Tag: meditation Page 2 of 3

Go fly a kite

In this recording, there is an opportunity to release any cares, worries or burdens from the mind. When the mind is uncluttered, there is space for creativity and clear thinking. Picture yourself in a clearing, flying a kite……..

kite3

Kite – Letting Go Recording

Degrees of separation

This spring/summer I have decided to reduce the degrees of separation between the food I eat and it’s origin. Here is my plan –

1. I have bought a couple of wooden raised garden beds (1.4 metre square) and will plant some staples: lettuce, cucumber, carrot, cherry tomato, capsicum, coriander, beetroot, basil, oregano and rocket.  I plan to get busy next Sunday setting up the vegetable garden and buying the seedlings.

2. Go to farmers markets to source fresh, local produce that I don’t have in my garden.

3. Google some great recipes that includes the wonderful seasonal produce I have available.

About 3 weeks ago, I planted a few varieties of lettuce in an old wok of nanas. Here’s some I picked for dinner.

This is new territory for me, so wish me luck. I welcome any suggestions or advice from those more experienced in this area.

As an aside, as part of my Yoga Therapy certification, we were discussing nutrition last weekend. When you look up the definition of nutrition you will find a reference to food , you will also find this:

nutrition:that which nourishes“…..Webster Dictionary 1828 and “the act or process of nourishing“…Collins English Dictionary.

I think for most of us, when we consider nutrition we think FOOD. Yes, food does nourish us, but so do many other things. Consider the affect of these ‘primary foods’ – Love, hugs, touch, kisses, warmth, massage, meditation, fun, freedom, self-expression, tears, hot baths, nature, downtime, close friends, and play . These all feed our souls and our hunger for living (according to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition).

I look forward to nourishing my body, mind and spirit with loads of ‘primary food’ and wonderful prana rich food from my own garden and local farmers.

I am grateful for all the gifts that come my way.

With love

 

 

Candle Visualisation

There is something so soft and beautiful in the light of a candle; it’s gentle glow warms and softens us from the  inside out. For me, when I sit with a candle, I connect with my own inner light and radiance, I feel calm, centred and peaceful.

In this relaxation, we use our imagination to picture a candle and observe it’s flame: the light it casts, the softening of the wax and how the flame responds to our breath. Find a comfortable position, preferably resting on the floor in savasana, though this would also work well sitting if you prefer.

Enjoy!

Becoming the Witness

In this recorded relaxation, we move through the physical body – observing the breath, the emotional body – observing our feelings and the mental body – observing our thoughts.
As you witness these various aspects of your personality, try to remain detached and watch as a spectator; interested and curious, without becoming involved or reacting. Maintain a sense of co-operation between these aspects of self, fostering a loving and gentle attitude.
With love

Yoga for your hands – Hasta Mudras

In class this week, we explored hasta mudras or hand gestures. Mudras are yoga positions for your hands and fingers that can be practised sitting, lying down, standing or walking. Mudras can be practised anywhere and at any time, however for best results, one should be free from distraction and able to withdraw into stillness and silence. Gertrud Hirschi in her wonderful book MUDRAS- YOGA in your HANDS says: “These silent moments can be the most precious to us; and like the salt in the dough that gives the bread its good taste, silence adds the right spice to our lives”.

Yogis believe energy/prana is lost through the fingertips, so when we bring the fingers together we create essentially, a short circuit that redirects energy back into our body.

Vajrapradama mudra – a gesture of unshakable confidence

The positioning of our hands/fingers influences different aspects of the brain and so we are changing the relationship between our body and mind.

Mudras influence our mood; they change our attitude towards ourselves and the world around us.

I have really grown to love Vajrapradama Mudra – the gesture of unshakable confidence. This gesture is wonderful to explore when experiencing self doubt, mistrust in others and hopelessness in the face of obstacles.

“We can effectively engage and influence our body and our mind by bending, crossing, extending or touching the fingers with other fingers. Isn’t this wonderful?”  (Gertrude Hirschi. MUDRAS :Yoga in your Hands)

Below is a link to a vinyasa from my class this week. Enjoy!

Vajrapradama mudra – Gesture of Unshakable confidence

Circles of OM

Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril) breathing is an effective way to cultivate feelings of balance and wellbeing.  There are many ways to enjoy this pranayama and here I invite you to explore a creative approach using visualisation. This can be performed in a comfortable seated position or resting in savasana.  Always ensure the breath is relaxed, smooth and subtle. Enjoy the benefits of a mindful, quiet practice. Focusing on our breath helps to take our mind inward and create one pointed focus.

 

Where Blue meets Blue

I was fortunate to spend a few days down by the beach recently which has inspired this voice recording. There is a real sense of space  at the beach; distant horizons, boats moored off the shore, seabirds in flight and endless stretches of sand. It’s a wonderful place to open yourself to space; between each breath, between your thoughts. As you step slowly and mindfully along the shore, you are drawn into the present through your senses. This heightened awareness of ‘now’ creates mental calm and quiet which is reflected in your body and your breath. This is the union of yoga.

In practice I find patience and peace

Dipping cloth into dye

I love Erich Schiffmann’s book ‘YOGA The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness’. He speaks in a way that resonates truth: his words feel familiar and comfortable to me, like a favourite jumper. I share with you a piece I particularly enjoy. It is about awareness, connection and presence; the benefits of a mindful, ongoing yoga practice.

