Welcome to “My Better Day” October newsletter!
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 deep 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.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
“Choose to be lucky”—quote from Energy Art by DaKara
Do you consider yourself lucky? Do you even believe in “luck”? Why or why not? I have always believed that luck, like life, is what you make of it. That how you approach or react to a situation dictates the outcome, making your own luck. This is the same sentiment as the saying “luck is where preparation and possibility meet”.
We’ve all heard about the placebo effect. Believing in something makes it happen. We sometimes assume that attributing it to the “placebo effect” means it wasn’t really real. I’ve always believed that the placebo effect is simply our body providing its own medicine to heal. The end result is healing, so who cares how it got there? Call it a miracle, call it placebo; most don’t care so long as the healing happens. As a friend of mine words it—judge by the end result.
I think luck and the placebo effect are viewed similarly by society. We don’t believe luck is really real either. Somehow because we can’t explain it all the time, we put little stock in it. But if believing in it is what makes it happen, who cares how it happened? Why not believe you are lucky? Why not do as the saying suggests and “prepare to meet possibility”?
Perhaps it’s easier to acknowledge how grateful you are for the good things in your life. We can all believe in gratitude. So let’s start there. It’s not a long stretch to consider that you’re lucky for having what you’re grateful for. Looking at luck through the lens of gratitude legitimizes it. Doesn’t it? Every time something good happens to me I remind myself how very lucky I am to be alive and exactly where I’m at. I affirm that and feel it in my bones.
One of my previous newsletter’s had a “meditation on the go” that suggested saying “this very moment” whenever something good happened to call it out, to recognize it, to make it more real. One of my favorite versions of this is repeating to my husband over and over at various moments ranging from simply sitting on the deck drinking coffee and listening to the birds, or watching old re-runs with homemade popcorn: “We have fun, don’t we?” It’s become a mantra for me. I love acknowledging the moments in this way, each and every luscious one of them.
Yet, I still have to work on stopping the judgment of my “monkey mind”—which we all have. I say I “work on”, because I fail regularly. Some days I’m better at it than others. We all like to judge what life is giving us at any moment. “This is good.” Or “This is bad.” But as one of my niece’s favorite songs says “Who died and made you king of anything?” (Great song! Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7-AUmiNcA ). No one needs my opinion on every little thing, and most days I don’t even need my opinion on every little thing. What’s more, I even find truth in the funny comment emblazoned on a t-shirt in a catalog I saw recently that says, “I don’t even agree with everything I say.”
There is much written about our egos being the one that likes to judge, judge, judge. It likes to be in charge. Letting go of our inner ego so that we can really see what life is giving us—without all the judgments— is what makes us all realize there is so much more to be grateful for than we ever realized. Letting go of our inner judge makes us all believe we are lucky.
You’ve probably gathered from my newsletters that I love affirmations. When I use them, it feels like I am making my own luck. Because if luck is a matter of what you draw to yourself (Law of Attraction), and what you attract to yourself is a direct result of what you put out into the world, then affirmations are my good luck charm. They allow what I put out into the world to be that much better. By choosing the affirmations that resonate with me, and repeating them to change my outlook, I am choosing to be lucky. The affirmations help me to expect synchronistic, good things to happen, to create my own self-fulfilling prophecy, to create my good luck. Why would anyone not choose to be lucky?
There’s a new book that talks about creating your own luck called Cosmic Energy—How to harness the invisible power around you to transform your life, by Anne Jirsch. The author references “The Luck Experiment” documented in another book.
Professor Richard Wiseman, is a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire and a “fellow” of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. He wrote The Luck Factor after ten years of studying people’s attitudes toward luck and chance and how this affected their reality. He conducted an experiment of over 400 men and women investigating actual beliefs and experiences of lucky and unlucky people. There were striking differences between the two and he wondered if using the information from his studies he could create a “luck school” to increase the amount of good luck that people encounter in their lives. It was a huge success with the result being that 80% of the volunteers were happier, more satisfied with their lives; and, yes, luckier!
He says his work “demonstrates that much of the good and bad fortune we encounter is a result of our thoughts and behavior. More important, it represents the potential for change.” Here are his four tips on becoming lucky:
He adds a reminder that luck is very often a self-fulfilling prophecy. His Website (http://www.richardwiseman.com/research/moreluck.html) words it a bit differently, and adds some points:
“The results of this work reveal that people are not born lucky. Instead, lucky people are, without realizing it, using four basic principles to create good fortune in their lives:
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.
(Frank Capra tells us that “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” Using your gut feelings as to what decision is right for you is using your Sacral Chakra energy, the featured chakra highlighted below. Luck is really intuiting the opportunity within any potential activity you are considering.)
Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.”
How about some more traditional “good luck charms”? Many of us associate luck with wishes coming true. We’ve all used some oldie but goodies for wish-making, like blowing on our birthday candles, wishing upon a falling star, hanging the horse shoe with the prongs pointing up to capture and hold the good luck, or making a wish on the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey.
