Tag Archives: October 2011

30
September

“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” ~ Charles de Lint

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Newsletter, Off-the-Wall Musings
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Each month, “My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more!  It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!

In this issue:  Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.

Namasté,

Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” ~ Charles de Lint

The Renaissance Festival here in Minnesota ended the first weekend of October.  I’ve always considered The Renaissance Festival as my own personal “Brigadoon”.  It’s a magical city that appears for awhile to fill your life with enchantment and then, it’s gone.

I’ve often dwelled on just what makes this place and time seem so magical.  Let’s see.  You get to don a costume/persona of your choice, if you care to, act like a fool and go unnoticed—or better yet, get noticed AND enjoy it.  What’s more, you’re surrounded by people in a light-hearted, jovial mood because letting down your barriers lightens the load for everyone.

This year I had the unsurpassed joy of going twice!  As I was planning to attend the fair for a second weekend, a surge of unquenchable joy rose within as I realized—I GET TO WEAR MY PURPLE FEATHERS TWICE!  Oh joy upon joys!  (You see, I just expect you to humor me here, but that’s the point!)  Wearing a hat made of purple feathers goes with the territory, is totally acceptable, and is just plain fun!  When you are filled with childlike excitement, do you really care who approves?  Should you?  No way!

First let’s talk about the color purple—rich, royal, magical, deep purple.  How can anyone NOT look better with that addition?  I swear it gives me magical powers when I put them on.  You all know I believe in magical beings (just like the Irish and my research showed) from my March newsletter (http://betterdayyoga.com/tag/march-2011).  So it should come as no surprise to my regular readers that my purple feather wreath seems to embody faerie magic.  Yes, you heard me.

Ted Andrews book, Animal Speak, confirms the magic of feathers. This book introduces you to the personal messages nature’s creatures are trying to deliver when they make their appearance known.

Feathers represent the energy of flight since they’re required for birds to fly.  “When a feather comes into your possession, it can help give lift to some area of our life.” They connect us to the energy of the bird they come from, but also to the energy of the air.

The elements (earth, air, water, fire, ether—there are other versions of the elements as well) are associated the “Faerie Realm.”  The air element is associated with the power of your communication, your voice, your mind. Feather goose quills were one of the early writing instruments. Through feathers, we bring the spirits of the air into our life. So it should come as no surprise that my purple feather wreath brought some faerie magic along with it!

Ted Andrews reminds us that every feather is a fetish—or charm where mystical, magical powers reside.  They remind us of the energy we are aligning with connecting us to the more ethereal energies of life.  Through this alignment, we receive direction on how to bring our wishes into reality. (See the “Answer Feather” in the bullets at the end.)

“Logic only gives man what he needs… Magic gives him what he wants.” ~ Tom Robbins

Have you watched the movie Field of Dreams?  Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, doesn’t want to believe he’s hearing voices, let alone that they’re telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cash corn crop.  He fights the magic because we are all told magic is make-believe. But if you believe it, and believing it allows magic to come into your life, why fight it? 

The baseball diamond becomes a magical place where the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago Black Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series appear to play baseball.  They enter the baseball diamond from the cornfield that is on the perimeter of the baseball diamond, and they exit the same way, disappearing into the stalks of corn as they walk in.  The mantra from this film is the message “if you build it they will come”.

So if you build or create welcoming ground for magic to manifest, it will come.  Not maybe, not as a joke for a short time, but as a constant companion in your life sprinkling faerie dust on everything you do.  You can “will” magic into your life, just like you can “will” distress into it.  There’s that Law of Attraction again.  It doesn’t care what you focus on.  It simply hears your focus, considers it your desire, and creates it.

So when I say that placing the purple feather wreath on my head makes me feel like I embody faerie magic, believe me when I say the day is spent feeling magical and enjoying every last drop of it!  Remember I mentioned dropping the barriers?  Allowing the inhibition of being an “appropriate adult” to fall away is part of letting go of the “shoulds” and grabbing onto the “why nots?”.

Who’s to say that the barrier we wear called “normal” isn’t a mask as much as my magical feather wreath is?  What if the person you are when the barriers are dropped is the “real” you?  When you repress what you are, a vibrational energy is waiting to be expressed that will eventually bubble over.  Why not let the real you out to play in your own way?

“Pretending to be a normal person day after day is exhausting” ~ Suzy Toronto.

“You make a lousy anybody else BUT you are the best “you” in existence!” ~ Zig Ziglar

This year I added an enchanting addition to my magical wreath costume—a one-of-a-kind handmade copper chain necklace containing several copper-wrapped smoky quartz crystals.  While the feather wreath makes me feel magical, this necklace makes me feel like I can RULE THE WORLD! (Said with a loud voice and both hands raised to the sky as I tilt my head back and gaze up acknowledging the source of my power.) It was an early birthday present from my husband.(See the write-up at the end of this opening write-up for where you too can find a magical piece of your own to get your own mojo on—Krista Artista Gallery!)

My Chakrascope section below highlights stones and their energetic benefits.  To take an excerpt from the introductory paragraph below: For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy.  Nothing is really solid.  Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies?  Quartz crystals are used in wristwatches, cell phones, radios and computers for their vibrating factors and precise frequency.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_oscillator

“Smoky quartz is a stone that brings abundance, prosperity, and good luck. Smoky quartz is an excellent stone for removing negativity and negative energy of any kind and transforming them to positive energy. It is also a very protective and grounding stone. It enhances survival instincts, and can help one reach personal and business goals, as well as assisting in making wishes come true.

