Om Tat Sat - Supreme Absolute Truth
I am so thankful for you. For the way that you smile and love life. You have a way of being that is unique and so beautiful. This way allows the light to shine through and encourages with unconditional love. Maybe you feel different about yourself than how I see you. Maybe you feel wrong or out of place in some way. You question your actions and words and even your truths. It's ok, your still getting to know yourself. You're so concerned with everyone else's opinion that you have forgotten mine. And then of course there's your own opinion which includes all the "stuff" that gets in the way of you truly shining. You look to others to be your strength and to give you stability. What if you could do that for yourself. You've learned to protect because at some point you had to. The armoring that you've created makes you feel safe when in reality it only serves to help you become those things that you are afraid of. Perhaps you can feel how that fear separates you from God, from life itself. At times you may find yourself so self absorbed in "this is me" that you cannot find the love that you so desperately seek. And seeking you are my love. Maybe it's time to ask your self “Is what I’m seeing really true?” Perhaps now is the time to dive deeper. Deeper still... into the space underneath the noise, underneath the many voices inside and outside telling you who you are. Go to the gem that sits in the deepest part, She is the One that holds the wisdom you seek. You’ll find her in the space between, in between where you and life have become separate. Your desire to know her is great. It is your desire to know who you really are. To know this mighty, exceptional and extraordinary being within you. This is a new perspective for you and here you will find that all things are possible. Everything that you need exists in this place and when you are here you are connected to everything. Here you can find an answer to every perceived problem and the world becomes new. You find that your most important work for each day is just to meet the world with kindness and love. So, stay your course my dear one and know that you are not alone. Make those decisions that may not be easy but are healthy. The ones that may not always be pleasant but they are helpful. Cut through all that noise - the answers are here. Here is where I am waiting for you.
Om Tat Sat - Supreme Absolute Truth
These days of fall have me diving deeper into the science of Ayurveda, pronounced A yur ve da.
In this ancient sister science of yoga there are three Dosha's or elements; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Dosha is often translated as your physical constitution or body type and is represented by the elements earth, water, fire, air and spaciousness. In Sanskrit (ancient language of India), dosha is defined as "that which contaminates" or disease causing agents in the body. In other words an imbalance of vata, pitta, or kappa dosha will cause disease in your body and when there is balance between these three dosha's health exists. As well as the dosha's in relationship to your body there are dosha's in the seasons. Autumn is Vata Dosha and is represented by air and space. Perhaps you've notices lately how spacious the views are now that the leaves have blown off of the trees. Pitta Dosha season is summer and is represented by fire and water, often referred to as transformational qualities. The Kapha Dosha which represents the earth and water is the densest of the three elements and shows up in winter and early spring. With Vata season upon us the weather is turning cooler and dryer and this can upset your Vata Dosha regardless of your constitution. So here are some simple Ayurvedic tips for staying grounded and healthy as we move into winter:
Click on the link below to discover your Ayurvedic body type.
Transforming darkness to nectar
Yoga is one of the six fundamental paths in India called Darsana, which translates “to see” or “sight”, “view”, “point of view”, or even “a certain way of seeing”. One way to understand this, described by D.K.V. Desikachar in his book The Heart of Yoga, is to see a mirror that you use to look inside yourself. Like this, yoga gives us a way of seeing, that allows us the opportunity to better recognize ourselves. We naturally will look deeper inside ourselves as we progress down the path of yoga. Sounds kind of…scary. Who wants to look deeper inside, that’s where we hide all of our “pain” right? Fears, anxiety, anger, hatred, jealousy, insecurity, and…should I continue? But what about happiness, and joy, and experiencing your heart and the stillness that lies there? Mark Nepo asks in Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, “Can you softened your pain till it forms a nectar in your heart? Have you eaten of this nectar? Can you search for the pain softened in others and eat of their nectar? ” Here in Colorado we get to enjoy those incredibly juicy peaches from palisade, can’t you just taste the luscious nectar inside? The famous composer Beethoven, lost his hearing at a relatively young age. He was in deep despair over the progression of his hearing loss and how it was effecting his gift of music. On October 6, 1802, he writes a letter to his brothers confessing to them his deep despair and loss of interest in continuing on this journey of life, and that he was actually considering suiside. In a way this letter was both a surrender to and acceptance of his gift and