Yearly archive for 2011

The Yamas: Ahimsa and the ants

Donna Farhi explains Ahimsa (non-violence) as not doing anything that will inhibit the growth of any being. I acknowledge that I inhibit my own spiritual growth with negative thinking and habits. Those are all acts of violence against myself. I vow to be mindful of practicing Ahimsa inward and outward.

If anything, my practice of Ahimsa served to reinforce that all great things must begin in the present moment. Even if I have no bad intentions whatsoever, my actions can still create chaos when they don’t come from a place of mindfulness. This message has been brought to you by my roommates, the ants.

During my yoga teacher training, I gave myself permission to ignore housework entirely. Yay, me! Then, I came home to find that the ants had taken over. Up until then, I went about getting rid of the ants like it was just plain bad housekeeping if there was an ant. Anywhere. Ever. Even though for every one I killed, ten seemed to pop up in its place.

But during this week, I stopped to watch the ants marching six-deep across my countertop, and I decided to let the ants be the ants. They reminded me very much of videos I had seen of blood circulating in the human body. I cleaned up what was necessary, and the ants retreated somewhat. Miracle of miracles!

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Hanging in Patanjali’s yoga tree

“Just as each limb is essential for the optimal functioning of your body, every limb of yoga practice is important.”
~Donna Farhi, from Yoga: Mind Body and Spirit

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes eight aspects of yoga that mark the path to enlightenment. He call them the Eight-fold Path of yoga: Yamas (restraints), Niyamas (qualities), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (control of breath), Pratyahara (drawing attention inward/away from the senses), Dharana (focused attention), Dhyana (meditation/concentration), and Samadhi (bliss).

Although Asana is the most familiar branch to most Westerners, I share Donna Farhi‘s sentiment that all of the limbs are necessary to achieve balance. The first steps, yama and niyama, are a lot like the yoga ten commandments.

During my Yoga Teacher Training, I devoted one week to each of the yamas and niyamas. It built a foundation that brought new depth and understanding to my asana practice. So much so that I’m going to have another go at it. I’m not giving myself any time parameters this time, though. If it takes six months to be ready to move on from Ahimsa, then so be it. Also, I’ll be sharing my original experiences with each yama from this Summer.

Get ready for Ahimsa in 3…2…1…

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Daily reminder

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~Marianne Williamson

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So, how do you feel about banjos…

We’re pretty much going steady now, so…

There is something about the banjo that sounds so joyful to me. Something about it just screams ‘YES!’- perhaps my WV roots are showing…Shakti willing. Our solar plexus chakra (manipura) is the center of our power, our will, and our joy. When we shut this down and go on auto-pilot, we opt out of so many of the best parts of being a human being.

Check out Mean Mary doing her thing. Feelings?

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Notes on Shakti [act 1, scene 1]

So, I was on the phone the other day with my mother, Kathy Ann… the Alpha & Omega of Kamelien (or K & …n, at least). She was very confused about several things- the most bell-ringing of which was… who’s Shakti??

Whoa there, Kath… who’s Shakti?!!

Where I am, right now geographically, is thousands of miles away from anything that was familiar to me growing up. And that’s just the beginning. I am such a blessed, forgetful little bunny that I even take ‘Shakti’ for granted sometimes (wrist slap…gently).

Please begin here if you would like to learn more. ॐ

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Autumn confessions of a Vata-holic

I was in a mall in Virginia when I first heard of Ayurveda. The Body Shop had introduced a range of Ayurvedic bodycare products, and I took a dosha quiz to find out what I should buy. And it was from that time that I was aware that I am Vata… very, very Vata… whatever that means.

Thankfully, Ayurveda stuck with me and wouldn’t get off my case until I paid attention. I find now that Ayurveda integrates so helpfully into my attempts to achieve balance that it is an essential companion on my journey.