For some other lighthearted, old-fashioned ways to bring luck here’s some fun ones to try compliments of http://everything2.com/title/Things+on+which+you+can+make+a+wish:
When the clasp on your necklace is turned all the way around to the front, someone else can turn it back for you and tell you to make a wish.
(I have been doing this one all wrong! I have been telling my friends to turn their own necklace clasps back when they come to the front and make a wish. Apparently, this doesn’t work if you do it for yourself, so it’s a good idea to train all your friends to keep an eye out.)
A stray eyelash on someone’s cheek means they have an eyelash wish available. You, the eyelash finder, declare that you have found an eyelash, then gently lift it off their cheek with a finger and ask them to make a wish. They make their wish and blow it off your finger.
This is a nice thing to do with family members or someone you have crush on and long to get closer to. It is one of those sweet things that can make someone’s day a little nicer.
If you lose an earring, make a wish on the remaining one. (Gosh! I have a few wishes to make!)
This is the time of day when legend has it that one can make a wish, and there is a greater chance of it coming true.
Though history is vague, it is clear that this myth originated from another one – that of wishing on a star. That, combined with the fact the number one is the only one that ever fills all four spaces on a 12 hour digital clock simultaneously led to this rather unusual belief. But it certainly can’t hurt to make a wish.
(Some time ago, I read a book by Nick Bunick called The Messengers, referring to “444” meaning angels are present. Now whenever I see 444 on a license plate, or the clock, etc., I consider it a sign that whatever I was just thinking about is going to be okay. My husband and I refer to 222 as “1/2 an angel” and 888 as “a double angel—one for each of us!” Why not?!)
Here’s a couple more from the Wishing book from Running Press:
If you find a coin (especially a penny), make a wish on it. If you spend it, your wish won’t come true. (Adding to that, one of my favorite authors, Wayne Dyer, added a little magic to this one. It can be any coin denomination you find that creates abundance. When you find loose change, say “thank you” either silently to yourself, or out loud. This acknowledges to the Universe that the found money is a sign of the abundance flowing into your life.)
A cricket in the house, particularly on the hearth, brings good luck; so make a wish on it. If the cricket chirps, there’s a better chance that your wish will come true. (My husband and I’s first apartment had one annoying cricket in the apartment that we could never find! Who knew it was a sign of a long, beautiful marriage?)
A diner who is served food in a dish with a flaw or chip may make a wish when taking the first bite of food. Switching dishes so that you’ll get the “wish dish” will invalidate the wish. (Who needs perfect dinnerware? No wishin’ to be had when everything’s perfect!)
My husband used to listen to a radio host when we lived in Indiana that would always say “Rabbit, Rabbit” on the first of the month for good luck to last the month. You had to be the first to say it. So we’ve continued this tradition.
Now since we always look out for the other’s best interest, we’ve been counting “1, 2, 3” and then saying in unison “Rabbit, Rabbit” thinking we’d each get luck. As I research this strange custom, it looks like there are variations of this that say: “When the words, “Rabbit, Rabbit” are spoken to any person on the first of the month, for the rest of the month the speaker receives the luck of all who heard the phrase.” So it’s possible that means my husband and I have been receiving each other’s luck! Either way, it’s all good, and it’s a fun way to start the month! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_rabbit
A rabbit’s foot has long been considered a good luck charm. My Dad had one. He also was able to find a four-leaf clover any time he looked for one—a universal symbol of good luck. As a child, I thought he was magic (still do, but that’s another story.) http://www.fourleafclover.com/vshop/facts_about_4-leaf_clovers.html .
Some of these good luck actions and charms like the lost earrings, the crickets in the house, and the chipped dinnerware affirm for me what the “luck experiment” referenced above found—that those who create their own luck view everything in a positive light, and they turn bad luck into good. They don’t dwell on the negative, but take control of the situation and thrive. Lost an earring? Great! Wish on the other one! Chipped the bowl? Great! You’ve got a wish coming! Cricket got in the house? Wonderful! That wish is bound to happen now! They take common occurrences like a falling star, and the clasp of the necklace gravitating toward the front as reasons to celebrate! So rather than viewing life with “So what? That happens all the time.” They say “Yay! Let’s use this opportunity to create our own abundance!” Because they know abundance is everywhere! What happens to you all the time that you can use as a cue to celebrate your luck?
My Dad knew how to create his own luck. Perhaps my Dad could always find a four-leaf clover because as in “principle number three” above, my Dad always thought there was something good ahead. He always had a goal and a plan, and not just any plan. It was always a plan that ignited his passion. He did nothing half-heartedly and it was his “openness to new experiences”—principle number one—that initially brought him and his young family to America; and then led him to move to Florida after my Mom passed away where he met his second wonderful wife, Prudy. She was, and is, a blessing to our family.
