Posts Tagged With: mind

Confessions of a yogini

2014-05-24 10.31.09

 

I am a stress chicken. I can create trouble, worries & anxiety in my mind, skilfully & abundantly and without much effort. At times it feels like my default nature. This is the main reason why I turned to Yoga in the first place, to ground myself, to create stability & ease in my body and life. One of the first things I can do is to bring my awareness back in my body, through asana (postures), through pranayama (breath), through dhyana (meditation).

Asana helps me to start the journey from my mind to my heart. To start to connect with my creativity and inner child, to move, to dance, being playful and going upside down. Asana while in nature is Divine. It brings me back to my childhood, playing & running outside, being adventurous, trying new things, feeling the wind in my hair & sun on my skin. I hear the birds singing a beautiful song, feel the sand or grass in between my toes. From here responsibilities & worries starting to slide of my shoulders, I start to connect more deeply with the world around me. I come back home in my body and in this moment. My breathe starts to deepen & my heart starts to speak; expressing her desires. Time Stops. Life Starts.

I am

2014-05-24 11.10.34

Categories: Happiness, Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga is….

“A mind free from all disturbances is Yoga”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

free-your-mind

Categories: Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A – U – M………..

Do you end your yoga class or practice with the ‘Aum’ now and then? How do you feel about it? Do you feel awkward and inhibited while chanting the sacred sound Aum? Or is it part of your standard yoga practice and do you feel incomplete without it?

Either way, it is interesting to know more about the Aum. Personally, I quite like chanting and I don’t have any problems with inhibition or awkwardness. As a teenager while in my mother’s yoga class, I was always curious how long I could make my ‘Aums’. For some reason, the chanting brought me in contact with something deeper, something steady, still and strong.

Aum is the most sacred of holy words, the supreme mantra and symbolizes and embodies Brahman, the Absolute Reality. According to the Hindu and yoga philosophy, Aum is the primordial sound from which the whole universe was created. Another word for Aum is pranava, which means ‘the best praise or the best prayer’. The Aum mantra is constantly repeated in unison with the breath and the purpose is to become free from suffering and limitation. The symbol AUM is composed of four elements: the first three are vocal sounds: A, U, and M. The fourth sound, unheard, is the silence which begins and ends the audible sound, the silence which surrounds it.

  • The letter ‘A’ resonates in the center of the mouth and symbolizes the conscious or waking state. This is the level of mechanics, science, logical reason and the lower three chakras.
  • The letter ‘U’ transfers the sense of vibration to the back of the mouth and symbolizes the dream state. This is the realm of dreams, divinities, imagination and the inner world.
  • The letter ‘M’ is created while humming with lips gently closed and resonates forward in the mouth and buzzes throughout the head. This sound represents the dreamless sleep state of the mind and spirit. Only pure consciousness exists.
  • The entire symbol stands for the fourth state, which combines all these states and transcends them. This is the state of Samādhi.

The three letters A, U and M also symbolize the absence of desire, fear and anger, while the whole symbol stands for the perfect man, one whose wisdom is firmly established in the divine. They represent the three genders, masculine, feminine and neuter and the three tenses – past, present and future – while the entire symbol represents all creation together with the Creator.

The symbol AUM

The symbol AUM

Categories: Chakra, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga of the Heart

My mum's beach yoga class

My mum’s beach yoga class

If I tell other yogis that my Mum is a yoga teacher, most of them are keen to know what kind of yoga she is teaching. “A mixture of different types of yoga; Hatha, Raja and Dru Yoga among others, as well as her own ideas and creativity in regards to Yoga”, is what I often reply. My mum recently told me that her kind of approach to yoga can be called: Satyananda Yoga. Soon after that, I jumped behind my computer to do some research about Satyananda Yoga; honestly I had never heard of it before.

Satyananda yoga, widely regarded as ‘integral’ yoga, is developed by Sri Swami Satyananda Sarawati with the aim of spreading yoga from door to door. Satyananda yoga encompasses all the major branches of yoga, including Hatha, Karma, Bhakti, Jnana and Raja Yoga. The aim of this integral or holistic approach is to develop and balance all aspects of one’s being – body, mind, emotions and psyche – leading the practitioner towards a more harmonious state of being. Satyananda yoga is often referred to as the Yoga of the head, heart and hands. The head represents intellect, the heart represents compassion and the hands represent action. Yoga is achieved when these three aspects of self are balanced. Satyananda yoga is suitable for everyone; from beginners to advanced yogis and does not conflict with one’s social background or religious beliefs. It is an evolving yoga that is grounded in tradition, yet adaptable to the needs of today. In this way the teachings are universal, progressive and inspiring.

