Saturday, September 24, 2016
Yoga is not a belief, it is not a faith. It is a discipline; a way of life. It takes discipline to practice yoga. That is because yoga means to live from the center of your being. At the center of your being you are balanced, flexible, strong and at peace. To get to your center takes work and that requires discipline. That is why we practice the tree. It teaches us to connect with our center where we find balance and grounded strength, while at the same time having the flexibility to sway and move with the changing winds of life.
The center of your being is without gender, color or creed. It is simply the center of your being. At your center if you hold still you will discover peace and serenity. But it takes conscious effort or discipline to find it. Let’s begin our practice.
You will come to understand yoga not through belief, but though experience. As the winds of life move you about this week draw back to your center and hold strong to your roots. It will take conscious effort. Inner peace is worth the effort. It takes discipline to find peace. This is yoga.
Namaste – I celebrate the place where our souls meet
Thursday, September 22, 2016
In our western society we often refer to karma as good or bad. But that predisposes judgment. Good and bad signify punishment or reward based upon our actions.
Karma however is pure action without any moral attachment. Karma yoga simply means cause and effect. So if you wish to change your karma you have to consciously work to change your actions. If you want to be healthy you need to consciously do things that support your health. If you are ill it is not because you are bad. For example: if you have arthritis, weak bones or high blood pressure it is most likely because of an underlying conditions that get exaggerated due to over use, diet and stress. We may not be able to change the situation, but we can change how we approach it. Approach life by knowing, that with the power of your thoughts, you can change the nature of your life.
Arthritis or any other health condition may be permanent and painful, but approaching it with an attitude of health by eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting plenty of rest is taking the action that will get you the results of a healthier and happier self. Because life becomes what life does.
If you don’t like your karma do something positive to change it. It is not about being good or bad. It is about accepting what comes our way and then the choices we make that turn bad karma into good karma. Make conscious healthy choices - Because life becomes what life does.
Friday, September 16, 2016
Right attitude is only the beginning of the spiritual journey. Although this is the beginning it can take lifetimes for us to achieve right attitude. To achieve right attitude we need to learn to listen not only with the ear, but with the soul. It’s not about listening to sound, but listening to the silent language of an inspired soul. The first Yama (abstinence) or non-violence is a good example.
Practicing Non-violence means to listen to your inner voice. If you can remain quiet you will perceive clearly any violence you create by inflicting harm on yourself or anyone else. Criticism, bigotry and anger are the sounds of violence. Violence begins in thought and projects outward through our words and our deeds. So the right attitude is to bring to your consciousness peace and serenity and with that bring non-violence to you, others and every aspect of life. We need to silence the chitta (meaningless chatter) so we can hear the sound of peace. That is the practice of yoga. Let’s begin by working through the chakras or our energy centers bringing them into balance by staying flexible and open and working on our inner strength.
Right attitude is only the beginning of the spiritual journey. Listen to your inner voice and if it should speak of violence,( criticism, bigotry or anger) silence it. Experience the peace within and continue on the journey towards spiritual enlightenment. It begins and ends within the depth of your soul.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
In yoga anything that is excessive, “inflames” our passionate and emotional self. We know that excessive physical and mental stress can lead to problems with physical inflammation. Excessiveness can also lead to a mind that becomes “inflamed”. Greed (excessive desires) is one of the four great passions of karma yoga. All our problems in life stem from one or more of the four great passions.
Everyone is here today for a reason. It may be to improve your balance or may-be to quiet the thrashing in your mind. Whatever brought you here today the focus should be on taking care of your health body, mind and soul. So take a moment and focus on what you need to work on today to be healthy. This class will improve your balance, stretch your joints and strengthen your bones and overall body structure. It will also, if you let it help you to find a few moments of solace from this hectic world. We are all here for some reason. Make that reason to support your health body, mind and soul.
Today let’s focus on movement of the body and quieting the mind to see if we can ease any excessive inflammation.
The most important thing in your life is your health. So focus on bringing health to the body and the mind because without a healthy body and a healthy mental outlook it is impossible for the soul to complete its mission which is to remove karma and find eternal peace.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The other day I was standing in line at the grocery store and I overheard a conversation between the clerk and a customer. The customer had several brown spotted bananas in her basket. She said she was always happy to find the brown ones because they are the sweetest. The clerk smiled and said that they always left brown bananas for customers just like her. She said that most people think they are rotten and won’t buy them. The brown spots are actually the starch in the bananas turning into sugar. The clerk went on to say that the green/yellow bananas contained more potassium so they are actually better for you than the brown ones. She was right about the sugar. He was wrong about the potassium.
