Ahimsa and Kindness

person holding clear and red floral ball

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Ahimsa or non violence is the foundation of all yoga philosophy. Most of us might think we are not violent people. We don’t go around bullying or hurting others or animals. We are loving and giving, and would never want to do any harm.

However, there are many ways that we unconsciously do “violence” on ourselves.

How often do you stay at your desk to get through your work without a break or refreshment? Are you pushing yourself to exhaustion?
Is your self talk kind and supportive, or do you judge yourself harshly and put yourself down?

To paraphrase Gandhi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Being forgiving and compassionate to yourself is the essential step to practicing ahimsa in the world.

This is fundamental for all of us on the path of yoga.
We must start with ourselves and allow the past damage of inner violence to heal.

Everything starts with our awareness of it.
Here are ways to bring about more awareness and change.

Decide to commit for one day to notice your internal conversations. Take time to journal and capture your thoughts.
At the end of the day. What did you notice? Is it time to change your conversation?
How can you start every thought with kindness?

An other practice is Loving Kindness Meditation. If your usual meditation is guided or based on mindfulness or mantra, commit to a loving kindness practice instead.Choose words that resonate with you.

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you free of trouble and the causes of trouble
May you live your life with ease

metta-prayer

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.

Want to feel Secure? Breathe!

feeling insecure

Source: WikiHow

“There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.
But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change.

If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure.
To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid.

In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.
To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing.

To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

~ Alan Watts

How are your breathing right now? I’m smiling, because I was holding my breath as I read this.

When we bring awareness to our thoughts, feelings and especially our breath, we set the foundation for finding our middle ground and inner peace.

Holding our breath is a defense mechanism of the human body. It prepares us to react to a threat. However, it increases the tension and stress in the body, rather than bringing it to a state of balance.

In yoga we learn to deepen the breath when sensation increases. We breathe through tension and discomfort and allow the energy to keep flowing, rather than contracting and adding more tension.

Yoga is an invitation to become present in our bodies. We connect mind to body via our breath. It helps us relax, breathe, feel, and where possible let go.
Ultimately this helps us make more skillful, conscious choices and allows us to feel grounded and secure in life.
And it all starts with the breath.

Find out more about yoga breathing by clicking here.

 

Inspiration – Life is Joy

This is a re-blog . To all the heroes our there – Have a joy filled day today.
little superhero

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life was service.

I acted and behold, service was joy.”

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Instead of searching for joy from what the world can give you, turn it around and give yourself to the world.

Take a moment and consider…

How am I serving others?
How can I contribute to what I want most for the world?

May we all find a life of joy in serving others.

Namaste

Tao Inspiration – The Path to Serenity

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Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

~ Mitchell, Stephen. Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) . Harper Perennial. Kindle Edition.

“Do your work, then step back”. So simple, yet not easy to do when we are caught up in demanding jobs and the chaotic busyness of our techno driven lives.

We all need time to pause, reflect and replenish.Only then will we find true balance and the serenity in life.

Namaste

Peace is a Natural Mind State

This is a re-blog and a reminder for myself the morning. Peace is within us all. Take time to meditate today.

oooOooo

This is one of my favorite quotes about inner peace from Dr Thynn Thynn . Every time I read it or share it, it makes me see how simple peace of mind can be if we only learn how to access it.

“Peace is a natural mind-state in every one of us. Peace has been there since the day we were born and is going to be there until the day we die. It is our greatest gift; so why do we think we have no peace of mind?

Experiencing peace is like looking at our hands. Usually we see only the fingers – not the spaces in between them.

In a similar manner, when we look at the mind, we are aware of the active states, such as our running thoughts and the one thousand and one feelings that are associated with them, but we tend  to overlook the intervals of peace between them.”

open hand

When we come to realize that peace of mind is already within us, our journey changes from searching for it, to one of letting go and being present. By letting go of what our thoughts are caught up with, and coming into the present moment, we connect to our inner being.

This is the secret place where peace resides.

I love the idea of shedding and revealing rather than striving for.

If you have a minute or two, why not slow down and join me here in a moment of  mindfulness.

Take a moment to notice your hands and the spaces in between your fingers.

Close your eyes and now picture the space between each finger.

Allow your hands to soften.

Notice the warmth in your palms.

Let your hands rest on your thighs with the palms up.

Allow your breath to soften and lengthen.

Breathe ….

Relax your jaw and forehead.

Breathing gently ….

Notice the calm in between the thoughts that come up.

Remember that this is always within you. Its up to you how you choose to access it and bring it into your everyday life.

Time to Bee

This has been an interesting week, time wise. Two of my watches and a wall clock stopped while I have been teaching yoga classes. I’m curious to know what some of you may think this might be about… Time will tell eh?

I also wanted to share my new purchase of a swatch watch. I’m grateful it’s still ticking away!

I chose the design of a flower and bees because it makes me smile. Every time I look to see what time it is, I smile and think of our hardworking bees emerging from their winter pause.

It gives me pause as well. To stop and appreciate, and to bee in the moment. 😉

It’s like a mini mindful moment during my day.

And so much better than picking up the iPhone and getting caught in the web of distraction.