I’m Baaaaack!!!!

 

Hello World Wide Web True Yoga Blog Friends,

Yes, I am back!  You can’t keep me down or shut me up…

I will always be back, I will always rise…no matter how long it takes.

Several things happened that had me not blog on the True Yoga Blog for a while.  First of all, I had a work position that required me to be very conscientious about my personal endeavors since I was in the public sector for a while.

But, now that I’m back in the private sector that is not cause for concern.

Also, I had no idea that my domain name was deactivated.  The True Yoga Blog email address has become inundated over the years with junk email, unfortunately.  That is why I had to finally take that email address off the True Yoga website.  I had not checked that email in a while since I had been so busy with other things in my life, motherhood, work, moving and more.  They deactivated the True Yoga website and the site was down for a while.  But, I finally restored it once all the dust settled and cleared from the many things that were going on over the past couple of months…

As I mentioned, I relocated for a  job that I love.  I am a Wellness Coordinator for a wonderful company and I LOVE what I do.  I get to focus on helping people to live healthy, thriving lives and I am even teaching Yoga at my work one day a week.  How awesome is that??!!!

I am hoping that you will be hearing from me a lot more now…at least a few times a month now that I don’t have to be censored and concerned about mixing business with personal.  I don’t know how people live that way…Hillary Clinton?  Goodness gracious…especially nowadays when EVERYTHING is so scrutinized.  Privacy is a wonderful thing I have grown to realize.

I am still amazed at how powerful the changing of the seasons are.  As you know, the Spring Equinox just occurred on March 20.  This is such a powerful time of ushering in change in our lives.  To me, the Spring Equinox has a powerful way of illuminating any and all BS.  Yes, I said BS as in BS.   Those who are operating or functioning from a disingenuous, dishonest place become exposed and those who are seeking to live in alignment with God’s will, truth, love (however imperfectly at times) are strengthened.  From God’s strength we realize we no longer have to give our power away to those people or those fears.

I realized I was letting people intimidate me.  No more.  That intimidation was coming from a fear of loss.  I finally realized that no one can take anything away from me.  Therefore, no one has power over me but the power I LET them have.  With the igniting of the Spring Equinox I have stopped giving my power away, I am realizing there is no thing to fear and I am letting that ALL POWERFUL LIGHT OF GOD shine truth on everything especially those whose intentions are not Godly or pure.  Bam!

:)

That’s all for now.

Rise.

Rise.

Rise.

And, don’t look back.

And, I will always be back!

Just like the Terminator…I’ll be back! 😉

God bless you all!

We ARE triumphant through God’s redeeming, unfailing love and grace.

Please like the Fresh Fruit Cleanse page if you haven’t.  You will find good info there.  Like this recipe I am eating for dinner tonight:  http://www.honeygheeandme.com/2012/04/crockpot-chicken-peanut-curry/ (Smells SOOO good…it’s in the slow cooker right now…I did less spice…more honey.) Holy yum!  God it feels good to be free spoken again.

Thank you God!!

And thank you faithful True Yoga Blog friends.  Where there is a will, there is a way and God IS the way.  OM.

Reuniting in Love

Namaste to all…

It’s been so long since I last posted on the True Yoga Blog and I’m really happy to have found the time to write again.  I hope everyone is well.  Oh my gosh, there is so much I could write about and say.  It’s hard to know where to begin.  Feels like I could write another book with all that’s happened in the last several weeks.  Well, let’s start there with the book, the Fresh Fruit Cleanse.

The Fresh Fruit Cleanse

It’s almost finished!  It’s even in layout now, which means it looks like it will look when it’s published.   It was so awesome seeing it like that.  Once it goes to the printer in a couple of weeks, it will take about 3-5 more weeks for it to be printed and distributed. We will be having a fabulous book release party here in Dallas, TX for the Fresh Fruit Cleanse.  It will be at the W Hotel!  How awesome is that!?!  I taught a Yoga class there a couple of weeks ago.   Smartwater asked me to teach it for an event they were sponsoring  in partnership with Bliss Spa at the W.  So, we had an outside Yoga class, poolside, about twenty stories up overlooking the Dallas skyline.  It was awesome!  There was a great turnout and I’m so grateful for all of you who were able to join me for the class.  The W, smartwater and Bliss Spa loved the class so much they asked to have the book release party for the Fresh Fruit Cleanse there.  I couldn’t ask for it to be in a better place in Dallas.  This event will be so incredible.  It will be a party, so we won’t be wearing Yoga clothes, which, will also be great since so many of us in the Yoga community don’t ever get to see each other dressed up.  This will be an event to come dressed and looking fabulous.  We will have a DJ, drinks, and one of the chefs from the W hotel will be making some of the recipes from the Fresh Fruit Cleanse book, as well as, their own inspired vegetarian creations.  I am so looking forward to this and I will keep you posted on when it will be.  I look forward to you joining me for this wonderfully special and blessed event…

