Tag Archives: August 2011

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July

“If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.”~ Yogi Bhajan

Written by Sandy. Posted in: 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 (to be Posted 8/9/11), Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.

Namasté,

Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

Yoga quote:  “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.”~ Yogi Bhajan

A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the CEO of Yogamint LLC, Hari Bhajan Khalsa.  If that company name rings a bell to my readers, it’s because I reference this absolutely wonderful resource often in both my newsletter and my Better Day Yoga Facebook page.  I signed up for their emails some time ago and have enjoyed every last one of them. You can sign up for the emails on their home page:  http://www.yogamint.com/.

As I read about Hari Bhajan Khalsa in preparation for the interview, what amazed me the most was the many paths she has taken in her life.  Now I know we all have similar versions of our various paths in life, but dear reader, I know that mine is nowhere near as interesting as hers:  Dressage, Life Coach, improv, published poet, wife, mother, and currently Yogamint LLC “CEO”—that’s Chief Enlightenment Officer, thank you!  She would, of course, emphatically deny that her life is any more special than anyone else’s, and perhaps that’s another endearing quality of this enchanting lady.  She walks her talk.

Did you get stuck on dressage?  So did I.  She describes it as gymnastics of the horse or “doing yoga with the horse”.  After reading the definition I found online, I’d have to agree:  “The method of training a horse to perform maneuvers in response to the rider’s body signals.”  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dressage.  It’s a competition in the Olympics—a bona fide sport.  Who knew?  Fifteen years and three horses later, she has an immense love of horses.  Having never been an athlete, working with horses gave her a sense of confidence and fearlessness.

I can count the number of times I’ve sat upon a horse on one hand.  Each time someone much more qualified than I was nearby to monitor.  Two of those times I was part of a trail of horses going for a trail ride.  I fell off the horse on the first one—cut me some slack!  My sunglasses fell off and I had to get off the horse to get them, didn’t I?  Then when I tried to get back on the saddle, the horse moved on me and I fell off—into a cactus!

The second time I was with a group that included my husband.  All of a sudden he flew by on his horse toward the ocean at top speed.  I could hear the others commenting on what an experienced rider he must be going that speed.  I was the only one who knew his horse had to be out of control since he’d never been on a horse before and also couldn’t swim.  So flying toward the ocean on a speeding horse was not something he’d initiated!  So that’s why they made us wear helmets!

So, yes, I could see how working with these amazing creatures, honing your ability to communicate with the horse through subtle movements, could increase not only self-confidence but also promote fearlessness.  Sure beats landing in a cactus or headed for water over your head!  Hari Bhajan doesn’t ride anymore.  But horses are a part of her.  She says “A special something happens” in her heart when she sees a horse.  Now that is something we can all relate to.

How about you?  Is there some skill or hobby you’ve always wanted to try?  Maybe you admire someone else who’s already doing it?  Do you love horses and want to commune with horses as Hari Bhajan did?  Take the first step!  I wrote about this subject in my April, 2010 newsletter:

Maybe you love horses, but don’t own one and/or have never ridden one. Find a petting zoo, a horse riding club, or horse sanctuary to go to. There’s a wonderful wild horse sanctuary in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a day’s drive away from the Twin Cities (http://www.wildmustangs.com/) that I recommend highly. They have a wonderful tour, and you’ll fall in love with all the horses in their natural environment.

Minnesotan’s can try http://www.horserentals.com/minnesota.html and take to the trails on a horse! Locally, there’s also River Valley Riders (http://www.rivervalleyriders.org/) which is a therapeutic horseback-riding and carriage driving program serving people with special needs. Try the Renaissance Festival late summer and watch some jousting. Just be around what you love and listen to your heart sing!

Want to combine yoga and horsemanship?  Hari Bhajan got me to thinking what a great combo yoga and horsemanship would be.  Of course I didn’t need to look far.  I even found a Kundalini Yoga instructor doing it.  To schedule Yoga Ride Retreats in your area:

Malika and Veronica are available to conduct Yoga Ride Retreats world-wide. Scheduling now for 2011-12.  Please contact us to schedule an exciting, personally fulfilling and healing yoga retreat for riders at an equestrian facility in your area.
http://montanahorsecenter.com/education/yoga-for-riders/  Another great site I found is:  http://www.gallopingyoga.com/gallopingyoga-training.html.

It’s amazing how I always get a timely email from Yogamint as I’m writing my newsletter:

Get With Your Program What’s Calling You?

It’s the excitement you feel when you listen to a solo violinist or read a book by your favorite author, inspiring you to get up and follow in their footsteps. It’s why you never miss a yoga class and enjoy making hand-made gifts for your loved ones. It’s something that makes your heart sing and your toes tap, and most importantly, doing it fulfills you. It’s where you belong and maybe even what makes you unique. This is what’s known as a “calling” and it’s what wants to happen in your life.

If you’re living like a square peg in a round hole—doing data entry when you’d rather be dancing, selling real estate when you’d rather be eco-farming—heed your calling! Start by acceptingyour present work and consciously acknowledge it’s time to move on. Next, write down exactly what is calling you. Then get into action: take a class, subscribe to a trade magazine, join a club or mentor with an expert. As you begin to embody and nurture your calling, it will surely manifest—so go for it! http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3930137/Get_With_Your_Program

Moving on!  True to her “MO”, when Hari Bhajan decided to train as a Life Coach, she immersed herself 110%.  She was coached herself, took all the classes and seminars and knew that she would use these skills forever.  She knew she wanted to teach and speak more, but public speaking made her uncomfortable—as it does for many of us!  So she tried a more formal training in public speaking and found it too boring.

Someone recommended she try improvHow do you know when the path is the right one for you?  When you’re a Kundalini yoga teacher and your new improv teacher ends up synchronistically being a Kundalini practitioner.  He greeted her as she walked in the door with “Sat Nam!”—the common Sanskrit greeting used in Kundalini yoga.  (More on that later!)  “Larry” told her that Kundalini yoga saved his life and he became like a brother to her.

She considers the concepts Larry taught as life concepts:  “Being in the moment, saying ‘Yes’ more often, daring to suck and perhaps to fail.  It was, at times, tortuous.” She loved it.  Just hearing her talk about Larry, it’s obvious that she has an undying gratitude for the energy he brought to class and her life.

How about you?  Remember my theme last month was looking at what you defined as “uncomfortable” and deciding if that was a habit you wanted to keep or kick to the curb?  Tried anything “tortuous” lately? Dared to suck and perhaps fail?  You just may find that you love it when all is said and done. 

Wondering whether the path you’ve chosen is the right one?  Take a page from Hari Bhajan and follow the synchronicities.  The Universe will cajole you toward where you need to be by the “God-winks”.  For a short, fun video on “What’s a God-wink?” go to: 
http://www.beliefnet.com/Video/Godwink-Stories/2009/04/What-Is-A-Godwink.aspx

Speaking of “God-winks”—A Vedic Astrology reading acknowledged she had “writing” in her future.  The astrologer referred her to a friend to pursue her writing interest further if she so chose.  Shortly after that she just happened to be talking with a cranio-sacral therapist at her husband’s chiropractic office.  She mentioned her astrology reading with an emphasis on “writing” in her future. He responded with “I have a friend,” and referred her on to the exact same guy the astrologer had referred her to!  “God-wink” serendipity strikes again!  Similar to her improv teacher, this connection became a beloved mentor who “brought so much out of her”.

Oh—wondering what “Vedic Astrology” is?  I’m glad you asked!  Yogamint.com has your answer, of course!

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_2990070/Make_the_Planets_Your_Own?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2535827&ObjectID=2990070&ObjectType=35

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_2842350/Astrology_for_Yogis?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2535827&ObjectID=2842350&ObjectType=35

The astrology reading and her new mentor led her to go back to school—after a 30-year hiatus from school

As she puts it, she didn’t “decide” to go back to school, really.  As emphasized earlier, she believes in signs.  When she knows something is directing her she has to listen to it.  During the summer of 2003 she saw some ads for schools in her poetry magazines and checked out a couple.  Then she saw a summer workshop opportunity.  On a spur of the moment decision, she submitted poems to be considered for the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Summer Workshop (http://www.squawvalleywriters.org/).  She mailed her submission literally the day before it was due—via FedEx.  It was a one-week workshop of esteemed writers.  There were 400-plus applicants and only 60 were accepted.  When she got the acceptance e-mail she broke into tears—the “nod” from the Universe overwhelmed her.  The workshop “changed her whole perspective—her whole universe.”  Her life totally shifted.  There was so much to know and learn.  Time to finish her degree!

Hari Bhajan needed 30 more credits to graduate for her bachelors.   She chose the Vermont College of Fine Arts and flew to Vermont (http://www.vermontcollege.edu/about) every six months for two incredible years—a total immersion—Learning, meeting, challenging

“Every blade of grass has an Angel bending over it saying, ‘grow’ ‘grow’” ~ The Talmud (ancient Jewish text).

Have you been listening to YOUR personal Angel guides?  What “spur of the moment” decisions do you hear calling you?  Are you listening?  Maybe they aren’t just “spur of the moment”.  Those urgings have been there a while, haven’t they?  That restlessness you feel is not just boredom.  It’s YOUR Angels telling YOU to “Grow!”  “Grow!” 

Take the leap!  Throw your hat in the ring!  Be the source of your own manifestations!  Acknowledge that you are ready and give the Universe a chance to respond, “Yes! It is your time because you leapt—because you said I am going to try.  All this time the power was in you to make the net appear by taking the first step.”

“She decided to start living the life she’d imagined” ~Kobi Yamada

College at 50 was “like living through high school again,”  she shared: “It was good to process through what I hadn’t processed through in high school.  The beauty of yoga and meditation is it teaches you to be the observer.  Here I’m 50 and happily married and I’m having things like crushes on guys.  I found myself watching my reactions and saying to myself ‘Isn’t that interesting?  You just acted like you were 16-years-old there.  I can’t believe you said that!  Wow! Where did that come from?’  Through the course of the two years, people died, divorced, and rose to the occasion.  It was a great experience—a memorable experience.”

Wondering if you could go back to school after some time off, or a lot of time off?!  Just remember:  

“If you keep doin’ what you’ve been doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’ve been gettin’!” ~ Zig Ziglar. 

