Posts Tagged ‘zen lifestyle’

5 tips to refresh your commitment to yoga

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Time to move on – not away from yoga
You have trained long and hard, practiced diligently and now you have doubts – about yourself, your teaching and commitment. What is happening?
The answer is: you are practicing yoga. Self-inquirytrends in yoga, reflection and doubting your intentions are the manifestation of a deeper relationship, that can withstand and flourish through inquiry and emotional turmoil.Compare your relationship with yoga with other meaningful relationships that endure through change and even conflict. If they are strong, they will develop and strengthen. Yes, flaws may be revealed and that relationship may change, but the underlying love will endure and prove richer in the long-term.

Where, when and how you discover yoga will determine the start of your journey. This may be a route that takes us into a practice, or even teacher training that requires commitment to a certain style that later in life, may not nourish and support your growth. An acceptance and even ultimately a rejection of a particular school of yoga is neither a reflection on the practice, but merely an acknowledgement that it is time to move on. The body and mind evolves during our journey through life. Yoga may keep us flexible, strong and active in the physical body, but our aims may change, as we recognize and nurture other areas of our practice.

Physical injury, health concerns and natural aging also determine the suitability of any practice and may mean changing or adapting your practice. One of the many comforts in yoga is that there is always something that you can do – either softening your practice until recovery allows you to return to your previous choice, or moving into different areas such as pranayama or meditation.How do you move forward?
• Firstly, it is important to accept and be open to change. Drawing back and observing your intentions may at first contribute to feelings of loss and even anger. To ‘let go’ of a rigid practice can also cause feelings of guilt as you release yourself of the commitment and possibly regular practice that has become part of the pattern of your daily life.

• Remember, you are only recognizing changes in yourself. Recall how well the practice suited you in the past – what you have learnt and how it has supported you. Let go of guilt and be thankful for the experience.• Have a break and encourage the body and mind to rest and find the space for observation, inquiry and introduction to other aspects or styles of yoga. This may even result in a refreshed interest and commitment in your previous practice.

• Talk to your teacher and other students. You will discover that these doubts and feelings are not unusual. Your teacher may suggest other classes or training that will support your growth. If this is ‘farewell’, a respectful parting will prevent any bad feelings.

• Observe other areas of your life and how they may be contributing to your confusion.  It can be tempting to use yoga as a crutch to support other areas of life that are out of control, or even to be disappointed in yoga no longer gives you the feelings of strength, stability and calm that it provided when you first started.

• Do not rush! Any decision should be taken slowly and calmly. Remember how long it took to develop your practice and how it has helped you develop.

It may be time to move on, but that does not mean moving out! And if you decide to take a break – yoga will be there waiting patiently to welcome you back – no questions asked.

By:  Wendy Jacob

Heal Addictions Holistically

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

My current addiction is iced black tea. In fact, what I love most about it is saying my order, “Venti, black, no sugar, and light ice.”

Eighteen years ago, I was addicted to a diet soft drink. I loved popping the can open, hearing the effervescent sound of the carbonation, and sipping the ice-cold cola straight out of the can. It was exhilarating. After learning of the harmful effects of soda pop, I stopped drinking it completely.

The truth is, all addictions give us some type of pleasure, otherwise we wouldn’t do them. It’s amazing what addictions mean to us and what we tell ourselves about them.

We often reward ourselves with things that are not very good for us. A friend recently told me she only had one vice: she rewards herself by smoking cigarettes. Drinking diet soft drinks or having the occasional smoke may not seem like a big deal, but addictive behaviors often lead to more serious destructive life patterns.

What Are Addictions?

What do you honestly believe you can’t live without? What do you crave the most in life? Is it sugar, food, cigarettes, marijuana, exercise, sports, the Internet, alcohol, or even sex?

Whatever your answer may be is there something else you feel you can’t live without? If so, you are part of the growing population of individuals who experience addictions.

The reality is we are all addicted to something. The term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion to engage in some specific activity despite harmful consequences to our health, mental state, or social life. There are often biological or emotional factors that contribute to these addictions, too.