At the moment, I’m moving away from going to a lot of yoga classes as a student. Instead, I try to deepen my home practice and my ‘own’ yoga more. A fellow yogini told me the other day: “True yoga, is the yoga done in your own home. In this way you can be aware and focused on your own body, mind and spirit and their needs.” I still love my yoga classes, especially because of the social aspect to it. At the same time, I feel I can develop myself further by listening to my specific needs to still my mind. My wise mum advised me as well to practice yoga at home mainly and maybe go to a few classes a week. The difference between a yoga teacher and a yoga student is that the first one doesn’t need a teacher or yoga class to practice yoga. Slowly I start to embrace a more holistic approach to yoga. As an exercise lover, I am naturally drawn to the physical aspect of yoga. However, at times my body screams for some rest and soothing poses. Also, I can definitely incorporate some more yoga of the heart in my daily life, as my partner would say; Real Life Yoga. If you’re living in Australasia and keen to practice Satyananda Yoga, have a look at: Satyananda Yoga Australasia

Meditator-with-red-heart

Categories: Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A closer look at judgement

Judging, it is done so easily without fully realizing it. I betray myself quite regularly on not-so-nice judgement behaviour. Often, we have made the decision whether to like or dislike a person, quite soon after meeting her/him for the first time. It’s all about first impressions. Without exactly talking to a person – I make up a story in my mind about this person’s life and behaviour. Before I know, I have attached labels to persons;

  • He is always grumpy, so I won’t try to talk to him anyway,
  • She is a control freak and hard to deal with
  • She is shy and probably a bit boring
  • She definitely needs some therapy since she doesn’t look happy
  • He has such a perfect life and therefore has no empathy for others
  • He has rich parents and is terribly spoiled

And so on. I’m wondering what kind of labels people have attached to my appearance. I would like to bow to life, because it shows me time after the time that ‘judging’ brings me nowhere. It only surprises me if my judging is again absolutely not in the right direction. From the outside someone’s life could look perfect, but if you get to know a person better; almost everyone has his or her challenges and obstacles in life. As a Journey Practitioner, wonderful emotional transformations happen right in front of me. I feel so humbled and blessed towards life for showing me truth; showing me brave and open-minded people with real issues and raw emotions. Then, I can truly feel we’re ONE and we’re all connected. We’re in this (Life on this earth) together and we’re here to support each other and learn from each other. We’re here to Love and Live LIFE.

Sharing Life on the Earth

Sharing Life on the Earth

Categories: Freedom, Happiness, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rest versus Activity

What is your personal favourite; a strong and fast-paced or a more gentle practice? I’m quite drawn to a strong, challenging practice. If I’m challenged, a strong focus is required and my mind doesn’t have a chance to interfere. At the same time, I’m easily stressed and rushing to my daily activities. A fast-paced practice stimulates my sympathetic nervous system – also called the ‘fight or flight’ response – even more. I’m more in need of input from the parasympathetic nervous system, associated with relaxation, nourishment and renewal. The parasympathetic system functions in opposition to the sympathetic system. The parasympathetic system is consistently active at a low level and levels of activity increase when it is necessary to bring the body back to a balanced state from a state of elevated sympathetic activity. If the parasympathetic system is active, it slows down heart rate, dilates blood vessels, activates digestion and stores energy.

In the end, it is all about balance: yin & yang, the feminine & the masculine, activity & rest, sthira & sukha. So rather, I need to learn to listen to my body carefully. What style of yoga is serving me at the moment? Am I kind to my body? Naturally, I include quite a lot of sthira or effort in my yoga practice and in my everyday life. Habitually I try and work hard to reach my goals and lack trust in life. Slowly I’m integrating more peace, stillness and rest in my life. For sure I’m forever learning to be more patient and enjoy my journey.

A wonderful nourishing yoga pose

A wonderful nourishing yoga pose

Categories: Inspiration, Sharing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga Healthy?!

163630572

learn-yoga-in-China

Advanced-Yoga-Poses-PicturesI’m not so sure about it anymore, if I look at the above pictures. I love it to learn a new challenging pose And at the same time I remind myself it is just a pose. Yoga is more about gaining flexibility in your mind than in your body. Although, apparently yoga can be seen as a competitive sport and will be added to 2020 Summer Olympics Games. Mmmm, I’m wondering what kind of direction yoga will take in our nowadays society.

Categories: Yoga | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Karma yoga and fame?!

Karma yoga is the yoga of selfless (altruistic) service or the ‘discipline of action’. It is based on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Sanskrit scripture of Hinduism. Karma is derived from the Sanskrit word kri, meaning ‘to do’ and refers to the universal principle of cause and effect. It is the path of doing the right thing and following ones’ personal dharma or life purpose and accepting destiny as it comes. This includes acting without being attached to the fruits of one’s deeds. If you do your work without selfish expectations it purifies your mind.