Emotionally, smoky quartz is excellent for elevating moods, overcoming negative emotions, and relieving depression. Smoky quartz relieves stress, fear, jealousy, anger and other negative emotions by transforming them into positive energies. Smoky quartz is very comforting and calming, and can be considered a stone of serenity.”  http://www.crystalsandjewelry.com/metaphysical_healing/stoneinfo/smokyquartz.html There’s more, but isn’t this already plenty?!

I have to add that when I first saw this necklace, I really had no idea what the energetic benefits “technically” were—I just knew how they made me feel, and had faith that energetic benefits were there.  It’s all good!  Placebo?  Who cares if my belief created the magic or the magic was already there waiting to be sourced.  I judge by end results, don’t you?

So couple this sense of empowerment with the magical faerie energy from the purple feathers, surround it with the whimsical energies of The Renaissance Festival where everyone comes to enjoy letting the child inside out to play, and you have a recipe for an enchanted day!

Did I leap tall buildings with a single bound?  No—but had I wanted to, I’m fairly certain I could have given the opportunity!

“I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world.” ~ Leigh Standley

Now it’s your turn.  What do YOU need to feel magical or empowered?  How can you drop your “normal” barrier mask so the “real you” can come out?

  • Halloween is the perfect time to experiment with the costume of your choice to embody the energy you are looking for. Consider it a “prop” for the “real” you and let your “ideal” you out! (See my October 2010 newsletter’s chakrascope section for more on costumes. http://betterdayyoga.com/tag/october-2010.)

Isn’t it comforting that the following history of Halloween costumes reminds us of the belief that the good spirits of friends and loved ones know the real you behind the mask, so you’re free to try on your new persona without judgment?

If you haven’t celebrated Halloween in a long time, or if you are curious about Halloween’s history, here’s an interesting background:

“October 31 was the last day of the ancient Celtic year and the Festival of Samhain, the Celtic god of the dead.  As one year became another, the Celts believed, the spirits of the dead could return from the beyond to share joy and happiness with their living loved ones.  Feasting, dancing, and singing celebrated this opportunity.  Enormous bonfires lit the night sky, welcoming revelers and spirits alike.

But fearing that some of the returning spirits might have less than honorable intentions, people often donned masks and costumes to hide their true identities.  The good spirits of departed friends and relatives of course knew those behind the masks and could make contact for a joyous reunion.  The light of dawn, marking the start of the Celtic New Year, recalled the spirits to the spirit world.

In 835 Pope Gregory IV proclaimed that the last day in October was to be known within the Catholic Church as All Hallow’s Eve, or ‘All Holy Evening’. On this date, he decreed, Catholics everywhere were to gather and remember those who had given their lives in the name of their faith.  The next day, November 1, became All Saint’s Day (also called All Soul’s Day), a time to remember all who passed on.

The Catholic Church views this ‘communion of spirits’ as a reminder that there is a continuous link between the souls of the living and the souls of the dead.  Says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church’s official teachings, ‘Between them there is an abundant exchange of all good things.’  Various Protestant religions also observe these celebrations.”  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Communicating with Spirits by Rita S. Berkowitz and Deborah S. Romaine.

Most of us, of course, are simply enjoying some light-hearted fun along with the younger children celebrating the “trick or treat” ritual of free candy and ghost stories around a campfire.  It’s all good!

  • Need a professional photo for your job?  You deserve to have it done right and pay for a full photo shoot where you’re treated like the star you are.  I had to foot the bill for a professional photo at my previous place of employment, so I decided to go for it and never regretted it for a moment!  Have some fun with it!
  • Find your own magical feather. It doesn’t have to be a feather wreath as mine was!  “The Answer Feather is a traditional healing tool for those seeking answers. Pick the feather you are attracted to and keep it with you throughout the day. Thank the feather and release it back to Mother Earth, or cleanse it in the moonlight and use it for another question.” Monague Native Crafts, www.monague.com.
  • Try your hand at dancing—be it in the privacy of your own home with curtains drawn or out in public.  Intimidation be damned!  Dance with complete abandon.  Let the energy of the music move through you.  Let the energy of your inner muse come out!“Music is the strongest form of magic.” ~ Marilyn Manson

I subscribe to receive email messages from Mike Dooley’s “Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe”. http://www.tut.com/resources/notes/   Here is today’s message since I thought it was synchronistically appropriate.  They never fail to brighten my day!

“How about next time you go to work, the mall, or a labyrinth, you glide, slide, and twirl a bit? Wink, smile, and wave? Dip, bend, and high-five? Strut, saunter, and beam?

Just a bit?

Teeny, tiny?
    The Universe”

  • Looking for something a bit less intimidating to try on?  Try putting a smile on your face even when you don’t feel one.  This is where “fake it ‘til you make it” comes from.  Wearing a smile will create the feeling of the smile—I promise!  Smiling releases your “feel good” endorphins.  (Option to add broad, opened shoulders for a feeling of confidence, and lift your chin up a bit.  There! “Presto changeo!”  A new you!)

Try my new favorite go-to method for peace and ease:

Thich Nhat Hanh suggests using a half-smile technique in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness.  Half-smiling when you first awake along with three deep breaths, when you find yourself sitting or standing anywhere, while listening to music, and when irritated—all with three deep breaths.  Trying it when I’m irritated works for me, calming my mind.  It also surprises the person you’re irritated with!

A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.  – Charles Gordy  

  • Thinking of a new hair-do?  Experiment with hair color!  I’ve been swearing I’m going red some day—and slowly have been experimenting with red highlights.

