Tag Archives: May 2011

30
April

“Be with air, add water—physiological weather.” Dream message 4/28/11.

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, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.

Namasté,

Sandy Krzyzanowski

Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC

“Be with air, add water—physiological weather.” Dream message 4/28/11.

I introduced dream messages back in my March 2010 newsletter (http://betterdayyoga.com/how-better-day-yoga-got-its-name-from-the-march-2010-newsletter/1162) when I explained how Better Day Yoga got its name, and my yoga quote was Kermit the Frog singing “The Rainbow Connection” song:

Have you been fast asleep
And have you heard voices,
I’ve heard them calling my name,
……
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m s’posed to be…

Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me”
The Rainbow Connection song sung by Kermit the Frog

watch?v=lRvhRhWWE44

My April 2010 newsletter also used a dream message as the yoga quote just in time for the Easter season. Here’s another dream message newsletter!  I’m going to recap three of the opening paragraphs from March 2010 since it’s been a bit some time, and they’ll also serve as my “fair warning”:

I heard my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, once say in a presentation—and I’m paraphrasing here—that what he was about to say will sound a bit strange to some, but since he warned us in the listening crowd, it should be okay—like a “pass” of sorts. So fair warning to those out there who may think my story is a bit strange.

So, really, have YOU been half asleep, and have YOU heard voices? Well I have. I’m not the only one. Everyone has the ability to listen to their inner voice. Many cultures have considered the “between times”—the time between sleep and awake, dawn and dusk, or any time that is neither one nor the other—“times of greatest inspiration and power” when “You will find yourself more effective in all of your activities.” Animal Speak, Ted Andrews. If that doesn’t hit home for you, remember Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity through a dream. Enough said.

I knew I’d get simple statements that would pop into my head that weren’t in my typical syntax as I was coming out of sleep. At first I thought little of them, but then realized they were, to say the least, a bit interesting. So I started to ask this inner voice/guide/insert your comfortable title here, to help with advice and inspiration.

I consistently receive these wonderful tidbits from the Universe.  Sometimes they make sense, and other times they require more sleuthing.

Earlier this month (April, 2011), I’d been listening over and over to the section in “The Secret” CD where Rhonda Byrne explains how we are “the most powerful transmission tower in the Universe.  In simple terms, all energy vibrates at a frequency.  Being energy, you also vibrate at a frequency, and what determines your frequency at any time is whatever you are thinking and feeling.  All the things you want are made of energy, and they are vibrating to you.  Everything is energy.

Here is the ‘wow’ factor.  When you think about what you want, and you emit that frequency, you cause the energy of what you want to vibrate at that frequency and you bring it to you!  As you focus on what you want, you are changing the vibration of the atoms of that thing, and you are causing it to vibrate to You.  The reason you are the most powerful transmission tower in the Universe is because you have been given the power to focus your energy through your thoughts and alter the vibrations of what you are focused on, which then magnetically draws it to you.”

I simply loved that excerpt and kept hitting the replay on that section over and over.  Well a day or so after that, I got the in between sleep and awake message:  “Get wired with your regrets. Will freely.”  See what I mean by atypical syntax?  You might think, what the heck?  “Get wired” to me implied energy and vibration.  I immediately knew that I was being told to take the regrets I have in life, and turn them around with the focus of what I want instead and use my will to do that “freely”, or “a lot”.

Here’s another dream message that like most personal messages, meant something to me immediately: “Be with air, add water—physiological weather”, is last night’s dream message.  When I received this message, I immediately thought of it as an Ayurvedic message (sister science to Yoga) since I’m the poster child for “Vata” which is of the elements “ether” and “air”.  What’s Ayurveda you ask?

I touched upon Ayurveda in my June 2010 newsletter since I’d recently participated in a wonderful two-day introduction training through YogaFit® on Ayurveda taught by uber-qualified Felicia M. Tomasko, R.N., http://www.ayurveda-caam.org/about/board.html#tomasko.

Here’s a quick recap:

Ayurveda is the “sister science” to yoga and is a natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5000 years.  A dosha is your Ayurvedic mind and body type.  There are three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and we all have all three doshas in us to varying degrees. Our “mix” of each dosha is our “constitution” or “Prakriti”.

Vata types (my dominant dosha) are connected to the air and space, so they are similar to the wind—dry, cool, and capable of fast, unpredictable movement and thought. Pittas are aligned with fire, influenced by air, and act with intense determination. Finally, kaphas are a combination of earth and water, move slowly and gracefully, and tend to be both stable and loyal. http://www.yogajournal.com/health/859?utm_source=DailyInsight&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=DailyInsight

Another interesting, knowledgeable yogi I follow specializes in Ayurveda—Melina Meza.  Here’s an excerpt from her wonderful book, Art of Sequencing, Volume Two: “The more familiar you are with your Prakriti (constitution or “mix” of doshas), the more you can prepare yourself for the physical and mental health issues that typically affect people with your constitution. For example, if your constitution is composed predominantly of ether and air (Vata), you would typically see health issues related to anxiety, nerve disorders, joint issues, or constipation. Knowing these strengths and weaknesses based on the elements, you might consider drinking less caffeine, consuming less sugar, eating more fiber, and booking regular massages to ward off the typical imbalances related to ether and air.

Prakritis with strong affiliation to fire and water (Pitta) will often experience heat-related imbalances such as skin rashes, diarrhea, digestive disorders, or high blood pressure. To help manage the fire and water elements, you might consider decreasing hot and spicy foods, meditating, and avoiding being outside in the hottest part of the day.