The Transcendental Absolute

We are all so blessed and it’s time we realize it.  It doesn’t have anything to do with dollars in the bank account.  It has to do with the Spirit within us and all around us that moves in every cell and molecule of our being.  The Spirit that ignites us to life.  This Spirit of Life/Light is briliant…brighter than a thousand million suns and moons and stars.  I am grateful because I feel like I am finally waking up.  Like I am finally coming out of the slumber of the last many years of my life.  When Buddha was asked if he was a God or a man, he simply replied, ‘I am awake.’  Yoga is the practice of attuning ourselves with this Light…the Light of God/Consciousness/Love.  It certainly helps to live a healthy life, as much as possible, to be attuned with that Light.  Fasting, cleansing and eating healthily are powerful practices for attuning ourselves most powerfully with that Light and clearing our body, heart and mind for the sanctuary of Light and Love that God intends us to be.  He intends us to be a clear channel to share that Light in the most positive way possible with others.  Is it easy always?  No.  But, I do believe the healthier we become in our choices, keeping in mind moderation is the key to life in everything (I believe…even healthy stuff…gotta indulge a little sometimes)…the clearer we become and the more easily that Light and Love can flow within us and through us to everyone and everything.  Certainly meditation is one of the most powerful tools for aligning our body, heart and mind with that Light of Consciousness and Love.  And, don’t be hard on yourself.  When stuff that doesn’t feel positive comes up, just let it go.  Let go of judging yourself or anyone else.  It’s a good thing when those thoughts or feelings come up because then we can release it and let it go and come back to the Transcendental Absolute.

Place your burden
at the feet of the Lord of the Universe
who accomplishes everything.
Remain all the time steadfast in the heart,
in the Transcendental Absolute.
God knows the past, present and future.
He will determine the future for you
and accomplish the work.
What is to be done will be done
at the proper time. Don’t worry.
Abide in the heart and surrender your acts
to the divine.
– Ramana Maharshi

The Dalai Lama

All of that brings to my awareness the recent trip I took to see the Dalai Lama at the University of Arkansas.  It was such an incredible experience to be in the same space and place as him.  He is absolutely one of the most gentle and compassionate souls I’ve ever been in the presence of…the sweetness of his Spirit is palpable-it’s an energy that fills every cell of your being with the feeling of love.  You can also feel his energy simply by bringing him into your conscious awareness.  One of the things I loved that he spoke about was the simple phrase, my enemy, my teacher.  I love the way he expressed that so simply and succinctly.  I’ve elaborated on that awareness many times in Yoga class.  But, it’s powerful to have it expressed in such a simple way.  Again, when situations, experiences, people, relationships bring up negative feelings or emotions in us that is part of a purification and an opportunity to allow those feelings and thoughts to be released, let go of and healed so that we continue to heal our hearts and minds.  He said if we only had people in our life who loved and adored us and who we loved and adored, we wouldn’t ever learn the profound spiritual teachings of love, compassion, forgiveness.  The people who have been in our life who have felt like they have given us some kind of difficulty or trouble have really been our teachers.  Through those experiences or people we learn the invaluable and healing lessons of unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion and it is that healing that makes the world within us and all around us a better place.  So, the next time it feels like someone gives you trouble…rejoice.  They are a teacher awakening your heart and mind to greater Light and Love within yourself and all around you.  However, it’s important to realize that the Dalai Lama also said if a dog is attacking you, obviously, don’t just stand there.  Get out of the way and protect yourself from its attack.  The same is true with situations or people in life.  Do not let yourself be harmed by people.  Protect yourself if someone is attacking you, but, still, continue to offer love, forgiveness and compassion with a healthy space between you and the person or situation.  With space and time and love all things can heal…including our own Self.  I love the quote by Michael Brown who says love is giving someone the space to evolve.  It’s definitely not about putting ourselves in harms way, but, always offering love and compassion all along the way to ourselves and to everyone and everything.

