Inspiration

Dear Angels and Guides

Journaling is one of the most effective tools in my bag for keeping me on my path. The slower, more deliberate flow of thought that takes over when I am writing allows me to notice patterns and to see through illusions more easily. If I hear myself getting whiny or going down a negative path, I am more likely to stop and be mindful of what I am doing. When I hear a thought veering off into ‘woe is me’ territory, I often stop mid-sentence because the “story” I’m telling no longer seems worth the time and effort to write it down.

I am able to see that it is not the story I want to tell. I am not a victim. That is not the truth of who I am. I only remain stuck under the thumb of that illusion so long as I am willing to tell that story.

So, I stop mid-sentence and begin telling a different story.

I am strong.
I am powerful.
I am blessed.
I am grateful.

Ong Namo Gurudev Namo
I bow to the Divine Teacher within.

The more I practice this exercise of being mindful of the “story” I’m telling, the more I am able to hear a higher truth. A truth that has been present all along, though it is easy to miss with the volume of my “story” cranked up to 11.

Its nature is simple, humble, patient, eternal.

I was writing the other day:

Dear Holy Mother, Father, angels, spirit guides, all beings of light, the Source of this truth-

I’m sending it out in all directions that I need help. I need strength. I need wisdom. I need you to show me the way.

And then I hear that Voice of truth rise up as plain as day… “You already have everything you need. It is already given. The rest is up to you now.

I am blessed.
I am grateful.
I am blessed.

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Ten poses to relieve stress & anxiety

Like last week, this week’s inspiration for class came from lessons learned along the way to manifesting change in my life. I’m currently holding the threads of several projects in my hands and meditating, praying, working, envisioning… anything available to weave them into the life I wish to create. Each of them is dear to my heart. I am fully committed to seeing each of them through- all of them tied in some way to yoga, this ancient, transformative science that I love. I want to guide, help, and inspire others through yoga. I want to help them realize the infinite brilliance within themselves by walking the walk and leading by example.

The dedication I feel in my heart to doing what I believe is my life’s work will not rest, and it will not take ‘no!’ for an answer. Even if you don’t have an entirely clear vision of what that “work” looks like for you, you may still feel the pull of your heart’s knowledge that you are, in fact, here for a reason. That your life has meaning. Your heart’s longing to reconnect with that purpose may feel as urgent as the burning dedication I feel to willing my yoga “career” into existence.

So, the time to do something about it is now, right?

In the interest of doing this as expeditiously as possible, I’ve honed in on the tremendous time-suck that is stress and anxiety. They can deplete you on every level… often needlessly. I mean… can you ever remember worrying your way to a positive solution? When was the last time you sat back and marveled at how constructive your stress is? Know why? Because it’s not.

We need all of our time and energy to be available for this mission of ours- correct, Captain? So, stress and anxiety. MUST. GO.

As I was beginning to build this ‘relieving stress and anxiety’ asana sequence, it occurred to me that idea is a bit redundant. Greater calm, peace of mind, and present awareness are benefits of every yoga practice I can think of. I found, however, that certain asanas and categories of asanas are linked more strongly with producing changes in the body that soothe feelings of stress and anxiety. Inversions, for example, are well-known stress and anxiety busters, along with any poses that get the heart elevated above the head. The increased blood flow to the brain can change your whole outlook on things.

Postures that stimulate and engage emotional centers in our body soothe stress and anxiety as well, such as backbends (for the heart center) or hip-openers (for the hips and the sacral chakra).

Here are ten of the stress-and-anxiety-relieving yoga postures that made the final cut for class this week:

1. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana)
2. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
3. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajkapotasana)
4. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
5. Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
6. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
7. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
8. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
9. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Of course, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that stress and anxiety often have such a powerful hold because we are not always fully conscious of the ways they are working. They can become a kind of default response that happens without our conscious mind offering any say in the matter. If we override that pattern of defaulting to stress and anxiety whenever a challenge arises, the power of our conscious presence opens up a multitude of positive possibilities for dealing with life.

We brought this onto the mat by “making it conscious,” using our practice to anchor our consciousness in the present moment. Making the breath conscious, silently repeating, “the breath is going in – the breath is going out.” Making the postures conscious, paying close attention to the unique physical sensations of each one. Making movement conscious, moving with integrity and intention.

“Making it conscious” can transform any challenge or situation by bringing your awareness to the resources available to you right now. And, let me tell you, they are far beyond anything you realize when burdened by stress. I play the “making it conscious” game while making dinner, cleaning the shower, eating, driving, working… the list goes on and on.

If there is one thing that I gained, personally, from this week’s adventures on the mat, it is a greater sense of power over stress and anxiety. By shining a conscious light on them, I feel more able to see and accept them for what they are. From that place, I have the upper hand in deciding what role they will play in my life- whether I will let them interfere with my dreams or meet them courageously/consciously like any other challenge. Guess which one I pick, mes amis?

We concluded class this week with a guided meditation using the San Kalpa sutra. It is an ancient Sanskrit sutra that amplifies the power of your intentions.

My intentions could sure use a little amplification right about now. How about yours? Try it and see!

Namaste!

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Kamelien loves you!

“The chakras are the seven vital energy centers of the body, where the subtle life forces are most concentrated. The flow of energy means life; stagnation means aging and disease.”

~Pratima Raichur, Absolute Beauty

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Weekly wisdom from Doreen Virtue

Wow! I absolutely cannot believe this is already the week of October 15-21, 2012. Time is just flying.

It could have something to do with that ‘Max’s 4th birthday’ time warp I found myself in last week. It felt that the entire week was one, long 4th birthday party. And today, we spent most of the afternoon putting up Halloween decorations. Things are moving quickly now. This year will be over in the blink of an eye.

