22
January

Dialing up Spirit

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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This is my third blog in the series I introduced a couple of weeks ago promising to send you simple rituals to invite Spirit back into your daily realm. I promised they’d take no more than a few minutes and easily fit into your schedule. I hope you enjoyed the first two blogs. Here’s their links if you missed them:

Using Ritual to Listen to Spirit 

A Silent Night all year round 

Now, on to this week’s topic!

Dialing up Spirit

If you aren’t regularly making time to connect to Spirit, Spirit won’t have a venue to talk to you because you obviously aren’t listening. It’d be like leaving messages and sending gifts to a relative or friend but never hearing back or getting an acknowledgement they’ve heard from you. Eventually you’d quit, right? The same goes for Spirit. Once Spirit knows you’re listening, the floodgates open! I am speaking from first-hand experience!

I like to take a moment in the morning to contemplate a question for Spirit—maybe it’s some advice I need. It could be before I get out of bed, perhaps just after I’ve meditated, or maybe after I’ve exercised and done yoga. I could chose my moment just after I light a candle, as I wrote in my first blog on this series. If mornings don’t work, you can do this practice in the evening too. As you can imagine, these random connections can happen any time you’re feeling like you need a fix!

Here’s a collection of ways to “dial up” Spirit:
~

  1. A simple one sentence /page random reading from your favorite spiritual or inspirational book. I have a gazillion! Many of mine center on yoga:

  • Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche, (Never fails to address exactly what I was asking about!)
  • Yoga Gems by Georg Feuerstein,
  • Yoga in Every Moment by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati,
  • A Year of Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater.But I also like many topics:
  • Daily Guidance from Your Angels by Doreen Virtue, PhD,
  • Seize Your Life Now to Carpe Diem Every Day by Jasmine Brett Stringer,
  • Grace, Guidance, and Gifts, Sacred Blessings to Light Your Way by Sonia Choquette (This source has several sections per theme, depending on your time: “Message from Spirit”, “Invocation”, “Today’s Mantra” and “Your Personal Blessing”.)
  • You Have a Purpose, Begin it Now by Susan Hayward (a perennial favorite and quick source of a random message)
  • A Walk in the Wood, Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh by Dr. Jason Parent and Nancy Parent (my most recent purchase)
  • The Science of Mind Magazine has great daily readings. I’ve been subscribed for years and use many of them for my final relaxation readings at the end of a yoga class.
  • Totally Unique Thoughts from the Universe by Michael Dooley. He has several books. You can even get a daily email from Michael Dooley after signing up with some personal information: the name you want your emails addressed to, perhaps a personal goal and your birthday. Then he’ll send them to you in emails at random times (not too much) and for sure on your birthday! They’re always whimsical and make you smile, if not laugh out loud. Now, who wouldn’t want to laugh out loud sometimes? My most recent email was from last Friday (no goal mentioned in this one):

“Sandy, have you been leaning on me lately?
A lot?

For absolutely EVERYTHING?

Day and night, rain or shine, Gummi Bears or Gucci?

Just checkin’
The Universe

 

Sometimes a particular reading from these above-mentioned books resonates with me so much at the time because they’re spot on to what I asked about. So I’ll reread that particular passage daily for a while to let it really sink in. Why not? THAT’S the reason Spirit sent you the message, right? If it resonates in a big way, keep dwelling on that message!

Keep in mind that if the topics that interest me don’t interest you, any random reading from pretty much any book can carry a message. Try it. You’ll see.
~

  1. A random card pull from a motivational deck of cards.

If you prefer a different kind of random pull, you can use a deck of cards. I like to shuffle the deck until one pops funny. It could drop out, it could flip over, or it could just stick out in a unique way as I’m shuffling. Somehow it lets me know, THIS is the one! And then I always take the bottom card from the portion of the deck that’s still in my hand and do a two-card reading. If two cards happen to pop out, I’ll still grab the card from the bottom of the deck. I figure Spirit knows my M.O. and may have been trying to get that bottom card to me somehow! You don’t have to do it my way. I just thought I’d share.

