“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!
As a reminder, in response to my reader’s feedback, as well as my own “2012 Intention” to spend less time glued to the computer, I have shortened the newsletter format by eliminating the “Featured Deck and Quote” section, and changing the timing of my newsletter to every two months versus every month.
I continue to stock and sell one of my absolute favorite decks from local artist, Suzanne Vadnais Monson on my product page: http://betterdayyoga.com/products!
In this issue: Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
I have been going through a transformation with my yoga business. Those of you who read my blog on one of my teacher’s Prana Pages, know that I’ve been following what seems like explicit instructions from the Universe. All within one week’s time I found out my studio’s building was sold with plans to turn it into a senior center, and my second location’s retail owner lost her lease and was moving to a new location with no room for yoga.
Two weeks prior to all of this I’d met the owner of my new location at a fair I was exhibiting my yoga business at, and she wanted me to teach at her location. I was wondering just where in the heck I’d fit her into my already full schedule. We were set to meet the week after the week I found out about the demise of my two locations.
The Universe works in mysterious ways. It knew I’d need the comfort of a new location before being told the other two were gone. I can’t previously recall the Universe ever spelling out my next move so clearly, and I am humbled by it.
“That which you are seeking is also seeking you.” ~ Rumi.
I’ve always loved that quote by Rumi. Yet recent events steering me to my current new location really brought the meaning of Rumi’s quote home. The Universe really is conspiring for my full expression! (One of my favorite affirmations committed to memory.)
I have been affirming having a perfect yoga space for so long; I almost forgot it was I who set the wheels into motion for making a change. I knew eventually my current location would be too small, and its size has limited me from going hog-wild advertising it. I kept holding on, thinking I should wait until I literally outgrew the current location, but that was a slow process. So I held on to what was comfortable.
“Intuitive guidance means having the self-esteem to recognize that the discomfort or confusion that a person feels is actually directing him to take charge of his life and make choices that will break him out of stagnation or misery. And, while we measure our own success in terms of our personal comfort and security, the universe measures our success by how much we have learned.” ~ Caroline Myss.
Comfort is highly over-rated. At least the Universe thinks so! As you shift and change, it will be uncomfortable, but it is required that you do things differently if you want different results. One of my favorite quotes is “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting!”
I’ve been gathering positive affirmations in a journal for several years now. It all started when I purchased the book New Moon Astrology, by Jan Spiller. I wasn’t necessarily “into” astrology so much, it was all of the affirmations in the book that attracted me; and if there was a magical time with more power to use affirmations, well why not? What I didn’t know was that I purchased the book right in the midst of what Jan refers to as my “granddaddy power period”—an especially abundant time for me to work with affirmations based upon my birth date. Interestingly, the transition of my businesses is now happening during that period. As Gibb’s would say on NCIS—there is no such thing as coincidence! (Want to know when yours is? Go here ).
This journal has been a part of my life for so long now, that when a friend suggested it wasn’t just the Universe pushing me along to my new location—this outside force I have no control over—it was me, well of course, I intuitively knew that. I had been using the principles of vision-boarding by writing down affirmations monthly and repeating them as part of my morning rituals.
It’s so hard to acknowledge your power within, isn’t it? Well acknowledge it!
“I am the cause of this reflection. I am in control of what I see. The world is a reflection of what is inside of me. I create my reality.” (I wrote this one in my journal without the source. It is not mine, but I love it.)
“I am a creator. And I create with my words. I honor my words. My words honor me. As I speak, so it shall be.” ~Sonia Choquette quote from her excellent book, Your Heart’s Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want.
So as you change, you may wonder if you are changing in the right direction:
First off, the dramatic alignment of losing both of my locations within a couple of days of each other and having already had a third location lined up wanting me to teach there is a huge high sign for me! As I’d mentioned in the “Prana Pages” blog I referenced earlier, I feel it is my only option to acquiesce to the Universe. I can’t previously recall the Universe ever directing me on my next step so clearly and succinctly.