Which, all of that brings to my awareness something else I want to share about.  I recently went to my high school reunion and it was really awesome.  It was incredible seeing so many people I have known throughout much of my life, but, many of whom I hadn’t seen in 5 years and some I hadn’t seen in 10 years or longer.  What did I realize from this experience, besides just having a lot of fun?  High school, middle school, adolescence, etc., was like the breeding ground for our greatest insecurities in life.  Who among us wasn’t afraid of peers making fun of you if they found out some silly secret about you?  I realized I was still harboring superficial fears about silly things from my past that I would have been horrified had any of my friends found out about those secrets in high school or middle school, but now, I just laugh.  Being able to laugh at ourselves is everything in life.  I write about this in the Fresh Fruit Cleanse.  (which is available for pre-order now on amazon.com)  I think so many unhealthy behaviors are triggered from superficial fears or paranoia’s about being known or seen by others.  Shiva says our greatest fear is the fear of being seen.  How fascinating is it that it seems that we long for connection more than anything in the world, and yet, we’re afraid of being seen?  That’s understandable though.  I suppose the fear is that if we are seen, we will be rejected.   When the exact opposite is true.  When we let ourselves be seen…silly secrets and all…then and only then…can we be loved, fully and completely by ourselves and others.  You don’t have to tell everyone your secrets, but, it’s good to be able to get to a point with ourselves that we can be that comfortable, loving and accepting of ourselves that we could tell the whole world our deepest secrets and it would be OK.  But, I’d recommend telling one or two close friends to begin with.  That’s what I did in the last year and it was really freeing and liberating.  All in perfect timing because by the time I went to my high school reunion last weekend, I was able to laugh at myself.  No one else really knew anything.  But, I knew and I accepted myself for who I am, which, is all that really matters.  Not only could you be loved, but, you will be loved when you love and accept yourself fully for everything and anything that has ever happened in your life.  Tell a friend, tell a loved one, tell a family member…but just let it go and let yourself be loved, not just by people, but by God.  God loves you completely.  This is one of the teachings of a monk from the Self-Realization Fellowship.  He says to write on a piece of paper that God loves you as much as he loves Jesus.  He says to put this piece of paper on your mirror and to look at it everyday and it will change your life.  Write:  God loves me as much as he loves Jesus.  The monk says God loves us more than we could ever imagine.  He loves the sinner and the saint all the same.  We are all God’s children.  Let yourself be loved.  Like Rumi says…

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers in yourself you have built against it.  – Rumi

I have reflected on that quote many times over the last week.  Thank you, Rumi…God bless us all…may we feel God’s Divine Love flowing in every cell of our being with every breath we breathe.  Sitting outside in the sunshine also helps to feel the warm current of God’s love flowing through our lives.  Let yourself close your eyes and soak in the Light of the One.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Hmmm…oh, I can’t believe I forgot to write about this also.  So, Ulysses Press is going to make a donation to the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation in honor of the Fresh Fruit Cleanse!  I learned about FTPF a couple of months ago.  I asked Ulysses Press if they would be willing to donate part of the proceeds from the Fresh Fruit Cleanse to FTPF and they said they would make a donation!  How fabulous is that!?!  What a blessing.  I am so inspired by the work of FTPF and completely believe this is the direction that it’s essential we grow individually and collectively, nationally and internationally.  I believe we must return to the Source and to natural and resourceful living.  There is a quote in the Fresh Fruit Cleanse book.  The editor initially took it out, but, I’m so glad it found it’s way back in because it’s one of the most powerful quotes I’ve ever read.  I’d like to share it with you here…

May mankind instead of hunting for gold, racing for fame, or wasting productive forces in useless labors: choose the better part: the peaceful emulation in the discovery and direction of the natural forces for evolving nutritive products and the peaceable enjoyment of the fruits which the earth is able to produce in abundance for all. May man use his divine heritage of reason to attain true happiness by discovering the sources whence all earthly blessings flow and thus put an end to self-seeking and greed, to the increasing difficulties of making a living, the anxieties for the daily bread, to distress and crime-such is the aim of this little work, and in this may God aid us! — Julius Hensel, Bread from Stones, October 1, 1893

The Fresh Air Fund

Speaking of the charitable donation, I recently learned of another incredible charity called The Fresh Air Fund.  Here is a little information about this wonderful non-profit organization.  If you live in the area where they are looking for host families and have a peaceful place where a child could spend the summer, this might be the perfect way for you to make a positive difference in someones life…not just for a day…but, possibly, forever.

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

“It is rewarding to see the smile on our Fresh Air child’s face as she enjoys the simple things we take for granted…”

What do Fresh Air children enjoy?

  • Playing in the backyard
  • Laughing in the sunshine
  • Catching fireflies
  • Riding bicycles
  • Learning to swim
  • Running barefoot through the grass
  • Gazing at the stars on moonlit nights
  • Building sandcastles
  • Making new friends
  • Simple pleasures of life away from the inner-city

“We made s’mores and hot dogs over the fire. I’ve never cooked outside before!”

Grateful

When we focus on the gifts in life and on what we are grateful for, we realize we have enough always.  In fact, not only do we have enough, we have joy and love in our hearts to share and that’s what makes the world a better place.  So, let’s focus on God’s blessings in our lives, on all that we are grateful for each day.  Simply taking a few minutes to just close your eyes and be still and feel the love of God and all of the amazing people in your life who love you…it will fill your being with so much love you will melt into a peacefulness that passes all understanding.  You will know in your heart and mind that you are OK and all is well no matter what the external world or circumstances are. This life is a gift.  It is important to know we are provided for and all of our needs for life are met, like food, clothing, shelter…this is a spiritual teaching that they are and will be.  So, trust in that. Have faith.  Focus on what’s Good always.  Let your heart flow and overflow with love.  Keep feeling the Grace and the loving Presence of the One who has loved us all into Being.  The One who has ignited Life within all of us.  Feel the Love and the Energy of the Creator flowing through your body, heart and mind and, literally, every vein and cell and organ…every molecule…everywhere within you and all around you.  Feel that and keep feeling it.  Spend time everyday simply closing your eyes and feeling the One.  And, realize all is well.  All will be well…always…there is enough.  There will always be enough.  God is Good…God is amazing…God is incredible…so let’s keep planting fruit trees and be grateful.  Remember, this life is only a dream.  So, let go of taking it so seriously and wake up…like the Buddha.  Or, as my friend said…step out of the dream.  When I went to work today and asked the fitness director how he was doing he said…I’m just living the dream.  And, I said…aren’t we all.  Let’s wake up and be grateful we are alive.  We are not this body, we are not this mind.  One day the body and mind will be gone and we will let go of this world… The way to let go is through Love…loving God, loving ourselves, loving each other and loving the planet.  Love, love, love is all we need.  Thank you to the Beatles for that.  It’s not always easy, but it is possible always.

