After my post yesterday, I found this online and wanted to share it with y’all. It offers more ideas about controlling the mind, minimizing anxiety. http://tinybuddha.com/blog/3-ways-to-transform-anxiety-into-positive-energy/
I hope you enjoy reading.
Om and Prem,
There’s a lot of talk these days about gun control . It makes me a little sick. I want to be on the record about this. I am a pacifist. I would rather lay down my life than shoot someone–that may seem a little facile, because I don’t have young children that I might need to protect with a gun. I’m not young and sexy, so I’m not afraid of being raped. I am old enough to have lived a full life, so if someone murdered me tomorrow, I wouldn’t like it, but I would accept it–I think. Admittedly, this is all academic. But if my beliefs were challenged unexpectedly by an intruder pointing a gun at my head, –well, that’s where the Yoga practices come in.
The only reason I can see for having a gun is to shoot somebody. To kill somebody. That is the undeniable intent. As a Yogi, I have been practicing meditation for over half my life, practicing peace. In the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, it states “In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease”. (11:35) So, by my practice, I am holding the space for peace. I am modeling peace. I embody peace. I feel this is my greatest gift to the world! Instead of mucking up the world with bad vibes and hostilities, I am radiating–to the best of my ability–the peace of my Divine Nature. And, because like attracts like, I’m counting on my intentions to attract more of the same. So far it’s been working!
My Guru, Sri Swami Satchidananda, used to say “Peace is my God”. And though it is our natural state, we have so much covering up our True Self. We are so identified with our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong and with our judgements and evaluations of everything under the sun. We live in duality, and insist that our position is correct. It’s hard to remember our peace when we are making our neighbor wrong for his beliefs.
The way to remember your peace is to find a practice that cultivates a calm mind. It can be a simple meditation, a gentle hatha practice, some selfless service to those less fortunate. You could spend more time praying, singing, being grateful. You could investigate the strategies of your own ego, and look at the ways the mind wants to trick you into thinking you will be safer with a gun in your home.
Many of the world religions stress non-violence. “Thou shalt not kill”–you’ve heard that one before. Patanjali stresses in the yama/niyamas –a sort of 10 commandments of Yoga– the ideas of purity, contentment and non-harming. And though I can’t boast that I am a perfectly non-violent person, I am doing what I can. Do you think Martin Luther King would advocate bringing guns into the classroom? How do you think Mohandas Ghandi would handle the American gun problem? Our beautiful country was born and bred in blood, and we are the foremost purveyors of guns and bombs to the whole world. It’s very profitable! And there is profit in violent movies and video games. We have become inured to violence, until it hits too close to home, as it did recently when so many young children were massacred so brutally.
At the beginning of the Gulf War, I was chatting with my producer, Rick Rosenthal about war. We were in the studio working on voice overs for the Big Yoga Hatha One video. We were both shocked that the country was falling for the “weapons of mass destruction” line. Rick is a smart businessman, and I respected his opinion on worldly things, so I asked him, “Why not have a Department of Peace?”. His response was “There’s no money in it”.
But peace is an inside job. If you are horrified by what happened in Sandy Hook, look deep into your heart to see what you can do to cultivate peace in yourself. As Swami Satchidananda said, “Peace on earth begins with me”.
I just checked out this blog:It’s a fun and useful article about the value of just rolling around on the floor to reduces stress and tension. It’s from a website called Yoga With nadine. She sounds cool– I thought you’d like to read it!
This came in a newsletter from Satchidananda Ashram in Virginia, where I was trained in Integral Yoga®.
“The mind should dwell on a mantra and its vibrations so that it will not divert its attention to anything else. The more you repeat the mantra, the more you produce that sound vibration within you. After some time, even without your conscious repeating, you will be able to feel the vibration within. In other words, you can hear the sound of the mantra within you and that will be a sort of hold for you to get into the higher vibrations. That is why a mantra is a mystic word, which has its own special vibration and, by developing that vibration in you, you are developing a certain kind of wavelength and you will be able to attract that kind of wavelength from the cosmos.”–Sri Swami Satchidananda
If you’d like to sign up for this newsletter for other beautiful quotes from this Yoga master, go to: http://www.icontact-archive.com/foSoxV_DrpA0UBHAWM6lAIq1LsftHEca?w=4
The bridge pose is a gentle inversion that helps strengthen the muscles of the back, improves flexibility in the spine and brings blood flow to the thyroid glad at the base of the throat. It can be done as a traditional asana, by holding the pose for some (comfortable ) time. It it’s not comfortable to hold the pose, we suggest a rolling bridge, which is more like a vinyasa or flow type of practice that coordinates the breath with the movement. I really enjoyed reading an article from Leslie Kamanoff at http://yogaanatomy.net/dwipada-pitham/
I enjoyed his description of breathing in reverse to the obvious way we would breathe in this pose–inhale as the buttocks lift, and exhale as you lower back to the floor. Check it out!
