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.

The Path of Real Love

affection afterglow backlit blur

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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 However, as soon as we feel neglected or ignored, or when the love is withdrawn, we feel bereft and unloved, or worse, unlovable.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

How Yoga Heals

This is a re-post for those of you who are interested in exploring yoga for your health and wellbeing.

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yoga for wellbeing

Thanks to Nancy over at Spirit Lights the Way for sparking some yoga inspiration!

I take a therapeutic approach to my Yoga teaching; focusing on body awareness, mindfulness and the breath. To me its more than a physical work out.

I love this quote from Georg Feuerstein taken from Yoga Gems:
“Beginners on the yogic path would do well to understand correctly what Yoga is all about and to then approach it accordingly.
There is a humorous saying in Yoga circles that Yoga has been reduced to the practice of postures, and that postures have been reduced to stretching, and that stretching has been reduced to lengthening the hamstrings. Authentic Yoga is always a spiritual discipline, even when the focus is on the body, as it is in Hatha Yoga.”

The intention of Yoga is the quieten the mind and connect with our inner spirit, consciousness or higher power. Read more about it on my Yoga page.

In his book “Yoga as Medicine” Dr Timothy McCall shares 40 ways that Yoga (Poses, Breathing and Meditation) heals:

  1. Increases flexibility
  2. Strengthen muscles
  3. Improves balance
  4. Improves immune function
  5. Improves posture
  6. Improves lung function
  7. Leads to slower and deeper breathing
  8. Discourages mouth breathing
  9. Increases oxygenation of the tissues
  10. Improves joint health
  11. Nourishes intervertebral discs
  12. Improves return of venous blood
  13. Increases circulation of lymph
  14. Improves circulation of the feet
  15. Improves proprioception (awareness of body in space)
  16. Increases control of bodily functions
  17. Strengthens bones
  18. Conditions the cardiovascular system
  19. Promotes weight loss
  20. Relaxes the nervous system and reduces anxiety
  21. Improves the function of the nervous system
  22. Improves brain function
  23. Activates the left prefrontal cortex
  24. Changes neurotransmitter levels
  25. Lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol
  26. Lowers blood sugar
  27. Lowers blood pressure
  28. Improves levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
  29. Thins the blood
  30. Improves bowel function
  31. Releases unconscious muscle gripping
  32. Uses imagery to effect change in the body
  33. Relieves pain
  34. Lowers need for medication
  35. Fosters healthier relationships
  36. Improves psychological health and mood
  37. Leads to healthier habits
  38. Fosters spiritual growth
  39. Elicits the placebo effect
  40. Encourages involvement in your own healing

This list still wows me!

If you are young – there is every reason in the world to start now. Do it!

If you are in Mid life – it isn’t too late. I started yoga in my 40’s and it changed my life. This is where I find my middle ground every day.
Find a studio and a teacher that you can relate to and feel supported by. A word of caution here. Not every Yoga offered in classes is the same. Unless you are an athlete, avoid Vinyasa or Power Yoga.

Even if you are elderly and have a number of health and physical issues, finding an experienced trained teacher with a therapeutic approach can lead to a more active and healthy life… and a sense of peace and wellbeing.

yoga heals

So many people try Yoga in gyms these days. Please be careful as the focus is usually on having a physical workout. In my experience the instructors may not be as experienced, there is less personal attention and less time for relaxation and mindfulness.

For me, Yoga is about balance, alignment and inner peace. Finding balance and peace in our lives and alignment of our mind body and spirit… on and off the mat.

Namaste

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

 

 

 

Inspiration – Freedom

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“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”

~ Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

As long as we listen to – and believe – our thoughts, we will be stuck in the same old patterns.

This is big.

Freedom is there for all of us.

When we see that our thinking is not the truth… When we understand that our ego mind creates critical thoughts to keep us from harm and to keep us small…. We awaken to our real life journey.

Listen to your heart and break free.

Silent Celebration

Free photo 83025747 © creative commons stock photos – Dreamstime.com

A catbird tries to fly
against the wind only
to be blown backward.
I know that feeling –
setting out with certainty
and arriving somewhere
entirely different. When
I respond with acceptance
to my unexpected
destination, the sun
clangs its cymbals of
light in silent celebration.

~ Danna Faulds

Stop trying to fly against the wind and fully embrace where you are in the highs of lows of life. Celebrate the unexpected… and the sunshine today!

 

Haiku – power down

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Power down. Switch off.
Slow down to the speed of Life.
Find your Middle Ground.

 

Find your Middle Ground is about stepping away from the busyness of our lives and our screens. More than ever we need to take time to pause and come to our senses.

When we are mindful of the present moment and simply allow it to be, we open a door to our natural state of being – accepting, loving, peaceful, kind and content. Most of us are so distracted and moving so fast that we get caught up in the world of “doing” or worrying about what we should be doing next.
Too much doing and thinking disconnects us from our sense of “being”and who we really are.