Monday, April 27, 2020

Waxing Crescent Moon Yoga Nidra for Nityaklinna

YOGA NIDRA FOR NITYAKLINNA is available on my YouTube Channel

https://youtu.be/fYCk1t0iKOw

This Yoga Nidra is best practiced two nights after the new moon. The red goddess, Lallita has a thousand names. Tonight, two nights after the new moon, her name is Nityaklinna. Nityaklinna means she who is always wet.

After the New Moon, the Moon waxes, meaning it gets bigger and it builds up in strength and intensity.  The waxing moon brings us hope and that shows us that things are moving forward in our life’s journey.  

The new moon provides a burst of energy and growth.  The waxing moon symbolizes that our plans, dreams and ideas are growing.  Because it is associated with growth, the waxing crescent moon has been a symbol for fertility since ancient times. 

Tonight our ideas are fertile and our mind is wet and receptive. This is the time to focus on receiving.  Affirm your connection with Nityaklinna by saying to yourself mentally three times, “I honor my receptivity.”  

The waxing crescent moon of Nityaklinna provides the energy, strength and power you need to germinate your ideas, plans and dreams.   

Visualize a pitch black night sky. Place a crescent moon inside that sky. See the silver sliver of the Moon.  Imagine the body as a plot of fertile land where a beautiful garden will be planted. And as a body part is named, visualize a seed being placed on that body.  Begin planting seeds on the body, that is the Self.

Place a seed on the right hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger.   Place a seed on the palm of the hand, the back of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit, side of the right rib cage, right waist, right hip. Seed at the upper leg, knee cap, lower leg, ankle, heel,  instep, soul of the foot, top of the foot, and place seeds across the right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe and fifth toe.

Stay awake and aware and bring the seeds to the left side of the body. Placing a seed on the left hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit, side of the left rib cage, left waist, left hip, upper leg, knee cap, lower leg, ankle, heel, instep, sole of the foot, top of the foot, and seeds at the left big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe and fifth toe.

Stay awake and aware and bring the seeds to the top of the head, the forehead, the right temple, the left temple, the right eyebrow, the left eyebrow eyebrow, the eyebrow center. The right eye, the left eye, the bridge of the nose, the tip of the nose, the right nostril, the left nostril, upper lip, lower lip, the chin, the throat.  Seeds at the right collarbone, the left collarbone, the hollow between the collarbones, the right chest, the left chest, the heart center, the upper abdomen, the navel, the lower abdomen, the pelvis, the buttocks.

And now feel roots come out of the lower back, the middle back, the upper back.  Feel roots forming up and down the entire spinal column.  Roots descending into the ground from the right shoulder blade, the left shoulder blade.  Roots at the back neck, the back of the head, and the top of the head. 

Now begin to water the whole right arm. Water the whole left arm.  Feel the water across both arms together. Water across the right leg. Water across the left leg. Water both legs together. 

Feel flowers, herbs, trees and shrubs sprouting out of the whole front of the body. Feel the  roots strengthening and descending it to the ground out of the whole back of the body. Feel the whole body together sprouting and growing a beautiful garden. Feel and see a beautiful garden created from the body.  See the Tableau, the image of the beautiful garden that is you. .  . . 

Let go of the body rotation. . .  
Let go of the garden knowing that you are the garden garden is always you. . . 

Bring awareness to the breath. 

Notice the rise and fall of the breath.  

The Sanskrit alphabet is more than just letters that you read.  Each syllable requires a perfect pattern of breath to form. Chanting the Sanskrit alphabet is a form of pranayama.  When we chant letters of the Sanskrit alphabet with awareness and intention we dance with the Divine.

Each of the sixteen goddesses of the waxing moon cycle, the lunar nityas are represented by a letter from the Sanskrit alphabet.  Nityaklinna is represented by the short vowel sound inhale thinking “E”.  Inhale thinking “E”  exhale thinking “E”. . .  Inhale and exhale thinking a short “E”. . .  Stay with the practice of inhale thinking “E” and exhale thinking “E.” . . . Continue the practice of mentally chanting and repeating ”E”. . . 

Let go of the practice of mentally chanting “E” and come back to natural breathing. . . 

Nityaklinna’s Shakti powers are enjoyment and freedom. Connect to her feminine energy by chanting her name, “Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha” repeatedly.

Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha!

Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha!

Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha!