“What makes that 4 percent of the world’s population so dangerously different? And why do so many women suddenly want to be one? According to sources at Clairol and Wella, red is the biggest rising at-home color.

Redheads are supposed to be hard to quell. The Romans considered the Picts to be some of the most mighty warriors they’ve ever faced. And the Picts were always said to have red hair.”  The Roots of Desire by Marion Roach.

I think it’s because women have become comfortable with their power,” Roach says. “What do you do when you’re in a difficult situation? You power up. ‘I now feel that, much like Dorothy’s shoes, I’ve had it on me all the time*.’ And for new redheads, “it’s really OK that you chose it yourself.” (*The author, Roach, is a natural red-head.)

http://www.azcentral.com/ent/pop/articles/0712redhead0712.html

Okay, it occurs to me that the purple feather wreath and the red hair suggestion might make some think of the “when I am old I will wear purple” poem and the reference to red hats.  I have heard that the purple referred to in this poem refers to eccentricity, and the red refers to attitude. I like this description of the book:  “..its declaration of defiance against convention appeals to all those with a secret desire to throw off the strictures of propriety and set out deliberately to shock and be outrageous.”

So yes, go ahead and associate those attributes with me. Who says you need to be “old” to do that?  I will never be old. I will always be that young girl!  Eccentric?  Perhaps.  Attitude?  You bet!  How about you? What do YOU want to be known for?  We could all take a page from Betty White’s page:  http://blog.music.aol.com/2011/10/13/betty-white-im-still-hot-video/

  • KRISTA ARTISTA GALLERY—Home of the “magic attic” where I teach yoga Thursday evenings!  Come find your own magic!
    Wondering where you, too, can get your own one-of-a-kind piece of magical jewelry to get your own personal mojo on?  Krista Artista Gallery in Anoka has the most unique, one-of-a-kind, well-priced jewelry I have ever run across—and that is saying a whole heck of a lot!  Anoka is also the Halloween capital of the world—bonus!To use the language of the Renaissance—“Get thee to Krista Artista’s!  You shan’t regret it!”  Each week Krista has rearranged her wide variety of hand-crafted temptations to make room for more enticing treasures, and I invariably find several pieces that speak to me—loudly! Yes—I hear voices, doesn’t everyone?I believe that the energy of the crafter is contained within the piece.  Maybe that’s why, when I walk into Krista’s store, I am surrounded with an overwhelming feeling of good juju energy.  Perhaps this is where the “magic” in the attic comes from—or perhaps it’s the huge heart of the owner, Krista, who hand picks each and every item in her amazing store.  She has been a blessing in my life hosting my yoga classes for over a year now as well as the meditation workshops I just completed.  Come find your own magic in her store!

    Krista Artista Gallery features the work of more than seventy local artists, with everything from paintings to pottery, woodcuts to woodturnings, jewelry to glass.  Whether you’re looking for a hand-dyed tablecloth, a one-of-a-kind handbag, or something stunning to hang over your sofa, you’ll find it in our fun and friendly shop. http://www.kristaartistagallery.com/

    So how will your magic manifest in your life?  You get to choose.  The power of your transformation lies in the form of your intent.  Intend now to create your own magic.  Remember the magic of the feathers?

    Feathers “remind us constantly that, regardless of appearance, we not only have the capability of flying to new heights, but we each need to do it in the manner that works best for us.” ~ Ted Andrews.

    “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl 

29
September

Crow Pose (Sanskrit Term: Kakasana) Crane Pose (Sanskrit Term: Bakasana)

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Empower Your Yoga Practice
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I chose a bird pose this month since my opening section featured the magic of feathers.  I chose Crow Pose—sometimes referred to as Crane Pose—since crows are associated with magic (the theme of my newsletter), mysticism and mythology! See the possible spiritual benefits of the Crow and the Crane at the end of this section.

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens hands, wrists, arms, elbow joints, shoulders
  • Strengthens the abdominals and tones the abdominal organs
  • Stretches Hip abductors, upper back
  • Stretches and opens the groins
  • Strengthens body/mind connection
  • Stretches and lubricates the joints, tendons, and ligaments of the upper body
  • Increases both physical and mental balance, concentration and tranquility
  • Balances the nervous system
  • Brings lightness to the body
  • Prepares the mind for meditation
  • Activates the solar plexus, third eye and crown chakras
  • “Crow” and “Crane” as totems both activate the throat chakra—your communication chakra (see spiritual aspects below)
  • “Crow” and “Crane” as totems both activate the sacral chakra—your creative energies. (see spiritual aspects below)

Alignment Cues: 

From mountain pose, forward fold and bring your hands to the floor as you bend your knees and turn your toes out slightly. Hug the back of the triceps (upper arms) with the inside of your upper shins. Keep your gaze forward with neck soft and abdominals strong.  A forward gaze helps you keep your balance vs. drop forward.  Stay rounded in the back (I’m still trying to master that!) as you tilt forward and lift onto the balls of the feet, hugging torso close so that your tailbone stays near your heels. Draw your inner groins deep into your pelvis as you slowly take more weight onto your arms and your feet leave the floor.

This pose is really easier than it looks!  Remember to breath!  It’s so easy to forget and hold your breath while in balance!

Beginner’s tip:  It helps you mentally to place a block or bolster in front of you for your head to have something to fall into as your practice—the floor doesn’t seem so far away! You can also try this pose in stages perhaps starting with no lift of the feet off the floor, then lift one foot at a time, alternating left then right, until you’re ready to fly!  (Not shown)

Modifications: 

  • For wrist support, use a wedge or folded mat under the heels of the hand.
  • Not ready to bend that far down?  Stand with elbows pressed between the knees in an isometric hold. Knees push in while elbows push out.  This will build strength in the arms and buttocks. 