Earth- and water-based constitutions (Kapha) often discover swelling, depression, excess mucus, or challenges managing their weight and metabolism with a base Prakriti rooted in the heavy, wet elements. Often proper diet, nutrition, and exercise will keep the earth- and water-based constitutions healthy. Knowing your Prakriti and your physical and mental patterns—something you can learn by a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner—might inspire you to cultivate a more holistic lifestyle, one connected to Nature and her five elements.” To read more, order your copy today: www.melinameza.com

I’ll repeat the links from the June 2010 newsletter to help you zero in on what your dominant dosha might be or which dosha might be out of balance.  Caution!  Ayurveda is like eating potato chips…you can’t stop with just one piece!  You’ll want to consume all you can!  Remember, you have all three doshas in you so you’ll find attributes of each:

http://www.whatsyourdosha.com/

http://www.holisticonline.com/w_ayurveda-dvikruti1.htm
http://www.yogajournal.com/health/498

http://www.yogajournal.com/health/1517?utm_source=DailyInsight&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=b&utm_campaign=DI_2009-12-06#doc

Being dominantly “Vata” makes me prone to worry and stress.  The Vata dosha is aggravated by change (movement), and dryness, among other things.  Too much activity (think of movement as an air quality), and too many thoughts causing anxiety (again think of the turbulence of monkey mind.)

The world we live in is Vata-oriented.  So a Vata in a Vata environment, well that’s a recipe for becoming out of balance.  We are constantly in motion, using electronics filled with movement, in cars and airplanes in dry environments, etc., etc.  I think we’re all in agreement here.  Vata is the one dosha that easily gets out of balance in today’s world.

So I thought the dream message was telling me to “be with air”—to be okay and present with that since that is what I am—Vata.  I really have no choice but to be with it, and to learn how to be with it.

Yoga teaches us to accept what is both on and off the mat.  The pose you’re in may not be perfect to you, but it’s perfect for your body for that moment of that day.  So be with it.  Listen to your body as it is in that pose.  Listen to your body throughout the day and be with whatever is, without reacting to it.  Notice the feelings in your body as they come up. Be with them.

My dream message says to “add water”.  My secondary dosha is Pitta which is of the element fire and involves transformation of all kinds.  Unbalanced Pitta has to do with being driven and overly ambitious which can create inflammatory conditions in the body and mind.  The way to balance Pitta is to emphasize the relaxation of effort and flow like water to cool the heat and fire in the body and mind.  Also cultivating a one-pointed mind will balance Pitta.

Have you heard the quote, “You can’t push the river”?  That applies here.  Nature’s time / the Universe’s time has its own schedule. We can’t push it.  It will do no good.  It’s like the infamous story of the gardener who plants carrots but keeps digging them up to see if they’re growing yet thinking that will help them along—no patience!  It only deters their growth and adds frustration to the process.  I know I get out of balance with my Pitta/fire dosha.  I know that “add water” is definitely good advice!  How about you?  Remember we all have all three doshas in varying degrees.

So “Be with air, add water—physiological weather” was a perfect way to call out the Ayurvedic mind and body types and to refer to the “weather” of what was going on physiologically in my body.  The thing that I love most about the dream messages is the unique, succinct way the message is given.  I couldn’t have come up with a more succinct way to say “Ayurveda doshas” than to define them as physiological markers or the physiological weather of the body at the time.

I thought I was done analyzing this simple, beautiful dream message, but there is more.  If you’ve been reading my recent newsletters, you know that I am currently participating in a second 200-hour yoga teacher training with TeriLeigh Schmidt.  In addition to being able to see the energy centers (chakras and auras) of the body, TeriLeigh has studied extensively with West African Shaman, Malidoma Somé.  In 2009, she was initiated as an Elder into the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso. The cosmology of the Dagara Tribe teaches the value of spiritual ritual, relationship to ancestors, and the healing powers of five elements: fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature.

Yesterday I met with TeriLeigh for a private “Shamanic divination” which makes my dream message even more magical since it came to me that night.  I am sure the message was “divination induced” since a divination connects you to your ancestors and through the process that follows you are inviting them to speak back.

Here’s TeriLeigh’s description of a “Shamanic divination”:  “A private cowry shell divination with TeriLeigh is conducted in the manner designed by Malidoma Some. TeriLeigh has completed Malidoma Some’s 2-year intensive training, which included sessions on conducting cowry shell divination. This personal session is ‘tailored to assist you in living more harmoniously in the natural world and in relationships with the spirit world.  You may be assigned personal rituals designed to support your growth and your deepening relationship with the natural and spiritual worlds’ (www.malidoma.com).

After a brief interview in which the client expresses the intention for the divination, the client will spread a small pile of cowry shells and other small items on a divination cloth decorated with the Dagara medicine wheel. Where the items land on the cloth and in relation to each other offer information for the client from the Spirit realm.” http://www.terileigh.com/shamanicdiv.html

I can’t begin to do justice to how very interesting, thought-provoking, and downright cool the divination was.  I’d definitely recommend it!  Some of the most interesting messages from my divination were in the “fire section” of the divination cloth.  It was there that the “transformation stone” landed as well as the “Divine Feminine” piece.  A small item that represented me landed in the water section.

Part of the message was to surrender to the flow of the universe—to let the flow happen vs. try to control everything.  The item that represented me was face up in the water section, which represents the part of me that wants to control the flow and doesn’t trust, so it watches with eyes open. Had it been relaxed and face down with eyes closed, it would have represented that I had trust and that I was going with and surrendering to the flow.

How about you? How often do we want to “push the river” and not “surrender to the flow”?  It’s hard isn’t it?  But actuality attempting to “push the river” is what makes life hard.  It’s when we can let go and surrender that life becomes easy.  “Letting go” involves trust.  Trust that the intelligence of the Universe knows what’s best and why wouldn’t it?

Matthew 6:26-30:  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Now how about that “Divine Feminine” piece and the Transformation stone?  We each have a feminine and a masculine side.  The feminine energies give compassion, love, nurturing.  It also allows us to receive those qualities—be it from others, or more importantly, ourselves.  The masculine energies give strength, willpower, effort.  It also enables us to create and do all the wonderful things in life we set out to do.

Surrendering to the flow of life adds the water element to your life—flow.  Surrendering to the flow of life is letting the “divine feminine” within you receive all that life has to offer, no holds barred.  Did you get that?  No holds barred. That means no filtering of what comes through.  No needing to control when, where, or how it comes through.  No holds barred.

So “add water”, as my dream message directed, overlaps the Ayurvedic message to “cool it”.  To quit “doing” and start just letting it “be”.  To quit letting the masculine side be driven and overly ambitious just like the unbalanced “Pitta” dosha described above.

