Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meditation.....with The Beatles

Last Sunday we had our free Meditation & Study group. We had a nice crowd considering it was a beautiful Sunday evening in Michigan.  Numbers tend to go down in the summer since we are usually cooped up in the winter, in the summer us Michiganders are outside as much as possilbe.

OK, enough about the weather, let's get back to last Sunday. In walks this smiling ittle man who told me his name was Sam.  Sam heard about Santoha Yoga from Fred, one of our students.  Sam has a booth at Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens where he sells incense, Buddha statues, things of that nature and that is how the two met. 

Sam was born and raised in India and has practiced yoga and meditation most of his life, so it was a honor to have him here.  He reminded me of the interviews I have seen of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama, always laughing and smiling and with that twinkle in their eyes.  You know the one I mean; where they know something we don't know. But we do know.  It really is no mystery if you think about it.  I am going to take a wild guess and say it might be the practice of meditation. Hmmmmm.
Sam went on to tell me that he was at a Ashram (a kind of spiritual retreat) back in the 60's.  In fact he was there at the same time The Beatles were there.  I will admit that I became a little star struck, the thought that at one time this constantly smiling man shared the same space, the same energy as The Beatles.  So I hugged him!  I had never met anyone who had met the Fab Four and it just seemed to be the thing to do.

Now I know that The Beatles dabbled in more than just meditation and I am not here to judge.  But remember they are the ones that reminded us that "all you need is love, is all you need, love is all you need....and just breathe.

P.S.  I am always telling anyone who will listen that this practice of yoga has brought the most amazing people into my life. What else would bring Sam from GTC, his Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Beatles and little old me together!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meditation.....have it your way.

When we think of meditation we usually think of the more traditional forms, like the pictures we see in books and magazines,  someone sitting straight and tall, hands and fingers in some type of configuration (a mudra) resting on the thighs or knees. Eyes closed with a look of peace and contentment on their faces.  And you would be correct to a certain extend. 

But there are other ways to help us calm our minds.  I recently read a definition of meditation in the book Buddhist Boot Camp which I think sums it up.  "Meditation is finding calm when the world is not calm".  How many times did I stress out even more when I thought I couldn't find the time to meditate? This is where operation meditation plan B comes in.

Take a walk among nature.  As you walk really sense the smells and your surroundings.  Take off your shoes and feel the sensations of the sand, the grass or even the sidewalk.  Goodness, there are over 7,000 nerve endings in our feet that connect to different areas of the body. 

Sit by a lake, stream, any body of water and you will find instant calm.  Find a wave and watch it as it takes shape, as it builds momentum and then disappears on the shore.  Let this remind you that that any craziness that is going on in your life will be like the wave as it comes to shore....soon disappearing.

Ride your bike as you feel a slight breeze on your face. Want a stronger breeze, go faster!  Try and match the rhythm of your pedaling to the rhythm of your breath.  Find a balance, calm.

When was the last time you sat and watched a sunset, I mean really watched it. Do this while holding hands with someone you love, both in total silence, and just feel the energy move between you, each helping the other to find peace.

Really, really short on time?   Close you eyes…and just breathe.

P.S.  Join us at Santosha Yoga the 3rd Sunday night of every month (which happens to be tonight) from 7 PM to 8 PM for our free meditation class. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

We Need to Stick Together Till the End

On Sundays I teach Yoga in the Park in downtown New Baltimore from noon to 1:00 (shameless plug, but maybe not since it's a free class).

As I walked to the spot where we meet, I got closer and noticed that there was a seagull lying on the ground, obliviously in some type of distress.  Other birds were around him, maybe 8 or so.  Two of them seemed to be arguing with each other or upset.  As the students started to arrive I steered them away from our friend and we started class.

As the students started to move and breathe, they seemed less concerned about our friend and more about their practice.  At one point in the class, someone motioned to me that the bird had died.  Thankfully Cindy Paparelli, the guru in charge of the New Baltimore Farmers' Market, happened to walk by.  Being as discreet as I could, I whispered to her what going on and she took our friend away.

Only after class was done and the last of the students were on their way home, did I reflex on what had happened and came to an interesting realization.  The other birds had left after the bird died.  They were there until he needed them, and then there were gone.  Birds are like us in the way that we bond and form relationships. 

We all need to be part of a family, a community, a network.  We need to be there for others as we need them there for us. 

The next time you see someone in distress, be there for them.  Not sure how to do that or what to say?  Just your calming presence will help them out and maybe remind them to.....just breathe.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Just for today....

Did you ever have one of those days (weeks, months) where you just can't seem to balance your mind, level out your emotions.

Sometimes all we need are a few little sentences that encourage us first thing in the morning to set a more positive tone for our day ahead. Meaningful words that when read or written down can adjust our thinking, or shift our focus (if needed).
Five simple sentences that can help lift stress dissolve anger, worry or negative thinking. Five refreshing sentences that when read or meditated on, can bring us closer to a more connected and inspiring way of life.

Below are the 5 Reiki principles that I have chosen to share with you today. Read them gently and slowly. Enjoy....and just breathe.

1: Just for today, I will not be angry

2: Just for today, I will not worry
3: Just for today, I will be grateful

4: Just for today, I will do my work honestly

5: Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing

P.S. Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) is a combination of two Japanese words meaning universal life energy. Reiki is an ancient laying-on of hands healing technique that uses the life force energy (universal energy) to heal and balance the subtle energies in our bodies (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual).