Healing

WWHSD? (What would Higher Self do?)

Well, my friends, we’re 10 days past the fall equinox now, and my fall check-in is over. The intensive period of “fall cleaning” has come to an end, and I have much more clarity about the work I have ahead of me in the remainder of 2012. As I was preparing to teach this week, I hoped to bring some of my new-found inspirations to the mat and share them with my students. So, what is my final answer? What bits of wisdom do I have to impart as we move ahead? In short, love, love, love yourself. When it comes time to choose, choose love!

As part of my fall check-in, I listened to Doreen Virtue’s Chakra Clearing: A Morning and Evening Meditation to Awaken Your Spiritual Power (available on iTunes) regularly. It was a great addition to the process, doing the kind of clearing energetically that the fall winds are working on outside right now. The segment related to the sacral chakra resonated most with me.

In that segment, she asks the listener to release their appetites and desires to the light within, aligning the listener’s personal will with the One Will of their Higher Self and Source.

Two of the most active fronts of my fall check-in involved my efforts to give up caffeine and sugar. At times, I would catch myself pre-assuming that hitting the drive-thru for a big, tall, sugary drink was part of the plan. My habits and appetites were over-riding my power of choice without me even noticing. So, along with a regimen of hip-opening poses (balancing for the sacral chakra) on the mat, I relied on the affirmation that I shared with you last week:

“I am harmoniously aligned with the ceaseless flow of supply and love that springs from the golden fountain of light from within my center. All of my desires are perfectly balanced right now.”

It became like a kind of WWHSD (What would my Higher Self do)? And, guess what? The answer was nearly always the same: Make the choice that is kind, loving, and life-affirming. Doing so now will have ripples of positivity far into the future.

I had chosen to let go of caffeine and sugar because, despite an initial boost, they leave me feeling depleted and… just plain yucky. More and more lately, those trips to the drive-thru would end with me feeling sick, anxious, and jittery. Each time I saw the same result, I would wonder why on earth I was making the same mistakes over and over- and treating myself so unkindly. Rather than dwell, I decided to make a better choice, and the habit of turning to my Higher Self in moments when I was tested was supporting that process. After I had been working with that for a few days, I came to a new level of understanding… while browsing videos on YouTube. YouTube was recommending a video from Doreen’s Angel Detox Month. The title or description asked something like, “Has your Higher Self been guiding you to give up alcohol?”

Click!

Had my Higher Self been speaking to me all along (though I wasn’t getting an A+ at listening)? Had it actually been my Higher Self asking me to make more loving, healthy choices for myself? Had my choice to focus on phasing out caffeine and sugar been guided by my Higher Self?

Of course.

I became more intent on being open and present to the wisdom of my Higher Self. Then, pop! The same word kept coming up over and over- Ahimsa. To be more in tune with the wisdom of my Higher Self is to be dedicated to observing Ahimsa, or non-harming. Always make the kind, loving, compassionate choice, beginning with the choices I make for myself.

As all of these pieces began to fall into place, I came across and article by Erica Rodefer, 5 Questions Before Going Deeper. In her article, she explores the practice of Ahimsa on the mat. She interprets the Sri Sathya Sai Baba quote, “Before you speak, think- is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?,” for the practice of asana.

The points she brought up in her article served as a great springboard for introducing Ahimsa into my class this week. I offered her questions to my students as a way to bring their attention back to the present moment, back to their breathing, and back to a place of listening to the cues they get from their bodies, as well as from the wisdom within.

I encouraged them to be open and honest with themselves in determining the version of the poses that suited them best. After all, going into a deeper expression of a posture can, even will, come over time with dedication and mindful attention to the body’s cues. Making the safest, most loving choice for your body right now will lead to being able to go deeper after time. The inverse, however, is not true. Pushing to go deeper now will not lead to good form in the future. In fact, it will likely lead to an injury in time. It may momentarily flatter your ego or satisfy some appetite, but is that worth making a choice that may endanger your well-being in the long run? If you pause to ask yourself- is it kind? is it necessary? will it hurt anyone?, and then listen for the wisdom of your Higher Self, the answer will be clear.

Namaste!

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Weekly wisdom from Doreen Virtue

Doreen is here with our first oracle card reading for the month of October, and she’s brought along a special treat. She is debuting her new Mary, Queen of Angels deck. This deck is meant to be a companion to her recent book of the same name. I read the book while I was on vacation last spring, and I highly recommend it. It was a wonderful inspiration with its messages of feminine power, compassion, and unconditional love.

The Mary, Queen of Angels oracle deck won’t be available until the beginning of next month, and I, for one, am eager to check it out then.

In any case, we get a sneak preview in this week’s oracle card reading. Enjoy!

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Weekly wisdom from Doreen Virtue

It’s Doreen’s last oracle card reading for the month of September. Can you believe it? This month flew for me. She addresses that a little bit in her reading, using the Archangel oracle deck.

Hear what she has to say about the upcoming week! Personally, I am grateful for all her encouragement and reassurance for those going through a detox period. I’m working my way through my quarterly, season-change check-in, and I’m glad to know the Archangels have my back.

As if I ever doubted it… ♥

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To balance? To fall?

Whoa! Did you see that?!!

That was the fall equinox that just went whizzing by.

I must warn you that I am a great lover of solstices and equinoxes, and I get pretty worked up for each one. To me, each is like a mindfulness alert from the universe- a reminder that things are changing and evolving and a push to align with the times. How does ‘change’ manifest in my life at the moment? What can I do to address it? I find that this quarterly practice of ‘checking in’ truly elevates my actions and choices. It brings them into resonance with a bigger picture and gives greater meaning to everything I do.

So, here we are again. It’s fall. And I’m a few days into my fall check-in. So, what’s coming up?

My son is at a stage of learning and understanding that I’m rather enjoying. He will ask questions that make the needle in my brain skip sideways. He asks ‘why?’ about nearly everything. And he also asks questions that force me to stop and think about things in a way that I’ve not done for a very long time. Like, “What does ‘about’ mean? What does ‘an’ mean?” I’ve realized how much I take for granted in my words and the ideas, thoughts, and concepts that generate them. The more words and complicated explanations I throw at him, the more lost we get.

Instead, I must get to the heart of the thing, even approach it symbolically. What is the underlying essence of this thing, beyond the words I know about it? Repeating this exercise day in and day out has made my mind much more limber than it was a few years ago- more ready for the next curveball little man throws my way. My mind is more open to setting aside preconceived ideas about things and connecting with the sweetness that makes them what they are.

I was practicing this yoga for the mind (of moms. Of 3-year-olds.) while meditating on ‘fall.’ I get so excited at the beginning of every season- excited to experience the unique sweetness that makes fall fall. As it usually happens, I was drawn to the outdoors, to see how Mother Nature is doing it (because she does it best).

The leaves are falling. The winds are picking up. The time for the harvest has arrived. This is the ‘reaping’ time in the cycle. The seeds that we planted in the spring and tended in the bright, summer sun are now ready to be plucked from the vine and enjoyed.

Also in nature, I see the transition from the hot summer sun to cool fall winds beginning. From a pitta (fire) season to a vata (air) season, according to Ayurveda.

I am vata. Very, very vata. Moving into fall can throw me off balance if I am not mindful that Mother Nature is piling on extra vata. The equinoxes are a time of balance. The hours of dark and light are equal. So, I like to go with the flow and work with a vata-pacifying diet and focus on grounding postures in my yoga practice. I also bring my mindful awareness to any other habits or situations that may be throwing me off further and focus on letting them go.

To aid me in my efforts, I have been relying on an affirmation that I would like to share with you. It is from Doreen Virtue’s Chakra Clearing: A Morning and Evening Meditation to Awaken Your Spiritual Power (available on iTunes).

“I am harmoniously aligned with the ceaseless flow of supply and love that springs from the golden fountain of light from within my center. All of my desires are perfectly balanced right now.”

Happy Autumn, everyone! Here’s a free dosha quiz if you would like to learn more about your Ayurvedic dosha.

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Can I get a witness?

Very soon, it will be a year since I began my yoga teaching career in earnest. Looking back over this year, I have learned an enormous amount about living life as I’ve tried to discover my unique voice as a teacher. I’ve become much more of a teacher to myself than I had been for a long time. That is wonderful and needed. I know it is work that will continue for the rest of this lifetime. And now, I’m ready to have some other students, please. Ha. But no really, I feel like I’ve had a great year, and I am ready for more. After a year, I am committed to expanding as a yoga instructor more than ever before.

