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Why Worry

Worry is our basic human need to fret over things. Buddhists acknowledge this universal expression of our anxiety or uneasiness in our lives. We are not called upon to deny the world or escape from it. Instead, we make peace with all that is. Root yourself in faith no matter what conditions you find yourself in at the present moment. It is this great faith that grounds us like an unmovable tree even in the face of the strongest gale. How do we find steadiness in the midst of it all? For Buddhists, the practice of taking refuge is trusting in the three treasures, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. That unwavering belief in Buddha, his teachings and community ensures that our practice moves forward in realizing our true nature. We all have the capacity to be awakened beings. This state of being is within us all. Discovering the Buddha within takes determination and a great resolve. When deep faith and unbounded practice are present, we are face to face with our original selves. For many practitioners, the mala beads are a tangible way to engage in an ancient tradition. Picking up the 108 beads allow us to touch […] read more

No Obstacles No Opportunities

No Obstacles/No Opportunities Call something an obstacle, it is an obstacle. Call something an opportunity, it is an opportunity. You get into a state of mind where you accept whatever is happening is happening. Even the most awful things happen, when you’re centered, you’ll be okay. If not, the most trivial thing will set you off. It has nothing to do with the experience or the circumstance: it is the attitude that is important. Detours and obstacles are a fact of life. Some arise out of our own psychology and conditioning. Other obstacles are ones that nearly every one faces at one time or another. No matter from where they arise, obstacles are at the heart of practice. But until we see them clearly and how they manifest in our life, it will be difficult for our practice to move forward. Practice begins with an exploration of self. Honestly observing where you are is the first step to leading a life of contentment. How can we move down that spiritual path with wisdom and compassion? It takes courage to become a fearless warrior and face the challenges of the world. See everything as an opportunity to practice and we can […] read more

Fear

It seems that we are living in a time of pervasive fear. What are you afraid of? Destructive leaders in the world? Economic upheaval? War? Disease? Crises brought on by our neglected planet? Are you living in a trance of fear? Worrying and anticipating only take us away from the precious moments of life. When we give in to fear we cease to truly live. Love, creativity are missed when thoughts and strong emotions take over and obscure beauty and goodness in the world. If you bring compassion and mindfulness to the experience of fear, you will dissolve the spell you are under. We expend a huge portion of our energy dealing with fear and anxiety. But our fears are not just the product of global events. Often times, we live with an everyday reality that is tinged with personal and cultural concern. Our fears go to our very core. Fear motivates how we act and react. It affects how we stand and talk and can make life dark and narrow. It is the root of all conflict, underlying much of our sorrow. Fear blocks intimacy and love. But more than anything, it disconnects us from loving kindness that is […] read more

Path of Yoga

Where to start my practice? How can I give my life meaning? What is my purpose? You don’t have to give up what is good in your life. There is no goal in yoga but instead a process of exploration. Along the way you may discover your true nature which is always there. Become what you are already. Live in harmony with life and the Now. Begin where you are. Take an honest look at self. Practice self -observation without judgement. What are some of my obstacles to a life of fulfilment? Which direction can I take? For yogis, the path is Dharma. Literally translated from the Sanskrit, it means that which supports or upholds. It is the teachings, truth and doctrine of those wise and learned minds that we follow on the path to enlightenment. Practicing the Dharma heals, alleviates and restores. Living one’s life more deeply is the meaning of Dharma. You must get to know yourself deeply and become more familiar with who you are. Look into the contents of your life. To do this you must discern your strengths and shortcomings.  Everything that happens is part of the path. As practitioners, we tread the path with […] read more

Plant the Seeds of Intention

Embrace this new season with optimism! Relish the energy of renewal and the sense of opportunity. Sankalpa is the seed we sow in our conscious mind. Once it is sown, we nurture it daily it until it takes root in our subconscious.  Discovering your Sankalpa will help you live out your life’s purpose. Like cultivating a plant, it takes time and patience to grow and blossom. The word itself means determination, conviction and resolve. But it is not about achieving a certain thing in a time frame.  Sankalpa is broader and more encompassing than that. It is a steady, internal energetic shift that changes you. Be clear about what you desire and keep an open mind about outcomes sustain effort and faith. However, once you make a decision the whole world conspires to make it happen. Your intention will empower your life, manifesting itself in abundant ways. Make it heartful and wise, beautiful and kind. Sankalpa is a simple but specific intention, usually a spiritual resolve. It is a blank canvas from which everything starts. Kalpa means imagination of the mind, idea or creation.  Life is an art form and you are the creator. Bring awareness and attention to your […] read more

