Month: October 2016

Outrageous Openness Book Recommendation- trusting the universe to help guide you on your life path

Outrageous Openness: A Great Book On Trusting the Universe

Outrageous Openness Book Recommendation- trusting the universe to help guide you on your life path

I read Outrageous Openness last year, but I keep talking about it and I keep coming back to it.  This well-written, compelling book encourages its readers to trust in the divine (whatever “divine” may mean to each individual).  Outrageous Openness is a compilation of instances where the author did exactly that and the amazing way that events unfolded in each circumstance.  The stories are almost eerie, like watching a magic trick, but it’s enticing.

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It was amazing to me; as I was reading this, I tried trusting in the divine to bring what I needed and avoid giving me things I thought I needed, but actually wouldn’t serve me.  It was amazing how often the person I needed to talk to would walk around a corner or how things kept popping up to solve even the smallest of problems.

Through the various stories in the book, the author weaves a thread of spirituality and wisdom.   The author has a very encouraging, warm voice.  For me, it was one of those books where I almost wanted to slow down my reading so I would have more for later.  I didn’t want it to end!

Root Chakra: Center of Groundedness and feeling at home in yourself. All about the root chakra: Finding Balance: Meaning, Meditations, Balancing, Mantras, Mudras #rootchakra

Root Chakra: Finding Balance: Meaning, Meditations, Balancing, Mantras, Mudras

Root Chakra: Center of Groundedness and feeling at home in yourself. All about the root chakra: Finding Balance: Meaning, Meditations, Balancing, Mantras, Mudras #rootchakraWhen I was in Bali for Yoga Teacher Training, I saw an osteopath/energy healer.  After much discussion, she told me my root chakra was not aligned, so I needed to work on my feeling of groundedness and my comfort in my body and world.  From this revelation, I decided to learn more about the root chakra.

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Location and Function

The root chakra is also called the Muladhara chakra or the base chakra.  It is associated with the color red.  It’s located at the base of your spine but also includes your legs and feet.  It lays the foundation for harmonizing all of the other chakras.  A balanced root chakra is responsible for a feeling of security, vitality, belonging, support, being centered, balance, and stability.  This chakra helps with that feeling, “I am enough.”  The base chakra is also associated with the Earth element.  For this reason, being in nature can help harmonize the chakra.

Mantra

Root Chakra: Center of Groundedness and feeling at home in yourself. All about the root chakra: Finding Balance: Meaning, Meditations, Balancing, Mantras, Mudras #rootchakra

Root Chakra: Center of Groundedness and feeling at home in yourself. All about the root chakra: Finding Balance: Meaning, Meditations, Balancing, Mantras, Mudras #rootchakra

The mantra associated with the root chakra is LAM, meaning, “I am.”  Ideally, with this mantra, you can use the gnyan mudra by connecting your thumb and pointer finger.  Place your hands in the mudra on your knees, palm down, to add to the effect of rooting to the ground or palm up to harness new energy to help you find you balance your root chakra.

Meditation

A meditation you can do for this chakra involves imagining a red light at the base of your spine and picturing the light pouring and flowing down through your legs and feet, connecting you to the Earth.  This can be done seated or laying down.

Red

Surrounding yourself with red can also help balance this chakra.  Try wearing red clothes, eating red foods (like berries and tomatoes) or using red gems like rubies or corals.

Asanas

When performing your asanas, image rooting down through your base– whatever part of you is touching the mat.  Great poses for the root chakra include Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2), standing forward bend (uttanasana), mountain pose (tadasana), and head to knee pose (janu sirsasana).  In all of these poses, image the Earth is supporting you.

Grounding

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Also, try grounding by walking barefoot, becoming more connected to the Earth.

In tadasana, mountain pose, try rocking side to side- almost to the point where you’re leaning so far to one side that your other leg will lift off of the ground.  Experiment with your balance and find your true center.  Try the same exercise rocking forward and backward.

 

Once you have a firm base rooted in your self and your root chakra, you can start to work on your other chakras as well.  More to come on chakras…

Root Chakra: Center of Groundedness and feeling at home in yourself. All about the root chakra: Finding Balance: Meaning, Meditations, Balancing, Mantras, Mudras #rootchakra

Kaliasana: how to do the poses, meaning, benefits, and info on the Goddess of Destruction #kali #kaliasana #goddessofdestruction

Kaliasana: how to do the poses, meaning, benefits, and info on the Goddess of Destruction

Kaliasana: how to do the poses, meaning, benefits, and info on the Goddess of Destruction #kali #kaliasana #goddessofdestructionKaliasana is one of my favorite poses.  It’s so strong and empowering, just like the Goddess of Destruction herself.  I hope you enjoy the pose and the great goddess as much as I do!

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About Kali

Kali is the Hindu goddess of destruction, power, time, and transformation.  She is also sometimes called the Divine Mother.  She has blue or black skin and usually sticks out her tongue.  In 4 of her hands, she carries a trident, a sword, a human head, and a bowl catching the blood dripping from the head.  She is often portrayed dancing on her consort, the God Shiva.  She is a ferocious goddess with a necklace of human heads and a skirt of arms.  This is symbolism; Kali helps souls find liberation from attachment to their bodies at the end of their life.

