The Heart: Deep Cuts

This month we have been exploring all of the basic aspects of the heart: the feelings, emotions and connections that it provides as well as the subtle energies of the heart chakra. But, there are still lesser known and deeper layers of the heart that Ayurveda and Yoga describe to us. These “deep cuts” speak to the expansive quality of the heart chakra as it relates to its element – air.

Continue reading “The Heart: Deep Cuts”

Put Some Fire into Your Yoga Practice

sun-1106981__340

“The wider practice of yoga is not about arranging our life so that it is perfect and easy and non-challenging. Rather it is about using the discipline we find in asana practice to be able to remain easy in the midst of difficulty. That is the true measure of freedom…” – Judith Lasater

As we continue our discussion about the 3rd chakra – the solar plexus chakra, I would be remiss to not include the concept of tapas. Tapas is often defined as heat. Yet it’s more ancient Sanskrit roots explain tapas has having the ability to remove impurities. In fact, the word tapas is used to define the process of heating alloyed gold until the debris is burnt off, revealing only the purest product.

Through the practice of yoga we can also use heat to burn away the nonsense and expose our true power. This does not just apply to intensive ashtanga, hot or vinyasa yoga forms. Any type of asana, pranayama or meditation can generate tapas.

This week choose a portion of your practice where you feel you need to apply more will power.

If you can’t sustain downward dog without stressing your shoulders, approach the posture through child’s pose and gradually build on the time you remain in downward dog until you feel stronger.

Maybe you can’t relax in savasana for more than 5 minutes. Use a timer to add one minute to each practice until you relish a full 10 or even 20 minute savasana.

By bringing more self-disipline into your practice, you will receive more confidence. This “I can do it” attitude leads to greater contentment. Ultimately you will find that when you persevere in your practice (and your life), you feel more balanced, purposeful and joyful. A little work will release your attachments and free up your consciousness for higher realizations.

If you are interested in learning more about the concept of tapas, click on this previous post: “Tap Into Your Strength.”

Be the Light!

Namasté, Kim 🕉

How to Nourish Energetically

Whether or not we allow them to, sometimes our desires dominate us. We think we need stuff – material possessions or status to feel good about ourselves. But the satisfaction is fleeting and we are still left for wanting more.

Instead, what we really need is to come home to ourselves. When you are feeling like you’re unfulfilled and life has no meaning, you may be needing to nourish yourself.

Continue reading “How to Nourish Energetically”

What has 8 limbs, is 5,000 years old and generates happiness and peace wherever it goes?

Well, yoga of course! 

Yes, yoga does have eight limbs. One limb for each aspect in the yogic system. These eight different appendages are called: yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana & samadhi. 

I am going to, briefly, identify each limb one by one so that you can get a better understanding of the full system of yoga. Western teachings/classes normally only focus on 1, 2 or 3 parts of the eight-limb system, namely the postures, breathing and some stillness techniques.

While there is no true order for understanding, the limbs do build upon one another and lead us to the goal of yoga: peace, truth and unutterable joy.

Continue reading “What has 8 limbs, is 5,000 years old and generates happiness and peace wherever it goes?”

The Subtle Energy of Yoga

Just about everyone knows what yoga is – even though you may have never practiced it. The bending postures are mainstreaming in all forms of media and the effects of yoga are touted far and wide. Yoga is known to be good for flexibility, strength and alignment. It’s postures have the ability to make you feel grounded, energized, empowered and relaxed.

I began the practice specifically for its physical benefits some 30 years ago but along the way have discovered how beneficial it can be at a deep energetic layer.

Continue reading “The Subtle Energy of Yoga”

Yoga and Essential Oils – A Journey

My journey in yoga began over 30 years ago when I signed up for my first yoga class.

I began the practice of yoga out of curiosity. After graduating college and relocating, I was on the lookout for an exercise class. A friend told me about a teacher in town who was excellent in the field of yoga. Hmmm, yoga. Well, I’d been a modern dancer and appreciated all types of movement classes in the past…

Initially I remember being very skeptical about the class’s slow tempo and the teacher’s mellow voice. Mostly, I could not believe that I didn’t get off my back for one full hour. But, after my first session with Donna Barbaro in 1985, I knew that yoga was more than it appeared. For starters, I was sure that I had grown 6 inches taller when I walked out of class that day. And on my way home, I didn’t have a care in the world. I felt a true sense of peace and contentment. All that stretching and lengthening really had an effect. I was hooked!

Looking back, more than anything I probably benefitted from the grounding quality of yoga at that phase of my life. I was a young, newly married woman who had just left her family, school and friends behind to come to an unknown place.