According to Stanton Peele, Ph.D., “Addiction is the thematic malady for our society and entails every type of psychological and societal problem.”

In the Buddhist tradition, addictions are seen as attachments. They can be an attachment to fear, to loss, to longing, or even to a lack of purpose. It doesn’t matter if we choose alcohol, drugs, sex, food, pornography, exercise, or even shopping, we are trying to fill an empty space and dampen emotional pain. The important part of the addiction or the compulsion is not about the specific desire to drink, do drugs or spend money. Rather these addictions reflect an emotional need to fill an empty space within us and calm the pain of a past memory.

Understanding how we operate with addictions is the key to healing. Addictive behaviors arise from unmet life needs and a lack of love from childhood. These past emotional memories cause us to feel unworthy and especially unloved.

How Addiction Works

The addictive behavior shows up in life as an “emotional need” and ends up as a replacement for something else. Food becomes a replacement for love or appreciation. Obsessing over things or details becomes a replacement for self-confidence. The addictive behavior offers a sense of power that can’t be found elsewhere. Compulsive, obsessive behaviors and even co-dependency are other forms of emotional addictions. These emotional addictions are connected to areas of life where we feel out of control.

Take drugs as an example. We get addicted to the euphoric sensations they provide. Suddenly we start believing that being under the influence allows us to really “feel,” or that it gives us a sense of grandeur that otherwise we would not experience. However, the drugs aren’t doing anything but changing the dopamine levels in the brain.

When we complain about not having enough of something, money for example, we are getting something from the process of complaining and it makes us feel something different. In essence, this too is a type of emotional addiction. We get addicted to the complaining or to the behavior associated with it to ensure our needs are met.

Transferring Addictions

This is a common occurrence. Instead of healing the emotional patterning associated with the addiction, we transfer the physical addiction to something else. This is often seen with alcohol addiction. If we are addicted to alcohol and stop the addiction yet do not heal the emotional needs behind the addiction, we will transfer the addictive bad habits to something else such as smoking or drugs. To heal, it’s important not to transfer addictions. You want to change the emotional interactions associated with the addictive behavior and unwind the original patterns.

Changing Addictions

Addictions can change once you have the courage to look deeply at what is programmed within yourself. To make permanent change you need to look at what lies underneath the very first emotional hurt associated with your addiction. What was the emotional behavioral pattern’s starting point?

Let’s take a look at cigarette smoking. In order to get to the core of the addictive behavior, you want to locate the very first feeling or the emotional scenario associated with the outward action of the addiction. To get there ask, “What made me take that first inhale?” or “What was going on in my life?” At what age did this occur? Were there family arguments? Were parents breaking up?

Enhance this process and go a little deeper by asking yourself several other questions like, “How do I feel when I smoke, take drugs, etc.?” Do you feel empowered, happy and content? Do you feel weak, depressed, sad, unworthy and unloved? Be honest and describe your feelings.

Current personal situations are gateways to go deeper into the underlying feelings at the onset of a physical addiction. Often addictions stem from needing love or attention from a mom or dad. Earlier life experiences set up the framework for current adult lives.

Whatever the feeling is, it’s okay. This is the place to be 100 percent honest with yourself. No need to cast another judgment upon your feelings or qualify interactions between you and your parents. This is how the emotional energy got stuck in the first place.

Healing, especially with addictions, is a deep exploration into your own self. Of course, stopping the physical actions of the addiction might seem easy, but it’s the subconscious mind and earlier life patterning that are running the show now.

Release Addictions

Here is a visualization to help you go deeper with your own feelings. Remember, in order to release addictive behaviors, you must first identify the original feeling at the onset of the addictive behavior.

Visualize getting onto a train with feeling. Pretend the feeling is a friend. You and your friend are going to take a journey together. Find a comfortable seat on the train. The train soon leaves the underground station (symbolic of the subconscious mind).

Begin a dialogue with your friend to distinguish its characteristics. Ask it questions: “Who are you? What are you teaching me? What is my lesson?” Once you can clearly answer these questions, you can get to the core of the emotional pattern that began the addiction.

