Put Some Fire into Your Yoga Practice

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“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 🕉

Ways to Regulate Your Inner Heat

In the midst of summer, many of us are feeling the power of heat or fire. Although we can’t control the weather outside, we can learn to balance our inner fire to make the external heat more tolerable.

For some of us, the heat of summer is especially intense because we get overheated internally. We get aggravated from the list of chores we need to get done, the people in our lives inflame us because they aren’t doing things the way we think they should be done or, because we just can’t find enough time in our day, we tend to burn the midnight oil – which creates even more heat. 

The primary way to get our inner fire under control is to balance the energy of the solar plexus chakra. If we can tame the fire within, we are able to cool and refresh ourselves both inside and outside.  

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Balancing the Fire of Ayurveda

The term ayurveda means the “science of life.” Its practice utilizes diet, herbs, bodywork, breathing and meditation in a holistic fashion for healing the body. Ayurveda teaches us how to harmonize ourselves with sunrise and sunset, the seasons of the year and the stages of life. Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences that grew up from the same root in ancient India.

Ayurveda recognizes that we all possess individual constitutional types or doshas in mind and body. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the specific doshas and the categories by which the science of ayurveda is designated. Someone’s dosha can be determined by their body type, their temperament or even by the kind of food, exercise and lifestyle they gravitate toward. Ayurveda can give us a better understanding of our unique nature.

As summer approaches and things begin to heat up, it’s a good time to consider the concept of Ayurveda and discover what the Pitta (fire) dosha has in store for us. The practice of ayurveda can help to alleviate any excess heat that we experience in these months because we all gravitate toward a specific dosha in certain seasons despite our natural inclination.

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Essential Oils for Nourishing

Energetically, we need nourishment. All of us experience emotional trauma and emotional hurts which get buried and may be difficult to access over time. Emotional trauma can cause the brain to be in fight or flight and this stress can lead to the loss of creative potential and a focus on fear rather than love.

Our sacral chakra is known as the self-abode and when balanced energetically, it has the quality to nourish us emotionally. Last week, I posted all about the 2nd chakra’s qualities and importance in overall health. Click here to check it out.

How can we create that energetic nourishment for our self-abode?

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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.

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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.

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Essential Oils for Grounding

I love this topic. The reason I started using essential oils was to get grounded, calm and more at peace. It’s also my main impetus for doing yoga. And, when the two worlds collide, it’s magic.

Energetically, the grounding oils can be used for stabilizing the root chakra. Check out my previous post for a good understanding of the importance of balancing this chakra. I am also hosting a zoom class on Yoga & the Chakras this Saturday where I will be joined by acupuncturist Kayo Malik. Together we will explore the energy behind the root chakra and ways to enhance its grounding quality.

To complement and expand on our upcoming zoom class, I thought I would speak more in depth about some of my essential oil recommendations for the all important root chakra.

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Holding On in Challenging Times

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If you are feeling insecure, unsure or fearful, you need to ground. This condition happens to all of us at one time or another. Transitions, major changes or traveling have the potential to uproot us. While we know that nothing is permanent, we still need something to hold on to.

The COVID pandemic has left many of us reeling, feeling unsteady and uprooted – from our routines, from our families and our friends, and from ourselves. We have had to wonder about how we are getting food, work, and for many of us, a roof over our heads. All of this scarcity has challenged our survival and sense of security. It has even led to anxiety and fear.

So, when we become upended, we know that it is essential that we gather our roots and establish ourselves again. But how can we do this?

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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.

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