What new experience has been on the perimeter of your thoughts but you haven’t taken the leap to try it out? What so-called “bad” luck have you been recently dealt that you could redefine as “good” luck—sort of like turning a chipped bowl into a wish-making opportunity? What is your gut telling you to do next? Take a moment to be still wherever you are at and clear your mind, extending your exhales for a few deep breaths. Meditate on what your intuition is telling you. What are you drawn to? What pushes you away? Honor those feelings.
Try this: Just for the next week, tell yourself how lucky you are as many times in the day as you remember to. At the end of the day as you nestle into bed, recall all of the day’s events that you are grateful for and send rounds of “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you” out to the Universe for each and every one. For those situations during the day that didn’t go the way you wanted them to, replay them so that they did. Think about how you wanted to behave, and how you wanted to situation to go. Focus on the expectation of being lucky.
Quantum Physics theory states that the conscious act of observation is the key factor in the formation of reality. (http://www.whatismetaphysics.com/scientificviewofreality.html) Why not observe yourself as being lucky? Remember from my last newsletter that Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics book reminds us that the mind cannot tell fact from well-imagined fiction. “Just supposing” works so define what you want to happen.
Okay, as I was trying to come up with a way to close my “all things lucky” article with panache, I literally spotted a white squirrel in our yard. Yes, you heard me right! After a frantic effort to figure out the camera (my husband’s domain), I snapped some quick, unprofessional photos and simply sat in awe of what I was witnessing in my own back yard.
My husband called just as I completed the snapshots and I shared my excitement with him saying “Wouldn’t it be neat if the squirrel came up to my basement window as I was typing?”—Like the yard wasn’t enough. Funny, even as I consider myself a person who is always talking to the Universe and believes the Universe talks back, I am always testing to make sure the message is really for me. Surely I don’t deserve this message. Do I? Somehow I thought if the white squirrel came up to my window, it would really be a personal message. As I continued typing, trying to keep from gazing out the window some more, the white squirrel came right up to my eye-level basement window and I took another couple of snapshots. I’m humbled by my disbelief.
According to Scott Alexander King, Albino animals have been revered in most cultures for centuries; venerated as omens of good fortune, fertility, plentiful rain and bountiful harvest. Some even describe them as being imbued with supernatural or magical powers, usually charged with extraordinary strength, speed, shape and size.
He says “the white animals are here to fulfill an ancient prophecy: to invite us to follow them into that forest now – into an unfamiliar place of deep healing and personal acceptance so that we might finally emerge the other side as re-birthed and reformed individuals; whole and healthy beings in an interrelated world. They are reminding us to reclaim our beauty, our soul-essence and our Personal Power; to find a place of trust and acceptance within ourselves, to know our Sacred Self …” http://animaldreaming.com/whitebuffalo.php. I think the Universe is constantly reminding us “Yes, I mean YOU!”
Other sites continue with the same sentiment adding that white animals have spirit connections and serve as a definite omen of great wisdom and ancient knowledge signifying spiritual magnitude (the most revered example being the White Buffalo). It was taboo to hunt a white animal. If an albino squirrel were hunted and killed, the hunter would suffer loss of his hunting abilities. Even the skin or hides of these animals must be treated with reverence. http://naturesmightypictures.blogspot.com/2006/09/albino-animals-myths-and-facts.html . In many prophecies, the birth of rare animals represents a rebirth for humanity, the sacred animals being harbingers of peace, as foretold by the ancients.
A Google™ search tells me that seeing an albino squirrel before a test is good luck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albino_Squirrel_Preservation_Society ), and according to two members of the Albino Squirrel Preservation Society:
“While spotting a squirrel can bring a smile, seeing an albino squirrel can brighten your whole day – a new symbol of good luck!” and “Anyone that is lucky enough to see an Albino Squirrel will be lucky for a long time.” I can to attest to the overwhelming feeling of pure joy as I saw the squirrel for the first time, and every day since (It’s been five days now and she is still visiting our yard every day!). She is so beautiful and makes me feel so very blessed.
I’m not sure what my next test is, but I’m hoping the white squirrel omen means I’ll pass with flying colors…the combination of which is white! Enjoy!
Last month’s newsletter featured Warrior I. I opened with a reference to the meaning of the Sanskrit word for Warrior Pose as well as a warrior reference in regard to the Solar Plexus Chakra. Please refer to the archives for more.
I offer the following opener from a great new book, Yoga for Movement Disorders, Renee Le Verrier: “Virabhadrasana, or warrior pose, builds strength and stamina in the face of battle, the everyday challenges as well as the life-changing ones. There are three warrior poses. In the first two, the reach is in opposite directions. The back arm and leg represent the past and the front limbs symbolize the future. While our hands and feet are reaching for both what was and what will be, our minds and bodies remain centered in the present moment. It is helpful to keep this in mind while in the poses, noticing if your body is leaning forward or back rather than balanced in the middle.”
