I'm going to try to do some studies from these paintings.
Saturday, September 18, 2021
The Five Contemplations
This food is the gift of the whole universe, the earth the sky, and much hard work.
May I receive it gratefully, and eat in mindfulness.
May I transform my unskilful states of mind, and learn to eat in moderation.
May I take only foods that nourish me, and prevent illness.
I accept this food in order to realize the path of understanding and love.*
Finishing Meal Gatha
My bowl is empty. My hunger satisfied.
I vow to live for the benefit of all beings.*
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
"If you look at what you do and what you believe in, there is a gap of miles, and that distance has to be bridged. As an yoga aspirant, let your life not be a paradoz, but take the opportunity to explore the true depth of yoga." p.11
"To be a competent yoga teacher you don't need to know a range of practices or perfect your presentation, but your understanding and approach to teaching has to develop to reflect the progression of yoga from practice to sadhana. You have to move from the practice aspect to the sadhana aspect and then to yogic lifestyle." p.11
Sunday, November 22, 2020
I was asked after I taught at Yoga International this morning about the Surya Namaskar Mantras and Affirmations
12 SURYA NAMASKAR MANTRAS
1.Om Mitraya Namaha!
2.Om Ravaye Namaha!
3.Om Suryaya Namaha!
4.Om Bhanave Namaha!
5.Om Khagaya Namaha!
6.Om Pushne Namaha!
7.Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namaha!
8.Om Marichaye Namaha!
9.Om Adityaya Namaha!
10.Om Savitre Namaha!
11.Om Arkaya Namaha!
12.Om Bhaskaraya Namaha!
12 SUN SALUTATION AFFIRMATIONS
1.I honor my relationships!
2.I honor my talents!/ I honor my blessings!
3.I honor my actions!
4.I honor my inspirations!
5.I honor my agility!
6.I honor my strengths!
7.I honor my divinity
8.I honor my beginnings!
9.I honor my ancestors!
10.I honor my creativity!
11.I honor my achievements!
12.I honor my path to enlightenment!
Here are the explanations of the Sun Gods energies that are chanted to during Surya Namaskar.
Mitra is the embodiment the attitude of reverence to the source of all life. The sun is our universal friend, endlessly giving light, heat and energy. In the scriptures, Mitra is described as calling man to activity, sustaining earth and sky and beholding all creatures without discrimination, just as the early morning sun signals the beginning of the day’s activities and sheds its light on all life.
Ravi's name means one who shines and offers divine blessings upon all life. In the second position, hasta utthanasana, we are stretching our whole being upwards towards the source of light to receive these blessings.
The oldest surviving Vedic hymns, such as the hymn 1.115 of the Rigveda, mention Sūrya with particular reverence for the "rising sun” and its symbolism as dispeller of darkness, one who empowers knowledge, the good and all life. However, the usage is context specific. In some hymns, the word Surya simply means sun as an inanimate object, a stone or a gem in the sky (Rigvedic hymns 5.47, 6.51 and 7.63); while in others it refers to a personified deity.
Bhanu is the sun physically represented by the guru or teacher who removes the darkness of our delusions, just as the darkness of the night is removed with every dawn. In the fourth position, ashwa sanchalanasana, we turn our face towards this illumination and pray for an end to the dark night of ignorance.
It is the embodiment sun’s daily movement through the sky which is the basis of our measurement of time, from the earliest use of a sun dial to the sophisticated devices used today. In parvatasana, we offer obeisances to the one by whom time is measured and pray for progress in life.
The embodiment of the sun as the source of all strength. Like the father, he nourishes us with energy, light and life. We offer respects in ashtanga namaskara by touching all the eight corners of our body to the ground. In essence we are offering our whole being in the hope that he may bestow mental, physical and spiritual strength and nourishment upon us.
7. Hiranya Garbha
Hiranya garbha is also known as the golden egg, resplendent as the sun, in which Brahma was born as the manifestation of Self-existence. Hiranya garbha is the seed of causality, thus the whole universe is contained within Hiranya garbha in the potential state prior to manifestation. In the same way, all life is potential in the sun, which represents the great cosmic principle. We offer respects to the sun in bhujangasana, the seventh position, praying for the awakening of creativity.