Love, love, love, give, serve…jai guru!

Also, one more thing to check out:

Mountain Pose Yoga Festival

For Medical Professionals and Wellness Enthusiasts  

The Mountain Pose Yoga Festival, July 7 – 10, at beautiful Copper Mountain, Colorado has been organized to educate medical professionals on the benefits of yoga as part of a treatment program for specific diseases.  Additionally, wellness attendees will learn the amazing, life-long health benefits of yoga through medical researchers and professionals, yogis, musicians and motivational speakers.

Organizers have collaborated with Dr. Satkirin Khalsa of Integrated Health Medicine, to present this educational opportunity, featuring such renowned presenters as “wellness warrior” Kris Carr, and yoga guru Rodney Yee.

Attendees will be able to experience first-hand some of the ways yoga can be used for treatment of back pain, stress, anxiety and depression, the symptoms of menopause, altitude sickness, and heart disease.  Many of the techniques can be easily added into existing treatment programs, simply integrating an additional approach to health and healing, without abandoning traditional therapies.

Mountain Pose Yoga Festival for the Medical Provider, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 6.50 Prescribed credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). 

Festival Packages start at $399. For session information, schedule details, complete bios of the presenters, additional rates and packages, please visit mountainposeyogafestival.com or call (888) 258-0565.

As always, thank you for reading the True Yoga Blogs…

God bless all of us…everyone and everything…

Right Here, Right Now: Atha and Mindful Eating

And, one more article by the beautiful Melina Meza. Thank you for sharing your yoga-inspired wisdom with us!

Right here. Right now.
Eating mindfully and applying atha to your practice.
–by Melina Meza, RYT-500, BS Nutrition

I’ve been deeply inspired in my daily life by the very first sutra in the classic text called Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The arrangement in which the sutras are placed is related to their significance, so the very first word in the first yoga sutra is central to understanding what Westerners call “yoga.” The whole sutra is atha yoga anusasanam. Atha is translated as now, also referred to as the moment-to-moment transition. This simple word, atha, echoes the basic wisdom often forgotten in today’s society, that in order to feel whole and connected, you must be present. Right here, right now. But, where do we spend most of our life? Somewhere in between the past and future…

I once heard a riddle that asked, “If you had a treasure to hide, where would you hide it?” The answer is, “in the present moment.” What would happen if we started weaving this wisdom from the Yoga Sutra into our daily life and eating? Would our health improve? I believe it would. This first step is perhaps the most important step on this journey because it brings your attention to what you are doing in the moment, no matter what you are doing. How can you ever understand or feel the benefit of a well prepared meal, restorative or vigorous yoga practice, healthy relationships, parenting, working, or whatever you do in life, if you are always distracted with emails and text messaging or if you are busy fantasizing about some time other than right now?

One translation of the word “mindfulness” means to pay attention or take care in every thing you do. Mindfulness and atha have a lot in common, they both remind us that now is the prime time to pay attention to life and take nothing for granted, they both graciously steer the waxing and waning mind towards one goal, one task versus many. After all, can your energy really go more than one place at a time?
Mindfulness or atha can be used as a “mantra” to be repeated throughout the day in various activities such as yoga, meditation, walking, cooking, paying the bills, or listening to a friend. Repeating this mantra throughout your day will help remind you to stay present and awake, right here and now. What would it be like to wake up to each moment’s sensual offerings and accept that moment as enough?

Mindful eating
What if eating became a part of your meditation practice? Whether you eat three square meals a day or numerous smaller meals, eating food is something every human must do to survive. To maintain healthy tissues and organs, it’s essential to eat the right foods everyday. Because we all need to eat so regularly, it’s a great place to consider sequencing in mindfulness and atha into your daily routine. Enjoy how your food tastes, smells, how well it digests, and how much you need to satisfy your hunger.

In the western culture, people are not fully conscious of the fact that they are eating; instead we are busy driving, typing at the computer, watching the TV or a movie, reading the paper or discussing politics or the latest Facebook events while hanging out with friends. Each of these scenarios requires a certain amount of energy output–energy that is pulled away from the digestive and metabolic functions occurring within. There is a classic saying, “Where your mind goes, your energy will follow.” So, why not focus on eating when eating, to prepare your digestive organs to process the nutrients?