You may hear your “doubting Thomas” voice as your excuse—“Do you have any idea how old I’ll be when I’ve completed that?”…the answer from the Universe comes with a thump on the head—“You’ll be as old as you would have been had you NOT completed that!”

Hari Bhajan’s poems have appeared in over 30 publications with her poem, “I Would Tell You” selected for The Best of the Web 2009.  She has been a fellow at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences and Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

To purchase Hari Bhajan’s poetry book, “Life in Two Parts”, please go to:  http://www.mainstreetrag.com/HBKhalsa.html

When asked if she still writes poetry, she responded:  “With Poetry there are two aspects.  There’s the craft of writing a poem and then there’s being a poet and looking at life as a poet.  The actual craft expands your vocabulary.  Words you use expand in meaning and concept.  There is a beautiful respect for putting words together in a way that evokes meaning.  Being a poet is a huge thing.  I only went so far with it.  It requires such a commitment.  I think you almost have to be in a dream state.  You need to be idle to be a poet.  You need to have an immersion.  You need days, weeks, months to get into that space.  In the business world and all it involves, it’s too hard.”  Read the “Meditation to go” section for her first published poem.

I can relate to Hari Bhajan’s comment about the beautiful respect for putting words together in a way that evokes meaning.  My eldest sister read poems to me when I was young and cried many times as she read them.  Her tears over the meaning of the poems made an impression on me.  Did I feel the emotion toward the poem before she read the poems with tears or did the tears from someone I loved dearly create the emotions?  All I know is I fell in love with poems.

Poems that didn’t rhyme intrigued me the most.  I’d sit outside in my rocking lawn chair reading poems for hours when most kids my age were playing other games.  Some of my friends considered that a bit odd, but I never felt odd.  The poems became some of my closest friends connecting me to myself.  That connection is how poetry and the poets who wrote them enchriched my mind and made me think in ways I never would have otherwise.  With heartfelt gratitude to all the poets, I say “Thank you!”

“If you do not believe in magic, your life will not be magical.  Magic, like the power of Stonehenge, is part of the unknowable—that which you cannot describe, but which exists and makes your life extraordinary.” –The Power Deck, The Cards of Wisdom, by Lynn V. Andrews.

I think as a poet waiting for your muse, you have to be willing to expect magic and whimsy to play through your expression.  YOU are the poet of your life.  Your life is your poem.  What is your muse?  What inspires you?  Expect the magic.  Expect the miracle.  It needs your welcoming invite to make its appearance.  You have to prepare the way. 

Hari Bhajan took the time to immerse herself into writing poetry to find her muse.  Once she found it, she used that as a stepping stone to what was next.  Take the time to immerse yourself into finding your inspiration. Make the commitment to believe in the magic until it finds you.  Believe it and you’ll see it.

At this point you may be wondering about Hari Bhajan Khalsa’s name.  It intrigued me as well.  Hari Bhajan Khalsa is the spiritual name she received from her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, in 1973. 

“In Kundalini Yoga, the spiritual name that you receive is based on your full name, and also the numerology that is associated with your date of birth. Your spiritual name is your challenge but also your destiny. For many it is also the strength that you may not have necessarily learned to harness just yet.

Additionally, a spiritual name is based on Naad Yoga, which can be described as the power of a sound vibration.  Any time we think, speak, chant, or utter a sound, we set a new vibration into motion. That thought, word, or sound may be a vibration of high frequency that serves to elevate us and those around us, or maybe one of a lower vibration that diminishes us and others. In the case of Kundalini Yoga and spiritual names, the experience is of the former.

Each of us has experienced the powerful impact of sound when we have been on the receiving end of hurtful words that have had a lingering harsh effect on our emotional state. A spiritual name based on a high quality sound vibration reinforces and accelerates our progress for our highest destiny. It challenges us to live in highest consciousness and awareness. Your sacred name is one of your first steps in leaving past patterns behind and embracing your spiritual identity.

A spiritual name reinforces and accelerates your progress on your path to your highest destiny. Making the choice to receive a spiritual name (and using it) is taking a rebirth in consciousness. It has positive benefits every time one says it, meditates on it, or hears it.”  http://www.karmicecology.com/body/environment/patty-kikos/1072/change-your-namechange-your-life

Hari Bhajan told me that a name is something to live up to—it’s an identification.  Her name means “Song of God.”  Echoing the sentiments above that your spiritual name reinforces and accelerates your progress toward your highest destiny, she is a writer, speaker, teacher, poet, and CEO of an inspiring, educational website.  She uses her voice to help people change their lives—“Song of God” indeed.

A name representing a spiritual identity is not uncommon.  One of my yoga teachers, TeriLeigh Schmidt has studied extensively with a West African Shaman from the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso, Malidoma Somé.  In the Dagara Tribe there is something known as the hearing ritual—or naming ceremony.  A shaman comes in to help name a newly conceived baby speaking through the voice of the mother.  The baby communicates why they are coming this time.  They communicate their purpose for this new life.

“Malidoma” means “he who would be friends with the stranger/enemy.”  Malidoma was literally kidnapped when he was four and taken to live in the modern world until he was an adult.  When he escaped back to his tribe he was initiated and given the purpose of using his modern-world knowledge to communicate with those that were threatening the Dagara Tribe’s way of life.  He is a bridge between two worlds, a man whose self- expressed goal in life is to convey his knowledge of the spiritual life of his people to the rest of the world.

Malidoma came to the United States originally because the tribal elders said it was where he needed to be. They knew his role in life was to explain the Dagara culture, to be “swallowed” by the West, in order to teach others about the African world. http://www.answers.com/topic/malidoma-patrice-some

There are many traditions for “naming” a child or changing a name.  In Poland, where my parents were born, they name the child after the saint that is celebrated nearest the child’s date of birth fostering a spiritual connection and blessings from the saint.  Also, historically it’s been common to take your husband’s name upon marriage.

Those of us who have changed their name know that it feels different to be called by another name.  With Hari Bhajan Khalsa, or newlywed brides for that matter, the new name represents a new path.  I know from experience that when I started referring to myself as “Krzyzanowski” vs. my maiden name, “Bronicki” it felt very different.  Just as when I refer to myself as “Sandra” vs. “Sandy” there is a difference in both how I feel as well as how I construe others feel toward me.  “Sandy” evokes more warmth and familiarity.  “Sandra” feels like a wall of formality is present.  In all instances, it is an absolute honor and privilege to be part of the family that my names have come from, and I aim to live up to the legacy of my ancestors.

“’When one asks for a spiritual name, that name describes the destiny’ says Yogi Bhajan (Hari Bhajan’s teacher).  This is a particularly poignant thing to remember regardless of whether you are known by your birth name, spiritual name or even pet nickname. The manifestation of your current situation will be shaped by how people address you.” http://www.karmicecology.com/body/environment/patty-kikos/1072/change-your-namechange-your-life.

How about you?  Have you experienced what it feels like to use a different name than your birth name?  Do you have a nickname?  Do you notice how you feel when you are called one vs. the other? 

Changing your name “changes your nature because it changes your behavior.  It changes the vibration of who you are.” ~ TeriLeigh Schmidt.  Choosing to take on a spiritual name carries with it the responsibility of living in accordance with the spiritual path you have chosen.

It is traditional, for Kundalini Yoga Teachers, to wear all white and a white turban. Natural fiber clothing (cotton) allows the body to breathe and is comfortable during yoga. White is good for the body energetically and for the nervous system. Turbans, in particular, are useful for holding energy in, and for creating a meditative focus at the third eye point (brow point). This creates a focus of the functional circuit of the hemispheres, and wearing white tunes the neurological system and electromagnetic field.  Some teachers wear white and some don’t.  Some teachers wear turbans and some don’t.” http://www.kundalini-yoga-info.com/

Hari Bhajan chooses to wear white and does wear a turban.  “I don’t feel right if I have no white in my outfit.”  She echoes the wisdom of her teacher, Yogi Bhajan, when she shared:  “Don’t wear white because I tell you to, or because anyone else tells you too.  Try it for yourself. Wear it for a week and see what happens.”  In her experience, wearing white is not easy!  It can get pretty mess pretty quick!  Can you relate to that?  I feel like I’m tempting fate whenever I wear white!

I shared with Hari Bhajan that I’d read that wearing white was supposed to make you feel younger.  She responded:  “I don’t know if I feel younger or not, but I do feel clearer, cleaner, brighter.”  To which I replied, “If clearer, cleaner, brighter doesn’t define younger, I don’t know what does!”

Aside from esthetics, however, Hari Bhajan shared that “wearing white makes you move more consciously throughout your day.  You are more aware of your space in the world, more aware of your actions.  People view you differently.  You stick out more so you are aware that others are aware of your actions as well. White increases your aura by three feet so your presence becomes bigger.  It’s symbolic.  Of itself, it doesn’t change the world, but Yogi Bhajan always said all three aspects – body, mind, spirit –are involved in everything you do.” For her, taking her spiritual name as well as wearing white honors the Kundalini Yoga teacher lineage and all they stand for.  She truly embodies a connection of mind, body, and spirit—a sentiment her teacher, Yogi Bhajan imparts in his “3HO” foundation—“Happy, Healthy, Holy”.  http://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/yogi-bhajan/  Also see http://yogamint.com/_webapp_3043631/Dress_for_Success for more on wearing white.

“Find the answer in your own words.  Ground yourself in the foundation of your own experience.  You cannot know something until you discover it for yourself.”  ~ Susan Woldman’s Yoga Path Cards. 

“Don’t believe what I say.  Do it.  Experience it.  This call to experience it yourself puts more on the individual to find their own truth.” ~ Hari Bhajan Khalsa. 

Hari Bhajan feels that this is why yoga and meditation are on the rise—the dawning of what many refer to as the “Aquarian Age”—an age where we are learning to rely on our own experience for our truth vs. believing what is told to you by others.  “We need a system to act consciously.”  Yoga and meditation teaches us to observe what is within and to connect with that.

So just how did Hari Bhajan meet her spiritual Kundalini Yoga teacher, Yogi Bhajan?  Her future husband found Yogi Bhajan and started to train with him.  She was not at all sure about this thing called “Kundalini Yoga”, but she was sure about the man that led her to it. (See the Chakrascope section below for more about “Kundalini”.)