Advanced version or what I usually associate with “Crane/Bakasana pose”:  Keeping elbows tucked in toward the body, work toward straightening your arms. Keep your inner knees glued to outside of arms high up near the armpits.

Side Note on Crane Pose:  I love synchronicities.  In today’s mail, after having completed this portion of my newsletter, I received the November issue of Yoga Journal featuring Jason Crandell in Bakasana (Crane Pose).  I humbly present my asana to you knowing that I am still aiming toward Jason’s version as I listen to my own opening statements when new yoga students are present in my class:  “There is no perfect pose.  Every pose looks different on ‘every body’.  That’s why they call it a yoga ‘practice’ and not a yoga ‘perfect’”.  Someday, perhaps, I’ll get to Jason’s pose!  Awesome! http://www.yogaglo.com/online-class-940-Bakasana-Tutorial.html

Possible Spiritual aspects of Crow pose: Just as with breathwork where you extend the exhalation and dwell in the space between the breaths, use crow pose to dwell in the space where balance is found.  This pulls your concentration inward where there is no past or future, only the present. ~

Crows “have a unique ability to outwit most birds, animals, even humans at times, and they make for themselves a wonderful living. They and their other family member, the raven, have a great mysticism and mythology about them.”

Their striking black color with hints of deep blue or purple contributes to their allure. “Black is the color of creation.  It is the womb out of which the new is born.  It is also the color of the night.  Black is the maternal color and thus black night gives birth to a new day. Although the crow is a diurnal or daytime bird, it reminds us that magic and creation are potentials very much alive during the day.

In Roman mythology crows and ravens were white until they delivered bad news to Apollo and were turned black. “This connection to watchfulness is still strong today.  Crows always have a sentinel posted.  They build their nests high in the treetops so that they can see the entire area in which they are living and feeding.”  They’re here to remind us to be on the watch for magic and creation every day.

Their voice is another quality we all associate with the crow.  This reflects their ability to warn.  While most wouldn’t associate their voice as song, they are a member of the songbird family.  Crow reminds us to sing our own song with no thought toward needing the approval of others.  It is not by our doing that we are deemed “acceptable”. We are already acceptable by our very nature. We are all songbirds—each and every one—regardless.  Accept that you are magical.  Accept that you are here to create.

“Wherever crows are, there is magic.  They are symbols of creation and spiritual strength.  They remind us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life.  They are messengers to us about the creation and magic that is alive within our world everyday and available to us.”

Possible Spiritual aspects of Crane pose:  A powerful Chinese symbol of justice and longevity.  Being a bird of the water, crane teaches us to express your own feminine energies (Sacral chakra). Whooping crane has been a symbol of wildlife conservation. “If the crane has shown up in your life as a totem, it could very well reflect that you are about to recover what had almost become extinct within you.”—Perhaps the magic of the “real you”?

The crane lays two eggs but usually raises only one, reflecting the importance of undivided attention upon your primary goal.  Like the voice of the crow, the loud “whooping” sound of the crane is an attribute we associate with the crane, “reminiscent of a primal celebration over birth.  The crane can teach you how to celebrate your creative resources and keep them alive, regardless of the conditions in which they are manifest, both by simply having the proper focus in your life.”

Source:  Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews.

Contraindicated for:

  • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or wrist injuries
  • Pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure

(Sources:  http://www.emaxhealth.com/62/8049.html
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/468

28
September

Coupler Pull: This is a simple technique to bring your emotions, mind, and body into harmony.

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
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This “meditation on the go” is similar to the “Hand Mudra” featured below for “empowering your voice” which I chose for its emphasis on “empowerment”—one of the themes from my opener.  It is part of my meditation workshop.  Enjoy!

Coupler Pull:  This is a simple technique to bring your emotions, mind, and body into harmony.  You can do it any time you feel out of balance or off center.

  1.  Bring the palms of your hands together lining up the wrist creases and then melting your hands together lining up the palms and fingers.  If you are out of balance, one hand’s fingertips will appear slightly higher than the other—longer.
  2. Bring both hands in front of your chest, one palm up, the other palm down, interlocking your curled fingers.
  3. Now pull them apart to create a slight tension but keep a firm hold and maintain that pull as we go on.
  4. Inhale and raise the hands above your head, maintaining that pull and holding for seven seconds.
  5. Exhale and bring your hands down, maintaining that pull and releasing only after you’ve brought the hands to chest level again.  Switch hand positions, interlocking opposite sides and repeat the above—inhaling as you raise them with the hold above your head for seven seconds, then exhaling as you bring them down to chest level and release.
  6. Now re-check the length of your hands and fingers as when we started.  They should now be the same length.

Source:  The Natural Face-Lift, by Linda Burnham, N.D.

If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes.  Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com (http://betterdayyoga.com/), for details.

27
September

If you are familiar with chakras, then you can tell from my logo that I love chakras.  The rainbow-colored spheres within my logo are representative of the chakra system within the body.

If you are unfamiliar, here’s a quick lesson:  There are seven energy centers called chakras (literally “wheels”) that store energy/life force/prana.  They are along the spinal column and correlate to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column.  Each has a different relationship to a gland in the body’s endocrine system.  Each stimulates different organs and systems in the body.  Hatha Yoga activates these energy centers releasing the energy that flows through the spine.  Yoga helps these energy centers/nerve bundles to function correctly clearing blocks that may be there.  Each chakra also is associated with a mental/emotional focus.  In each newsletter I’ll highlight how you can work with a particular chakra to correspond with the season.

