Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 30 - Meditation Solstice weekend & Super Full Moon

Today is the day, we made it, day 30 (yeaaaaa!).  Congratulations to all who joined us,  please continue to enjoy and keep up with your practice.  We began this on a powerful weekend and the end is on the Sumer Solstice weekend and Super Full Moon (tomorrow).  This is a perfect time for meditation.  While we have so many options of Mantra, Japa, Zazen, Tratak, Yantra, Nada, Chakra, and many more for today's tip I would like to conclude with my favorite meditation which I call an attitude of gratitude.  Please sit in your meditation inhaling each breath as an offering of gratitude for every blessing in your life, for every challenge in your life, for every person, and everything. 

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything.  What we think we become.  ~ Buddah

While many of these tips have been simple enough for most people to attempt, meditation practice can be powerful and indepth.  As I mentioned before, for those looking for more guidance please find a guru or teacher who can lead you with the proper pronunciation of mantra or various other methods.  Many different amazing options including Art of Living (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), Sivananda, Osho, Sri Dharma Mittra, Zazen Buddhist Meditation at Zendo, Ishta with Alan Finger, and perhaps if you like Riya Yoga (with myself, Ambria).  There are plenty of options to embrace the practice of yoga & meditation, be consistent, be grateful and always enjoy the journey.  Please remember to be conscious of the things we watch, read, listen to etc., they call it television programming for a reason, it is hypnosis and we often times are far better off sitting in meditation than watching much of the programming out there.  Thank you for joining in this worldwide Sangha ~ Namaste

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dreams of Ashrams, Goddess, and being a Renunciate

Lately I am noticing so many people talking to me about deep insecurity related to their physical appearance.  These people are often times women.  While we live in a world that places much emphasis on a woman's exterior beauty, are we forgetting the inside beauty?

Physical attraction is very important for human connection sometimes, it sparks sexual energy, awakens the second chakra and that is when we find what is commonly referred to as "chemistry".  With indepth study of chakras we soon find out this "chemistry" the kind that lasts, is more than exterior beauty, but rather energy.

In my view women are all Goddesses, regardless of shape, size, color, hair, etc., women are created as Goddess.  In India Goddess is respected highly, Mother is our first guru, in yoga we understand Kundalini rising is the feminin dormant serpant, the creative and passionate Shakti.  While in India and many parts of the world there is the sad reality of crimes against women or chauvanism, we are evolving.

When i notice the spread of female Yogis, and female energy that is saturating media, I only pray and hope that we as a planet always maintain our respect for women.  Also while many women are embracing the feminist movement, always remember it is a beautiful thing to embrace the simple beauty that is in our intrinsic female nature, the allure of our curves, the nurturing aspect of our heart, the intuitive aspect of our mind, the blessing to be able to bring life into the world, and much more.

So while all this has been on my mind, and lately I am inspired to go back to India and spend some time in an ashram, I had a dream.  In the dream I was loving being in the ashram, practicing yoga, meditating, doing karma yoga, etc.  One night while I was asleep some women decided to shave my head.  Sadly this could actually happen because I am a deep sleeper.  When I woke up I noticed my neck felt different and head felt cool, soon enough I realized my hair was all gone.  When I entered the ashram to practice, everyone was shocked and most thought I shaved my head myself.

Somehow there was drama created around the situation and I explained to the director that I did not in fact shave my head, it was done to me.  We had a big meeting, and when no one came forward to admit to doing this,  I stood in front and said, while you may think an Indian woman's beauty is in their voluminous hair, or alluring eyes, the curve of her hips, actually the beauty of an Indian woman and beauty of every woman is in her heart.  I am thankful for this new look, because now I do not have to tie my hair back during practice, my headstand is a different experience, and I feel less heat.  The Swamis did not really know what to say, and it was almost as though time stood still.  The very next day every woman in the ashram came to practice with a shaved head.  It was amazing!  It was like "Mean Girls" the film meets Ashram Life.