Continue to chant, “Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha!”

Let go of the practice of chanting “Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha” and bring the awareness to the chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes. Bring awareness to the chidakasha, the mind movie.  Notice if any patterns are colors are arising.  . . . 

In this sacred space, the chidakasha, see her there smiling sweetly Nityaklinna.  She is restless with desire. Her sultry eyes are moist with tears and empathy. She carries a cup to catch the beads of sweat that drop from her brow.  She's flexible and sensuous and her movements.  . . .

See her there, Nityaklinna, the goddess of compassion, enjoyment and liberation.  She is a manifestation of the red goddess Lalita.  She is smeared in  red sandal paste.  She wears red clothing.  All this red color emphasizes her connection with Lalita. . . .

See Nityaklinna, she has a half moon on her forehead.  In her hands, she holds a noose, a goad, a cup and a skull.  One hand forms the mudra of granting favors and another hand forms the mudra of dispelling fear.  . . .

And look into Nityaklinna’s eyes as she asks you, as she asks all of us, “What do you desire?” . . .

Hear another question comes from the lips of Nityaklinna, “Where can you experience more compassion in life?” . . . 

“What do you want to be liberated from?” . . .

Commune with Nityaklinna to reclaim personal pleasure.  . . .  Pleasure is a birth rite.  

Lubricate the parts of you that have become brittle and dry with this practice of connecting to Nityaklinna, she who is always wet. . . .

See her their Nityaklinna, the goddess of wetness, the goddess who appears two nights after the new moon.  . . .

Say goodbye to Nityaklinna, this red goddess.. . .   See her walk away, knowing that you can call on her after the yoga nidra practice, perhaps tonight before you go to bed, or next month two nights after the new moon.

Let's revisit the affirmation that was used in the beginning of the yoga nidra practice, the affirmation of Nityaklinna, “I honor my receptivity.”  Repeat the affirmation three times with full awareness and the confidence that it will come true . . . .

Once again feel all the points of contact between the body and floor.. .  Feel supported across the entire body. . .  Feel the head supported, the shoulder supported, the arms supported,  the back supported, the legs supported.  Feel the whole body supported. . . .

Come back to the breath.  Extend the breath from the head to the fingertips. . . Now, extend the breath from the head to the toes. . . .

Make each inhale deeper and deeper. . .

Make each exhale fuller and fuller. . . .

Inhaling and exhaling deeply and fully. . . .  

Say to yourself mentally, “the practice of Yoga Nidra is now complete”. . . 

Keep the eyes closed and begin to wiggle the fingers and the toes. . .  Roll the wrists and ankles one way . . . and then in the opposite direction.  

Take any kind of intuitive movement the body is asking for with awareness of the geography of your surroundings. . . 

Roll over on the left side in a fetal position. . . .  In this position of rebirth and renewal think of anything or something you want to receive. . .  Don't overthink it. Maybe just the first thing that comes to mind. . . . 

Push yourself up to a comfortable seated position with hands in prayer, Anjali mudra . . . 

Join me in the chanting of Nityaklinna’s name.

Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha!

Om Nityaklinnyai  Namaha!

Om Nityaklinnyai Namaha!


Namaste!


Monday, April 20, 2020

Script: New Moon Yoga Nidra for Kameshvari (Kameshwari)


(This is a link to the recorded version of the meditation

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z1yvue0nvdi5fj9/kameshvari%2026%20mins%20revised.mp3?dl=0

when using this script for yourself or others, speak slowly, with lots of pauses giving people time to process the instructions)