his loss. He never sent the letter and resolved to live finding the nectar in his pain, and bringing that nectar through his incredible gift of music. The letter was found shortly after his death in March of 1827. This kind of work requires going into the fire in a sense. But how? “It is said that the souls intent on living will reach deep into their wound and bring out the fire living there, which out in the open turns to light. It is said that those intent on making things better will reach deep into their minds and bring out the fire there, which out in the open turns to truth. It is said that those who love like rain soothe every fire” (again ~ Mark Nepo). Through your practice of yoga you courageously reach into the fire. As you surrender to each breath, you stand in front of the mirror that allows you to see inside yourself. This process done again and again softens the pain and transforms it to nectar. I hope your mouth is watering at the thought. Won’t you take that first step? It’s so juicy…
Om Shanti - Peace
Happy New Year,
For as long as I can remember I have loved hearts, they are the one thing that I collect. I have a kind of rule that wherever I am, if I find a heart it is a sign that I am exactly where I am meant to be in that moment. I love this game and I believe that the heart is my Dharma (life's purpose). I long to know true love and see all beings as one. I don't know if I would consider myself to be a religious person but I do have a deep respect for the different traditions that follow the heart. Dearest to my heart is Christ, who to me represents a heart that is awakened to a kind of love where all are welcomed and not judged. In my home I have a picture of Christ hanging on the wall where we have our Christmas tree placed this year. I didn't conscously plan for Jesus to be above the tree but it's kind of cool that it turned out that way. Anyway, in the center of Christ's chest is a vibrant red heart that is radiating with a powerful heart energy. When I look at this picture I feel the power behind the heart of Christ, the Dynamic, Spiritual Heart. In Sanskrit this is called Hridaya , hrid - center, ayam - this. This center in the human body is the seat of Pure Consciousness, realized as Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. On the path of yoga this is really what we call the seat of God in us, the Self or our soul.
The word yoga simply means union and the ultimate goal of yoga practice is a re-union with the Self (soul). Yoga is a tool we've been given to help awaken the memory within us of who we really are. To remind us of how wonderful we are, how good we are, and how worthy of whatever we are longing for we are. It is my deepest hope that together we can discover a deeper meaning of the Self in this coming year and dwell more fully in the cave of the Heart.
Here is a great informative article on coffee from joyful belly.
From self-consciousness to self-awareness.
Yoga and self-awareness go hand in hand. In fact you might say that yoga’s purpose is to bring you into a greater sense of self awareness or self knowledge. Sometimes self-awareness and self-consciousness are used synonymously in fact this very subject has been coming up for me lately. Self-awareness is the ability to look inside and to recognize oneself as an individual being that is separate from the environment around you and other individuals. When feeling self-conscious we become preoccupied with the smallest details of our actions and how others might be perceiving them. With thoughts like “is everyone looking at me” and “what are they thinking” we might be coming from a place of low self-esteem or embarrassment of who we are rather than self-awareness. When we are in a state of self-awareness we are noticing details but in a much different way. Have ever been in an accident and experienced everything happening in slow motion? This is a heightened state of awareness. With practice we can learn this heightened state and find the space to actually interpret our thoughts and emotions rather than falling into the pattern of self-consciousness.
From the ancient tradition of yoga we learn that to truly be in a state of self-awareness we must learn to quiet the mind. The breath has been used universally as a link for developing self-awareness. In fact the beauty of unifying breath and movement, or life, is Yoga. For thousands of years the word yoga has been emphasized as union, oneness, and love. When we step into a this type of awareness we move outside of our thoughts and notice a different perspective. We may begin to notice our personality, our strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, values, motivation, emotions in any given moment. We learn to notice where our thoughts and emotions are taking us without judgment. This gives us the opportunity to change the thoughts and interpretations of our mind. When we change the interpretations of our mind we can begin to change our emotions. Now we decide how we will behave and respond, we choose our actions. With this type of awareness we are victorious.
Ujjayi pranayama (pronounced oo-jai), is an ancient yogic breathing technique that helps calm the mind and body. Commonly translated as “victorious breath,” Ujjayi is a diaphragmatic breath which first fills the lower belly, rises to the lower rib cage, and finally moves into the upper chest and throat. Air enters the lungs and the belly expands during this type of breathing rather than the chest.
