So much is written about yoga these days. People describe how it helped them through a crisis, healed an injury, made them stronger. Many are inspired to become teachers. Doctors write about yoga’s health benefits and teachers write about its philosophy, anatomical mechanics, or energetics. I am one more fan, student, and teacher, and I want to add my say.
One of the main goals of a regular yoga practice is to be able to reach Samadhi, a state of deep concentration and meditation resulting in union with a greater reality … a greater universal consciousness. When we are in Savasana, we are working toward this state, feeling the benefits of our asana practice, resting our bodies in order to open up to our breath and release all of the tension and thoughts running through our minds — coming to a place of blissful nothingness.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Marguerite O’Brien
While I try to be mindful of the blessings in my life and give thanks on a daily basis, there are times when I am humbled by life’s circumstances and my gratefulness is magnified. I’ve had several experiences recently that I wanted to share with you, in hopes that they will inspire you to take a moment to be present to what is going on around you and give silent thanks for every blessing.
It is light in the darkest night. It brings people to their knees. It is symbolic and powerful, yet proof-less and criticized. It illuminates life and it wages war. It escapes some and captivates many. To some it is doctrine, to others it is fiction. It is faith.
Today’s definition of faith doesn’t have to relate to religion; it can be trust or belief in something without proof. But in today’s society, the invisible creates disbelief. People lack faith in all areas of their lives because they are looking for evidence. They are waiting for the ideal job, the perfect relationship and financial abundance. They are looking for something tangible — and as a result, they are still waiting. When the answer doesn’t fall into their laps they become cynical and they lose faith.
If this rings a bell, don’t worry. There are ways to find faith in your daily life.
Yoga students often wonder, “Why do we use Sanskrit terms when learning the poses? Is it important? Do we have to learn it?” I can relate because I once asked similar questions.
We are now well into 2011, and many people are deep into the discussion of the shifts occurring on this planet. Some feel they are directly tied to the Mayan Calendar and predictions for 2012. Others feel that we are in the center of a transformational movement unlike any other in history.
I recently spoke at a wonderful conference in Sedona, Ariz. The whole theme was about transcendence and how we navigate the waters of the shifts taking place. As I contemplated my talk, it became clear to me that WE ARE THE GIFT in the shift. Each one of us is here for a unique purpose, and each of us has been given all of the tools that we need to be fulfilled and make a difference on this planet. If that is true, then the question becomes “What is in the way of us soaring?” I believe it is because we are stuck in the muck of consistent mind chatter that tries to convince us that we are victims of inevitable doom. This is fed by the intense news reports, old familial belief systems and inaccurate information passed down from various arenas.
Ever felt yourself going through the motions of a yoga pose without focus or purpose? I think most yogis who’ve been practicing for a while have this experience, at least sometimes.
Several years ago, I found myself rushing through the Sun Salutation, praying for the series to end so I could move on to asanas I enjoyed more. I hated the way the pose strained my wrist and left me breathless, and it seemed to take forever to get through five or six of them. But since appreciating whatever you’re doing is a key spiritual teaching, I knew I had to do something to change my perspective.
Meditation does not come naturally — at least, not to me. I’m easily distracted, there are a million things on my “mom mind” and I feel a little guilty when I’m not doing something productive. But I work at Gaiam: I have seen the benefits with my very own eyes, and the reasons to meditate are convincing! Besides, I work at Gaiam: Shouldn’t I at least try meditating?
Happy Chinese New Year, new moon in Aquarius, Candlemas (which is the midway point between winter solstice and spring equinox), Imbolic (which honors Brigid, the goddess of creative inspiration and fertility) … and all New Beginnings!
I love mythology and ritual, especially when they honor and align us with the natural world. With spring approaching, it makes sense that many traditions consider this time the true beginning of the year, a time of rebirth and renewal.
I believe this is going to be a fabulous year that is filled with incredible opportunities. I, personally, am focusing on living at a high level of consciousness and choice.
There has been much discussion on how attitude affects experience. Today, I would like to ask us to consider how that focus affects our vibration and therefore informs us what we will attract into our lives.