She wanted something spiritual vs. hypocritical in her life.  She was resistant at first, but once she started doing Kundalini Yoga, “you can’t help but feel something shift.”  She was hungry for community.  Kundalini Yoga provided it.  Kundalini Yoga “had everything:  Spirit, community, philosophy, relationships, soul—the ‘whole shamoley’,” as she puts it.  She shared that a lot of those like her coming out of the “flower child” culture wanted a revolutionary change in consciousness.  Click here to read her account of how she went “From Hippie Chick to Kundalini Yogi”. (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/03/inhale-up-exhale-down)

She will have been involved with Kundalini Yoga for 40 years next spring.  What a testament!

So yes, she followed her husband “ranting and raving” as she describes herself.  But she shared that her husband’s effervescent patience allowed her to learn her own lesson that—“this stuff is amazing!”  She was 21.  For the story of her transition from “ranting and raving” to “this stuff is amazing”, click here for her account on “The Summer Vacation that Wasn’t:  How My Heart Chakra Cracked open on a Hillside in Elk, CA in 1972.”  (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/04/the-summer-vacation-that-wasnt-how-my-heart-chakra-cracked-open-on-a-hillside-in-elk-ca-in-1972)

Little has changed over the years since she married her husband in January, 1973.  She shared that she still does her share of ranting and raving and he still supports her with effervescent patience and love. Another testament!  I love to share the sentiment that marriage gets better every day.  Her blog from her wedding day in 1973 ended with “We are young. We are in love. We are beginning.” http://www.ourtruetales.com/2007/03/14/our-wedding-january-13-1973/

How about you?  Have you ever gone down a path you were unsure of but a trusted advisor suggested it?  Remember we are not in this world alone.  Our “helper guides” are always around sending us signs and giving us inspiration.  Don’t try to take it all on yourself.  Know that sometimes the Universe uses those that you love and trust to deliver just what you need until you know it for yourself.  Listen to your heart.  Trust that the Universe is on your side. 

It’s good to know there are angels in our midst—even more so when that angel is your husband (or husband-to-be). 

Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for me to cover!  Hari Bhajan’s is “Chief Enlightenment Officer”/CEO of Yogamint, LLC.  Their Website says it best:

About Yogamint.com

“Yogamint is an online spiritual spa for the body, mind and soul. Based on ancient yogic teachings and designed for the fast-pace of today, Yogamint shares information through bite-size articles, or ‘mints,’ that support and energize all aspects of your being.

Visit www.yogamint.com and sign up for your twice-weekly mints, such as: Have a big meeting in five minutes and need to relax? Smile. Did you know smiling affects your mood and tone of voice? Smiling during a conversation not only helps you feel better, but the other person feels better just by seeing and hearing your smile.

The folks at Yogamint all practice Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. You will find that a good portion of what we share on the web site and in the newsletter is derived from this tradition. Because yoga isn’t a brand name, nor does any one group or lineage have a patent on it, and because we ourselves enjoy the fruits of many paths of wisdom, we’ll also be sharing information and inspiration from other yogic, cosmic and wellness traditions that are in harmony with our message. As for our physical location: We’re based in Los Angeles with links to New Mexico, Oregon, the U.K., New Zealand and beyond.” http://www.yogamint.com/about-us

Monthly Videos

I have found their videos to be invaluable.  The “Sign Up” box to receive their “e-mints” appears on each page of their Website, http://www.yogamint.com/.  Go subscribe now!  I’ll wait…Once you subscribe to their “e-mints”, you’ll receive a once-a-month link to a video in one of two categories:

  1. “All Kundalini” presents a meditation demonstration.
    “Your issues are in your tissues” was the July video:  http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3931238/Your_Issues_are_in_Your_Tissues, or
  2. “Food & Flow” presents a video series with vegan cooking and yoga in each monthly episode.
    “The Cool Factor” was the most recent “Food & Flow” video featuring a melon drink and a meditation/yoga practice for emotional balance:
    http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3935994/The_Cool_Factor.
    “Food & Flow” also has a Facebook page. So for more, I suggest you “friend” it!:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Food-Flow/104255402985276?v=wall&sk=wall#!/pages/Food-Flow/104255402985276?sk=wall

Both of the above videos also feature free downloads with the recipes and meditations as well as have links to recommended books for reference on the featured subject!  See the “Hand Mudra” section below for the free download that came as part of the “The Cool Factor” mudra and meditation referenced above.

Bite-size Mints, Cosmic Corner, In Depth

Your emails will also feature “bite-size articles”, or “mints” such as the one referenced earlier in this article called Get With Your Program What’s Calling You?” http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3930137/Get_With_Your_ProgramI reference these wonderful “bite-size mints” often in my newsletters. They cover topics for a healthy lifestyle.

They also have an interesting section called “Cosmic Corner” featuring topics such as the Vedic Astrology one I referenced earlier, tarot cards, or an “astral weather report” for what to expect for the month of August, for example, which appeared in a recent “e-mint”:  http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3931816/Ruled_by_the_Heart

Other meditations, recipes, articles, etc. are covered in their “In Depth” article section:  http://www.yogamint.com/in-depth/all

Whenever you need a moment of refresh-mint, go to the Yogamint Website and click on any mint, article or video and see what you get! Or use the “search” box and look up a topic of your choice.  It’s easy and fun to investigate all that Yogamint has to offer! The challenge will be to stop at one topic!

I promise you’ll love your subscription so much, you’ll be recommending it to friends!  (http://www.yogamint.com/tell-a-friend).    

Teach in a classroom?  Health Practitioner in a clinic?

  1. The supportive, friendly folks at Yogamint will provide a set of free “elevate” postcards featuring one of their “mints”/articles to hand out to your students or clients.  The back side has beautiful graphics with the “Yogamint” yogi in lotus position, hands at “Namaste”/prayer position, and the heading “elevate”. 
  2. Add their widget to your website, which will connect your visitors to one of the many “bite-size mints/article” referenced above:http://www.yogamint.com/widget.html
  3. Use their “mint/articles” as content for your newsletters or blogs or print them out as handouts for your students or clients.  Yogamint invites you to share their content!

Coming soon:  Yogamint Ambassador program!

If you are a teacher in a classroom, or a health practitioner in a clinic, become an advocate of Yogamint and receive soon-to-be-announced perks and benefits of the program.  I would be an advocate without the perks!  So I, for one, can’t wait to see what the generous, supportive, friendly, fantastic Yogamint folks will come up with!  Stay tuned!

Sat Nam

I mentioned earlier that “Sat Nam” is a popular mantra that is used in Kundalini Yoga.  I’ve referred to this mantra in past newsletters. Hari Bhajan uses it as a greeting in her communications as well.  It evoked such a warm feeling of having been blessed when she used it to greet me—surrounding me like a warm hug.  It means “Truth is my identity” or, “I honor your identity and the truth within you all.”

I’ve read that chanting “Sat Nam” awakens the soul and give you your identity as well as balances the five elements (sometimes referred to as: fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature—there are many philosophies that refer to the elements).  In closing my wonderful visit with Hari Bhajan, I asked her to speak to how the recitation of “Sat Nam” has influenced her life:

“I am so grateful for your bringing this up and grateful to Yogi Bhajan for bringing the teachings here.”  She emphasized Yogi Bhajan always said he came to create teachers, making it clear she didn’t “worship” him, nor did he ask his students to.  He shifted a culture of non-awareness.  She and others like her were “so hungry to have the tools.  You need something to sustain you.  ‘Sat Nam’ is two syllables—innocuous—but those two syllables hold the whole world.  Your truth, my truth, identity is truth, the infinite truth, you and I—we are one.  Yogi Bhajan said ‘If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all’.  Having that simple tool—‘Sat Nam’, or writing it, affects you.  Many of us use the “f” word without even thinking about it.  What does it really mean?  Think about THAT.  I’m not judging—been there done that.  Saying ‘Sat Nam’ affects you.  I am grateful for having it in my life.  It is like a gem, a jewel, a diamond to wear.  Gemstones have (energetic) affects—that word/phrase is like a gemstone.  How beautiful.

Hari Bhajan ended with words of encouragement—telling me to keep on doing what I’m doing—that there is no big or bigger. (I had referred to Yogamint being so much bigger then what I’m doing) and she said “everything you do ripples out.”  You have to love this lady!

Today I received another poignant “refresh-mint” from Yogamint that included the same sentiment:  “Every person you touch with a generous act or mannerly deed may potentially pay that kindness forward.  Although unknown to you, the goodwill you send out today will return back to you tomorrow. You may have learned manners in kindergarten, but being polite goes a long way at any age!”

Hari Bhajan Khalsa, you are the gem.  You are an inspiration!  It has been my honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to interview you.  You have touched my heart with your openness and sharing.  I have been so very blessed to have had this small glimpse into your life.  From the bottom of my heart, I say “Thank you!  Sat Nam and Namaste!”

29
July

Kriya by definition is something you do for a definite outcome. In Sanskrit, it means “action, deed or effort.”

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Empower Your Yoga Practice
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Kriya by definition is something you do for a definite outcome.  In Sanskrit, it means “action, deed or effort.”

This month I am focusing on Kundalini Yoga.  I teach Hatha yoga.  Kundalini Yoga is another form of yoga.  Both forms of yoga are meant to increase awareness and increase the energy within the body.  This energy is sometimes referred to as Kundalini energy.  Read more about Kundalini in the “Chakrascope” section this month.

Kriyas are an essential aspect of Kundalini Yoga. So rather than highlight a yoga pose, in general, I’m highlighting the following Kriyas.

I’ve often reminded my readers to approach what I present with an open mind, take what resonates with them, and discard the rest.  I’ve also paraphrased author, Dr. Wayne Dyer, by saying that if I warn you something is about to sound odd, then it’s like a “pass” of sorts.  If you are knew to yoga, and even if you are knew to “Kundalini Yoga”, Kriyas may, at first, seem different than what you’re used to.

I challenge you to remember the first time you learned the steps to a spiritual practice in your personal history. I can still remember my soon-to-be sister-in-law asking me why we kneeled when we did and stood when we did in church. She didn’t understand the process. That may be a bit of a simplistic analogy, but you get the idea.

Just as a forward fold stretches your hamstrings (physical), rejuvenates the nervous system (energetic), grounds you and calms you back to your “center”—connecting you to something “more” (spiritual); Kriyas have similar physical, energetic and spiritual benefits.  And why wouldn’t they?

So if you want more energy, creativity, and prosperity in your life, I suspect you would be willing to find unique ways to invite them in—yes?  Enjoy!

