Monday, June 29, 2009

Clearing obstacles

Ganesha, the Hindi god, is the destroyer! The clearer of obstacles and provider of protection and guidance. Also: the lord of success.

I had a Kinesiology session on Saturday and pulled the Ganesha card from my Gaia oracle after I got home. An omen of good forture apparently this means 'whatever has thwarted your progress or prevented you moving forward will soon be resolved.' I think that is so symbolic of exactly what Kinesiology can do ... clearing obstacles, sabotages, blockages and fears, both conscious and subconscious. And allowing you the freedom to move forwards feeling calm and confident ... to achieve more than you'd dared dream!

What are you struggling with right now? In what ways are you feeling limited? Are you feeling fulfilled? Living your dreams? Or is that 'unrealistic'? Go within and listen. Here's the affirmation that comes with the card, why not say it yourself and make a wish ...

'I am protected and guided by a higher power
When the path is blocked, I take this as a sign to wait
I give thanks for divine intervention
When the path is clear, I move forward with ease
All that does or does not occur is for my highest good'

Friday, June 26, 2009

Holes


I still remember a story told by a yoga teacher in my ashtanga class a few years ago. It was a story about holes. She compared looking for clarity or change or personal growth to digging holes in the backyard looking for water.

We start. Soon we are bored. Clearly there is no water in this hole. So we start to dig another hole. Same thing. We can go on like this forever. We will never find water. However if we continued digging the same hole, no matter how we felt about it to start with, eventually we would get to water.

How can you do this? There are infinite ways. Kinesiology is one good one. In many ways it probably doesn't really matter which one you choose. Trust your instincts and intuition. You will know the right path for you.

Say not "I have found the truth,"
But rather, "I have found a truth"
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul"
Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path"
For the soul walks upon all paths
The Prophet,
Kahil Gibran

A committed approach makes the difference. I floated around with lots of bits and pieces of personal development type stuff for years. And my results reflected that. An endless cycle of kind of better but not really.

But in the end I really wanted results. I was sick of my stuff. I started going to yoga a couple of times a week. And I started seeing a Kinesiologist and went regularly (every few weeks and then once a month). And guess what, my life completely changed. And this is what I observe in my practice. Committed people create amazing change.

I think it's being willing and ready to change that makes the difference. Sometimes a little bit of luck and synchronicity help too :)

Image: holes, originally uploaded by BarelyFitz.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Finding Happiness

How easy is it to find happiness? What is it that you really need? I love this talk from Dan Gilbert. Here are some of his suggestions for achieving happiness ...

  • accrue wealth, power and prestige and lose it
  • spend as much of your life as you can in prison
  • make someone else really, really rich
  • never, ever join the beatles

You might have to watch the talk to get it!

On a similar theme, I liked what Chris Guillebeau wrote about all the things you don't need to be happy on his blog today. I particularly love the four things he says you do need. Especially the two answers. What are yours?

  • You need passion. You need to be absolutely passionate about what you believe in. If you don’t feel passionate about something, chances are you haven’t discovered it yet. Keep looking.
  • You need a vision and a task. The vision tells you where you are going; the task tells you what to do next.
  • You need the two answers. What do you really want to get out of life? How can you help others in a way that is unique to you?
  • You need commitment to stay the course. Most people give up at 5,000 hours; the winners continue to 10,000 and beyond. I liked what Seth said about the 3,000 posts he’s written: the first 2,500 were the hardest.

Go read the rest! Do you agree? What do you think is necessary for happiness? I would say love is most important for me ... or at least self acceptance. I'm not so sure about the vision and task ... especially the task, it sounds like work! I'll need to reflect on that some more. Certainly a sense of a higher purpose or destiny helps ... interestingly that has been coming up for a lot of clients recently.

The thing that I'm learning is that it's not always tied to what you're doing. It's so easy to get stuck on thinking 'I need to know my purpose' or 'I'll feel happy when ...' or whatever. Maybe your purpose is doing what you're doing right now in the most beautiful way possible! And you're missing it because you're too busy worrying about it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Base Chakra

The base chakra is red and located at the base of your spine ... it relates to issues of survival, safety and security and this includes our relationship to our family (or 'tribe'), money, work, housing and other life essentials. With a strong base chakra you generally feel secure and supported and can put in the hard work required to make your dreams a reality. It is about feeling grounded - essential to everything else in life!

Questions:
  • Do I feel in control of my life?
  • Do I feel grounded?
  • How is my home life? Do I feel safe, secure and happy at home?
  • How are my finances?
  • Am I creating what I want in my life?

You might like to choose one or more that jumps out at you and reflect on or write your responses. Then slowly and mindfully work through each of these asanas, with five breaths in each. They have a grounding effect. Pictures if needed.

Asanas:

  • Mountain pose (tadasana) - stand tall with feet parallel
  • High lunge (alana) - one foot is forward in a lunge position and hands above the head
  • Chair pose (ukatasana) - hands are upwards and parallel and knees bent into seated position
  • Tree pose (vrksasana) - sole of one foot rests on the inner leg (lower down is easier, higher up is harder) and hands are in prayer pose
  • Warrior pose III (virabhadrasana III) - kind of like a plane. Arms out to side and one foot outstretched behind you

Meditation:

Sitting with legs crossed. Arms are held in front of body as if holding a large box from the sides. Palms should be facing towards each other and elbows bent at 60 degrees. Focus eyes on tip of nose.

Chant ‘Hummee hum’ whilst at the same time moving the hands in a chopping motion towards each other and slightly down. Chant ‘Brahm hum’ whilst doing a second chopping motion, bringing the hands almost to touching. Continue for several minutes.

Mantra meaning: ‘Hummee hum brahm hum’ means ‘we are we and we are one’ (we are already everything we need to be).