Prepare for the practice of Yoga Nidra by lying on your back in Shavasana. If Shavasana is not appropriate, you can sit on a chair or on the floor. Perhaps with your back against the wall. Take whatever position your mind, body, and spirit tell you is an appropriate position for your guided relaxation practice today. Relax your hands and body with the palms facing up for receiving or down for grounding. Eyes can be closed or open with a soft gaze if you're tired or depressed. Slowly inhale and exhale through the nose. As you inhale, the belly rises. As you exhale, the belly falls. Completely relax the body from head to toe. Relax all organs, muscles, bones, cells, nerves. Everything's completely relaxed. On the inhale, inhale positivity, goodness, happiness, joy, and serenity. On the exhale, exhale negativity, anger, anxiety, stress, and intention. Feel more and more relaxed. Any thoughts coming in the mind, acknowledge and then let go. Let the universe take care of you. Tonight, the moon is new. It's the dark disk of the moon. This is the time when the moon is situated between the earth and the sun. And the illuminated part of the moon faces the sun and the dark side faces the earth. Tonight the moon is named Kameshvari. Kameshvari comes on the first night of the waxing moon. She comes when the moon is completely new. She is the goddess of desire and a form of Lalita. Take a deep breath in and on the exhale say, "Desire" and do this at least two more times. Kameshwari's moon is one of new beginnings, fresh starts and rebirth. (pause) When the moon is new, it makes a connection with the sun. This convergence creates a tremendous force. The powerful combination of the sun and the moon's energy helps our wishes come true. This is why we set intentions at the new moon. The new moon represents rebirth, renewal and new beginnings. It is during the new moon that we should begin new projects and activities. The energy of this moon assures us that they will be completed with success. The new moon is a time for introspection and looking within. Imagine a pitch-black, night sky with no lights. The dark sky of tonight's new moon. See the body suspended like a constellation that has not yet been illumined. A dark constellation that is suspended in the sky. The constellation that is suspended in the sky is the body. A body part will be named and when it is named, place a star on that body part, leaving it to twinkle there. Place a star on the right-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, wrist, forearm. Stars at the elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit. Place stars at the side of the right rib cage, right waist, right hip. Stars at the upper leg, kneecap, lower leg, ankle, heel, instep. Stars at the sole of the foot, the top of the foot, the right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, and fifth toe. And now the whole right side of the body is twinkling and filled with stars. And bring the stars to the left side of the body. And place the twinkling star on the left-hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger and pinky finger. Stars at the palm of the hand, back of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit, side of the left rib cage. Stars at the left waist, left hip. Stars at the upper leg, the kneecap, the lower leg, ankle. Stars at the heel, instep, sole of the foot, 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. Stay awake and aware and place a new moon, tonight's moon, the dark disk of the moon at the top of the head. A crescent moon at the forehead. A half-moon at the throat. A full moon at the heart center. A half-moon at the navel. A crescent moon at the sacrum and a new moon at the tailbone. And now see the body twinkling and filled with moons and stars. See the body twinkling and filled with moons and stars. And now release the moons and stars into the sky, into the universe, knowing that they're there to watch over you. And also knowing that we're beings of light and we're made of star-stuff. And now let go of the body rotation and bring awareness to the breath. Bring awareness to the natural breath. Breathing easily and naturally, not trying to change anything. Hreem is the most powerful mantra to connect to the divine mother. It is considered on par with Om for the goddess. It refers to the cosmic heart and can be used for all names and forms of the goddess. Hreem is pure, undifferentiated consciousness and the creative power of the infinite creator. Each letter of the mantra hreem, represents the different stages of manifestation, from the formless to the subtle body, to the physical body. All these stages together for the goddess. Chanting hreem will align you with Lalita Devi, primordial creativity, and the power to manifest the vision of heart. Hreem increases our aspiration and receptivity to divine light, wisdom and truth. Its pure vibration also has the ability to heal us. Begin inhaling thinking hreem and exhale thinking hreem; H, R, E, E, M or H, R, I, M. Inhale thinking hreem, exhale thinking hreem. Stay with the practice of mentally chanting hreem. Continue to mentally chant, "hreem". (pause) And now let go of the practice of chanting hreem and come back to natural breathing. Bring awareness to the Chidakasha, the mind screen in front of the closed eyes. Bring awareness to the Chidakasha, the mind movie. Notice if there are any patterns or colors there. Bring awareness to the Chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes and in that space see Kameshvari, the Goddess of Desire. She shares her soft, merciful smile with you. She is the color red, like 10 million dawn suns. A crescent moon rest at her eyebrow center. She is adorned with a diadem of rubies. She wears necklaces, belts, and rings. She has six arms and three eyes. And in her hands she holds a bow made of sugarcane, flowering arrows, a noose, a goad and a nectar-filled with bejeweled cup. One of her palms is facing up in Varada mudra indicating her readiness to grant favors or offered gifts. Her five arrows symbolized the desires of longing, maddening, kindling and enchanting and wasting. She asks you, "What are your personal desires tonight?" What would you like to share with her or ask her on her personal phase of the moon? How do the desires of longing, maddening, kindling enchanting and wasting fit into your life at this moment? Take some time to talk with Kameshvari, the Goddess of Desire, this lunar nitya, an aspect of Lalita. (long pause) And now say goodbye to Kameshwari. Let her fade into the Chidakasha, knowing that you can meet her later tonight. Perhaps before you go to bed or next month on the new moon. And now bring awareness back to the Chidakasha, the mind space in front of the closed eyes and let go of the visualization practice. And become aware of the natural breath. Bring awareness to the natural breath. As you inhale, the belly rises. As you exhale the belly falls. Inhale the belly rises, exhale the belly falls. And on the inhale, inhale positivity, goodness, happiness, joy, and serenity. And on the exhale, exhale negativity, anger, anxiety, stress and tension. And on the inhale, inhale the waxing moon and all its forms and phases. And on the exhale, exhale the waning moon and all its forms and phases. And let the universe take care of you. And see once more the moon goddess supporting, guiding and blessing you. (long pause) And begin to wiggle the fingers and the toes. Roll the wrists and ankles one way and then the opposite direction. And take any kind of intuitive movement the body is asking for, being mindful of your environment. And then find yourself in a fetal position lying on the left side, letting the right nostril be open to begin to energize you. Breathing in and out with awareness. Bring awareness to that right nostril and the right nostril breathing. Perhaps closing off the left nostril with a finger, Breathe with the mouth closed through the right nostril. And now let go of the nostril and say some words of kindness mentally to yourself, like, "good job" or "I love you." If this is difficult to do, imagine speaking to yourself as a small child. Or imagine you're channeling the voice of a beloved ancestor and they are speaking to a younger version of yourself. And when you are ready, push yourself up to a comfortable seated position with the palms at the heart center in Anjali mudra or you can use any other mudra that you've learned that feels appropriate for tonight's practice. Maybe Yoni mudra, Shakti mudra, Ida mudra. And join me for the chanting of "Hreem" for Lalita Devi. We will take a deep inhale and on the exhale we'll chant, "Hreem", the mantra of manifestation. Deep inhale. "HHHHHHHRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEMMMMMMM" Hari Om Tat Sat a

