Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dirgha Pranayama using Purna Svara Mudra.

Here is my exploration of Dirgha Pranayama using Purna Svara Mudra.

My experience:

My breathing feels strong and heavy in the belly.  It feels like breathing is moving from the chest to the belly with the weight in the belly. The breath almost seems to be asking for a pause in the belly. Feels like a curved breathing

Visualizations and Imagery:

I see a strong waterfall as I hold the mudra
I also see:
Strong waves of the Atlantic Ocean

Newport Avenue in Ventnor, New Jersey and the Bagel Place

Other Sensations:

The smell of the Ocean

My left tremor is activated and I am shaking in the Mudra

Here is what Joseph Le Page says about the mudra

Complete Breathing

• Facilitating Full Yogic Breathing, which may be helpful for respiratory conditions.
• Releasing tension from the entire torso.
• Supporting health and healing in all systems of the body.
• Integrating body, mind and spirit.

1.       Touch the tip of the little finger of each hand to the base joint of the thumb.
2.       Touch the tip of the ring finger to the middle joint of the thumb.
3.       Touch the tip of the middle finger to the tip of the thumb.
4.       Rest the backs of the hands on the thighs or knees.
5.       Relax the shoulders back and down, with the spine naturally aligned.

Purna means "full" or "whole," and svara means "breath." Purna Svara refers to Dirgha Pranayama, Full Yogic Breathing. Purna Svara mudra naturally cultivates Full Yogic Breathing, which we experience as a wave of energy flowing throughout our entire torso. This complete breathing integrates the three areas of the torso (base, middle and top) and the three portions of the lungs (lower, middle and upper). This gesture releases tension from the abdomen, diaphragm, rib cage and the auxiliary muscles of respiration in the shoulders and neck, permitting freer breathing and enhanced lung capacity. The Full Yogic Breathing facilitated by Purna Svara mudra supports the health of all of the systems of the body.

Purna Svara mudra instills a sense of integration and harmony throughout our entire being. This integration is activated by the placement of the fingers along the thumb. The little fingertip pressed into the base of the thumb activates the breath in the lower body and the base of the lungs, and is associated with the Sthula sharira, the physical body. The ring fingertip pressed into the middle joint of the thumb activates the breath in the middle body and middle portion of the lungs, and is associated with the Sukshma sharira, the energy body. The middle fingertip, which touches the top of the thumb, activates the breath in the upper body and top of the lungs, and is associated with the Karana sharira, the causal body. The position of the fingers pressed against the thumb integrates the three bodies simultaneously while the extended index finger serves as a pointer to our true being, which encompasses and transcends all of them."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dirgha Pranayama without a mudra

I just completed 5 minutes of Dirga Pranayama with no mudra. I concentrated a lot on the breath moving from the belly to the ribs and then up to the collar bones.  It felt very good.  My wander a little but not terribly.  When I focused on visually the breath I really felt at one with the meditation.

Joseph Le Page on Dirgha Pranayama

In Sanskrit, dirgha means “to lengthen.” Dirgha pranayama is a basic preparatory practice that forms the foundation of healthy breathing. The three-part breath is actually a family of breaths. Depending on how the breath is performed, it will become more cooling (langhana) or energizing (brahmana).
These basic breath awareness practices should be mastered before moving on to the other pranayamas.

The first step in working with three-part breath is to develop awareness in each of the
main breathing areas.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Poisonous Playmates - Artist's Way/Week 2 – Recovering a Sense of Identity

What are Poisonous Playmates? 

"Not surprisingly, the most poisonous playmates for us as recovering creatives are people whose creativity is still blocked. Our recovery threatens them. As long as we were blocked, we often felt that it was arrogance and self-will to speak of ourselves as creative artists. . . . Your blocked friends may still be indulging in all these comforting self-delusions. If they are having trouble with your recovery, they are still getting a payoff from remaining blocked. Perhaps they still get an anorectic high from the martyrdom of being blocked or they still collect sympathy and wallow in self-pity. Perhaps they still feel smug thinking about how much more creative they could be than those who are out there doing it. These are toxic behaviors for you now. Do not expect your blocked friends to applaud your recovery. That’s like expecting your best friends from the bar to celebrate your sobriety. How can they when their own drinking.

Blocked friends may find your recovery disturbing. Your getting unblocked raises the unsettling possibility that they, too, could become unblocked and move into authentic creative risks rather than bench-sitting cynicism. Be alert to subtle sabotage from friends. 