The second step is to go a little deeper and ask more personal questions.
Ask the feeling (friend) what emotional need(s) was created. In other words, was it a particular situation? Did the father leave? Mother started to drink? Were you responsible for your siblings? Was it a certain situation? Was it a statement that someone else made? Was it something that happened in the family or at school? Was it a fear? Keep asking your friend (the feeling) questions until the situation is completely identified and the answer is satisfying and clear.

Getting to the feeling is the key to uncovering the emotional cause that produced the addiction. Are you hurt, rejected, angry, fearful, confused, resisting or denying?

Once you have all the pieces of the original emotional experience, embrace it. Yes, love it, even if it’s anger or hate. It’s okay; this doesn’t mean you’ll be angry for the rest of your life. It means quite the opposite; now you’ll be able to let go.

As your conversation with your feeling comes to a close, visualize the next train station approaching. Thank your feeling for the information it provided the same way you would thank a friend who traveled with you. As you walk off the train, know this action helped you attain clarity in the midst of emotional and mental chaos.

This visualization process allows you to go deeper into your core where the addictive behavior first began, which is now buried under 30-50 years of life experiences. This process takes about twenty to thirty minutes and is worth every second.

If you aren’t sure what the feeling is, use the actual addiction instead as your “friend.” For example, if your addiction is with food, use your favorite food in your visualization. If your addiction is with alcohol or cigarettes, use those items in your visualization instead of a feeling.

Take the food, cigarette, or other addiction with you on the train and start the conversation there until you discover the feelings that created the addiction. Once you are on the train with your addiction ask, “What do I feel when I eat/smoke/drink? How does it make me feel?” Have a conversation with the chocolate, cigarettes, or the favorite drink, and identify the feelings that were not originally understood. The identification of feelings helps recapture lost innocence and releases the iron grip the emotional pattern holds.

When the process is complete, it is important to write down any information you discovered. Take time to identify all the circumstances around the addiction. If the same addictive pattern repeats, it means you have not found all the roots to the emotional feelings associated with the original situation that began this addiction.

Get back on the train and see what else you can discover. Ask yourself, “What is the core feeling: anger, fear, confusion, resisting or denial?” By using this visualization, you will locate the emotional roots and gain freedom from any addictions.

You have the answers within. Keep digging for them.

itPaula Muran is a freelance writer, author and yogi. Her specialty is enlightening minds by transforming core beliefs. ANewEnlightenment.com

Four Magical Lessons From Buddhism That can Help in Your Own Pursuit of Happiness.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Get intimate with your own mind.

We need two main things to become happy, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition: mindful awareness and loving compassion. The theory goes that the combination of attention and loving-kindness — both of which can be built through contemplative practices like meditation — can help bring the brain into its most plastic, growth-oriented state and support the development of a greater state of consciousness, Loizzo says.

Meditation — “the quiet, humble work it takes on a daily basis,” as Loizzo puts it — is the cornerstone of the Tibetan contemplative science. Through a meditation practice, we can begin to overcome negative thoughts and habitual emotional responese, and start to live from a more calm, centered place, he says.

“Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible. Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self, release all grasping, and relax into your true nature,” Sogyal Rinpoche advised in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, a guide to meditation and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. “Think of your ordinary emotional, thought-ridden self as a block of ice or a slab of butter left out in the sun. If you are feeling hard and cold, let this aggression melt away in the sunlight of your meditation.”

The research is now there to back up the benefits of this time-worn strategy for stabilizing emotions and boosting the brain’s capacity for joy. Studies have shown meditation may be effective in reducing anxiety and depression, lowering stress levels, reducing loneliness and boosting emotional well being.

“Twenty years and a thousand stories that have given me an unshakable confidence in the truly boundless potential we human beings have to heal ourselves and transform our lives,” Loizzo wrote in his 2012 book, Sustainable Happiness.


Practice compassion, at every moment.

Most Eastern spiritual traditions involve some form of practice around compassion, or “loving-kindness.” In Buddhism, there is a meditation for loving-kindness,“mettā bhāvanā”, which involves sending kindness to yourself, loved ones, community members, people you may dislike, and eventually, all beings. In the Tibetan tradition, monks practice tonglen, which consists of breathing in suffering and breathing out happiness, so as to reduce pain and spread peace among all beings.