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Cultivating Safety in a Therapeutic Yoga Class or Workshop through the Yamas and Niyamas

In the group setting, the first step in welcoming the participants is taking an interest, making eye contact, learning names, playing appropriate music, and having appropriate d├ęcor (i.e.g., flowers, candles, creating an altar or absence of one). The choices should feel authentic to the therapist and support the client’s feeling that they are valued. Being knowledgeable about cueing, assisting, offering many carefully considered variations in practice, and knowing when to (and when not to) touch will help create a safe environment.

In a therapeutic yoga class where people share, ask the group to come up with agreements to follow, or the yoga therapist can start with their agreements and ask the group to add to them. This creates an interactive environment and keeps people engaged. When finished, the therapist should double-check that everyone is satisfied with the agreements and ask if there are any more to add. 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.

The yamas and niyamas are a wonderful beginning for establishing agreements within a therapeutic setting. The first yama, ahimsa (reverence, love, compassion for all , non-violence, reducing harm ) is an important step for group safety. Everyone in the workshop must agree to treat each other with gentleness, kindness, and compassion. No putdowns or abusive language by students or teachers will be tolerated. No unsolicited fixing or counseling will be tolerated. In addition, there will be no stealing or borrowing of possessions without permission.

The therapist should have everyone introduce themselves and encourage them to try to learn each other’s names. When a person is called by their name, they feel more valued, respected, and engaged in the conversation. But, the yoga therapist should not call a student out by name in asana class to criticize or praise them. If a student is in an unsafe position, the therapist can gently go to them and, in a direct and quiet manner, offer a prop or modification or teach the whole group the issue without singling anyone out. “. . . The experience of having your name said aloud in a trauma sensitive class can be shaming.”  When modeling asanas for the students, the therapist should use the most basic version of the posture so they are not intimidated. Hands-on assists or adjustments are contra-indicated in trauma-sensitive yoga.

The second yama, satya (truthfulness, integrity ) is expressed in asana practice by respecting one’s body and not going to the point of harm. The yoga therapist who should never push an individual or class beyond their limits or require someone to do something that makes them uncomfortable. They must allow students to abstain from activities and take breaks. In group or one-on-one discussions, the students have the right to pass if they don’t want to contribute to a conversation. In addition, what people share at the class or workshop should remain confidential. Group participants should use “I” statements when sharing beliefs and agree that what is shared should only come from personal experience. When speaking, they should never speak for others or make sweeping generalizations about groups of people.