You cannot afford their well-meaning doubts right now. Their doubts will reactivate your own. Be particularly alert to any suggestion that you have become selfish or different. (These are red-alert words for us. They are attempts to leverage us back into our old ways for the sake of someone else’s comfort, not our own.) 

Blocked creatives are easily manipulated by guilt. Our friends, feeling abandoned by our departure from the ranks of the blocked, may unconsciously try to guilt-trip us into giving up our newly healthy habits. It is very important to understand that the time given to morning pages is time between you and God. You best know your answers. You will be led to new sources of support as you begin to support yourself. Be very careful to safeguard your newly recovering artist. 

Often, creativity is blocked by our falling in with other people’s plans for us. We want to set aside time for our creative work, but we feel we should do something else instead. As blocked creatives, we focus not on our responsibilities to ourselves, but on our responsibilities to others. We tend to think such behavior makes us good people. It doesn’t. It makes us frustrated people. The essential element in nurturing our creativity lies in nurturing ourselves. 

Through self-nurturance we nurture our inner connection to the Great Creator. Through this connection our creativity will unfold. Paths will appear for us. We need to trust the Great Creator and move out in faith. Repeat: the Great Creator has gifted us with creativity. Our gift back is our use of it. Do not let friends squander your time. Be gentle but firm, and hang tough. 

The best thing you can do for your friends is to be an example through your own recovery. Do not let their fears and second thoughts derail you. Soon enough, the techniques you learn will enable you to teach others. Soon enough, you will be a bridge that will allow others to cross over from self-doubt into self-expression. 

For right now, protect your artist by refusing to show your morning pages to interested bystanders or to share your artist date with friends. Draw a sacred circle around your recovery. Give yourself the gift of faith. Trust that you are on the right track. You are. As your recovery progresses, you will come to experience a more comfortable faith in your creator and your creator within. You will learn will that it is actually easier to write than not write, paint than not paint, and so forth. You will learn to enjoy the process of being a creative channel and to surrender your need to control the result. You will discover the joy of practicing your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus. Your own healing is the greatest message of hope for others.

(Excerpt from Cameron, Julia. The Artist's Way (Kindle Locations 1092-1095). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition)

Do you have friends who are jealous of your creative work? Do you avoid them?

Right now I can't think of anyone like that but for many years I had people in my life like that especially other decorators who were very jealous of my career.
- How did you get that job.
- I am jealous of you.
- You are so lucky

I had a best friend how was jealous of my career, looks and age.  She was even jealous of my other friends and husband.  And somehow I felt like I needed her and felt lost without her.  But I feel like I have moved past that part of my life.

Attention - The Artist's Way - Week 2

"Very often, a creative block manifests itself as an addiction to fantasy. Rather than working or living the now, we spin our wheels and indulge in daydreams of could have, would have, should have. One of the great misconceptions about the artistic life is that it entails great swathes of aimlessness. The truth is that a creative life involves great swathes of attention. Attention is a way to connect and survive."

". . . The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention."

"The reward for attention is always healing. It may begin as the healing of a particular pain—the lost lover, the sickly child, the shattered dream. But what is healed, finally, is the pain that underlies all pain: the pain that we are all, as Rilke phrases it, “unutterably alone.” More than anything else, attention is an act of connection."

(Excerpts from  Cameron, Julia. The Artist's Way (Kindle Locations 1261-1262). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. )


The inner enemy we harbor in ourselves is skepticism. "ourselves. Perhaps the greatest barrier for any of us as we look for an expanded life is our own deeply held skepticism. This might be called the secret doubt. It does not seem to matter whether we are officially believers or agnostics. We have our doubts about all of this creator/creativity stuff, and those doubts are very powerful. Unless we air them, they can sabotage us. Many times, in trying to be good sports we stuff our feelings of doubt. We need to stop doing that and explore them instead."

The reason we think it’s weird to imagine an unseen helping hand is that we still doubt that it’s okay for us to be creative. With this attitude firmly entrenched, we not only look all gift horses in the mouth but also swat them on the rump to get them out of our lives as fast as possible."

"Now that we are in creative recovery, there is another approach we need to try. To do this, we gently set aside our skepticism—for later use, if we need it—and when a weird idea or coincidence whizzes by, we gently nudge the door a little further open.

Setting skepticism aside, even briefly, can make for very interesting explorations. In creative recovery, it is not necessary that we change any of our beliefs. It is necessary that we examine them.