Love Connection

At the heart of yoga practice is love. The path begins with Ahimsa (non-harming to self and other). This is part of Patanjali’s 8- limbed journey to enlightenment.  When we are rooted in compassion, it is a wish-fulfilling tree producing the most beautiful fruit. Love will enter our thoughts, our words, and our actions. We will notice that we have become peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit; safe and free from injury, anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety. The seeds of true love- lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity- are already there in our storehouse of consciousness. We are, by nature, endowed with qualities of absolute goodness-purest love, compassion, wisdom, and tranquility. Those radiant qualities are intrinsic to our being. By simply becoming aware of love that has infused our lives all along, we can awaken the deepest goodness in ourselves and others. Become conscious of the tremendous capacity for love that permeates our being – open to it, to be healed by its life-giving energy and to participate in its power to renew our world. In a moment of receptivity, the sacred world that was long ignored suddenly unveils itself. How do we cultivate understanding, love, compassion?  Begin by […] read more

Embrace the Spirit of Spring

  Springtime is just around the corner!  Yoga and Ayurveda teach us to be fully present and engaged as we shift seasons and open to new perspectives.  Spring is a time of growth, renewal, new life and cleansing.  It can be a wonderful time to shift the focus of your yoga practice to match the changing season, attuning your body and spirit to the promise of new beginnings.  We begin to shift from the hibernation of winter months to an awakening of rebirth. With the arrival of spring, we are invited to open up, delight in warmer day and cultivate a spirit of aliveness. Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science and the world’s oldest surviving system of healing, shows us that the key to feeling in step with seasons is to harmonize with nature, to follow her lead and dance to her rhythm. To enjoy a healthy spring, you need to understand the Doshas  ( Kapha, Pitta, Vata). Kapha which is damp, heavy and dense falls in the early spring season.  Pitta which is warm comes in summer and early autumn. Vata which is light, dry and cool bridges late autumn and winter.  That takes us through the complete yearly cycle. As […] read more

Gifts of Yoga

  The gifts of yoga are all around. Life gives us gifts every moment, continuously overflowing.  If we are mindful, they present themselves to us. When we are awake to the beauty and goodness in the world, life is perfect.  We can live in gratitude for all that we have been given, even the ordinary experiences, and especially the challenges. Taking time to revel in our surroundings and enjoy being alive, gives us an appreciation for where we are in this moment as it is. We can experience the process of yoga as we relax into the pose or life right now and realizing that it is perfect. Remember that the “enchanted place” is where you are, not outside yourself. Practicing contentment (Santosha) is being grateful for what we have and who we are. This is not the same as what we feel when we have everything that we wanted. All those things change. True Santosha comes from understanding what is at the core of our being, the light of awareness, a natural joy, which we all share. The first step on this path of abundance is to embrace simplicity. If we want to simplify and deepen our lives, we […] read more

Turning Point

Summer is moving into Autumn.  After the assertive yang of Spring and Summer, Autumn’s approach becomes yin-like or one of acceptance and yielding.  At a certain point, we can do nothing but let nature take over.  Days leading up to the autumnal equinox will show signs of change.  We will experience a slow transformation until we are hanging in the balance.  Equal hours of daylight and darkness have spiritual meaning.  Look back and be grateful for all the hard work of the months preceding this time and honor how far you have come.  What have you harvested? Be willing accept any mistakes you may have made.  As you head into the months of darker days, face your own darkness through self-reflection.  Be ready to face any demons or negative energies and emotions that reside in the shadows. In this way we begin to transform ourselves. It is a beautiful opportunity to journey inward.  What emerges from the dark and cold? Be present for whatever comes up in the exploration of self.  Welcome the ebb-tide of the year, a time to walk the boundary between water and land.  The shoreline is changing.  Think of twilight, sunset and the waning moon. There […] read more

Health Benefits of a Regular Yoga Practice

Perhaps more than ever, yoga has been widely studied and evaluated for its positive effects and benefits. Evidence-based research not only reveals the science of yoga but also explains its therapeutic efficacy when used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Studies show that regular long-term yoga practice improves immune function, reduces perceived stress, enhances mood, controls the effects of asthma, slows the aging process, regulates respiration (affecting emotional states), and creates a sense of well-being. There are many components to yoga practice and this varies depending culture and commitment to practice. The studies measured the effects of postures, breathing, relaxation and meditation on people who practiced yoga regularly. Yoga postures improve strength, respiration and flexibility. Breathing techniques help with self-regulation which increases resilience and creates equanimity. Relaxation generates awareness, mindfulness and concentration. Meditation is a spiritual practice leading to transcendence, other states of being and ultimately to a unitive state of oneness.  What is yoga’s effect on stress?  Stress underlies all things and alters every aspect of life. It is defined as a positive or negative challenge, either short or long term. Not all stress is bad, as we need it in certain challenging situations. In the immediate moment, it can […] read more