Now for the pose: From Warrior I (with your right leg forward), keep your heels aligned as you rotate your hips and torso to the left and your back, left foot out approximately 90 degrees making it parallel to the short edge of the mat. Square your hips and shoulders lining them with the long edge of the mat. Bring your arms down parallel to the floor and extend them actively out to the sides, at shoulder level, in opposite directions, palms down. Relax your shoulders down and back away from the ears, firming your shoulder blades to the back; and lift the chest. Your tailbone points down and your spine is long. Stretch both sides of your torso upwards. Your hips are level, avoiding “sassy hips” with one hip hiked up-which I was guilty of for far too long!
Make sure your front knee stacks directly over the ankle, and not beyond, making your shin perpendicular to the ground. Your right thigh should come no lower than parallel to the ground. Lift your left inner thigh and keep the left knee straight. If it drops your chest will cave in. The center of the left knee lines up with the center of the left ankle so you don’t torque the knee. Both feet are pressed evenly into the floor. Focus weight on the back heel.
Keep the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Avoid leaning in either direction. Look out over the front hand. Energetically pull the heels toward each other so the body holds the poses vs. just hanging out in the joints. Turn your head and look over your right arm. Focusing on your hands boosts your energy in this pose.
Aligning the front heel to the inner arch of the back foot is another foot placement possibility. This opens the hips a bit more.
You can also come into this pose by stepping backward from mountain pose and following the directions above for body placement. See advanced options below for another way to come into the pose.
Beginner’s tip: Still unsure on your form or new to yoga? You can try a practice pose.
For less intensity, you can have less of a bend in the front leg by straightening it a bit and/or also by shortening the stance front to back. Also remember you always have arm options. If the shoulders are tired, you can bring them to your heart center in “Namaste” position; and if you have neck issues, don’t turn your head to look over the front arm. Continue looking straight ahead.
Wondering about your form? You should be able to see your big toe of the front leg as you look down, ensuring that your knee is stacked directly over the ankle. If you can’t see your big toe, self-adjust aiming the inside of the front knee toward the pinky side of the front foot keeping the knee tracking over the middle toe. Don’t allow your torso to either move right or tilt forward keeping your left armpit and your left hip in a straight line.
Add a chair: For those who have trouble supporting yourself in this pose, you can add a chair under the front thigh. Add props, such as a blanket, to make the height of the support fit your personal requirements.
Advanced option: For more challenge, you can come into Warrior II from Down Dog by stepping your right foot forward into a lunge and rotating the back foot out to the left approximately 90 degrees, Photo #5. Then use your core strength as well as the grounded front leg to lift the torso up to standing while bringing your arms out to your sides parallel to the floor at shoulder level as described above.
Deepen The Arm position: Try turning the palms and inner elbow creases (the eyes of the inner elbows) to face the ceiling while you draw the shoulder blades down the back. Then, keeping the rotation of the arms, turn the palms from the wrists to face the floor again.
Similar to the Warrior I arm positions in last month’s newsletter, there are many other arm holds that we can incorporate with Warrior II, such as cow-face arms (which I’ll cover another day!); and, alternatively, simply holding the elbow with the opposite hands behind the back, (not pictured). Cactus arms and yoga mudra arms were covered last month. Please refer to the archives to review.
Since this month’s Chakra section focuses on the element of water and the Sacral Chakra, I chose the following meditation/visualization from my own experiences. It’s one I personally use adding color therapy and sea salt.
I like to do this meditation while in the shower imagining that I’m outside in nature underneath a waterfall. I start with sprinkling a generous amount of sea salt over my body to further cleanse my body of anything I consider to be “bad energy” that might have attached itself to me.
(Dr. Jacques de Langre, Ph.D., who wrote the book “Seasalt’s Hidden Powers”, states that naturally and properly sunshine-preserved sea salt is the difference between life and death, health and illness, social sanity and planetary panic and its elements are vital for proper body functions. That natural hand-harvested Celtic ocean salt alone helps to maintain life, neutralizes toxins and detrimental bacteria, and enhances all our organic function. http://curezone.com/foods/salt/book_seasalts_hidden_powers.htm. )
After the sea salt sprinkle, I imagine that the shower water rushing over my body is cleansing it of all negative thoughts and pains along with any “bad energy”. This can be very personalized to whatever you conceive your “bad energy” to be. Let go of everything that troubles you and everything you are done with. Surrender to the waterfall.
In my yoga classes I have a “throw down” asana flow where I suggest letting go of anything you’re done with or no longer want in your life with each exhale, and I refer to it as my “Etch a Sketch®” move—the “do over” move. It’s like, “here’s our opportunity to begin again”. Treat this visualization like that.
Since the color blue is cooling, sometimes I imagine a royal blue stream of water as an anti-inflammatory for any sore joints, visualizing a ball of blue energy cleansing out the joint in a circular fashion then carrying the inflammation down the drain. This simple exercise leaves me feeling lighter and less stiff in the joints, as well as infuses me with positive emotions since invariably; I imagine my waterfall being in Hawaii!