The third yama, astheya (generosity, honesty , non-stealing ) can be used to form an agreement that when a person is talking, everyone else will listen and not steal their time. The group should practice “the art of 'extreme deep listening’ . . . beyond the words . . . listening to the tones; to the inflections; to the inferences — each subtlety of the sound. It's through these subtleties that you actually connect to the root understanding — what a person truly means; where they’ve come from to speak their words; what they’re intending with these words . . . “ 

The fourth yama, bramacharya (balance and moderation of the vital life force  and appropriate use of one’s vital energy ) can be explored by agreeing to focus on dignity, decency, mutual respect, and equality for everyone. The therapist must be clear that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. “Yoga teachers in a trauma sensitive context might want to dress conservatively to minimize any distractions and to minimize triggers.”

The fifth yama, aparigraha (awareness of abundance, fulfillment,  and non-possessiveness ) can be used to celebrate abundance and practice gratitude. The teacher should leave ample time for questions and concerns, and be open to suggestions.

When working with the first niyama, saucha (simplicity, refinement,  purity, and cleanliness ), the yoga therapist and students can both keep intentions for the workshop straightforward and pure. Intentions should be refined as the program goes on. The yoga room and personal space should be kept simple and clean. The yoga therapist should use trauma-sensitive language, “which tends to be concrete and gently brings attention to visceral experiences.”  They can focus on the language of inquiry using words like “notice,” “be curious,” “allow,” “approach with interest,” “experiment,” and “feel.” They can also use invitatory language that promotes choice and control and includes words like “if you wish to,” “when you feel ready,” and “if you like.”  When using Sanskrit for yoga poses, or Latin or Greek in anatomy, they should always include the layman’s definition; otherwise, the class may feel intimidating to the students who are not familiar with the terms.

Connection to the second niyama, santosha (contentment, being at peace with oneself and others ), can happen by enjoying the workshop but not at the expense of others. Bullying, shaming, violence, harassment, or hate speech should never be tolerated. The yoga therapist must be aware of their position in the room when teaching and rarely turn their back to the students. “A trauma-sensitive yoga teacher does not move around during the class very much, and students know where to locate her or him (no surprises!)”  The room should be kept bright; “dark or dim rooms tend to be more triggering than bright rooms.”  In addition, students should not be instructed to close their eyes during savasana or meditation. The yoga therapist should consult students when setting up or making any changes to the room and give them as much control as possible over the environment.

The third niyama, tapas (igniting the purifying flame  and practice causing change or heat ), can be accessed by staying engaged. The therapist can encourage the group to do the work of the class or workshop, challenge themselves, an encourage students to safely move out of their comfort zone, on and off the mat.

The yoga therapist can work with the fourth niyama, svadhaya (sacred study of the Divine through scripture, nature and introspection  and self-study/observation ), by encouraging everyone to do the best they can. They should think of everything encountered as an opportunity to learn, and allow time for self-reflection, journaling, and getting out in nature when possible.

The yoga therapist can work with the fifth niyama, Isvara Pranidhana (wholehearted dedication to the Divine  and devotion, surrender to a higher force ), by seeing everything as a manifestation of the Divine. They should remember what a privilege it is to practice yoga. “Yoga takes back to the beginning of our journey of becoming human; we spark the memory that we are first and always an aspect of the Divine.”

The world we live in does not provide us with a safe container inside of which we to play the game of life. The reality of life is there will always be problems, adversity, sadness, disappointment . . . . The more we experience in ,life, the more difficulties we may encounter. As Ramakrisna said, “When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.” And Paramahansa Yogananda taught, “If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.” As yoga therapist’s we can listen, advocate, educate, invite, offer, share, nurture, challenge, trust, hold space and honor our clients but we can’t fix them. We can’t do the work for them. Building resilience and creating safety is inside job, it begins with a desire, an inner longing to rise out of the mud of whatever adverse circumstances are holding us back and blossom the lotus of our being.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Tat Tvam Asi

Working on some charts for my upcoming Archetypal Yoga Therapy course.



Solar vs Lunar Consciousness


I am working on charts for my upcoming Archetypal Yoga Therapy eCourse.