I used to highlight my favorite decks in my newsletter. I have that many! There are many decks to choose from! There are even some readings you can find digitally—like here. (Native American wisdom)

Here is a small sampling of what I’ve highlighted in previous newsletters:

  • Empowerment Cards for Inspired Living by Tavis Smiley
  • The Power Deck, The Cards of Wisdom by Lynn V. Andrews (Native American Wisdom)
  • Ascended Masters by Doreen Virtue
  • Yoga Path Cards by Susan Woldman (no longer in print, sorry!)
  • Ask Your Guides Oracle Cards by Sonia Choquette (My guides have names…okay there I said it. So I’ll ask for a message by their name when I use this deck.)
  • The Silvey Energy Deck by Shari Silvey (since repackaged and renamed The Power to Transform Card Deck—I had her original cards and self-laminated them! I’ve known her for years!)

Many times the cards have a full message, but depending on your time, you can just read the summation or key word. Bing, bang, got it!

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I own. I finally had to admit I have a fetish for them and stop buying new ones! I even started to train to read Tarot cards (I’m a work in progress!) They are fun, quick and I promise they’ll become one of your best resources to talk to Spirit.
~

  1. A desktop or countertop calendar

~

They’re simple, quick and may be just what you’re looking for. There are affirmation calendars, horoscope calendars, even a word a day calendar can bring a message if you’re asking. Here’s a couple I use:

  • The Secret Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne is in a calendar format. I still like to randomly flip in this one too.
  • Inner Reflections by Self-Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda is my favorite daily use calendar spiral book. It doesn’t have daily readings so much as beautiful photos and affirmations/quotes scattered throughout.
    ~
    ~

When I’m feeling disconnected from Spirit, these suggestions are like picking up the phone and literally dialing up Spirit (I may be aging myself with that term!). It’s like talking to an old friend and asking for their advice. No matter how long it’s been, Spirit remembers you.

It helps to be a bit centered prior to doing a random reading—at least for me. So remember to take a deep breath, think of a question or area of advice that you’re working on prior; and trust me, the responses you get will start to amaze you! Whatever portal you open to spirit, I promise you, the messages will come!

That didn’t take any time at all, now did it? Enjoy!

P.S. I’ll add here, that if you are exceptionally down and you DO have more time, you can always do multiple card readings, random book readings, etc. Sometimes I need a good talking to. Maybe you do too. So give yourself this gift of time.

 

 

16
January

A Silent Night all year round

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Off-the-Wall Musings
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Last week I introduced this series of blogs on easy ways you can bring simple rituals into your daily realm to invite Spirit back into your life. These rituals take no more than a few minutes and will easily fit into your daily schedule. And as I mentioned last week, if one doesn’t resonate with you, perhaps the next topic will.

Driving and Stress

Do you ever find yourself stressed while driving? Perhaps you drive to and from work during rush hour when traffic can get a little, shall we say hairy? It’s sometimes hard to stay calm as you notice how many other drivers are perhaps texting or simply wanting to drive right through you!

How do you insulate your nervous system from this onslaught of stress? It’s an important question because it’s the quality of life every day that creates your overall health, right?

Try turning off the radio and humming a favorite tune and if it happens to be a spiritual song, or one that reminds you of loved ones, even better.

When I’m driving and want to stay calm, humming some of my favorite songs brings me back to center. My go-to song to hum all year round is “Silent Night”. This song pops into my head immediately when I’m driving. Sometimes I find myself humming it before I’ve even realized I started humming—like the infamous “Pavlov’s dog” experiment. I get in the car and start to hum as I start to drive because my subconscious knows that’s my M.O.

If it’s a long drive, I have a playlist of sorts. “Silent Night” turns into “You are my sunshine”, which has a very emotional component, calling to mind my mom (in-law) as well as my great aunt (in-law), both of whom have passed. Next I hum “Que Sera Sera” which my dad used to whistle to himself. When I find myself missing him terribly (he passed away in 2003), I’ll hum the “Polish National Anthem”. My parents were both born in Poland and I went down the aisle to the Polish Anthem as a surprise gift to both sets of Polish parents. (My in-laws are also 100% Polish.) My dad could play this tune on his harmonica to his dying day (from Alzheimer’s). It was his favorite song and would always bring tears to his eyes.

Humming has a calming effect in and of itself but the songs you choose to hum will also add to the healing environment you are creating with the sound of your vocal chords. It’s like inviting my best friends into the car with me—my most supportive relatives surrounding me. The songs that have come to mind when I drive bring soothing memories and a reminder of important connections in my life.

Maybe it’s a spiritual song that brings you comfort. Maybe it’s like the ones I’ve chosen. Although it’s really more like they chose me!