Experience it here… (You can practice this as you read or have someone slowly read you the following text aloud and put in a break after each section.):
Each of us is already infinitely wondrous--
miraculous, awe-inspiring, unfathomable
(Divine if you prefer)
Our wondrous nature is the same as the infinite wonder of the universe.
We experience this infinite wonder by waking up to reality.
~ Quote from Gita in a nutshell #4
You may have heard about cleansing and just how good it is for you. So what now? Should you really take time out of your busy schedule to cleanse? And if so, how do you actually do a cleanse? Ayurvedic cleansing is simple and easy and can be done in the comfort of your own home. Use the information below from Banyan Botanicals to start unlocking the vast potential of your health and well-being.
Why to do a Cleanse
You may already be taking care of yourself by eating healthy food,
doing yoga and exercising. So why do you need to do a cleanse? Because prevention is the name of the game, and even the finest instruments require tuning on a periodic basis. A cleanse based on Ayurvedic principles allows your body the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate, as well as remove toxins that may have accumulated in your system.
Most of us have some exposure to unhealthy toxins in our food, water and environment. Poorly digested food can further add to a build-up of toxins, which Ayurveda calls ama. This toxic build-up in the system causes sub- optimal performance of your body’s tissues and organs, right down to the cellular level. Signs that toxic residue has accumulated in your system may include a heavy coating on your tongue, sluggishness after you eat, foggy thinking, and joint and muscle aches.
Cleansing starts the clean-up process and leaves you feeling lighter and refreshed. The benefits from doing even the simplest cleanse can be powerful.
An Ayurvedic cleanse can help:
There are a variety of ways to cleanse. Ayurveda’s full cleanse is called Panchakarma, which can be done with a trained practitioner. However, a simpler, less involved yet highly effective version of this is to do a whole foods cleanse at home, which is what we describe here.
How to do a Cleanse
Just a few easy steps form the foundation of your cleansing experience:
1. Mono Diet
Kitchari for breakfast, lunch,
and dinner. Kitchari is considered
a nutritionally whole food. Made
from rice and yellow mung dal, this very basic Ayurvedic combination is considered one of the easiest foods to digest, allowing the digestive system to rest and reset while giving your tissues nourishment and sustenance. It is important to have cooked, easy
to digest foods during a cleanse because this allows the body to turn its attention from breaking down your food to actually mobilizing and getting rid of toxic build-up. Make your kitchari with digestive spices like turmeric, cumin and ginger, which not only add great flavor, but also kindle the digestive fire and boost the immune system. Add some ghee as internal oleation helps loosen toxins. And finish the recipe with fresh seasonal vegetables of your choice, giving you valuable fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. Learn how to make kitchari with our video at www.banyanbotanicals.com/kitchari
Sip hot water and hot detox tea.
Hot water kindles the digestion and also helps naturally flush toxins from the system. Sip hot water throughout the day, and also hydrate yourself with plenty of room temperature water if needed, but avoid cold, iced drinks and caffeine. Start and end your day with a cup of an herbal detox tea. If you want, you can make it at home with fresh spices like cumin, coriander, fennel and fresh ginger.
Leave at least 5 hours between meals. This affords ample time for digestion and allows the body to remove the toxic stores that have been tucked away in the tissues for long periods of time. For this reason, try to avoid snacking. If you are ravishingly hungry, go ahead and have a snack that incorporates the same ingredients as the kitchari, and eat a larger portion at your next sitting to hold you over between meals. You may find that this gets easier with time.
2. Self Oil-Massage
This incredibly nourishing treat for yourself also serves a vital role in the cleansing process. It helps mobilize toxins from the tissues while also calming the nervous system so that the body can move from stress-fighting functions to rejuvenating functions. Only in the parasympathetic rest and relax paradigm can the cells repair themselves, bringing healing to the body and a renewed state of well-being.
Using warm oil is key in the massage, as this allows the oil to more deeply penetrate and nourish the tissues. Plus it feels good!
video at www.banyanbotanicals.com/sm
The final key for any cleanse is to, well, CLEANSE! A gentle home cleanse does not have to include harsh purgatives. The most important thing is to give the body the opportunity to flush the toxins with regular, healthy bowel movements. Triphala helps gently support this type of cleansing while also being a powerful source of anti-oxidants. It rejuvenates the tissues, leaving you feeling lighter and revitalized.