Air is the manifestation of movement and the power of the mind to think—masculine energies of effort and will.  This overlaps with the Ayurvedic message acknowledging that “air” is my dominant dosha and starting point.  “Vata” becomes unbalanced with too much movement, too many thoughts. This causes anxiety.  So just be with it.  “Be” vs. “do”.

The air is the masculine, the water the feminine.  “Be with air, add water—physiological weather.”  Let your desire “to do” relax and surrender to the flow.  The abundance that will make you personally abundant will follow.  Each of us has a different way to define what will make us abundant—that’s your physiological weather.

One of the rituals prescribed by the divination involves using water as medicine—running water, like a stream, river, or creek, and the use of milk which represents abundance.  “Water allows things to be, gets out of the way to accept things as they are.  Water represents the cycles of life always present.  It equals the flow of life and milk represents abundance so you are adding abundance into the flow of life.  Water flows, evaporates, and comes back to you.  What you give away comes back.” –TeriLeigh Schmidt.

(I’m thinking by now most of my readers know what chakras are.  Typically I discuss chakras in the “Chakrascope” section below.  If you are one of those readers that don’t go there because chakras are foreign to you, please give the next paragraph a try.  Chakra enthusiasts can skip the next paragraph!

Think of chakras like “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”…remember those?  You need food and shelter before you can think about becoming enlightened.  For a crash course on chakras, here’s the intro to the chakrascope section just for you: 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 the chakra system, air is represented by the heart chakra—the love energy center, and water is represented by the sacral chakra—the creativity energy center. Every good thing in your life always begins with love and expands when love is added. Abundance cannot be obtained without love. When you do anything as a service out of love for others, your actions will always be abundant.

“Be with air, add water—physiological weather”.  So the dream message deepens—Be with the heart, add water as medicine to create abundance.  “Be with” or “focus on” doing things as a service to others with love, then release control by surrendering to the flow of life—allow life to deliver to you in its own natural time and way.  This will create/transform into the abundance you are looking for—be it financial, spiritual, or other.  How you define abundance for yourself will be what comes to you.  How you feel about abundance is your physiological weather.

Ayurveda, Shamanic Divination, Chakras—All true, real wisdom and knowledge overlaps. They lead to the same message. Don’t they?  Notice how each of these sources of information use the five elements of nature—they call them by different names, but they all go back to the creative forces in nature:  fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature, or earth, water, fire, air, and ether/space.  There are others.

Feng Shui, the science of placement, uses elements as well.  My favorite local but internationally known author on this subject is Carole J. Hyder. My favorite book by her is—wait for it—“Wind and Water”!    Be with air, add water!  I drove behind a semi-truck yesterday with Asian markings.  I was stuck behind it for some time so I started to ask what it might be telling me.  (Yes, everything is a message.  Are you listening?)  My mind went to Feng Shui which is another topic I’m enthralled with.  I realized as I drove that this system also uses the elements and I thought, gosh my intro this month is way too long already.  Really?  You think I should add another analogy of the dream message?  It wasn’t until this very moment that I pulled my favorite book and made the title-to-dream message connection.

I looked up the “Bagua” map in the front of the book.  It is a mental tool or map used to determine the placement of nine life issues as they are represented in your space.  Feng Shui science tells us that your space reflects your life.  Fix one, and the other benefits.

Be with air—the air element on the Bagua is represented by “wind” which corresponds to the wealth corner of the map.  Add water—the water element on the map has a couple different appearances.  “River” corresponds to the career area of the map and “Lake” corresponds to the creativity area.  How cool is that?  It starts with the abundance area—wealth—and adds career and creativity.

“Be with air, Add water—Physiological weather.”  This becomes “to be with abundance, develop your career using your creative talents”.  Be with what you already have and add creativity to experience the abundance you are looking for.  You’ll find your particular version of abundance based upon what your DNA needs to feel abundant. Do what you love and what brings you joy, and the flow of abundance will come to you naturally, the way nature intended, without struggle.

Just as the words of the prophets repeat throughout time with the same messages.  If you didn’t get it right or hear it the first time you, it will come to you in another form that perhaps now you’ll understand or accept. The Universe doesn’t give up on you.  It will keep sending you the lessons in different forms.

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”—Buddha You shall love your neighbor as yourself.“—Jesus (Matthew 22.37-40)

I invite you to listen for your own dream messages just as I did in March 2010:  Ask for inspiration on some subject of interest before you go to sleep. Do it several times knowing there’s inspiration if you look for it. Obviously you have to put a little heart into it.  Remember, “If you do not believe in magic, your life will not be magical”–Lynn V. Andrews.

Then find some mornings where it’s not the alarm waking you up. The key is to be in between sleep and awake, not jolted awake. Wait for it. You can also pay attention to your dreams. Find which works for you, and enjoy sleuthing out the answer.  Just as many dream books suggest you are the only one who knows what your dreams mean, the same goes for between sleep and awake messages.  Think of how you speak in code to those you love.  My husband and I have our own language!  Why not the Universe and you?

I’ve said it before—the more you practice listening, the easier it will be to hear the message.  The more you acknowledge that you’ve heard, the more messages make their presence known.  The more receptive you are, the more likely you’ll be aware of the miracles that surround you.  Go ahead, what’s stopping you?  There’s no reason you can’t receive your own magical messages.  Let your journey begin.

29
April

Side Angle (Sanskrit Term: Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Empower Your Yoga Practice
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Side Angle (Sanskrit Term:  Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Benefits:

  • Strengthens:  Ankles, Quads, Obliques, Hip Flexors, Hip Abductors, Shoulders
  • Stretches:  Hip Adductors, Calves, Ankles, Spine, Waist, Shoulders, Chest and Lungs
  • Increases Stamina
  • Improves posture
  • Enhances lung capacity (B.K.S. Iyengar)
  • Beneficial for Sciatica and low backache as well as constipation
  • Stimulates the sacral chakra, our creativity / sensuality center
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs

Alignment Cues: Starting from Warrior II, bend your front knee and stack it over the ankle.  Bring your front arm to rest on the front thigh, bending the elbow and your palm facing up “to receive” (spiritually receive from the Universe). Your back arm is now the top arm and reaches for the sky, palm facing forward and arm in line with shoulder.  Keep your back foot anchored into the outer edges of the foot.  Lift your ribs off the thigh.  Anchor the legs to the ground. Keep the back knee solid with a slight bend to it to protect the knee.  Elongate your neck and “keep it happy”, as I often say in class.  The classic version suggests looking up at the arm but you can also look forward or down (not shown).  Rotate your chest open to the sky.

