Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sun Salutations: Archetypes, Energies, Mantras and Affirmations

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 is the form of Surya Namaskar I use




Here are the explanations of the Sun Gods energies that are chanted to during Surya Namaskar.

1. Mitra

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.

2. Ravi

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. 

3. Surya

The oldest surviving Vedic hymns, such as the hymn 1.115 of the Rigveda, mention SÅ«rya 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.

4. Bhanu

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.

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5.  Khaga

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.

6. Pushan

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. 

8.  Maricha

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.

10. Savitr

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. 

11.  Arka

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

12. Bhaskara

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

Surya Namaskara: A Technique of Solar Vitalization

I love practicing the 12 positions with the mantras using these 2 recordings


Surya Namaskar: 12 Mantras for the Sun Salutations




Shiva Rea has the Sun Salutation Mantras in her DVD



I examine the Sun Moon Archetypes in my eCourse Archetypal Yoga Therapy



Saturday, October 17, 2020

Transforming Anger to Service


Transformed Anger into Service!


 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Sketches from Malibu: Leo Carrillo and King Gillette Ranch


I have been drawing on location once a week.  Here are some sketches from Leo Carrillo and King Gillette Ranch.









Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Yoga Nidra for the Waning Crescent Moon

In order to guide this Yoga Nidra, you will need some experience teaching Yoga Nidra.  All the timings are not outlined in this script.  If you wish to study Yoga Nidra with me, visit my store www.artyogafusion.com to see when my next Yoga Nidra training is offered.

(Internalization/Settling)

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.

(Sankalpa)

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)

(Breath Awareness)

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.


(Opposites)

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.

(Visualization/Guided Imagery)
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
A waterfall
A waterfall
A rainbow
A rainbow

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.

(Externalization)
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!

First Quarter Moon Yoga Nidra


(In order to guide this Yoga Nidra, you will need some experience teaching Yoga Nidra.  All the timings are not outlined in this script.  If you wish to study Yoga Nidra with me, visit my store www.artyogafusion.com to see when my next Yoga Nidra training is offered).


Notice if there's anything you can do to make yourself a little bit more comfortable. Maybe putting a pillow under the knees or the head. Maybe a blanket over the body.  The body temperature tends to drop during Yoga Nidra.

Take a deep breath in, and on the exhale, think letting go. And do this several times. Taking a deep breath in, and on the exhale thinking letting go. (pause)
Let go of disappointments, doubts, tests, obstacles. Let them all blow away like leaves in an Autumn wind. And say to yourself mentally, I am practicing Yoga Nidra. And say to yourself mentally, I will stay awake for Yoga Nidra.

Connect to the weight of the body. Feel the heaviness of the body. The head is heavy. The shoulders are heavy. The back is heavy. The arms are heavy. Feel the whole body heavy. Let the heaviness of the body allow you to relax more deeply.
Begin to take slow deep breaths. On the inhale, the belly rises, and on the exhale, the belly falls. Inhale, the belly rises and exhale, the belly falls. And then find the place between the belly, the navel and the heart. It's called in yoga, the solar plexus chakra. (pause) Maybe you put a hand on it and start to notice the breath at this solar plexus chakra. This area between the navel and the heart is the area considered by Yogi's and meditators as the place where confidence, willpower, courage and self-esteem dwell. Get connected to this chakra. Feel the breath, the energy body, the prana activating in the solar plexus.  This is the chakra connected with the first quarter moon.

Take a deep breath in. And in the exhale think first quarter moon. Deep inhale and exhale, thinking first quarter moon. Do this several times. (pause)

Begin to listen in all directions for sounds. Listen for sound outside the room where you're situated. Listen for sounds inside the room. Listen for any sounds of the body, any gurgling or activity. Listen for the sound of the breath. And listen for the sound of the heartbeat. Or feel the heart beating within the body.

In the heartbeat, hear the heart's desire. In Yoga Nidra, it's called the Sankalpa, a Sankalpa is a short positive statement and the present or future tense. It's an affirmation or a resolve. If you don't have a Sankalpa you're working with, for today try the statement “I take responsibility for my actions”. That's the affirmation of the first quarter moon. Using the statement “I take responsibility for my actions”, or your own personal statement, repeated three times mentally, with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true.

Moving on to the rotation of consciousness through the body, the body scan. A body part will be named and either repeat the name of the body part mentally, bring awareness to the body part, or visualize the body part being touched by moonlight. It's important to choose one of these strategies. Either repeating the name of the body part. Bringing awareness to the body part or visualizing the body part being touched by moonlight.

The body remains still and the instructions will be with moonlight. But the other possibilities are there. Feel or see moonlight touching the right-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger. And feel or see the moonlight on the palm of the hand, the back of the hand, wrist, touching the forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit. Feel or see the healing moonlight in the armpit, the side of the right rib cage, touching the right waist, hip, upper leg, kneecap, lower leg, moonlight at the ankle, heel, instep, sole of the foot, top of the foot, and see the silver moon light touching the right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe and fifth toe.

Now the right side of the body is lit, is illuminated with silver moonlight. Bring the moonlight to the left-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger. See or feel the silver light and the palm of the hand, on the back of the hand, at the wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit. And see or feel the moonlight brushing against the side of the left rib cage, left waist, left hip. Silver light at the upper leg, the kneecap, lower leg, ankle, heel, instep, sole of the foot, top of the foot. And moonlight lighting the left big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe and fifth toe.
Stay awake and aware and bring the moonlight to the top of the head, the forehead, the right temple, the left temple the right eyebrow, the left eyebrow. Light shining on the eyebrows center, the right eye lid, the left eyelid, the right lashes, the left eyelashes, the bridge of the nose, the tip of the nose. Moonlight in the right nostril, the left nostril, on the upper lip, the lower lip, chin, throat. Moonlight touching the right collarbone, the left collarbone, the hollow between the collarbones, the right chest, the left chest, the heart center.