This was the mid eighties. Aerobics was the trend. But yoga captured my heart and soul.

My journey with essential oils began in 2016 when I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia – an inflammation of the 5th cranial nerve which can cause intense facial pain.

In an attempt to get relief, I contacted friend and acupuncturist, Kayo Malik, who runs clinics in Sedona and Maui. I began a series of acupuncture treatments with Kayo and it was at the first session I was introduced to Young Living’s essential oil blend, Peace and Calming. Up until this point, I wasn’t too familiar with essential oils and what they had to offer but I wanted to give all of the natural avenues a try.

So, outside of the clinic, and periodically throughout each day, I breathed a drop of Peace and Calming from my cupped hands. In conjunction with the acupuncture, the oil blend was surprisingly effective in quieting my outbreaks.

I later discovered that one of Peace and Calming’s main components, tangerine oil, contains certain esters and aldehydes which can be tranquilizing to the nervous system.

Having had this success, I wondered what else the field of aromatherapy had to offer my condition. In researching, I ran across many oils with the ability to soothe the nervous system. However, since I didn’t know the cause of my disorder-whether it was viral, bacterial or merely stress related, I felt the need to explore all of the possible avenues that these jewels presented. So, I purchased a Young Living starter kit and the experience was truly an eye…or should I say, a nose…opener. Along with regular yoga practice and acupuncture, essential oils were able to tame my fiery nervous system and eventually eradicate my neuralgia.

Since then I have been enjoying the benefits of essential oils in dozens of ways for my health and well-being. As a yoga practitioner, it seemed only fitting that I would begin to explore how essential oils could influence my yoga practice.

Most of the essential oil/yoga classes I’ve researched have you flowing through the postures with specific oils for warming up, others for sun salutations, for balancing poses, inversions, final resting postures – the list goes on. A single yoga class could involve 7 separate oils in the span of an hour. While I understand the significance of choosing a specific oil for a specific type of pose, I was overwhelmed with the task of applying and experiencing so many oils at one session. To me, it wasn’t logistical either as oil placement is key to the process.

Instead, I have opted to use just one oil per practice session. First, I select an intention so that I can focus on one particular energetic state that I want to develop during my practice. I have explored various qualities such as grounding, stimulating, focus, compassion, strength, perception, etc. Then, I select an oil known to complement that practice element.

I feel great support when I use the oils for a particular intention in my practice. It really sets the stage and amplifies my process. I realize that, energetically, I am connecting with my yoga more intensely and purposefully each time I incorporate the oils.

I would like to revisit the energetic system of yoga in my next post. While I have touched upon this in previous writings, I have learned so much more lately and feel excited to share my experiences with you!

Namasté, Kim

The Final Bell

“When you invite the bell to sound, you are sending your love, you are sending your greeting, you are sending your wish to the people who will hear the bell.  You wish that when they hear the bell they will stop suffering.  (You wish that) they will begin to practice mindful breathing and that they will find the energy of peace, the energy of joy that is within themselves.”  

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Dearest Students,

As teacher, I have invited you to hear the bell with my whole heart.  Over these many years, you have heard well. The sound of the bell echoes back to me now ringing true and clear.  We are all a part of the whole.  

The time has come for the yoga posts blog to end and a new adventure to begin. I will continue to carry along all of the experiences we have shared over the past few years. In teaching you, I have learned a great deal.  

As we go our separate paths, let us allow the bell to continue to ring from wherever we are to wherever we may go.  All we need to do is remember…

…with gratitude for the many blessings you have bestowed upon me. 

Namasté,

Kim. 

Using Essential Oils for Yoga Practice – Part III: Focus

Today, I am continuing with a series I started back in October based on the use of essential oils for yoga practice. I have connected this usage to the more subtle aspect of yoga, the chakras or energy complex.

In the past, I have posted frequently on the concept of the chakric system. Many books and articles explain how each chakra can be balanced or pacified. There are seven chakra centers that follow the body from its base to its crown. If you are interested in learning more about the general chakra system, click here

We will proceed with the manipura or solar plexus chakra. It’s the third chakra and is located below the sternum and behind the stomach. This chakra balances our willpower, harmonizes our personality and motivates and focuses us as individuals. With characteristics of the fire element, it fuels ambition and confidence.

Within yoga there are many poses that can help an individual to discover the powerful quality of this chakra: Warrior I,I & III, Trikonasana (triangle), Vasisthasana (side plank) or Natarajasana (dancer’s pose).

Continue reading “Using Essential Oils for Yoga Practice – Part III: Focus”