Monday, March 26, 2012

Beginner’s Mind

When I come to the practice of yoga, or anything that I have done over and over again, it is easy to get dull and think I know it all, when in truth, I have a completely new body each day. I can discover something new in every practice. “The more I live my life, the less I know.”

I feel my best when I approach my life as if I were a child. My eyes are open to the present and what is happening in the moment. See if when you enter into any situation you think you know, you can shift your perspective to beginner’s mind.

 Dig up an old childhood picture of yourself, and connect with that innocence. There is a part of you that is untouched and that is exactly the same as it was when you were 3 years old. Connecting to that place within is very helpful to developing a childlike wonder. I love to look at these pics of me as a girl and adore her sweetness and her joy.

We all get to be beginners again. Even in the end. When my father was going through chemotherapy, after years of yogic mastery over his physical and etheric body, he seemed frightened as he went into anyphylactic shock caused by the drugs. I remember looking right into his eyes, and saying "just another way to be in the body, just learning another way to be in the body, everything's going to be okay".

Today, write a letter to that person you always carry inside. Let her or him know that it all turns out okay, and share all of the love and wisdom that you have to offer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Act Like A Warrior

Isn't it interesting that yoga has an image of peace and love, hippies and pacifists, yet many of the poses are versions of WARRIOR. What does it mean to embody the energy of the warrior? Hatha yoga is literally translated as “the yoga of force”. So why do we avoid this fierceness? We become lazy and lose our energy. Anger turned inward can become depression. So what to do with this vibrant passion? Assume the position.

When I am in Warrior 1, I am head on, hips squared, allowing the strength of my legs to ground me. I am planted, and prepared. Ready for anything. I am also extending arms up, like I am wielding a weapon from the Universe.

In Warrior 2, I am open, my gaze is fixed and pointed. I am alert and relaxed, confident and focused. The gazing point is down the center of my hand, just past my fingertips, and they say when the gaze is still, the mind is still. My aim is clear.

In Warrior 3, I must stay balanced, so my gaze must remain focused and my mind must be clear. Focused on the breath. What gives me balance is my extension, and there is a grace in this position that is dependent upon a line of energy reaching out through the crown of my head, and out through my heel. Dynamic energy, two opposing forces. Yoga teaches me a lot about the balance of the mind and body, and gives me the strength to go to war with the parts of myself that no longer serve: judgement, laziness, etc. Remember, being physical is in and of itself a daily battle, so embody and embrace the Warrior within you.

Monday, March 12, 2012


As we enter the last week of Winter, we find our last opportunity to go inward and pull away from the external world before we plant the seeds for Spring. This is a very good time to ruminate and carve out a space just for you; a retreat time for allowing less output. Our culture is addicted to producing and consuming more and more, but there must be balance. We don't always have to be at the top of our game. In fact, it is much more natural to ride the waves - the ebb and flow of life. Nature, in general, is cyclical, so sometimes we do need to take a break. By bathing, hiking, or walking by the ocean, we can cleanse ourselves of energetic debris we may have picked up throughout the day. If you take a spa day at home, and give yourself space to replenish yourself and fill your own cup, you will have more to give others. 

I recently moved from a very urban loft space to a more secluded retreat-type home. Now my home has become a retreat for me. Being surrounded by trees, mountains and nature, I feel my body and my nervous system settling. At first, the silence was almost too still. It felt stagnant. However, I quickly realized that I was sleeping very well in this new spot. It was as if a healing was happening that could only occur with Nature's anesthesia: SLEEP! I decided to take advantage of this period in my life and do what nature is guiding me to do. Sleep and retreat!

Sleep has become a valuable commodity these days. There is even a recent media trend linking it to good health and weight loss. The body does it's most important work of healing and repairing itself while we are asleep. Sleeping helps to reduce and eliminate stress, which helps our bodies to function more efficiently when we are awake. Think about it, if you tried to work 12 hours straight, you would probably be less efficient than if you took breaks during that period. Taking a rest is way more effective than constantly pushing through. Our bodies and our nervous systems need down-time, and it is even crucial to our mental health that we dream so that our subconscious mind can sort out what it has stored.

The dream state is very powerful and revealing. Just last week, the night of my father's birthday, he visited me in a dream. It felt like a real visitation. The current energetic template feels very rich for all of us, in terms of the dream state. I find myself paying more and more attention to my dreams, and considering it my night school. During my years on beautiful planet Earth, I have taken periods of time to write down my dreams in a journal when I awaken, so that I can better understand my own psyche.

Pay attention to your dreams. Try to allow yourself time for naps and rest periods. For some extra help, this Siddatech flower essence product may aid you. Many people take CalMag. Or try a forward bend or legs-up-the-wall savasana. Allow yourself a night time ritual to aid you in your restful sleep. And remember, your body does some of its best work while you are asleep.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bliss Artist

Immersion in art is a meditation an expression of something words cannot express. You don't have to be an incredible painter to paint. My mother was a great artist and taught me to draw in the lines like she did. I was considered a very good artist because what I drew was lifelike. But as I grew, I found that my true style is more childlike or whimsical and that is how I enjoy painting today. I have recently been drawing for 10 minutes a day, and simply allowing my mind to go. I am often surprised and delighted with my own art, as if I am my own child. I encourage you to find an art form that you can enjoy and be like a child. No intellect. Open and compassionate. From the heart.

"The Artist's Way" is a really fun handbook, if you want to shake up your life for a month and live like an Artist. Especially when I am in an in-between place, this book has been a great kickstart. Every morning, I would begin my day writing 3 pages stream of consciousness - just freestyle journaling. If you are wanting to live like an artist, this is the month to do it. Some of you may paint pictures with your words. Henry Miller was both an author and a painter. The beauty of art is that is an expression that comes through the vessel that is you. What if you already are an author, a poet, an artist, an actor?

Music and dance are other forms of wordless expression and communication. Please find my Music Lounge section and allow the music to move you. Try adding music to your yoga practice. I have always loved music, yet cannot play an instrument or carry a tune, so the way I express music is through body movement. In fact, almost anything you do or create can be infused with the artist that lives within you.

Yoga is a healing art, so you can also imagine your body as a work in progress. Imagine you are a sculptor reshaping and redefining your body. Or revealing the beautiful form from beneath the layers. Or sanding away and polishing, creating a smooth surface. When you are imagining your body as a work of art, see your best self. But don't draw inside the lines!