Stay awake and aware, and feel the moonlight on the upper abdomen, navel, lower abdomen, pelvis, buttocks, lower back. Moonlight in the middle back, upper back. And feel the healing light on the right shoulder blade, the left shoulder blade, the back of the neck, the back of the head and the top of the head.

And see a silver shimmering light up and down the whole right arm. And feel or see the silver lining up and down the whole left arm. And feel or see the moon lie up and down the whole right leg. And feel or see the moonlight up and down the whole left leg. And see the moon light on the arms and legs together. And feel the moon light illuminating the whole front of the body. And feel or see the moonlight lighting the whole back of the body. And feel or see the whole body together being lit by the light of the moon. The whole body together lit by the light of tonight's first quarter moon.
Let go of the body scan, let go of the body rotation and come to natural breathing. And in the natural breath, find that place between the navel and the heart known in yoga as the solar plexus, and on the inhale, feel the solar plexus rise and expand. And on the exhale, feel the solar plexus deflate and contract. Bring awareness to the breath of the solar plexus, that place between the navel and the heart. And begin counting backwards from 18 to zero, with awareness of the breath of the solar plexus. Inhaling 18, exhaling 17, inhaling 17 exhaling 17. And continue counting mentally backwards from 18 to zero with awareness of the breath at the solar plexus. If the count is lost, start again at 18. If the count reaches zero, begin again at 18. Stay with the counting and stay with the awareness of the breath of the solar plexus.

Let go of the counting and let go of the awareness of the breath at the solar plexus and come back to natural breathing. Notice the natural breath, notice the coolness of the breath as it goes into the body through the mouth or nose. And notice anywhere else the body feels cool, perhaps on the exposed skin. And spread the coolness across the entire body. Let the body be cool. Experience the body as coolness. The body is cool.

And now let go of the experience of coolness and come to the opposite experience of warmth. Notice a place in the body where the body is warm, perhaps under a blanket or clothing or at the core of the body. Find the place where the body is warm. Look for warmth in the body. Find that place of warmth, under the blankets or the clothing or at the core of the body. Find that warmth and spread the warmth across the entire body. Let the body be warm. Experience the body as warmth. Spread the warmth across the entire body. Let the body be warm.

Let go of warmth and come back to coolness. Notice where the body is cool. Notice the exposed skin, the fingers or the toes. Connect to wherever the body is cool and spread it across the entire body.

Know the body as cool.

Let go of coolness and come to the opposite experience of warmth. Feel the warmth under the blankets, clothing, connect to the warmth across the entire body. Let the body be warm. Know the body is warmth. And now let go of the warm thing come back to coolness. Feel the body cool.
Add in the sensation of warmth. Maybe the front of the body is cool and the back of the body is warm. Maybe the top of the body is warm and the bottom of the body is cool. Although this is difficult to do, attempt to be both warm and cool simultaneously. And now let go of the coolness and let go of the warmth.

Remember an experience of being busy, of being busy, of doing too much, of being exhausted from so much action. Remember that experience of being busy as if it were happening right now. See yourself busy. See yourself doing, see yourself doing too much. And experience the whole body as doing, as busy. And then let go of that experience of doing, of busyness, and come to the opposite experience of being of slowing down. See yourself relaxing, being, slowing down and spread this idea, this experience of being, of slowing down across the entire body. Let the whole body slow down.

Remember an experience of slowing down, of being and connect to it as if it were happening right now. Let the body slow down. Let the body just be.  Now, let go of being of slowing down and come back to the opposite experience of doing, of being busy. And let go of doing and being busy and come to the opposite experience of slowing down and being. And then let go of being and come back to doing and add in being. Perhaps the front of the body is doing and is busy and the back of the body is being and slowing down. Maybe the top of the body is doing and being busy and the bottom of the body is being and slowing down. Although this is difficult to do, attempt to be busy and slow down at the exact same time. Attempt to do and being simultaneously. Now let go of being and doing, let go of busyness and slowing down and come back to natural breathing.
And bring the awareness to the chidakasha the mind space in front of a closed eyes. Bring awareness to the chidakasha the mind moving. And in the chitakasha, the mind space in front of a closed eyes, visualize these simple images that will be suggested.

A half circle
A half circle
A white lotus
A white lotus
The yin yang symbol
The yin yang symbol
An arrow being pulled back in a bow
An arrow being pulled back in a bow
Spring transitioning to summer
Spring transitioning to summer
Moving forward in life after you have become clear about where you're going
Moving forward in life after you have become clear about where you're going

(pause) Bring awareness to the chidakasha, the mind space in front of a closed eyes, and notice if there are any patterns or colors there.

In the chidakasha the mind screen in front of the closed eyes, visualize a small seed, and plant that seed and fertile earth. Plant it in fertile black rich soil. Place the seed in the soil. Cover the seed wither, water the seed in the soil. Place your hands on the earth and smooth down the place where the seed lies. Pay very close attention and see a seedling start to emerge from the dark soil. A little Green sapling seedling pushing through the earth. It struggles as it pushes through the obstacles of the dirt, but it makes it, it stretches through reaching for the sunlight. Now see it grow. The seedling transitioning into a beautiful white flower with a long stem, elegant petals and curvaceous leaves. See this white flower that has emerged from the seed you planted and watch it there by the light of the first quarter moon.

And bring the awareness back to the chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes and let go of the visualization practice. Bring the attention back to the breath, and in the whisper of the gentle breath, hear the Sankalpa, the statement that was made in the beginning of the Yoga Nidra practice. Perhaps it was your own personal statement or the statement I suggested, “I take responsibility for my actions”. Using your own personal statement affirmation or my suggested statement, once again repeated three times mentally with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true.
Notice the heart beating inside the body. Notice the breath coming in and out of the nose or mouth. Connect to any sounds of the body and gurgling or bodily noises that suggest deep relaxation. Listen for sounds inside the room. Listen for sounds outside the room. Find the furthest sound that you can hear outside the room.