I believe everything’s a sign and I’ve often thought the songs that have made it to my playlist are my relative’s way of reaching out to me when I need it, especially when the song just starts humming itself unprompted.

Then at other times I know that humming the tune by conscious choice will bring them to mind. And this conscious choice literally brings their spirit to me whenever I am in need of their particular message—like a calling card of sorts. Sometimes I just need a reminder of what their presence meant to me in my life to bring me back to center.

How about you? Do you have certain favorite songs that bring someone special to mind? Invite them back into your life by humming “their song”. They’re only a song away.

Some humming benefits

You know innately that humming calms your central nervous system. I’m sure you’ve experienced this before. This calming response is compliments of your Vagus Nerve which runs through your vocal chords to the base of your stomach. (Yoga activates the Vagus Nerve too, but more on that another day.)

I’ve read that humming enhances health and wellness by increasing oxygen in the cells. It lowers your blood pressure and your heart rate too! How cool is that? No meds required! Humming also clears toxins out of your body by increasing your lymphatic circulation, increases melatonin—the sleep hormone, reduces stress hormones, releases oxytocin—the love/trust hormone, releases feel good endorphins promoting natural pain relief, and also increases nitric oxide levels which is a molecule that promotes healing! Humming transforms us on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. (Source: The Humming Effect by Jonathan Goldman and Andi Goldman)

There’s a yogic breath called “bees” breath (Bhramari) that is one of the best breathing exercises to release agitation, frustration, or anxiety and helps get rid of anger. Could you use those benefits while driving? The exhalation sounds like a humming bee sound. So even if you can’t think of a tune to hum, you can try simply making this vibratory hum sound of a bee. (The full practice would suggest closing your eyes and placing your fingers in your ears, plugging them. Obviously you WON’T do this full practice while driving but you could hum a vibratory bee sound without the other details.)

Try it! You’ll see. Humming relaxes you in mind and body, reduces fear and worry; and keeps you grounded and focused. It’s kind of like your own white noise filling your mind with soothing tones vs. the monkey mind of chitter chatter your ego likes to go on and on about. I’ve read that humming helps you concentrate (some auditory learners need that white noise) among many other benefits. You may have read that our iPhones are taking our concentrative powers away! We have an antidote—humming!

Try humming a few tunes the next time you’re on the road and see if you arrive at your destination a little calmer, more centered and at peace.

 

10
January

Using Ritual to listen to Spirit

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Newsletter, Welcome to "My Better Day" Weekly Musings!
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Hello everyone!

Happy 2019! How has the year started off for you? Getting back to our usual routines can be a blessing, can’t they? The end of the year is a whirlwind of activity, throwing us off our usual routines; and perhaps leaving us tired in mind, body, and pocketbook.

Some of the aftereffects can show up as less patience, feeling less grounded or even lethargic. When this happens, I know I’ve quit listening to Spirit and need to get back to my usual, very simple routine rituals that invite Spirit into my life.

So I’ll be writing a series of blog posts on easy ways you can bring simple rituals into your daily realm that take no more than a few minutes. If one doesn’t resonate with you, perhaps the following week’s will. Consider it my New Year’s gift to you, my readers.

Don’t worry, I won’t be emailing you weekly! Am I the only one who thinks some of the emailing has gotten out of hand? You can check out my blog page weekly here —the same page you go to for the current newsletter which IS sent via email once a month or so.

I’ll also be posting the intro to the blog with the same link on my Better Day Yoga Facebook page here as well as on my Instagram page here.

I hope you’ll join me. At the very least, you’ll gain some peace of mind and spirit while reading the post and perhaps you’ll acquire a new favorite ritual to carry with you into 2019.

To start you off, here’s my favorite, perennial ritual that creates an immediate meditative moment first thing in the morning while putting on your make-up, bathing, shaving—you get the idea. We all use the restroom in the morning, right? It’s real, real simple:

  • Light a candle,
  • Perhaps light some incense (if that’s something that resonates with you) and
  • Say a small prayer or affirmation.

If you’ve chosen incense, let the smoke waft over you as though you’re sending yourself a blessing from Spirit. My husband and I both love Palo Santo wood. It doesn’t burn for long after being lit, so it’s a quick blessing and smells so amazing!

All wood scents are very grounding. They come from a tree, so you are being surrounded with the grounding energy from the tree’s innate ability to root down deep into Mother Earth.