I chose the third eye chakra this month because it is the center of the true self.  “Your true self will attract unlimited resources, power, and compassion to realize your destiny.”  www.AlohaBay.com Ajna (Third eye chakra) candle for abundance.

This month I focus on creating your own empowerment and magic.  This chakra is also often associated with the color purple/violet—the color of my feathers in the wreath headdress—or indigo blue, the hints of which are in the crow feathers—my magical yoga pose this month.

Creating your own enchanted life by dropping the barriers to your real/ideal/higher self is what the third eye chakra energy teaches us. A healthy third eye chakra means you are the master of yourself.  You show the real you to the world.  You rely on your own energy to manifest your life.  You need no one else’s approval or energy.

As I searched for the image for the third-eye chakra, this one jumped out at me for several synchronistic reasons. The energy of feathers encompasses the throat/communication chakra, as outlined earlier with my purple feather wreath. (Goose feather quills were the first writing elements.)  The yoga poses for the month also activate the communication chakra, and Thoth (the central character in this image) is associated with writing—a form of communication. He is credited with being the inventor of writing in ancient Egypt.

Along with Thoth, appears the symbol for the Goddess Isis (the protective eagle wings at the top of the image). There are those feathers again!  Both Isis and Thoth are Egyptian religious figures and both are associated with magic—this month’s theme.

The Eye of Horus (a powerful symbol of healing and protection in ancient Egypt) completes the image at the bottom—often associated with the “third eye”. The Eye of Horus is also known as the Eye of Ra.  Isis, the mother of Horus, convinced Ra to share his “secret name” which entitled her to receive a complete understanding of high magic.

Meditation activates the third eye chakra. It was during my morning meditation today that I had the insight to incorporate Isis in my newsletter this month, but I wasn’t sure how and dismissed the idea. Then this image for the third-eye chakra popped up in my search.  I knew it was meant to be. I’ve learned to accept these insights I receive as inclinations for which path to follow.  I’ve learned this through my third eye/intuition chakra.

Why Isis?  Along with the Blessed Virgin Mary (my mantra in my morning meditation is the “Hail Mary”/ “Ave Maria” salutation), I believe Quan Yin, Tara, Athena, White Buffalo Woman, Lakshmi, and yes Isis, among others, all embody the “Divine Mother”—the loving, nurturing, magical healing energy. I believe they are different representations of the same energy and embody different forms so they’ll appear in the correct form for you to accept.  We are only open to that which we believe in—yes?  So why wouldn’t “Divine Mother” energy embody many forms for all the world to appreciate?

Knowing that Isis is also known as the “Lady of Magic” was my first thought on how to include her in this month’s newsletter—this newsletter has a magical theme after all.  Then all the other connections came out as I wrote.  It was kismet.  You don’t have to believe me when I say that sometimes I feel the newsletter is dictated to me.

I really had no idea when I woke this morning as to which chakra I would highlight this month.  I wasn’t even sure when I had the inclination to use Isis in the newsletter. I didn’t associate Isis with the third eye chakra. It was the image for the third-eye chakra that tied it all together.

I always burn a candle when I write my newsletters.  Lighting a candle  invites spirit in. I always knew this “intuitively” and have been lighting candles to create a meditative moment for years. I chose the Ajna candle this morning because the quote on it, referenced earlier, echoed the theme in my opener to find your true self by finding what makes you feel magical and empowered. It is a purple candle—the color of my magical feather wreath.  I wondered then if it was a sign to highlight this chakra this month.

Again, I didn’t associate Isis with the third eye chakra.  It was the image for the third eye chakra that tied it all together.  I am still in wonder of it all.

By explaining how I chose this month’s chakra, I’ve explained how to follow your intuition, your third eye.  Being open to receive guidance is the first step.  Learn to honor and respect the flashes of insight you receive.  Don’t discount them as imaginings. Remember sometimes the Universe talks in subtleties.  If you aren’t looking for them, they won’t “land” in you.  They’ll go by unnoticed.  Let me remind you of the Yoga Quote appearing at the top of the newsletter:

“That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” ~ Charles de Lint

Your intuition is magic.  Your third eye chakra contains magic!  And it’s all within you!

 —Breathwork and Visualization: 

“Picture Isis standing behind you with her eagle wings extended, as if you have wings yourself.  As you breathe, feel her powers infused within you.  Notice the loving and graceful energy of her strength. Be aware of the blissful feelings of peace as you say:

“Beautiful Isis, goddess of peaceful power, please infuse me with your graceful strength and your loving confidence. Help me be like you:  refined, poised, confident, and loving.  Help me soar like an eagle in all ways.  Inspiring and helping others as I fly high.  Thank you.”

Source:  Archangels and Ascended Masters.  A Guide to Working and Healing with Divinities and Deities, by Doreen Virtue, PhD.

Affirmations

  • I believe I am unlimited in my capacity for joy, healing and happiness.
  • The abundance of the universe is always available to me.
  • I open myself to new energy, new people, places and experiences.
  • I live in the light of my truth and I accept what I know.
  • I know I am full of grace, light and love.
  • I create clarity of mind and unlimited vision for myself.
  • I trust that my life is unfolding exactly as it should.
  • I am wise, intuitive and aligned with my highest good.
  • Every situation is an opportunity for growth and healing.
  • I live in the light of my higher mind and allow it to illuminate my life.
  • I seek wisdom and guidance in all situations.
  • I am the source of truth and love in my life.