Kriyas are “A series of one or more exercises or postures in combination with pranayama, locks, chanting, visualization, projection, etc., in specific sequence designed to produce specific effects. Kundalini Yoga kriyas are centuries old. The total effect of a kriya is greater than the sum of its parts. ‘Kriya’ literally means ‘work’ or ‘action’.”  http://www.kundaliniyoga.org/basic.html#Kriyas

Don’t forget the importance of warming up prior to doing the set below.  Do a few rounds of sun salutations, march in place, stretch or do any combination of safe warm-up exercises to get the body warm and flexible.

ONG NAMO, GURU DEV NAMO
is the Adi Mantra that precedes Kundalini Yoga practice, tuning one in to the higher self. Ong is “Infinite Creative energy in manifestation and activity”. (“Om” or Aum is God absolute and unmanifested), Namo is “reverent greetings’ implying humility, Guru means “teacher or wisdom”, Dev means “Divine or of God” and Namo reaffirms humility and reverence. In all it means, “I call upon Divine Wisdom”.   http://www.kundaliniyoga.org/mantra.html  Here is a wonderful version to listen to:

KRIYA  –  THREE EXERCISES FOR ENERGY, CREATIVITY AND PROSPERITY (Source:  Kundalini Yoga, by Shakta Kaur Khalsa)

1.      Energize.  Sit in Easy Pose with eyes closed. Bring the arms out to the sides and raise them until they form a “V” shape. The fingers are pressing against the mounds of the palms with the thumbs pointing up. Begin Breath of Fire for 3 minutes (see “Breathwork” in the Chakrascope section for a description of “Breath of Fire”). Inhale and hold the breath. Quickly begin to make fists of the hands, first with the thumbs inside the fists, then outside. Alternate rapidly as you hold the breath for 15 seconds. Then, with the hands in the original position, slowly bring the thumbs together overhead. Time your movement so that the thumbs meet when you can no longer hold the breath. Slowly lower the arms in an arc around you as you exhale deeply. Sit for 1 minute, breathing slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This exercise is revitalizing. It enhances charisma and makes you radiant.

2.      Creativity.  Still sitting in Easy Pose, make hands into fists and bring them to the sides of the body at chest level with the elbows pressed back. Extend your chest out. Take 5 deep breaths, then inhale deeply and hold the breath. With the breath held, begin punching the arms alternately. Get mad! When you cannot hold the breath any longer, exhale. Inhale and repeat the powerful punching motion with the held breath. Exhale. Inhale and repeat 1 more time for a total of 3 times. Then sit, eyes closed and breathe as slowly as you can for 2 minutes. Stretch and relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This exercise activates the fire in you to spark creativity. 

3.      Prosperity.  Sit in Easy Pose. Keep the spine straight. Look at the center of your chin through your closed eyes or look at the tip of your nose through partially closed eyes. Inhale deeply and hold, suspending the breath while you mentally recite, “I am bountiful, I am blissful, I am beautiful.” Exhale all the breath out, then, suspend the breath out as you mentally say, “Excel, excel, fearless.” Practice this for 3 minutes at a time. Feel free to practice 3, 4, or more times a day for 3 minutes each time.
This combination of breathing technique and powerful affirmation opens the mental and vibrational doors to prosperity. 

Benefits:

  • Energize exercise is revitalizing. It enhances charisma and makes you radiant
  • Creativity exercise activates the fire in you to spark creativity
  • Prosperity exercise combination of breathing technique and powerful affirmation opens the mental and vibrational doors to prosperity. 

Contraindicated for:

  • Those with uncontrolled high blood pressure should not hold their breath. Always consult your doctor before attempting any pose to rule out any contraindications which may prevent you from doing it.

Sources:   Kundalini Yoga, by Shakta Kaur Khalsa, as well as:  http://www.shaktakaur.com/kriyas/three_exercises_for_energy_creativity_and_prosperity.htm

To see all of Shakta Kaur Khalsa’s books, go to:  http://www.amazon.com/Shakta-Kaur-Khalsa/e/B000APLP90/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan – All Rights Reserved
All teachings, yoga sets, techniques, kriyas and meditations courtesy of The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan. Reprinted with permission. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of these Teachings may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, except as may be expressly permitted in writing by the The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan. To request permission, please write to KRI at PO Box 1819, Santa Cruz, NM 87567 or see www.kriteachings.org
28
July

Hari Bhajan Khalsa’s first published poem

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
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Hari Bhajan Khalsa’s first published poem

I mentioned in the opening that I used to read poems for hours when I was young.  They became a meditation for me before I knew what meditation was.  Just dwelling on the last line of Hari Bhajan’s poem below and what “it’s about” makes my mind wonder.  Who hasn’t wondered what it really is all about?  Maybe it is the “red-veined stone at the river’s edge” as Hari Bhajan’s poem suggests.

One of my yoga teachers, TeriLeigh Schmidt, uses the healing powers of five elements in her teachings—fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature. “The mineral element includes stones.  They are the wisdom keepers of the earth.  They tell the stories.  They tell the history. 

River’s represent the water element—cleansing, purifying, direction-oriented.  They will carve out their own path and their own purpose. They represent direction, and endurance. Rivers flow gracefully without bringing undue attention to itself.  They show us how to shape-shift allowing different roles for different needs.” ~ TeriLeigh Schmidt.

One of my favorite authors, Ted Andrews, reminds us that the river’s edge” is part of the “the ‘tween times/places’ —times or places that are not distinct or definable—they are in-between and are the best places to be open to the magic.

Hari Bhajan echoed the words of her teacher, Yogi Bhajan when she suggested we find the truth for ourselves within ourselves.  Below she suggests pondering “red-veined stone at the river’s edge” as a possibility for what it’s all about.

“Each human being is on his or her own path, each different from yours.  Answers to your questions are rarely found in another human.  Answer your own questions by reflecting on nature and conversing with your own sacred witness….The stone monuments represent the human in the passage of time and the universality of truth that is held within Mother Earth.  It is important to learn to stand still, in silence, in the sacred witness within you.  Meditate on stones and the great rock formations that have lived through the ages.  Through the stillness you become aware of, you’ll begin to experience the sacred witness that lives inside of you.”  The Power Deck, The Cards of Wisdom by Lynn V. Andrews.

There is a mutual respect in nature.  The river rushing over the rock will wear down the solid mass, transforming it.  Let the river’s edge wash over you, transforming what you believe to be unchangeable within yourself. Believe that you are the red-veined stone at the river’s edge.  Keep the wisdom of your story, your history; and let the river’s flow wash away what is holding you back.

I offer three poems below which my interview with Hari Bhajan inspired me to share.   I invite you to ponder them as your own meditation and to find your own meaning.

The “red-veined stone at the river’s edge” in Hari Bhajan’s first published poem has much to share with us.  Be open to it as you contemplate:

PECOS, NEW MEXICO

Beyond the river
a fan of cottonwoods
bows to the dawn.
A million light years
of sun
prick my flesh.

Crying comes easily
at movies
in the middle of the day,
at dinner
biting into an olive.

What if it’s not about
who I am,
but the red-veined stone
at the river’s edge?

(Appeared in Poesy, 2004— http://creekwalker.com/poetry/HariBhajanKhalsa.html)

To purchase Hari Bhajan’s poetry book, “Life in Two Parts”, please go to:  http://www.mainstreetrag.com/HBKhalsa.html

 

As a testament to her love of poems and poetry, Hari Bhajan referenced that the following poem gave her solace when early on in the creation of Yogamint, she was faced with the decision to switch from using “Yoga Mint” (two words)  to the now famous “YogaMint” (one word).  At the time, it was hard to release from her love of “Yoga Mint”. In her frustration, she meditated upon a poem by Elizabeth Bishop on losing things.  It’s a beautiful lesson.

One Art  
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

 

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

 

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

 

–Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15212

 

And finally, to emphasize her love of poetry and the life lessons she has gleaned from poems and poets, Hari Bhajan referred to the famous poet, Hafiz as a poignant example of the light-heartedness Yogamint embodies.  Hari Bhajan shared that “The poet Hafiz wrote about incredible topics but made them fun and enjoyable.”

Hafiz was born sometime between the years 1310-1325 a.d. or 712-727 A.H. The most probable date is either 1320, or 1325 a.d.  http://www.hafizonlove.com/divan/rubaiyat/2.htm.

Here are two poems of his I found that I’d like to share—one light-hearted, the other about living the dream of your life:

Every friend who talked of love, became a foe.
Every eagle shifted its shape to a crow.
They say the night is pregnant, and I say,
Who is the father? And how do you know?

~

Spend time with wine by a stream,
And let sorrows away stream.
My life, like a rose, is but few days;
Youthful and joyous live this dream.

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

 

27
July

In Sanskrit, Kundalini means ‘life energy’.

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Chakrascope ~ Your Vital Energy Centers
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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.

Had any of your own God-winks lately?  I had my own personal God-wink as I started to write this month’s newsletter featuring the CEO of a wonderful, resourceful, interesting, inspiring, Kundalini Yoga website, Yogamint.com.  One of my students had heard yoga referred to as creating “bad snake energy” and wondered just what that meant.  I told her to tune in to this newsletter!

So what is this “bad snake energy”?  It’s “Kundalini” and it has sometimes gotten a “bad rap”.

Since kundalini energy activates and awakens the seven chakras, I’m using kundalini as the topic for my “Chakrascope” this month.  As referenced above, the folks at Yogamint all practice Kundalini Yoga. “Kundalini-based yoga …improves asthma, diabetes, pain, and stress-related disorders, and it decreases blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism, and breathing rate. These effects in turn lead to lower anxiety and depression, healing of heart irregularities, decreased anger, treatment of insomnia, and even aid fertility.

In Sanskrit, Kundalini means ‘life energy’.  Known as the serpent energy in Hinduism, the first culture known to have labeled this mysterious force, kundalini is the natural divine energy inside of you.  Your kundalini is the life force of your body that, when fully activated, leads to living as an enlightened sage.

If you were able to fully draw on your kundalini, the life force that lies within, what might you do?  Well, you could lasso the stars and pull them to earth, plant your dreams in the soil and grow love, laugh in the wind, and heal the world.  You could write your name in the water, author your life, and sing with the Divine.

