Category Archives: yoga sutras

Ahimsa

220px-Ahimsa.svg
Happy Sunday yogis, friends, friends of friends, strangers, christmas elves…

In the spirit of the holiday season, I present you with two interpretations of ahimsa.
From Patanjali’s yoga sutras:
2.35 As a Yogi becomes firmly grounded in non-injury (ahimsa), other people who come near will naturally lose any feelings of hostility.
(ahimsa pratishthayam tat vaira-tyagah)

ahimsa = non-violence, non-harming, non-injury
pratishthayam = having firmly established, being well grounded in
tat = that, of his or her
vaira-tyagah = give up hostilities (vaira = hostility, enmity, aggression; tyaga = abandon, give up)

Given here is Kino, the fabulous youtube celebrity of Ashtanga yoga, and Sri Swami Satchidananda, spiritual teacher. The important takeaway here is what Ahimsa means to YOU. Kino and Swami cannot use their fame to ahimsa the evil out of the world. But if we, one-by-one, commit to kindness in our daily lives, we can!

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Guest post: Lose weight. Just use more sugar….

Hello Yogis! I’d like to introduce to you Emily, my fellow teacher trainee and a huge inspiration to me. I’m honored to have her guest post in my absence. Enjoy, friends!
emily-1
The biggest thing I learned from my yoga teacher is:  it’s okay to just breathe.  You don’t need to do anything else.  You can just be in this world.  You don’t have to strive for bigger and better.  You can be you.
I have always pushed myself.  I mean, c’mon, I had an eating disorder starting at the age of ten.  I wasn’t overweight, and I was beautiful (just like each and every person is!), but I had to be the fairest one of all.  Didn’t we hear that message somewhere as children?  Don’t we STILL hear that message now as adults?  “You have to challenge yourself.”  I know I hear that in some yoga classes. True, you do in some areas.  But what about those of us who are already doing that?  I usually get the life coach pep talk when I tell someone I don’t think marathons are healthy for me and to some degree in our society.  We focus so much on the physical aspect.  The physical aspect of running a marathon makes you do what?  Breathe.  And lots of it!
My teacher, Silvia Mordini, taught me the yogic concept of the Sanskrit words Sthira and Sukham.  Other synonyms for those words would be hard and soft, masculine and feminine, or my personal favorite as it relates to food, salt and sugar.  I don’t know about you, but too much salt on food doesn’t taste good.  The percentage of obese children in our country is ridiculously high.  Hmm, yes, too much sugar.  But I have an affinity for salt.  French fries are my favorite food.
My yoga practice was too strong.  It was harder for me to make myself go into Child’s Pose every time instead of Down Dog.  I felt like I wasn’t doing something right if I wasn’t pushing myself.  But then I started to let go of the control, and just started having fun.  If I didn’t feel like doing a pose, I wouldn’t do it.  If I felt like moving my arms or legs while everyone else was in a rigid pose, I would.  The most important thing was, I started smiling.
You can actually lose weight just by doing breathing exercises.  Truth.   The poses, or asanas, are one part of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  Yes, I think they are important.  I do around ten minutes a day of various postures that I feel my body needs.  It’s my creative coffee for the morning since I can’t have the real thing due to my adrenal disorder I’ve developed from trying to run the marathon of our societal race.  I may not be as super buff or skinny like I used to, but more people tell me how great I look now than ever before.
Maybe I’ll need to push myself more in the future, but first I must listen to my body, and it tells me more love, more sukham, more sugar.
I’ll have another scoop, please.
You can find Emily at www.nilesreporting.com and soon she’ll be introducing her writings on YogaRewire.com, coming soon!
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5 Minute Gratitude Meditation

acupuncture-and-gratitudeOf the eight limbs of yoga, four or more are based on meditation. The goal when doing yoga postures is to open the hips, strengthen the back, and quiet the mind so we can sit comfortably and meditate. Studies show that people who regularly acknowledge the things they are thankful for live happier lives, so I started this meditation so I can express these things to myself even on days when I only have five minutes to sit down and meditate.

Other thoughts will come up, but you don’t have to chase them. Don’t go to war with your brain’s honorable attempt to do its job. So grab a seat in criss cross apple sauce or hero’s pose, and let’s get started.

Minute one

Take this minute to focus on your breath. Inhale for five counts, exhale for five counts. Walk your internal gaze through your body, breathing into any places that you’re holding tension.

Minute two

Think of all the things you are thankful for in yourself. All of the parts of your character that help you to spread positivity and light to those around you. Avoid ‘wishing’ you were a certain way, and remember that even the little things are worth acknowledging.

Minute three

Think of every person you are thankful for in your life. Surely one minute will not be enough, but just flip through your mental photo album of everyone who loves, supports, and pushes you to do better. Taking just a minute to do this every day will enrich your relationships, even if it’s just subconscious.

Minute four

Fill in the blank with your own thank you prayer to the universe. Mine today- Thank you. I am grateful. I am grateful for this moment. I am thankful for my family, the roof over my head, my boyfriend, my friends. I am thankful for my process, and what I have accomplished in my life so far.

Minute five

Repeat the mantra: My life is full and abundant.

I like to listen to a 5-6 minute song playing quietly in the background to keep in the back of my mind how much time has passed, and I know some people who even set an alarm on their phones.