I’ve heard it said that if you don’t follow obvious signs, the future signs become a little bit more drastic. I’m not sure I want to see the next sign I’ll be sent if I don’t take this obvious direction!
I also align myself with the belief that the reason you should detach from the outcomes of your goals, or the “how to’s” to get there, is because the Universe has much bigger and more unique plans than you can imagine.
I had been holding on for some time at the current location not sure how to grow since the current location is a smaller space with no walk-in traffic in an industrial type area. A desire to stay near my current student base adds to the equation, as does the excellent rent. When the news of my two locations closing hit me, it was then that I emotionally detached from the outcome and the “how to” grow. Perhaps it was simply that I surrendered and perhaps that’s what the Universe was looking for me to do all along. If the perspective new location appointment I had set up wasn’t a blinking neon sign, then I didn’t know what was! I decided to go with the flow downstream vs. fight it upstream. (More on that later in the Chakrascope section!)
My new location is not necessarily near my old one, but it is in a very high traffic area with excellent rent. It’s also closer to my residence and in an area I’ve always personally considered one of my favorites in the Cities. I have been affirming that “I want to easily find myself in perfect new location that is just right for me.” This one has all the earmarks—high traffic, larger space, and excellent rent. The added benefit of less drive time is a bonus. So it is with a full heart that I surrender again to the Universe trusting that it will direct those who will benefit from my offerings appropriately to me. I wish all of my students the joy of exactly what they need for their personal journey.
Look for the signs—they’re there! Yesterday was the first of my classes at the closing studio to have its final class there. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through the class without some emotion breaking through. If you’re like me, you might find yourself needing constant reassurance of your choices as you grow. The Universe is only too happy to send you a sign if you are open to receiving them. So look for the signs!
The Yoga Journal email I received that same day was about how massage and yoga go hand in hand as healing modalities. The new location I’m moving to just happens to be a massage studio. I considered this email newsletter a high sign from the Universe reminding me the move was a good one—divine intervention even.
The new location being a massage studio environment will also allow me to slowly expand into working one-on-one with clients using my current training toward a yoga therapy certification. Full disclosure—I have been a bit…um..hesitant to take the leap into pursuing more one-on-one appointments—there’s that tendency of mind to hold on to the comfortable again.
Also on the same day, I ran across an article about Hanuman’s pose reminding me that Hanuman didn’t know he had the power to take the “greatest leap ever taken” until he did it. His love of serving others brought out this unknown power. (The highlighted yoga pose in this newsletter is Anjaneyasana, which is another name for Hanuman and chosen for this very reason.)
As I mentioned my goal to the owner of my new location, I added that I want to “grow into that” as I get more comfortable with it. Within a matter of a few thoughts and sentences, she was thinking of three massage clients she would refer to me.
Apparently, the Universe must want me to grow quickly vs. slowly! “They say” be careful what you wish for—affirming my goals to be in a perfect location, and to continue to grow in my yoga career in the direction best serving those that cross my path has nudged me along to where I am today.
I end every yoga class I teach with an internal prayer: “Perfect God within me, perfect life within me which is God, come forth as expression through me as that which I am.” ~ Derived from a quote from Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes. Their magazine is one of my perennial favorites too! Energy follows thought. “Thoughts become things. Choose good ones!” ~ Mike Dooley (Oh please, dear reader, subscribe to his emails—they deliver such heart-felt, wonderful messages personalized with your name. I mention this several times in my newsletters for a reason!)
I had been afraid to say out loud that I want to grow toward more private consultations / one-on-one yoga therapy as I work toward that 800 hour minimum certification. I purposely made myself mention it to the new owner so it would be “out there” as a goal with no turning back because I’m afraid. Hanuman reminded me that I, too, have the power within, even in the midst of eternal self-doubt; and yes, I should take the leap and know the net will appear.
You can do that too. Say your goal out loud. Write it down. Make it happen—yes I own the book by that title too, by Henriette Anne Klauser. I recommend it highly!
