Category Archives: Meditation

05 Oct

This place of in between.

blog_inbetween

Here I am in the very middle of the life that I’ve always known, and the life I’m about to begin as new mom. I am sitting on the fence and seeing both sides, but not comfortably grounded in either. It’s a very unsettling feeling and a very unsettling time, even though there is so much good to look forward to.

There are so many different forms of this in between place, existing in greater forms such as becoming a new parent, or lesser forms such as right after a yoga practice… you have just spent an hour or so breathing into your body, and that place – right as savasana ends and you are cued to rise up again into a comfortable seat and an aware mind. You are in between that quiet and still space you’ve just created after practicing, and the space before the rest of your day quickly kicks in.

We are so lucky that we even have these subtle yet important moments. As yoga practitioners, and as aware beings living through life, we sometimes get caught up in the moments. After all, we are human. Hopefully we have the ability to then realize we are caught up, and then take a step back and reassess.

Today I have reassessed where I currently am. I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first child, a baby boy, who is comfortably nestled in my womb at this time. I don’t blame him, as I’m sure the safety and warmth that the womb provides is the best place on earth. So in letting my anxiety get the best of me in certain moments, and while trying to stay busy and keep things moving, I am the farthest thing from relaxed. Even though I am engaging in “relaxing” activities such as acupuncture, reflexology, walking, etc… This imminent birth and life changing experience that is looming overhead is way more palpable than any of the relaxation I am trying to embody.

Today I took myself onto my mat. I played music loud, closed my eyes and allowed my body to move into shapes that it was thirsty for. What a humbling experience it is to be a pregnant body as someone who is “so in touch” with what the body thinks it needs. Sometimes we over calculate what we “should be” or “could be” doing during these times of in between, when really all we “need” to be doing is listening with intense ears, not by trying to control outcomes we will never be able to.

The mat took me back into my body and my breath and transcended me into a place of peace… the first real time I’ve felt peaceful in a while. I lost myself in the beats in the background and breathed into the backs of my legs… my shoulders and arms. It felt amazing. I felt inspired enough to put some thoughts together in the form of this blog and figured I’d share, as it’s not that often that our awareness is palpable enough to articulate.

10 Sep

End of Summer Playlist.

blog_endofsummerplaylist

Welcome Fall.

Incense – 50 Relaxing Yoga Music Tracks
Vanity Stays My Hand – itsnotyouitsme
Denmark – Portland Cello Project
Incense – Kick Bong
Sun Will Set – Zoe Keating
Mistral – Loscil
Buddy – Plaid
Kyrie Eleison – Sinead O’Connor
Memory Gospel – Moby
Afterglow (feat Soundmouse) – Phaeleh
Everywhen – Massive Attack
Season’s Greetings – itsnotyouitsme
Hollie – Helios
Singing Bowls & Bells – Jane Winther

21 Apr

Easy like Sunday morning…

blog_sleep2Sometimes Sunday mornings are the greatest… especially after a solid night’s sleep! There’s a brightness to the day when sleep is fulfilled, and as of recent times – since my sleep patterns have not been so great… I am fully aware of just how important getting sleep is.

Some of the benefits of catching zzz’s include:

Improves memory

Can add years to your life! (both literally and physically/aesthetically)

Helps relieve or prevent inflammation of muscles and joints

Sparks creativity and a new passion for the day ahead or life in general

Sharpens attention span

Helps with weight gain or loss

Helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression

Ways to enhance your chance of getting a good night’s sleep:

Drink less caffeine during the day, but especially at night before bed

Avoid eating dinner or snacking past a certain hour

Watch less scary or dramatic TV or media before bed

Give yourself the chance to unwind after a long day

Take a hot bath

Try to put your mind at ease by creating a dark and cozy sleep environment

Lavender under your pillow or a simple inhalation of the scent before bed sometimes help reset brain patterns and aids in relaxation

Repeat a mantra for peace and relaxation. This can also be an idea or notion you are working more on actualizing as truth in your life. This can be made up, or one that already exists that you can find in various meditation or yogic books.

**A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation

14 Jan

Inspiration

blog_passionAs a NYC based yoga teacher and massage therapist, there are times when I feel lit up and on fire with my work and my place in the world… there are also other times that I don’t feel that way so much. It all comes back to the very basic principles of self acceptance, I believe. (So easy, right?) More like YEAH RIGHT… In my opinion, self acceptance and accepting where we are and when we are where we are, are some of the very basic but extremely hard tasks to take on.

How can we continue to find our passions in life? As some days do tend to feel more inspiring than others, what do you do on the days where you’re left feeling uninspired? Do you have places you can go or people you can see or even blogs to read if you’re needing a little bit more UUMPH?

