“You are not given the light by anyone—not even by a spiritual teacher. You are that light.” Sri Swami Satchidananda
The Bible says “You are the light of the world”.
Yogi Bhajan says “ “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be light”
“Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.” B.K. S. Iyengar
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr
Where do we get that light? It’s already there! It’s who we are. But, we can dim our own light by our own negativity, by the mind’s trick of forgetting. Re-kindle your own light with your Yoga practice. The more we practice asana and pranayama, we open up ourselves to the boundless energy of light available to us from the entire Universe. If you don’t know any other yoga practices, at least you should do a little deep breathing. Check out my friend and Integral Yoga colleague, Swami Asokananda, teaching breathing techniques to his students.
Lighten up and enjoy life!
Last week was a busy one, with a radio interview,with Charlie and Eva at Corporate Talk
A TV interview with Valerie Lego from ABC affiliate, WZZM’s show “Healthy You”
and a new blog post on the Junonia website, a clothing company that offers pus-size yoga clothes and other clothes for working out. They recently asked me to write for them about Yoga, and you can read the new post at their website, www.blog.Junonia.com. The post will show how to do an adapted version of the salute to the sun–Soorya Namaskar. Try it! And let me know how you like it!
It’s a big weekend in Yogaville this year–the centenary birthday celebration of our teacher, Sri Swami Satchidananda, and Guru Poornima celebration. Check out this great video by Sam Eberle to give you a taste of what Yogaville is all about.
I can’t be there this year, but I’m universal! Gurudev is with me all the time, and the sangha too!
Guru Poornima is the special day during the full moon of July when devotees take time to honor their holiest of holys–their Guru. Gu is a Sanskrit term meaning darkness, and Ru is another Sanskrit term meaning remover. So the Guru is the one who “removes the goo”–according to my friend DeepaLani McNulty. She tells me she is on her way to Yogaville to be part of the yearly celebration to honor Sri Gurudev, Swami Satchidananda. If you want to see what’s going on at the ashram, go to http://www.Yogaville.org.
This year, I will be celebrating by chanting the Guru Gita and doing a quiet puja. Sometimes known as the Woodstock Guru, Gurudev came to Woodstock to chant peace chants with the hippies. His intention to hold the space for peace during that extraordinary event was palpable, when so many things could have spun the celebration out of control and into chaotic violence. Bringing the Swami to Woodstock was the inspired vision of Sridar Silberfein, the brains and bhakti behind Bhakti Fest.
The influence Swamiji has had on my life is beyond words–the ancient teachings of Yoga were embodied in him, and he exuded a vibration of purity, peace and serenity. When we were with him at our Saturday evening programs, called Satsang, we felt his love so powerfully, we all fell in love with each other as well. I am forever endebted to him for his loving example. this year is the 100th anniversary of his birth, and many special events–called Global Garland– are happening all over the world to honor is abundant life. Jai Gurudev!
To make this Guru Poornima special, I am re-releasing my Water My Soul album, first released on cassette back in 1989–so it’s having a 25th anniversary! I added a bonus track, titled Divine Love, that the Yogaville Miracle Choir and Orchestra performed at a Guru Poornima in the mid 90’s. The piece is a “Choral Kirtan”–something I think I invented. I took a powerful Sanskrit mantra, wrote 3 part harmony and a few instrumental parts, and made a hasty recording of the piece in my home. I want to share this with everyone, and the album will be available at Integral Yoga Distribution, shakticom, or on my own website, http://www.bigyoga.net. As a special gift to all the devotees, I’m offering a free recording of “Brothers And Sisters Are We” and wish everyone a blessed Guru Poornima!
When I first moved back to Yogaville for the winter, a friend of mine was making her own kombucha–a fermented tea beverage that is deliciously fizzy and offers the health benefits of being a probiotic. It helps the body fight off cancer, detoxifies and alkalizes the system and reduces cholesterol. It contains many of the B vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants. Kombucha also contains the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus Acidophilus and fungi S. Boulardii; both have been shown to reduce infection by opportunistic pathogen yeasts such as candida.
Kombucha has been around for centuries and was first mentioned–as the Elixir of Life– in the Chinese Tsin Dynasty of 212 BC. By the 1800’s, it had become a popular Russian folk remedy used to promote health. German research on kombucha attributes its therapeutic effects to glucuronic acid, a liver detoxifier, and acetic acid, which provides anti-microbial activity.
I had tried kombucha years ago, and had given it up and forgotten about it, but in the last 10 years, kombucha has become increasingly popular–and easier to find in health food stores. The only downside is that it’s pricey! That’s why I’ve started making my own. It isn’t pretty, but I promise it’s tasty. It’s not that hard to make your own, and there are lots of videos online to get you started–oh, but you’ll need a starter SKOBY, but the video will tell you more about that.
This is an exercize I learned from my movement mentor, Hope Mell. She was giving me an Alexander session (I highly recommend this modality if you have any body issues–and who doesn’t?) and I complained about how my feet were often tired and achy. I hope you try it! Don’t forget to do both feet.
I can still hear my mother yelling across the house to us 4 children to get to bed–and out of her hair! She knew, in her “mother-person” wisdom, that a child short on sleep would also be short of temper. I know how she relished those quiet hours in the evening to read the paper, and get herself calm and ready for her own night of the sweet bliss of sleep.
According to the American Psychological Association, we just aren’t getting enough sleep–probably about 6 and a half hours a night. The recommended dose is more like 7 to 9 hours a night, every night. When we don’t get that amount of restful sleep, not only are we more irritable, but less creative, less focused and not as productive.
If you’ve ever tried to put a baby to sleep, you know there’s a prelude. You give the baby a bottle, you sing to it, maybe when they get a little older you read a story. It’s not a time for tickling, making faces and getting baby all riled up. Adults are no different. You want to coax yourself into a deep, uninterrupted sleep that will leave you refreshed for the next exciting adventure of your life.
Here are some tips to get a good night’s sleep:
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime–have a cup of warm milk or tea, but skip the glass of wine and the bag of chips.
- Suggest to yourself that you’ll sleep well. Review and let go of the events of the day.
- Leave your i-pad or phone on your desk, and turn off the TV. Reading a good book is more relaxing just before bed.
Because sleep regulates every system in the body, your health depends on it. Sleep deprivation over the long haul has been linked to depression, obesity and heart disease. If you’re having trouble staying asleep, here’s an easy pose you can do to put yourself back in the sleep zone. Now, GO TO BED!