My favorite short prayer to say when I light a candle comes from Ernest Holmes (The Science of Mind):

“Perfect God within me, Perfect life within me which is God, come forth into expression through me as that which I am.”

I memorized that prayer years ago. There’s not a time I light a candle (which I do at least once a day) that this prayer doesn’t come to me automatically, silently repeating in my mind. It sets the tone for my day immediately.

See, I told you it would be simple, only take a few minutes and fit right into your daily routine. I wish a grounding peacefulness to embrace each and every one of you as you start your day. Until next time!

 

 

 


New Year’s resolutions on your mind?

YogaLean 12-week Transformation!

Looking to make a change? Are you searching for real transformation in your life? Do you want to lose weight and gain vitality? Hoping to de-clutter both physically and mentally? Are you curious about learning to meditate for greater serenity? Join the YogaLean 12-week Transformation! This workshop is available as either a private residence group class or on-site corporate class. Details here.


Adding to my Ayurvedic studies!

I’m deepening my Ayurveda training through Yoga Veda Institute’s Ayurvedic Health Counselor program! Four years ago I studied with Cate Stillman in a 9-month program called “Living Ayurveda” and it’s time for more!

Ayurveda literally translates to “Science of Life”. Ayurveda is a Vedic Science that’s a 5000 years old traditional science designed to bring the body back to balance in order to heal from within. Ayurveda incorporates nutrition, lifestyle, breath practices and more to bring you to balance—mind, body, and spirit.

The YogaLean program I detailed above incorporates Ayurvedic science as well. If you’re curious, please check it out or go to that page on my website for links to quizzes to find out your Ayurvedic body type/individual nature/dosha.

Each person is a unique combination of the five elements and we each have a different proportion of each existing within our personal make-up. Vata is predominantly Air and Ether, Pitta is predominantly Fire and Water, and Kapha is predominantly Earth and Water.

Being aware of your dosha allows you to identify protocols used in Ayurveda to align with nature—both your internal nature and your external environment such as seasonal cycles and circadian rhythms. It helps you to really hone and own your best assets!

Curious? Schedule a one-on-one Yoga Therapy appointment with me and we can discuss your unique health and wellness!

Please feel free to share my blog series or YogaLean program page with your friends! I would be most grateful! Happy 2019!

 

Namasté,
Sandy Krzyzanowski
Better Day Yoga, LLC

 

14
December

My Christmas Card List

Written by Sandy. Posted in: My family history, Newsletter
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I love this time of year. Magic permeates the very air we breathe. It’s in the Christmas trees all lit up with sparkly lights and decorated with personal mementos of Christmases past. Have you noticed the Christmas energy emanating from your tree during the season? Take another look.

When I was younger I used to pass the time just staring at our childhood tree—day or night. I’d come up close to an ornament to see how big my nose would look and back away slowly, enamored with all things Christmas. My parents didn’t always get along—(enough said here). Yet I still found solace in this holiday. I’d sit on the floor in my bedroom, after having lit a Christmas candle on the dresser, and gaze upon it as I rocked and sang all the Christmas songs I knew. The spirit of this season soothed me.

One year, our neighborhood association sent out invites for a Christmas caroling party. I was in! We sang at each household and ended with hot Christmas punch at one of the neighbor’s houses. I was in love with this tradition! Mental note to my younger self: “I’m doing THIS again!”

As I progressed into young adulthood, I’d find myself parked in my apartment parking lot just staring at the house lights around the neighborhood taking it all in before I went inside. My Christmas meter never got full this time of year. It was then that I started decorating for Christmas and writing my own Christmas cards. I still have pieces from my first apartment that I use today. A blue Charlie Brown ornament comes to mind.

During college I gave a speech on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) in my speech class. Of course it was about believing in Santa. I ended with some lyrics from The Statler Brothers Christmas song,

I Believe in Santa’s Cause

Never heard a snowman talking
Never seen a reindeer fly
Nor seen a wooden soldier walking
Nor met Santa eye to eye

Now there are those who don’t believe
In miracles or Santa Claus
But I believe what I believe
And I believe in Santa’s cause

My teacher liked it so much he invited me to say it at the Beiger Mansion in my hometown for a Christmas function. I was so honored!