Maricha is one of Brahma’s sons, just as the rays of light are produced from the sun, but his name also means mirage. For our whole life we seek after a true meaning or purpose, like the thirsty person who seeks water in a desert but is fooled by mirages dancing on the horizon, produced by the sun’s rays. In the eighth position, parvatasana, we pray for true illumination and discrimination in order to be able to distinguish between the real and the unreal.
9. Aditi and the Adityas
Aditi is one of the many names given to the cosmic Mother, Mahashakti.The adityas are her sons. She is the mother of all the gods, boundless and inexhaustible, the creative power from which all divisions of power proceed. The sun is one of her children or manifestations. In the ninth position, ashwa sanchalanasana, we salute Aditi, the infinite cosmic mother.
Savitr is known as the stimulator, the arouser, and is often associated with Surya who also represents the same posture, padahastasana. Savitr is said to represent the sun before rising, stimulating and arousing man into waking activity, and Surya is said to represent the sun after sunrise, when activity begins. Therefore, in the tenth position, padahastasana, we salute Savitre to obtain the vivifying power of the sun.
Arka means ‘energy’. The sun is the source of most of the energy in the world we know. In the eleventh position, hasta utthanasana, we are offering respects to this source of life and energy
In this final salutation we offer respects to the sun as a symbol of the great revealer of all transcendental and spiritual truth. He lights up the pathway leading to our ultimate goal of liberation. In the twelfth position, pranamasana, we pray that this pathway may be revealed to us.
My go to resource on Sun Salutations is Swami Satyananda's Book
I love practicing the 12 positions with the mantras using these 2 recordings
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
This is the Yoga Nidra for the waning crescent moon. Lie down, relax. Settle into your nest. Maybe you cover your eyes if that feels like the right thing to do. Get as aligned and symmetrical as possible. Take a deep breath in. And on the exhale, think surrender. Do this a few times, taking a deep breath in, and on the exhale thinking surrender. (pause) Feel the body relaxed. Feel the body surrendering into the couch or the floor, cushions or blankets. Let go of any thoughts or tensions. Just let them go like leaves in an Autumn wind. (pause) Say to yourself mentally, I am practicing Yoga Nidra. And know that tonight, the evening of the waning crescent moon, is a time for soothing, healing, introspection, and moving on.
Feel the weight of the body. Feel the head supported. Shoulders supported. The arms and hands supported. The back surrendering into any sofa, cushions or blankets. The buttocks supported. The legs supported. And the heels supported. Feel the body completely supported, allowing it to relax more deeply.
Begin to listen in all directions for sounds. Listen for outside sounds, birds, traffic, helicopters. Search outside your environment, listening for sounds. (pause) Listen for sounds inside your environment, inside your room. Maybe the sound of my voice, other people, humming of electronics, search for sounds inside the room. (pause)
Search for sounds of the body. Listen for sounds of the body. Maybe there's gurgling, signifying digestion. Listen for body sounds. (pause) Listen for the sound of the breath. (pause) And listen for the sound of the heartbeat.
And in the heartbeat, hear the heart's desire known as the sankalpa, affirmation, or resolve. If you don't have a statement or a sankalpa you are working with, for tonight, perhaps use the statement “I will find the right sankalpa for me” or “I will find the right affirmation for me”. So, using one of the statements I provided, or your own personal statement repeated three times mentally with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true. (pause)
(Rotation of Consciousness)
Moving on to the rotation of consciousness through the body, the body scan, the body remains motionless. When a body part is named, either bring awareness to the body part, visualize the body part, repeat the name of the body part, or imagine a star is being placed on the body part. My cueing will be stars, but know it's also possible to repeat the name, bring awareness to or visualize the body part. And again, the body remains motionless.