Allow yourself to sit in silence for several minutes reflecting on your original question. See what comes.

Chakra practice


“I have so much to do today that I’m going to meditate for two hours instead of one” Gandhi.

I found this quote on the Quiet Mind Meditation blog today (go read what she wrote about it, interesting!) and thought isn't that so true ... whenever we're busy we think we can't possibly fit in time for meditation/yoga/whatever it is that will actually help us create some balance ... when in reality it would help us do everything else so much more easily.

Anyway, I do still struggle sometimes so join in with me and we can work through our issues together!

So I have put together a practice for each of the chakras including some questions to reflect on (either mentally or you could write your responses) to help tune you into the issues of the chakra and then some yoga asanas and meditation practices to help balance the chakra. See how you go.
Try each practice as many times as you wish. You can reflect on a different question each time. It should only take 15 - 20 minutes, depending on how long you spend in meditation. And we truly do all have 15 minutes in our day if we want to find it!

This might inspire you. When you practice meditation over a number of years you begin to open the chakras naturally and that releases some of the stressors held in each.

'You become aware of the emotional and spiritual lessons necessary to the proper functioning of that chakra ... the conscious personality begins to understand the reason for existing blockages'

Richard Gerber - Vibrational Medicine

However the conscious mind has a part to play! So that's why I'll include some reflective questions. And yoga helps to physically realign the body and allow energy to flow freely. Different yoga asanas help release blocks associated with each of the chakras too. You can find some pictures and descriptions of asanas here if you need them.

Remember this:

'Integration of mind, body and spirit makes healing possible. It is not enough to merely understand without action or to merely move energy without understanding. It is the integration of these two currents that creates the changes we see in our lives'

Anodea Judith - Eastern Body, Western Mind

I'll put up a new practice each week. If you do try it - even once - join the discussion and let us know how it went for you :)
* Meditation practices are variations from 'Meditation as Medicine' by Dharma Khalsa - recommended!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The world of water


The world of water, originally uploaded by Snap®.

Winter is Water element time! In Winter things start to slow down and it's a time where we can conserve our energies and build up our reserves ready for the action and activity of Spring. This can feel uneasy and bring up a lot of fears and anxiety. The water element is all about the balance between our fears and trust, particularly in our own intuition.

The water element is the colour blue and relates to the kidneys (fears) and bladder (control of the external environment). The sense is hearing, the smell is putrid and the taste is salty.

As with all the five element patterns, you might be primarily that constitutional type or it might be an imbalanced pattern you fall into at a particular time in relation to certain issues. The water element relates to your feelings about your potential and destiny. Do you feel like you need to achieve your inner potential no matter what? Or is your destiny out of your control and down to fate?

The pattern of the Water element type is to try and control your fear and anxiety. This can make you react in two main ways. You might be completely driven. You feel like you can never stop and rest - that you MUST keep going no matter what ... even though deep down you know it's not doing you much good. If you're like this the idea that you're racing around because you're 'afraid' is probably horrifying to you! It's not that! It's just that you have so much to doooo, and besides, you'l be able to relax once you have sorted out that job or house/have enough money/know what's going to happen next.

The other option is to freeze or hide away. You might feel that you have no real control over your life, that fate will decide what happens. When things start to get challenging you begin to withdraw ... from yourself and everyone else and go inwards to worry. Once again - you'll probably deny that too!

If you're a water type person you're probably clever ... and think a lot. In balance you might be very intuitive and have great instincts that you know you can rely on. You have an inner sense of safety and security and use your wisdom wisely.

The water pattern is never more obvious than when you are faced with either the slowing down of life as we move into Winter ... or dealing with unexpected new events that are out of your control. How do you feel? If panic and anxiety come up remember ... go inside rather than reacting to fear. Meditate. Breathe. Connect to your instincts and intuition. The answers are always within you.

This post is part of a series on the five elements. Why not go back and read about Fire, Earth and Metal. The final part - Wood - will come in Spring. Do you particularly identify with one of the elements?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Chakras

So I've been doing some research on the chakras, yoga and sadhana - which is basically a daily practice that is ideally done early in the morning. Every night I fully intend to get up for this and every morning I think ten more minutes sleep (and then ten more) is just what I need. But I'm really going to try.

This is what Claire East who wrote 'Chakras for the 21st century' has to say about chakras:

‘Chakra is a sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’. Each chakra is an energy centre, a vortex that draws spiritual energy into our self. Chakras are spiritual centres of light held within our energy field, within our aura.’

You probably know there are seven main chakras and there are particular issues that relate to each one. You might not be aware there are also specific glands and hormones connected to each. The chakra system kind of acts as an interface between the physical and etheric body. For example your hormones can affect your emotions via the chakra system ... and vice-versa.

According to Anodea Judith who wrote 'Eastern Body, Western Mind' our chakras affect:

‘Glandular processes, body shape, chronic physical ailments, thoughts, and behaviour. By using techniques such as yoga, breathing, bioenergetics, physical exercises, meditation, and visualisation we can … influence our chakras, our health and our lives.’

That is a lot of stuff! If you're not the quotey type, she's just saying that the chakras affect lots of stuff on a physical and emotional level and by using yoga, meditation and other tools - you can actually balance the chakras yourself.

So I'm going to share the practices I collected and came up with in a bit of a chakra series. That way you can join in with me. I mean - if you're doing it, I will totally have to. I'll start with the Base chakra very soon.

ALSO - it's now Winter! And Winter means Water time according to the Chinese five elements. Water is all about FEAR ... and also intuition. Can you slow down to meet the season ... and go within ... without panicking that everything is stopping? Can you let go of control? More on water in my five element series soon.