Today is also the new moon, so it is a time for making plans, setting intentions, and manifesting. Doreen addresses this energy of ‘change’ that is swirling all around us now. Using the Archangel Michael oracle deck, she channels the wisdom of Archangel Michael for today and the upcoming week.

I hope it is a week of growth and positive change for each and every one of you!

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Yoga this week!!

Uh oh! I will be teaching this week on Monday at 10am.

Monday comes after Sunday, and Sunday is lil man’s 4th birthday party. Apologies in advance for leading our class with a wicked birthday cake hangover. πŸ˜‰

No, that’s totally not true. It will just make me… sweeter.

Join us to find out the exciting conclusion to our story!

Topic of the week: Relieving stress and anxiety with yoga

See you on the mat!

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This little light of mine…

Confidence.

What can I confidently say about confidence? That was the task that I set before myself when preparing to teach this week.

Before I had even begun giving too much attention to my class this week, one word kept coming up: confidence. The idea resonated with me, personally, as I am manifesting changes in several areas of my life. In my yoga career, especially, I am recognizing more and more the importance of self-confidence and believing in yourself. It’s fundamental.

But how could I translate my inspirations about confidence into a yoga practice? I felt that the idea was worth exploring. After all, success would mean that one of my students might connect with her own sense of self-confidence in a new way.

‘Ok. Let’s do this.’

I decided to begin where any serious inquiry begins- on Google. I found pages upon pages of insightful quotes about confidence, most of which essentially boil down to the same thing: Have faith and confidence in yourself and anything is possible.

Believe in yourself. In your dreams, aspirations, and abilities.

All of it hitting right at the level of the solar plexus chakra (manipura, meaning ‘cave of jewels’). It is the chakra of ‘I can.‘ Of willpower. Of honoring one’s self. Its color is golden, sunshine yellow, and it radiates from the base of the sternum like a little, golden sun.

Twists are the category of postures most closely associated with the solar plexus chakra, so I included several twists (prayer twist, supine twist, and matsyendrasana).

We also returned to the visualization of the radiant, golden sun in standing poses, like mountain and warrior I.

Fearlessly shine that light of yours in every direction for all of creation to see.

Working with these exercises helped me experience ‘confidence’ in a new light in the days leading up to class. In my meditation and yoga practice, I began to connect ‘confidence’ to other chakras, too, especially the root chakra (muladhara) and the throat chakra (vishuddha).

The root chakra governs our sense of safety and security. Without a strong foundation, we cannot stand tall. How can we make the leap for our dreams and ambitions if we are standing on shaky ground? Standing poses strengthen the root chakra (mountain, warrior I, eagle, humble warrior).

Finally, I integrated several postures that activate the throat chakra (vishuddha). This is our center of communication outward, governing our ability to verbalize our thoughts and ideas and to speak our truth. Forward bends are the category of poses that is associated with the throat chakra. We paused in uttanasana and paschimottanasana for somewhat longer than other poses to allow a deep opening of the entire body and to stimulate the throat chakra.

Taken together, these three chakras and their associated qualities light the picture of confidence that came into focus for me this week. As I said before, this particular combination resonated with me most in this time of manifesting in my life and working to bring about positive changes. I know that these ideas hit home with many of you, too. So many of us are riding the seas of change and attempting to keep our balance. If you were not able to come to my class this week (or if you were), I hope that some bit of information that I have shared has touched you in some way and that you are inspired to recognize that you are, in fact, awesome and fully able to realize whatever you set your mind on.

Yes, my dears, you can.

Namaste!

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Kamelien loves you!

β€œYou are what your deepest desire is.
As your desire is, so is your intention.
As your intention is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

~ The Upanishads

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Weekly wisdom from Doreen Virtue

Hello, friends! How are things?

‘Things’ are quite busy around here. Beginning with my son’s birthday this week, I’m moving into the “festive” part of my year with holidays, get-togethers, celebrations, and special occasions arriving one after the other through New Year’s.

Doreen (working with the Angel Tarot deck) offers some great advice for centering and taking stock this week so that we may move ahead with greater presence of mind and spirit.

I’ve personally never worked with the Angel Tarot deck. It has 78 cards rather than 44 (most of the other decks have 44), and the images look beautiful. Check out this week’s video to learn more about Angel Tarot and to see what wisdom the angels have to share about the days ahead.

Have a wonderful, blessed week! I hope everyone enjoyed their Columbus Day holiday!

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Your October horoscope!!

I love Libras! Yes, I do! I love Libras! How ’bout you?

Some of my very favorite people in the world are Libras. So many of my fondest friends and loved ones will be celebrating birthdays this week, including my son. He’s my favorite Libra of all time- man! Very favorite person of all time! Although he does have some extremely worthy competition in my sweet, beloved little Grandma. Both she and Max share the same birthday! He will be four on Thursday, and she would have been 97.

So, so much birthday love to all my special Libras this week! I can’t wait to celebrate you!

Libras and non-Libras alike can find their astrological forecast for the month of October here (via AstrologyZone).

Sadly, it is a few days late this month due to the passing of astrologer Susan Miller’s mother, Little Mom. She wrote the most beautiful, poignant tribute to her mother. If you have a moment and would like to read it, you can find it here. It is such a touching statement about her mother’s strong, unique spirit, but it also speaks powerfully about the bond between mother and child. Reading it renewed my inspiration and resolve to always give my very best as a mother.

Love to Susan Miller, Little Mom, Maxim, my little Grandma, all my Libras, and everyone else!

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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:

β€œI 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, β€œBefore 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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