shadow

The Magic Carpet Ride

“I am Peace, I am Love, I am Light, I am Soul; I am at once everything, and one Part of the Infinite Whole. Namaste. – Laura Jaworski

A lot of meditation teachers dismiss the yoga asana practice as not being true yoga. Even though, the practice of the yoga postures and meditation are both part of the The Eight Limbs of Yoga. Most people are moving pretty fast; scurrying here and there. They need some help to get to a meditative state. I sure did when I started yoga.

Savasana (corpse pose)
What does the Sanskrit word savasana actually mean? Corpse pose. Ooooh…very uncomfortable word for most people in the US. What do you mean, I am not going to live forever? But truly as the saying goes, ‘No one gets out of this world alive.’

My first yoga teacher would tell the class that ‘the real practice is savasana. That it is the hardest pose and most important one.‘ She taught a rigorous class and by the time she called savasana, we were elated to lie down and rest. I happily climbed on my Magic Carpet, my yoga mat, and got ready for savasana. Lying still and lightly breathing it was not too long before – ‘Bingo’ I was in a very special place. Not always the same experience, but I did see that when my body and mind went ‘off line’ – I was there. Hmmmh how could it be? Very little thought just a feeling of ‘bliss’. Sometimes my body would feel very heavy, sometimes very light. Sounds would happen around me, but as long as I stayed relaxed, they had no effect on me.

Starting a Meditation Practice
The experience that one taps into during savasana is one of the benefits of meditation. Other benefits are: seeing the thoughts running through your mind, quieting of the mind, becoming calmer, knowing who you truly are and being more centered.

To get these benefits one needs to start somewhere. Someone with a lot of nervous energy or a body which is tight and or in pain would benefit from a yoga class with a savasana at the end. After awhile, they could enjoy ‘sitting’ for 10 minutes at a time and slowly increase the amount of time. Or seek out a meditation class or teacher to show them how to practice. Remember, you are ‘not’ the only one with a busy mind or ‘monkey mind’.

Breath Exercise

So Hum Breath – ‘I Am All That’
The yogic mantra “so hum” is not only a reflection of the sound of the breath but also carries a contemplative meaning: “I am that” (so = “I am” and hum = “that”). Here, “that” refers to the ‘all of creation’, the ‘one’ breathing us all.

https://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/so-hum-contemplation-meditation

She let go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her.

And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

by Safire Rose

Ever Expanding Joy

Joy

Joy is the feeling of grinning inside. – Melba Colgrove

At the hospital last night, I sat bedside with a friend, Cheryl*, who was suffering with pain and nausea from a surgery. It was one of many treatments she had endured in her fight against cancer. She was unable to see any relief in the near future. As she went in and out of consciousness we talked about her life. She told me of her fears and wishes and the loves in her life. I left the hospital with uncertainty of what would be her fate. She was unable to eat and her will to live was slipping away.

This morning as I practice yoga, my heart is heavy and crazy fears circle in my head about my mortality. What would I do if I was in her shoes? As I stand in Warrior Two, I think ‘allow your lips to to turn up in a little smile’. As I do, the dark clouds covering the sun in my heart move apart leaving a subtle feeling of ‘joy’.

Joy is the feeling of grinning inside. – Melba Colgrove

Joy building poses:
Warrior One – with a smile on your face
Wild Thing
Half Moon

Breathing exercises:
Energizing Breath – 2 quick inhales through the nostrils and 2 exhales through and open mouth
with the vocal sound ‘ha ha’ (repeat as many times as you like).

NOTE: I received a text later in the day from a friend. Cheryl was going home! The nausea subsided, she was able to eat breakfast and keep it down!

* fictious name 🙂

The First Step out of Bed — Practice #3

yoga home practice

The first step out of bed dedicated to a new activity, practice or goal.

Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Yoga Home Practice

By following the path of expression through painting and drawing, I opened a door to living in touch with my creative force. I started to ask myself questions of what I wanted to do and…not do. I admitted to myself that I wanted a shorter commute; bought one closer to work and school. I realized that I was inflexible and stressed out; I signed up for a yoga class. One class and I was hooked! I felt so good afterwards.

I went to three classes a week at Desert Song Yoga after taking the introductory class there. But, that was not enough to open up my tight body. My first yoga teacher, Heidi Lichte, had a wonderful sequence of poses to open up the lower back. I decided to dedicate my rising hours to a yoga practice and practice the sequence that she taught her class.

To accomplish my goal I set a daily list of rules that I would live by each morning as I got out of bed.

My yoga practice had 3 rules:

  1. Directly from bed – practice yoga
  2. At least give it 15 minutes
  3. Miss a day, practice again the next day

I am very grateful for my home practice, for my body and my soul speak to me in this practice. I have been lead from within on how to open up and heal my body and emotions. Today I do both yoga and meditation. The meditation practice started very slowly, for sitting still was almost impossibly at first. (I will tell you about this journey in another offering.) It’s been worth the effort!

What would be your first step practice?

Have you been wanting to have a home practice?

I encourage you to allow some quiet time to reflect. When you are ready to make the change, step you best foot forward.

Next blog will be on creating sacred space in your home. Thank you for reading!

