers. We decrease our stress levels which helps to balance hormones and decrease insomnia–so right there we’re happier and healthier.
Meditation is for everyone, it’s just harder for some of us. It may require more practice and patience if you are the person whose brain screams “Get up! We’ve got stuff to do!” during Savasana. Mantra meditation gives the mind a mantram (word or phrase) to concentrate on, helping to channel your focus. For Earth Day, try Om Sri Gaia Ma, Purnatva Gaia Ma. Beautiful, Abundant, Benevolent Earth Mother, You are the Fullest Perfection, Divine Earth Mother, as sung beautifully by Katrina Ariel at http://www.youtube.com/embed/Gh64Ii8iY2k
Another technique yogis use to honor our commitment to creating a peaceful world is pratyahara. When we go within and learn to practice Pratyahara, the of withdrawl of the senses, we can change any space we inhibit. We create our own nirvana, our own place of peace. This Earth Day, take your yoga mat outside. Sit quietly. Close your eyes and feel the sun on your face. Quiet your thoughts and hear the neighbors’ dog, smell the freshly mown grass and cultivate a sense of peace within. Practice radiating this energy around you. Work on expanding your peaceful area everywhere you go. A yogi creates their own harmonious environment and honors Mother Earth by learning to find stillness, peace and beauty, in the chaos. Remembering to honor ourselves as a manifestation of the Divine, as we honor Mother Earth, as we honor each other is a true yogic practice that can only empower, heal, and grant us all peace.
Happy Earth Day!
Blessing of Love and Light–
I’ve been on this 108 yoga class journey for a while now. I’ve done a lot of downward facing dogs and honestly haven’t loved or mastered all of them. After one challenging class, I pulled myself aside and did a little self-study.
Why was the class so hard for me?
Was everyone else struggling?
As the questions came, I focused on my breath and allowed the answers to come.
I made the class hard. I silently complained, judged, and ridiculed myself throughout the 90 minutes structured to uplift, open and rejuvenate. My inner dialogue had closed me off the the beauty of my own breath, the power of my own practice, the integration of my mind and body.
As a yoga teacher, I am trained to recognize this self-sabotage in my students. As a yogini, I am challenged to recognize when I am stumbling down this destructive path, and without judgement, align with the Divine. This is why I practice. We are the cause of our own misery,both on and off the mat. Our yoga practice presents us with the opportunity to pull ourselves out of our misery.
Every class I go to, the teacher has their own way of reminding us it’s OK to fall out of a pose. It’s OK to rest in balasana, child’s pose. The challenge is to re-align with my own divinity when I’m having a bad day. To rest when I need resting, to pull myself out of the pose, to go deeper into it. The challenge is to remember my worth when feeling worthless, to connect to the universal when feeling alone. As one teacher said, “It is OK, brilliant even, to be full of it.” In this case, the “it” is you. Being full of yourself does not make you a bad person, it makes you a yogi.
Blessings of Light and Love,
- “Top Benefits of Yoga for Stress” Feb 6, 2015 Keith Hillman
- “Physical Effects of Stress on the Body” January 30, 2015 Keith Hillman
I have practiced yoga for many, many years. And like our passions in life, I keep learning and growing as I dive deeper and deeper. I won’t fool you, it keeps getting more and more challenging–and not just the poses. Standing on one leg with the other extended out from the hip has always been a big challenge. But now, I see that when my life is more balanced, my poses are as well. Now I see that in a discussion, if I pause and breathe, and connect before responding as I do when flowing thorough vinyasa, my higher self is the one in the argument, not my ego. Some things just require more practice, like accepting the not so bright aspects of my personality without judgment and letting go of self-doubt. That’s why it’s a practice.
Since I moved, I’ll admit, I’ve been lonely. My family, friends, and old haunts have become ghosts that seem to be just out of reach. So, I started a project. I am taking 108 yoga classes in 108 days. Why 108? Different article, different time… let’s just say it’s a very auspicious number for yogi and yoginis. I started this project so I could immerse myself in my new city’s Kula. Kula is a family, a community of like minded individuals. It’s a term often heard in the Anusara Yoga tradition, but I’m finding it everywhere. Imagine a group composed of different, radiant friends who support and love you for you, without having to know your job title or background. Kula is in the last OM of class in which you feel the connection, the vibration that spreads from mat to mat as if it’s traveling through each mat. Kula happens in the sweaty smile shared with a stranger who had that same wobbly balance pose as you did. Kula is the remembrance that we are all connected and honoring that connection by diving deeper into it. Kula gives us that sense of peace, of welcome, of home.
So I invite you, dear friends, to join the Kula of TheEcoDivas. Let us be a Kula that supports each other in our endeavor to live a life more in tune with our authentic, auspicious, green selves and to reduce stress immediately. Let us remember each other in unbalanced times, continue to honor ourselves where we are and find the good, the Kula, in all that we see. Namaste!
Peace and love-
So, I recently moved, packed everything up, put the for sale sign in the yard and got replacement teachers for all my yoga classes. Things got crazy when the boxes rolled off the truck and filled my new apartment. The excitement of the move flew out what I’m sure was a window (said window was blocked by said boxes) and reality smacked me in the face. I had no job, no help and no idea where that freaking window was. I sat down, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. The results were immediate. Peace washed over me. I felt connected…safe. Nothing was in my control—nothing is ever in my control. And most days I can accept that. Big life changes and bad traffic push me. With pranayama, the different breathing techniques we use in yoga, I have a tool to combat the loss of control.
Next time you’re blessed enough to watch a baby or a puppy sleep, check out their belly. Note the rise of the belly with the inhalation, and the fall with the exhalation, listen to the fluidity of the natural cycle of breath. As adults, we tend hold things back; our tongues, our tummies, even our feelings. Most people are chest breathers, using only the top third of their lungs, never accessing the lower lobes. Yoga teaches us to utilize our entire beings. That means using your entire lung capacity to put as much oxygen as possible into the blood stream; giving you more energy, allowing your body to run at full capacity. Smokers smoke to take deep breathes—yes, it’s laced with nicotine and tar and yuckiness, but the “smoke break” is just a deep-breath break.
Next time you’re blessed enough to have that big life challenge, or bad traffic moment, use it as an opportunity to pause, take a full belly breath (two good articles to read: breathing exercises for stress, reduce stress breathing), and allow your blood pressure to lower. Yogic breathing allows us to be present in the moment, and to find that damn window.