“Deliberately be still. Close your eyes, relax and breath, be aware, and consciously experience your present moment of conscious awareness. Immerse yourself in your own unique feeling-tone. Feel you. Bask in the exquisite experience of being alive, of conflict-free high energy peace, and become thoroughly familiar with the core tone of who you are.

This is like dipping cloth into dye.  Each dip of the cloth strengthens the cast of the dye and enhances the colour. Here, however, you are dipping yourself into you. You are experiencing you. Each time you do so, you become more you; that is, your sense of the authentic you is enriched. Each dip into the silent experience of you washes away more false ideas, which enables the real you to shine forth more clearly to yourself and others; that is, your sense of the authentic you is enriched.”

We can find this connection to self when we rest in savasana, as we hold a posture, or sit in meditation. When we hold our thread of awareness throughout the practice, it becomes more about the feeling, tone and experience of the yoga. We find an inner stillness that enables our authentic self to the rise to the surface of our awareness and into the light.

This thread of awareness can be observed and experienced on many levels. I invite my students to notice:

1. Any sensations or feelings from the physical body

2. The quality of the breath

3. The state of mind

4. An overall feeling or tone that permeates the entire being

How wonderful it is to take the time within your practice to truly observe, to be fully present; to be witness to the amazing changes that are taking place moment to moment. The opportunity to know yourself in truth, beauty and peace.

In practice, I find patience and peace 

Breathing to a quieter place

The word pranayama is comprised of the sanskrit words “prana” meaning breath or life force and “ayama” to length or expansion. This practice of controlled breathing helps the energy to flow more easily into the nadis or energy pathways and koshas (layers) of the body. The koshas can be visualised as the rings inside a tree trunk, where the outer layer is the physical body, moving inward to the energy (pranic) body, the thinking mind, inner wisdom and spirit. When we influence the flow of prana in the energy body through pranayama its effects penetrate every cell and fibre of our being.

When practicing pranayama, choose an environment that is clear, clean and free from distractions. Begin by observing your natural, spontaneous breath; breathing through the nostrils.  As you connect with your breath cycle, observe the four phases of the breath: the inhalation, retention, exhalation and suspension. Check there is no holding of breath or strain; that the pauses at the top and bottom of the breath are natural. The more you stay with your natural breath, the more the breath will deepen and lengthen without effort or force.

When we work with pranayama we are looking to cultivate two qualities: dirgha and sukshma. Dirgha means long and steady and sukshma means smooth and subtle. As we find the steadiness in breath, we find a steadiness in the mind, calming and quieting, soothing the nervous system. This in turn triggers a cascade of physiological changes: the heart rate slows down, blood pressure decreases and muscular tension is released.

We discover that changes in the prana maya kosha (energy body) affect the physical and mental bodies. When we find the steadiness, quietness and space within these outer layers, we open a doorway to the deeper and subtler aspects of self. Our inner wisdom, intuition,creativity and spirit move into our field of awareness as the ripples of disturbance subside.

Here is a simple pranayama practice. Enjoy!

 

In practice, I find patience and peace

‘Just say thanks’ meditation

Sitting comfortably, with eyes closed, take a few moments to bring attention to your breath, mantra, or any other technique that you normally use to centre yourself. When you feel settled, ask yourself this series of questions:

What have I received today?

Be specific and reflect on as many things as you can recall. It can be something as simple as your partner’s smile, the sound of a bird singing at dawn, the driver who let you merge in crowded traffic. Remember, the motivation or attitude of those who gave you something is not the issue.

Notice which of these things you did not appreciate as they happened. Can you recall what was taking your attention when one of these acts of grace occurred? Were you stuck in problem-solving mode, thinking of your to-do list, or making judgments?

As you reflect on what you have been given today, you will likely see that, if anything, you owe the world an insurmountable debt. This insight is more than merely humbling; you may find yourself feeling a deeper sense of gratitude and a natural desire to be generous in serving others.

What have I given today?

Go through the day’s events in the same way, but this time notice what you have given to others. Be as specific and concrete as possible. As above, your motivation is irrelevant. What did you actually do? It may have been as simple as feeding your pets, washing the breakfast dishes, or sending a friend a birthday card. You may find that without great fanfare you contribute to the well-being of many people and animals—you make a positive difference to the planet.

What difficulties and troubles did I cause today?

Again, be specific. Don’t overlook the seemingly insignificant. Your list may include things like “I backed up traffic while looking for a place to park” or “I moved the kids off the lounge so I could sit there.” This question is often the hardest, but its importance cannot be overstated. It may bring up feelings of remorse, but its primary purpose is to provide a more realistic view of your life.

In general, we are all too aware of how others cause us inconvenience or difficulty, but rarely do we notice when we are the source of inconvenience. And if we do, we usually brush it aside as an accident, not that big a deal, or simply something we didn’t mean to do. We cut ourselves a huge length of slack! But seeing how you cause others difficulty can deflate your ego while reminding you again of the grace by which you live.

These questions provide the framework for reflecting on all your relationships, including those with family, friends, co-workers, partners, pets, and even objects.
Remember, what makes this a meditative practice is that you are not analyzing your motivations or intentions; you are not interpreting or judging. You are simply shifting your attention from self-centered thinking to seeing things as they are, and as all yoga traditions point out, in seeing, there is wisdom and liberation.

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