Become aware of the room. Remember the walls. Remember the ceiling, the color of the ceiling and remember the floor. Ask yourself, what's the texture of the floor. Even remember what you're wearing.

Come back to the breath. Make each inhale deeper and deeper (pause). Make each exhale fuller and fuller. Inhaling and exhaling, deeply and fully. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully. (pause) Say to yourself mentally. The practice of Yoga Nidra for the first quarter moon is now complete.
Keep the eyes closed but begin to wiggle the fingers and the toes. Roll the wrists and ankles one-way, like tiny lunar orbits. (pause) And then the opposite direction. (pause) Take any kind of intuitive movement the body is asking for, being aware of your environment. Maybe you're stretching, perhaps you're wiggling. When you're ready and there's no need to rush or hurry, roll over onto your right side in the fetal position. And in this position of rebirth and renewal, I'll once again say that characteristics of the first quarter moon.

This evening, this first quarter moon is a time for commitment, confidence, willpower, activity expression, movement, challenges, new solutions, doubts, tests, obstacles and actions. (pause) When you are ready, push yourself up to a seated position. (pause) Perhaps you bring your hands into prayer, Anjali Mudra, to acknowledge this time that you’ve taken to relax, to meditate, to practice. Bring your hands to your heart center to honor yourself. Perhaps you bow in as a sign of reverence to yourself and this practice of Yoga Naaidra. And I say to you Hari Om Tat Sat. Thank you for practicing with me. Namaste!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Waning Gibbous Moon Yoga Nidra

(In order to guide students in this Yoga Nidra you will need to have some experience leading Yoga Nidra to know where to put the pauses and how to time it.  If you are interested in Yoga Nidra training please visit my website www.artyogafusion.com in the store to find out when my next training is)


Yoga Nidra for the Waning Gibbous Moon.

The Waning Gibbous Moon is a time to reflect, recoup. It is a time of idealism.
It is of time of relaxation.

As you notice with the inhale the belly rises, and the exhale the belly falls.
Inhale the belly rises, exhale the belly falls.  Working with that rhythmic breath. (pause)
And now let's attempt to lengthen the exhale to move further into relaxation. When the exhale becomes longer than the inhale, we move into the parasympathetic nervous system the relaxation response.

Begin to inhale one-two-three-four.
Exhale four-three-two-one.
Inhale one-two-three-four.
Exhale five-four-three-two-one.
Inhale one-two-three-four.
Exhale five-four-three-two-one.
Inhale one-two-three-four.
Exhale six-five-four-three-two-one.
Inhale one-two-three-four.
And if it's possible, exhale seven-six-five-four-three-two-one.
Inhale one-two-three-four.
Exhale seven-six-five-four-three-two-one.
Inhale one-two-three-four.
Exhale eight-seven-six-five-four-three-two-one.
Inhale one-two-three-four.                                                                                                           
Exhale eight-seven-six-five-four-three-two-one.
Let go of the counting take a deep breath in and on the exhale think letting go.
And do that a few times. (pause)
And now, take a deep breath in and on the exhale think recuperation.
Do that several times.  (pause)

Listen in all directions for sounds. Listen for sounds outside the room where you're nested, where you're lying down, where you're very comfortable. And if you're not comfortable, then make some changes so you are comfortable. (pause) Listen for sounds inside the room. Maybe it's the sound of my voice. And listen for any sounds of the body. Any gurgling or noises that might suggest relaxation, recuperation. And then listen for the sound or feel the sound of the heartbeat, and in the heartbeat, hear the heart's desire, the inner longing. Hear an affirmation or resolve.

In Yoga Nidra, we call it the Sankalpa - the personal vow.
If you don't have a Sankalpa, an affirmation you're working with, then for tonight I suggest the affirmation of the Waning Gibbous Moon, “I live in gratitude.”

Either using the affirmation, “I live in gratitude” or your own personal affirmation, repeat it three times mentally with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true. (pause)

Moving on to the rotation of consciousness through the body, the body scan, a body part would be names and either repeat the name mentally of the body part, bring awareness to the body part or relax mentally the body part. Any of these options are wonderful or perfect. The queuing will be to relax and ease the body part.

Start as always at the right-hand thumb. Feel the right-hand thumb soften and relax.  Let relaxation ease into the index finger, the middle finger, ring finger and pinky finger. Feel a calmness in the palm of the hand and the relaxation on the back of the hand. And let the whole right hand be relaxed, limp without tension.

Move that experience of relaxation and softening to the forearm, elbow, upper arm. Feel an easing of tension in the right shoulder, armpit, side at the right ribcage, the right waist and then feel the tension leaving the body on the upper right leg, kneecap, lower leg, heel, ankle. Soften the top of the right foot, the sole of the foot, feel the tension melting away across the right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe and fifth toe.

Stay awake and aware and bring the awareness and  attention to the left side of the body and begin to soften the left side of the body. Feel a softening of the left-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger softening, ring finger and pinky finger.

Move that relaxation and ease to the palm of the left hand, the back of the hand, and relax the wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit.

Feel the left ribcage easing, the left waist softening, and relax the left hip, upper leg, kneecap, lower leg and let the tension go at the left ankle, heel, top of the foot, sole of the foot, and relax the left big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, and fifth toe. And now feel the whole left side of the body relax and become at ease.

Bring that soft energy and relaxation to the top of the head. Feel the forehead smooth soft without worry.  Feel the easing of the right eyebrow, the left eyebrow and the eyebrow center.  Soften the right eye, the left eye, relax the right ear and the left ear.