At some level, kundalini has already been accomplishing all this and more for you.  You’ve already been exercising its enchantment to become the great person you are.  As mysterious as its name and as magical as its origin, kundalini has been pulsing in your body since you were conceived, performing tasks as basic as igniting the electricity in your cells and as elusive as attracting others to you.  Kundalini is a god energy, and as such, it nourishes your uniqueness and upholds your sacred vocation.  Since it originates from the Divine Source, it also interconnects you with all living beings, as well as with the Divine itself.  Because of these connections, to tap into your kundalini is to open the channel to your intuition, to begin to hear the messages in the wind, to receive revelations colored with inspiration, and to know the unknowable.  In short, kundalini allows you to be you—and encourages others to be themselves.”  Kundalini Divine Energy & Divine Life by Cyndi Dale.

Hardly “bad snake energy” now is it?  How many of you want more of that?!  Kundalini is typically described as a serpent which lies coiled and dormant at the base of our spine until activated or awakened.  “When kundalini wakes up, it primarily travels upward through our various energy bodies and channels, parts of the energetic anatomy that create and sustain our physical body.  Energy is information that vibrates, and guess what kundalini does?  It shakes up the energy of our body, mind, and soul.

The kundalini first rises through energy channels along our spine.  These energy channels are called the nadis, and as the kundalini climbs through them, it activates the seven chakra energy centers also positioned along our spine, our center axis, and connecting our spiritual and physical selves.” Kundalini Divine Energy & Divine Life by Cyndi Dale.

Cyndi Dale explains how she’s used kundalini energy to write a five-hundred page book in three months, to chase off an attacker, and daily to keep up (almost) with her two sons, five animals, and a house that doesn’t clean itself.  She says kundalini energy has changed her life.

“Cyndi has presented seminars and workshops in Russia, England, Wales, Amsterdam, Iceland, Scotland, and has led groups across South and Central America and into Africa.

Her training has encompassed studies in shamanism and healing across the world, taking her into the Peruvian, Belizean, Hawaiian, and Costa Rica jungles, the Moroccan sands, the Venezuelan savannahs, the glaciers of Iceland, and other exciting places. She seeks to unify the world’s most vital spiritual messages, encouraging understanding and community among all peoples. On a daily basis, Cyndi works with clients and groups, serving as an intuitive coach and an energy healer. Clients are commonly referred by professionals, including psychiatrists, medical doctors, and therapists.” http://cyndidale.com/about-2.

I met Cyndi several years ago at the Learning Annex/Open U where she gave a presentation on chakras.  I believe it was entitled:  Attracting Prosperity Through the Chakras. She was concise, energetic, entertaining, and spot-on to what I wanted to get out of the class.  I would recommend her highly as both a speaker and an author.  I own several of her books.  So when she says she is in awe of kundalini energy and uses it for good, I am more than comfortable saying that kundalini is NOT “bad snake energy”.

As Cyndi Dale describes it, “It is a divine light here to shine on who you are an in all that you do.  In that it unifies all aspects of you, it links you with life everywhere.  You could say that to participate in kundalini is to sip from the communion cup of the Divine.” 

Kundalini is energy.  Can energy sometimes end up not being “good”?  Well, can an electrical surge blow your fuse?  Does that mean you don’t ever want to use electricity?  Of course not!  The key to “awakening” kundalini energy is to do it gently and slowly.  “But know this:  you can’t do kundalini wrong.  The Divine has a way of knowing what we need and offering it to us.”  Kundalini Divine Energy & Divine Life by Cyndi Dale.   

There’s a whole chapter in Cyndi’s book about the science of kundalini energy.  This chapter discusses possible theories for kundalini’s effectiveness defined through quantum physics, electrical energy, biomechanical movement of our bodies, hormonal, and the spine and central nervous system.  She emphasizes that it’s not just yoga and breathwork that will work with kundalini, but other mind/body practices such as meditation, Qigong, and tai-chi. You also don’t have to be any particular religion.

There are those, for example, that equate kundalini with the Holy Spirit. “Kundalini energy is what Christians call ‘the power of the Holy Ghost’. This power of the Holy Ghost is located in the Sacrum Bone. The Greeks called it ‘sacrum’ meaning ‘sacred’.”
http://www.adishakti.org/_/kundalini_and_christian_experience.htm.

Philip St. Romain, a practicing Catholic devoted to a life of prayer, wrote a book about his personal experience with kundalini energy:  http://www.kundaliniawakeningsystems1.com/downloads/kundalini_and_christianity.pdf.

Thus, for a Christian at least, it is essential that their energy be directed by the Holy Spirit. In Christian spirituality, the unfolding of the stages of prayer described by St. Teresa of Avila in the Interior Castle may be the fruit of the kundalini energy arising under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. http://shalomplace.com/view/kundalini.html.

Even Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, found kundalini to be an interesting topic:  “You see, the Kundalini in psychological terms is that which makes you go on the greatest adventures. …It is the quest that makes life livable, and this is Kundalini; this is the divine urge.” The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, Carl Jung. Lecture 1, 12 October 1932, Notes of the Seminar, Princeton University Press, USA, 1996, Page 21.  http://www.austinsahajayoga.org/carl_jung.html.

Bottom line, you are responsible for your own development.  If working with kundalini energy interests you, you get to decide your own experience with your own research and open mind. I consider working with kundalini as working on my divine potential. You get to define what kundalini is or is not by your own experience.

Just as in yoga you need to experience the pose vs. read about it or watching it being practiced, you need to define for yourself what you believe.  This holds true not just for kundalini energy, but for all lessons in life—a sentiment expressed in the opening section by Yogamint CEO, Hari Bhajan.  Find out through your own experience.  It’s easy to believe what “they” say.  What do you say?  Many times I remind my readers to take what resonates with them and discard the rest.  Remember this implies you’re open to taking it all in with an open mind first.

“Almost everyone who does yoga will tell you that their “energy” feels different after they’ve practiced. This is no doubt one of the main reasons why we practice: to change our experience of how energy moves in the body. We want more energy; smoother, more even energy; or energy that is quieter and less agitated.” http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/819?print=1

In our bodies, the kundalini energy resides in the spine—the same place your chakra energy centers are.  See my opening notes at the beginning of this Chakrascope section:  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.

Just as acupressure or acupuncture releases blocks in your energetic “subtle” body, yoga releases blocks along the nadis—or delivery system—in the body.  Many of my students have heard me talk about hip openers releasing the stored emotions in the body.  Emotional releases in bodywork are common occurrences for this same reason.  I had one the first time I tried Qigong a few years before I started practicing yoga.  It happened just as I was tapping the energy up and down my legs—immediate, unexplained tears.  It wasn’t even that far into the program.  It both amazed and intrigued me.

“Hip openers particularly have a knack for reaching into the depths of our emotional patterns. Occasionally in yoga teacher training programs and environments where it is safe to let go, yogis exploring the deeper dimensions of themselves may have episodes of uncontrollable crying. This is one way the body sheds trauma. People who have had this experience say the tears are not attached to a particular event or thought. The nervous system calibrates, and feelings of deep-seated peace immediately follow. Yoga is the best therapist you will ever have.”  http://www.michellemyhre.com/2010/10/yoga-hip-openers-emotional-release.html

“Yoga can help many symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder, including mood swings, fear, anxiety, tension, and lethargy. One way yoga helps is to release energetic blockages that are called granthis in Sanskrit. These are “knots” that form at the navel region, the seat of personal power; the heart center, the seat of the emotional body, and the throat, the seat of self-expression.

When we release these blockages, our physical and emotional layers open and energy flows freely. This energy, called prana, is the essential life-force of all beings. When prana flows freely through the body, we feel vital and healthy; we reconnect with others and become a part of the world.” http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Emotional-Health/Bipolar/Yoga-for-Emotional-Balance.aspx

So to recap, yoga releases blocks along the nadis—or delivery system—in the body. There are three main nadis: The Ida, the Pingala, and the Sushumna nadi.  “Nadi” means “movement”.  They operate as a delivery system for the chakras and transport subtle energies throughout the body.  They are often compared to the Chinese meridian system since both distribute energy and interact with the chakras.  Basically the process involves using breath to guide energy through the Ida and the Pingala to the base of the spine. To recap the Beliefnet.com article above, when prana, or energy, moves freely through the body, we feel vital and healthy; we reconnect with others and become a part of the world.”

Perhaps it’s the use of Sanskrit that evokes fear or resistance among some.  Perhaps it’s the “serpents” used to describe “kundalini”.  Remember that both the snake and the butterfly represent transformation. The actual transformation occurs within you.  It’s not the snake or the butterfly within you! So no worries!  “Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna nadi?”—What the heck?  Want a visual?  Take a closer look at your local MD’s lapel. The most common illustration of the nadis is the familiar symbol of the medical practice—the caduceus.  It shows the Sushumna (or nadi central, in the spine) depicted as a straight wand with two snakes (the Ida and the Pingala) coiled around it. (Notice how the unfamiliar description of it immediately makes you, perhaps, uncomfortable when a second ago it was just the familiar medicine practice symbol?)  The Ida and the Pingala meet at nose level, the Ida from the left and the Pingala from the right.  They cross the Sushumna four times intersecting with and surrounding the chakras while activating them.  This allows for an upward path for the activated kundalini.  The breath is vital in this process.

For more details on this process and the nadis as well as an in-depth study on chakras and subtle energy, local and internationally known author, Cyndi Dale, has another excellent book called “The Subtle Body.  An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy”.  (The Subtle Body has garnered over 75 five-star reviews on Amazon.com and continually sells in the 1,000 place, leading millions of books. It has also won four internationally recognized Publisher?s Awards.)

There are several books, DVDs, and classes offering Kundalini Yoga.  I’ve mentioned only a few in this newsletter.  “The practice of Kundalini Yoga balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system and enables us to harness the energy of the mind and the emotions, so we can be in control of ourselves, rather than being controlled by our thoughts and feelings…It is a precious gem of sacred knowledge and power.  And you don’t have to be a pretzel. For the physical exercises, if you can breathe, and just lean in the right direction, you’ll be benefitted.”  A Simple Guide to the Yoga of Awareness, Kundalini Yoga, The Flow of Eternal Power, by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa as taught by Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D.