Advanced versions:

Extended Side Angle: Lower your top arm over your ear, palm down reaching through your fingertips and pushing into your back foot. “The diagonal line created by the arm, torso, and leg symbolizes our connection from Earth to heaven and heaven to Earth.”  30 Essential Yoga Poses For Beginning Students and Their Teachers, Judith Lasater, PhD, P.T.

Hand to floor or block: Place your lowered hand on the floor or block outside of the front foot.  Press hand/fingertips into the floor or block.  Extend the torso, lengthening your ribs along the bent leg.

You can also place the lower hand on the inside of the front foot—this adds a stretch to the front groin. Bring the back of the lowered shoulder against the inner knee to add to the stretch.

Do the hand to the floor or block option only if it is in your pain-free range of motion.  There’s nothing special about the floor.  So don’t go there because your ego tells you that it’s “better”.  Let your body tell you what feels good.  I like to remind my students that more is not necessarily better.  Shorter stances or not getting your hand to the floor in this pose can mean a better quality pose for your body.

Advanced option to add a bind: This adds heat to the pose, more strength through the quads and waist, and openness through your chest and shoulders.  Because you can no longer rely on your bottom arm to prop you up, support must come from within so this increases intensity.

  • Half a bind: Wrap the top hand around the back, fingernails toward the back (resting on the back if you need to) reaching toward the front thigh if you can.  Roll chest to the sky adding a slight twist as you look over your top shoulder if your neck allows. Once you can rest the palm down on the front thigh and further down the inside of the front leg, try a full bind:
  • Full bind: Bring your forward hand inside your front foot.  Reach behind your back with your top hand as you reach beneath the forward leg with your bottom hand, clasping them together.  Lean back.  Sink hips into the floor.  Roll chest to the sky adding a slight twist as you look over your top shoulder if your neck allows.

Beginner’s tip: Still unsure on your form or new to yoga? You can try a practice pose.

Add a Prop: Practice with your back to the wall for added support (not shown).  The wall support reduces fatigue, helps you hold the pose longer, and aligns your neck and head correctly.  The wall also helps correct misalignment of the shoulders and should blades. (B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga The Path To Holistic Health.)

Neck concerns? Don’t turn your head to look at arm.  Look forward or down (not shown). In fact, B.K.S. Iyengar recommends those with hypertension do the pose with the wall for support, and look down at the floor. (B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga The Path To Holistic Health.)

Lifted back foot? Use the wall to ground the back heel (not shown).

Shoulder range of motion concerns? Put the top hand on the hip.

Contraindicated for:

  • High or low blood pressure
  • If you have cervical spondylosis, don’t turn your head or look up.
  • Stress-related headaches
  • Migraines
  • Osteoarthritis of the knees
  • Insomnia

Sources: YogaJournal.com, B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga The Path to Holistic Health, Beth Saw’s YogaFIt®, and Yoga to the Rescue Remedies for Real Girls by Amy Luwis.

28
April

Loving Kindness Meditation

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
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Since this month’s yoga quote suggested to “be with air” and air is associated with the heart chakra, I’ve chosen a loving kindness meditation.

Here is my own personal loving kindness meditation:

1)     Close your eyes and start deep abdominal breathing for a few minutes to center and focus.  Then check in with your own emotional state to see how you’re feeling.  Notice, in particular, if you are feeling any negative emotions toward yourself.  If you’re like me, there’s usually some negative self-talk going on.  Connect with that self-talk and counter it with opposite sentiment.  For example if you’re thinking, “I am so behind on that project” (insert your own here), say to yourself “I have plenty of time to complete my projects.  I’m doing the best that I can.”   Send loving thoughts to yourself perhaps using an affirmation for each chakra, from my past newsletters or your favorites, and working your way from the root chakra up to the crown.  This takes several minutes.

You can even add the colors of the chakras as suggested in my own personal chakra color meditation from the March 2010 newsletter, cut and paste here for ease of reference:

Begin by grounding through your feet and sitting bones sending energy with the help of an exhalation breath down your legs imagining roots coming from your feet like a tree going down, down down into the earth.  Even picture the dirt pushing away from the roots as the roots go further and further into the earth grounding you deeper and deeper.

Beginning with the root chakra color, red, and visualize a stream of red light showering down over you from above.  Picture red energy circling the lower pelvic region and then send it down, down down into the earth.  Say to yourself I am rooted and calm, I am well-grounded.  I am safe, secure, centered, and at peace.

Going on up to the sacral chakra, visualize a stream of orange light showering down over you from above.  Picture the color orange circulating like a spinning ball in the sacral area a couple of inches below the belly button and then send the orange energy down into the earth. Say to yourself, I love my creative source.  I go with the flow. I am peaceful, poised, and harmonious.   I am young, vivacious and sexy!  I am filled with vim, vigor, and vitality!

Continuing on up to the solar plexus chakra around the belly button, visualize a stream of yellow light showering down over you from above.  Picture a swirling yellow color filling your abdomen area and then send the yellow energy down your legs, down, down, down into the ground.  Say to yourself, I can be what I will to be.  I use the power of my will to create the results I want.  I deserve to lead the life I choose to lead.

Going on up to the chest and the area of the heart center, visualize a stream of deep green light showering down over you from above.  Picture a deep green color circulating there and then send it down your legs to the earth building upon the energy of the colors before.  Say to yourself, I am loved, loveable and loving.  I love and accept myself exactly as I am.  I treat myself with unconditional love. Add the color pink, the color of love, circulating and following after.