More than anything else, creative recovery is an exercise in open-mindedness. Again, picture your mind as that room with the door slightly ajar. Nudging the door open a bit more is what makes for open-mindedness. Begin, this week, to consciously practice opening your mind."

(Excerpt from Cameron, Julia. The Artist's Way (Kindle Location 1208). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. )


"Crazymakers are those personalities that create storm centers. They are often charismatic, frequently charming, highly inventive, and powerfully persuasive. And, for the creative person in their vicinity, they are enormously destructive. You know the type: charismatic but out of control, long on problems and short on solutions. Crazymakers are the kind of people who can take over your whole life. To fixer-uppers, they are irresistible: so much to change, so many distractions....

If you are involved with a crazymaker, you probably know it already, and you certainly recognize the thumbnail description in the paragraph above. Crazymakers like drama. If they can swing it, they are the star. Everyone around them functions as supporting cast, picking up their cues, their entrances and exits, from the crazymaker’s (crazy) whims.

Some of the most profoundly destructive crazymakers I have ever encountered are themselves famous artists. They are the kind of artists that give the rest of us bad names. Often larger than life, they acquire that status by feeding on the life energies of those around them. For this reason, many of the most crazy artists in America are found surrounded by a cadre of supporters as talented as they are but determined to subvert their own talent in the service of the Crazymaking King. Learn to get in touch with the silence within

Crazymakers break deals and destroy schedules. They show up two days early for your wedding and expect to be waited on hand and foot. They rent a vacation cabin larger and more expensive than the one agreed upon, and then they expect you to foot the bill.

Crazymakers expect special treatment. They suffer a wide panoply of mysterious ailments that require care and attention whenever you have a deadline looming—or anything else that draws your attention from the crazymaker’s demands.

The crazymaker cooks her own special meal in a house full of hungry children—and does nothing to feed the kids. The crazymaker is too upset to drive right after he has vented enormous verbal abuse on the heads of those around him. “I am afraid Daddy will have a heart attack,” the victim starts thinking, instead of, “How do I get this monster out of my house?”

Crazymakers discount your reality. No matter how important your deadline or how critical your work trajectory at the moment, crazymakers will violate your needs. They may act as though they hear your boundaries and will respect them, but in practice act is the operative word. Crazymakers are the people who call you at midnight or 6:00 A.M. saying, “I know you asked me not to call you at this time, but ...”

Crazymakers are the people who drop by unexpectedly to borrow something you can’t find or don’t want to lend them. Even better, they call and ask you to locate something they need, then
fail to pick it up. “I know you’re on a deadline,” they say, “but this will only take a minute.” Your minute.

Crazymakers spend your time and money. If they borrow your car, they return it late, with an empty tank. Their travel arrangements always cost you time or money. They demand to be met in the middle of your workday at an airport miles from town. “I didn’t bring taxi money,” they say when confronted with, “But I’m working.”

Crazymakers triangulate those they deal with. Because crazymakers thrive on energy (your energy),energy), they set people against one another in order to maintain their own power position dead center. (That’s where they can feed most directly on the negative energies they stir up.) “So-and-so was telling me you didn’t get to work on time today,” a crazymaker may relay. You obligingly get mad at so-and-so and miss the fact that the crazymaker has used hearsay to set you off kilter emotionally.

Crazymakers are expert blamers. Nothing that goes wrong is ever their fault, and to hear them tell it, the fault is usually yours. “If you hadn’t cashed that child-support check it would never have bounced,” one crazymaking ex-husband told his struggling-for-serenity former spouse.

Crazymakers create dramas—but seldom where they belong.

Crazymakers are often blocked creatives themselves. Afraid to effectively tap their own creativity, they are loath to allow that same creativity in others. It makes them jealous. It makes them threatened. It makes them dramatic—at your expense.

Devoted to their own agendas, crazymakers impose these agendas on others. In dealing with a crazymaker, you are dealing always with the famous issue of figure and ground. In other words, whatever matters to you becomes trivialized into mere backdrop for the crazymaker’s personal plight. “Do you think he/she loves me?” they call you to ask when you are trying to pass the bar exam or get your husband home from the hospital.

Crazymakers hate schedules—except their own. In the hands of a crazymaker, time is a primary tool for abuse. If you claim a certain block of time as your own, your crazymaker will find a way to fight you for that time, to mysteriously need things (meaning you) just when you need to be alone and focused on the task at hand. “I stayed up until three last night. I can’t drive the kids to school,” the crazymaker will spring on you the morning you yourself must leave early for a business breakfast with your boss.