“What’s unusual about the Tibetans is that they have what I call an industrial-strength version of this discipline,” Loizzo says of loving-kindness practice. “These practices allow us to turn our sense of life as a battle, a struggle for survival against everybody else, into a communal experience of connecting with friends and the larger world. That, we’ve learned, is so important to our quality of life and our personal sense of meaning in life.”

The Tibetans have devised powerful ways of helping people learn how to become more compassionate that are now being used in the Western world. A 2012 Emory University study suggested that compassion training derived from ancient Tibetan practices may boost empathy, and other studies have shown that loving-kindness meditation could increase positive emotions and lead to more positive relationships over time.


Connect with others who support your journey.

The traditional “Three Jewels” of Buddhism consist of the Buddha (the example), the Dharma (the path) and the Sangha (the community). In this tradition, the community is just as important an element as any other in living a happy, purposeful life. Increasing your happiness and well-being is a difficult thing to do alone. It requires the support and love of others, and a sense of belonging to a community.

“Modern neuroscience is showing us that we’re really wired to be extremely social creatures,” Loizzo says. “We’re happier and healthier when we do that in a committed way … We need to learn to connect with others with mindful openness and positivity, and to deal with the daily slings and arrows and work through those and maintain a sense of connection that’s positive. This is something we practice in spiritual communities.”

Strong social support networks have also been linked to a number of health benefits, including lower stress levels and increased longevity.


Embrace death — don’t fear it.

In Western cultures, our attitude toward death is largely characterized by fear and denial – and this can, consciously or unconsciously, cause a great deal of suffering throughout our lives. But a central aspect of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy is the belief that death should be embraced, and the concept that dying can be the “crowning achievement” of a life well lived. Although this attitude stems in part from a strong belief in reincarnation, you don’t have to believe in an afterlife in order to better accept the impermanence of life in the here and now. The Tibetans believe that meditation can help us to come to terms with the nature of life and death.

When Loizzo is working with patients who are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses, in addition to practicing meditation and loving-kindness, he goes through a traditionally Tibetan practice of asking some of life’s big questions: What has been meaningful to you in your life? How do you face the impermanence of your life and the inevitability of death?

“Being able to embrace the idea of death and being present … some of the women say it gives them a new lease on life,” says Loizzo. “The ancient traditions made a science of trying to understand the death process and make meaning out of it … This kind of approach of facing reality, even the parts that scare us, has tremendous potential for healing.”

Asking these questions can help bolster an acceptance of things that can’t be changed or controlled, which Buddhist teachings have long touted as a key to reducing suffering. Now, this ancient doctrine has science on its side: A recent study from Australian researchers showed that during the difficult changes of later life — moving into residential care and losing independence — an acceptance of what can’t be changed may be a significant predictor of life satisfaction.

Source: Plashcy

 

Three ways yoga can improve your relationship.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

If you’re wondering how you can improve your relationship with your partner, here are some tips to start now. If you already have a loving relationship, these principles can help maintain the magnitude of a loving relationship by allowing growth on many levels. So get your partner & begin today.

1. Principles to Reinforce Your Partnership

The first of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga are the Yamas. These encompass universal morality and respect for all living things, or Ahimsa (non violence). This means that kindness and friendliness should be exhibited in all situations dealing with living beings. Kindness is contagious, and if you’re able to treat complete strangers with empathy and respect, it will be that much easier to do the same with your partner.

Deceit and lies are two common elements of bad marriages and relationships. They’re detrimental in broken relationships and have the potential to shatter the love. Satya refers to speaking the truth as long as it does not hurt someone. When combined with Ahimsa, honesty trumps deliberate deception. For instance, telling your partner about an extra-marital affair would be extremely hurtful, but carrying on a fake relationship is harmful to all, including the third party individual.

Aparigraha is the Yamas principle that encourages divestment of materialism. Hoarding wealth beyond what you and your family need implies a self-centeredness that is inherently detrimental to relationships. Buy a homeless person a meal if you can afford it or help someone in need. Furthermore, gifts for your partner should be about the thought as opposed to the long-term value. For example, buying flowers or treating your partner to his or her favorite meals create lasting memories without the acquisition of material things.

