Saturday, April 18, 2015

" Breathe ... "

“ ... A blue-black shade of love.
Sent from above.
My hands are tied, two worlds alone,
And this I know.
Your breath's like wine,
And just like clouds, my skin crawls.
It's so divine, the sky it glows with fields of light.

Did you know that I love you?
Come and lay with me.
I love you.
And on this day, I love you.
You make me feel alive,
And I'll love you
Until the end of time ... “

~ Angels & Airwaves ~ Breathe ~

The beauty of unifying breath and movement is truly majestic ... with the breathing techniques of Ujjayi pranayama, we can open a gateway, melt snow or ride the waves like a surfer.  What a wonderful visualization regarding prana (energy).  

Our familiarity with meditation and yoga, provides us a better insight on how the body, mind and breath connect.  Ujjayi Pranayama, or ocean breathing, links the physical and energetic universe.  This type of breathing technique, when applied correctly, can open you to unlimited energy.  Superficial breathe will carry you, but the depth you are looking for comes from the deep audible breathes.  The rhythm set by your inner waves.  

Breathing through the nose humidifies the inhaled air, tempers it and removes dust particles ... cleansing as you inhale.  Like a surfer who rides the waves of a real ocean, your inner surf carries from asana to asana.  And the quality of your breath is your guide.  

“ ... The murmuring Ujjayi sound causes the bronchi to vibrate subtly, activating the ciliated epithelium. Dust particles will also be removed from the lungs in this way. During normal breathing, the pressure on the bronchi during exhalation is quite modest. Ujjayi pranayama maintains steady pressure inside the bronchi, even during exhalation. This counteracts the collapsing of the smaller bronchi, allowing the exhalation to be expanded and the amount of residual air in the lungs to be reduced. This breathing technique is especially useful for people who suffer from chronic obstructive lung conditions or asthma ... “

practicing Ujjayi Pranayama (beginners)

  • Sit down with your spine upright and close your eyes. 
  • Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • When exhaling, produce the sound ‘HHHHHAAAA’.
  • From now on, keep your mouth closed while exhaling. 
  • Generate the same sound as before but this time with your mouth closed. 
  • The position of your throat is unchanged and natural. 
  • Make sure the sound originates from your throat and not from your nose.
  • Now maintain the same throat position while inhaling, producing the same murmuring sound.
  • Begin to balance your inhalation with your exhalation. 
  • Balance the sound, quality and length of your breath. 
  • You’ll probably notice that your exhalation is longer and stronger. 
  • Therefore, expand and emphasize your inhalation. 
  • This is the first way to expand your breath.
  • Feel your heartbeat. 
  • Inhale over approximately three to five heartbeats and exhale over the same amount. 
  • This is the second way to expand your breath during inhalation as well as exhalation.
  • Lift your arms while inhaling, and lower them while exhaling. 
  • The way your breath adjusts to the movement (Vinyasa) is the third way to expand your breath. 
  • Now let your hands rest in your lap while you let your breath flow. 
  • Experience the effect of your breathing. 
  • By expanding your breath, you absorb Prana (energy). 
  • You might even feel a delicate tingling in the back of your throat. 
  • As your practice becomes more refined and advanced, the quality of your breath will become more subtle and you will become more in touch with the Prana.
  • Concentrate on the turning point between inhalation and exhalation. 
  • Make sure you keep your breath flowing and your throat open. 
  • This is the basis for an ongoing flow of energy.
  • Now slowly open your breath and return to normal breathing.

“ life is a moving, breathing thing ...we have to be willing to constantly evolve ... perfection is constant transformation ... “

Monday, April 13, 2015

" Self - Inflicted ... "

“ ... Every bone's been broken
But my heart is still wide open

I can't stop, don't care if I lose
Baby, you are the weapon I choose
These wounds are self inflicted ... 

With each scar there's a map
That tells a story, what a souvenir of
Young love's like jumping out an airplane
Riding a tidal wave on an ocean of emotion
My heart rips me wide open ... 

These wounds are self inflicted ... “

~ Katy Perry ~ Self Inflicted ~

Community and connection … the heart of what lies at times of crisis.  That call on all of us to assess honestly what we are willing to give up, and how far we are ready to serve others.  

Serving others … I use to think that it was selfish when you had to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you help others.  I use to think that the inconvenience to ourselves outweighed the sacrifice to save another.  Yet sometimes our intention in the acts of sacrifice is not only the bond that connects us, but also the challenge to take good care of ourselves.