Crazymakers hate order. Chaos serves their purposes. When you begin to establish a place that serves you and your creativity, your crazymaker will abruptly invade that space with projects of his/her own. “What are all these papers, all this laundry on top of my work table?” you ask. “I decided to sort my college papers ... to start looking for the matches for my socks...”

Crazymakers deny that they are crazymakers. They go for the jugular. “I am not what’s making you crazy,” your crazymaker may say when you point out a broken promise or a piece of sabotage. “It’s just that we have such a rotten sex life.”

If crazymakers are that destructive, what are we doing involved with them? The answer, to be brief but brutal, is that we’re that crazy ourselves and we are that self-destructive. Really? Yes. As blocked creatives, we are willing to go to almost any lengths to remain blocked.

As frightening and abusive as life with a crazymaker is, we find it far less threatening than the challenge of a creative life of our own. What would happen then? What would we be like? Very often, we fear that if we let ourselves be creative, we will become crazymakers ourselves and abuse those around us. Using this fear as our excuse, we continue to allow others to abuse us.

If you are involved now with a crazymaker, it is very important that you admit this fact. Admit that you are being used—and admit that you are using your own abuser. Your crazymaker is a block you chose yourself, to deter you from your own trajectory. As much as you are being exploited by your crazymaker, you, too, are using that person to block your creative flow.

If you are involved in a tortured tango with a crazymaker, stop dancing to his/her tune. Pick up a book on codependency or get yourself to a twelve-step program for relationship addiction. (Al-Anon and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous are two excellent programs for stopping the crazymaker’s dance.) The next time you catch yourself saying or thinking, “He/ she is driving me crazy!” ask yourself what creative work you are trying to block by your involvement.

(excerpt from Cameron, Julia. The Artist's Way (Kindle Locations 1187-1192). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Exploration of 5 Hasta Mudras

I did one Hasta Mudra at a time.  I didn't have an transcendental experiences or visualizations like usually just feeling of parts of the body.


1) Pinky fingers touching  - KANISTHA MUDRA
- feel in my belly

What is is supposed to activate:
• Deepening our sense of embodiment and connection to the earth.
• The health of the skeletal system.
• Reducing stress and high blood pressure.
• Supporting balanced elimination.

2) Ring Fingers -  ANAMIKA MUDRA
- feel in my chest

What is is supposed to activate:
• Cultivating self-healing.
• Supporting the health of the reproductive and urinary systems.
• Developing healthy intimate relationships.
• Overcoming addictions and codependency.

3) Middle Finger - MADHYAMA MUDRA
- feel in my chest and my throat

What it is supposed to activate:
• Stabilizing our level of energy.
• Supporting optimal digestion.
• Releasing tension from the mid back.
• Balancing giving and receiving.
• Unfolding all of our potential.

4) Index Finger - TARJANI MUDRA
- feel in my shoulders and my left back

What it supposed to activate:
• Opening the subtle heart.
 • Releasing constriction from the chest.
• Expanding breath capacity.
• Enhancing enthusiasm, which may be helpful for depression.

- left middle back and upper left arm

What it is supposed to activate:
• Receiving inner guidance and expressing it clearly in the world.
• Releasing tension from the shoulders, throat and neck.
• Aligning the cervical spine.
• Supporting the health of the thyroid.
• Enhancing speaking and singing.

4) Index Fingers - TARJANI MUDRA
- Stomach
- Left middle back and chest

What it supposed to activate:
• Opening the subtle heart.
 • Releasing constriction from the chest.
• Expanding breath capacity.
• Enhancing enthusiasm, which may be helpful for depression.

3) Middle Fingers - MADHYAMA MUDRA
- feel in my chest and left middle back

What it is supposed to activate:
• Stabilizing our level of energy.
• Supporting optimal digestion.
• Releasing tension from the mid back.
• Balancing giving and receiving.
• Unfolding all of our potential.

2) Ring Finger - ANAMIKA MUDRA
- Feel in my chest stomach and left middle back

What is is supposed to activate:
• Cultivating self-healing.
• Supporting the health of the reproductive and urinary systems.
• Developing healthy intimate relationships.
• Overcoming addictions and codependency.

1)Pinky Fingers - KANISTHA MUDRA
- Feel in my heart

What is is supposed to activate:
• Deepening our sense of embodiment and connection to the earth.
• The health of the skeletal system.
• Reducing stress and high blood pressure.
• Supporting balanced elimination.