Haiku – Reiki

healing hands
~
Energy transformed
Reiki levels one and two
Sparking love and light
~

I have aways been drawn to the power of energy in our bodies and in the world around us.  It was first introduced to me through Yoga, where the life energy is called Prana. In Yoga, the breath and energy are intimately connected in the practice of pranayama. As we breathe and move, we release blockages in the body and allow the Prana to flow. This nourishes and energizes our body’s ability to heal and transform itself.

In Chinese medicine, the energy moves along meridians in our bodies and is called Qi or Chi. Acupuncture is the alternative medicine practice which moves this energy to bring harmony and healing to body and mind.

Another practice, which comes from Japan, and was secret for many years, is the practice of Reiki.

Reiki is a completely natural, non-invasive and safe method of energy balancing for stress reduction and relaxation. It is performed hands on or off depending on the client’s preference and involves no tissue manipulation. All healing is self-healing where the practitioner acts only as a channel for energy.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of taking Reiki levels I and II training and attunements with ReikiMelody, and now offer my services for hands on healing and stress reduction as a Reiki practitioner.

May each one of us be open to the infinite power of the universe and shine our light and love in our own way.

Namaste

 

 

Prana and Dealing with Pain

This is a re-blog of a personal story about dealing with some physical pain while I was at Kripalu. For those of you who live with chronic pain, I hope you will be inspired by this.keep calm breathe and ouch

I have a deformity of my low back, which was exacerbated in a skiing accident in the 1990’s. The bottom line is that I have to be really careful not to jolt it, do quick movements or backbends that could bring about spasms or make the condition worse.

So, going to Kripalu a few years ago, I made sure I had strong antispasmodics if my back went into spasm. I didn’t want to be incapacitated for yoga teacher training!

I was alert and prepared. I was also pretty tense about it.

The first two days I was being so careful; avoiding certain poses and making my own adjustments. I feel good about taking care …  “of this darn back of mine that is preventing me from having as much fun as everyone else!”

Then I experienced a sharp pain in my left knee. With all the sitting I wasn’t surprised, and I needed to give it attention.

pranayamaWe were doing pranayama and meditation practice, and what I was learning was to breathe deeply, adjust my body, and  let the prana or life force flow into the area that  hurt.

The idea is to allow the channels to be open so that the body’s natural healing can work. There are different breathing techniques to activate and move the prana energy.

The next day my knee stopped hurting. But there was a shooting pain in my ankle.

So I adjusted my position and breathed deeply letting the prana flow there.

The next morning, there was no pain.

What about my back? I had forgotten about it. It should have been aching after six days of sitting but it was doing okay.

In fact, I felt wonderful. No pain anywhere.

The lesson I want to share with you is:

Notice it.

Let it relax.

Give it space.

Breathe into it.

Let it be.

What I now understand is that this can work for all pain – whether its physical or emotional.

Our body has a way to deal with hurt and brings its own ability to heal when we recognize it, and are kind towards it.

I’ll still take the meds and apply heat  when needed …. but I’ve learned a valuable lesson about living from my Middle Ground.

I am so grateful.

Namaste.

Haiku – Yoga and Life

Prana Flow

~

Let the prana flow.

Embodied presence and breath.

Find your Middle Ground

~

This is a definition of yoga, and what I bring to the mat every day. The intention is to move the life energy through awareness of the breath.  The body doesn’t need to be in motion to do this. At any moment we can guide our attention and our prana.

Where our attention goes, the energy flows.

I bring this to yoga and into my life.

Off the mat, I come back again and again, and bring awareness to where my attention is going. This is where the precious life energy will move towards.

Take a moment and close your eyes. Notice where your energy and thoughts are being drawn to right now. Is this expanding or contracting your energy? Is there a sense of opening or tension? Is this moment enriching or detracting from who you are or want to be?

Most of us don’t really want our energy to flow into our smart phone … mindless distractions … other people’s stories and drama … worrying about the future … holding on to what is past … judging others … being critical of ourselves. Yet it happens a lot.

Awareness is the first step. The next one is your choice.

Click here to find more about becoming present with the breath and living mindfully.

Namaste

 

Transitioning Back from Kripalu

I have returned from a wonderful Energy Intensive Retreat at Kripalu. The experience is still settling deep into my bones and being. In the meantime …

Be the Energy

Trust the energy that courses
through you. Trust – then take
surrender even deeper.
Be the energy.

