THE IMPORTANCE OF RITUALS
SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 Yoga is one of my most important Rituals. Actually the first time I understood what the word "practice" really meant the lightbulb went off and I realized oh yeah, "something I practice repeatedly over a long period of time". Well that is a ritual too.
Within my yoga life the ritual I have especially on Monday's is to do a balancing of my energies related to the elements. Before I believed in Chakras, I did believe in Earth, Water, Air, Fire. Then eventually I started to understand that all of the elements are within and outside us. And even beyond that the concept of Doshas and Chakras. And all of it got less intimidating. Two easy ways for me to stay connected to the elements and through that discover where I am excessive or deficient and do something about it are:
1. Each finger represents an element so I pray, meditate, focus on bringing my thumb to each finger.
2. I sing a song to the elements (I know lots of them but this one was the focus tonight). And in Spanish to my Latin roots (my Mom's side as my Dad's side is the Italian part)
Tierra mi Cuerpo
Agua mi Sangre
Aire mi Viento
Y Fuego mi Espiritu.
Hey even if you don't understand Spanish you might pick up a word here or there. So this is translated as: Earth my Body, Water my Blood, Air my Breath, and Fire my Spirit.
What does this have to do with Rituals? Well when we disconnect from our rituals we lose touch with what Louise Hay calls our "inner ding" or intuition or good old fashion gut feel. So this practice was meant to bring our awareness to the four elements and feel that connection of each to ourselves, the micro experience, and to the world at large, our macro experience. All of this reminds us that we are in Yoga at every moment of our lives. There is this primordial power or universal intelligence that draws us together in balance, in union. And this goes beyond us to our ancestors and to the legacy we leave beyond this earthly body. Perhaps this inspires you to create your own Ritual around the elements, or even a single element, and I hope so. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS For the full blog, part of which I shared in class, of Dr. Enrique Saguil, TBY Teacher Trainee, click here: http://herbal411.blogspot.com/2010/09/lack-of-disease-doesnt-equal-good.html
BEAUTY GRACE AND COURAGE
March 11, 2010:
"Be water my friend" says Bruce Lee http://www.wimp.com/brucelee/
With all the rain we've had we allowed water and the flow of surrender to inspire our practice today. When we have the courage to surrender we find our highest potential reveals itself. Like water cleanses us, and washes away the dirt we wash away through breath and asana the outer labels of limitation. We put aside the self limiting beliefs and go beyond limiting perceptions and old stories.
Chapter 2 Verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras: Tapas svadhaya isvara pranidanah kriyah yogah.
The translation of this sutra means: "This letting go focuses us on the process of practice rather than the goals of practice."
May this practice help you practice how you want to live your life. If you aspire to live a life of beauty, graceful and courageous then your life becomes that. Like the Bruce Lee clip suggests that water takes the form of the container it is in. If you want the container of yourself to be beauty you then embody beauty. If you want to live in love then move like love, breath like love, flow like love. Be like water my friend! Become that which you want and the process of experiencing yourself courageously is the life practice. Love yourself, your your day, love your life! Silvia
BELIEVE WITH YOUR HEART: LET YOUR MIND REST
JANUARY 22, 2010: At those times in my life where things haven’t made much sense whether it be the passing away of my Dad at a young 59 years old, or seeing the beloved grandmother of a friend ill with cancer or the injustice of nature made disasters like in Haiti. The torture of trying to understand such things with the limitations of our human mind are not the answer. Consciousness is united in the heart say the Yoga Sutras in the first chapter! Our minds yoga teacher/poet Danna Faulds says “may never find the answers they seek so save your energy to swim with the tide.” If we attempt to solve the incomprehensible with our mind we will simply go in circles maybe into madness. The way to keep flowing, to keep living is to let the mind rest and listen with your heart.
“Go to the truth beyond the mind.
Love is the bridge” (Stephen Levine)
The challenge of our humanity is so often we again forget the heart consciousness and go back to trying to make sense of why things happen with our mind. Here for a moment imagine your mind like a lake. The heart under the surface of the water wants your mind to remain like a quiet lake. But we allow our minds to get highly disturbed and the waters grow so rough that we lose clarity. A smooth surface of water can reflect the outer world clearly (like trees or birds or clouds reflected in the mirror like surface of water). However if the surface is chopped up we cannot reflect the sky nor can we see under the surface deeper within ourselves. The yoga will help you as does all meditation to quiet the water and dive into the heart. That way you can understand not with your mind but with your heart. Then the heart’s wisdom is viewed as the quiet on the surface of the lake in our mind.
Emotional upheaval just churns up the water. But even in the washing machine at some point the machine stops and the clothes get to rest. So my friends come to yoga class and rest your mind. Try not to over understand the why of things happening around you nor trouble the mind by over thinking the decisions you are making for yourself. Instead just listen to your heart.