I’ve come to realize over time, that sometimes it feels like a seasonal thing… while other times it might feel more personal based on what’s happening in life specifically during a given time, or maybe it might even feel hormonal… With all of the above being said, it’s hard to switch a feeling off when it comes around, whatever that feeling may be.

I have worked endlessly to try to understand how to avoid these feelings, but they are natural. It’s important that we have tools to access in our toolbox so that when emotions surface, we can learn to rise above or take ourselves out of whatever we’re feeling. After all, E-motions are just that – they are feelings that run through us. They don’t stay, and they are never the same from one minute to the next. That’s sort of the beauty of it all.

A few things I like to do when I’m feeling uninspired or like a need an extra jolt of something…

1. Search for new music – creating the perfect playlist for a class really gives me great pleasure. Music in general lifts me up when I am feeling down… so I put on a good song, play it loud enough to cover up the thoughts in my own mind and see how that works.

2. Read an inspiring quote or passage from a spiritual text or book I know will have the words I need.

3. Talk to a good friend about what’s going on. Sometimes just a listening ear, and to feel heard is enough to let whatever is passing through move on.

4. Listen to my body and my mood. I try not to force myself to change or do anything at all. I remind myself that this, too, shall pass and not to be too hard on myself.

We all do the best that we can on a daily basis. Trust that you are doing your best and don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s in the quieter, lighter moments in life that we can look back on the darker moments and remind ourselves that it’s no so bad.

“It will all be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

<3

24 Nov

Happy listening.

Playlist for the wintertime!

Feel Good Lost – Broken Social Scene
No More Olives – Tosca
Gekkoh – Susumu Yokota
Tick of the Clock – Drive Soundtrack
Trinity Dub (Three) – Massive Attack
Burning Disaster (Language Lab) – A Man Called Adam
Camel (Nosaj Thing Remix) – Flying Lotus
Love and Mathematics – Broken Social Scene
Eternal Feedback (Sly) – Massive Attack
Teardrop – Massive Attack
The Sweetest Gift – Sade
Seriously – Schlomo
Moss Breaker – Broken Social Scene
Zenith – Beny Wertheimer
Umfamiliar Wind (Leek Hills) – Brian Eno

14 Jun

June Yoga Playlist

Enjoy!

Giant – The Bad Plus
Elle et Moi – Lemongrass
Gai Soleil (Cigales Instrumental) – Alphawezen
Sweet Lullaby – Deep Forest
Miracle – Blackmill
One the Subway – Lost in Translation Soundtrack
Les Nuits (Nightmares on Wax) – A Man Called Adam
TonePoem – Keith Rondinelli
Blue Diamond – Nada Sadhana
Samskeyti (Acoustic) – Sigur Ros
Alone – Garth Stevenson
Dusk – Garth Stevenson

xo

11 Jul

Inner light

blog_innerlight2I just came across this quote again… and I love it. Thought I’d share. Read the words and let them sink in. Let your inner light shine!

“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

11 Jul

Do you know how to breathe?

blog_breathingAre you aware that everyday, all day, you are BREATHING?! Life is stressful, and learning how to tune into your breath can help de-stress, improve your energy level, mood and sleeping patterns! Taking the time each day to simply stop for a moment and listen to your breath… observe where it is, and how you feel, can help you hit the internal reset button, and maybe even give you a fresh perspective. Try it! You might be surprised…

A friend of mine shared these breathing techniques with me, and I am sharing them with you below. If you are ever feeling inspired to try, give them a whirl:

Belly Breathing

What is belly breathing? Breathing deeply, bringing air down to the lower portion of the lungs where oxygen exchange is most efficient, is a powerful anti-stress technique. Unfortunately, few of us do this naturally. Did you know that babies breathe from the belly without even thinking about it at all? Most adults in this world are shallow “chest breathers” who walk around in a state of subtle but chronic oxygen deprivation. It’s no wonder so many of us complain about having no energy!

It maybe seem strange to have to learn to breathe like a baby again, in a much more conscious way, but many of us have to train ourselves to breathe slowly and deeply from the belly rather than the chest. As you notice the difference you feel after heightening this kind of awareness, it’s well worth the time it takes in practicing and getting there.

** Technique to try:
Start by lying on your back with your arms out at approximately a 45 degree angle from your body. Simply observe your breath for about a minute or two. Notice whether it is slow or fast, shallow or deep, regular or irregular.

Rub your hands together until they are warm and then place them on your belly with the center of your lower hand touching your naval. Continue to breathe naturally with your hands resting gently on your belly. Don’t try to force air into your belly, but just observe whether your belly expands as you inhale and retracts as you exhale.