Take 2 tablets at bedtime. Alternately, if you prefer the traditional method
of powder, take 1⁄2 tsp at bedtime with warm water, or steep in hot water at bedtime and drink in the morning. Adjust your dose as needed according to your body’s response.
When to do a Cleanse
Ayurveda traditionally recommends cleansing at natural transition points, such as the change of seasons. As the body shifts gears to adjust to the changes in the environment, a cleanse supports a gentle removal of the build- up from the passing season, allowing the body to more easily adapt to the incoming season.
However, a gentle home cleanse can be done at almost any time that suits your schedule, whenever you feel the need to reset your digestion and remove toxicity. Make time to allow yourself to slow down and experience the benefits of the cleanse, rather than maintaining a hectic, stressful daily routine that may have contributed to the toxic build-up in the first place.
If you are new to cleansing and just want to give this a try, you can start with a mini one-day cleanse. Even this is enough to give your digestive system a break, boosting the immune system, balancing doshas and removing unwanted residue. If you are ready to really experience the benefits of the home cleanse, commit to a three- to seven-day process, following the same
routine on a daily basis. Add some gentle yoga and journaling to deepen your cleansing experience and to gain insight into your healing process. During this time, you may feel ups
and downs, but stay with it, and you will definitely experience the uplifting benefits by the end-in body, mind and spirit.
Once you have finished the cleanse, gently and consciously reintroduce activities into your daily routine,
as quickly jumping back into your previous habits will be a shock to the system, rapidly re-building toxins and imbalancing doshas.
Take some time to re-introduce other elements back into your normal diet, waiting a few extra days if you can to have heavier foods like dairy and meat. If there are previous habits that you know weren’t serving your health, now is a great time to let them go. And if you found portions of the cleanse beneficial, like the self-massage or Triphala, feel free to incorporate them into your long- term daily routine.
The days that follow a cleanse are a great time to start taking rejuvenating herbs and formulas like Ashwagandha and Chyavanprash. They will continue to nourish the system and bolster energy and vitality. Take Ashwagandha before bed (2 tablets or 1⁄2 tsp boiled in a cup of milk with sweetner to taste). One or two teaspoons of Chyavanprash can be taken most anytime up to 2x daily.
To read more about cleansing, download our Ebook at www. banyanbotanicals.com/cleansing_ ebook. Enjoy your renewed sense of health and well-being!
Wa g'wan me Sistas and Bruddas,
That's how you say hello on the streets of Jamaica. Ahhhh Jamaica, my sweet home away from home. Summed up in a few words...simple, raw, beauty. I see and feel simple, raw, beauty, in the land, the air, the sea, and the people. When I am there I feel waves of Om Shanti (universal peace) seeping in and flowing through from head to toe.
It’s in part my experience in Jamaica that has led me to ask myself how can I stay tuned to the raw simple beauty of life, and the peace and joy that that offers here at home where there are so many distractions. I have to take a moment to recall my steps as my feet touch down on Jamaican soil. First things first I put my phone on airplane mode, that takes care of that obvious distraction, I am transported by a car that I do not own, I have everything I need in one suitcase, I eat what grows on the island and lives in the sea, the ocean creates a rhythm of give and take as it continually washes up on the sand, and the cool breeze is blowin my cares and worries away all day long. All I really feel the need to say to a passerby is "wa g'wan me brudda/sista" and "ya mon".
I realize with some dismay that I am the one who complicates my life. My unnecessary attachment to things, thoughts, and ideas is what creates stress and unrest in my life. If I want to see a change I have to make some changes in my life. In the four months since our trip to Jamaica I find myself more determined than ever to experience that freedom and bliss (moksha) in my daily life. Through my daily meditation practice I am discovering that what lies beneath the complications and distractions that I create is in fact bliss.
Deepak Chopra stated at his recent Global Peace Meditation, "that if we can hold it in our minds we can hold it in our hands". As a way of holding the intention for complete peace, freedom, and joy, I have begun to create a vision board around Moksha. My Jamaican land is definitely a part of it and the mantra OM Shanti is at the core. Some lifestyle changes are taking place and seeds are being planted to cultivate peace. I am excited to see what's magical and beautiful and to share that with you.