Bring this relaxation to the bridge of the nose the tip of the nose, the right nostril, the left nostril, relax the upper lip, lower lip, the chin, throat. Notice the relaxation that comes to the right collarbone, the left collarbone the hollow between the collarbones and then soften the right chest, the left chest, and feel completely at ease in the heart center.

Soften the upper abdomen, the navel, feel that softness on the lower abdomen. Notice relaxation in the pelvis, the buttocks and then connect to an easing in the lower back, middle back, and the upper back. Feel the right shoulder blade relaxed, the left shoulder blade relaxed, the back of the neck smooth soft, the back of the head relaxed and the top of the head without worry.

Then connect to the ease in the whole right arm. Feel the softness of the whole left arm.
Notice the limpness and the whole right leg and notice the relaxation in the whole left leg. Then notice how relaxed the arms and legs together feel.

See or feel the whole front of the body at ease. The whole back of the body at ease.
And then the whole body together recuperating, rejuvenating, soft at ease and relaxed.
(pause)And then let go of that body scan and come to the breath.

Once again notice the rise and fall of the breath. And as you inhale think waxing and as you exhale think waning. (pause) Inhale thinking the word waxing and exhaling thinking the word waning. And play with this practice on your own. (pause) Breathing with the words waxing and waning. (pause) And if those words waxing and waning have gotten lost, have been forgotten come back to those words waxing and waning. (pause) And if the awareness of the breath has gotten lost come back to the awareness of the breath synchronized with the words waxing and waning. (pause) And one more time connect to waxing and waning. (pause) As you inhale and the belly rises the words are waxing and with the exhale and the fall of the belly the words are waning.
(pause) And now let go of waxing and let go waning and come back to natural breathing. (pause)

And in the natural breath remember a time where you felt very tense. Remember an experience of tension. Attempt to connect to a part of the body that tends to get tense. Maybe that's the shoulders or the jaw. And spread the tension across the entire body. Let the body be tense. Know the body as tension. The body is tense.

And now let go of that experience of tension and find a place in the body that's relaxed. Maybe the chest is relaxed, stomach is relaxed. Maybe the eyes are relaxed because they're closed or soft.
And find that place in the body that feels relaxed right now and spread that relaxation across the entire body. Know the body as relaxation. Let the body relax. The body is relaxed.

And let go of relaxation and come back to tension. Remember tension in the shoulders.
Remember tension in the jaw.

And then let go of that tension and come back to relaxation. Remember the relaxation of a soft smile.  Notice any relaxation in the belly or back.

And then let go of that relaxation and come back to tension and add in relaxation. Attempt to be both tense and relaxed at the exact same time. Maybe the front of the body is tense and the back of the body is relaxed.  Maybe the top of the body is tense and the bottom of the body's relaxed.
Although it's difficult to do, attempt to be both tense and relaxed simultaneously. And now let go of the tension and let go of the relaxation.

And remember a time of cynicism. Remember an experience where you were very cynical. And connect to that experience as if you were watching a movie in which you are the star. The star of the movie is very cynical, skeptical and that cynical person is you. And know the entire body a cynical. Be cynical, let the body be cynical. The body is cynical. And then let go of that cynicism and come to the opposite experience of idealism.

Remember a time when you were idealistic. Remember a time when you were incredibly hopeful.
Connect to that experience, that time. See it clearly as if you were looking in the mirror and seeing yourself idealistic, hopeful, enthused and spread that idealism across the entire body. Let the body be idealistic. Know the body as idealism. The body is idealistic.

And then let go idealism and come back to that opposite experience of cynicism. Remember the doubt. Remember the skepticism.

And then let go of cynicism and come back to Idealism. Remembering the hope, the enthusiasm.

And then let go of the idealism and come back to the cynicism and add in the idealism.
Be both idealistic and cynical at the exact same time. Attempt to be idealistic and cynical simultaneously. And now let go of the idealism and let go of the cynicism.

And bring the awareness to the Chidakasha.  Bring the awareness to the Chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes. Bring awareness to the Chidasha, the mind movie.
Bring the awareness to the Chidakasha and in this mind space see yourself sitting by the water under moonlight.  See yourself sitting under the light of the waning gibbous moon. A moon that's not yet full.  A full moon with a few bites out of it. See yourself there under moonlight. And feel rejuvenated by the silver healing light of the moon.

Smell the sea and walk to the water and take off your shoes and roll up your pants or trousers and dip your toe in the water. Feel that it's a perfect temperature and begin to walk along the bank.
Begin to walk along the bank of this body of water. Hear the waves moving in and out.

And as they move out they touch your feet and as they move in they recede from your feet.
Feel the waves lapping against your feet. Each time the water touches you feel rejuvenated.
Feel the moon above and the water below. Feel that the combination of the moon and the water are healing you from top to bottom and bottom to top.

Feel completely at ease and relaxed under the light of the moon and hear the moon calling to you.
It speaks with the voice of a dear friend. Listen for the soothing words of the moon.
Moon tells you that everything is going to be fine. Keep true to your path. Trust your heart-mind.
Its fine, it's all okay.

And with that guidance from the moon, walk away from the water and come back to your seated position, your blanket or your bench or your chair, by the body of water and watch the moonlight reflected in the water. And find yourself filled with hope, optimism and idealism.
And visualize these simple images that will be suggested.

A silver circle.
A silver circle.
A tall tree.
A tall tree.
Two friends talking.
Two friends talking.
A warm bath.
A warm bath.
The North Star.
The North Star.
A revered elder.
A revered elder.
A beloved teacher.
A beloved teacher.
Ocean waves at sunset.
Ocean waves at sunset.
A rainbow.
A rainbow.

Bring awareness back to the chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes. And let go of the visualization practice.