Here are a few Web-sites on using salt to cleanse yourself of “bad energy”:
If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes.
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.
October is surrounded with shades of orange (although I can’t get my mind off the white squirrel in my yard!)—jack-o-lanterns smiling at us, trees turning beautiful hues, apples ripening on the vine. Many of us choose to celebrate Halloween as a light-hearted, fun time for costumes and trick or treating. So we can have some fun “trying on” a different persona. This takes the “just supposing” concept introduced in my opening section a little further! Let’s be creative! That’s the second chakra-the Sacral Chakra. Its color is orange and it is the seat of our creativity and our passions. It focuses on the element of water-of flow. The Sacral Chakra is about sweetening life by opening to pleasure. Here’s some ways to open to the pleasures of the season!
Was there a favorite costume character from your childhood Halloweens, or perhaps as an adult? (Let’s keep it clean!) What persona were you trying to create and why? Explore why you considered that one your favorite. Let’s do some Halloween costume analogy to see how you used your creativity (Sacral chakra) to exemplify a character.
It may be that you enjoyed the reaction from others, or maybe it had a deeper meaning for you. Were you looking for the power of being that character? Do you like to be a leader in your everyday life? If so, are you? Was that persona a role model for you?
Perhaps you enjoyed the laughs your costume brought. Do you like stand-up comedy? Do you use humor enough in your everyday life to satisfy your creative soul? If not, can you think of ways to add more humor into your life?
Perhaps it was the pride you took in the artistic effort that went into the costume. How do you let your artistic talents out to play now that you’re all grown up?
Maybe it was just the act of letting go of reality for a bit and having some outright fun. I think most of us could use more play in our life. How can you add some playtime back in?
I’ve read that whether you like or dislike someone it’s because you recognize the same qualities within yourself. I’ve tried to keep that in mind whenever I get to judging someone because it usually means any irritation I have is the seed of something in me as well. It’s humbled me more than a few times.
Posing the above questions to myself, a gypsy costume—my favorite costume for Halloween when I was younger-was my favorite because to me gypsies had a handle on all things magic. They could tell the future, do fortune-telling, dress in those flamboyant scarves, and where some big-time bling. That observation makes me smile. I still enjoy all things magical, own way to many scarves, and prefer big honking costume jewelry rings to the more expensive gemstones. As for telling the future, well I’ve done my share of asking the Universe for signs, as you well know.
(I have to mention, my Thursday evening yoga class is in Anoka, MN, the “Halloween Capital of the World”. http://anokahalloween.com/, in a wonderful gift shop filled with a gift for everyone on your list, Krista Artista Gallery, http://www.kristaartistagallery.com/. Stop in and “rediscover Anoka”! http://www.rediscoveranoka.com/ .)
Expressing our creativity is Sacral Chakra energy in action. While I don’t go trick or treating any more, I do answer the door with style. An old retail jewelry customer of mine gave me a white witch’s hat she bought for her dress shop as Halloween décor. She knew she wouldn’t sell it in her dress shop. She told me that she knew I was one of the few people open to being silly enough to enjoy it. I justified being a witch with the thought that I’m a good witch, just like on the Wizard of Oz, and the hat has a white owl on it, for wisdom. So that’s not scary, right?
The hat replaced the Mardi Gras mask I’d used prior, and I’ve added a child’s magical ringing wand. My husband and I still use dragon hand puppets from Manhattan Toy (a previous sales job I had), and flashlights under our chins as the trick or treaters approach. Outside we play spooky music from Martha Stewart’s collection. http://www.amazon.com/Living-Spooky-Sounds-Martha-Stewart/dp/B00004WJ6F. I swear we have more fun than most of the visitors! We’ve created this fun ritual to enjoy our creative expression marking the season. Create some fun of your own! That’s Sacral Chakra energy and going with the flow of the season!
We have a favorite apple farm, as I’m sure many of you do. Ours is Minnetonka Orchards in Minnetrista: http://www.minnetonkaorchards.com/. I love the magic they create there. You can pick your own apples, or buy them in their wonderful gift shop along with hot apple cider, apple donuts, and apple brats. My mouth is watering. The musical entertainment is always family-oriented, and begs you to dance in their lawn. They have hay rides, walking trails, a corn maze, petting zoos, bonfires, face-painting, and pumpkins too! Our annual trip there has become our autumn-welcoming ritual. It is the harbinger of the “horn of plenty” about to come with all the autumn and winter holidays. It creates a festival type atmosphere where you can let your inner child out to play along with all the other children there. This is our way of opening to the pleasures of the season. We took my mother-in-law on a hay ride here once about four years ago. At the time, she was in her early 80s and had a blast! So you’re never too old to experience all the pleasures of an apple orchard! You just have to be open to it! Being open to the pleasures of life-that’s strong Sacral Chakra energy!