Once you’ve done this exercise a few times, you’ll be able to recognize when you’re breathing from the chest and learn to switch easily to belly breathing while sitting or standing, even while going about your busy day! Doing a few minutes of deep, slow belly breathing when you feel stressed is a simple and very effective way to ease tension throughout your whole body!

The relaxation response:

Encountering a stresstor can literally take your breath away. For example, let’s say you’re driving down the road without a care in the world, and then suddenly another driver starts tailgating you, or cuts you off! Stress hormones kick in and your breathing changes… this affects your whole body, going from slow and deep to rapid and shallow. Your body prepares for action and your breath quickens with anticipation.

An easy way to interrupt the stress response (and one that you can practice anytime, anywhere), is to consciously slow your breathing down. Inhale slowly, hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly. Try it: Inhale: 2…3…4… hold 2…3…4… Exhale: 2…3…4… Repeat this three or four times.

Once your breath normalizes, your body will follow. It may not “hear” you right away, but if you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, your brain and body will get the message and calm down. Instead of churning out more stress chemicals and setting yourself up for chronic stress, your body will learn a much healthier relaxation response. Your heart rate will slow and your blood pressure will drop!

For many people, combining slow, deep breathing with the mental repetition of a word (or mantra), is easier than focusing on the breath itself. Choose a word that you find soothing and mentally repeat it with each inhalation and exhalation. The silent repetition of this word will help pull your attention away from the alarm bells going off in your head and/or body. You pass from the hyper alertness phase of stress into an alert and keen focus on the breath and finally, a state of relaxation and peacefulness!

14 Feb

Yoga Contemplation

As I sit here, I try to make sense of this practice of yoga I am deeply involved in. I’m in the middle of my 500hr Dharma Mittra teaching training. With this training, comes a complete vegan diet, a meditation, asana and pranayama daily practice, and many other confusions that I am found lost in. Firstly, I am asking myself why I chose this particular training. What was it about Dharma that drew me in? What about the extremity of it all made sense? I don’t consider myself an extremist at all, but perhaps I was/am looking for something that I still have yet to find.

I first met Dharma over July 4th weekend this past summer at Kripalu. At the time, I was all signed up for my 300hr teacher training at Yoga Works, and was feeling excited to pursue the additional hours, although not too familiar with Yoga Works either. I kind of made that decision on a whim, as well – which is something I work on daily… not acting out on whims! I digress… so I took a weekend long immersion with Sri Dharma himself, and during the course of that weekend was when I decided that I needed to study more with him. I felt a certain sense of foundation as he led the class. As though this was yoga at its core. I’m certain that it was that part of the practice that I found the connection to. The core of yoga. The essence of where it comes from and how we practice it in today’s world. I find that hard to come by these days, as yoga has become much more mainstream than it ever was… and some of the ancient ideas or scriptures have felt diluted to me.

So in this extreme practice, am I here because I didn’t want to pursue a kind of yoga that felt contrived? Well if that’s the case, I got what I asked for… Dharma teaches from his own experience. He teaches what worked for him and allowed him to get to the point where he is now. We are on a special diet, and the poses and breath work we have as “homework” is exactly the process he went through to arrive where he is today. As I continue on with the days, I can’t say I feel 100% connected to the practice. And I think I am hard on myself for it, as I feel I “should” be entirely convinced and I “should” be feeling all different changes happening as I go through it. But what does “should” mean? Does it mean that others are feeling it in the ways that I’m not? How could I know? It’s all speculation, and in the dissection of what it all means, the purpose or knowledge gained from it all is perhaps misconstrued. If I stop trying to make sense of it all, and stop thinking I “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing certain things, maybe it will all fall into place.

Something else I’ve noticed… it’s actually quite a strong feeling I’ve had through this process… because I “HAVE” to complete certain tasks, ex: meditation, asana and breathing exercises, I feel an extreme aversion to it all. I think I’ve been this way since I was a kid, if anyone told me I had to do something, I wanted to do the opposite. I have always had to come to things on my own, and even though I came to this training on my own (no one forced me into it), somewhere along the way, I lost some of the purpose.

I’m trying to go with all, as the days continue. I have found the diet to be somewhat manageable… I am doing the best that I can. And I have found my own way to feel connected to the practice part. Whether that means I do some form of my own version of the breathing, meditation and asana practice, or if I practice exactly according to the books and instruction. I’ve always sort of come from the school of thought that maybe sometimes things just aren’t worth trying to figure out… that not everything has answers, or reasons, and that if you focus too much on the idea, you lose the experience. Sometimes things also look and feel different from a shift in perspective. Maybe once I’ve come through this training, I will understand what it all means.