“Henriette Anne Klauser, Ph.D., explains how simply writing down your goals in life is the first step toward achieving them. Writing can even help you understand what you want. (I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted in a “perfect location”.)”
Another great suggestion pertains here from Tara Mohr:
“Question the voice that says ‘I’m not ready yet.’ I know, I know. Because you are so brilliant and have such high standards, you see every way that you could be more qualified. You notice every part of your idea that is not perfected yet. While you are waiting to be ready, gathering more experience, sitting on your ideas, our friends referenced in rule five are being anointed industry visionaries, getting raises, and seeing their ideas come to life in the world. They are no more ready than you, and perhaps less. Jump in the sandbox now, and start playing full out. Find out just how ready you are.”
Please see her whole, excellent blog, Tips for Transformation. 10 Rules for Brilliant Women.
Speaking and writing your goals are the fast track to making them happen. If you don’t zero in on exactly what you desire, how will you find it? If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? If you don’t make plans for your life, others will make plans for you and your life will be filled with other people’s plans. Affirm what you are reaching for—speak it, write it, believe it is happening—and let this help you remember who you are becoming. Put one small intrepid step out there in the direction of your dreams, and watch the Universal wind tunnel carry you off in the direction of your desire! Your life is still unwritten! Write it! Today is where your book begins!
…Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
Therefore dharma—your life purpose—is action that arises from the feeling of being you. These are the actions that will support and uphold you, actions that support the right use of everything. ~ Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati and Jayne Stevenson http://www.bigshakti.com/how-to-find-your-life-purpose/
“Anjaneyasana is another name for Lord Hanuman, Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva who wears the crescent moon in his hair. This posture is also known as “crescent moon”. On a subtle level develops masculine energy in the form of mental power such as determination, willpower, confidence, courage and power.” http://www.josyoga.com/anjaney.html
I wrote about Hanuman in the opening section. Hanuman didn’t know he had the strength to take the “greatest leap ever taken” until he did it. The take home message here is to believe you have the strength inside as you step into this pose.
Alignment cues: There is more than one way to enter into this pose. My favorite is from down dog. From down dog, place one foot forward between your hands, stacking the front knee over the front ankle, feet hip distance apart—basically in a low lunge. Keep your back knee solid but always with a slight micro-bend, and keep the ball of the back foot on the floor. Press your back heel toward the wall behind you keeping the heel lifted enough so as not to injure the Achilles tendon.
Raise your torso placing your hands on your forward thigh
at heart center in prayer/Namaste/Anjali mudra position
or raise arms overhead with elbows by the ears and dynamic tension in the fingertips
Sink into the hips while pulling your inner thighs toward each other. This keeps the muscles holding the pose vs. the joints. Keep the hips squared. If neck is strained, look down. Tuck pelvis.
For a deeper pose, add a hip socket stretch: Bend the back knee down toward the ground and curl the tail bone under. While keeping the torso at the lower level of back knee down, straighten and engage the back leg to open up the hip socket a bit more in that leg. (Not shown).
Contraindications & Cautions:
Beginner’s tip: Still unsure on your form or new to yoga?
Variation: 90 degree lunge: This pose was given to me by a Physical Therapist. With the back knee resting on the ground, bring both the back knee and the front knee into 90 degree bends. Then curl the tailbone down and under to therapeutically open the front hip socket. Adding a raised arm on the same side as the back bent knee increases the stretch along the side body, fingers to toes.
For a great side body stretch that also gets the top of the IT Band, reach the raised arm, elbow over ear, toward the bent knee side, using either your same side hand on the top thigh for stability or on a block on the floor next to you for support
Runner’s lunge/lizard pose variation: (Sanskrit: Utthan Pristhasana)
Bring the hands to the inside of the front bent knee and rest either the palms flat on the ground,
use fists for wrists—knuckles down—if taking care of wrists, or frog fingers.
Heel toe the front foot out away from center and leave the toes pointing slightly away from the body so the knee stays over the ankle. To lessen the intensity, add a block under your hands (Not shown). For more sensation, use a block and rest your forearms on the block,
or forearms to the floor (Not shown). Back knee can be up or down depending on your flexibility.