When was the last time you went out for an autumn drive just to see the leaves changing color? Leave your electronics behind and go witness nature’s own full-color extravaganza! This is true surrender to the season. Going for a long walk in your favorite woods revitalizes your creative juices. Breathe the crisp, fresh air, and take in some color. Nature is begging you to come outdoors this time of year and view her blanket of colors. Take a cue from nature and find ways to add color to your life. Take time to celebrate whatever season of life you are in with pizzazz. If nature can recreate herself by adding a little color, why not you too? We don’t consider the leaves as old and wrinkled. We see the beauty in them and consider them as a gift. How can you add a little color into your life?
For walking trails in the Minneapolis area, try http://www.trails.com/city-trails.aspx?keyword=Minneapolis&state=MN. Wondering where the best leaf viewing is? Try http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors/index.html. For a state-by-state listing of farms with pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides and other autumn activities: www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/index.php
So where to begin? How do you choose your best fun activity? Recapping the “luck” theme from my opening article, I connected luck to the creativity aspect of the Sacral Chakra using Frank Capra’s quote, “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” (Remember principle two above for creating your own luck was “listening to lucky hunches”.) Using your gut feeling as to which family ritual for autumn is right for you is using your Sacral Chakra energy. Repeating the sentiment in my opener, luck is really intuiting the opportunity within any potential activity you are considering. So have at it and listen to our gut!
Do you wonder what all the fuss is about this time of year? How can you create your own magical autumn? What fun, family rituals can you put into place? Perhaps a visit to your favorite apple orchard is in order or maybe your own family bonfire along with homemade hot apple cider while you carve your jack-o-lanterns.
Perhaps you can be a little more creative with your attire when you answer the door for this year’s trick or treaters. How can you add a little color into your life? Pick your favorite forest or scenic drive and check out the colors. Bet you’ll have some fun while you do it! Be open to the pleasures that can sweeten your life! Create your own magic—that’s Sacral Chakra energy!
I invite you to please post your favorite, fun costume or scenes from your favorite orchard or trail on Better Day Yoga’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Canada-MN/Better-Day-Yoga-LLC/495055625435?ref=ts.
Breathwork and Visualization: In the “Meditation to Go” section I shared my own personal visualization/meditation for the shower. The following is a Sacral Chakra water meditation for the bath taken from The Chakra Energy Plan, The practical 7-step program to balance and revitalize, by Anna Selby. Enjoy!
Meditating on—and in—water has a powerful and positive effect on the Sacral Chakra. The heat and support of the water relaxes your body and your mind becomes still to focus on the meditation.
Spend some time preparing your bathroom before you do this meditation. Run a warm bath, light some candles, and make sure that you have some warm towels and a bath robe for when you come out of the bath. If you can, find a tape or CD recording of water—the sound of the sea or a fountain, or the music of whales is ideal. Play this softly in the background to help you meditate.
Get into the bath and submerge yourself in the water. Let go of any tension in your muscles and find a position in which your body can relax completely.
Breathe in deeply through your nose, bring the air down into your belly, hold it for a few moments and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this three times and then let yourself breathe normally. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Don’t count your breath—just observe how your breath enters and leaves your body.
Now bring your consciousness to focus on the water around you. Feel the touch of it on your body, how it moves and responds to your breathing, its warmth, and how it supports your body. Observe how the water brings calmness and relaxation. Extend your consciousness to visualize the great bodies of water that cover most of the planet—the lakes, the seas, and the oceans. Sense the rhythm of the waves and their gentle lapping on the shore. Visualize the moon’s pull on the water, drawing the tides up and down. Picture yourself floating on a calm sea under a bright moon. Do this for at least five minutes, focusing on the sensation of the water holding and supporting you, and the pale moonlight shining down on you. Feel the moon pulling the tides of your body toward her and feel a sense of being at one with the waters of the world.
Gradually bring your awareness back to the water around you and your breath. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes, then slowly open your eyes and take in your surroundings. Feel the sense of tranquility and relaxation that comes from water meditation. When you are ready, get out of the bath, pat yourself dry, dress in a warm robe and go to bed or rest for at least a half an hour.
The Book of Chakras, Ambika Wauters.
A Handbook of Chakra Healing, Spiritual Practice for Health, Harmony and Inner Peace, Kalashatra Govinda.
Power Thoughts, 365 Daily Affirmations, Louise L. Hay.
Diet and the Sacral Chakra: Drink plenty of water! Not enough water is a cause of fatigue, constipation, arthritis, back and neck pain, hunger, depression, and allergies! Drink more clean, purified water! Other ways to get water into your diet would be herbal teas and both fruit and vegetable juices such as oranges, apricots, pomegranates, blueberries, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, etc. Using a blender, you can create your own concoctions.
Aromatherapy and the Sacral Chakra: Scents associated with the sacral chakra are jasmine, ylang ylang, cinnamon, tangerine, rose, rose geranium, geranium (my personal favorite!), clary sage, and patchouli.
If aromatherapy interests you, I use Young Living Essential Oils(tm) 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.
