Being a shamanic healer, I see a lot of soul loss in people. Signs of soul loss are depression, insomnia, addictions, confusion, immobilizing fear, tidal waves of emotions, tightness in neck and shoulders, lower back and hips.
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 heard the word peanuts used to describe a small amount of something, a trifling sum of money, or an insignificant person. Peanuts in this story will have the opposite meaning.
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.
There is a prevalent mantra in the world of holistic health that is predicated on a universal objective: pacifying an overly active mind. Almost too regularly in guided meditation or in yoga classes I hear the mantra “Silence your mind.” Although this intention is tremendously advantageous, it can undoubtedly be a challenge to lull such chatter that is produced by a powerful muscle that seems to be in continual action.
The year is coming to a close very soon! What did you decide you want this trip around the sun? Are you hopeful that this year will be different – or resigned to living the same experiences over and over? What can we do to ensure sustainable change takes place? Actually, a lot! The first step is to get out of our own way and practice the life-changing power of intention setting.
Twists are one of my very favorite groups of postures! As someone who has dealt with a lot of digestive upset in my life, learning yoga twists has been a lifesaver for me. Twists are postures that generally involve moving the shoulder girdle to face in an opposing direction in relation to the hips. There are different twists that target the upper, middle and lower portions of the torso, all having their own unique set of health benefits:
Even if you regularly practice yoga and meditation for stress management, sometimes a situation can feel so immediate or overwhelming that all of your intentions fly right out the window. But regularly training your parasympathetic (or relaxation) response can make you more resistant to some of life’s inevitable stressors.
You know those moments when you tell yourself, “I just have to trust the universe.” Whether it's because things in your life feel chaotic or not flowing in the direction that you’d prefer, sometimes you just know you need to surrender and learn to trust that you are walking down a guided path that is always has a Divine purpose.
Step 1: Stand proud with your feet hip distance apart. Feel your body intuitively bringing itself into alignment: the crown of your head floats over your tailbone, your hips stack over your hips, and strong ankles assemble themselves over grounded heals.
'Tis the season of giving! What better opportunity than now to begin the practice of everyday kindness towards all of those you come into contact with! When we assess the physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits of kindness, we’ll find that kindness is a huge contributor to our overall health.
'Tis the season of eating.. With Halloween and Thanksgiving past, and Christmas on its way, it is all too easy to have eyes that are bigger than our stomachs. But that doesn’t mean you need to succumb to mindless munching.
Whether you’re going to be traveling in a plane, vehicle, or a train this holiday season, there is one thing that we are collectively going to be doing a lot of: Sitting! When the body is in one particular position for an extended duration of time tightness, contraction, and restriction.
The Law of Detachment is about practicing releasing our self-imposed expectations of where we think we should be in our lives: work, health, relationships, our yoga practice, etc. It’s also about the release of caring what other people think and comparing ourselves to others.
I knew the Vipassana 10 day meditation was going to be a challenge the moment I stepped on to the grounds of the Dhamma Joti Center in Burma. The humidity was thick and the center was located right next to a swampy pond. Needless to say, there were tons of mosquitos swarming the property.
Vipassana is a true test of determination and letting go. 11 hours of meditation a day presents enough challenges for most individuals on the planet. Anything can become a potential distraction to the practice. My Vipassana took place at the famous Dhamma Joti Center in the heart of downtown Yangon.
Children are innate experts when it comes to mindfulness. Have you seen the focus a five-year-old brings to building a sandcastle or drawing her favorite place? How about the complete joy that a trampoline elicits for a group of seven-year-olds? It’s clear they know how to let go of distractions and be in the moment.
The lessons I learned from Reshu apply every day of my life. I was so certain that she would be in utter despair being almost completely paralyzed from the neck down from her terminal brain cancer.
The mornings during my 10-day Vipassana meditation course felt like I was
going to trek a mountain so high that I could not see the top of the peak.
This sinking feeling in my guts became heavier knowing that I had nine more
mountains to climb after the one right in front of me.
There's nothing like a great yoga class to help you remember and appreciate the many blessings in your life. Even the smallest of energetic or physical actions in your yoga practice can awake deep gratitude for something that is so simple and usually taken for granted. What a blessing it is to feel your body moving through space. What a blessing it is to have a healthy, loving, and spiritual yoga community!
Creating space is different from “letting things go.” When we believe that we must let go of a feeling, a personality trait, or any other part of ourselves that we believe is “unattractive” or “non-beneficial,” we are reinforcing the perception that we must constantly be in the cyclical process of eliminating those aspects of Self that we don’t necessarily like.
Acro Yoga integrates acrobatics, yoga, and Thai massage techniques, all in one flowing, playful, and loving sequence. The focus on community, health, partnership, and trust. Hatha, Yin, and Vinyasa are styles of yoga that have tremendous benefits for the individual. But what about our innate need for physical connection with others?
Mindfulness, an imperative component of the yoga practice, is a tool that emboldens mental focus, physical awareness, and conscious breathing. When the mind starts to wander, or when the breath becomes shallow and quiet, there are four yogic techniques that can be effortlessly integrated into the skillful art of running long distance!