Place a twinkling star on the right-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger. Place a bright twinkling star in the palm of the hand. Stars on the back of the hand. Stars on the wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit. Stars at the side of the right rib cage, right waist. Stars at the upper leg, kneecap, lower leg, ankle, heel. Stars at the instep, the sole of the foot, the top of the foot. And stars twinkling across the right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, and fifth toe. And now see or feel the whole right side of the body twinkling and filled with stars.
Bring more stars to the left side of the body and place stars on the left-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger. Place the bright twinkling star in the palm of the hand, back of the hand, wrist, forearm. Stars at the elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit. And place stars on the side of the left rib cage, left waist, left hip. And stars on the upper leg, kneecap, lower leg, ankle, heel. Stars at the instep, the sole of the foot, the top of the foot. And stars across the left big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, and fifth toe. And now the whole left side of the body is twinkling and filled with stars.
Place a new moon, the dark disk of the moon at the top of the head. A waxing crescent moon at the forehead. The first quarter moon at the throat. A full moon at the heart center. The last quarter moon at the naval. A waning crescent moon, tonight's moon at the sacrum. And a dark moon at the tailbone.
See or feel the entire body covered and surrounded by moons and stars. See the entire body floating like a constellation, covered with moons and stars. And release the moons and stars to the heavens. Feel them, move away from the body, and let them be placed back in the sky, there to watch over and protect the body and soul in their life's journey. Let go of the moons and stars. Release them to the heavens, letting them watch over and guide the mind, body, and spirit. (pause)
Come back to the breath. Notice the breath. Inhale, let the belly rise, and exhale, let the belly fall. And on the inhale as the belly increases, think waxing. And on the exhale as the belly falls, think waning. And start this belly breathing practice with the words waxing and waning. Sync the breath with the words waxing and waning. As the belly rises, the word is waxing. And as the belly falls, the word is waning. And continue the practice of aligning the breath with the words “waxing” and “waning”. And if the words get lost, come back to the words, “waxing” and “waning”. And if the awareness of the breath is forgotten, come back to the practice of belly breathing. And now, let go of the words waxing and waning and let go of that deliberate belly breathing and come back to natural breathing.
And notice the weight of the body. Notice the heaviness of the body. The head is heavy. The shoulders, arms, and hands are heavy. The back and buttocks are heavy. The legs are heavy. Experience the body so heavy, it feels as if it's made of stone. Feel the body so heavy, as if it were made of lead. Connect to the weight of the entire body. Let the body be heavy. The body is heavy.
And now let go of heaviness and come to the opposite sensation of lightness. Notice the lightness of the hair. Feel the eyelashes light. Know the fingers and the toes are light. Connect to the lightness in the body and spread the lightness across the entire body. Let the body be light, the body is light. The body is so light it feels as if it could rise above the floor like a feather. The body is so light, it feels as if it could fly away in the wind like an autumn leaf.
And let go of the lightness and come to the opposite experience of heaviness. Feel the weight of the body against the floor, bed, couch, blankets. Feel the solidity of the body. And then let go of that heaviness and come back to lightness. Feel the expansiveness of the body. Feel the spaciousness throughout the entire body. Know the body as lightness. And then let go of lightness and come back to heaviness and add in lightness.
Maybe the top of the body is light and the bottom of the body is heavy. Or the front of the body is light and the back of the body is heavy. Attempt to be both heavy and light at the exact same time. Although it's difficult to do, attempt to be both heavy and light simultaneously.
Now let go of heaviness and let go of lightness, and remember an experience of fear. Remember a time when you're afraid. This doesn't have to be the most dramatic experience but just the time when you felt vulnerable, afraid, and spread that fear across the entire body. Let the body know fear. Let the body be afraid. The body is fear. The body is afraid.
And now let go of fear, and come to an opposite experience of hope. Remember an experience when you are hopeful. Remember the optimism, and spread the hope across the entire body. Let the body be hopeful. Know the body is optimistic. The body is hope. And let go of the hope and come back to the fear. Know the vulnerability. Be afraid, and then let go of the fear and come back to hope, experience the joy, experience the optimism.