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: Coral, citrine, cornelian, onyx, tiger’s eye, moonstone, pearl, aquamarine, and clear quartz, 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. I’ve known Jennifer, the owner, for many years and love her products!
Yoga poses for stimulating the Sacral Chakra: Warrior poses all stimulate the Sacral Chakra! See both this month’s highlighted pose as well as last month’s for more on Warrior I and II!
The triangle pose, highlighted in my Dec/Jan newsletter is one of my favorite poses. Other poses noted as good for activating the sacral chakra: side stretch, pelvic tilt, cat/cow pose, butterfly pose, wide stance pelvic rolls, seated pelvic rotation (which I do at the end of each of my sessions) among others.
Please refer to the archives of Dec/Jan and April and August newsletters for more on the Sacral Chakra: http://betterdayyoga.com/archives.htm.
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.
Since this month’s chakra focus is on the sacral chakra associated with the element of water, creativity and flow, I’ve chosen Varuna Mudra. “Varuna” means “water” in Sanskrit. This mudra helps maintain the balance of water in your body.
In addition to enhancing beauty and restoring moisture and suppleness to dry skin, this mudra is done when you’ve got a cold, cough, asthma, or other sinus issues. It also alleviates cramps. Mucous congestion is always related to over stimulated nerves, inner tensions and unrest, triggered by overstraining, being pressed for time, being aggravated, or experiencing fear. Mudras, Yoga in your hands, Gertrud Hirschi.
Gertrud Hirschi suggests that when we have a cold, we are also in a rut in other areas. So reduce your workload and obligations, as well as practice this mudra as needed or three times a day for 45 minutes. Then, make a new life plan—those who suffer from mucous congestion are often too conscious of responsibility, feel everything depends on them, and/or that they must do everything alone.
How to: Bend the little finger of your right hand until the tip touches the ball of your right thumb. Place the thumb of your right hand on it. Press the little finger and thumb slightly with your left thumb, and at the same time, your left hand encircles the right hand lightly from below. The remaining three fingers of the right hand remain comfortably straight. (FYI, some references leave out the left hand completely, instructing to simply place the right thumb down on the little finger.)
Sources: Mudras, Yoga in your hands, Gertrud Hirschi,
I love affirmations and use “oracle” decks to provide a positive boost in the morning or whenever I need a lift. It’s my way of telling the Universe I’m open to listening to their message: “Have at it!” “I’m listening!” “Tell me more!” I hope you enjoy as I introduce some of my favorite cards and quotes in my newsletters! These make great gifts for any occasion as well as can be used as inspirational hand-outs in class if you are a yoga instructor.
I’ve owned this deck of cards since before we moved to Minneapolis over 16 years ago. I’m not one to consult astrology regularly, but take what is presented to me and use what resonates with me, leaving the rest. I mean, haven’t we all read our daily horoscope in the newspaper wondering what the message means?
Since earlier I made reference to my gypsy Halloween costume from childhood and the magic of telling the future and fortune-telling, I pulled out one of my oldest and only deck of cards involving astrology. I wasn’t sure how to pick a sample here since it’s not the kind of deck you pick a “favorite” from. So I decided to do my own quick “reading”. I asked whether or not I should keep adding new locations to teach yoga from. (I currently have three locations and am looking at another.) It’s uncanny how the cards that popped up fit. Perhaps that’s part of the charm of these cards. You decide.
You have three kinds of cards: Planets, Signs, and Houses. You pull one from each kind and lay them out in that order and they create a sentence for you pertaining to your question. If you are looking for an outcome answer, you use the blue panels. If you are looking for an action answer, you use the red panels. The panels offer answers on three levels: Spiritual, Mental, and Physical. Here’s my “red” action reading for those three categories respectively.
Stir up the situation by using your highest ideals as a life or death issue. (Spiritual)
Be open to new ideas about the rules of getting and using power. (Mental)
Invent a way to get it out to the world and use other people’s resources. (Physical)
Okay, well they all hit home for me with the physical one being a “head on the nail” hit. Guess that answers that! So I’m getting an “all systems go” answer here to “get it out to the world and use other people’s resources.” So yes, keep adding other locations!
Description: A perceptive guide to the future that is guaranteed to entertain, amuse, and enlighten. Shuffle the cards, pick one from each of three decks representing the Planets, Signs, and Houses, place them side by side, and read across to get answers to questions about future love, career, and financial moves. 36 shrink-wrapped cards with comprehensive instruction booklet.
You can buy your very own deck at: Karma Cards: A New Age Guide to Your Future through Astrology
Back in November, I highlighted one of my favorite decksa wonderfully whimsical, inspiring, thought-provoking Enrichuals(c) 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!
How many of you believe that your yoga class doesn’t burn as many calories as your bike ride?
Contrary to a long-held belief, strength training is—as new studies have shown—superior to steady-state cardio in caloric burn. Although going for a bike ride or jog does burn major calories, a recent study from the University of Southern Maine shows that weight training may offer more bang for your buck in the calorie-burning department than cardio.