If we were to apply mindfulness to eating, we would start by choosing a special, clean place to eat each meal, free of clutter and distractions. I believe it is valuable to choose a specific comfortable seat just for eating (like you do for meditation) other than your couch, desk, bed, or car because it promotes conscious eating. This also prevents overeating. Consider the classic conditioned behavior patterns described in Pavlov’s experiment. His research proves just how easily you can train yourself to get hungry every time you approach your desk, couch, or car, if that is where you most commonly eat. Conscious, mindful eating promotes efficient digestion and metabolism, so you’ll have more energy at the end of the day, week, and year to do your life’s work. When you take the same seat over and over again to eat, you’ll remember that eating is a ritual for nourishment rather than a reward or comfort tool.

By eating in a quiet seat, you also give your body the opportunity to stop vibrating from the day, calm the sense organs, indulge in a few deep breaths, and drop into a moment of appreciation for the delicious food you are about to consume. The food you eat, after all, will soon become you, so it would be wise to be attentive to your new guests and pray for a speedy, harmonious transformation in the walls of your GI tract.

Learn more about yoga, nutrition, and Ayurveda in one of Melina’s upcoming workshops or retreats: www.melinameza.com

The Crow Pose Challenge!

Oh my gosh…first of all, my eyes are burning and everything I’m looking at right now has this haze around it because I spent three hours in the pool being photographed doing Yoga poses by this awesome photographer in Dallas, Kathleen Wilke. I haven’t spent that much time under water since I was a kid. And, a lot of times when I was a kid I would where goggles. I had forgotten what it feels like to have chlorinated blood-shot eyes…it burns and even makes it hard to concentrate…I don’t recommend keeping your eyes open for very long in a chlorinated pool.

But, I did feel like a kid again. One of my fellow Yoga friends was also photographed with me and it really did feel like we were 8 or 10 just playing in the water. It was awesome. I was just saying in class yesterday how powerful it is to consciously connect with the elements. (especially now in the Spring as everything in Nature is being energized by the expanding sunlight.) As children, we were always immersed in Nature.

For most of us as adults, it requires a little more of a conscious effort. I was saying how powerful it is to practice Yoga poses outside, on the earth, in the sun, feeling the air, and if possible, by water. If we are ever feeling energetically depleted, one of the best remedies and reenergizing techniques is to be in Nature, and of course, practicing a few Yoga poses to really absorb the energy, is even more powerful than just walking, etc.

The reason why the elements energize us is because we are the elements. Our body is mostly space, followed by water, earth, fire and air. We are a microcosm of the macrocosm, as we know, but sometimes we forget the reason why Nature is so powerful for us is because it reconnects us with the pure essence of ourself.

No wonder why kids have such boundless energy, because they are constantly connected to Nature’s infinite energy supply. So, I’m glad I got to take my own advice because I got to absorb it all spending so much time outside today…

There’s so much I could write…it’s been a while since I last posted. Sometimes, I want to share my whole life story with you, the True Yoga Blog has often felt like journaling to me. But, to spare you, I will say this. Life is good. The experiences we are growing through are ever-increasingly awakening us to the preciousness of life and the present moment. It’s a gift to be awakened, and often, pain is one of the most powerful illuminators.

What’s happened in our world recently has shook us out of our comfort zone. Or, as Shiva Rea would say, it’s been a Mooladhara (1st Chakra) shaking and awakening. And, we are blessed to realize our true security is not fiscal but spiritual. This teaching is scriptural and the strength of Spirit is found in ourself as we realize Sangha, the gift of spiritual friendship and community. I’m inspired when I think of the community that’s evolved through the True Yoga Blog, and the community of readers that has grown as we share in these thoughts and ideas together, awakening us to new states of awareness individually and collecitvely.

In one of the books I’m reading right now called The Mystery of 2012 it talks about the rapidly evolving consciousness because of the profound interconnectedness of everything these days, due to the groundbreaking pathways of communication we’ve realized over the past, (it’s hard to believe), but, just 20 years. (not even that long)

If you had told Mozart that in the future humans would own tiny boxes the size of a coin, made from some strange material that was neither wood nor metal, with two strings coming out of the box that, when placed in their ears, would enable them to hear any of his compositions as clearly as if they were in a room with an orchestra, would he have believed you? On the contrary, he would probably have thought you mad.

THE OMEGA POINT
One person who believed our destiny was indeed a collective spiritual awakening was the French priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Exploring the evolutionary trends toward greater complexity, connectivity, and consciousness, he argued that humanity was moving toward an “Omega Point” – the final end and goal of evolution.