My husband and I just celebrated our 36th annual Christmas party. We decorate every corner of our house—even the bathrooms! There’s bells on the door that jingle when you walk in, a zillion Santa’s throughout the house and the scent of ”The Smell of Christmas” potpourri permeates the house. Yes I still believe in Santa. Why wouldn’t you? He’s the spirit of Christmas. Of course, there’s a big turkey dinner AND we go caroling, for those who are game.

Sadly, we’ve been noticing less and less people coming to the door each year when we go caroling. You know how some say certain things are going to become a thing of the past? Answering your door for Christmas caroling, we feared, was going to the wayside.

This year we tried another direction and we had so many come to the door and joyously direct our music, some taking photos and videos, some taking a selfie with us in the background. Yes! People will still come to the door to share in a brief Christmas moment! It renewed our belief in the Christmas spirit. We all just need a little magic. God bless those lovely souls!

By now, you’ve realized how much Christmas means to me. I know I’m not alone. I still send handwritten Christmas cards to many of the same people I knew over 20 years ago. Isn’t that was Christmas cards are for? To remind those who were special in your life that they still matter, that there’s still a place in your heart for them, to wish them a Merry Christmas—it’s my Godmother’s sister, my oldest friends and some of my past bosses, my long lost relatives. They will always have a special spot in my heart because they touched my life. Time won’t change that. It’s like a “Christmas card contract” for me that says “I will always love and care about you.”

You won’t get off my Christmas card list unless you haven’t sent me one in a couple years (and even then I still send them to certain special friends and relatives because it makes me feel good.) Our incoming Christmas cards have dwindled over the years. This saddens both of us. We still remember all of those on our list this time of year. We still send silent Christmas prayers to those who have passed and mental Christmas hugs to those who’re just too busy to continue the tradition. We will still always love you. Merry Christmas dear friends.

I hope to see you either digitally online or in person in 2019. I’d love to work with you.

 


New Year’s resolutions on your mind?

YogaLean 12-week Transformation!

Looking to make a change? Are you searching for real transformation in your life? Do you want to lose weight and gain vitality? Hoping to de-clutter both physically and mentally? Are you curious about learning to meditate for greater serenity? Join the YogaLean 12-week Transformation! This workshop is available as either a private residence group class or on-site corporate class. Details here.

Namasté,
Sandy Krzyzanowski
Better Day Yoga, LLC

08
November

White Lady of the Woods

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Celebrating the Goddess Within, Magic of Yoga and Meditation, Newsletter
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Just prior to my Thursday 10 AM yoga class at NOLA’s, I always take a few moments for alternate nostril breath which balances the nervous system, pranayama mudras, and a little loving kindness meditation. It helps bring me to center and be the kind of yoga teacher I aspire to be. There are always “a-ha” moments during, or as a result of, meditation—especially if I’m pondering something.

Today as I finished my meditation I looked around the beautiful space where I’m honored to teach yoga in NOLA’S corporate event center. The owner, Kavita Mehta, has an eye for art. She has several paintings adorning the walls. Although my eyes have landed on these walls several times, today I noticed just how many of them contain birch trees.

I grew up with a birch tree outside my bedroom window. My dad loved trees, as I’ve written many times before. Because a birch tree was just outside my childhood window, I’ve always felt a connection to birch trees. How did I not notice the abundance of birch trees in my new yoga space?

 

I started to snap photos of them with my iPhone to capture their beauty, knowing all the while they would be the subject of this blog. Once an idea hits me, I can’t contain myself. These are only a few of the ones containing birch trees. It was hard to decide which to include here.

Birch has often been associated with renewal, awakening the energy of new beginnings and a cleansing of the past. The birch tree has been called the “White Lady of the Woods” owing to her beautiful white bark. The bark of the birch tree, hence the spirit of the birch tree, was often used to instill courage and protection. It is even suggested we meditate on birch for resilience during hard times.

We can also invoke the birch spirit energy for an auspicious start to new ventures (lucky me!). Birch brings the promise of what is to come, new dawns, hope and regeneration. Isn’t that also what yoga brings with its promise of mind/body connection? Bringing our bodies into the rest and relax/parasympathetic nervous system mode is the only time your body is able to regenerate and heal. This, too, is the promise, the gift of yoga. For me it is the promise of a “better day”. (Read about how I came up with the name of my business here.)