And remember that all is eternal. We are all but waves…and change is constant. Love in all ways, Silvia
“Not with thoughts of your mind, but in the believing
Sweetness of your heart, you snap the link and open the
Golden door and disappear into the bright room, the
Everlasting ecstasy, eternal Now. (Jack Kerouac)
NOVEMBER 5TH,2009: Life gives us many opportunities to get stuck in the ills and discomforts of the past whether we are still upset with the guy who cut us off in traffic an hour ago or the crazy email from a colleague who threw us under the bus with our boss this morning or a lover who lied to us or we can even get upset with the weather. It doesn’t matter how long ago we harbor a grudge the point is that this type of thing sucks us dry of love energy and pulls us out of the present moment. So in the words of “Imagine we wake up and find that everyone has forgiven everything there was to forgive and instead of recycling the past, we could at last live FULLY in the present? We would all breath a sigh of relief. The atmosphere would be happier and many people would discover the wonder of living in the present moment instead of constantly investing huge parts of themselves in reliving events that are long past. Forgiveness is possible. It is NOT the same as condoning. It means not feeding anger for a wrong or slander. Forgiveness is the inner act of making peace with the past and of finally closing accounts.”
I understand this thing about accounts because this week I was interviewing banks to see about moving my business elsewhere. The main reason for moving would be because of poor service. Hey I forgive the last 7 years but it is now time to move forward. And the funny thing is that in order to open my bank account elsewhere I have to close it out where I’m at. It is the same with forgiveness otherwise we create suffering (a type of hell) for ourselves. As John Milton author of Paradise Lost says “The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.” Or consider this beautiful story sent to me by a dear sweet friend from the book Saltwater Buddha:
A burly samurai once came to a Zen master and asked the master, "Sensei, please teach me the difference between heaven and hell."
"Why would I give an uncouth cretin like you such a high teaching,"
the Zen master said, in apparent disgust. "You're a worm. You're less than a worm. You're a stupid samurai."
Samurai were never treated this way in ancient
But the Zen master didn't flinch. (They never do.) He said to the samurai, calmly, "That, Samurai, is hell."
Suddenly, understanding the teaching, realizing that he was about to kill a holy man because of his own pride, the samurai's eyes filled with tears. He put his sword down and his palms together in reverence.
He bowed deeply.
"And that," said the master, "is heaven."
So today forgive a grievance, let go of a grudge and choose heaven right now. As Robert Holden says in the book Be Happy, “Forgiveness is the biggie when it comes to emotional well-being. Forgiveness is the awareness that nothing has happened to the essence of who you are. Sure, your self-image may have taken a battering, but that is not you. The past is over." Close the accounts my friends. It is that simple, just not that easy. I just want you to try. Love, Silvia
LOVE THINKS, LOVE WINS!
JULY 29, 2009: Love thinks, it is not a mindless feeling and falls asleep mentally. It keeps busy in thought, knowing that your thoughts precede your actions. (Quote from where I can’t remember but totally inspiring me today and everyday!)
When you first fall in love don’t you think about the other person a lot? Don’t you think about where are they, when will I see them, what are they doing, what are they wearing, when can we talk again and on and on. We even tell them, “I’m thinking about you.” So this makes the point that LOVE IS ACTIVE. It is not something passive. Love thinks! It moves it flows. It is like water always engaged with the rivers banks, flowing around the fallen trees, boulders or whatever comes into its path for it seeks out to keep moving forward while it caresses all in its path.
We are like water, actually the human body is 60-85% made up of water science tells us. This flow is a way of vinyasa krama hatha yoga. Vinyasa yoga is a great way to release some of the tension in our lives so we can transform our bodies, and learn to be present so we can transform our minds. In class we are invited to move smoothly, let out our aggressions, and leave behind bad feelings we might've been fostering. (Tension is resistance to change)
We must think love and turn away thoughts of fear (fear is stagnant, smelly, unhealthy, sleepy, passive). But when we think love we find ourselves being passionately at home in our bodies and honest in our emotions. This makes us desirable and alluring. Folks that are rooted in loving themselves are MAGNETIC. So if we are thinking love we give off this vibe that we are fascinated with the ‘e”motions/motions and flow of our hearts. And cool thing is others will feel this as well
So today do not let your mind restrict your flow. Think LOVE. Invoke this second chakra, the water element, to help you think love into a more creative, powerful, patient, adaptable and receptive way of life!
Enjoy my personal mantra:
I love myself
I am love
I offer love
I receive love
WATER INVOCATION: 2ND CHAKRA
JANUARY 9TH, 2009: Vinyasa yoga is a great way to flush out some of the tension in our lives so we can transform our minds and improve the loving flow from our hearts. In class we are invited to move smoothly, letting go of the hard edges as we invoke the Water Spirit by moving like water. When you think about it what is tension but resistance to change. The water element which is the element of the 2nd chakra governs all watery things about us: circulation, tears, peeing, congestion, orgasm. Makes sense, water flows, moves and changes and a healthy second chakra allows us to go with the flow and navigate the changes in life with grace and ease.
So today I dedicate this practice to a dear friend who is just now really allowing themselves to open up to taste the sweetness of life! You know who you are. And I want to thank my teacher Shiva Rea for sharing with me the Jala Namaskar that inspired the physical practice.
For those of you not able to join us, when you feel stuck or overally demanding of your body, your life, your relationships (like you want them to be different than what they are) invoke the water element. Engage fluid vinyasa movement, curving flow, backbends, and mandalas (rotations) of all the major joints to mimic the way water circles and spirals. I wish for you for me for all of us that this chakra helps us to feel what we’re feeling, that it helps us open to life even when its scary, to lessen our resistance to being happier than ever before and that you feel more sensual in the way you breath, eat, drink, move and touch the world! A big warm embrace for all of you, Silvia