2. Sexual Vitality

A 2013 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science found that participants in long-term relationships were motivated to have an intimate relationship because it was important to their partner. In other words, people will be intimate even when they don’t want to if it makes their significant other happy. Granted, waiting in the beginning of a relationship can help to strengthen emotional bonds and commitment to one another, but a major challenge in long-term relationships is keeping everything interesting and fresh. And that’s where yoga comes into play.

A 2010 study published by the Harvard Medical School found that women experienced more pleasure and arousal after 12 weeks of yoga practice. Psychology Today cited a study from a yoga camp that found men ages 24 to 60 experience similar benefits after several yoga sessions. A yoga date every week can only improve your relationship it seems!

3. Shape Up

A study by yogi Alan Kristal and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that people who did one yoga session per week for four years lost five pounds versus the non-yogis who gained 14 pounds. Kristal credited yoga’s mind-body principles, which helped change the participants’ relationship with food and eating. Yoga also can help you quit smoking and get better sleep at night. Both will promote healthier looking skin, whiter smiles and positive emotions; all of which will help build your confidence in relationships.

Yoga connects you with the truths of the here and now. Likewise the focus of healthy relationships is the present, not the past or future. Incorporating yoga into your regular life ensures beautiful memories with your partner and promotes a future of love and commitment. And all of us can use love as a catalyst for growth on many levels.

Isn’t to day a good day to begin? Let yoga make Love!

-Brian Wilkins

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10 Ways to Live Life in a Calm Manner

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

1. Celebrate often.

Life is too short not to celebrate every chance we are given. Making the effort to attend class, attempting a challenging asana, or just shaking your hips in downward dog, are all reasons and opportunities to celebrate life and being one with your body.

2. Laugh at embarrassment.

We have all farted in a work meeting, or walked around with toilet paper on our shoe at a bar, or even fallen while walking up the stairs in the subway.  In the same vein, falling out of a balancing pose, bumping another practitioner, or hitting the floor with a thud coming out of handstand is all part of the practice.  It’s life, we’re human, and it’s okay.

3. Be trustworthy. Do not lie.

It is almost never okay to lie…even white lies should be used sparingly. The truth always comes out. Your word is you (your integrity) and once you lose it (your morality), sometimes there is no getting it back.

4. Choose the people in your life.  

The people you choose to keep in your life are a reflection of you. We will become more like them and they will become more like us. Choose carefully. Therefore, if negative people are in your life, you are part of that negativity that definitely affects you thus if you choose positive, loving people, you are just that, loving and positive.

5. Yoga and dancing are the cheapest forms of therapy you will find.

Putting on a great song (country for me) and dancing like a fool or rolling out my mat for a few sun salutations without fail makes me feel better.  You can do either anywhere you are and in a “crap” economy, these are great ways to save money on therapy and Xanax.

6. Check in.

I like to ask myself from time to time, “Emily, if you died tomorrow, would you be happy with your life?” Most often, I say, “Yes, I have had a great life and although I may not have done everything on my bucket list, I had a good run of it.”  If I do not answer in the affirmative, then I make a change. Do not avoid what you do not like in your life, check in, notice it, accept it, change it.

7. Take care of your bod.

This has been one of the biggest changes in my life as a result of yoga. We are only given one body and no amount of re-lifting, plumping, whitening, or tanning is going to do for your bod what you can do all by yourself. Take care of your body now and it will take care of you later.

8. You are one of a kind. Own it.

I continue to struggle with this one but never the less it is something I strive towards and deem crucial in living a gingerly life. Society loves things that are “one of a kind.” The idea that if there are only a few or only one of something it is better, valuable, and a luxury. But we forget that we are ALL one of a kind! We are life’s greatest luxury! Know this and own it.

9. Listen to your heart and intuition.

As I grow, I am learning just how powerful intuition is and how loudly your heart speaks to you if you listen. Your head can play tricks on you but your heart is usually spot on.