He believed that the universe had been through several major stages of evolution, starting with what he called “cosmogenesis,” the birth of the cosmosphere, the universe. Next was “geogenesis,” the birth of the Earth (geosphere); following that, “biogenesis,” the birth of life (the biosphere). With human beings, there came “noogenesis” and the “noosphere,” the sphere of thought. He predicted that the final stage, the one that led to the Omega Point, would be “Christogenesis.” This would be the birth of Christ consciousness, not in an individual but in the collective-the spiritual birth of humanity as a whole.

Teilhard de Chardin believed this Omega Point would happen thousands of years in the future. Like many others, he did not take into account the implications of ever-accelerating change. In his later years, he commented on the impact of radio and television in bringing humanity together. Technologies like these, he said were bringing the Omega Point much closer. Just before he died, the first computers were being developed. Perceiving the potential of this new technology, he predicted tha they, too, would bring the Omega Point even closer. If he had lived to see the emergence of the Internet, he would probably have realized that the Omega Point could come very soon indeed.

BREAKDWON OR BREAKTHROUGH?
When we look at what is happening in the world today, it is understandable that we might scoff at the very idea of a collective spiritual breakthrough. The daily news may well lead us to believe that we are heading ever more rapidly toward breakdown rather than breakthrough.

That is, indeed, one likely possibility. I do not want to downplay the dire urgency of the world situation. If we don’t make some radical changes, we are surely headed for disaster of one kind or another.

I also believe that positive change is possible. If we can develop the wisdom needed to navigate our way through these turbulent times safely, the potentials are staggering and unimaginable in scope. Let’s put our hearts and minds to proving that we can pass Buckminster Fuller’s final evolutionary exam and become a truly magnificent species. We are, after all, our only hope. – The Mystery of 2012

One of the things you can do is take positive action. Of course being in service is one of the best ways we can take positive action. One of my teachers says the most powerful practices are Study, Service and Meditation. When we yoke these three practices together it becomes a trinity and amazing things awaken within us and around us. The one I get to be committed to, that I have yet to develop a consistent practice with, is service. It is my commitment to awaken this third practice as I grow into the Spring.

I also encourage you to take personal action, meaning, what are the ways in which you can better yourself. Of course practicing Yoga is one way. But, our Yoga practice must go beyond our weekly practice. That’s why I’m encouraging each of us to cultivate a daily pracitce of Crow Pose throughout Spring. The reason why I am suggesting Crow Pose is because it is the foundational arm balance in Yoga. The arm balances are the way we awaken optimal core strength, there is simply no other way to awaken your core strength that deeply.

So, the arm balances, and specifically, Crow Pose, is just a place we get to grow into and practice, consistently, if we aspire to realize real progress and positive change. What kind of progress awakens from a consistent practice of Crow Pose? While each of our practices evolve in a personal way, some of the awarenesses I’ve awakened to through Crow Pose are that it activates Manipura Chakra (3rd Chakra). The 3rd Chakra is the center of will and determination, self-confidence and energetic strength. It is the place where we realize our potential, what’s possible when we commit ourselves to a vision.

As we stoke the fire, which is the element connected to 3rd Chakra, unhealthy, heavy egoic habits are dissolved and the lightness of inspiration is awakened. It literally strengthens your energetic field (aura) causing impure influences to be impenetrable, especially the negative intentions of other people. So, yes, Crow Pose is all this and more. Start practicing it each day, for just a few minutes, and you will be amazed at what transforms within you and all around you as we grow into the Spring season of our Soul.

Namaste!

Open to Your Higher Power with Integral Yoga

Did you know there is a style of Yoga known as Integral Yoga? It is recognized as a system in and of itself, just as Hatha-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, Mantra-Yoga, Laya-Yoga, Jnana-Yoga, Kriya-Yoga, Raja-Yoga and Samnyasa-Yoga are. Oh, you mean there is more than one style of Yoga? Yes, indeed. The physical style of Yoga we practice in the West is all part of the style known as Hatha Yoga or “forceful Yoga.” Hatha Yoga is the Yoga of postures and any Yoga practice which predominantly involves the practice of Poses, whether it’s Vinyasa, Bikram, Power, Hatha, Kundalini, Iyengar, Astanga, etc. are all a part of Hatha Yoga. All forms of Yoga have the same fundamental objective: to transcend the egoic consciousness and to realize the Self, or divine Reality. Hatha Yoga is quite a complex system, involving postures, breathwork, meditation, concentration and so on. Often Yoga teachers will incorporate sophisticated breathing practices into their classes as part of a Yoga practice….

What I love about Integral Yoga is the founder of it, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), developed it as a way to adapt Yoga to our Westernized world. As we evolve in our practice, all of the different styles of Yoga eventually intersect and we begin to integrate different aspects of them into our Hatha Yoga practice. Integral Yoga, though, simplifies the approach, which at times, can appear to be complex as we deepen in our journey. Here is an excerpt from The Yoga Tradition about Integral Yoga:

Integral Yoga is the synchronized action of personal aspiration “from below” and divine grace “from above.” The essence of aspiration, however, is self-surrender, which must be complete for grace to do its transformative work.