“Kundalini yoga is considered the most comprehensive system of yoga at is combines meditation, prayer, asana (physical postures), and pranayama (breathing exercises)…The Upanishads, the sacred scriptures of Hinduism that date back to the fifth century B.C., provided a written description of Kundalini, although the oral tradition dates back even further. For thousands of years, this sacred science and technology was veiled in secrecy, passed along in the oral tradition from master to chosen disciple.

Kundalini Yoga was never taught publicly until Yogi Bhajan, Ph. D. challenged the age-old tradition of secrecy. In his compassionate wisdom, Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga to the United States in 1969. Since then, it has spread all over the world. He wrote, I am sharing these teachings to create a science of the total self…It is the birthright of every human being to be healthy, happy and holy.” http://www.awarenesscenteryoga.org/about.html

Ready to be healthy, happy, and holy?  Explore some of the meditations, Kriyas, recipes, and songs on Yogamint.com for a start.  Here’s one of my favorite songs and I found it at Yogamint.com A_Light_Shining.  It is my wish for you.  It will mesmerize you:

“Something Beautiful”

May the Grace of God be always in your heart

May you know the truth inside you from the start

May you find the strength to know that you are a

Part of something beautiful…

And I thought that I saw, a light Shine, I thought that I saw a light shine,

Yes I thought, that I saw, a light Shine; I think I see a light shine,

now…

May the Grace of God be always in your heart

May you know the truth inside you from the start

May you find the strength to know that you are a

Part of something beautiful…

(Now that’s some good energy.)

Breathwork:  Breath of Fire

“Breath of Fire uses deep, rapid breath cycles to warm your body and increase your energy.  Traditionally the Breath of Fire is not a pranayama technique but rather a kriya, or cleansing, practice.  Many of the toxins in your body are released during your exhale, which is your focus here.

Assume the Mountain Pose, or sit comfortably in a cross-legged position.  Begin inhaling through your nose, keeping your mouth closed.  Exhale half the air out of your lungs to a point somewhere between exhale and Inhale.  Your exhale should be quick and sharp, contracting your abdominal muscles. In this exercise, exhalations are short, vigorous, and active; inhalations are light and passive.  Continue this rhythmic pattern for 20 to 25 breaths.  Repeat two to five rounds, finishing with a deep Three-part breath (filling up first the bottom of your lungs, then the middle chest area, then the upper chest and exhaling in reverse order.)

Restrictions: 

  • Avoid hyperventilating by focusing on strong, quick exhalations.
  • Check for dizziness (if dizzy, return to relaxation breathing).
  • If you have a heart or blood pressure condition, avoid this technique.

Effects

  • Energizes and activates the right side of your pranic system.
  • Stimulates your nervous system.
  • Cleanses your respiratory system.

Source:  Beth Shaw’s YOGAFIT, The program for a more powerful, flexible, and defined physique.

Fire In Your Belly

Detox with Radish and Breathing

Feeling down? You may be suffering from toxins in your blood. Eating a diet full of meat, sugar and processed foods pollutes your blood, as do pharmaceuticals, alcohol and environmental toxins. When your blood is toxic, it contributes to fatigue, depression, allergies and decreased immune function. When you want some fun in the sun, any of these conditions are unacceptable. Two simple fixes can clear out your blood and fire you up—eating radishes and doing Breath of Fire!

Breath of Fire–a powerful breathing technique–rapidly detoxifies your blood, releasing toxins from the lungs, mucus linings, blood vessels and other cells, bringing about a boost in the immune system and increasing oxygen delivery to the brain. Sit quietly with your eyes 9/10th closed and roll your gaze up to the point between your eyebrows. First, to understand Breath of Fire, open your mouth and pant like a dog. That’s what it sounds and feels like! Now, close your mouth and breathe deeply and rapidly through your nose—this is called “Breath of Fire.” Power the breath from the navel point, not the upper chest. Continue breathing through the nose, while pumping the navel, for up to three minutes.

Now…bring on the radishes. You may want to continue your blood cleansing regimen by eating some peppery radishes! Radishes stimulate the liver to expel toxins and improve elimination; they also do wonders for your kidneys, helping them to flush more efficiently. Radishes provide more oxygen to red blood cells, making you cleaner and stronger from the inside out.

The next time you feel drained and lifeless, try Breath of Fire, throw some radishes into your diet, and you’ll be back to sun worshipping and Sun Salutations in no time!

Ramdesh Kaur
Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Writer
www.noordinarylight.blogspot.com
www.spiritvoyage.com/blog
Recommended Reading: Praana Praanee Praanayam Exploring the Breath Technology of Kundalini Yoga As Taught By Yogi Bhajan and Foods for Health and Healing by Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D

Source:  http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3156960/Fire_In_Your_Belly?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2602394&ObjectID=3156960&ObjectType=35

Affirmations:  

I offer a song this month as your affirmation (from Yogamint’s website, of course!):

  • “Long Time Sun” takes its lyrics from Yogi Bhajan’s “benediction” used at the end of every Kundalini practice. Even if you don’t practice yoga, it’s nice to just say this little song for yourself and the ones you love every day:May the long time sun shine upon you
    All love surround you
    And the pure light within you guide your way on

Sources: Long_Time_Sun

Diet:

Try these tips, recipes, remedies to increase your energy, kundalini or otherwise.

http://www.yogamint.com/mints/eat

Aromatherapy:

Here’s a book I found on Yogamint.com:

The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion by Valerie Ann Worwood.

As well as an article on using aromatherapy with yoga:

Attune to Intimacy

Heal Your Second Chakra

Your second chakra is home to your most intimate feelings and thoughts. Located between the sacrum and reproductive organs, this energy center supports your ability to express feelings of intimacy, self-love, passion and the physical aspect of sensual expression. Ruled by water, this chakra is most closely attuned with your emotions and also guides reproduction, enthusiasm and creativity of the soul.

While your second chakra is closely related to the throat chakra and expression, on an emotional level it deeply connects to your heart chakra. When you feel heartbreak, particularly with a loved one, you may tend to withdraw your intimacy. One of my favorite poses to balance the sacral chakra is Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined bound angle pose or Goddess Pose). This pose activates the sacrum, while opening the heart to expansion and forgiveness.

A wonderful way to balance your second chakra is to use some aromatherapy with Goddess Pose. Set out a clear glass bowl of water and add a few drops of the following essential oils: neroli for enthusiasm and intimacy, clary sage for emotional expression and sandalwood for sensual expression. Light a few candles and set them around the bowl to create a dance of light through the water.

Sitting upright on the floor with an elevated bolster or sturdy pillow behind you, lean back, bend your knees and relax them down to each side while bringing the soles of your feet together. You should feel a gentle stretch in the groin and hip area. If there is too much of a stretch, put a folded blanket under each knee. Lay your arms at your sides, palms up.

As you relax, take a deep breath, engaging your diaphragm. Open your heart and expand your breath into your shoulders. As you exhale, relax your face and shoulders as you pull your feet a little closer into your groin. Continue breathing deeply as you imagine water flowing through your body, bathing you in the divine ability to express and protect your feelings. Repeat the following: “I love all aspects of myself. I delight in the creation of all that is in my life.” Let the goddess in you be healed and uplifted!

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3890371/Attune_to_Intimacy

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 chakras: 

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”.

Gem therapy book recommended on Yogamint:  This is my all-time favorite gem book!

Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals – The Reference Book Describing the Metaphysical Properties of the Mineral Kingdom, by Melody.

 

Some Articles on gems found on Yogamint—click on the links to get the free PDF download information with each article:

The Healer’s Stone

Emeralds for Compassion

Emeralds are a symbol of love and good fortune. It’s said that if a man and woman present each other with an emerald stone their love grows over time and becomes permanent. Emeralds invoke the vibration of Kwan Yin, The Goddess of Compassion, which is why many healers are naturally drawn to this powerful stone.

Emeralds are known as The Healer’s Stone, because they give the healer inspiration and wisdom from the mental plane, and open the heart to give love, compassion and wisdom to others. Emeralds are beneficial in a personal meditative practice, as well as for healing. Placing an emerald on the heart while meditating can help restore the heart to balance, lift depression and help with insomnia. Doing this as a regular practice has a penetrating effect on the heart chakra (located in the center of your chest), perhaps because it access desires that are held deep within.”

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3736203/The_Healer%27s_Stone?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2607572&ObjectID=3736203&ObjectType=35

Royal Diamonds

Gems of Purity and Light

Since ancient times, diamonds were believed to exert favorable influence on the owner, providing strength, courage and invincibility. It was the talisman of Julius Caesar, Louis IV and Napoleon. Queens, princesses, princes and Maharajahs have adorned themselves with diamonds. Diamonds represent a highly-prized symbol of status, luxury and purity in today’s world. Couples often choose diamonds as the symbol for eternal love and commitment in marriage.

The white light of the diamond is the perfect balance of all colors, in which all the components work together to produce energy in its purest state, bringing clarity, creativity and ingenuity. A diamond allows the soul light to shine out, aiding your spiritual evolution and reminding you of your soul’s aspirations. Diamonds act like an amplifier, refracting the entire light spectrum. If the wearer has good intentions they amplify goodness; if combined with another gemstone or crystal they will amplify the energy of that gemstone or crystal.

On a physical level, diamonds purify all the body’s systems, rebalancing the metabolism, building up stamina, strength, treating allergies and chronic conditions. (For best results, have the diamond set so it touches the skin.) Wearing diamonds offers the same benefits as wearing white. Yogi Bhajan said, “Wearing white clothing triples one’s aura and widens it up to 27 feet. White clothing makes you look divine…it is good for your psyche, for your energy, and for your nervous system. Your way of dressing should be saintly and make you glow with grace.” So wear some white diamonds today!

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3865463/Royal_Diamonds?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2607651&ObjectID=3865463&ObjectType=35

The Raj Stone

Rubies for Health & Abundance

It’s an old adage that as long as you have a bit of ruby, wealth will never leave you. When building the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, the Fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had rubies inlaid in the marble of this magnificent palace. Rubies have been known throughout the ages as the stone of nobility and are said to bestow fame, virtue, vigor, personal warmth, and the power to command.

How does it work? Rubies balance the first and fourth chakras, located at the anus and heart respectively. When not aligned, the first chakra manifests issues relating to security and identity. Likewise, an unbalanced fourth chakra can inspire feelings of shyness, loneliness or jealousy. These two together are a potent cocktail, making for emotional aggression, a quick temper and sometimes leading to health susceptibilities such as diarrhea, constipation, asthma and bronchitis or high blood pressure. If you have Mars in your astrological chart (for example, if you were born on a Tuesday), it is particularly helpful to consider rubies, since you are especially susceptible to these issues.