I am the first to admit I am a slacker Yogi. I knew early on that the best way for me to get on the mat regularly was to take teacher training, and get out and teach others. I went to Pomfret, Connecticut way back in 1978 and spent the month at the Ashram—yes, there was an ashram before the ashram in Virginia– with our old friends and teachers Satya Greenstone, Swami Sharadananda, Prahaladan Mandlekorn and Sister Maitreyi. It was a challenging month sleeping in a pup tent on the back lawn, getting poison ivy, and missing my sweetheart, Sukarta, but on the flip side, we had frequent visits with Sri Gurudev, (Sri Swami Satchidananda) and subtle encounters with the silent saints and sages that were in our midst. I began teaching at the New York IYI as soon as summer was over, and felt IYI was my home. Teaching regularly has helped me to practice outside of class, not only the asanas, but also living my Yoga out in the world. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the ongoing unfoldment in me that is a result of taking that first teacher training.
I was one of the more voluptuous Yoginis in those days, and was fond of fasting as a way to control my weight, keep my appetites in check, and enhance my bhav, or sense of devotion. But as I got into my menopause years, I began to pack on the pounds. I couldn’t keep up the fasting that I had always enjoyed—something about losing testosterone or progesterone. I began experimenting with the tried and true Yoga poses to make them more comfortable for my curves, bumps and jiggles. I knew instinctively my evolving practice could be of benefit to others like me who wanted to do Yoga, but didn’t want to be miserable in a class full of “gumby gals”.
I actually got the name for Big Yoga while I was meditating at the Lotus Shrine in Yogaville, Virginia. On my walk to the noon meditation, I had been musing on the name “Integral Yoga” and wondered if there were a more user friendly way of describing our beloved path. Integral is such a difficult word—hard to say, difficult to understand—I was looking for another way to say the same thing. As I settled into the silence, I heard—literally heard—a voice (guess whose!) say “Big Yoga”. Because of the double meaning, I knew it was coming from Sri Gurudev! Big, as in expansive, inclusive of all the various Yoga practices and techniques, but also big, as in the bigger body! It was several years before I began teaching Big Yoga, and it evolves from class to class. We all carry our weight in different places, so one pose may have several variations. One of my favorites is to simply place a small (or large) book under the chin for the half-locust pose. Many of my students have large breasts, which can make this pose uncomfortable. You may have seen students try this pose with their chin floating in mid-air, which minimizes the whole effect of using the chin as a fulcrum. Such a small adaptation can work wonders for your people of size.
After teaching a Big Yoga class in Santa Monica for a few sessions, I asked my former husband, Sukarta (Lester) Alexander, (compiler and editor of the first book of Sri Gurudev’s teachings, Beyond Words) who is in the film business, how could I get a video made of this class. He said “Write a script”. As soon as I finished it, he hooked me up with a friend, Rick Rosenthal, who worked with me and produced the first video, Big Yoga Hatha 1. It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable attending a class in public. We finished shooting the video just days before Sri Gurudev left the body in 2002.
I discovered the Hatha 1 video, which follows the Integral Yoga Hatha 1 format, was too difficult for some of my older students, and was looking for ideas for a second video. My friend and mentor, Hope Mell, taught a Joint Freeing Series class that I attended at the ashram, and I knew instantly that this was the perfect thing for my next video, which I call Big Yoga Flex-Ability. I teach it to everyone! Next time you’re at the Ashram, go take Hope’s class—she’s a revelation!
There are lots more adaptations in my book, Big Yoga: A Simple Guide for Bigger Bodies. You can get it and my DVDs at Integral Yoga Distribution. Doing these simple practices over a lifetime has saved me from a host of physical problems that often plague the overweight.