Participants in the study burned as many calories doing 30 minutes of weight training (it doesn’t mention what types of exercises or the equipment used) as they did going for a 30-minute run at a lightning fast six-minute-per-mile pace. Since running at that speed for that long is better left for those training for winning marathons, it seems that if you’re looking to burn calories, strength training is your best bet.
Aside from burning calories, weight training also makes you stronger and gives your muscles that chiseled look you’re after. As if that wasn’t enough, strength training also boosts your metabolism, with some exercise physiologists estimating that the body continues to burn calories for up to 36 hours after your workout.
You’re wondering about the yoga connection? Let me just add that yoga uses your own body weight, and according to Nicholas DiNubile, MD, author of FrameWork: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints. “Yoga can be just as effective as weights when it comes to developing a stronger, more impressive physique …”
Think yoga is way too passive to give your body the boost it’s been looking for? Here’s why yoga moves just may help your muscles reach your fitness goals even faster!
To read more about yoga for strength training, go to:
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!
Substituting for my friend, Christine, this month is epicurious.com:
by Jill Silverman Hough
The combination of three varieties of apples gives this applesauce sweet-tart flavor and great texture.
Yield: Makes six to seven 1-pint jars
Combine 2 cups water and lemon juice in 10- to 12-quart stockpot. Peel, core, and cut apples into 3/4-inch pieces; mix pieces into lemon water as soon as apples are cut, to prevent browning. Add sugar, coarse salt, cinnamon, and allspice; stir over medium high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until apples are soft and almost translucent, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Using potato masher, mash apples to chunky consistency.
Ladle applesauce into hot clean 1-pint glass canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch space at top of jars. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar threads and rims with damp cloth. Cover with hot lids; apply screw bands. Process jars in pot of boiling water 20 minutes. Cool jars completely. Store in cool dark place up to 1 year.
I bought this CD a couple of weeks ago at my old stomping ground off State Street in Madison, WI at Mimosa’s. This is still one of my absolute favorite shops even after living in the Minneapolis area for over 16 years. http://www.mimosaspirit.com/. I love all things Chakra, as you know from my logo! This is an excellent addition to my Chakra CDs! Enjoy!
Description: Chakra Healing Energies reflects two decades of experience as a musician for Alberto Grollo. He has a series of best sellers in music therapy, music perfect to balance the flow of vital energy and unblock the chakras. Each of the chakras is sensitive to a specific musical note and the instrumentation used for this album helps to channel the energy and stimulate the power of chakras. The music of “Chakra Healing Energies” creates a nice ethnic and tribal background and is also great as an accompaniment for therapy and meditation (not to mention yoga!). Guitar, piano, dijeridoo, flute, tabla and African drums create a link between the universal energy and the human body through the doors of the seven chakras.
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:
While the above CD is not downloadable from Mimosa’s, for those of you not near Madison, WI, Mimosa is now selling music downloads. They specialize in New Age music, but also offer a variety of World/International music, Drumming/Percussion music, music for relaxation, guided meditations, and more. Mimosa partners with iTunes and offers downloadable media (music, audio books, and more). To browse visit www.MimosaSpirit.com and browse the “Downloadable Media” section of their Website.
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; healing touch; massage; yoga; meditation classes; facial exercise classes; individual, family, couples and group therapy; and poetry therapy.
At the Healing Loft we provide our clients with a variety of complementary healing modalities that can be synergistically combined to address a broad spectrum of physical, mental, and emotional conditions. Therapies and Services include: NSA Chiropractic, Life Coaching, Intuitive Counseling, BodyTalk/AnimalTalk, Energetic Empathy Chakra Healing, Animal Communication, and of course, Yoga!
Restorative yoga, as well as other forms of yoga, helps to trigger the Parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for balancing the body and bringing its response system back into equilibrium. Stimulating the PNS helps to lower heart rate, blood pressure; it helps to healthily stimulate the immune system and keep the endocrine system operating healthily.
Please contact me if you have an interest: call: (612) 708 6900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please refer to my class schedule for class times.
Yoga Party / Yoga to go?
Yes, a yoga party! Yoga birthday parties, yoga cocktail parties, yoga bridal parties, yoga book-club parties—you fill in the blank! If you have space in your home or group meeting place, all you need to do is show up in comfortable clothes, and I bring everything else — the music, candles, incense (if you like that sort of thing), and mats. Now that it’s warm outside, we can even do class outside enjoying Nature in all its glory! After a yoga party, people have so much energy, and they communicate with each other at a totally different level. Please call to discuss your perfect stress-relief package!
Other possible services to add to your yoga party—pending availability and provided by my favorite colleagues—include:
or I can also add my two other class offerings:
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 one of Julie’s many boutiques! Check out the link below as well as the “events calendar” in the left-hand column once you get there! Here’s the next one located conveniently down the road from Vita Bella:
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