Conversely, rubies help balance these areas of potential weakness. By restoring the balance of the first chakra, they create a foundation for the sense of your own Raj (regal) identity. From this platform, rubies help manifest vitality in the physical body, grounding it and bringing peace, love, and contentment through the fourth chakra.

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_1964346/The_Raj_Stone?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2607572&ObjectID=1964346&ObjectType=35

Heaven-Sent Stone

Regal Blue Sapphire

It’s believed that Moses was given the Ten Commandments on a plate made out of sapphire, which makes this gemstone one of the most sanctified of all semi-precious and precious stones. Sapphires are revered as divine gemstones, highly desired by royalty and aristocracy as well as by high priests. The British Crown glitters with large blue sapphires, symbols of a pure and wise reign. They help to bring wealth, name and fame to the wearer.

Blue sapphires are associated with the throat chakra. When this chakra is out of balance you may feel emotional, shy or disempowered. On the physical level you might experience sore throats, TMJ or have imbalanced thyroid function, which can affect your metabolism and weight.

Blue sapphires help to open and heal the thyroid and the throat chakra, assisting in communication, expressing your truth and beliefs. This gemstone supports you to stay on the spiritual path, releasing blockages and providing strength.

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3909126/Heaven-Sent_Stone?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2607572&ObjectID=3909126&ObjectType=35

The Eastern Diamond

The Green Energy of Jade

An old Chinese legend tells of an Ancient King who, falling deathly ill, was cured by wearing a jade stone. Many believe that jade transfers its virtues into the body. Long considered the health, wealth and longevity stone, jade is perhaps the most revered stone in the East. For the Chinese in particular, jade is thought of as “the Quintessence of Heaven and Earth,” and admiration for this stone surpasses even diamonds because of the healing properties and protective energy it instills.

Jade works by balancing the heart chakra, located at the center of the chest. If this chakra is out of balance, it essentially means you are out of touch with your heart. Emotional outbursts occur since the imbalance amplifies moodiness or depression. Over time this can lead to an obsessive or overly critical outlook and manifest some physical disorders like high blood pressure, heart disease or asthma.

Jade balances the heart chakra by tuning into its “green energy,” as the ancient yogis say. Green is the color of the light that surrounds this chakra and jade helps activate it, opening up the potential for compassion, unconditional love, joy and humility. It calms the nervous system and soothes the mind, bringing with it security, tranquility and peaceful energy.

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_2188710/The_Eastern_Diamond?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2607651&ObjectID=2188710&ObjectType=35

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 stimulating Kundalini

All yoga poses are essentially grounding and activate the chakras.

This month’s yoga pose section highlighted Kriyas for energetic benefits.  Find other kriyas as well as yoga moves such as
Yoga for the jet set –Fitness while flying,
http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3883485/Yoga_for_the_Jet_Set  or

Spread Your Wings—Tai Chi Workout Wisdom, http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3858524/Spread_Your_Wings

at Yogamint.com:  http://www.yogamint.com/mints/move or use their handy “Search” box to look up a favorite subject of your choice.

 

26
July

Meditation for Emotional Balance (Sunia(n) Antar)

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

This month’s mudra is really not a “hand” mudra.  It’s more of a “full body mudra”.  Since this month’s newsletter is all about Yogamint, I am taking the mudra featured in the “Food & Flow” July video from Yogamint’s monthly e-mint newsletter as this month’s mudra.  It is a free download available with the video.

Meditation for Emotional Balance (Sunia(n) Antar)

(as taught by Yogi Bhajan)

Mudra: Sit cross-legged on a flat surface; apply a neck lock to ensure that the spine is really straight. Place arms across the chest and lock hands under the armpits, with palms open and against the body. Raise the shoulders tightly against the earlobes, without cramping the neck muscles. Apply neck lock*.

Eye Position: Close the eyes.
 Breath: The breath will automatically become very slow.

 Time: Continue for 3 minutes and build up to 11 minutes.

Comments: The balance in the body between air, water, earth and ether needs to be correct for you to be happy. This meditation works on balancing the emotions in the body. The body is about 70% water so start with drinking a glass of water to make sure that your body is hydrated. After 2 to 3 minutes the breath will automatically start to slow down. Thoughts will still be there, but you start to have less attachment to your thoughts. This is an effective meditation to balance the air and water in the body to create emotional harmony.

Normally we breathe 15 times a minute, but when we are able to rhythmically slow down the breath to only 4 breaths per minutes we have indirect control over our minds. This control eliminates obnoxious behaviors, promoting a calm mind regardless of the state of affairs.

For a video link to see this mudra in action, please go to:  http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3935994/The_Cool_Factor

(*To apply the neck lock:

Sit comfortably with a straight spine. Lift your chest and sternum upward. Stretch the back of your neck gently straight by pulling the chin in toward the back of the neck. Keep your head level and centered without tilting forward or to either side, ie., don’t just bring the chin towards your chest. Keep the muscles of your face, neck, and throat as relaxed as you can.

The neck lock is automatically applied by the shift of relative position between the chin and chest. Do not force your head forward or down. It is common for new yoga students to stretch the neck when other parts of the body are not flexible. When you apply the neck lock, you allow your neck to be open and maintain its natural structure, which helps you maintain better spinal posture in general. The neck lock also “seals” the energy that is generated in the upper areas of your brain stem, so it becomes easier to focus and meditate. http://www.harisingh.com/newsKundalini.htm)

25
July

Innerspeak™Cards created by Jean Adrienne, produced by Gurudarshan Khalsa!

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 featured “KUNDALINI BLESSING ORACLE CARDS”, from Gurudarshan Khalsa in my May 2011 newsletter http://betterdayyoga.com/tag/may-2011.  She used my newsletter to highlight her cards on another Kundalini Yoga website:  http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/kundalini-blessings-meditations-for-the-aquarian-age.  My love affair with her works continues this month with the next Kundalini Blessings deck produced by Gurudarshan Khalsa! called “Innerspeak™” created by Jean Adrienne.

Description:  

InnerSpeak™ Cards are Today’s Tool For Clearing, Releasing & Healing Karmic Blocks!  Are you ready to break free from old programs, belief systems and repeating behaviors that sabotage your success in any area of your life? This tool helps you figure out where you set these blocks up so that you can let them go once and for all time. This 72 card deck comes with an instruction booklet to guide you through the clearing process, but they are more than a deck of cards – they are a complete modality for releasing karmic blocks from this lifetime, past lives and your ancestors.

The book explains how to use the cards.  It starts with an important element to using these cards—surrender. Without surrender, the cards will not be effective. You are advised to surrender to your Higher Power, Spirit or God/Goddess and ask for help in looking at what needs to be cleared for your highest and best good and the highest and best good of all.  After you have said a little prayer or set your intention to release the block, you can choose your cards.

All the colors are used except for the Indigo cards which are only used if the Red card—the “SOURCE” card—reflects a Past Life card.  You pull at least one card from each of the other colors with two cards pulled from Orange and three cards pulled from Green.

  • The two Orange cards reflect what/who SET UP the block.  That’s how you start your “excavation” of your block.
  • It moves on to the Yellow cards which tell you the effect the SET UP “traumas” had on the SOURCE of your block—ie the source of your block had a trauma and that trauma affected them.  The Yellow cards explain that. 
  • The Blue cards indicate the belief that is now stuck inside of your Inner Self because of the block and any associated SOUL REACTIONS.
  • The three Green cards give you instructions on removing your blocks—like a visualization or a prayer.

One of my instructions, for example, recommended calling in an angel and asking for help.  The booklet suggested you can ask your Guardian Angel or one of the Archangels.  “They are always waiting to assist us but they never interfere in our free will unless we call upon them.  They are overjoyed to help us when we ask!”  I chose Archangel Michael.  My Dad was a “Michael” and I have always had a strong connection to Archangel Michael as a result.  (Recall from the opening section that in Poland they name their children for the saint’s feast day closest to your date of birth.  My Dad was named after Archangel Michael.) The booklet has further clarification on the cards as well.

  • Finally, the Violet card is pulled as your blessing for having completed all three Green card “clearing” instructions.  Mine, for example, was “Angel Blessing— Centeredness & Calmness ~ Enabling You to See and Accomplish Your Purpose.”  It was like getting a warm hug and soothing pat on the head from the Universe.

The very first time I used these cards, I had immediate tears as the “reading” unfolded.  Sometimes you think you know your block, but to have it explained to you can create emotions you didn’t know existed; and they release.  Seriously, this was just a few minutes and the cards unearthed “something” deep inside.  They get to the heart of the matter very quickly.  If you’re a fan of my “Featured card/deck section” you know I have a whole heck of a lot of cards.  These cards are unlike most of the cards I own because they are more interactive and personal.  You work on something holding you back and it gives you steps to take to help remove and overcome that.  Very powerful!

I didn’t feel the need to ask for further clarification on any of the cards that presented themselves.  They were that spot-on for me.  If you want more information or clarification, she even suggests a couple of options to try such as muscle testing or the use of a pendulum.

She ends with another “Very Important!” note:  “It is gratitude that actually accomplishes a clearing.  Always thank your Angels and Guides, as well as your Higher Power when you have completed a session with these cards!  Additionally, visualize how the clearing of the block looks in your life.  Feel it, smell, and taste it.  Create for yourself now, the reality you desire in your mind—own it with every one of your senses.”

You can buy your very own deck of cards at: Find out more about InnerSpeak and its developer, Jean Adrienne at http://www.inner-speak.com/ and purchase your next deck at the Kundalini Blessing’s store  for only $26.95 + shipping
In my first newsletter, 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 the November newsletter archive 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
July

Kirtan Kriya meditation shows promise in research of memory functions

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News
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Kirtan Kriya meditation shows promise in research of memory functions

“In three separate studies published this year and in one that is on-going, Kirtan Kriya, as taught by the Kundalini master Yogi Bhajan, was shown to increase short term memory, cognitive function and to reduce stress.”  http://wholesomeresources.com/1862/1862/

“Meditation has been used for thousands of years to alter consciousness. Now scientists have shown that a 12-minute daily meditation can alter the memory, too, for the better.