Kaliasana: How-to

For Kaliasana, spread your feet wide and at a slight outward angle.  Sit into a deep, low squat, keeping your back straight.  Bring your arms up parallel with your shoulders then bend at the elbow to create a goal post shape.  Bend your wrists so your palms are facing up to the sky.  For the full expression, look at your third eye with your two open eyes and stick out your tongue as far as it can go.  This powerful pose helps create energy, and strengthens the body, especially the legs.

Pranayama: Breathe like Kali

To take it even further, you can add Kali pranayama or breath-work.  I have seen a few different variations.  Also for other types of pranayama, click the pranayama image below

Kali Breath Variation 1

  1. Begin in Kaliasana as described above8 Limbs of Yoga: Pranayama, breath control: about and how to
  2. On an inhale, rise up from your squat, keeping your legs wide and opening your palms with fingers pointed up to the sky. Bring your tongue into your mouth
  3. On an exhale, sit back down into the squat, squeezing your hands into tight fists.  As you exhale, stick out your tongue and breath out like a daring dark goddess would, or as if you want to fog up a mirror.  Remember to look up toward your third eye
  4. Continue for 10 rounds

Kali Breath Variation 2

  1. Begin standing in mountain pose, tadanasa
  2. On an exhale, step out wide into Kaliasana, using the goddess breath, like you want to fog up a mirror, and sticking out your tongue
  3. On an inhale, step your leg back in and return to mountain pose
  4. On the next exhale, step out with the other leg, alternating which foot you step out with on each round
  5. Continue for 10 rounds

Kali Breath Variation 3

  1. Sitting deeply into your squat, start with your arms extended down, straight in front of you, palms together
  2. On an inhale, raise your arms in front of your body until they are overhead, keeping your palms together
  3. On an exhale, open your arms out to the sides and bring your hands to meet in front of your body again (option: stick your tongue out and breath out like you want to fog up a mirror on each exhale and bring your tongue back in on each inhale)
  4. Continue for 10 rounds

Guide to Understanding the 8 limbs of Yoga

Guide to the 8 Limbs of Yoga: Niyamas: how to incorporate them into your life

Guide to Understanding the 8 limbs of YogaThe first of the 8 limbs of yoga, the Yamas, have to do with the way we behave in the world.  The second limb are the Niyamas, which deal with the way that we that we treat ourselves; how we behave in relationship to personal actions and outlooks.  There are 5 Niyamas.

  1. Saucha is translated as purification or cleanliness. This concept goes beyond keeping your body clean inside and out, it also means keeping a clean mind and a clean environment for living your life.  Try to take in pure foods, substances, thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.  Some people interpret this niyama as one of the main goals of yoga as a whole.
  2. Santosha means contentment. This means being satisfied in the present moment; appreciating what you have at any time.  This also relates to not wishing for more or wishing for what someone else has.  Materialism doesn’t bring happiness.  Santosha means accepting and appreciating what you have, which leads to happiness and joy.  Remind yourself that you are enough.
  3. Tapas is said to mean austerity or self-discipline. This niyama refers to motivation to better yourself.  It is a focused energy and a desire to commit to self-practice.  Tapas creates an internal fire or heat that helps purify and solidify commitment.  This determination helps you reach your goals within yoga and in your daily life.
  4. Svadhyaya is translated as self-study. This means getting to know yourself- your needs, abilities, desires, faults, and nature.  It means wanting to know the deepest, most true form of yourself.  Self-study also gives you room to improve and become the self that you most want to be.  It also helps you recognize your divine nature or the divine within yourself.
  5. Ishvara is said to mean surrender or devotion to God. This doesn’t have to be interpreted as a particular god.  Ishvara means accepting that everything is related and connected.  It means trusting in the universe; surrendering to the greater good or higher power.  Devoting your practice or actions to this higher power allows you to let go of your attachment to your self.  It allows you to recognize something bigger which opens the mind to the concept of the interconnectedness of everything.

With the yamas and niyamas combined, yoga guides our ideal behaviors internally and externally.  Embodying the yamas and niyamas creates a strong foundation within each yogi for moving further into the 8 limbs of yoga.
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Natural Jute Yoga Mat Recommendation and Shop

Natural Jute Yoga Mat Recommendation

People have been asking me about my jute yoga mat, so I’ll share the secret with you! [Just so you know, below, there is an affiliate link, meaning if you click through and purchase something I will receive a commission. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t love it!]

Over the Summer, I visited a couple of studios in Bali in preparation for Yoga Teacher Training.  I wanted to practice as much as possible so I would be strong, flexible and ready.

At The Practice in Canggu, I got to try out an awesome natural yoga mat.  I loved how I felt like it had a good grip on the grain of the fibers as I moved through the poses.  I also liked that it was natural and biodegradable.

After class, I decided to get one of the Jute mats.  Later, I saw them for sale at the Yoga Barn in Ubud in different colors.  It seemed to be a popular thing in Bali.

At first, when I started using mine, it slipped a little bit and left impressions from my hands and feet pressing in.  After a few practices though, it was perfect!

I brought it with me to Nicaragua because I love it so much!  I’d definitely recommend this mat!