Now moving up to the throat area, visualize a stream of bright sky blue light showering down over you from above.  Picture a bright sky blue color swirling in your throat.  Say to yourself, I speak my truth quietly and clearly with integrity and I am heard. Send the blue energy down your legs to the earth.

Now move to the third eye area—that area between the eyebrows.  Visualize a stream of deep, dark blue light showering down over you from above. Picture a deep, dark blue energy pulsating like a swirling ball in your third eye area.  As you send the blue energy down to the earth, say to yourself, I find my path following my inclinations.  I am believing in myself and my gifts.

Finally, focus on the area at the crown of your head and visualize a violet shower of light streaming over you from above. Picture a violet spinning ball of energy there and send it down to the earth following the others.  Say to yourself, I am healthy, happy, and radiant. Seal it off by visualizing a white light surrounding you with a white light shower from above and say to yourself, white light, white light, put me in the right spot.  I will to will your will.

How did that feel?  Were there any of the affirmations that resonated with you?  I hope so.

Most days, when I have time, I’ll repeat the above but in the opposite direction, sending the energy up into the sky.  It gives me a feeling of exhilaration!  I tweak it a little on the upswing to include thoughts of my husband and me as a loving, family unit.  So it becomes a personal “Metta”—or loving kindness—meditation for me.  You can use the same or similar affirmations if you want to do the upswing, and simply use “we” in place of “I”.

2)     Next focus on someone you love dearly and send loving thoughts their way.  Visualize surrounding them in white light and ask the Universe to put them in the right spot. I then add, “Make them happy, healthy, safe, warm and out of pain”. And end with, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for ‘that person’ (insert your own here) in my life”.

3)     Next I focus on those I will come into contact with or work with—it may be for that day, or it may be the “regulars”.  We all have our regulars, don’t we?  I focus on anyone I will speak to or communicate with.  I ask the Universe to put them into the right spot and surround them in a white light.  I add, “Make them happy, healthy, safe, warm and out of pain”.  And end with “Thank you, thank you, thank you for everyone’s presence in my life”.

4)     Next focus on someone you’ve had difficulty with.  Perhaps this time it’s a co-worker you don’t get along with, or even a family member.  As previously suggested, ask the Universe to put them in the right spot as you visualize surrounding them in white light.  Add, “Make them happy, healthy, safe, warm and out of pain”.  And with a succession of “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for ‘that person’ (insert your own here) in my life”.

5)     I like to end with focusing on the world at-large and asking the Universe to put everyone everywhere in the right spot and surround the world in a white light. I then add “let everyone know that everyone else really is thinking about them.  I add, “Make them happy, healthy, safe, warm, and out of pain”. And end with “Thank you, thank you, thank you for everyone’s presence in my life”.

6)     I end this meditation with the following to seal my thoughts of gratitude and thanks:  “Thank you for this day.  Thank you for the absolute stunning, magnificent, glorious beauty of this day.  Thank you for being with me and my dear, sweet (person you thought of earlier that you love dearly) today.  I ask this prayer with all my heart in Jesus’ name in love and light, in love and light, in love and light.”  You can insert your own deity here or just end with “in love and light”.

7)     You can end with step # 6.  I like to add more family focus to my meditation than the traditional Loving Kindness Meditation and I insert them right after step #2.  So I add a special element for my parents.  I focus on my mom and dad, and then my husband’s mom and dad.  I add my step-mom.  I do the same visualization and the same prayer for them as above.

8)     Then I also add a general family element.  (Parents deserve a category all their own, don’t they?)  I focus on each and every member of my family and do the same visualization and the same prayer as above.

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

27
April

Add the pink and gold vibrations/energies to empower the whole chakra system.

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.

I already dwelled a bit on chakras in the opening using the dream message, “Be with air, add water—physiological weather.”  I equated air with the heart chakra and water with the sacral chakra focus.  So those are the obvious choices for my Charkascope this month.

Every good thing in your life always begins with love and expands when love is added. Abundance cannot be obtained without love. When you do anything as a service out of love for others, your actions will always be abundant.

“Be with” or “focus on” doing things as a service to others with love, then release control by surrendering to the flow of life—allow life to deliver to you in its own natural time and way.  This will create/transform into the abundance you are looking for—be it financial, spiritual, or other.  How you define abundance for yourself will be what comes to you.  How you feel about abundance is your physiological weather.

Other interpretations got to the same end message.  For example, to “be with air”—to be present with what you are, what you already have inside.  This is your gift—the gift of your heart. You can’t follow someone else’s bliss.  If it isn’t what brings you joy, it will provide you less of the abundance you are looking for.  “Add water” became a call to relax your effort and flow like water to cool the heat and fire of wanting to control and do too much.

I was told once by Cyndi Dale, another well-known chakra energy expert, that in matters of my heart chakra, if I could figure out how to add pink and gold to the green color there, it would help.  She prefaced it with, “I know this may not make sense right now, but..”  This was said during a 15-minute break in a presentation at a class she was presenting and I was in a long line of those waiting to ask her a question.  So I didn’t push for more.  I didn’t want to abuse her time.  After all, I’d paid for a class presentation and not a one-on-one!  No, I didn’t schedule that one-on-one for various reasons, but I’ve dwelled on what she told me many times.

The other day, at the request of one of my yoga students who had just broken her ankle, I was researching what the body language of ankles, etc might mean.  I went to The Secret Language of your Body, by Inna Segal.  Among a vast array of emotions to work with, it also reviews working with the healing vibrations of color.  “Color healing is brilliant:  you can do it anywhere, anytime, and it often works instantly.  Color is also a vibration that you can actually feel in your hands, and different colors have different effects on the body.”

One of the colors recommended was pink.  As I read this color’s attributes, I remembered Cyndi Dale’s words to add more pink.  I knew I needed to “add more pink”.  Here are just a few of pink’s attributes I knew I needed.  How about you?

Brings Self-acceptance:
The desire for self-acceptance came to me in my dream message as “be with what is.  Be with the gifts inside.  Be with how you are.” remember?