Once again notice the breath. In the gentle breath hear the whisper of the Sankalpa the affirmation that was made in the beginning of the Yoga Nidra practice. Perhaps it was your own personal statement or maybe it was the statement of the waning gibbous moon, “I live in gratitude.”
Using your own statement or the statement of the Waning Gibbous Moon, repeat it three times mentally with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true. (pause)

Connect to the heartbeat. Notice again the breath moving in and out of the nose and mouth.
Notice any noises in the body.  Listen for sounds inside the room, maybe my voice.
Know my voice as a sound inside the room. Listen for sounds outside the room.
Perhaps cars or other people's voices. Find the furthest sound that you can hear outside the room.
Remember the room, remember the walls, remember the ceiling, remember the floor, and remember how you're situated in the room. What are you lying on? Even remember what you're wearing.
Come back to the breath. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully. And say to yourself mentally, “The practice of Yoga Nidra for the Waning Gibbous Moon is now complete”.
Keep the eyes closed if they're closed. Begin to wiggle the fingers and the toes. Roll the wrists and ankles like tiny lunar orbits one way in the opposite direction.  And then take any kind of movement the body is asking for.  Just be aware of what's around you but maybe take a deep stretch arms overhead and perhaps you rock twist side to side. And when you're ready, and there's no need to rush or hurry, rollover on your side in a fetal position. The position of rebirth and renewal.

In this position, remember these things about the Waning Gibbous Moon.
It's a moon about idealism, gratitude, recuperation, relaxation. The big stuff happens in the waxing cycle and in a waning cycle, we get to slow down. If you want now you can push yourself up to a comfortable seated position with your hands at the heart center. Bow your head in to acknowledge that you took this time to meditate. Thank you. The moonlight in me bows down to, admires and acknowledge the moonlight in each and every one of you.

Aum Peace Amen.

Namaste







Monday, July 20, 2020

Yoga Nidra Script for the Last Quarter Moon

All the pauses are not in this script.  You will need to know about Yoga Nidra to use it.  If you are interested in studying with me check out my website www.artyogafusion.com

A live recording of this script is available on my YouTube Channel




(Internalization/Settling)

Feel all the points of contact between the body, floor, couch, bed, whatever you're lying on. And feel supported across the entire body and let the support allow the body to relax more deeply.

Take a deep breath in and on the exhale think last quarter moon. And do this a few times on your own.

See the last quarter moon in the mind's eye. It looks like a half moon.  When we look at the moon and we see the half of the half that's visible to us, so that means we see a quarter.

Take another deep breath in and on the exhale think “letting go”. And do that several times.

And then take a deep inhale and on the exhale think “forgiveness”. Do that a few times.

Let go of the words and feel all the points of contact between the body and whatever surface it's on. Feel the head supported. Feel the shoulders supported, feel the arms and hands supported, feel the back, supported, feel the buttocks supported, feel the legs supported and feel the heels supported. Feel the entire body supported allowing you to relax more deeply.

Know that yoga nature can be practiced with the eyes closed traditionally, but also is available to practice with a soft gaze if you're feeling depressed or tired.

In Yoga Nidra, we attempt to keep the body still, but if it becomes uncomfortable, move to a position of comfort as mindfully and quietly as possible, and say to yourself mentally, "I will remain still for yoga Nidra."

Begin listening in all directions for sounds. Listen for sounds outside the room. Listen for sounds inside the room where you are located. Listen for any sounds of the body. Listen for the sound of the breath going in and out of the nose or mouth. And then, listen for or feel the heart beating.

(Sankalpa)

In the heartbeat here, the heart's desire, the Sankalpa, the resolve; your personal affirmation. If you don't have a Sankalpa that you're working with, and for tonight use the statement, “I will find the right Sankalpa for me” or the affirmation of the Last Quarter Moon. “I forgive myself and others”. Using your personal Sankalpa or one of the ones I suggested, repeat it three times with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true.


(Rotation of Consciousness/Body Scan)

Moving on to the rotation of consciousness through the body, the body scan. The body remains motionless. When a body part is named, repeat the name of a body part mentally, bring awareness to the body part or visualize the body part being touched by a gentle tear. Tears are healing, they are physical response to stress and they release tension.
Again, it's possible to repeat the name of the body part or bring awareness to the body part as a lead the visualization practice of placing tears.

Place a tear on the righthand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, and feel salty tear in the palm of the hand, on the back of the hand; a healing tear at the wrist, forearm, elbow. A tear at the upper arm, place the tear at the shoulder, armpit, side of the right rib cage, right waist, right hip, and feel a tear fall on the upper leg, the kneecap lower leg, ankle; heel. A tear at the instep, sole of the foot, top of the foot, and see gentle tears across the right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, fifth toe.
Now feel or see the whole right side of the body covered with tears, tears of release, tears of surrender; tears of renewal.

Bring the awareness to the left side of the body and place a gentle tear on the left-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger. Place a big salty tear on the palm of the hand, and then tears on the back of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow; tears at the upper arm, shoulder armpit and tears falling on side of the left rib cage, left waist, left hip. Feel a tear on the upper leg, kneecap, lower leg, ankle, heel, tears at the instep, sole of the foot, top of the foot. Healing tears across the left big toe, second, third toe, fourth toe, and fifth toe. And now the whole left side of the body is wet, crying and anointed with tears.

Stay awake and aware and bring the tears to the top of the head, the forehead, a gentle tear on the right eyebrow, the left eyebrow, tear at the eyebrows center, a tear in the right ear, the left ear, the right eyelid, the left eyelid and tears across the right eyelashes, tears across the left eyelashes and a tear drop on the bridge of the nose, tip of the nose, upper lip, a tear at the lower lip, chin, throat, tear at the right collarbone, left collarbone, a healing tear at the hollow between the collarbones, the right chest, left chest, and a big salty tear at the heart center. And bring the tears to the upper abdomen, naval, the lower abdomen, the right buttocks, the left buttocks, the pelvic bowl Tears at the lower back, middle back, upper back. Tears falling up and down the entire spinal column.