Spiritual aspects of Crescent Lunge: I like to think of a crescent moon when I’m in this pose. In Hatha yoga, Ha mean Sun and Tha means moon. The moon is the receptive, yin, cooling aspect of Hatha yoga. The sun is the active, fiery side. So in crescent lunge imagine the crescent moon and embody the receptive side of your nature. Remember, the crescent moon can be either waxing or waning—building up to the full moon or going down to the new moon. Decide which moon you’re going to be in your practice today, because you always have a choice. You can be the building up your strength and going full-on, or you can be reflective and going within today. You always have a choice.
New moon energy is all about new beginnings, as mentioned in the opening section. So what would you like to manifest into your life going forward? Think of this as you do crescent lunge and add your favorite affirmation as you raise your arms to the sky! Let your heart fill with gratitude, affirm what you are reaching for has manifested, and breathe in new energy! Feel the energy coming into your whole body, visualizing the receptivity of the fingertips as they reach up toward the sky, and the floor contact points of both feet. Visualize the energy moving into your body.
Full moon energy is all about “what are you done with”? Fill the heart with gratitude for the lessons learned and breathe out the energy of the old, releasing it to the Universe. Feel the energy release not only from your heart center, but also your fingertips and toes! Again, visualize the energy of what you are done with releasing away with your exhales.
Sources: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2492/ and http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/2494
Beth Shaw’s YogaFit®, The program for a more powerful, flexible, and defined physique, Second Edition
Anatomy of Yoga, Dr. Abigail Ellsworth
Whenever I feel less than, I turn it over to God, the Universe, whatever aspect of higher power you believe in works here. When I’ve done my best, I am learning to let it go and offer it up for the highest good, allowing the Universe to wash away my perceived imperfections. “This or something better” is always my wish for my work. That simple statement can be your Meditation on the go—“This or something better” whenever you’ve completed a thought, project, conversation, etc. Here’s another simple meditation in the form of a prayer from Marianne Williamson’s book, Illuminata:
I dedicate this work to You.
Imprint Your mind upon it.
Fly with it unto the heavens.
Use it to shower Your love onto the world.
Thank you for Your faith in me that such a glorious mission has been placed in my hands.”
I surrender to You my striving.
I let go all need to effort or to struggle.
I relax deeply into things exactly as they are.
I accept life that it might move through me with grace.
And more—used in part or as a group— from Sonia Choquette’s book already referenced above, Your Heart’s Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want:
Divine Spirit, use me. Take me to my purpose.
Divine Spirit, bring to my dream all necessary support.
Divine Spirit, release me from my fears and help me to remember who I am.
When I work with love, I draw others to me.
When I work with love, people feel it, are helped by it, and return to it.
Divine Father, Holy Mother, move me.
Take me this day to my highest good.
Make me aware of al that will guide me toward my heart’s desire. Amen
I offer my dreams as a source of love to the world.
In their fulfillment, I will bring a message of light to all that I touch.
My teaching has value and brings a positive experience to my students.
If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes. Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com, for details.
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.
The sacral chakra is located in the lower abdominal area between the navel and the pubic bone. It is associated with the energy of the moon and the emotions of the body. (“Crescent Moon” pose was the highlighted feature this month!)
My opening section dwelled on going with the flow and detaching from the outcome. Learning to go with the flow and detach from the outcome is the hallmark of the sacral chakra. It is this very detachment that allows the Universe to do its thing—to create something greater for your life than you could ever imagine. The sacral chakra is also your creativity center. This chakra’s message is to quit holding on—detach and go with the flow so you can create the life of your dreams.
The point of detachment is just that—don’t direct how your dream will manifest because the Universe has plans bigger than your imagination. So why would you want to limit that? Detach! Aren’t you even a tad bit curious what the Universe will conjure up if it knew no bounds?