I am sharing this dream and post because I see how media is putting emphasis on the exterior beauty of a woman, or exploiting women sexually, or adapting feminism to an extreme.  Could this be why we have so many beauty products, surgeries, and insecure young girls?  While men love a beautiful face and body, they also love a woman who can cook, and a woman who does not give all the goods away for free, so ladies lets embrace this aspect of feminism too.  It is up to every woman to encourage eachother, love each other, support each other.  Much of the jealousy, gossip, and judging comes from the unrealistic images that create a sense of lack in the individual which then seeps into the mass public.

Challenge yourself to be stronger, embracing the Goddess within, and celebrating another Goddess.  Be kind to yourself if you are a woman.  Celebrate every curve, freckle, wrinkle, dimple etc., and say 5 things that celebrate your beauty in the mirror.  Then celebrate the beauty of another woman, and finally celebrate the beauty of a woman who you normally choose to have ill feeling toward.  When we make these subtle changes, it will create a tidal wave of change for the world.

Now having shared this beautiful dream I still do hope to stay in the Ashram later this year, but no plans to shave my head.

Day 29 - Meditation with Yantra

Day 29 of our 30 day meditation challenge.  WOW we are almost there to the finish line, but in this case the finish line is just the beginning.  For most of you the benefit of meditation is starting to take light in the shadows of your life, shinning a beautiful healing on your heart.  While I offered many suggestions, tips, options for people who are new to meditation, and for those who want to deepen their experience, meditation is still something you should deepen with the guidance of a teacher/guru.
Sri Yantra

While many leaders/schools in the world of meditation including Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ram Dev, Paramahansa Yogananda, and of course the highly respected Osho, it is fundamentally a practice that has it's roots in Vedas.  All the great gurus only share the beautiful practice that is ancient in ways to adapt to find enlightenment for todays practitioners.  With all these practices of Yoga, Kriya, Pranayama, and Meditation the ultimate goal is Samadhi. 

While I touched upon meditation with Sacred Geometry or "The Flower of Life" image, it is basically the concept of meditation with Yantra.  Yantra comes from the root sanskrit words "yam" (supporting or holding the essence of an object/concept) and "trana" (from the word tram which means liberation from bondage).  These visual tools are geometric representations of a deity, a way in which a deity receives devotion.  Some teachers will have students draw the Yantra, as it requires great focus, accuracy and patience.  Some astrologers utilize Yantra to analyze peoples astrological forecast.  Rather than go in depth to the power and symbolism in these archetypal forms let me just say that it is a wonderful tool for practitioners to transition from concrete reality to abstract truth. 

Some Geometric meanings include:
  • Dot = bindu point or center of creation, the infinite
  • Lotus = the chakras, with each petal representing a vriti or tendency
  • Swastika = representing good luck, prosperity and spiritual welfare
  • Circle = Energy of the element water
  • Square = Energy of the element earth
  • Upward-facing Triangle = Energy of the element fire; energy
  • Downward-facing Triangle = Energy of the element water; knowledge
  • Diagonal line = Energy of the element air
  • Horizontal line = Energy of the element water
  • Point = Energy of the element ether
  • Vertical line = Energy of the element fire
For those more advanced in their meditation practice, this Yantra Meditation is a beautiful option I recommend with the guidance of a Guru.  These powerful shapes are found in all aspects of the Universe, resonate vibration, and activate the right hemisphere of the brain.  Each shape does have a powerful meaning, seed sound, color and connection to deity therefore due to the in depth mystical aspects behind yantra's I would suggest only use this option if you are advanced in your meditation practice and with the help of a spiritual guru.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 28 - Meditation 12 Steps from Sivananda

While many people are enjoying meditation, and noticing how it does get easier over time, there are still many "asana addicts" who find meditation boring.  Since the reason we flow through vinyasa, or ashtanga sequences is to prepare for 'meditation" in some way we should embrace this meditative state.  One practice that I find embodies meditation is Sivananda. 