Karma yoga is performed by right means and does not harm anybody or anything. The so-called ‘doer’ is dropped from the action, since you are a mere tool of the divine. If you practise karma yoga, you’re expressing the unity and the divine, ego plays no part. A karma yoga teacher is aware that the result of the teaching is out of his/her hands. You are an instrument, a servant of truth or love. Unique about karma yoga is the focus on the spiritual and the philosophy behind the process you experience on your mat. Karma yoga can assist you with living your role or dharma in life without actively seeking any remuneration in the shape of wealth, satisfaction or fame.

How do you inspire?

How do you inspire?

Then I start to wonder, what is my dharma or life purpose? I can easily think of aspects of my dream job; freelance writing, teaching yoga, counselling, inspire people. Not sure how, when and where yet. I find it challenging to disconnect this with remuneration. Once I made a vision board about my future wishes and without thinking I wrote down the word famous. Why? Maybe it is a wish to be seen and heard, hidden behind my introverted character. Or a deep desire to accomplish something extraordinary in life. I guess – as long as you are not obsessed with your goals and enjoying ‘the ride’- it is okay to strive for them.

For me karma yoga and the associated dharma means; go with the flow in life. You certainly can have specific life goals and at the same time you’re flexible or willing to change your path, while listening to the dedicated signs the universe provides you with. I am the owner of a strong will and I am ‘blessed’ with an abundance of self-discipline and perseverance. Though, at times these characteristics are not very helpful. I tend to ignore my intuition and I don’t listen to the small signals life throws on my path. Whilst the average person already has decided to take another direction, I am still trying hard to go where my rigid mind thinks I have to go to. Yoga is a perfect way to reconnect with my inner world. Practicing yoga allows me to start fresh – like a beginner – with learning to listen and follow my breath. This rhythmic flow of the inhalation and exhalation teaches me to flow more with life and brings me to undiscovered places. I realize once again how wonderful and subtle life is.

Life flow chart

Life flow chart

Categories: Happiness, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Sahasrara Chakra

The seventh and last chakra is the Sahasrara chakra or the ‘crown chakra’. This chakra resides at the crown of the head and connects you to higher consciousness and pure awareness. The Sanskrit word Sahasrara means ‘thousand fold’ and therefore this chakra is also known as ‘Thousand Petaled Lotus’. This lotus burst open when you remember your true nature and experience enlightenment. The crown chakra is the foundation of your spiritual body and links you to the highest spiritual consciousness. This chakra relates to spiritual will, inspiration, idealism and intuitive knowing. It is about integrating your consciousness and subconsciousness and living in the NOW. The associated glands and body parts are the pineal gland, brain and central nervous system. The element of the seventh chakra is thought or cosmic consciousness. This cosmic consciousness can feel like an ultimate intelligence and a sense of all knowing. The associated colour can be violet or white, a combination of all colours. This is in line with the chakra as an integration center of all the other chakras.

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A white lotus, the symbol of the crown chakra

A blocked Sahasrara chakra

A blocked crown chakra can result in the following physical and mental problems: diseases of the muscular system, skeletal system and the skin, depression, chronic exhaustion, headaches, coordination difficulties, poor balance and clumsiness, sensitivity to light, sound or the environment. Emotional issues related to an out of balance seventh chakra can be; lack of purpose, loss of meaning or identity, trust, selflessness, lack of devotion, inspiration, values or ethics. If you have a closed crown chakra, it is highly likely that you are unable to live in the present and unable to gain closure on unfinished business. You always seem to be either revisiting your past or looking ahead to the future. You are normally confused and have no purpose in life. You may live on poor quality food, exhaust yourself and are probably ignoring your bodily needs. Fear of religion or spirituality and frustration can also be experienced. There is little joy in your life and you are afraid of things that cannot be understood with the physical senses. It can lead to unwise decisions, unhappiness and a sense of indecision. You can feel alone and separate and feel cut off from spirituality. An excessiveness in the seventh chakra can appear as being overly intellectual and feeling superior to other human beings. It can be described as ‘being in your head’ and you may possibly show some hysterical, psychotic and/or manic-depressive behaviour.

In the Here and Now

In the Here and Now

Yoga and other stimulants

There are different ways to balance your crown chakra for example through prayer, (chakra) meditation or colour and sound therapy. The Tibetan Bowl creates sounds that can help you to achieve a balanced seventh chakra. In terms of nature, viewing mountain tops can be helpful. Supporting yoga poses to balance this chakra are Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Salamba Sirsasana (Supported headstand) and all meditation poses. Since meditation is the yogic practice for this chakra, it clears and quiets the mind and connects you with the higher self. A daily head massage is also a good method towards balance of the crown chakra. In addition, you could focus on your dreams and write down your visions. You could also consume violet foods and drinks, wear violet clothing and use violet oils such as lavender or jasmine essential oils. Foods that can help to open up the seventh chakra are foods that generate space, for example raw green veggie juices. Moderate fasting can also activate the seventh chakra. One of the most important elements of physical, emotional and spiritual health is being inspired by your own life and live in the present moment.