Place a tear drop at the right shoulder blade, the left shoulder blade. A tear at the back of the neck, back of the hand, the top of the head.

See or feel the whole right arm covered in tears. The whole left arm anointed by tears, the whole right leg healed with tears, and the whole left leg released by its tears. See or feel the whole front of the body covered in tears, crying with tears. The whole back of the body anointed by tears. See or feel the whole body together, the whole body together, the whole body together covered in tears.

Then connect to the body, feel the release of the whole body crying. Feel the body renewed. Let the tears dry, and just notice little pieces of white salt across the entire body signifying what remains of the tears.

Feel renewed, feel rejuvenated, feel the letting go and come back to the breath. Come back to the breath. Let go of the body scan, let go of the tears and come back to the breath.

(Breath Awareness)

As you inhale, feel the belly rise, and on the exhale, feel the belly fall. On the inhale connect to belly, heart, and mind and on the exhale, connect mind, heart and belly. Start to work with the practice of inhaling expansion of belly, chess and mind, and exhale, the letting go of mind, chest and belly. Perhaps working with the words on the inhale belly, chest, minds and on the exhale, mind chest, belly. Or perhaps no words are needed, and it's just the practice of moving the awareness with the breath, from the belly, to the chest, to the mind, and from the mind to the chest, to the belly.

Stay with the practice of connecting the belly to the chest, to the mind and the mind to the chest, to the belly. (pause) If the practice has gotten lost, then just come back to that practice of connecting the belly to the chest to the mind and the mind to the chest, to the belly. (pause) Keep the connection between the belly, the chest and the mind and the mind and the chest and the belly. (pause) Let go of the practice of connecting belly-chest-mind and  come back to natural breathing.

(Opposites)
See in the mind's eye, a cold winter night. Perhaps there's snow. Maybe the body is shivering. The sky is dark.  Connect to, see, and feel a cold winter's night. See the breath in the air. Feel the clothing keeping the body warm. (pause) Then, let go of that cold winter night and come to the opposite experience of a warm summer's day.

See the sun, feel the heat and light against the body. Notice the body sweating. Notice what is being worn on the body. Connect to the season, the heat and the light. And then let go of that warm summer's day and come back to that opposite experience of a cold or cool winter night.

Feel the coolness across the entire body; let the body be cool. Feel the darkness across the entire body, let the body be dark. (pause) And then let go of that cool winter night and come to the opposite experience of a warm, hot summer’s day.

Know the day is very warm. Feel the intense brightness of the sun. Feel any heat or sweating on the body. (pause) And let go of that really warm summer day, and come back to cool winter night, and add in the warm summer day.

Attempt to be in both summer and winter at the exact same time. Attempt to hold onto night and day simultaneously. Perhaps the front of the body is experiencing a warm summer day, and the back of the body is experiencing a cool winter night. Maybe the inside of the body is experiencing a warm summer day, and the outside of the body is experiencing a cool winter's night. Attempt to hold onto all these opposite experiences at the exact same time. Attempt to feel these sensations simultaneously. (pause)  Now let go of the cool winter's night and warm summer day and bring the awareness to the chidakasha.

(Visualizations/Journey)
Bring awareness to the chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes. And in this space notice if there are any patterns or colors. Bring the awareness to the chidakasha, the mind screen in front of the closed eye, bring the awareness to the chidakasha; the mind movie.

In this space, see yourself as if you were looking in the mirror. Repeat these words of forgiveness to yourself. Let my voice be your voice as you repeat mentally and as see your own image in the chidakasha. “I forgive myself for not understanding”.  (pause) “I forgive myself for not understanding”. (pause)

Mentally repeat or let my voice be your voice. “I forgive myself for making mistakes.” (pause) “I forgive myself for making mistakes.”  (pause)

Mentally repeat; “I forgive myself for not acting the way I should have acted.” (pause) “I forgive myself for not acting the way I should have acted.” (pause)

Repeat mentally; “I forgive myself for causing harm to myself and others.” (pause) “I forgive myself for causing harm to myself and others.” (pause)

And now let go of your own image and see in the mind space, see in the chidakasha someone that you've harmed. (pause) Someone you've harmed that you would like forgiveness from, and see them clearly, look into their eyes and let my voice be their voice as they tell you, "I forgive you for not understanding". (pause) See them very clearly look into their eyes and let my voice be their voice as they say to you, "I forgive you for not understanding". (pause)

Hear them say to you, “I forgive you for making mistakes.” (pause) “I forgive you for making mistakes”. (pause) “I forgive you for not acting the way you should have acted.” (pause) “I forgive you for not acting the way you should have acted.” (pause) “I forgive you for causing harm to myself and others.” (pause) “I forgive you for causing harm to myself and others.”

And now, let go of their image. Let go off the visualization of this person that you need forgiveness from, and think of somebody you need to forgive. Someone you need to forgive in order to get on with your life. Someone by holding on to, not forgiving them, by not making peace with them that you continue to be stuck, that you continue to be blocked.  See a person that you need to forgive in order to move on. See them clearly. Know what they are wearing.  Look into their eyes.

Repeat these words of forgiveness to them knowing that it's essential for your growth. See them look them in the eye, and mentally repeat the words of forgiveness. “I forgive you for not understanding”. (pause) Mentally repeat; “I forgive you for not understanding.” (pause) “I forgive you for making mistakes”.  (pause) “I forgive you for making mistakes”. (pause) And know that these words, the words you need to say for your own personal transformation; “I forgive you for not acting the way you should have acted.” (pause) “I forgive you for causing harm to myself and others.” (pause) “I forgive you for causing harm to myself and others.” (pause) And bring the awareness back to the chidakasha; the mind space in front of the closed eyes. Bring the awareness back to the chidakasha and let go of the visualization practice and connect to the breath.