As a guardian, birch provides solace and safety from the madness of the world. Okay, full disclosure, the “madness” referred to in the folklore I was reading was referring to the tricks of the Faery. Don’t laugh, it won’t make the faeries happy! Faeries are part of folklore worldwide, by the way. I always say I judge by experience. If the whole world’s ancient stories include the wee folk, who am I to argue of their existence? And, for that matter, who are you to? And somehow labeling the “madness of the world” as faery/fairy trickery, makes this madness seem somehow lighter and more manageable for me. Yes, in case you’re wondering, I believe in faeries and all things magical. I’ve written about this many times, but this one is my favorite here.

Now, that we’ve got that out of the way….moving on.)

“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.

 

Like most women I know, birch appears fragile but is extremely strong. We’re all stronger than we think we are, aren’t we? What a beautiful message birch brings us: to appear how we may to the world but harbor our inner strength inside. The birch tree carries ancient wisdom and yet appears forever young. Yoga, too, carries ancient wisdom and will enable you to age gracefully, appearing younger than your years.

 

Some have used birch as a meditation tool, sitting with their back to the birch tree to calm down so they can channel their anxiety into “wise ways”. This is what meditation and yoga, which is a meditation in motion, does for me. There have been studies on the effects of meditation helping us to pause before we react so we react with wisdom and calmness. (See the Tibetan prayer flags in this painting? Prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. It is believed the prayers are blown by the wind to spread good will and compassion to all.)

Birch’s vibration is said to increase tolerance of ourselves and others. This speaks to me of patience. We can all be so hard on ourselves sometimes. Sometimes that short fuse gets taken out on others. Yoga is my solace and increases my patience level with each practice. My mat instills a deep breath every time I step upon it. It contains the energy of all my previous prayers and meditative moments. On the sacred space of my yoga mat I can start over each day—it’s my restart button, my “do over”. Here I am able to forget the past and be here now, “just for today.” Remember I opened with birch’s ability to cleanse the past. (I wrote at depth about my mat as sacred space here.)

“Now, with the essence of Birch, you come into the rhythm of life, the empowerment of dreams, and the ability to vision your possibilities.” ~ The Faces of Womanspirit; a Celtic oracle of Avalon (thegoddesstree.com)

It is said that a good beginning leads to a good conclusion. So as I ponder our new beginnings here at NOLA’S surrounded by the energy of the Birch tree’s wisdom permeating our yoga space, I am humbled by the symbolism of a fresh start, courage, determination and spiritual growth. And I am honored to be the conduit for those students joining me as we learn the lessons of the birch tree together—that hidden within there is often found great strength.

Won’t you join me?

 

 

 

For details on dates, rates, and specials, please click here. Thank you! Hope to see you soon!

24
October

Communicating with spirits…an abundant exchange of all good things

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Magic of Yoga and Meditation
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I’ve shared before that a student of mine suddenly noticed in her down dog that her feet looked just like her mom’s. Ever since then, I’ve used that as a pondering question in class. Who’s feet do you have? Which ancestor has passed those traits on to you? Invite your ancestor into your class. Send a mental “hello” and “thank you” to them right now.

Since this is Halloween week, why not instill some thoughts in your yoga practice toward thinking of and perhaps connecting with someone special in your life who has passed on. Perhaps use this thought as your intention for your yoga practice that day.

I’ve heard that during this time of year it is easier to communicate with those who have passed since the “veil” between the living and those who have passed is “thinner”. It doesn’t have to scare you. Why not take advantage of it in the spirit of the season? You probably already send them “hellos” on any given day. Why not dwell on the possibility that this time of year it’s easier to visit?

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

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

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

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

Personally, I’ve always thought that the more open you are to “hearing” the Universe’s messages, or a loved one who has passed on for that matter, the more likely it will happen—or at least the more likely you’ll notice. The Universe speaks in subtleties so unless you are tuned in, you could totally miss it. That’s where your yoga practice comes in!

As a yogi, you’re practice includes listening to the subtle messages your body is sending so it doesn’t have to send a loud scream. So you are, in effect, training yourself to notice subtleties. As a yogi, you begin to notice when your feelings change, when your physical sensations speak up and when your spiritual connection deepens.

Sending off mental invitations and silent hello’s to those who’ve passed isn’t hard. You’re probably already thinking of your special someone. You’re remembering them in their own special way, with their own special traits and characteristics. Knowing that you’re open to connecting and knowing that you share a special memory, or that a special something reminds you of them, creates the magical “stuff” your connection manifests from. My mother-in-law’s connection/communication with her late husband was so strong, it continued for twelve years after his death until her passing in 2015.