As you learn that you are simply along for the ride—one that works better without your struggling—you get out of your own way. As the opening section pointed out, when the Universe is given free reign, it will deliver. I am still in amazement at the explicit way it pointed me to my new studio location.
The Sacral chakra is associated with the element of water. I’m reminded of a reference to the childhood song “Row, row, row your boat” and a humorous analogy to ending the struggle that is pointed out in the song, as presented by Wayne Dyer. He pointed out that the song reminds you to row, row, row your boat—not someone else’s boat, but your boat. Focusing on your life and your plans will aide in flowing gently down the stream. The emphasis is on “gently” floating without struggle, and floating down the stream vs. against the current. Let the water take you where it may and your life will proceed “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily” into your dream life—“Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…life is but a dream!”—THAT is the sacral chakra at work, and you were given explicit instructions on activating this energy as a child.
It is when you were a child that you were detached from outcomes the most. As a child you are in the present moment by nature. As an adult, it seems you need to relearn how to be in the present moment. Your creativity was also the most unencumbered as a child. Ask a group of kindergartners how many of them can draw and they will not understand how ANY of them can not! So become like a child again, and row, row, row your boat gently down the stream…merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily—your life will be a dream!
New International Version (© 1984)
And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Be like a child and create your own kingdom of heaven here on earth—your joy, your happiness, here on earth.
There are several sacral chakra ways to be like a child:
One of my favorite affirmations (because I needed it so much!) is:
The idea that something is wrong is easily lifted from me.
How many of you always feel like something is wrong? How’s that working for you? Not so much for me either!
You are in serious need of stimulating this chakra when you take yourself too seriously, and can’t let that infectious laugh out to play! When you don’t have an interest in what is going on around you, or have a decrease in your creativity—this chakra is under-activated! When you can’t detach or let go of the past, call on the sacral chakra for a regroup! You need some orange!
The sacral chakra vibrates to the color orange. Want to add some childlike exuberance to your life? Add orange!
I’ve read that in times of stress or after a shock or surprise, wearing orange can help your body to return to a state of balance. (Source: Healing with crystals and chakra energies, by Sue and Simon Lilly.)
My husband and I have an orange wall in our living room—long story. It was supposed to be a “rag on” paint that was to result in looking rustic like a red/orange cave—Southwestern style. The vibrant orange wall that resulted was not exactly what I was looking for, but we stayed with it for these past few years; and I’ve come to appreciate the therapeutic value of orange. Coupled with prayerful Native American prints from Father John Giuliani of Christ in Ascension as well as John the Baptist, I find the orange backdrop to be very soothing to end my day with.
Orange will enable you to get out of the head—your “way too analytical” side—and flow with life. It seems counter-intuitive that to find balance, you let go, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what happens because when you let go and go with the flow—wherever this water element chakra chooses to take you—you quit the struggle and you quit the effort. Let go of trying to control and be like water, pooling where you find easy comfortable space. Try adding the orange energy of the sacral chakra to your environment and see if you find your inner child, your creativity, your exuberance, your balanced life.
Breathwork and Visualization:
This breathwork can be done seated with straight spine, or lying down if that’s more comfortable. Begin breathing deep breaths way down into your belly. Feel yourself relaxing with each breath, releasing stress as your shoulders drop down with each exhale, relaxing your body into the surface it is resting upon. Do this for several breaths until you feel completely relaxed.
Begin to focus on your sacral chakra located in the lower abdominal area between the navel and the pubic bone. Bring your breath to this area, visualizing the color orange building in the sacral chakra into an orange energy ball.
Bring to mind a memory of when you were a child or when you witnessed a child filled with wonder and excitement. Connect to that magic. Feel the magic and sense of childlike wonder, faith, and enthusiasm that is found in the sacral chakra area. Let that feeling build into a big ball of exuberant, orange energy. Go on, it’s easy! No one is watching you! Just let go and know that you still have the spontaneous child within you! You will always be that young child. Don’t let an old person into your body!
Stay with this feeling for as long as you desire, adding a smile to your face.