Sources:  http://inspirationsatsang.blogspot.com/2010/06/sixth-chakra-affirmations.html

Diet and the Third-eye Chakra: 
Since meditation is the best way to access the sixth chakra, there are some that say the best diet would be less food, or fasting if it’s appropriate for your health. Never fast to lose weight.  (Always check with a doctor before any diet, and especially if you are going to try any type of fasting.)  Other ways of bringing it into balance include eating intentionally, focusing on your food while you are eating, talking about the food you are eating with those you share meals with, etc.

Foods that nourish the sixth chakra include:  Spices such as caraway, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, and many others.  Dark blue/purple foods containing antioxidants which destroy free radicals in the body include eggplant, purple kale, blueberries, figs, plums, purple grapes, raisins, among others.  Black currants (in addition to blueberries already mentioned) are known to benefit the eyes.

Caffeine, chocolate and alcohol can overly stimulate the sixth chakra when consumed to excess.  I know, I know.  I love dark chocolate covered almonds, but there’s something to be said for stopping after a few.

Aromatherapy and the Third-eye Chakra:  Frankincense, Basil (surprisingly relaxing), Holy Basil, lemon, juniper, sandalwood, rosemary, rose geranium, and lavender

If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils™ which are therapeutic, food-grade oils.  Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing a favorite scent and I can add your request to my personal monthly order.  Essential oils raise the vibrational frequency of the body. When the vibrational frequency of the body drops, we become more receptive to ill health: http://justalist.blogspot.com/2008/03/vibrational-frequency-list.html. Therapeutic-grade essential oils are great to have in your arsenal of health promoting natural products.

Gem therapy and the Third-Eye Chakra:  Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras.  For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy.  Nothing is really solid.  Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies?  At the very least, I find that holding a favorite stone is like a talisman for me, or a “worry stone”.  As my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, likes to say, “If it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take two”.

Some Third-Eye Chakra gems are:  Lapis lazuli azurite, sodalite, quartz crystal, diamond, emerald, sapphire, azurite, larimar, amethyst, cat’s eye or tiger’s eye.

If gem therapy interests you, you can find a great selection at www.crystallinelight.com or you can also link to her Web site from my links page at www.betterdayyoga.com.  I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products!

Yoga poses for the Third Eye Chakra:

All yoga poses are essentially grounding and activate the chakras.  The yoga pose of the month, crow/crane pose—as do all balancing poses—activates the third eye chakra.  They prepare you for meditation. Meditation, visualization, and breathwork/pranayama also activate the third eye chakra.  Other Yoga poses that stimulate the sixth chakra include, headstand prep/dolphin pose, downward facing dog, child’s pose; and if headstand is in your practice, headstand pose.

Image Source:  http://www.algonet.se/~anki-p/anubis-eyes.jpg

26
September

Mudra for Empowering Your Voice

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Hand Mudra
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Mudra means “seal” in Sanskrit.  It’s a symbolic or ritual gesture using primarily the hands.  Each position is believed to have a specific effect.  Specific positions can lead to specific states of consciousness symbolized by the hand positions.  For example, if a person frequently and with feeling does a position of fearlessness, they will also be freed from fearfulness in time.  Mudras are said to engage areas of the brain and/or soul influencing them, sometimes physically, by their use—not unlike an affirmation, or reflexology for that matter.

“One way that all of us can better care for ourselves is by developing techniques for coping with the irritations and anxiety that are part of life…

Think of these gestures as self-talk for your hands. These simple movements, the gestures that we often make unconsciously, can help us focus on our work, calm ourselves, release anger and energize us. Used for centuries by many different cultures, mudras are seen in Eastern dance and meditation, in ancient Egyptian friezes, even in Byzantine icons of Christ. Most of us use them today, too: we wave goodbye, we press a hand to our chest in distress, we wriggle our fingers to release energy, or press fingertips together to calm ourselves.

Easy to learn, mudras can be done anywhere, at any time: at traffic lights, in meetings, in airplanes, when we’re arguing, when we’re grieving, when we need to prepare for sleep. The word mudra can be translated from the Sanskrit as that which brings inner peace, and that s what mudras are: a physical means of quieting our bodies.”  Product description for Mudras: Ancient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress by Emily Fuller Williams.

A great video about mudras:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7-iXzMdfIs&feature=player_embedded#at=147

Mudra for Empowering Your Voice

This month’s focus is on creating your own magic and empowerment. “Crow” and “Crane” pose activates the throat/communication chakra energetically when meditating on “Crow” and “Crane” as a totem.  I chose the mudra for empowering your voice.

Mudra: Sit with straight back.  Bend your elbows and hold them parallel to the ground as you bring your hands up in front of you at the level of your throat. Turn the right palm outward and the left palm toward you.  Now bend your fingers and hook your hands together, the left hand on the outside.  Pull on the hands as if trying to pull them apart, keeping your shoulders down.  Continue for three minutes, relax, and sit still.  Breathe long deep and slow.Source:  Power Mudras, Yoga Hand Postures for Women, by Sabrina Mesko.

See the “Coupler Pull” in the “Meditation on the go” section above for a meditation similar to the mudra above.

25
September

Ascended Masters Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Featured Card Deck and Quote
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I love affirmations and use “oracle” decks to provide a positive boost in the morning or whenever I need a lift.  It’s my way of telling the Universe I’m open to listening to their message:  “Have at it!”  “I’m listening!”  “Tell me more!”  I hope you enjoy as I introduce some of my favorite cards and quotes in my newsletters!  These make great gifts for any occasion as well as can be used as inspirational hand-outs in class if you are a yoga instructor.