So now what?

Sometimes, phrases or concepts or images will buzz around like bugs in the summer. Do you ever get that? Something will circle around my head over and over until finally I have to pay attention to it. One of those things lately has been the idea of discovering my own unique voice as a teacher. What do I wish to say and how do I wish to say it?

I became a yoga instructor for the love of it and its ability to deepen my understanding of life. But I can’t just tell my students or anyone who will listen to do what I do and expect them to receive the same kind of benefits that I do. What is it about yoga that has captured my heart and imagination for so long and how can I translate that as a teacher?

My first step, I decided, would be to go back to where the love affair began- my mat. Like I often say, “I forget the question, but yoga is the answer.” So, I’ve gotten on my mat more faithfully than I have since before my son came along. My practice is stronger than it has been in more than 5 years. It’s not just more advanced, it’s richer.

My focus grows day by day. I am relearning my body. Not everything is where I left it, so the experience is that much fresher. It’s like a whole new world. I see its ripples out into other areas of my life, too.

So, that’s all great for me, personally, but what does it mean for me as a teacher? What about this experience do I want to share?

If I had to distill it into a short answer, I guess I would choose: learning to approach life from the heart-space. Or shorter yet, witness consciousness.

I have not only been practicing more “advanced” postures, I’ve also been exploring in the other direction, balancing vigorous vinyasa practices with restorative ones. I’ve discovered that my sense of the beauty of yoga can be experienced in a challenging arm balance or the most lulling restorative pose. The ways of getting there may be different, but when I’m “doing it right,” I arrive at the same place-the stillness of my heart.

From there, I am able to witness the big picture more fully and objectively- without getting caught up in the mental gymnastics that my ego finds irresistible.

It was a breakthrough for me the day I realized that I did not need to silence my stream (sometimes cloud) of thoughts. Rather, I could just give up paying them so darn much attention. Turn down the volume, as it were.

The more I acknowledge my thoughts and let them go, watching them float by from my heart-space, the more I adept I become at approaching the present as a witness rather than an ego.

If there’s any part of my yoga practice that I hope to share in my teaching, it’s that. It’s not the most complicated asanas or transitions. Approaching the present moment with an open heart, regardless of where your limbs are positioned and what your mind might want to say about it, and witnessing a bigger picture.

Lucky thing for me- when you teach from that place, you are much more able to teach about that place. So, I am staying faithful in my asana practice and striving every day to practice the qualities that I want to be able to teach to others. I must say- I’m looking forward to the next year. I feel positive about what experiences it has to hold.

Want to connect more deeply with your heart center right now? Sit in a comfortable seated position. If you are in a chair, place the soles of both feet flat on the floor. Hands can rest in your lap. Focus all of your attention on the area of your heart. Take 5 slow, deep breaths, matching the length of your inhalation and exhalation. Feel as if you are able to gently draw the breath in through the heart center and release it gently through the heart center.

Namaste!

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Weekly wisdom from Doreen Virtue

I am so excited that Doreen is working with her Life Purpose oracle deck this week. Saturday’s new moon was a very favorable one for my fellow Sagittarians and I with regard to our career outlook. Prior to that, things were not lining up for fruitful professional growth, but that’s over now. Farewell to that!

Now, let’s see what Doreen and the angels have to say about what’s next! Two words… crystal. healing.

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Crystal in the spotlight: Amethyst

And finally:

7th chakra / crown / amethyst

Attributes: Amethyst is one of the most spiritual stones, promoting love of the divine, giving insights into its true nature, and encouraging selflessness and spiritual wisdom. It opens intuition and enhances psychic gifts. This is an excellent stone for meditation and scrying and can be placed on the third eye to stimulate it. Sleeping with Amethyst facilitates out-of-body experiences and brings intuitive dreams. It transmutes ‘lower’ energies to the higher frequencies of the spiritual and etheric realms.