Let’s take Autumn, for example. I was never too fond of Autumn, even though I grew up with the changing colors and weather and all. At best, it was the time that connected Summer Break and Christmastime. Through Ayurveda, I learned that Fall is a Vata season. For someone as Vata-heavy as I am, I must give extra-special attention to maintaining balance during this time.

Anyway, after a busy October, I feel the need to focus on balance and being rather than doing and… doing. Get off the treadmill and into the jacuzzi, if you will. This article, Ayurveda tips for Autumn, is an excellent reminder for me because it covers all of the five senses.

I’m making an effort to move away from detoxes and cleanses (if only in name) in favor of a ‘conscious return to mindfulness about what I take in.’ I find that my former fondness of detoxes came in no small part from my perception that I needed to be fixed or corrected- flying in the face of my realization that I am already everything I must be. Our senses are our tools for navigating through this sea of human life. My sense of ‘balance’ in my body depends on input from all five of them.

What do you do to stay balanced?  What’s your dosha? Take a free dosha quiz here. ॐ

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Daily Reminder

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

~Albert Einstein

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The time is… NOW.

“There came a time when the effort to remain tight in the bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom.”

~Anaïs Nin

2011 has been a phenomenal year thus far. Through the ups and downs, I’ve had a budding awareness that the time for change has arrived. Whatever it is that comes next… it’s fast approaching. I can either be ripped limb from limb trying to cling to what was or I can let go and welcome what is with open arms. Those are my options.

Of course, I have the marvelous good fortune to be a human being in these times. And what distinguishes the humans from the rest of Creation? We can choose. We have free will and the ability to make choices. So, I affirm that I choose to let go, to welcome change, to dive into the flow, to be One with what is. That’s my right. Isn’t it miraculous?

In fact, it has been nearly a year and a half since this awareness first began to dawn in me. I had the distinct feeling that the world was going crazy and I was going with it. It was a critical point in my growth- I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that I could no longer do what I had been doing. I had already been practicing yoga for a decade at that point, but I was drawn to its spiritual aspects more than ever before. I began meditating daily. In short, I began to align with the Divine.  If there is a resonating message that accompanied this shift, it is this: Whatever it is I wish to be, I am already that. Each day, I must make time to sit in that awareness and let it bring me understanding.

You see, ‘change’ has so many associations in my busy, busy brain. Transition- like breakups, passings, leaps into the terrifying and bewildering unknown.  Yet, the more I stay with the I am that awareness, I realize that this ‘change’ isn’t so much about the rupture as it is about the healing- like waking up from a dream and realizing that I was completely safe the entire time. This is the  emerging oneness consciousness. Where there was once a split, oneness consciousness is rising to swallow both sides and reunify them. Unifying perception with reality. I am that. All is that. All is love.

So that’s a lot, huh? It’s been a great distance to cover, but it has also been a single leap of faith taken over and over. One of the greatest blessings along the way has been connecting with kindred souls whose experiences resonate with mine. I have certainly had moments  when I’ve felt that I must be an alien or a hopeless weirdo or something. And then I’ll find myself in the midst of a whole garden of strange flowers just like me. As we exchange words with one another, I hear I am that, I am that. I feel so blessed to be sharing this evolution with you. I have so much to share. I hope, to you, it sounds a whole lot like I am that. ((((((( ♥ )))))))

 

 

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Trick or Treat (Hint: It’s a treat)

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Just one more day until the official 11.1.11 launch of my blog!

I thought I’d drop a delicious little bit of sweetness in your jack-o-lantern today for Halloween. These are photos from the Dia de los Muertos observance at Mission San Luis Rey. I had never been to any Dia de los Muertos festivities before, and I found it to be so moving that I had to share. The people who were participating created such powerful tributes to their loved ones in the spirit world, and they did it in a way that was both reverent and celebratory. I couldn’t help but make altars in my heart all day long for my dear Ones who have passed. Are you remembering anyone special today?

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Namaste, yoga lovers!

I’m a busy little bee trying to get everything assembled and packaged here. Please standby…. ♥

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