I chose this month’s deck after I decided to include Isis in my newsletter.  (See the Chakrascope section above.)  Doreen Virtue’s cards and books (of which I own many) have piqued my interest in Egyptian lore, among many, many other subjects!  Doreen introduced me to the magic of Isis, Thoth, and the Eye of Horus featured in the Chakrascope section.  Enjoy getting to know Isis and Horus a little better as the featured cards for yourself!

Description:  By popular demand, Doreen Virtue has created a beautiful deck of cards based on her best-selling book Archangels & Ascended Masters. (Yes I own that too!  Great book!  And it has even more about Isis, Horus, and Thoth!) The deck includes gorgeous paintings of 44 male and female cross-cultural deities, such as Ganesha, Merlin, Saint-Germain, Apollo, Pallas Athena, White Buffalo Calf Woman, Jesus, Moses, Yogananda, Green Man, and Kuthumi. The enclosed guidebook gives expanded explanations of each card’s meaning, and a brief history of each ascended master. As with each of Doreen’s oracle-card decks, the messages for each card are positive, accurate, and life-affirming.


Card #1:  You Are Seeing the Situation Accurately—Horus

Trust your feelings about this situation, because they are accurate and valid.  Let go of self-doubt, even in the face of others’ opinions.  Your spiritual sensitivity has helped you see the truth.  Although it may be easier to go along with the crowd, or to shrink to apathy, you’re called upon to take decisive action.  You already know what to do.  Even if people aren’t supporting you, know that Spirit is.  Other people will soon come around to your point of view.  In the meantime, assume a leadership role.

Additional meanings for this card:  Trust your intuition and gut feelings.  Ignore critics, naysayers, or skeptics.  Avoid situations or relationships that don’t feel right to you.  Only you know what is correct for you.

Horus is the Egyptian falcon-headed sky and sun god whose parents were Osiris and Isis.  He was conceived after his mother brought his father back from the dead with the help of the sun god, Ra.  One of Horus’s eyes was injured during a battle of revenge for this father’s death.  This is why Horus is represented with one large and clear-seeing eye.  You can call upon Horus for help with spiritual or physical sight, including insight into the truth about situations.

Card #2:  Balance Career and Home Life—Isis

You drew this card as a reminder to keep balance in your life. You can do this more easily than you may imagine.  You already know which part of your life is lopsided, and you may be feeling symptoms of burnout from this imbalance.  You can rapidly shift your energy in positive ways by devoting time each day to your priorities.  Even 30 minutes a day spent in meaningful ways will lift your mood, moral, and motivation.

Additional meanings for this card:  Play is a much-needed requirement for you right now.  Make sure that your needs are being met.  Delegate work to others.  Say no to unrealistic demands upon your time.  Be honest with yourself and keep healthy boundaries in your work and home life.  Spend more time devoted to activities that make your heart sing with joy.

Isis demonstrated a perfectly balanced life as a great spiritual teacher and devoted wife and mother (to Osiris and Horus, respectively). Isis is a much-revered Egyptian goddess who symbolizes feminine strength and power.  She can help you find enough time and energy to enjoy all aspects of your life, if you’ll ask for her assistance.

About the author:  Doreen Virtue holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in counseling psychology; and is a lifelong clairvoyant who works with the angelic realm. Doreen is the author of Healing with the Angels, How to Hear Your Angels, Messages from Your Angels, Archangels & Ascended Masters, Solomon’s Angels, and the Archangel Oracle Cards, among other works. Her products are available in most languages worldwide.

Doreen has appeared on Oprah, CNN, The View, and other television and radio programs; and writes regular columns for Woman’s World, New Age Retailer, and Spirit & Destiny magazines. For more information on Doreen and the workshops she presents, please visit www.AngelTherapy.com.

You can listen to Doreen’s live weekly radio show, and call her for a reading, by www.HayHouseRadio.com®
Please visit her Website: www.AngelTherapy.com®

You can buy your very own deck of cards at: http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=3047

There’s even an Ascended Oracle Cards App.:  http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=4809

In my very first newsletter, November 2009, I highlighted one of my favorite decks—a wonderfully whimsical, inspiring, thought-provoking Enrichuals© deck, created by local author, artist and creativity coach, Suzanne Vadnais Monson.  Refer to this link:  http://betterdayyoga.com/nov09.htm for a sample card.  Suzanne has graciously agreed to let me make them available on Better Day Yoga’s product page online!  http://betterdayyoga.com/products.htm

24
September

Health Buzz: Yoga Calms Irregular Heartbeat

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News
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Study: Yoga Reduces Episodes of Atrial Fibrillation

Doing the downward dog could help calm a dangerously fast heartbeat. New research suggests that yoga nearly halves episodes of atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm condition that affects millions and increases the likelihood of stroke. In a small study, 49 patients ages 25 to 70 who had atrial fibrillation spent 45 minutes doing yoga three times a week for three months. During that time, participants experienced an average of 2.1 episodes of atrial fibrillation, compared to 3.8 episodes during the three months prior to beginning yoga.

They also showed fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression related to their condition, according to findings presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans. “It appears yoga has a significant impact on helping to regulate patients’ heartbeat and improves the overall quality of life,” study author Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, an associate professor with the University of Kansas Hospital, told Reuters. However, it’s no replacement for standard medical therapy, he warned: “Based on my findings, one should not tell patients that yoga will fix everything and they can stop taking their anticoagulants. Yoga is strictly a supplement for everything else they are doing medically.”