This practice embraces relaxation, the 12 fundamental asana as highlighted in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, allows people to find stillness in the breath and poses, and encourages concentration and focus throughout.  Concentration being the key ingredient to achieve meditation, therefore we can concentrate on a candle, flower, sound, etc., and ultimately this concentration will help to dissolve the internal noise, chatter, or monkey mind.  Can you achieve this concentration during Yoga practice?  YES, we use concentration on our breathe, our dristi (Gaze), our third eye etc.  Today for those still curious about ways to approach meditation I have highlighted the 12 steps to meditation from Sivananda Europe.  The beautiful book Meditation and Mantras by Swami Vishnu-Devananda is also a useful tool for those wanting to explore this aspect of their practice further.

     12 Steps to Meditation
  1. Set aside a special place for meditation – the atmosphere you build up will help still the mind.
  2. Choose a time when your mind is free of everyday concerns – dawn and dusk are ideal.
  3. Using the same time and place each day conditions the mind to slow down more quickly.
  4. Sit with your back, neck and head in a straight line, facing north or east.
  5. Instruct your mind to remain quiet for the duration of your meditation session.
  6. Regulate your breathing – start with five minutes' deep breathing, then slow it down.
  7. Establish a rhythmic breathing pattern – inhaling then exhaling for about three seconds.
  8. At first let your mind wander – it will only grow more restless if you force it to concentrate.
  9. Now bring the mind to rest on the focal point of your choice – either the Ajna Chakra (the point between your eyebrows) or the Anahata Chakra (in the middle of your chest).
  10. Applying your chosen technique, hold your object of concentration at this focal point throughout your session.
  11. Meditation comes when you reach a state of pure thought, but still retain your awareness of duality.
  12. After long practice, duality disappears and Samadhi, the superconscious state, is attained.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 27 - Moving Meditation with Surya Namaskar

We are almost there for 30 days of meditation.  There have been many people who have expressed the challenge of sitting for long periods.  Well ironically the reason why we practice yoga asana "poses" vinyasa flow etc., so to prepare the body for meditation, to sit which is what "asana" means.  It is always beautiful to recognize our yoga practice as a moving meditation or prayer, this also inspires us unconsciously to quiet the noise in our own minds.

The fundamental vinyasa to warm up the body is Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation).  While many people will enter yoga class and be distracted by other people, the music, the teacher, and especially their own thoughts, sometimes focusing on our gaze (dristhi), our breath or even a mantra during the surya namaskar can guide us into a more meditative state.

For those of you who are curious about the mantras for Suyra Namskar please visit my youtube link below:


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 26 - Walking Meditation

Walking meditation is a practice that I learned at Zendo as well.  It is a technique we would all bounce up to participate in after a our hour long Zazen "sits".  This is especially beneficial for those who still claim they are always on the go and too busy to sit for meditation.  Without getting lost in our thoughts, be conscious of every aspect of your walk, your body, how it feels and please keep your eyes open.  Notice the sensations in your body.  Scan the awareness from the soles of the feet and all the way up through every part of your body with your breath.  Everyone has time for a brisk walk, and this can be a chance for you to quiet your mind as well.  Take the ear buds out and just be a witness on your walk. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 25 - Meditation Apps

Today is day 25, and while most of you have embraced the meditation challenge with your own preference of meditation practice, there are still many people who claim they cannot.  I have had so many people tell me they don't have time, they are too stressed, they have too many things to do.  Well for everything in life we must make time, stress is sometimes a choice because our energy goes where our attention flows, and 5 minutes is something EVERYONE has.  Most times these individuals are stuck on their iphones, droids, and other gadgets.  While many would say that they are losing connection with human beings, nature but most importantly, themselves, perhaps there is a download that can rescue them.  Nowadays Iphones and mobiles come with meditation and yoga "apps".  There are actually meditation apps with timers.  I myself had a Tibetan Bowl app on my iphone, where I could set the timer and it would ring the bowl when time was done.  I found this great, because sometimes when you get in a flow in meditation you can get carried away and lose track of time.  One minute can become one hour quick with practice.