Don’t push anything away.
Follow each sensation back to
its source and focus your awareness
there. Be the ecstasy.

Be unafraid of consummate wonder.
Emerge so new, so vulnerable,
that you don’t know
who you are.

Be the energy, and paradoxically,
be at peace. Dare to be your own
illumination, and blaze a trail across
the clear night sky like lightning.

~ Richard Faulds –   from “Kripalu Yoga”

Life in Balance

life in balance

 

Whenever you come across a difficult situation,
or encounter a difficult person,
or find yourself in a difficult yoga pose …..
Pause and bring awareness inwards.

Notice rigid thinking or tense feelings
Contraction in your body or around your heart.

Take a full breath in and a long full exhale of release.
Let softness flow through the whole of your being.

Nourishing and restoring
Life in balance

 

Steady Awareness

self awareness

“In the light of calm and steady self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without effort on your part.”

~ Sri Nisagardatta Maharaj

And so the path begins.

Being aware is the first step to bring about transformation from stress and anxiety, and to find peace of mind.

It is a small step, but not an easy one for our mind to embrace.

The ego-mind doesn’t like to draw attention to itself, unless it is in affirmation or admiration! It would much rather remain in control, by telling us to keep doing what we are doing, and not try anything different that could threaten it’s hold on us.

Is it not incredibly arrogant for us to think that we know the answers? Beyond the ego-mind and clinging to how we want to see ourselves in the world, is an intelligence beyond our thinking.

In yoga we call this Prana or life energy. It is more than the energy to heal, energize and nourish the physical  body, it is the essence of life itself.

This is where miracles begin for our mind, body and spirit.

Namaste

 

Yoga Doing You

beautiful yoga

Beautiful Yoga portrait by Seth Jacobson Photography

Yoga Doing You

Let postures flow,
movement as natural
as moonrise,
being without doing.

Go right to the edge,
to the spark within
each breath, and inquire
into the awareness that
underlies the stretch.

Release the small me
clamoring to be seen,
and experience the
emptiness beneath,
the boundaries
expanse of freedom.

This leap outside
a fixed identity,
this free fall into truth
is, very simply,
yoga doing you.

~ Danna Faulds

This is one of my favorite Danna Faulds poems. As a yoga teacher, this is also the vision I hold for my students on their journey into yoga.

When we explore movement and breath, we go deeper within ourselves and allow the prana to move through us… opening, nourishing, healing and energizing mind, body and spirit.

Being without doing.

I have just reserved my place at an Energy Intensive retreat at Kripalu Center in November. Danna Faulds will be there. 🙏

 

 

Let Life Be Like Yin Yoga

letting go in yin yoga

I am back from nine days of Yin Yoga teacher training and retreat at my beloved Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. It has been a time of learning, of support, of challenge and of exploration. It opened my body, mind, and yes … my heart 💛

Let life be like Yin Yoga – Lean into it.

The foundations of Yin Yoga are rooted in the Taoist tradition. It is about finding wholeness and harmony in tune with the constant flow of yin and yang in nature and in all beings. Yin is the stable, unmoving, feminine, receptive, cool and hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, mobile, masculine, hot and active aspect.

One cannot exist without the other.

Yoga in the west is Yang oriented, focusing on building strength, engaging muscles, movement and action.
Yin Yoga is the counterpart to this. It is a slow deep practice where poses are held for longer and the muscles relax. The deeper connective tissues of the body awaken, which allows for increased flexibility and prevents rigidity that comes with aging. The poses also stimulate the Chi and Prana energy in the body, allowing the practitioner to become calmer and more focused, and the body to be nourished.

It is a practice of paying attention, letting go, and developing the witness to whatever comes up in the physical body, mental body, emotions and breath.
By leaning in and surrendering to what is beyond resistance, the path to acceptance and peace opens up.

In this place of stillness, we meet ourselves and begin to understand how we deal with the pleasure and pain in our bodies and in life.

Each practice strengthens our entire being to allow for deep inquiry and acceptance. To find our Middle Ground.

Namaste

Listen to Your Body – its Listening to You

The words we choose in our thinking, our speech and our writing, have an impact on how we feel and our ability to heal.

words

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 associate 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 disease.

I believe in western medicine, but I also believe 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 Chi 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!