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/heart/articles/2011/04/04/health-buzz-yoga-calms-irregular-heartbeat

as well as:

“Advanced yogis for a long time have disproven the idea that heart rate is automatically determined by physiological need,” noted Dr. Scott Shurmur, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.We know that meditation, yoga etc, really do provide some conscious altering of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This is the first time I’ve seen results on atrial fibrillation and its tangible evidence.”

“Absolutely, yoga can play a role in the management of atrial fibrillation,” says Dr. Louis Teichholz, medical director of the cardiac service and chief of complementary medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, who points to the breathing component of yoga — especially Prana yoga — as the key ingredient.

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/651544.html

23
September

Braised Cabbage with Sausage

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Delicious Recipes À la Christine
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One of my dearest friends cooks, bakes, and grills like a professional chef.  She loves to chop vegetables, says things like “ramekins” and has her own tablecloth named after her—The Christine—for purchase at The Palate in Stockholm, WI:  http://www.thepalate.net/.  Preparing food has been her passion since before my husband and I met Christine and her husband, Mark, over 15 years ago.  It has been our good fortune to be the lucky recipients of many delicious meals and absolutely wonderful times in their home.  Since I am all about following our passion, this is my way of letting her have an outlet for hers.  Enjoy!

By now you probably get that I am 100% Polish, and pretty darned proud of it.  So when Christine sent this, I immediately thought of my mom’s many, many polish dishes that included sausage and cabbage.  She would have loved this recipe, and I would have eaten more than my fair share.  It was like getting a little bit of home sent to me when I received this recipe.

Let’s talk cabbage! Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits. More than 475 studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. The three types are (1) antioxidant richness, (2) anti-inflammatory richness, and (3) richness in glucosinolates.

Digestive Tract Support

Long-established in health research is the role of cabbage juice in helping heal stomach ulcers (called peptic ulcers), but more recent studies on cabbage have looked at the overall health benefits of this food for the stomach and digestive tract as a whole.

Cardiovascular Support

You can count on cabbage to provide your cardiovascular system with valuable support in the form of cholesterol reduction.” http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=19&tname=foodspice#healthbenefits

P.S.  One more thing….when Christine’s recipe below suggests various sausages, you’d BETTER pick Polish!  Trust me—it’s the best!

Braised Cabbage with Sausage

1 small head red or green cabbage shredded
2 carrots shredded
1 stalk celery finely chopped
1 small red onion cut in half and then thinly sliced
1 small apple cut in 1/2 inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider or juice
4 pieces of sausage (bratwurst, knockwurst, polish etc.)

Place sausage in a skillet and add 1 inch of water to pan and a drizzle of olive oil. Turn heat to medium and steam sausage uncovered until water evaporates about6 minutes. The sausage will brown in the pan. Turn sausage until browned evenly.

Sauté all vegetables in olive oil on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and apple cider. Sauté for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon cabbage on plate and top with sausage.

22
September

The Healing Music Series Sampler

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Featured Yoga Music/DVD
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Since Thoth was the central figure in the image I chose for highlighting the third-eye chakra and I highlighted Isis and Horus in the Featured cards above, I thought I’d provide a bit more history on Thoth here.  I already mentioned Thoth association with writing and magic, but he was also thought to rule over healing and music, among many other things.  http://www.book-of-thoth.com/sections-viewarticle-678.html.  So in the spirit of honoring his connection to healing and music, I offer this month’s CD—a healing music series sampler.  I love all the artists featured, but am most familiar with Steve Halpern who’s CD’s I sell online at http://betterdayyoga.com/products. “Experience the healing power of music.”

Product Description:

The Healing Music Series Sampler features selections from 12 of the label’s artists, including Kay Gardner, Jim Oliber, Boris Mourashkin, Steven Halpern, Jorge Alfano, Amit Chatterjee, Deuter and Dr. Jeffery Thompson. To the uninitiated, each artist might sound remarkably similar, but the disc still functions as a good introduction to the soothing new age sounds of the Healing Music Series.

You can hear the full CD during one of my yoga classes, or listen to clips and purchase it for your own listening pleasure at:

http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Music-Sampler-Various-Artists/dp/B00000C40R

21
September

Vita Bella Health & Wellness is expanding!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magical Events at Better Day Yoga LLC
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At Vita Bella we offer a holistic approach to revitalize your whole being by addressing the mind, body, emotional and spiritual self.  Services include: aromatherapy, brain gym, emotional release, yoga, meditation/breathwork classes, and facial exercise classes.

Exciting news! 

  • I am partnering with TeriLeigh Schmidt on the “Prana Pages” blog soon to be embedded into both of our websites.  Take an early peak at:  http://terileighblog.blogspot.com/
  • Yogamint has invited me to start a series of articles on numerology’s influence in our yoga practice and our lives! Stay tuned for a link to the first of the series!

Vita Bella Health & Wellness Center is expanding!

Do you need a home base to provide your holistic health service to the community?  Do you have a passion for health & wellness?  Vita Bella Health & Wellness Center offers beautifully decorated, fully furnished common areas, ample free parking, easy on/easy off highway access in a quiet, Little Canada neighborhood.  Ideal for acupuncturist, ayurvedic practitioner, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc.  Come meet your future colleagues and start or expand your holistic health career today!  Serious inquiries only, please contact Sandy at 612 708 6900 or Kari at 763-785-4600.  Rent starting at $250/month.

“Acting is magical. Change your look and your attitude, and you can be anyone.” ~ Alicia Witt