Healing: Amethyst boosts production of hormones, and tunes the endocrine system and metabolism. It strengthens the cleansing and eliminating organs and the immune system. An excellent cleanser for the blood, Amethyst relieves physical, emotional, and psychological pain or stress, and blocks geopathic stress. It eases headaches and releases tension. […] At a subtle level, Amethyst balances and connects the physical, mental, and emotional bodies, linking them to the spiritual. It cleanses the aura and transmutes negative energy, and stimulates the throat and crown chakras.”

~from, The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall

Yes, please!

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Crystal in the spotlight: Tiger’s Eye

Do you remember way, way back when I was working my way through a 7-day crystal/chakra healing marathon? We had made it all the way to Day 5 / the throat chakra when my computer went on summer vacation.

To me, the change of seasons is like nature’s reminder alert to slow down and take stock of things. Check in. Whether it’s in my yoga practice, diet, daily meditation, habits, thoughts, emotions, etc.- I boost my efforts to bring change where it is needed by aligning with the energy of change that swells at the solstices and equinoxes.

It’s a time of one phase ending and a new one beginning. Why not follow Mother Nature’s lead to let go of the ‘old’ and welcome the ‘new?’ She pretty much has this whole managing life thing down to a science.

If your chakra health is an area that will have your attention as we approach the fall equinox, healing crystals are a great way to uplift your efforts.

…Which brings me back to the crystal/chakra healing countdown. Who needs a refresher?

Me, too.

1st chakra / root / bloodstone
2nd chakra / sacral / chrysoprase
3rd chakra / solar plexus / malachite
4th chakra / heart / aventurine
5th chakra / throat

And now… let’s resume, shall we?

6th chakra / third eye / tiger’s eye

“Tiger’s Eye combines the earth energy with the energies of the sun to create a high vibrational state that is nevertheless grounded, drawing the spiritual energies to earth. Placed on the third eye, it enhances psychic abilities in earthy people and balances the lower chakras, stimulating the rise of the kundalini energy.

Tiger’s Eye is a protective stone that was traditionally carried as a talisman against ill wishing and curses. It shows the correct use of power and brings out integrity. It assists in accomplishing goals, recognizing inner resources and promoting clarity of intention. Placed on the navel chakra, Tiger’s Eye is excellent for people who are spaced out or uncommitted. It grounds and facilitates manifestation of the will. Tiger’s Eye anchors change in the physical body.”

~from The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall

Mmm… sounds good. Love you, Tiger’s Eye!

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Weekly wisdom from Doreen Virtue

Last week’s oracle card reading wrapped up with the suggestion to spend time outdoors over the weekend. I happened to take that advice, packing up the fam and heading out to Joshua Tree. It was a great trip for many reasons (I got to see Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band, CC White, Arjun Baba, and Krishna Das!!!), but one of the things that made it the most special for me was being in the desert landscape. I love going to places where the natural environment is different than the one I see in my day-to-day. It gives me a new perspective on things.

So, I guess I don’t have to tell you that I’m stoked that Doreen is using her ‘Healing with the Fairies’ oracle card deck this week. The fairies are nature angels. They back up Mother Earth and work to keep her balanced. Doreen states in the beginning of her reading that the Healing Fairies deck works well for anyone who has environmental issues on the brain.

I also love that the reading for the weekend brings up detoxing and clearing. We are rapidly coming upon the change of the seasons again. I often like to observe solstices and equinoxes with some type of cleanse or detox- whether it be in my diet, my thoughts, my habits, my schedule. Whatever form it might take, I love to ride the energetic wave of ‘change’ that surges around solstices and equinoxes.

I’ll have more to share about that as we roll up to the autumnal equinox, but I love that it came up already. A great reminder and great motivation.

Do you observe the changing of the seasons in some way? What will you be doing to get ready for fall?

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Weekly wisdom from Doreen Virtue

Here you go, boo boos… Angels!

For those among you who feel now is a time for rest (healing/nurturing/transition/transformation, etc.), Doreen has brought with her the wisdom of Archangel Michael. He is a protector. He can shelter you from the storm.

Spoiler alert: My favorite part is when she says that the angels acknowledge the work I’ve been doing to open my heart.

“Aww- thanks, angels. Shucks, little me?” (Cut to me working and praying and practicing and singing like I’m training for the Olympics. Like, “Open my heart. Please, help me open my heart.” I backbended like Rocky today.)

Anyway, your angels love you. And Kamelien does, too!

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