10. It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.

Appreciate every day and challenge yourself to be happy.

~ by Emily Schall

Bright future

Five ways to get fit & lose weight with housework

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

In a gym rut? Too cold to run outside? Unmotivated with your fitness? It happens. Fortunately, you can still manage to keep up with a yogic lifestyle, burn calories and get the heart pumping right at home — without exercising…yes, indeed with your housework! Here’s how to clean up the house and get chores done while working the bod at the same time.

Yoga-Inspired Chores

35 is known for not only being a yogi, but a yogi who practices yoga anywhere, anytime, even during housework. The wife of Alec Baldwin, yoga instructor and mom can be found posing around the home while cooking, ironing or doing laundry. And Hilaria shares all of it on her Instagram account @hilariabaldwin. In utkata konasana, Hilaria waters her plant in the sink. She loads the dishwasher with dirty dishes posing in a variation of vasisthasana. Even the dreaded ironing gets done while in gorakshasana. Give your yoga mat a break, and call yoga chores wellness multitasking at its best. Tackle the to-do list while relaxing the body and settling the mind? Easy.

Car Maintenance

Rather than spend $15 at the car spa to make your car look pristine, clean it yourself at home and burn some extra calories. Washing, drying and waxing your car by hand can get you moving and work up a sweat. Don’t forget to wash the windows and tires with special cleaners as well. “Wash your car regularly,” recommends The Art of Manliness. Using your biceps to clean car surfaces prevents corrosion from elements like sun, grease, grime, acid rain and dead bugs. Also, declutter, tidy up and vacuum the interior as a workout bonus.

Carpet Cleaning

To some people, vacuuming is practically a recreational activity and making straight carpet lines is like creating a proud masterpiece. To others, vacuuming is a dreaded chore that happens once every six months to a year, if that. Up and down the stairs lugging the vacuum. The dog barks and attacks the machine with such abhorrence. It’s laborious, and not a good time. But vacuuming can actually burn on average 238 calories, which is equal to the number of calories in a french fry order. Boost your calorie burn (and make your carpet look spotless) by removing stains and giving your carpet a deep clean.

Washing Dishes

You have friends over, which means it’s time to start training for this epic moment of the dinner aftermath! The dirty plates. The clean up. Washing dishes serves dual after-dinner purposes. Not only are you cleaning up, you’re standing up and moving around, which aids the food coma. Washing dishes can burn 85 calories in a half hour. In holiday dinner terms for example, 85 calories is most likely not much compared to how much you ate. But the chore can earn you an afternoon nap.

Chopping Wood

As you mimic Hilaria’s yoga moves around the house, invite your man to get fit with housework too. Greatist.com lists chopping wood as a heart-pumping way to strength train outside the gym. In time, the rugged outdoors and arduous task of wood chopping will transform him right into Paul Bunyan, really. Hauling and splitting firewood is a killer workout, and swaying the heavy ax just looks good. One hour of muscle-building lumberjack work can burn up to 500 calories. And wood isn’t the only thing getting carved. He’ll carve his core, arms and back with every piece of chopped firewood and your fire place will look stunning this winter!

By Abby Terlecki

 

7 ways to rest or relax

Friday, November 21st, 2014

It is a complicated world – gone are the days when it was enough to lie down on your mat, shut your eyes and drift off into a blissful relaxation after your yoga practice!

Living and working in a fast paced, technological world means that there is little distinction between day and night. Many people find it difficult to sleep and are looking at ways to restore their energy and alertness. Computer screens, shift work, 24 hour access to entertainment, long commutes are just a few of the challenges to sleep.

Lack of sleep is dangerous to health, leading to accidents and taking its toll on mind and body. Sleep science is a growing field of research increasing knowledge of the problems relating to insomnia and discovering more about the secrets of our nocturnal life.

Relaxation

It is important to recognize and differentiate between sleep and rest. In yoga, teachers traditionally end a practice with relaxation – usually around 15 minutes after a class lasting less than an hour and a half. This allows the body to realign, warm muscles to cool and the mind to calm.