The Universe knows what you’re “up for” too. You may be open to subtle connection but an outright visit might scare the living daylights out of you! Me too! Keep surrounding your thoughts in love and light.

I read a book by local but internationally known author, Echo Bodine, called Relax, It’s Only a Ghost. In it, she reminds you to say loudly and firmly “Not welcome!” when you feel scared. Wish I knew that as a small child afraid in my bedroom after a nightmare.

On the nights my husband is out of town, I surround myself with guardian angels when I can’t sleep. One corner has the Archangel, St. Michael, in the image of John Travolta’s portrayal. It makes me smile. One is Clarence, from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life—my absolute favorite Christmas movie! One is Gideon, from the Christmas show One Magic Christmas. And the last one is the Archangel Raphael, the archangel of healing and protection who is associated with the color emerald green. (Recently I added Dudley from the The Bishop’s Wife” another of my favorite Christmas movies!) By the time I’ve conjured up these images and colors at the four corners of my bed, I’m content and less on edge. This is what I mean by surrounding your thoughts with love and light.

Connections come in subtleties. It might be the shape of the clouds in the sky. It might be the cardinal that you suddenly see or hear. It might be that the rain stick near your fireplace drops a pebble out of the blue at just the right time. Both the cardinal and the rain stick are my dad’s form of communication with me. I don’t believe in coincidences. My dad’s been gone for over 15 years now. The rain stick became his mode of communication some time ago. He knows it. I know it. It’s an old friend by now. When I hear the pebble drop or see the inquisitive cardinal, I simply say “Hi dad. I love and miss you too.” Happy Halloween everyone! Create your own magic by inviting it in!

(This is an updated post from a previous post shared on a colleagues website that is no longer available.)

10
October

Crack Open the Magic!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Newsletter
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As hard as it is to say goodbye to summer, the rituals of Autumn hold our hand as we journey into the cooler seasons, helping us ease into cooler weather—like putting on a warm sweater. The Autumnal celebrations are a healing balm for our soul.

Winter is a time of introspection. It is a time to cocoon inward as we transform into our next evolution of what the Universe has in store as our next expression.

Halloween recalls the magic of donning the childhood gypsy costume to embody the energy of THAT persona as it might express itself through me. And scarecrows reminds me of the importance of having a big heart in all that I do—a la Wizard of Oz. Scarecrow helps me remember everything you ever really need is always there inside of you, right at home. The inner child awakens. The magic is here. Crack open the magic!

These decorations bring out my inner child, giggles and all. What brings out yours?

 

 

 

Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter/blog! I so appreciate each and every one of you!

Namasté,
Sandy Krzyzanowski
Better Day Yoga, LLC
                 ~
Mail to:  5024 Oxborough Gardens
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443-3990
(612) 708 6900
www.betterdayyoga.com

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Want to have a yoga class available at work? I can help with that!

 

11
September

Let’s start something amazing at Nola’s!

Written by Sandy. Posted in: Healthy News, Newsletter
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Let’s start something amazing
at Nola’s!

A little over six years ago the building my yoga studio was located at in Roseville, MN was bought out by a nursing home; and my second location’s owner lost her lease. She moved to a location with no room for yoga. All this happened within one week’s time. My next location was only available for what seemed like half a second. The owner closed shop—I was renting space. One of my regular yoga students approached me to start teaching at her friend’s house and a new business model was born! I’ve since expanded into on-site corporate yoga as well.

If you follow my blogs, you know I follow the signs sent from the Universe. I never thought going in-home private (and now also on-site corporate) was going to be my only teaching venue; but I am oh so grateful for the student who suggested it! It has and continues to be a perfect business model for me!

Another excellent opportunity!

It seems the Universe is bringing me another excellent opportunity and I couldn’t be more excited! Recently a local restaurateur, Kavita Mehta of Nola Restaurant in Osseo, MN, asked me to consider teaching yoga at her event center there. When she shared that the roots of the dishes served at Nola’s are rooted in the ancient Chinese, Indian Ayurvedic and Unani health systems, well I sat up and took notice!

Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga and another love of mine! Healthy eating, based on Ayurveda, is part of my training and is the backbone of the YogaLean Workshop I offer! Kavita’s offer for me to teach yoga at Nola’s was something I had to consider!

We are hosting a free yoga class Thursday at 10 AM on October 4th to kick this off!