Brings tranquility: Who doesn’t need this in today’s world?

Helps:

  • with the manifestation of dreamsCreating abundance was a theme brought out in my dream message as well.  If abundance isn’t a manifestation of dreams, I don’t know what is.
  • those who suffer from low self-esteemI think we all find it “easier to believe the bad stuff”, to quote Pretty Woman. Believing in our special gifts is always harder.
  • let go of old patternsI know when my wheels are spinning.  Don’t you?  Old patterns?  They’ve become constant companions.  I work on severing the ties with my writing, my yoga, and my prayers.
  • release fearI am in the midst of much change ever since I decided to step out of  the corporate world and into making yoga my world. Change of any sort requires courage.” –Mary Anne Radmacher. I am reminded today by a class I’m taking from Susi Hately of Functional Synergy that just because it’s hard doesn’t mean the Universe is telling you not to do it. I don’t have to be afraid of change.
  • to heal your heart problems such as anxiety and stressthe desire for tranquility mentioned earlier would be the antidote to this.

Doing the research for student reminded me how much I enjoyed this book.  So I re-read it.

Here’s just some of what “gold” had to tell me:

Attracts abundance and increases awarenessI’ve dwelled on abundance as a goal throughout this newsletter adding that it starts with the heart.

Helps us

  • get in touch with wisdom, profound knowledge, self-confidence, inner strength, courage, and joylow self esteem and courage was mentioned in the pink section.  Self-confidence is the other side of that coin.  Work on one and you’ll work on the other. Finding joy is the same as finding abundance, and using inner strength is a reminder, again, that it’s already inside of you—be with it.
  • cut us loose from feelings of frustration, inadequacy, and futilityI mentioned fear in the pink section.  Fear of being inadequate to the challenge and the frustration of living with that fear as it holds me back has been one of those old patterns I want to let go of (also from the pink section).  So yes, cut loose from that!

Creates a sense of well-beingwe all want well-being.  We often confuse that with monetary goals; but as mentioned over and over in the opening section, what creates a feeling of abundance (well-being) for you is built into your personal DNA—your physiological weather. How you create your sense of well being will be your personal life’s mission, and once you do that—you’ll be bringing it to others.

“A powerful protective energy, gold strengthens all fields of the body and spirit, and helps you accept what is happening in your life. Use gold for clarity, decision making, and connecting to the spiritual realm.”—I’ve mentioned fearing change.  Accepting that the path I’m on is my own path and no one else’s means I look within myself for the gifts there and create what is mine to create.  I look within my heart and creatively bring forth the gift.  That’s heart chakra combined with the sacral/creative chakra.  That’s adding pink and gold to the green.

Notice the water/sacral chakra element that pink and gold empowers?—Cutting loose of inadequacy and frustration, letting go of old patterns, releasing fears.  Working on one energy center will always affect the others.  So by adding the pink and gold vibrations/energies we empower not only the heart and sacral chakras but the whole chakra system.

How about you?  Looking for a way to boost your chakra energies?  Try adding the attributes of pink and gold. Adding color to the palette always affects the other colors.  Working on one energy center will always affect the others.  Happy color blending!

Breathwork and Visualization:

White/Pink Bubble Technique:

This technique is good to use when you are feeling vulnerable.  My “meditation to go” section suggested visualizing surround yourself and others in white light. This section suggests adding pink into your life.  This technique can be used with either color!  You choose!

1.     Assuming you’re not in immediate danger, prepare yourself with deep breathing.

2.     Visualize yourself completely surrounded by a big white or pink energy bubble that extends six to twelve inches away from your body.  Feel yourself being cleansed of          negative energy and protected from any negative energy around you.

3.     You can also visualize the bubble around another person, place, or situation.

Source: Color Energy.  How Color Can Transform Your Life—Cristina Bornstein and Anthony Gill

Affirmations:

  • I totally and unconditionally love and approve of myself at all times.
  • I trust in my own perfection.
  • I am good enough to have what I want.
  • It is safe to have life easy and pleasurable.
  • I allow abundance and prosperity into my life.
  • I trust the Infinite Intelligence to give me everything I need for my growth
    and development.
  • I love who I am exactly as I am.
  • I am grateful for the joy of being me.
  • I trust the process of life.
  • I love myself exactly as I am right now.
  • I am adequate at all times to do that which is required of me.
  • I love who I am.
  • I am willing to love everything about myself.
  • I trust in love.
  • I open my heart to love.
  • I forgive myself
  • I forgive those who need forgiving for not being what I wanted them to be.
  • Love is the purpose of my life.
  • Love is everywhere.
  • I open myself to the healing powers of love.
  • I follow the path of the heart.
  • I delight in sharing my joy.
  • Joy is my reason for living.

Sources:
The Book of Chakras,
Ambika Wauters.
http://www.1lovespirit.com/affirmations-chakras.html

Diet and the Heart and Sacral Chakras: For the heart chakra add green—green tea, green leafy vegetables, green herbs like basil, coriander, marjoram, oregano, parsley.  And remember to add pink—apples come to mind. For the Sacral Chakra to balance the body’s water element add lots of water!  Also add fruits and vegetable juices.

Aromatherapy and the Heart and Sacral Chakras: For the Heart Chakra try jasmine, rose, bergamot, and lavender among others.  For the Sacral Chakra try frankincense, jasmine, clary sage, and patchouli, among others.

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 Heart and Sacral 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”.

Heart Chakra gems: Rose Quartz (add pink!), Diamond, Peridot, Malachite, Green Tourmaline, Boji stone, among others.

Sacral Chakra gems: Carnelian, Tiger’s eye, Onyx, and Citrine among others.

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 the Heart and Sacral Chakras:

All yoga poses are essentially grounding and activate the chakras.  Heart chakra poses include the Highlighted CD’s focus, Hanumanasana/monkey pose.  Also try back bends that open the heart center area like camel pose and bow pose among others. Bridge pose is also a back bend to try which also works with the sacral chakra.

This month’s highlighted pose, extended side-angle stimulates sacral chakra.  Other sacral chakra poses include fish pose, butterfly/cobbler’s pose, and pelvic tilts, among others.