NAMASTE!

grateful4 always thankful

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Yoga & Disney

So Disney movies were recently added to Netflix…MAJOR time-suck. I’m a ’90s kid, so most of my moral code is made by lessons absorbed from Disney movies. But that’s not such a bad thing-there is a lot of Yoga in Disney movies! Maybe not nowadays, but back when I was a kid many Disney movies had impactful themes at their core, presented as simple stories that kids liked and easily understood.

Disney tells it like it is- through Grandmother Willow, bears, greek gods, and a host of other rockstars. Another timeless teacher is Patanjali! And I think you will find the parallels between the yoga sutras and these movies interesting.

These lessons are timeless!

Listen to your intuition. As adults we so often forget to listen to our own intuition. We get caught up in what everyone else thinks we should do, and forget to listen to ourselves. The Sanskrit word in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for intuition is Pratibha and it refers to the transcendent spiritual faculty of perception which involves neither the senses nor the mind, but the consciousness itself.

We are all connected. You can never reinforce this lesson enough. The more we realize that we are part of something greater than ourselves, the more mindful we are. This brings to mind Ahimsa, compassion towards all living things. “Because everything is interconnected, whatever you receive is taken from somewhere else. Most people don’t stop to consider all the different levels of energy involved in all they are consuming. Energetically and karmically, you create a major imbalance if you take and don’t pay back.”-Anusara teacher John Friend

Live simply. With all of the crap cluttering our life today, it’s good to be reminded that all we really need are the bare necessities. Simplifying clears our minds and makes us more productive. This reminds me of one of the five Yamas in the Yoga Sutras. Aparigraha is the concept of non-possessiveness, limiting possessions to what is necessary and serves growth in your life.

So there is your Yogic lesson of today through Disney movies.

What’s your favorite Disney classic?

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Chocolate & Brahmacharya

Vices…we’ve all got them! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gotten up in the morning with chocolate as the very first thought on my mind(eating some as I write this). Everything in moderation…which brings me to Patanjali’s yoga sutra 2.38!

brahmacharya pratisthayam virya labhah

  • brahmacharya- walking in awareness of the highest reality, absolute reality, remembering the divine, practicing the presence of God; continence
  • pratisthayam- having firmly established, being well grounded in
  • virya- strength, vitality, courage
  • labhah- is attained

“Devoted to living a balanced and moderate life (Brachmacharya), the scope of one’s life force becomes balanced.”

Nichala Joy Devi‘s translation

Note that this sutra does not say, “never ever eat chocolate or drink wine because it’s not healthy for you,” nor does it say, “never ever have sex or spend a day watching Lost in your pajamas.” It can be difficult not to manipulate life so it fits our desires, for instance, I have the ability to eat chocolate all day. But I’m not going to. Part of living a life of moderation (Brachmacharya) means understanding the rhythms that give us the best energy and allow us to ‘balance our life force.’

Now some chocolate! When I do eat chocolate, I try to make it something that’s at least partially beneficial to my health. Raw chocolates are a bit different than processed, but prepared correctly are every bit as delicious! Raw Cacao is actually a super food, which is a super excuse to eat it!

My Favorites: 

Artisana Raw Cacao Bliss

Ingredient: Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter, Organic Raw Coconut Oil, Organic Raw Agave Syrup, Organic Raw Cacao, Organic Raw Cacao Butter.

 

 

 

 

Rawtella 

Ingredients: Organic raw soaked and dehydrated hazelnuts, organic raw cacao nibs, truly raw Coconut Secret coconut sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

  Bright Earth FoodsChoco’Raw

Ingredients: organic honey, organic raw criollo arriba cacao powder, organic sunflower oil, organic raw maca, organic raw lucuma, ground vanilla bean, organic raw bionectria ochroleuca mushrooms, organic cinnamon, organic pink himalayan sea salt, organic cayenne pepper.

 

 

Flow Foods’ Cacao Superfood Synergy ChocolatL

Ingredients: Raw agave, raw cacao, raw cacao powder, extra virgin coconut oil, maca root, vanilla extract, himalayan salt.

 

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Satya

Feather of Truth

Dedicated to truth and integrity (Satya), our thoughts, words, and actions gain the power to manifest.

In teacher training I was given a ‘homework’ assignment for the next two weeks.

“Live your truth.”

Simple instructions, but it gets me thinking.

In day to day life, the line that separates truth from our interpretation of the truth can be very fuzzy. We justify our opinions because we are ‘being honest,’ no matter what the situation. We can consider only what we ourselves know and what we have experienced, and that’s how we form these beliefs that are ‘the truth.’

On the other hand, if we are to tell a white lie to save someone from hurt, you may feel like you have compromised the truth to spare this person. Swami Vivekanada says, “if in doubt whether to observe Ahimsa or Satya, always go with Ahimsa.” Not to say one Yama is more important than another, but sometimes situations require us to make a decision.

So how can I do this? Take Satya to a deeper level than just how I relate to others, really live my truth. Intention. While I walk through the world making my opinions based on what I have experienced, things I like and dislike, and the things that I have been taught; there is always the choice to tranform your intention moving forward. Looking inward, asking yourself what you would like to put out into the world. If we all lived our truth, what would the world be like?

Feel the truth reverberate in your body.

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