Nola's PDF for ad copy.jpg

For rates and dates going forward, please click here. Please join us and bring your friends! I’m really looking forward to expanding here with this partnership! Let’s start something amazing at Nola’s!

~~~

While I have you! Check out my links page!

Artist highlights:

Beatles fan? Love George Harrison’s “While my guitar gently weeps” song? Check out this “Weeping Guitar” art print by Erica Free! (She’s the top link on my site) It comes in two sizes! Can you say early Christmas shopping?

Have something special to commemorate? I used to buy Neil Diamond albums whenever I accomplished something major: new job, promotion, completion of a major goal, etc. Lately I’ve been buying a mala to commemorate my accomplishments since my focus has been on all things yoga for the past several years.

Please check out my favorite local yoga teacher’s link at YogSadhna—Beautiful malas!
(I still love and adore Neil! He just released Hot August Night III!)

~~~

I hope to see you at one of my venue’s soon! Thank you so much for subscribing to my newsletter! I appreciate each and every one of you!

Namasté,

Sandy Krzyzanowski

Better Day Yoga, LLC

~

Mail to: 5024 Oxborough Gardens

Brooklyn Park, MN 55443-3990

(612) 708 6900

www.betterdayyoga.com

http://www.facebook.com/betterdayyoga

https://www.instagram.com/sandyatbetterdayyoga/

17
July

Singing ‘round the dinner table, a Polish tradition

Written by Sandy. Posted in: My family history
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My husband and I just got back from our third trip to Poland. This was our second time spent on the farm my dad was born on and continues to be overwhelmingly meaningful.

Most evenings, if not all, were spent around a table sharing a meal, discussing life (through translation via their two, wonderful daughters, Anita and Ola) and singing favorite Polish songs out loud. Of course, Ed and I either hummed, “la-la-la’d” or simply took it all in, smiling from ear to ear. As each evening progressed into the night, the songs became more laid back, emotional and free-flowing with less inhibition from everyone. For sure, my cousin Henia’s homemade plum wine (from their 2000+ plum trees) helped our voices to sound, um…shall we say better? We were, after all, still getting to know one another. It was all very healing and grounding. It’s hard to put to words.

I plan to make a CD of the songs we sang together to share with my Polish relatives. but I think watching the videos is even more fun. I hope you agree.

 

One of the first evenings included Krzys’s, parents from down the road, Adam and Johanna. Adam will be 90 soon and Johanna is 85. Krzys is Henia’s husband. Adam was a playmate of my dad’s before the war. Our visit with Adam and Johanna on our first visit five years ago was one of our favorite days and this year’s visit with them proved to be one of my husband and I’s favorite days as well. Both participated in the singing throughout the evening with Johanna becoming more and more animated as the songs continued. There were a few she basically led, being the only one who remembered all the words, a “call and response” so to speak. As many of you with European decent might already know, hand motions are very important in communicating—even more so when you’re leading in song! Johanna became our “DJ” at times, as Anita (the eldest daughter) pointed out with a chuckle. It was heart-warming to say the least.

 

Another evening, we again went down the road to Krysia and Czesiek’s house for dinner and song. Krysia and Henia are sisters. As mentioned earlier, the songs flowed more easily as the night progressed. Okay, so there was vodka at this house, but that’s beside the point. Swaying (to song!), hand-holding, and much laughing accented each verse.

I brought a paper copy of a 2009 email I’d saved from one of our initial connections with Anita, who found us on Facebook over nine years ago. It contained the names of relatives along with pertinent details, including the account of how my dad’s sister, Stasia, had passed away. Stasia is Henia and Krysia’s mom. Anita was moved to read this email out loud to the others that evening, in Polish of course. We were all wiping our tears away and hugging by the end of the reading. This honoring of history—of our elders, the telling and retelling of stories—does not happen enough here in the U.S.

The last song we sang as a family, was by special request of Ed and I. We requested they sing the Polish anthem, the song that made my dad cry whenever he heard it and the song Ed and I went down the aisle to. I still can’t listen to this song without crying.

When I was a child, my dad shared many stories. He did a walk-about through various areas of Poland once before World War II. He believed that you could tell the emotional state of each area by the songs they sang and the energy with which they sang them. So this tradition of singing with family and friends is part of their culture—our family’s culture. It’s in our DNA. Perhaps this is why it felt so very right. Our connections have grown stronger with each song and story. We will hold these memories in our hearts forever.