The First Step out of Bed — Practice #2

watercolor show

The First step out of bed dedicated to a new activity, practice or goal.

Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Painting Watercolors

Sixteen years ago, I had 2 boxes of unfinished paintings stuffed away in my closet. I considered myself a watercolor artist but I spent a lot of the time not painting. Yes, you read that right, not painting. (Can you relate in any way?)

One night while my kids were out with some friends, I dragged the boxed paintings out and was amazed by all the possibility that I saw in them. I became determined to finish them and to start painting new ones! I needed a change in my life, work was way to routine. A friend had told me about a book called “The Artist Way”. The book is about following your creative passions and getting through mental and emotional blocks. I was inspired once again to dedicate my waking hours to something important to me.

To accomplish my goal I set a daily list of rules that I would live by each morning as I got out of bed.

Here are the 3 rules I set for following my passion of painting:

  1. Directly from bed – paint
  2. For at least 15 minutes
  3. Miss a day, try again

It worked out very well. I ended up with 30 paintings that I was confident to show to the public. A local business owner, who loved artwork, had a large wall in his store dedicated to hanging the artwork of up-and-coming artists. The artist of the month could invite people to an opening night showing where there would be hors d’oeuvres and wine for all the guests. On the night of my opening, I was honored by how many of my co-workers, friends and family showed up to support me and my new endeavor. Thanks to them I sold 10 paintings!

What would you like to dedicate your first step out of bed to?

I encourage you to allow some quiet time to reflect. Truly listen to your heart and what it is telling you. When you are ready to make the change, step you best foot forward.

Next week I will tell you about how I started dedicating my first step to practicing yoga and meditation. Until then I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank you for reading!

The First Step out of Bed — Practice #1

girl in pajamas wearing running shoes getting out of bed

The first step out of bed dedicated to a new activity, practice or goal.

Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Over the years, I have dedicated my rising time to something very important to me. The following “First Step Practice” was completed at a time while raising two children, working a full-time job and commuting at least 45 minutes one way. I tell you this because a question that one many ask is…

How do I fit the things that I really love to do into my life?

Dedicating the “waking hours” to what I want to accomplish and sticking to some basic rules.

Three months before the race date, I started to train for the Phoenix New Times 10k. When I started practicing, I was unable to run a mile without stopping. I was out of shape, but was determined to be in shape by race day!

To accomplish my goal I set a daily list of morning rules.

In the past I had tried exercising three times a week. This was a formula for failure. For when I missed one day I would only exercise twice a week and after a while it would become none. That was why I decided on all or nothing.

Some days I walked part of the way, but I at least practiced. Running has always been hard for me, mainly because of the voice in my head. It was always telling me to quit, ‘you do not have to be running, maybe you should walk for a while’. if I ignored it and set out to run at least one mile the second one was usually easier. Six months into the practice I was able to run 3 miles. Two days before the race I was able to run 5 miles and then on the day of the race I ran the full 6.2 miles! Race days are usually easier for you have the momentum of all the pumped up racers to keep you going!

Here are my race day goals:

  1. Directly from bed – go outside and practice running. When you get tired, walk for a while and then try running again.
  2. Walk or run at least 1 mile each day
  3. Miss a day, try again

What would be your first step practice?

Set your rules and stick to them the best you can.

I encourage you to allow some quiet time to reflect. When you are ready to make the change, step you best foot forward.

Next week I will tell you about how I followed my passion for painting watercolors. Until then I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank you for reading!

The Creation of Sing and Play Yoga

I started teaching Mommy & Me Yoga at Desert Song in 2010. At first the babies were very restless, until I incorporated singing and playing into the class. This made for happy babies, which meant we were all happy and enjoyed our yoga time together.

In 2013 I was a student in a 95-hour Kid’s Yoga training at Desert Song Yoga. My teacher, Mary asked me to teach a Mommy & Me Yoga class for the teachers. While preparing for this class, I realized that creating a set of yoga cards would be a wonderful idea.

My partner and I have been working on this project for the last 2 and half years. We are pleased to announce that the beautiful cards have arrived. Namaste!

Karen and Julia

models for sing and play yoga

This is Karen and her daughter Julia they were our models for the Sing and Play Yoga cards and what a blessing they are. We are so thankful to them for being there.

Countdown from Fifty Body Relaxation

Sometimes it is really nice to just relax and let go! I created this deep relaxation just for that purpose. Hope you enjoy!

Sacred Sound

tibetan bowl

This is a hand hammered Tibetan singing bowl.

Our research has told us that these bells originally came to Tibet from India at about 500 BCE. These singing bowls are found in many different sizes. Some are well decorated others very simple such as this one many are tuned to particular notes for specific applications.

This bowl has been on our altar for several years. It has a beautiful and sweet tone. We have used it to begin and end periods of silent meditation. It seems to help create a sanctuary or a kind of vestibule no matter where we are. We strike the bell to mark the beginning of the meditation period and again to mark the end of the meditation.

I love to hear the ring erupt from the brass surface at the beginning of the meditation period. With closed eyes I listen. As the ring diminishes, I consciously follow the sound back into the silence. When the time for the meditation is over we ring the bell to leave our silent meditation behind and enter the world with the sound of silence in our hearts.