And then let go of the hope and come back to the fear and add in hope. Maybe the back of the body is fearful and the front of the body is hopeful. Maybe the inside of the body is hopeful and the outside is fearful. Attempt to hold on to hope and fear at the exact same time. Attempt to be fearful and hopeful simultaneously. And now let go of the fear, and let go of the hope and come back to natural breathing.
And bring awareness to the Chidakasha, the mind screen in front of the closed eyes. Bring awareness to the Chidakasha, the mind movie. Bring awareness to the Chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes. And in that space notice if there are any patterns or colors. Bring the awareness to the Chidakasha.
See the self, walking down a wooded path in a dark night. There's a sliver of light coming from a waning crescent moon. See the self walking, attempting to stay on the path, pushing back branches. Being very careful with the footing. Noticing crunching of leaves with each step. See the self walking by the light of the moon. The path meanders, the self is not quite sure if it's walking the right way, but trusting the intuition. And now in the distance see an opening, a clearing, and start to make your way there. The beautiful Meadow with white wildflowers that bloom by moonlight. Spy a piece of grass surrounded by flowers, and lie down there. There's no need for a blanket. The grass is dry and clean.
And look up at the moon.
See the self there, one with nature, and hear familiar footsteps walking to you from another direction. You see the silhouette of the person in the distance and you recognize him or her as a dear friend, a dear friend. They start to make their way towards you. And you hear the friend call your name. And you respond back that it's you. And now they're very close and they lie down next to you, this dear friend, and hold your hand. You both look up and watch the waning crescent moon together, at peace, feeling safe, seen, protected, and at ease.
See a shooting star and make a wish. Wish for what you hope for. Wish for what you've dreamed about. And then relax there for a while with no worries. And then bring awareness back to the Chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes. And visualize these simple images that will be suggested.
A tall tree
A tall tree
A clear lake
A clear lake
A walk in the country
A walk in the country
A friend’s smile
A friend’s smile
A realized dream
A realized dream
A bouquet of white roses
A bouquet of white roses
Bring once more the awareness back to the Chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes, and let go of the visualization practice. And begin to notice once more the breath.
And in the breath hear the whisper of the Sankalpa, the statement the affirmation that was made in the beginning of the Yoga Nidra practice. Perhaps it was, “I will find the right Sankalpa for me” or your own personal statement. And once again repeat it three times mentally with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true.
Feel the heartbeat. And notice the breath coming in and out of the nose or mouth. And notice any sounds of the body. And then listen for sounds inside the room, humming of electronics, the sound of my voice, and listen for sounds outside the room, other people you live with, neighbors, cars. And find the furthest sound that you can hear outside the room.
And then begin to remember the room. Remember the walls. Ask yourself what are the color of the walls. Remember the ceiling, what's the color and texture of the ceiling. Remember the floor. Remember where you're lying down if in fact, you are lying down. Remember tonight's moon, the waning crescent moon, sometimes it's called the balsamic moon. Even remember what you're wearing. Come back to the breath, and extend the breath from the head to the fingertips, and the fingertips back to the head. Extend the breath from the head to the toes, and then from the toes back to the head. And make each inhale deeper and deeper. And make each exhale fuller and fuller.
Inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully. Keep the eyes closed,
but say to yourself mentally, “The practice of Yoga Nidra is now complete.”
Begin to wiggle the fingers and the toes. Roll the wrists, one-way making orbits like the moon around the earth. And then roll the wrists and ankles in the opposite direction, like the earth around the sun. and then take any kind of gentle intuitive movement the body is asking for. Maybe you stretch the arms overhead. You rock side to side. Just be careful of however you're set up.
And when you're ready and there's no need to rush or hurry, push yourself up to a seated position with your hands at the heart center to honor the practice. Bow in your head in to acknowledge the time you took to relax, to surrender. The moonlight in me bows down to admires and acknowledges the moonlight and each and every one of you. Aum. Peace. Amen. Namaste!