This may be led by a guided relaxation where the teacher provides a soothing commentary – perhaps instructing physical areas of the body to release or using calming words to create a conducive environment to relaxation. Or, the teacher may decide to remain silent and just provide closing instructions at the end of the session.

Sleep

Sleep can be divided into four stages and two distinct states – rapid eye movement (REM) and non REM (deep sleep). The REM state is when the eyes can be seen to move under the eyelids and dreaming occurs. During deep sleep the body slows down, the muscles relax, breathing and heartbeat become slower and blood pressure decreases.

The four stages can, for an adult, be divided into 90-minute cycles. This starts with some light sleep which is roughly half of all sleeping time, then deep sleep, accounting for about 20 per cent, and finally the lighter REM sleep when dreams occur which is about 20 per cent.

It takes around 15 minutes to awake from a deep sleep and become fully alert.

Napping

Napping is a useful skill to develop and can be used anywhere to build up resources when tired. A nap lasts around 15 minutes and leaves you feeling refreshed – any longer and there is a risk of falling into the early stages of sleep and feeling groggy when aroused.

All that is required is a supported position – either seated of lying still – in a quiet uninterrupted space.

Concentration

Concentration can be seen as an entry point to a meditative state. Patanjali describes concentration as ‘fixing the consciousness on one point or region’ and meditation as “the steady, continuous flow of concentration”. Concentration (or centrring) is often used at the beginning of a class to encourage students to settle and connect with the start of the practice. Tools may include awareness of breath or sound or just sitting or lying silently for around 10-15 minutes.

Meditation

There are many ways to meditate, but all have the same purpose – to increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of ourselves, experiences and wider connections in the universe.

Meditation trains the mind to focus on what is real, staying in the present and encouraging a clearer perspective on life and relationships.

Contemplation or meditation (dhyana) involves holding on to an idea in the mind without the mind wandering. This takes practice and time and may involve concentrating on a physical object such as a stone, apple, egg or picture, or meditating on an abstract idea or concept such as love or duty.

Yoga Nidra

In Yoga Nidra, the mind is encouraged to drift and stay in its hypnogogic state which is the transition from wakefulness to sleep or from sleep to wakefulness. During this time, the mind is receptive to sounds and visual images. During Yoga Nidra the mind may also connect with unexplored creativity, intuitions and unexplored creativity.

Guided Yoga Nidra uses tools such as guided visualization including rotation of consciousness and awareness of sensations. It is usually delivered at a speed that encourages the mind to move between images and concepts.

Yoga Nidra can be a profound experience and care should be taken

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga uses props – bolsters, blankets, straps and eye pillows – to place the body in supportive positions for complete physical release. By staying supported in these positions for a longer period (up to half an hour or more depending on the pose) the body and mind are encouraged to relax and readjust.

Restorative yoga can be used as therapy or to provide a deeper relaxation experience.

There are a number of new studios worldwide providing excellent facilities with classes, workshops and training suitable for anyone who wants to learn, or expand their skills.

– Wendy Jacob32

Astrology Soul Coach, July 2014

Monday, July 7th, 2014

“Go big or go home!”

No, you are not imagining there is a voice within that is screaming now is the time; if you’ve got it flaunt it; or some similar refrain. This month Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system (not including the Sun) leaves family and home-oriented Cancer for the drama and spotlight of Leo. Jupiter changes signs once a year so this is a significant shift in universal energies when the big daddy of them all moves into fiery and self-expressive Leo on July 16th. Jupiter is the planet of expansion and represents how we move past limitations and boundaries. With Jupiter in Leo we are being called to more leadership, self-confidence, generosity, visibility and authenticity. Remember that last one. Leo is nothing if not authentic. Leo loves to shine and is one of the more flamboyant, romantic and playful of the signs.

While Jupiter is in Leo we expand ourselves and enrich our lives when we take risks in the direction of our dreams; accept we were born to light up the planet; and are willing to be great at what we do. Greatness is lurking inside everyone – have you found yours? For more inspiration consider the lion – proud, confident and self-assured. The following people were born when Jupiter was highlighted in Leo, Bill Gates, Mick Jagger, Bette Davis, Jim Morrison, Yo-Yo Ma, George Lucas, Elizabeth Taylor, Edward Kennedy, Diana Ross, Jimmy Stewart and Eleanor Roosevelt. (Just to name a few!)