(2nd Sankalpa)
And in the gentle breath, hear the whisper of the Sankalpa, the resolve, the statement that was made in the beginning of the Yoga Nidra practice. Perhaps it was the statement of the Last Quarter Moon; “I forgive myself and others.” Maybe it was your own personal statement. And once again, repeat it three times mentally with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true. (pause)

(Externalization/Grounding)
Notice the heart beating. Feel the breath going in and out of a nose or mouth. Notice any sounds in the body. Listen for sounds inside the room. Listen for sounds outside the room. Find the furthest sound that you can hear outside the room

Remember the room. And then, remember the walls, remember the ceiling, remember the floor, remember your place in the room. Even remember what you're wearing.

And come back to the breath. 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 the toes back to the head. Make each inhale deeper and deeper. Make each exhale, fuller and fuller. Inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully, inhaling deeply and fully. And say to yourself mentally, “the practice of Yoga Nidra for the Last Quarter Moon is now complete.”

Keep your eyes closed and begin to wiggle the fingers and the toes. Roll the wrists and ankles one way, like tiny lunar orbits, and then the opposite direction. When you feel ready and there's no need to ever rush your hurry, you can lie over on your left side, the lunar side in a fetal position. And in this position of rebirth and renewal, the fetal position, remember those three important things about the Last Quarter Moon: forgive, forget and let go. Giving yourself a chance to forgive, giving others a chance to forgive you, and letting forgiveness flow everywhere.

As always, you can close the practice in whatever way you wish. Maybe you roll over to your side and from there you sit up with your hands in prayer at the heart center. If that seems right.  If you feel like lingering where you are, that's good too. (pause) And I say to you, “the Moonlight in me, bows down to, acknowledges and admires the Moonlight in each and every one of you. Namaste.”

Saturday, July 18, 2020

People of Color Yoga for Resilience and Well-Being

by Nya Patrinos
(first printed in Yoga Therapy Today in the Spring 2019)

As an African-American woman I have encountered racism throughout my entire life. At various times these experiences of racism have left me angry, scared, disoriented, hopeless, and/or depressed. Whenever I feel imbalanced, I ask myself: How can I use my yoga tools for healing and transformation? People of Color (POC) Yoga has developed out of my personal quest to find yogic solutions to the stress and trauma of being a person of color in America.

My inspiration to teach POC Yoga developed from my participation in a half day intensive for people of color in mindfulness meditation led by Larry Yang. Through this experience, I recognized the healing power of being in a POC specialty group. I left the workshop feeling rejuvenated and optimistic and knew I had to somehow continue this work.

Many of us at the workshop were so inspired that we decided to form a bi-monthly POC sitting group. Because of my passion to make a difference in my life and the lives of others, I started teaching POC Yoga as gentle stretching between periods of meditation at the POC sit. Eventually, the class became its own offering.

Many of us at the workshop were so inspired that we decided to form a bi-monthly POC sitting group. Because of my passion to make a difference in my life and the lives of others, I started teaching POC Yoga as gentle stretching between periods of meditation at the POC sit. Eventually, the class became its own offering.

I have held POC Yoga at a meditation center, college rec room, various yoga studios, the park, and on the beach. The venue has changed many times depending on what was available. Sometimes I have rented the space. Sometimes the space was donated. But my intention to continue with the class has remained steadfast, and the feedback has been wonderful.

We people of color need yoga. We experience higher risks for physical health issues (cardiovascular disease, diabetes), behavioral health issues (substance abuse, cigarette smoking), and mental health issues (depression, post-traumatic stress disorder). Numerous studies cite racial discrimination as a major predictor of illness. Communities of color can be very different ethnically and culturally, but what we share is a history of prejudice, violence, racism, colonization, and/or genocide. I believe these experiences of historical, race-based, vicarious, and transgenerational trauma can be addressed in a trauma-sensitive yoga program for self-identified people of color where they can feel acknowledged, validated, safe, and supported.

“Self-identified” is my key concept. In the early days of the POC sitting group there were differing opinions as to who should be allowed to participate. I made a few mistakes myself by questioning someone’s race. Then I took on the model of self-identified. If someone was in the class, everyone was to assume they should be. No questions were ever to be asked.

I strive to create a safe container where people of color don’t have to worry about being hypervigilant, perfect, threatened, shamed, or exoticized. The space must feel safe for healing to occur. Participants are welcome to stop, alter, or modify any yoga poses, and even leave if they wish. I teach with a sense of welcome and gratitude. I realize people are sharing their most precious commodity— their time. In addition, they are trusting me and themselves with their bodies. POC Yoga is taught with empathy, genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and “wisdom-enhancing” techniques from all traditions.


Although the focus is people of color, I hope that the program is equally useful as a model for trauma-informed group yoga. POC Yoga offers an integrative therapeutic model to address collective trauma by applying yoga therapy techniques to increase resilience and well-being.

SACRED EXHAUSTION

Your tiredness has dignity to it! Do not rush to pathologise it, or push it away, for it may contain great intelligence, even medicine.


You have been on a long journey from the stars, friend. Bow before your tiredness now; do not fight it any longer.


There is no shame in admitting that you cannot go on. Even the courageous need to rest.


For a great journey lies ahead. And you will need all of your resources.


Come, sit by the fire of Presence. Let the body unwind; drop into the silence here. Forget about tomorrow, let go of the journey to come, and sink into this evening's warmth.


Every great adventure is fuelled by rest at its heart.


Your tiredness is noble, friend, and contains healing power... if you would only listen...


~ Jeff Foster

Women of Color Quotes - Audre Lorde



'Self care is a revolutionary act' if you are Black


- Audre Lorde

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Yoga and Inclusivity - A Plea to Studio Owners from a Black Yogini




1.  Know that Race Matters and Racism Exists. Saying you don’t see color is not helpful and is another form of racism and white privilege.   Get everyone who works in the studio trained in Anti-Racism and Decolonization so that the entire studio is culturally competent and aware of their racism, biases, and blind spots


2.  Offer scholarships and Donation Based Classes.   If it’s decolonized anti-racist yoga there need to be enough classes on the schedule that someone can establish a practice no matter what their income level.  That doesn’t mean everything on the schedule has to be free.  I would suggest at the minimum  3 classes a week be donation based.


