In Buddhist and Yogic studies, the concept of non-attachment is a popular one. It is understood that deep attachment to people, outcomes, and objects can cause suffering—as when these things leave, we may experience grief, sorrow, regret, or resentment. So, a common thread woven into the fabric of living a more mindful life is to practice the art of non-attachment. But what about also practicing attachment as well?
Tapas-one of the Niyamas of 8 Limb Path of Yoga—activities that are part of healthy, fulfilling living—is derived from the Sanskrit verb tap, or “to burn.” It refers to the discipline of burning away physical, energetic, or mental impurities.
Named after the moon, the standing balance Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) invites you to tap into both the calm, balancing the energy of the moon and the fiery force of the sun. In this pose, you discover how the coming together of two opposing energies generates a power that is greater than its separate parts.
In the West, we translate this gesture as a posture of prayer. Because we have grown up with this gesture as part of our culture, each of us probably has our own personal connection to this mudra. The beauty of this gesture, which positions us right at the core of our being, is timeless and universal.
In one sense, generosity is natural: We can no more help giving than we can live without the support of everything we receive. One way to describe the act of generosity is to relate it to the natural elements: the way the earth supports us without ever demanding thanks, the way the sun shines and the rain falls.
There are many reasons why we don't fully receive gifts, favors, and compliments—ranging from feelings of guilt or insecurity ("I don't deserve it") to a sense of entitlement ("I have it coming to me, so what's the big deal?"), a fear that we don't have the wherewithal to reciprocate, or a sneaking suspicion that the gift has hidden strings. Even when we're truly in need, our ego will often resist the discomfort of fully receiving.
Monica Biery is a momma of three, two teenaged sons and an eight year old daughter and considers her vocation as a mother to be the most important, most amazing and the most difficult of all. Often times being a new momma in our culture can be very isolating. The purpose of this group is to bring new mommas together to learn from each other, to gain encouragement, insight and information and to love and support one another through this beautiful and precious yet sometimes scary and vulnerable time of life.
In Sanskrit, Visoka va jyotismati translates to the light within which is free from all suffering and sorrow. What is noteworthy about this Yoga Sutra is that it does not contain any specific instructions. Instead, it simply offers the image of jyotismati, or our inner light, free from sorrow or grief (visoka)—and purposely leaves the way open for the application of the sutra to vary according to each person's individual needs and beliefs.
It’s so hard to turn your brain off these days and get some quiet. There seem to be endless distractions or tasks that demand our attention. And this makes it so hard to disconnect for quiet and rejuvenating time to simply do nothing.
In Sanskrit, the word Svara translates to the sound of the air that is breathed through the nostrils. More than anything else, the ultimate objective of this breathing practice is to invite yourself to tune into the sound of your breath as well as the sensation of the breath flowing in and out of all points of your nostrils.
Kumbhaka is the central practice of traditional Hatha pranayama; there are two types of retention in this breathing practice: after an inhale (antara), and after an exhale (bahya) The Sanskrit word kumbha translates to “pot” (a traditional image of the human torso as a container for the breath with two "openings" at the throat and base of the pelvis).
Utilizing the practice of yoga as preventative medicine is an inherently holistic approach as it simultaneously soothes on the body, mind, and spirit. This holistic medicine truly heals the body from the inside out and maintains longevity.
The body awareness has gone too far! I have heard it all, from too skinny to too fat, too tall, too short. Implants in the chin, cheeks, and now buttocks! Nose jobs, boob jobs, taking out the implants, spray tanning the skin, freezing the muscles in the forehead and fat tissue.
There was a point during my time serving at the Ganga Prem Hospcie when Reshu asked if I would help carry her to the outdoor area where she would be bathed. I was under the impression that there would be some type of method or contraption that would transport her without too much effort. As it turns out, I was instructed that we would simply grab Reshu by her limbs and lug her to the bathing area.
The yoga Asana practice—including prolonged holds of sitting poses for meditation—will require your comfort with discomfort. Without such discomfort, we’d never progress in our physical and mental training. There will naturally be discomfort as we explore our edges. But when we bear too much discomfort and push beyond safe boundaries, we can damage ourselves. Thus, it’s critical to learn how to cope with discomfort and how to discern between intensity and pain.
On the physical level, the yoga Asana practice lets us see how our bodies naturally move through space. Are there areas of tightness that restrict our freedom of movement? Are there imbalances in the body—front to back, top to bottom, left to right—that affect the way we move? Yoga lets us both observe and correct these areas of tightness and imbalances. This guides us to the knowledge of knowing when to exert effort and when to softly release.
With the New Year births new aspirations that are fertile with positive intentions and expected outcomes. Ranging from calling forth more abundance to eliminating what is no longer necessary, the collective is inevitably off-to-the-races with a fierce commitment to their goals. This eagerness and newfound resolve can be a transformative experience when we allow the progression to unfold organically. The tendency, however, can be to go all the way, right away.
In yoga, there is a tendency to assume that we can stretch our way through perceived problems. Consider the ever-elusive “hip opening” action in the Asana practice. We aspire to use our hip-opening practice as a panacea for all our aches and woes. We imagine that open hips will allow us to wrap our legs into fancy postures like Lotus Pose. But an imperative step before the expansion of our hips is to first establish stability.
Within our muscles are spindles that measure changes in muscle length, and each of these spindles has about 10 sensory receptors in the surrounding fascia. There are two different types of these myofascial mechanoreceptors, which measure the mechanical load on our muscles and fascia and each responds to different types of stretching and movement.
As yogis, the deepening of the Asana practice inspires us to better understand how we move—and as we become more aware, we head down a path toward even more curiosity and self-awareness. Understanding the three anatomical planes of movement can be the keys in helping you recognize patterns and imbalances in your body; allowing you to become more conscious, inquisitive, and ultimately, more knowledgeable of physical exploration. Having these tools of knowledge in your yogic toolbox will absolutely enthuse you to begin moving in directions that will awaken your fullest physical potential!
Once upon a time, we all viewed the world as a friendly, lighthearted, and inviting place. Then, somewhere in the process of becoming an adult seriousness, self-doubt, and fear may have replaced our wonder and fun-loving attitude. While we can still connect with the idea of being playful at times for many of us, playful moments have become more and more fleeting. And, the sense of seriousness we use to succeed at work or school extends to many other areas of our lives, including our yoga mat.
In the Buddhist teachings impermanence, it is believed that change is inevitable, continuous, and unavoidable. Everything changes. Just realizing that fact can protect you from turning to that most disempowering of reactions to change: "Why me?" What the Buddhists call impermanence, is the ever-changing nature of Shakti—the intrinsic, dynamic power at the heart of life. Shakti is the cosmic, divine feminine energy that continually brings things into manifest being, keeps them going for a while, then dissolves them.
I have always had a fascination with weapons when I was growing up. Maybe I could attribute it to practicing martial arts since I was four years old. Maybe it was from watching television shows like the Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers. I also grew up in Newcastle California where there were plenty of things in nature to swing and hit things with.