Inhale….. Exhale…. Inhale reach up to the sky, exhale forward fold…. Inhale flat back, exhale – hands to the floor…. You may recognize this as part of a Yoga practice – Pranayama – breath – often referred to as subtle life force energy…. This process is to increase the energy of the body by controlling the length of breath… We cannot survive without breathing – but to offer more the breath also helps us to stay connected to the present moment. Did you ever have someone say to you “just breathe”. Focusing on the air flowing in and out of our lungs is a distraction from all the crazy going on around us and helps us to stay present. Staying in the now frees us. Next time you are under stress in a car, at home, in the office – take a minute to breath – in (2-3-4), hold (2, 3, 4), breath out (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) – and repeat several times slowly and rhythmically – trust me you will feel much better…. Moving on 😉
I had an AMAZING 9 days at South Boston Yoga Teacher Training…. WOW – is all I can say. Amazing instructors, amazing men and women, amazing life lessons. Getting in and out of Boston was a challenge, but I made it – now I just need to go in every other weekend until the end of June – which will be a cake walk.
So what did I learn…
The word Yoga – means union or community. The community that was developed with the other students in my class was built almost instantly, these are people who I will keep close to my heart and am grateful to know them. My friend Sheila Viers wrote a blog about finding your tribe … I have been fortunate to find two tribes – two places of belonging – the yoga community is one….
The word “Om” – Ommmmmmm….. This is often chanted at the beginning and end of a yoga class – it’s said to be a sound that validates oneness and harmony. I have to admit the first time doing it was uncomfortable – I felt silly – and didn’t want to do it, but I did. This is what I found – besides being a beautiful sound, it helped me find my voice. What do I mean by that? I was able to sit in a group full of people, open up my heart and let myself go – no one judged me, no one looked over at me and pointed, I was able to sit, be one with myself and freely let a sound rise from my chest, through my throat and out of my mouth. I have to say it was kinda freeing. And yes – when you come to my yoga class, and you know you will 😉 I will be chanting Om and so will you…
The word Namaste – a word you may recognize being used to close a yoga practice … I love this interpretation of the word…. “The joy, love and light in me recognized and surrenders to the joy, love and light in you and in all things”….. I mean really how beautiful is that. Reminds me of the movie Avatar – when they say “I see you”. To be seen for who we are, accepted and loved regardless of our own perceived flaw… what a gift.
Oh and then there are the five Yamas! Ummmm hello – can you imagine living a life free from violence, lies, steeling, to be able to have self-control, and to let go of all that bothers us! What a concept, what a way to live… Take a look below and tell me that this would not be a life a pure bliss.
The Five Yamas of Yoga
Yamas: the moral, ethical and societal guidelines for the practicing yogi. While we may not strive to reach such a pure state ourselves, the Yamas are still highly relevant and valued guides to lead a conscious, honest and ethical life.
Ahimsa is the practice of non-violence, which includes physical, mental, and emotional violence towards others and the self. We create violence most often in our reactions to events and others, habitually creating judgment, criticism, anger or irritation. Compassion is the ability to accept events as they are with an open and loving heart. It is a letting go of reacting to a situation in a conditional and negative way, and replaces those thoughts or feelings with kindness, acceptance and love. At first practicing compassion is hard, frustrating and not fun. But the key is to have compassion for oneself for not having compassion, and to smile at this contradiction.
Satya (truthfulness) urges us to live and speak our truth at all times. Since Ahimsa must be practiced first, we must be careful to not speak a truth if we know it will cause harm to another. Living in your truth not only creates respect, honor and integrity but also provides the vision to clearly see the higher truths of the yogic path.
Asteya (non-stealing) is best defined as not taking what is not freely given. On a personal level the practice of Asteya entails not committing theft physically and/or not causing or approving of anyone else doing so–in mind, word, or action. On the level of society, Asteya would be in opposition to exploitation, social injustice and oppression.
Brahmacharya (continence) states that when we have control over our physical impulses of excess, we attain knowledge, vigor, and increased energy. To break the bonds that attach us to our excesses and addictions, we need both courage and will. And each time we overcome these impulses of excess we become stronger, healthier and wiser.
Aparigraha (non-coveting) urges us to let go of everything that we do not need, possessing only as much as necessary. The yogis tell us that worldly objects cannot be possessed at all, as they are all subject to change and will be ultimately destroyed. When we become greedy and covetous we lose the ability to see our one eternal possession, the Atman, our true Self. And when we cling to what we have we lose the ability to be open to receive what we need.
In a practical sense, the practicing the Yamas eliminates or reduces the accumulation of bad karma as well as prevents the draining of our energy when we lead a false and/or unconscious life. When we practice the Yamas we are striving towards living a healthier, holier and more peaceful life and at the same time we strengthen our powers of awareness, will and discernment. Engaging in these practices is not an easy task, yet by doing so we fortify our character, improve our relationships with others, and further our progress along the path of yoga. http://www.yogabasics.com/learn/the-five-yamas-of-yoga/
…So the flow of life – breath, community, one-ness and harmony, being seen and accepted for who we are, and living a life free from violence, lies, steeling, to have self-control, and to be able to let go of all that bothers you! This is a life I want, have wanted, and am open to with all my heart – Namaste people….