Fifteen people ages 52 to 77 diagnosed with documented memory deficits were taught a type of meditation called Kirtan Kriya. Seven members of the group had mild age-associated memory impairment, five had mild cognitive impairment, and three had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. (One patient was excluded from the results because her memory problems prevented her from performing the meditation adequately.)

The type of Kirtan Kriya meditation that the participants performed consisted of sitting comfortably in a chair or on the floor and repeating four sounds — Sa, Ta, Na, Ma — while sequentially touching their thumb to their index finger, middle finger, fourth finger and pinkie. They performed the meditation aloud for two minutes, in a whisper for two minutes, in silence for four minutes, in a whisper for two more minutes, and finally out loud for two minutes.

After eight weeks, brain scans revealed that the people showed increased blood flow in brain areas crucial to memory. Also, tests of verbal fluency, logical memory and other skills showed significant improvement according to the researchers, who reported their results in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

A comparison group of five people with memory problems who listened to Mozart violin concertos for 12 minutes a day showed no such improvements.

‘Anyone can do this,’ said Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., one of the lead authors of the article and the medical director of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation in Tucson, Ariz. ‘The people in the study had no experience with meditation, and yet by activating their brain with 12 minutes of meditation a day, they were able to improve their cognition and mental function. It really made their brain healthier.’

But there’s nothing special about this particular form of meditation, according to Khalsa, other than it’s easy to learn and takes little time.

‘Any type of meditation is good for your body and brain,’ he said. ‘The most fascinating thing about meditation is that the brain loves it.’

Khalsa started practicing transcendental meditation more than three decades ago, after the Beatles went to India to learn the technique from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

‘I think it’s a good technique,’ Khalsa said. ‘It reduces stress and promotes relaxation with only 20 minutes of meditation twice a day. Kirtan Kriya meditation takes only 12 minutes a day, plus it’s essentially free. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to learn it.’”

Read full article:  http://www.tampabay.com/news/aging/lifetimes/kirtan-kriya-meditation-shows-promise-in-research-of-memory-functions/1090402

Here a link to this same meditation technique from Yogamint (there are also free PDF accessible instructions that you can link to from that page):

http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3918905/Supernova_Mantra?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2602297&ObjectID=3918905&ObjectType=35

A similar meditation technique is described further on Yogamint.com with further benefits (see link to both a video and a free PDF instructional download below):  Thoughts flow in and out of your consciousness continually — the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s what you do with them that makes the difference between a happy, flowing life that moves you forward and one that leaves you stuck in the past lost, hurt, angry and in regret. This elevating kriya brings the left and right hemispheres of the brain into balance and allows you to process and let go of the past, so that you can create new and positive ways to move ahead. Practice for 11-31 minutes per day. The hemispheres of the brain will balance; the past will be processed and dumped; and insecurity will vaporize: http://www.yogamint.com/_webapp_3113419/New_Ways_to_Move_Ahead?A=SearchResult&SearchID=2601827&ObjectID=3113419&ObjectType=35

Another link to the 12 minute meditation technique, as described in the article, can also be found at my favorite Yoga Nidra expert’s website, Wholesome Resources from Julie Lusk:  http://wholesomeresources.com/1842/12-minutes-to-memory-improvement-with-meditation/. She also offers a CD of the meditation on this link!  This meditation “will increase your ability to solve problems and have better concentration and memory in only 8 weeks with daily practice. It combines a specific mantra, with hand mudras and mental focus.  It totally takes the mystery out of meditating.” (April 5 e-mail newsletter from Julie Lusk.)

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation CD available.

This is how to do the Sa Ta Na Ma meditation to improve your memory

23
July

Baked Tomato Salad

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!

Tomatoes abound!  Don’t you just love this time of year when tomatoes are plentiful, and taste like they’re supposed to?  Not only do they taste awesome but the health benefits documented are “more than the scientific community is able to print.

These studies have proven not only the benefits in preventing cancer; heart disease as well as high cholesterol are also in the tomato’s sights.  Cancers such as prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and cancers of the stomach, mouth, pharynx, and esophagus have all been proven to be staved off by high levels of Lycopene.

Tomatoes are equally as nutritious fresh as they are in other variable forms. When tomato products are heat processed the bioavailability of the Lycopene actually increases rather than the anticipated decrease.  Research is now slowly proving that there is a high likelihood that the consumption of tomatoes and tomato based products actually may prevent serum lipid oxidation and reduce the risk of macular degenerative disease.

Tomatoes are by far the healthiest of the fruits and vegetables with the power to ward off some of the worst known diseases to man. With the vast variety of tomato products on the market, it really shouldn’t be difficult to get the full health benefit of tomatoes but, if you would like to get the full health benefits of tomatoes and have some fun at the same time, consider raising your own organic tomatoes (The author of this recipe does…but you probably already figured she’s all about fresh produce from her garden—which is absolutely beautiful). It would be a lot of fun, get you outside for some vitamin D and best of all reward you with great taste and vibrant health.”
http://healthfood-guide.com/tomatohealthbenefits.aspx.

Don’ have a plot of your own to garden?  Check out this book recommended by Yogamint’s “A Plot of Your Own”  to enjoy the benefits of gardening “urbanstyle”:  I Garden – Urban Style

Now for the scrumptious recipe!

This can be served warm, room temperature or chilled. It is great to make ahead for company. It is best served with warm, crusty bread or on top of pasta or tortilla chips

Baked Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

Olive oil
Fresh garden tomatoes (as many as you like)
4 cloves minced garlic
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
Minced fresh parsley
Minced fresh basil
*fresh minced cilantro can be substituted for basil
1 jar of roasted red peppers
Preheat oven to 475

Instructions:  Coat the bottom of a large baking dish (preferably stoneware or similar) with olive oil. Cut the tomatoes in 1/4″ slices and put in a single layer into the baking dish add the garlic. Salt and pepper lightly, sprinkle a bit of parley then basil (or cilantro) then layer roasted peppers. Repeat the layers ending with a layer of tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with dry bread or cracker crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.
Excellent served with bread or pasta to soak up the juices or with tortilla chips if you make it with cilantro.

 

22
July

Chakra Healing Music by David Ison & Gurmukh’s Kundalini Yoga DVD

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Featured Yoga Music/DVD
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I’m featuring both a CD and a DVD this month!  I found both at my old stomping ground off State Street in Madison, WI at Mimosa’s.  http://www.mimosaspirit.com/. Read more about “The Ison Method” at David Ison’s website as well as Gurmukh on her website listed below.

Product Description:  Awaken Your Inner Source of Healing and Transformation

“In 1980 I was in a serious car accident. Left unable to walk, I drew upon my experience as a musician and energy practitioner to explore how I could use breath, meditation, and sound to stimulate and realign my energetic body in order to heal myself. To my doctor’s amazement, I quickly made a full recovery. Wanting to share my experience with others, I refined what I had discovered and created a new kind of musical process that induces deep relaxation and resonates with the body’s energy centers, or chakras—which I call The Ison Method™”— David Ison

Since that time, Ison has used his music to catalyze profound healing and transformational insight with thousands of clients. Chakra Healing Music releases blockages in your physical and energetic bodies. As you listen, you will experience waves of relaxation and expanding emotional freedom. From this deep and open place, healing can occur spontaneously, and new possibilities for living emerge.

TRACK 1: Descending into Your Body
Your transformational musical journey begins as Universal Energy enters from above through your open crown chakra. As it descends through your energetic body, it resonates and sparks each chakra, aligning you with this life-giving energy that surrounds us all.

TRACK 2: Ascending into Your Essence
Your journey continues as the energy now turns and rises up from your root chakra. Each energy center is now opened and awakened, and you are able to receive the essential qualities contained in each.

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/Chakra-Healing-Music-David-Ison/dp/B004VF668A (Clips available at this site)

http://www.theisonmethod.com/Store.html  or

http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/Chakra-Healing-Music/3527.productdetails

 

Gurmukh’s Kundalini Yoga DVD

The reviews of this DVD say it’s a great introduction to Kundalini Yoga, and I agree!  A live class is always preferred, but this is a great introduction!

Description:  Awaken your spirit and discover your true potential with Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini is a powerful spiritual energy that lies within us all. Based on ancient healing techniques from India, kundalini yoga helps you unlock this energy, strengthen your body, still your mind and set your spirit free. Celebrated yoga teacher Gurmukh guides you through an invigorating series of self-paced yoga sets that give your body an active workout and help you develop inner peace and outer strength. This is a yoga practice to help you thrive amid the challenges of today¹s stress-filled world. Kundalini Yoga takes you on a journey of joyful self-discovery and complements all other yoga practices and exercise programs. Experience a radiant transformation as you build long-lasting health benefits and increase your endurance.

Your Kundalini Yoga DVD includes: Awaken: Stir your spirit through movement and breathing. Energize: Raise your energy through vigorous standing poses. Strengthen: Build stamina through challenging aerobic exercises. Relax: Soothe your spirit through meditation and deep relaxation. Props Recommended: Mat, Blanket. 

You can purchase your very own at:  http://www.amazon.com/Kundalini-Yoga-Gurmukh-Garri-Garripoli/dp/B00062DKOK and listen to an intro at:

 

 

21
July

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 classes; facial exercise classes; individual, family, couples and group therapy; and poetry therapy.

Gathering interest for Meditation / Breathwork “how-to” Class

Learn how to de-stress and rejuvenate with several basic types of meditation including general awareness, breath, guided meditation, object focus meditations, and more! Come learn how to use your breath to center your mind, experience a guided visualization, start to develop your own meditation practice that works for you, and receive several take-home practices. While this class is broken down into two parts per month, each part can serve as a stand-alone class.

My Anoka location, Krista Artista Gallery, has expressed an interest in holding this class this fall in her magic attic where I teach yoga (pending four person minimum).  We are working on the dates as we speak with Friday evenings being the most likely.  If you live near Anoka, MN and have an interest, please contact me!

(This class is also available at my Little Canada studio location. Tues. PM at 7:00 – 8:30 PM pending four person minimum. Please call to check for availability of the Tuesday of your choice. $30/night prepaid or save $10 and prepay for both parts for $50.)

Vita Bella Health & Wellness 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.

Saying ‘Sat Nam’ affects you.  I am grateful for having it in my life.  It is like a gem, a jewel, a diamond to wear.  Gemstones have (energetic) affects—that word/phrase is like a gemstone.”  ~ Hari Bhajan Khalsa