Whether ripe or not bananas contain the same amount of potassium. The difference is that the ripe bananas are easier to digest and a good choice for anyone with a digestive issues such as IBS. However, the ripe bananas do contain more antioxidants than the green/yellow bananas. So the store clerk was really off on his bananas. The brown spots actually contain something called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) which scientists have identified as having anti-cancer properties. The caveat though with over ripe bananas is that the high sugar content can be a problem for diabetics.
If the brown bananas are squishy, too soft and smell they are over ripe. These are the rotten ones. These are the ones you should not eat. But just remember soft and a little brown might be just what the doctor ordered for your daily dose of potassium and TNF.
Why do you need potassium? It is the mineral that is involved in nerve transmission and muscle strength as well as proper heart functioning. Minerals support our bones and the functioning of most all the vital organs in our body. Too much or too little and we experience muscle weakness, palpitations, fatigue and intestinal problems.
Each day we need about 4700 milligrams of potassium. Potassium can be found in foods such as bananas, squash, sweet potatoes, meats, fish and leafy green vegetables, as well as rice bran. Chances are if you eat a healthy diet you will get the right mix and balance of vitamins and minerals. Too little or too much and you’ve lost your balance. It is the right balance of these nutrients that creates perfect health. So go bananas and don’t scoff at the ones with some brown spots. With a combination of potassium, antioxidants and TNF they might just be the best choice after all!
Saturday, September 10, 2016
The practice of yoga is more about raising your level of consciousness than it is about the poses. However, the poses help us to discover yoga. We use the chakras as markers or guidelines along the path of self-awareness. There are seven chakras along the spinal cord and hundreds of other chakras spinning out from the center of our being. The major chakras connect to vital organs throughout body. For example the throat chakra is connected to the thyroid. The thyroid is the organ that balances our metabolism or our energy. Our goal in yoga is to balance out the energy of the chakras. As we move up the spine we move closer to raising our level of consciousness.
The lower chakra or the root is the seat of our ordinary day to day life. When free flowing we are grounded, dependable, realistic and secure. When it is out of balance we tend to appear spacy, stuck and stubborn, and may exhibit signs of addictive behavior.
If we look into our ordinary day to day life we will all find problems or situations that throw us off balance? We may even feel stuck on a problem. When these problems take over our level of consciousness we remain seated and stuck in the root chakra. Consciousness gets stuck at its’ lowest level. All we can do is toss about in a state of unrest. To transcend we need to become grounded and still. Problems will come and problems will go. We will have good days and bad days. The challenge is to remain grounded and strong no matter what the situation in life. When we do this we are able to transcend our daily problems and reach a higher level of consciousness which is where peace and serenity are found. So today let’s practice letting go of our problems. Set them aside and focus on discovering balance, strength, flexibility and peace. It is through these attributes that we practice yoga. So let’s begin.
When your life gets challenged this week (and it will) try to draw yourself back to the root chakra. Find your grounding, establish balance, stay flexible and open, hold onto your strength and be at peace with what is, because what is, is exactly what you need to keep you practicing yoga.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Last week I read a story about Donald Henderson a U. S. Doctor who led the successful campaign to wipe out small pox worldwide. He was 87 when he died. He was hailed as a “giant” in the field of public health. He advised three Presidents. I wondered how many people read his obituary and how many people knew who he was?
Small pox was a highly contagious virus. It is the only infectious disease to have ever been eradicated. Smallpox has been recorded in the human population for over 3,000 years. A man who lived to 87 eradicated a virus that managed to live for 3000 years! Amazing! This man definitely proactively aged.
Proactive aging is a dedication towards something bigger than you. It transcends your aches and pains, your sadness and your pleasure. The eradication of anything that has the potential to create harm takes time, patience and dedication. All of those attributes can only come with time. With time come age and the question, “what are you doing with your time?” Most of us will never be the “giant” Dr. Henderson was, but we all have the potential to create a better world.
In yoga there are the yamas or things we should abstain from doing. The first yama is violence. It is said that if we all practiced nonviolence we would not need to worry about practicing the other yamas.
Violence is a virus that has existed since the beginning of time. It is the breeding ground for hatred, greed and bigotry. A virus is something that infects, copies, corrupts and destroys. Violence is the worse virus of all. Practice nonviolence in your thoughts, words and deeds.
In 87 years Dr. Henderson eradicated a virus that managed to live for 3000 years. If you live to be 87 and beyond (and I hope you do) remember in 87 years you too can help to eradicate something that has been recorded in the human population for millions of years; violence Simply do your part to help your fellow humans and to protect the environment. Work to eradicate violence through benevolence and compassion and although you may never be called a “giant” together we can all make a giant difference!