This year isn’t about being ostentatious, prideful, or acting superior. It’s about understanding we are each fabulous and spectacular in our own unique and individual way. Find that way and live it.

leoThis is a year to be more visible, more authentic and have a great time doing it!

 Quote of the month: “Be not afraid of Greatness.” William Shakespeare

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, animal communicator, writer, speaker and coach. You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a weekly Astrology radio show, “Simpletales”, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern and can be also be heard on “A Course In Miracles with C.A. Brooks” on Fridays at 8am Pacific – 11 Eastern.

ca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks2

Time to spread your wings

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Astrology Soul Coach
Cosmic Dance for December 2013
This past week I spotted a Bald Eagle perched in the highest branches of one of the tallest trees in the area. Although there are a few around, this is a rare sighting in an urban area in this part of the country. Animals are messengers and this one carries a message very pertinent to the last month of 2013. “Time to spread your wings” seems like an obvious choice, but I don’t think that’s it. As we look forward to December and the first 6 months of 2014 we’re looking at two important retrograde cycles, the first by Venus, the planet of love from December 21st through January 31st and the second by Mars, the planet of action March through May.

The Eagle’s Message is about being patient, finding a higher vantage point from which to view life and embracing a larger perspective. Venus is associated with what we love and value in life – often a proxy for intimate relationships – but actually much more encompassing. Venus has been traveling through the practical and committed sign of Capricorn since November and will continue through the first week of March. During the retrograde pattern, in which from our perspective on earth Venus will appear to be moving backwards, we will revisit some old relationships and maybe even do some evaluation of currents ones. We might also give more thought to how we earn, invest and spend money. Retrogrades are times for reviewing previous choices and decisions and coming to greater clarity.

Relationships will continue to take center stage in the first half of 2014 with Mars moving through Libra, the sign of partnership. December is a good time for honest reflection about our goals – generally, financially and concerning love. Focus not on action but on improving the clarity of your perception.

Quote of the month: “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” (J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan)

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach
You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on 12Radio.com at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.
ca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks2

Astrology Soul Coach – Cosmic Dance for October 2013

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Astrologically speaking October is a very dynamic month of change with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Aries on the 18th and a Mercury Retrograde pattern beginning on the 21st.  First let’s tackle the Eclipse. At the time of the Full Moon, the Earth will stand in-between the two luminaries keeping the light of the Sun from reaching and reflecting off of the surface of the Moon, thus creating a Lunar Eclipse. We can’t deny there are physical repercussions as the electromagnetic pulses are temporarily disrupted. Psychologically there are effects as well – mostly positive.

All eclipses are harbingers of change, but Lunar Eclipses, usually indicate we have come to the culmination or ending of a project, relationship or endeavor. Eclipses act like wild cards bringing new people, opportunities or events into our lives that prompt and guide us to make big changes. Many people report eclipses feel like their internal systems have been rebooted. It’s the chance to clean out some old “programming” and make a clean start. Even when an eclipse drops something in our lives that seems “out of the blue” or surprising, when all is said and done, we often realize the change is exactly what we needed.

Mercury, the planet of thinking and communication, will make its third and final retrograde cycle of 2013 starting this month. This one is in the mysterious, sensitive, complex, and psychological sign of Scorpio. Scorpio represents our need for cathartic change and transformation and the need for intense and passionate involvement. Minds and hearts will come together to reveal some amazing insights!

Both events – the Lunar Eclipse and Mercury Retrograde – have change as a common denominator. We don’t always have control of the changes in the world around us, but we do have the ability to choose our interpretation and use events as valuable learning devices on our way to earning our PhDs in Earth School. Enjoy the ride. I’ll be back with you next month to talk about the Eclipse of new beginnings – a New Moon Solar Eclipse on November 3rd. I’ll leave you with the words of Viktor E. Frankl, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach

You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on 12Radio.com at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.

ca@cabrooks.com

http://www.facebook.com/cabrooks2

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