3.  Open up studio space for BIPOC-only classes (or teacher trainings). BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) need safe spaces where we can work on our own healing in community.


4.  Make alliances with BIPOC teachers, owned studios, businesses, and other complementary wellness spaces.  Build relationships. Find out what they need. From those conversations see what you can do together.


5.  Invite BIPOC into positions of leadership. Let them speak for themselves and ask them what they want and need.


6.  Get out of the studio and into the world. Hold classes in other places than the studio. Broaden your reach - enlarge who you are bringing yoga to.  Consider Zoom, Youtube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, parks, beaches, community centers, schools, fairs, and farmers' markets.


7.  Hire more BIPOC teachers. Many BIPOC practitioners want to practice in a place where there are BIPOC teachers and other BIPOC practitioners.  If you can’t find any - train some through the networks you are establishing.


8.  Use I statements.  Always speak from your own perspective and don't speak for others. Especially don’t speak for BIPOC.


9.  Your money counts.  Buy your studio merchandise, software, etc.  from BIPOC owned and social justice conscious businesses. Research who your vendors are and if their policies don’t align with yours, replace them.


10.  Teach the Yamas and Niyamas. Being an anti-racist means not tolerating racism.  Let people know racism is not welcome in the studio.  Take your talking points from the Yamas and Niyamas.


11.  Do your own work.  Be open to conversations about race and at the same time respect others’ boundaries. Don’t ask BIPOC to explain racism to you. Undoing your white privilege is your own work.


12.  When marketing chose images that reflect all colors and body types -  when advertising classes - posting on social media - making flyers.  Look at how the studio is representing itself.  Are the images you use all white thin bodies?


13.  Words matter. Offer your gender pronouns when starting a conversation and ask the other person how they would like to be addressed.


14.  Place matters. Consider making an indigenous land declaration when referring to the location of the studio to show honor and respect to indigenous peoples.


15.  Keep Educating yourself. 



These are my opinions on how we can make the studio a safe place for all.  I welcome your ideas and conversation.



Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

May the entire world know love and peace and may my thoughts, words, and actions contribute to the love and peace known by the entire world.



Nya Patrinos, MFA, C-IAYT, ERYT500

www.artyogafusion.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Safe Space Group Agreements developed by Nya Patrinos, C-IAYT


In a therapeutic yoga class or workshop where people share, I suggest that the facilitator/yoga therapist formulates group agreements in order to create a safe container for practice.  Ask the group to add to or modify the agreements as necessary until they are comfortable with the wording. The participation by the group in the process creates an interactive environment and keeps people engaged. When finished, the facilitator/yoga therapist can once again verify that everyone is satisfied with the agreements and ask whether there are any more to add.  Lastly, have everyone affirm the agreements either in writing or with closed eyes and a show of hands.

For a longer workshop, the group can revisit the agreements at the start of each day in case something has come up that needs to be addressed with additional agreements.

These are the agreements I have developed for working in group settings based on the yamas and the niyamas in Pantajali's Yoga Sutras.


1.  I agree to treat everyone in the group with gentleness, kindness, and compassion. I agree that I will not put anyone down or use abusive language.


2.   I will try not to go beyond my limits (do things that make me uncomfortable). I know that I can abstain from activities and take breaks. In a group or one-on-one discussion, I know that I have the right to pass if I don’t want to participate.


3.   When a person is talking, I agree to listen. I will attempt to practice “the art of 'extreme deep listening’ . . . beyond the words . . . listening to the tones; to the inflections; to the inferences."


4.  I agree that what people share at the class or workshop will remain confidential.


5.  I will focus on dignity, decency, mutual respect, and equality for everyone. I am aware that no harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.


6.  I will try to keep my intentions for the workshop straightforward and pure.  I am aware that intentions can be refined as the program goes on.


7.  I agree that I will enjoy the workshop but not at the expense of others. I am aware that bullying, shaming, violence, harassment, or hate speech will not be tolerated.


8.  I agree to attempt to stay engaged.  I will try to do the work of the workshop, and challenge myself while at the same time move safely in and out of my comfort zone.


9.  I will do the best I can.  I will attempt to notice feelings and emotions as/if they come up. I will allow time for self-reflection, journaling during and after the workshop.


10.  I will attempt to think of everything encountered as an opportunity to learn and connect with the Divine in whatever name or form seems appropriate to me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

More lotuses at Kenneth Hahn

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Drawing at Kenneth Hahn on Friday with Mary Beth!  I don't have the lotuses figured out yet but I keep trying.




Poem - Becoming



The poet wrote,  "I am becoming more of myself."

I replied,  "I am becoming less of myself."

The poet wrote,  "I am becoming more."

I replied,  "I am becoming less."

Less questioned the poet, "How so, explain."

I answered, "I am becoming less of myself and more of The Self . . .

I am becoming the stars,

becoming the cosmic womb,

becoming the universe.

I am becoming as small as an atom and as large as the big bang.

I am becoming transparent.

I am becoming invisible,

inseparable,

indivisible,

I am becoming becoming.

Becoming becoming is me

Becoming

Became

Become

I am all that is.

All that it is me.

Be

Come

I

Me

You

We

Here

Now

See!

The poet wrote,  "I am becoming more of myself."

I replied,  "I am also becoming more of yourself.  I am becoming you and you are becoming me."



Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Lotus Pond at Kenneth Hahn

Sketching the Lotus Pond at Baldwin Hills










I want them to feel more like these.  I will try again using these for inspiration.