Science of Mind May 2012 personal affirmations
Just as an under-active sacral chakra affects your exuberance and creativity in life, it also affects your joints making them stiff. Orange foods create flow in your body—releasing toxins and stress and adding lubrication to your stiff joints. Orange fruits: Oranges, peaches, apricots. Orange vegetables: Pumpkins, peppers, carrots. Other orange foods: Seafood such as shellfish, salmon. We can be attracted to orange foods when we need to release significant stress or toxicity. Make sure you drink enough liquids!
Source: Healing with crystals and chakra energies by Sue and Simon Lilly
Aromatherapy and Sacral Chakra:
Young Living Essential Oils™ for the Sacral Chakra: Forgiveness, Inner Child, SARA (if working through any type of abuse), Frankincense, 3 Wise Men Any of these oils will help balance and support this chakra, which deals with issues of our inner child and
Also try: Sandalwood, bitter orange, myrrh, and vanilla.
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 Sacral Chakra: Gemstones amplify the energy when placed in contact with your chakras. For those of you unsure on this subject, consider that it’s scientifically proven that everything is energy. Nothing is really solid. Why wouldn’t the energy of a stone work effectively with the energy in our bodies just as some research speculates that the energy of computers, cell phones, and microwaves may affect our bodies? At the very least, I find that holding a favorite stone is like a talisman for me, or a “worry stone”. As my favorite author, Wayne Dyer, likes to say, “If it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take two”.
Some Sacral Chakra gems are: Carnelian, Orange coral, Amber, Gold Topaz, and Fire Opal.
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 (and her)!
Yoga poses for the Sacral Chakra: All yoga poses essentially activate the chakras. Some yoga poses to stimulate the sacral chakra include: Crescent lunge (Highlighted pose above), Butterfly pose, Pelvic tilts, and Goddess Squat, among others.
Mudra means seal in Sanskrit. Its 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 usenot 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 were arguing, when were 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.
I smiled when I saw this mudra because I used to sleep this way all of the time when I was younger and still find myself waking up with clenched fists. I wonder if I was trying to create my own cheerfulness. As my yoga home studio base closes (and will be closed by the time you read this), I have been searching for ways to raise my mood as I transition to my new location. This mudra is said to raise your mood much like breathing in the scent of lavender does.
How to do it:
A couple of the authors clients have said they get a build-up of too much energy in their thumbs when they do this mudra. Stick thumbs out between your index finger and middle finger to make it slightly less powerful.
A second source* describing this mudraadds visualization:
Inhaling, wrap all four fingers over your thumbs on both hands making closed fists.
-Pause at the top of the inhale and “hear” the sound of OM.
-Exhaling, unravel fingers and draw your navel toward spine.
-“See” fears, stress releasing with the exhale.
-Repeat 6 more times for a total of 7.
-Gently stretch your body.
Sources: MudrasAncient Gestures to Ease Modern Stress, by Emily Fuller Williams
Fear is associated with the Sacral chakra—the highlighted chakra this month. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives the environment to be difficult or embarrassing to escape.
Studies Show Yoga Helps to Manage Agoraphobia
• A 1992 study done at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found mindfulness meditation to be an effective means of reducing and controlling anxiety symptoms in patients with panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder accompanied by agoraphobia. More recent research has confirmed the benefits of other kinds of meditation, as well.
• Not only does shallow breathing increase anxiety, but panic attacks affect the body’s autonomic nervous system, increasing heart beat, trembling and sweating and making breathing difficult. Pranayama, one of the main tenets of Yoga, uses breathing techniques to calm the nervous system and reverse physical and psychological symptoms.
• The goal of Yoga is union of the mind, body, and spirit. Some poses, however, are particularly helpful in coping with agoraphobia. Restorative poses, inversions and forward bends burn nervous energy and reduce anxiety. “Yoga for Stress Relief,” a DVD by Yoga instructor Barbara Benagh, includes a 30-minute lecture by the Dalai Lama on stress reduction and a collection of 20 different routines that target individual concerns.
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!
