Understanding Violence

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent.

Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind.
When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence.

So a person who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
In yoga we honor the practice of ahimsa, or non violence. There is also the understanding that we are all connected and are not separate beings. It is the persona or ego that keeps us separate and fearful. The path of yoga is to awaken to our interconnectedness and to see ourselves in others.
May we all continue to plant seeds that bring us together instead of tearing us apart.

Listen to Your Body – its Listening to You

The words we choose in our thinking, our speech and our writing, impact on how we feel and our overall well being.

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Have you ever noticed how a word can bring up a certain feeling inside of you? A sensation, a thought or an emotion?

Choosing a word that connects with your heart and soul can be not only uplifting, but also brings physical well being.

If you have a few moments, let’s explore.

Take your time as you connect to each of the words below. Go slowly. You can say them out loud:

Love
Tender
Soothing
Joy
Cuddle
Grateful
Smile
Gentle
Pause here and close your eyes. What is alive in you in this moment? Is there a warmth, softening, a feeling of tenderness or love perhaps? How is your breathing? Are you smiling? (me too) Notice how these words manifest themselves in your mind body and spirit.

pauseNow take a deep breath and take the same time connecting to each of these words:
Irritated
Ugly
Mean
Wrong
Frustrated
Cruel
Unfair
Bad
Pause here and close your eyes. What is alive in you in this moment? Is there tension or constriction or heaviness perhaps? How is your breathing? Notice how these words manifest themselves in your mind body and spirit.

pauseIn general when it is a word associated with lack, dis-ease, suffering or violence, our body responds by becoming tense, our breath shallows and there is resistance.

In western medicine when there is resistance in our body it leads to inflammation, and increases our level of stress. These are both proven factors for ill health.

I believe in western medicine, and I also believe in that when there is constriction and tension our life energy contracts as well, and a part of inner state becomes blocked. This impacts our emotional and physical wellness.

In yoga, when the life energy (prana) is blocked it can be released with postures, breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation. In Chinese medicine these blockages in Qi can be released through acupuncture.

pause and listen to your body

No matter what we believe in our minds, our body has its own kind of intelligence.

Listen to your body’s wisdom.

Be mindful of your thoughts and your words. Your body is always listening.

The Other Side of Comfort

chair

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“Those who want comfort in life have to seek conformity.
The result is false compromise and hypocrisy,
and a life without integrity becomes a patchwork.”

~ Swami Avyaktananda

I read this inspiration today in class and it seemed to resonate on many levels.

Enjoy connecting with what is true for you.

Namaste

The Path of Real Love

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Our life experience and level of consciousness creates different planes of existence. This can be seen in how we perceive love and how it shows in our lives.

Conditional love relies on others to make us feel happy. This conditioning comes from our childhood, when we were small, helpless and dependent on others to take care of us. We loved them for making us feel safe and loved. When we love conditionally we expect others to fulfill our needs and support us in what we want.

When we seek approval from an other by trying to please them, this is conditional love. We may think “If I do this for you, then you will love me more. I will be rewarded with attention. If I buy you the best ring, the world will see how much I love you” This kind of conditional love remains for many of us as we go through life.

We need other people to make us feel special, important and loved. We expect our wives, husbands or children to make us happy by behaving the way our ego desires.
And so begins married life with expectations and demands from each other, based on individual desires and needs.

This kind of love keeps us separate and apart. It makes us feel better as long as we feel we are receiving it. However, as soon as we feel neglected or ignored, or when the love is withdrawn, we feel bereft and unloved, or worse, unlovable.

Conditional love prevents us from growing spiritually. It has nothing to do with real or unconditional love.

Unconditional love comes from a deeper sense of awareness and being. It is essential for us to grow as spiritual beings and awaken to our fullest potential.

When you truly love someone, you love the Light within them.

With true love you are happy for others and want them to express themselves in the world…. not follow a certain path that you believe is right.
You love yourself, warts and all, and have let go of inner criticism. You appreciate and have love for humankind…. without condition.

The sense of separateness and isolation diminishes, as you see the Love in others. The ego’s desires lose their power over your choices and decisions in life.  The fullness of Love grows and you feel connection to your inner Self, as well as others.

The process of enlightenment is the path to appreciate the Light within yourself and recognizing it in those you love,  then allowing it to expand and express itself to others and into the world.

Find the Light and Love within yourself in your Middle Ground.

Namaste

Inner Alignment

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We live in a self absorbed society where everything seems to be directed to feeding the insatiable and bored little “me”.

When we start finding our Middle Ground, we get in touch with our inner being and experience what is happening in the moment. This inner world includes our thoughts, beliefs, needs, feelings and knowing what really matters to us – our values.

We become observers of ourselves.

We come nurturers of our inner being instead of critics.

Life becomes more satisfying just as it is. There is less need for stimulation, excitement and acquiring of things to prove to ourselves, entertain us, show others, or to keep boredom at bay.

This shift can happen in a moment or over a space of time … and is available to all of us.

Through yoga, I learned that this feeling of centered contentment was when my mind, body and spirit are aligned and in harmony.

I call this place of inner alignment the Middle Ground.

Thank you for joining me here 💛

Yoga Coming Home

“Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. It guides me into the present, opens my heart and brings me home.” 

While I was away in Scotland with friends, family and wedding celebrations, it felt like home.

The rocks and earth, air and breeze, salt and sea, trees and flowers, lochs and rivers…. all fill me with deep joy and contentment. I didn’t do my regular yoga practice, but spent time being present to what was unfolding around me and within me.

Enjoy these moments with me.

The old bridge and falls at Invermoriston

Downward facing rock

Balancing cairns at Portavadie

Balancing reverse warrior 

Smell the roses 

Hug a tree

Scottish Tree Pose

Be the tree 

Wishing for Things to be Different

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Acceptance of ‘what is’ can be the hardest part of the journey.

Doubts, flaws, mistakes and self absorption are part and parcel of life. Yet, how easy to forget, especially in those times when they overwhelm us and highjack our thinking.

Wishing for things to be different, creates anxiety about whether we have made the right choice, and sets the mind into a spinning spiral of ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s’. It can keep us there for hours, days or a whole lifetime.

We become acutely aware of what is missing and what is wrong. Like a dark cloud across the sun. In our mind we hold that cloud there and push it back towards the sun. We create our own darkness and confusion.

Only when we realize that clouds pass, that the sun is always there, no matter how cloudy the day or how dark the night. Only when we see the bigger picture, can we break free and open once again to acceptance and love.

Namaste