Tibetan Singing bowls

Tibetan singing bowls

Balanced crown chakra

If your crown chakra is balanced, you are released from ego driven desires and you are able to trust in your highest guidance. Your sense of empathy and unity expands and your consciousness raises. You can experience another person, place or object as if you are inside of them or as if you are ‘being’ them. You will have wisdom, trust, selflessness, humanitarianism and the ability to see the bigger picture in a spiritual life. You feel calm, deeply at ease and fully aware with a gentle and compassion nature, free of worry. You show the ultimate goal of every human being: inner peace and satisfaction. You are truly in the present moment, living in the ‘Here and Now’. You reach a state of ‘being’, rather than a state of ‘doing’. There is no longer a sense of division, the macrocosm becomes the microcosm and all is in unity and you are in optimum balance. Compassion is the main sense that develops if you crown chakra opens. This ‘crown compassion’ is more about perception and communication, compared to ‘heart compassion’ which is more about emotions and empathy.

Union or Yoga

If all your energy centers are open and balanced, all selfish desires disappear. You are grounded, grateful, peaceful and visionary. By opening your crown chakra, you have reached the highest state of consciousness. Through firm grounding into the earth (first chakra), opening up your creative energy (second chakra), manifesting your dreams in the world (third chakra), opening your heart (fourth chakra), expressing your true voice (fifth chakra) and connecting with your inner knowing (sixth chakra), you are finally experiencing total unification or yoga by activating the seventh chakra.

Compassionate communication with lightness

Compassionate communication from the heart and with lightness

Categories: Chakra, Food, Freedom, Happiness, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You will die and pay tax

As we know life is full with changes, uncertainties and letting go’s. In fact, all is uncertain; your job, your marriage, your health, your passions and so on. As my father-in-law-to-be would say there are only two certainties in life: you will die and you pay tax. Though, most humans try to hold on to certain circumstances, people, jobs, ideals, objects. Or we are looking forward to have our lives changed soon, since we are not content in this moment. I’m no different from anyone else. I am afraid for change and sometimes a bit excited if the change includes a step forward. Yoga supports me to rest in this ‘unknowingness’, to trust life and to relax in my body, mind and spirit.  

Thoughts, doubts and worries

But sometimes I would like to run away from uncertainty and change. I want to know what is going to happen and how my life will look like. I want to prepare myself for the upcoming changes and more importantly I actually would like to know what I really want to do with my life. In terms of career, I am not really sure where I would like to go. I have my dreams, but I’ve doubts if it will work out, what the best way is to realize my dreams, if I’ve the guts to actually do it and if my dreams are really my dreams. Welcome to my mind and always existing thoughts, doubts and worries.

Being comfortable with discomfort

While practising yoga you can experience discomfort as well; your standing in chair pose (Utkatasana) and your legs are starting to ache and thoughts arise how long we’re going to stay in this pose. You would like to run away from this discomfort, you would like to change your pose. This situation encourages you to stay in the moment, to be with the discomfort, to be content in this moment. Happiness is not gained from future changes or by moving forward. Happiness is waiting for you, here in this moment.

I don’t know

I don’t know how my job situation will look like in a month’s time. I don’t know if I will be a Yoga Teacher in the end. I don’t know if I will continue writing. I don’t know if I’ll be living in New Zealand for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I will start a family in a couple of years. I don’t know if I’ll run out of money soon and so on. It can actually feel quite refreshing to realize you don’t know anything at all. My challenge is to rest in this unknowingness and to transform obstacles into challenges and opportunities. Don’t enjoy your job? See it as a possibility to explore other work areas and to discover your dreams.

Happy smiles

Are you moving to the other side of the world, far away from your family, friends and familiarity? See it as an opportunity to start all over again; make new friends, choose new careers, explore new sports and hobbies, improve your work-life balance. It is almost like you are born again, fresh. I feel very grateful I actually have this opportunity to start all over again. It sometimes feels a bit egocentric and at the same time I feel blessed to live in a beautiful country with a great partner and a good work-life balance. At these moments, I realize work doesn’t really matter that much. Work doesn’t have to influence my state of happiness. I think about all those big smiles I met on the faces of children in rural Africa. In a materialistic way, they have almost nothing, but in a spiritual way they are fortunate and blessed. Let’s count our blessings and BE content.    

Categories: Happiness, Inspiration, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.