PEACE - The Final Frontier
Love and Light,
Sound Healing is an effective and proven modality that uses vibrational sound to help reduce stress, alter consciousness and create a deep sense of peace, well being and better health.
During our waking state, the normal frequency of our brain waves is that of Beta. Sound tools entrain the brain to move into the deeper Alpha and Theta brain wave frequencies. These are the frequencies that induce deep meditative and peaceful states, clarity of mind and intuition. Modern medicine can now measure and thus confirm the practice of sound as a means to promote healing. Thus, sound is a type of energy medicine that creates the sacred space in which people can heal from stress disorders, pain, depression, the emotional roller coaster and more.
Ancient instruments, including Tibetan singing bowls are 'struck and sung' in specific rhythmic patterns to create vibrational sound harmonics at the frequency of "AUM" or "OM". This sound frequency known as that of Perfection impacts the sympathetic nervous system as your brain waves synchronize to the vibrations of the bowls. The harmonic vibrations engage the relaxation reflex and slow down the respiratory, brain and heart rate and disrupt the pain reflex creating a deep sense of well being. Some work with gongs, toning, color and visualizations may be integrated into your session to help move energy.
The role of 'intention' in healing is a strong one. When combined with sound, intention, in the form of mantras, prayer or affirmation can greatly increase the vibrations and thus effect the healing.
Among the many benefits are relief from pain, stress- related conditions and the ability to alter ones consciousness. It is an integral part of healing the effects of chemotherapy, reduces pain and discomfort from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, After sessions people experience improved memory, clarity, vitality and the ability to take action. Many report out of body experiences, a deep sense of tranquility, sleep soundly and feel the effects of the treatment for several days.
What does the sound from the bowls actually do? It puts your physical, emotional, and spiritual energies back into alignment. When these energies are aligned, the needed energy balancing or chakra balancing creates the perfect container for healing.
Ancient singing bowls come from different areas in the Himalayan mountain range, such as Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. Although their exact age is not known, many of them have been dated back hundreds of years. Made out of a consecrated 7 metal alloy prayers and mantras were chanted to them during the process of their creation. So, these bowls have the sacred energy of the prayers imbued in them. Additionally, the old bowls were made with the intention of healing or transforming consciousness.
Another important aspect of the Himalayan bowls is that they work on a fundamental level. That is, their vibrations work on all levels (spiritual, physical and emotional) so they treat the whole being rather than just one energy center or part of the body. Many people report that in additon to pain relief and they come off of the emotial roller coaster and feel a deeper sense of happiness and wellbeing.
The crystal bowls are made by pulverizing crystals found in the earth. Each bowl is fashioned to be in sync with one specific area of the body. In this way they can be useful when addressing a particular area or condition in the body and can work well when combined with Tibetan bowls.
How do the vibrations from the singing bowls help in the healing process? It is my belief that all disease is, at its core, a mis-alignment of energies. I also believe that our cells, muscles and organs store blocked energy from past and present mis-alignment and this manifests as dis-ease or disease. There is only so much one can do by thinking and talking. Energetic work such as vibrational sound that directly accesses the cellular memory is needed to release blocked energy and bring the body back into alignment. In a sense it creates the conditions in which healing can take place and in doing so speeds up the process.
Sessions last approximately an hour and take place fully clothed on a mat on the floor. Bowls can be placed and played all around your body, head and on your charkras(energy centers). When taking place in a group the bowls will be at the front of the room. Please wear comfortable clothing without buttons, zippers or jewelry.
Our next meditation will be Thursday May 15th 5:30-7 pm. Doors open at 5pm.
~Saute garlic, leeks, scallions, peppers, mushrooms to hot oil, season with any fresh herbs you are using today.
~Add the rest of vegetables. Adding the leafy greens 1st and letting them simmer down is helpful.
~Add any vegetable water (if you've chopped the night before and stored vegetables in water), mushrooms and mushroom water to the broth.
~Cook for 10-15 minutes. Salt to taste.
My spiritual name is Sivakami, which means... one who desires transformation and/or one who transforms desires. I live in Rifle, Colorado where I teach yoga, create art and love life. I would love to hear your comments.