26
April

Guidance mudra

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:  watch?v=e7-iXzMdfIs&feature=player_embedded#at=147

Guidance mudra

This month’s focus is about asking for and receiving guidance from the Universe. It’s also about understanding your personality and characteristics so that you can work from where you are.   So I chose the “Guidance” mudra from this month’s highlighted deck (see below).

Posture: Sit in Easy Pose with a straight spine, with a light Neck lock.

(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)

Mudra: Extend the arms straight forward parallel to the ground.  Palms face each other.  Press the wrists together and spread the palms out with the palms and fingers as wide apart as you can, as though pushing against a wall. 

Eye Position: The eyes are slightly open looking down at the tip of the nose.  (Note:  This is why I am not looking at you in the photo!)

Breath & Mantra: Begin rhythmically chanting:

Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Wahe Guru.
watch?v=0psToc4St1o

Sat Nam rhymes with “but mom”. Sat Nam means truth is my identity. It is a seed mantra—these are single syllable sounds or roots like OM that have multiple meanings and indications depending upon their intonation and the intention with which they are used. Within the seed is contained all the knowledge of the fully grown tree.  It is truth embodied in condensed form.

Wahe Guru:  Wha-hay guroo. This is a mantra of the Infinity of ecstasy and dwelling in God.  It expresses the indescribable experience of going from darkness to light—from ignorance to true understanding. Guru is the embodiment of the wisdom that one is seeking. )

Time: Continue for 11 minutes.  (The meditation is typically concluded by inhaling and holding the breath briefly if you have no medical conditions that a breath hold would be contraindicated for.  While the breath is held, apply root lock, then exhale and relax.  After a meditation it is beneficial to lay on your back and relax, allowing time for your nervous system to integrate these changes.)

Comments: We cannot improve the caliber of the human being, but we can guide it.  When we guide ourselves and are not at the mercy of subconscious habits then we become master of the self.  But overcoming old habits and starting new ones requires strong nerves and willpower.  This kriya develops willpower and gives the capacity to understand the elements of your personality.  You can know what you are thinking and regulate the flow of those thoughts.  This kriya is a perfect Sadhana (daily spiritual practice) for difficulty in completing projects and doing what you intend.

Source: Kundalini Blessings (Featured deck below)

25
April

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.

Kundalini Blessings Meditations for the Aquarian Age

I found these absolutely mesmerizing cards online.  It was one of those “synchronistically” connected searches that started somewhere and ended here.  I can’t even backtrack to give proper credit since I am the lucky recipient of many wonderful ezines and Facebook connections that could have led me there.  Suffice to say if it came to me that way, I know it was meant to come on my radar!  And I’m so glad that it did!

There is substantial information contained within the guide book for each card/mudra/mantra as well as excellent information on mantras and mudras in general. Since the deck contains many mudras, I used the “Guidance mudra” from the deck for the “Hand Mudra” of the month above.  I am only highlighting one card as described above and pictured here.

Description: KUNDALINI BLESSING ORACLE CARDS, from Gurudarshan Khalsa, offers a deck of 40 cards that can be used in conjunction with meditation and yoga practices to focus your energy toward aspects of your life that need attention. Each card features a topic to focus on, ranging from “Concentration” to “Insight” to “The Mystic.”

Shuffle the deck and choose one or more cards (if doing a spread). The 146-page guidebook helps you to interpret the cards and explains how to do the accompanying meditations. The book also details breathing patterns, mudras and in some cases mantras that can be chanted. The content is based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan and shares technology to bring you to an elevated state of awareness in only 3 minutes.  Many Blessings to you!

You can buy your very own deck and the book of the same name at:  http://www.kundaliniblessings.com/ also see:  http://www.aquarianvision.com/

About the author: Aquarian Vision Photography (and Kundalini Blessings cards) offers the unique creative vision of Gurudarshan Khalsa.  Her photography represents the moments of God that are occurring with each inhale and exhale.  She is the professional photographer and go-to personal for all Kundalini Yoga photography because of her 30 years of experience and personal practice.  She is a Level 1 and Level 2 Kundalini Research Institute Teacher and is in the Aquarian Training Academy on her way to become a Teacher Trainer.  With this vast depth of experience, she understands the power and transformational aspects of Kundalini Yoga and knows how to capture her subject’s vibrational shifts, both inner and outer.  The ability to capture the essence of a person is seen in her portrait work.  She has taken this understanding of the subtle energies of life and unified it with her passion and love of Nature and Travel photography as well.  Photography holds the key to her deepest creative expression and she feels the greatest amount of peace and calm when her camera is in her hands.

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
April

Loving Kindness Meditation enables you to become more satisfied with your life & experience fewer symptoms of depression!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News
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Study shows that Loving Kindness Meditation enables you to become more satisfied with your life and experience fewer symptoms of depression!  Time investment—only an hour or so a week?!  I’m in!

I featured my own personal Loving Kindness Meditation above in the “Meditation to Go” section above.

This study shows that “Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) enables you to become more satisfied with your life and experience fewer symptoms of depression.  As a result, greater positive emotions help build resources for living successfully.  Simply put, by elevating daily experiences of positive emotions, the practice of LKM led to long-term gains that made genuine differences in people’s lives.

The practice of LKM led to shifts in people’s daily experiences of a wide range of positive emotions, including love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope, pride, interest, amusement, and awe. This linked to increases in a variety of personal resources, including mindful attention, self-acceptance, positive relations with others, and good physical health.

Participants who invested an hour or so each week practicing this form of meditation enhanced a wide range of positive emotions in a wide range of situations, especially when interacting with others.

People judge their lives to be more satisfying and fulfilling, not because they feel more positive emotions per se, but because their greater positive emotions help them build resources for living successfully.

We find these data especially promising. LKM appears to be one positive emotion induction that keeps on giving, long after the identifiable “event” of meditation practice. Positive emotions feel good, and feelings like love, joy, and contentment can be valuable in and of themselves. Yet the broaden theory suggests that natural selection sculpted our ancestors’ positive emotions to be useful in more far-reaching ways as well. These desirable states built resources that gave our ancestors’ an edge in circumstances that impinged on their survival.”