From Christine: This is a great meal for summer evenings and leftovers are great for lunch.
Basil is in season right now so it is easy buy some and make your own pesto. The fresh flavors are much more intense when it is made fresh as opposed to the stuff you see in a jar at the grocery store. Basil is so easy to grow and right now you can get a great deal on herb plants at the local nursery. Buy a couple of plants and put them in a planter near your kitchen door, you won’t regret it. The other great thing about pesto is that if you have any leftover you can freeze it. I always make a double batch and then freeze the extra in ice-cube trays (used only for freezing pesto and chicken broth). In the middle of the winter I throw a cube of pesto in my soups or spaghetti sauce and it’s a real treat.
And if the great taste of Basil wasn’t enough, it also has the added benefit of anti-inflammatory effects and anti-bacterial properties. The unique array of active constituents called flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=85
2 cups fresh basil (Sometimes I throw in a handful of fresh parsley too)
1 -2 cloves garlic
1/8 cup pine nuts (you can substitute walnuts or completely leave out)
2/3 cup olive oil (the best you have)
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup grated parmesan cheese (parmagiano reggiano)
Put the nuts and garlic in a food processor (or blender) and process for about 15 seconds. Add the basil, salt and pepper to the processor bowl. With the processor on low, slowly add the olive oil until it is thoroughly pureed. Add the parmesan cheese and process until it is smooth,
1 Eggplant cut in ½” slices
3 summer squash or zucchini cut lengthwise into ½ in slices
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp Dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Heat the grill to medium high. (Can also be done in your oven at 400 degrees). Mix the dried herbs into the olive oil. Brush each side of the vegetables with the seasoned olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place veggies on grill until softened about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and drizzle small amount of balsamic vinegar over vegetables.
1 lb Penne pasta
1 cup pasta water
½ cup parmesan cheese grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions about 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta when it is al dente reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Put the pasta in a large serving bowl and add ½ cup parmesan cheese. Add the pesto sauce and add the pasta water to thin out the pesto sauce and coat the pasta.
Slice the grilled veggies into serving pieces and add to the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I was listening to this CD as I wrote parts of my newsletter when it suddenly dawned on me I havent highlighted this CD in my newsletter yet! It has been one of my favorite CDs for some time. My favorite artist on here is the soothing voice of Krishna Das featured on the second song, Devi Puja, as well as the10th and final song, Mantra. I sometimes listen to these two songs repeatedlyletting them loop over and over and over. The eighth song honors the chakra focus for this newsletter: Swadhishthana. Cyndi Lee gathered this unique collection. Enjoy!
Image Credit: http://www.dharmamoon.com/images/OMYM2/OMYM2_LG.jpg
Product Description: “Cyndi Lee, founder of NYCs legendary OM yoga Center, once again brings her eclectic tastes and offbeat perspective to yoga music with OM yoga Mix 2, a new collection of inspiring music perfect for everything from home practice to dinner parties. Blending a soothing mix of dance, world grooves, trance, and New American music, the CD captures the playful, nurturing teaching style of Lee.” http://www.dharmamoon.com/OMYM2.html
You can hear the full CD during one of my yoga classes, or purchase it for your own listening pleasure at: http://www.amazon.com/Om-Yoga-Mix-Vol-2/dp/B0012IWHO6
Better Day Yoga has moved! By the time you read this, my new studio home-base is safe within the peaceful walls of St. Anthony Main Massage & Health Works! Please refer to my contact page http://betterdayyoga.com/contact for the layout of the building, to find parking, and directions!
Yoga class times:
Want to have me work one-on-one with you on correct alignment? Maybe you have questions you want to ask but can’t during class time? A private physical assessment will help me to recommend particular yoga poses for your body, and perhaps other lifestyle enhancements that might help you, after we discuss your questions and history. Feel better about your practice! Schedule a private consultation at (http://betterdayyoga.com/products/services)
Take a peak at: http://www.terileigh.com/blog/author/sandy-krzyzanowski/ as well as,