Let’s be honest … most of us agree to do more than we can really afford.  We try to build the relationship, support it, manage it.  Yet very quickly we learn how the scales tip out of balance when the willingness to make sacrifice is not reciprocal.  

And so we are on THE quest … for that place where we know when we are over-stretching, again … yet not closing off the impulse to serve, to help and to create community and connection through personal sacrifice for the overall good.

“ … our long term well being 
relies on the health of our community … “

We serve out of less-than-perfect lives … focusing on different tasks and taking care of other people’s needs that we forget to take care of ourselves.  We attempt to manage our roles, relationships and responsibilities … we move mindlessly from one thing to another, trying to fit it all in … yet what we need is balance … a balance between service and self-care.

“ … Studies have shown that couples that have a balance 
between ME time and WE time
are happier  … “

Self-care is the most compassionate act you can perform for yourself because you cannot give what you don’t have.  When we practice self-care we are better parents, offspring, siblings, friends and partners.  Because when we fill up our wells, we can future others while also enjoying the bliss of our own self-love.  

Drop limited beliefs about honouring your wants and needs.  Fulfill your potential and discover your purpose, your joy because self care  … allows for more sharing and nurturing because there is plenty to give without being depleted or exhausted … allows you to serve others well because you have acknowledged your own worth and cultivated ways to fill and refill your well.

The shift is necessary and is possible, when you chose to re frame your belief system and thoughts you have around self-care.  You can choose to let go of resentment of others.  You can choose to stop being a victim of others’ demands.  You can choose what you self-inflict ... and the result, experiencing joy in this present moment.

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Mindful ... "

“ ... in this weightless state
we form to become more mindful
connected to each other as one
the cycle completes 
our arms are lifted up
now we understand
to become more mindful
connected to each other as one
the cycle completes ... “

~ Born Of Osiris ~ Mindful ~ 

There is a new fad, and its called meditation also known as mindfulness.  Mindfulness is fairly new buzz word used to sell lots of ... stuff.  And as usual, the fad is marketed to you in a way that you can conveniently “fit it in” to your busy life.  

Yet what is at this heart-centre mindfulness?  Experienced meditators will say it is the notion of living for the moment, a carefree existence.  An appealing concept where most of our lives are full of chaos and yang.

With our environment becoming increasingly dis-tractable, meditation may well become a survival mechanism.  My truth is if I want to stay sane and healthy, I won’t be able to afford not to meditate.  

For many that are intimidated by mindfulness ... don’t know how to do it or for how long ... short stints of meditation can be transformative.  Trust me ... mindfulness can free you from the very thoughts you are trying to avoid.  

“Unhealthy thoughts can chain us to the past. We can, however, change our destructive thoughts in the present. Through mindfulness training we can recognize them as bad habits learned long ago. Then we can take the critical next step. We can discover how these obsessive thoughts cover our grief, insecurity, and loneliness. As we gradually learn to tolerate these underlying energies, we can reduce their pull. Fear can be transformed into presence and excitement. Confusion can open up into interest. Uncertainty can become a gateway to surprise. And unworthiness can lead us to dignity.” -- Jack Kornfield

And there is no “right” way to practice.  It is best to encounter each moment with a sense of starting again.  It is best to honour one’s own direct experience and not worry too much about whether this is what you are suppose to feel or see or think about.  

“If you practice this kind of trust in the face of insecurity and the strong habit of wanting some authority to anoint your experience with
his/her blessing, you will find that something of a deepening nature does happen along the path.” -- Kabat-Zinn

Let go of the preconceived notion that you will experience bliss.  Don’t even expect to feel better.  Just commit to the practice and LET GO.  Feelings of annoyance, boredom and even happiness may arise ... release them as they distract from the present moment.

"The answer to HOW is always in the present moment" -- Baptist Baron

With practice, you will hone the ability to stay neutral and objective by simply returning to the changing sensations of your breath.  This is where you realize that awareness of your busy mind is part of the practice.

" Research shows that being mindful can have tangible benefits, such as alleviating chronic pain and helping to curb depression and anxiety. Various studies have linked mindfulness practice to improvements in attention, eating and sleeping habits, weight management, and recovery from substance abuse. Research also suggests that mindfulness can help people cope better with heart disease, breast cancer, fibromyalgia, asthma and other conditions ... “

Practicing mindfulness in my everyday life has allowed me to understand the concept of self-acceptance ... and understand that we are messy creatures inclined to negative emotions at times.  It is of vital importance to me and my self-growth.  I find this to be perhaps the greatest appeal as it empowers me to ... step back, pause to assess the situation and recognize what I’m feeling.  This allows me to choose how to respond rather than letting my responses happen to me.