While I encourage you to turn off the mobiles, get off the social media, and find a sacred place to meditate, for those who insist they cannot, at least use an app and meditate.  Give yourself 5 minutes to start, and sit in bliss.  Turn off all other notifications on your phone, and focus on your breath, or listen to the guided cues.  Make time for your mind, body, health.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 24 - Meditation to awaken from the illusion

Happy Father's Day to the best Daddy in the whole world, (MINE), and to all the other guys.  Today is day 24 of our meditation challenge.  I am so inspired by all of your stories and experiences that you have shared with me, thank you again for joining in.  While we have all by now adapted a meditation practice that works with us, sometimes just a simple affirmation, positive quote, scripture, poem, photo etc., basically an object for our attention is all we need to begin our meditation.  Today's word is below.  In your meditation can you come to the realization that every human, every animal, plant, place, experience, is all ONE.  There is nothing separate, there is no division, we are all connected ina divine fabric, to weave a Universe for growth and LOVE.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 23 - Meditation on Compassion

Today's meditation tip is on compassion.  If you are familiar with the inspirational Yoga Teacher Sri Dharma Mittra you will have heard him emphasize the importance of living life embracing the
"Ethical Rules" as mapped out in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali's Yamas and Niyamas, primarily "Ahimsa". Sri Dharma Mittra teaches students to cultivate compassion to all living beings as written in the first Yama, "Ahimsa". 

Ahimsa अहिंसा is non harming or non violence in action, words, thoughts.  

While there is a debate in the yoga community whether it is important to be a vegetarian or not, and it brings people to this precept of Ahimsa, challenge yourself to take a day where you eat a plant based diet (if you are not vegetarian/vegan already).  Experience how it feels for yourself.  The reality is, we should be compassionate to all living beings, and a very empowering way to look at it is that compassion is to realize it begins with yourself.  With all the knowledge of food additives, chemicals, treatment of animals, hormones etc., it would only benefit our digestion and overall health to eat a diet rich in plant based foods.  If the concept of being compassionate to yourself is not enough to embrace a compassionate "plant based diet", then recognize the yogic understanding of being compassionate to the living creatures.  Embracing Ahimsa with our diet, only gives us a healthy digestive system, healthy glowing skin, longevity, energy and a long list of health benefits, which therefore supports a yoga practice and meditation practice. 

As you are sitting in your meditation observe your thoughts, recognize that you are not your thoughts.  Then see how much of your thoughts are from a compassionate heart.  As Sri Dharma Says "Cultivate Compassion, and the rest will come".  It is normal to have thoughts arise in your meditation, but after you complete your meditation challenge yourself to embrace all aspects of Ahimsa throughout your day in your thoughts, words, and actions to yourself and all living beings.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 22 - Meditation with Reiki

Today's meditation tip for Day 22 is embracing the Precepts of Reiki.  Reiki is a Healing modality that allows for energy exchange.  Those who embark on Reiki Training usually are taught the Reiki Precepts 1st.  When they are taught these precepts they are asked to meditate on them, and consciously incorporate them into their daily life.  The beautiful thing about these precepts are that they are universal, and would benefit all mankind if we all practiced these precepts regardless if we enter into reiki training.  Perhaps sit in your meditation today and consider these precepts, make the commitment with each breath to incorporate them in every aspect of your daily thoughts and actions. The reiki precepts begin with "Just for today", because life is one day at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.....Enjoy each to the fullest.