To read more about this very detailed study, click here.

23
April

Asparagus Soup

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!

Feeling run down? Bloated? Need to detox? … And boost your Folic Acid intake if you’re pregnant or nursing, avoid varicose veins and savor a delicious delicacy that’s fast and easy to cook?

The answer is the simple asparagus stalk. http://archive.supermarketguru.com/page.cfm/37895

Asparagus Soup

1 lb of asparagus cut into 2″ pieces – woody ends removed and discarded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
Pinch of red pepper flecks
1 quart chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Sr. Cream * optional
Chopped chives

Sauté asparagus in olive oil on med low heat for 5 minutes. Add shallot and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes until asparagus is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool. Puree asparagus and stock in blender. Reheat or serve at room temperature. Garnish with sr. cream and chives if desired.

22
April

Flow of Grace by Krishna Das

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Featured Yoga Music/DVD
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I purchased this CD at the same shop highlighted last month—one of my favorite new age shops:  Mind Body & Spirit Gifts & Books in downtown St. Cloud, MN.  www.mindbodyspirit-online.com.  They carry stunning jewelry, stones & crystals, books & music, essential oils & herbs, candles & incense, unique gifts & artwork, Native American items, and relaxation & meditation CDs.  They also offer Intuitive/psychic readings, body & energy work, classes & workshops, and guest speakers!

This CD is out of the norm of what I’d play in my yoga classes, but I had to include it here.  I love the voice of Krishna Das.  He’s like grandpa singing a lullaby to you.  His voice soothes me in ways I can’t describe.

My current yoga teacher training started with an in-depth review of Hindu philosophy.  I mentioned above in my opening that the Universe keeps sending you the lessons in different forms.  When I saw in the intro to this CD’s accompanying book the quote “all paths lead to the same goal”, I knew I needed to feature this CD.

Then I read that Hanuman, the subject of this CD, is the son “Wind-God”, and the yoga pose named after Hanuman (Hanumanasana / Monkey pose) commemorates his jumps across the ocean to re-unite two lovers who had been separated by a kidnapping.  Up until he jumped the ocean, he didn’t know he had the power to do so.  His love of serving others brought out this unknown power, “and proved that the word ‘impossible’ is a word not existing in a devotee’s dictionary.”

So there you have it… “Be with air.  Add water” becomes the story of the Wind-God’s son and his jump across the ocean.  I had interpreted my dream message as telling me to start with the heart— doing things as a service to others with love, then release control by surrendering to the flow of life—allow life to deliver to you in its own natural time and way.  This will create/transform into the abundance you are looking for—be it financial, spiritual, or other.

My choice was obvious for this month’s featured CD.  The story of the Wind-God’s son and his jump across the ocean. He discovers the abundance he already had within.  Enjoy this wonderful CD.

About Krishna Das: Layering traditional Hindu kirtan with instantly accessible melodies and modern instrumentation, Krishna Das has been called yoga’s “rock star.” With a remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener, Krishna Das – known to friends, family, and fans as simply KD – has taken the call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the best-selling chant artist of all time, with over 300,000 records sold.  Read his full, very interesting bio at:  http://www.amazon.com/Krishna-Das/e/B000APAF8W/ref=ac_dpt_sa_bio as well as at http://www.krishnadas.com/about.cfm

Product Description: Krishna Das has been singing the Hanuman Chalisa for over thirty years, and on his newest CD, Flow of Grace, he takes us deep into the heart of this powerful prayer to Hanuman, the embodiment of devotion, service, strength, and compassion. Krishna Das’ deep, hypnotic voice is steeped in love as he sings five entrancing melodies of the Chalisa, accompanied by Arjun Alan Bruggeman, John McDowell, David Nichtern, Genevieve Walker, and Nina Rao, who also leads a beautiful version of the prayer. On the final track, the Ring Song, KD and the posse break out into a celebratory Indian folk song, which playfully asks Hanuman how he accomplished one of his many divine exploits.

A bonus in the package is a “learning” CD on which all the words to the Chalisa are pronounced slowly and are transliterated and translated in the extensive 73-page book. The 73-page book is beautifully designed in full-color with photographs and stories about Hanuman, Neem Karoli Baba, and more. Krishna Das describes his experience learning the prayer, the power of Hanuman, and the practice of singing the Chalisa. Following are two excerpts:

In the Chalisa, we bow to the great beauty, strength, and devotion that Hanuman embodies; we also begin to bow to that place in ourselves. The Chalisa inspires us to try to become like him, to make the mirror of our heart as clean as Hanuman’s so that we can become aware of the great beauty and love that lives within us as our own true nature.

…We keep calling with all our heart and then, finally, just when we think we can’t take any more, the first rays of the dawn’s light reach our hungry eyes. Amazing Grace! Hanuman’s light is brighter than a million suns; his face is colored with all the beauty in this world. When he arrives, all our suffering is destroyed; we have reached the path and our way is open before us, bathed in the light of Love.

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.krishnadasmusic.com/flow_of_grace.htm and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93yjicvca0Y

21
April

Want to learn simple meditation / breathwork techniques?

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

(This class is available Tues. PM at 7:00 – 8:30 PM pending 4 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.)

Julie Jacky Jewelry

Many of you probably remember Julie Jacky as an exhibitor at our Vita Bella open houses.  She has been kind enough to help me grow my yoga business by including free yoga class coupons (for those new to Vita Bella Health & Wellness Center) in her boutique gift baskets.  So send your friends who have been meaning to try a yoga class to her online store: You can order online at Julie Jacky’s hand-beaded jewelry store on this website or you can go to her etsy site for pieces they carry in stock on a regular basis.

Be with what you already have & add creativity to experience the abundance you are looking for.  You’ll find your particular version of abundance based upon what your DNA needs to feel abundant. Do what you love & what brings you joy, & the flow of abundance will come to you naturally, the way nature intended, without struggle.”— Sandy’s Dream message interpretation.