Integral Yoga has no prescribed techniques, since the inward transformation is accomplished by the divine Power itself. There are no obligatory rituals, mantras, postures, or breathing exercises to be performed. The aspirant must simply open himself or herself to that higher Power, which Sri Aurobindo identified with The Mother. This self-opening and calling upon the presence of The Mother is understood as a form of meditaiton or prayer. Aurobindo advised that practitioners should focus their attention at the heart, which has anciently been the secret gateway to the Divine. Faith, or inner certitude, is deemed a key to spiritual growth...”

It’s important to know that no Yogic path is an easy one. The practice of self-surrender, or surrendering to Divine Will is the journey of a thousand miles…. Yet we can simplify our approach to it. It is said that one can reach enlightenment through the constant repetition of a Mantra over and over again. Integral Yoga resembles the teachings of Jesus to me…to open up one’s heart and to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within it. I love that Yoga strengthens whatever our personal faith is, giving us a direct and tangible experience to continue to deepen and grow spiritually, as well as, physically, mentally and emotionally, ever-evolving into our Highest Good.

Namaste!

Take it Easy…

I workout about 5 – 6 times per week. My weekly routine consists of 4-5 days/week of a 20 minute cardio workout, followed by light weights and some abdominal strengthening exercises. I also a incorporate few backbends into my daily routine and some stretching. I usually practice Yoga about 3 days/week and incorporate 15 to 20 minutes of meditation into my daily routine most days of the week.

Because I teach Yoga, I spend even more time than this stretching daily when I am demonstrating certain poses in class, or even sometimes joining in on the Yoga practice with the class to flow with them from time-to-time.

The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is because I am becoming increasingly aware of how overexertion or being imbalanced in our physical wellness routine can affect us and be detrimental to our overall goals physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Last night, as I was teaching Yoga, I was speaking to the class about being balanced and taking time to rest. That when we do too much we create imbalance and this can be counter-productive to what we intend to create…

As I said this, I heard a voice inside of me say, don’t workout tomorrow. Take it easy tomorrow and rest. Do nothing. What?! What I find though, is when I give myself permission to rest, when I do return to my daily regimen of health and wellness, I feel much stronger, calmer and energized than before.

We experience this all the time when we let ourselves come into Child’s Pose in Yoga class. One of the most challenging parts of creating balance in our lives is actually giving ourselves the permission to get down on our knees and put our head on the ground and just let go and DO NOTHING.

So often my Yoga teacher will mention how the benefits of DOING NOTHING can be way more powerful and transformational on every level of our Being than overexerting ourselves to do something, i.e. making sure we get our workout/yoga practice in, etc. How overexertion can produce unhealthy levels of cortisol in our body which has the body be unresponsive to our efforts. She uses the imagery of the person who goes to the gym everyday and yet never seems to change anything. Their bodies are stressed out and the only way to bring the body back to a balanced state is through a relaxation promoting practice like Yoga, Meditation, Massage, etc.

With this being said, I thought you might enjoy reading this article about stress from overexertion and how it affects our Body, Mind and Spirit.

Take time to take it easy…

Cortisol and Stress: How to Stay HealthyFrom Elizabeth Scott,
Your Guide to Stress Management.

Cortisol and Your Body
“Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:

-Proper glucose metabolism
-Regulation of blood pressure
-Insulin release for blood sugar maintanence
-Immune function
-Inflammatory response

Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night. Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.

Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects:

-A quick burst of energy for survival reasons
-Heightened memory functions
-A burst of increased immunity
-Lower sensitivity to pain
-Helps maintain homeostasis in the body

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response to be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that functioning often doesn’t have a chance to return to normal, producing chronic stress.

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

-Impaired cognitive performance
-Suppressed thyroid function
-Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
-Decreased bone density
-Decrease in muscle tissue
-Higher blood pressure
-Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, as well as other health consequences

Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of , higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs. You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place. The following have been found by many to be very helpful in relaxing the body and mind, aiding the body in maintaining healthy cortisol levels:

-Guided Imagery
-Journaling
-Self-Hypnosis
-Exercise
-Yoga
-Listening to Music
-Breathing Exercises
-Meditation
-Sex
-Other Techniques

Cortisol secretion varies among individuals. People are biologically ‘wired’ to react differently to stress. One person may secrete higher levels of cortisol than another in the same situation. Studies have also shown that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol in response to stress also tend to eat more food, and food that is higher in carbohydrates than people who secrete less cortisol. If you’re more sensitive to stress, it’s especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle.” From: http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm

Isvara Pranidhana-Let go and let God…

Since the time I was a child, I can remember praying at night and saying, “God, please give me a voice, please give me the opportunity to make a positive difference.” I would pray this relentlessly. Then, one day five years ago, I took a Yoga class. It was like I came alive again, my inner child reawakened and I felt full of life. Not long afterwards, I took my first job in an Advertising Agency in Corporate America, at the age of 23. It seemed the natural path, my dad had owned his own advertising agency for over 30 years in Cleveland, OH. However, I found myself at work, feeling unfulfilled, and spending a great deal of my time surfing the web and reading about Yoga, my true passion.