Just for today...
I will let go of worry
I will let go of anger
I will do my work honestly
I will give thanks for many blessings.
I will be kind to every living thing.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 21 - Meditation with Chakras

Welcome to day 21 of our meditation challenge, they say it takes 21 days to formulate a habit, so congratulations to all of you for making it this far.  Those of you who are just joining, enjoy and keep on going.  Today's meditation involves chakras.  Nowadays many people are making workshops on chakras, or classes with very limited knowledge on this powerful concept from Vedic Science and we must be careful when we do this.  This is an area of yoga that one should truly experience within themselves first when considering sharing with others.  The chakras are psychic energy centers that connect to our endocrine system and run along the center line of the body (the sushumna).  These chakras are active at all times, and are influenced by the elements - earth, water, fire, air, and akasha.  With training and practice we can become more aware of our chakras.  When prana flows freely without blockage through these chakras we have balance and kundalini rising.  It is important to understand that everything in this world is comprised of masculine and feminin energy, which creates balance.  Therefore within all of us is masculin and feminin energy.  We all find our balance by gravitating or finding a "connection"  with things, people, sources of enertainment, gurus who balance us out.  This also means if we are out of balance in a certain chakra, we will seek companionship in another person who is stronger in that chakra, this is the "connection" that we all seek.

There are 7 major Chakras, also called the Upper Chakras (starting from the base of the spine to the crown of the head).

Each Chakra coincides with a color, a seed (bija) sound, a Yantra (geometrical shape), Lotus Petals (color, number, seed sound), Sense, sense organ, deity, an instrument and musical frequency, a fragrance, element (shape, vayu), ruling planet, behavior, carrier (vahana of seed sound), and influences specific psychich and physical functions related within the region of the body it is associated.

When we do Surya Namaskar we are allowing energy to flow through all the chakras.  When we sit and visualize the color of each chakra while reciting seed sounds for each, we are allowing energy to flow through them.  However, even if we are not consciously sending energy to the chakras, they are active, which is even more of a reason why we should be very conscious of what we watch, say, do, and who we associate with, because these chakras are like record keepers.

A Simple chakra meditation for you to practice is using the seed sounds.  This meditation is one often done by Sri Dharma Mittra who usually does it in a melodious way.  While I hope to make a youtube that describes this method, another option is to say the seed sound, much like we do when we recite the sound OM. 

Sitting up tall bring your awareness to the base of the spine (Root Chakra/Muladhara), from there we will progress through each chakra with the seed sound mantra as written below.

  1. Root/Muladhara - LAM
  2. Sacral/Swadhisthana - VAM
  3. Navel/Manipura - RAM
  4. Heart/Anhata - YAM
  5. Throat/Vishudda - HAM
  6. Third Eye/Ajna - OM
  7. Crown/Sahasrara - SILENCE

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 20 - Transcendental Meditation

Welcome to Day 20 of our Meditation Challenge.  While many people have made requests, sent emails of gratitude, shared success and joy stories, there is still a whole world of meditation options out there.  One of the pioneers of Meditation is Marhirishi Mahesh Yogi, who brought Transcendental Meditation to the for front of Westerners seeking for bliss through Meditation.  This method is a method of relaxation, stress reduction, and self development. Maharishi learned this technique from his guru Brahmananda Saraswati.  The practice itself is Mantra meditation, sitting in silence for 15 minutes, focused on your given mantra.  Some say that the price of this meditation practice is rather expensive, however for those who can afford this option, it is a path to bliss.

Many Celebrities are known to practice this meditation including: Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Clint Eastwood, Howard Stern, Hugh Jackman, Sheryl Crow, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eddie Vedder, Jane Fonda, Jerry Sienfield, Russell Simmons, Deepak Chopra, Goldie Hawn, David Lynch, and many more.

This post is for those people who want the option to invest in the practice of Transcendental Meditation. 

Ellen DeGeneres admitted to a large crowd,  

'I've tried to meditate before, did the breathing and yoga, but I was always opening my eyes and it was a minute later. I thought, how am I going to do this? This is just impossible.'

'It gives me this peaceful, peaceful feeling and I just love it so much, and I talk about it as much as I can on the show without sounding like I'm preaching about it. . . . I can't say enough good things about it.' 