Then, September 11th happened, and I began to realize I was spending my time and energy in a career I was not passionate about. And, that my life was precious and too short to be spent that way…

So, in February of 2002, I decided to follow my heart, regardless of the price, and quit my job to teach Yoga. After moving back in with my parents for a while to lessen the blow from the loss of my corporate income, I eventually relocated to downtown Dallas (without their financial support) where I moved into a pretty crappy, old apartment. I worked at a restaurant, initially, to give myself “enough” income so I could afford to live and teach Yoga. It was a life of struggle, living in efficiency apartments and crying many tears over the pain of not really being able to afford anything, except the bare necessities, and barely even that.

At one point, when a check had bounced in my bank account, I sat with the few dollars I had in my hand at my desk, and crumpled them up, threw them and said, “I hate this stuff, I hate you God, why do you have to make the world like this, this materialistic place where all that matters is money, why does it have to be like this.”

Even through the struggle, I managed to open up my own studio, under the guidance of a “friend.” This person told me he’d pay the first few months rent, though he never did. For a year, I struggled to keep it alive. But, after a year and without any capital left, I hit rock bottom this past September.

Overcome with financial struggle, I was talking to my friend on the phone and told her, “I’m going to slit my wrists.” Not knowing what to do, she called the cops and at about 1 am in the morning, the police knocked on my door. Though I had absolutely no intention of hurting myself, and of course realize the detrimental effect of saying these words carelessly, it was a cry for help. It felt like I was going down and no one was there to save me, not even my parents. Actually, that was the first time in my life I had called my parents, and they did not return my phone call the same day. It felt like I had no one.

When the cops arrived, I began to cry. I told them I was going through a hard time, letting go of a relationship, my business was suffering, and I was financially devestated. They told me I must call a family member or friend to stay with that night. So, when I finally got a hold of my brother, the police drove me to his house about 15 minutes away from downtown. It wasn’t easy showing up at my brother and his fiance’s house at 1:30 in the morning with the police. In fact, it was one of the must humbling moments in my life, where I felt completely revealed and naked. Like I could hide nothing.

But, from that point forward, I let go of the wheel. I decided to stop steering and to truly let God lead my life. I decided to let go of my wants and needs and thinking I know what is best for me, and chose to let the Divine Force of Life move me in the direction of my highest good. The intersting part is I thought I’d been doing this all along, but realize now, I hadn’t. I’d been trying to run the show my way.

In Yoga, this letting go of control is called Isvara pranidhana, or Surrender to God’s will. It can be a difficult process to get to this place…we can fight it and struggle with it-for some people that may mean months and years, for others maybe even a lifetime. But ultimately, at some point in our journey, all that remains for us is to surrender our Ego and let go of our own interests to be lead by our Highest Good.

“After one has exhausted one’s own resources and still not succeeded, one turns to the Lord for help for He is the source of all power. The student prays: ‘I do not know what is good for me. Thy will be done.’ Others pray to have their own desires gratified or accomplished.” Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar

As long as we are consumed by our own “needs” we can not see there is something Greater intended for us. We have our pride so wrapped up in itself, we will often take ourselves to a place of desolation before we will let go of the steering wheel. Most of the time, we just keep thinking things are going to get better, we can turn the car around, and we keep hoping this is so. But, at some point, Authority/God steps in and says, “If you want to get this life turned around, you’re gonna have to let me drive.” When the cops came to my house, I could feel it was really God working through them.

I share this with you today, because of the radical transformation I’ve experienced in the few short months since I let go and let God. Letting go of having a studio was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. My entire identity/ego was wrapped up in being a Studio Owner and a business owner in Dallas, TX.

Once I allowed myself to surrender my identity, my ego, my life began to open up in ways I’d only dreamed were possible. In two weeks, I’m going to be traveling up to Ohio for the New Year to see my grandmother, sister, nieces and nephews, who I haven’t seen in over 2.5 years, as well as, dear friends. When I was doing things my way, I never felt like I could afford the trip up there. Now, I have the resources and the time, thanks to God.

I’m getting to realize my dream of doing what I love and earning a living at it. Maybe one day I’ll have a studio again, but for now, I’m listening to the voice within me and allowing myself to be guided by that, rather than listening to other people tell me I need to do certain things (like own a studio) in order to be successful.

And, most of all, I’m getting a second chance, an opportunity to start over, wiser and stronger than before, and share my love of Yoga to even more people with an abundance of opportunties before me. Above all, I feel grateful. Grateful for the fresh start, grateful to be able to make a difference more and more all the time, and grateful to have struggled, only to awaken to a new apprecation and joy for living that’s sweeter and deeper than ever before. This year really will be a Happy New Year.

Click here to listen to a song about letting go and letting God:

Namaste!