For those who like the concept of finding bliss through mantra, another option is to find your guru, and have that guru provide a mantra which may be more cost effective.  As TM does have a price tag that some may find too steep for their pocket.
While mantra meditation is powerful, we can also find a sanksrit mantra, and meditate on the mantra for 15 minutes in a day, sitting tall and in bliss.  The transformational power of sound is incredible, and often times if we recite the mantra without the awareness of its tangible meaning, we inevitably create a sense of bliss.  The power of meditation is when we are free of form in thought, in word.  Can we sit in meditation without wondering if we are doing it right?  without thinking about the fact that we are meditating?  without thinking about our surroundings, our thoughts and just be.  This conscious connection to everything that is, and simultaneous disconnection to everything that is, is when we transcend. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 19 - Airport Meditation

What do you do when you are on the go, traveling a lot and want to keep up with your meditation?  I learned this from many of my travels, especially today.  I am grateful to have spent a week in New York for the Grand Opening of my students beautiful Yoga Studio (Yoga Nidra), and to see my friends, and students, but even when in constant transit, we need to take the time to quiet the noise.
Yogini Tara Stiles meditating at the airport

Just like those of you who opt for a meditation break while at the office, the same may be necessary for those who travel.  While I have seen some people do some yoga stretches in airports, or quietly listen to their ear buds, and even sit cross legged to meditate, it is ultimately a choice. 

Perhaps you need to relax?  Perhaps you need to quiet all the chaotic noise that is often found in the airport.  Or maybe, you just need to close your eyes for a while.  Nowadays some airports even come with Special Meditation Rooms for those travelers who want to have a silent meditative experience.  The reality is you may not have your special meditation cushion, or sacred space available if you are a jet setter, but you always have the sacred space within.  So you can opt to visit the meditation room in your local airport, listen to some guided meditation on your ipod, or perhaps sit on the floor and find your bliss with focus on your breath. No matter what, always be consistent with your mind-body wellness.  Meditation has proven benefits, so always make time to get those results.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Day 18 - Meditation with Nature

 Today's option for meditation may depend on the local weather as it involves nature. 
This practice allows you to connect with your natural surroundings.  This experience should ultimately allow you to awaken the intelligence of connection with nature, and also understand our basic physiology.  The warmth of the glowing sun, the sight of a beautiful flower, the sounds of chirping birds, the feel of a soft breeze, the smell of morning dew, the vibration of the wind in the trees are all aspects of nature that resonate with our entire being. 

When I was a child, my grandmother would often sit outside and sing spiritual songs, birds would flock to her, it always seemed as though time stood still when she did this.  The flowers appeared more radiant, the air seemed more still, she was connecting.

While some of you may have the advantage of living by a gorgeous beach, lake, mountain top, park, then utilize this precious gift, and go meditate in nature.  You can spend some time walking around and appreciating the beauty of nature that often times gets taken for granted.  You can find a place to set your sacred space and meditate.  Sitting tall, comfortable, and notice the breeze that you inhale from the tip of your nose.  Can you imagine you are breathing through ever pore of your skin every sounds, sight, feeling and vibrational aspect of the landscape that surrounds you, and take in the various radiant aspects of mother nature. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day 17 - Meditation for Kids

We are at Day 17 of our amazing Meditation Journey, and many of you have reached out to me asking how to make this practice accessible for your kids.  Meditation is a great practice for kids, it helps to bring a sense of calm, focus, relaxation and happiness.  It is important to understand and respect that children have a lot of energy, so allow kids the chance to embrace the practice of meditation with positive encouragement.  Assure them it will only be for a short time, and it will help them to focus in school and life.  You can even tell them about some amazing super heroes or princesses who practice meditation

Three Simple Ideas to use with Kids:

  1. Singing Bowl/Bell - Have kids sit up straight, play a Tibetan singing bowl and guide them to listen to the sound, imagine the sound in their body, and breathe deep.
  2. Visualization - Take kids on a guided journey on a beach, or in a forest, or surrounded by their loved ones and friends.  Have them breathe in happy thoughts.
  3. Yoga Nidra - Have kids relax into savasana with guided relaxation.  You can use images of rainbows and have them connect with the tingling sensations in the tips of their fingers and rest of their body.
The best part of Meditation with Kids is to ask them how they feel after.  Since kids are so connected to positive vibration they usually have amazing experiences and will share some profound stories.  Encourage them to share, and always thank them for sharing with positive comments.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 16 - Meditation with John Lennon's Imagine Song

Welcome to Day 16 of our Meditation Challenge.  Thank you everyone who is participating.  While I know many of you are maintaining your own commitment to your daily practice of meditation, I am offering tips for those who are finding it challenging.  The goal is 15 minutes of silence and stillness, sitting upright with attention to breath, but it could take a long time to be able to do this.  Our monkey mind is sometimes our biggest battle. 

While I have given many guided meditation options and affirmations, today's option is actually a song.  The song, Imagine, is from one of the most influential artists of our time, John Lennon.  It was the best selling solo song of his career, that used lyrics to inspire humanity to look beyond borders, division, religion, and unite also to detach from material possessions. For those who know the song, I am certain the lyrics and melody are already in your head, this is the power of hypnosis, and in this case brilliant music.

Freedom begins in your own mind

Many people know that John Lennon had studied Transcendental Meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  I write this blog option to encourage you to listen to this song, or read the lyrics.  Unconsciously, you will find a sense of universal connection.  This simple song have a powerful message.  John's intent when he wrote "Mind Games" was to inspire listeners to become "mind guerillas" visualizing a better society and accepting when we visualize it will manifest.  This concept of peace, unity and looking beyond borders was not in line with the political agenda's of John' Lennon's time.  Another artists who shared this same vision in music was Marvin Gaye.  This was the similar case for Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, MLK.  Ironically all were extremely popular, they were actively against the political agenda of their time and killed. While we can always focus on the negative traits or outlandish pop star behavior of John Lennon, and perhaps some may say it is not right to put him in the same category as the names I mentioned, in my opinion lets focus on the positive message, and this song "Imagine" is one of those positive things.

Today's media some say is predicitive programming, or Hypnosis
If you grew up in the 70's, 80's, 90's you can honestly admit that society was a reflection of the art (Music, Films, Television Shows, Magazines).  The concept that LIFE Imitates ART.  Is this a coincidence?  When most of our media  (Television "Programming") is controlled by certain governemental regulations, is it possible that we are really being hypnotized into buying into the realities of single ladies, crime investigations, robotosizing humans, deceit, greed?  Nearly every artists today is in the "MUSIC BUSINESS" and they have "ARTIST DEVELOPMENT", "SONG WRITTERS" "Publicists", and have no actual connection to their art, except they are a puppet for whatever agenda or look the label wants to put out.  Now our female artists are dressing in ways that were once considered taboo and in now way empowering to women, shakti, goddess, and many lyrics are the exact opposite of unity but promote drama, sadness, despondence.  Is this a coincidence?  Is this the model we want for our future generations?  Even most men today are tired of the plastic look because we are all created with fundamental genetic needs, women are nurturers, men are hunters.  When the woman is giving everything up in the first moment it does not allow the man the pride of the hunt.  Many of us are oblivious to the culture being created by our media.  Ellen DeGeneres said it best when she talked about if Jesus was around today people would say he should get a hair cut, maybe he should wear a different robe, etc.....what is it that we are being conditioned to think?  What are we placing importance on?  Are these not Superficicial things that distract us from connection to each other and love.

Well I can speak about this subject for a long time, because I witnessed some fascinating fabrication when i worked in the Music Industry.  Today, our option is the brilliant lyrics or song Imagine.  You can listen to the song, or read the lyrics with a slight smile.  This is affirmation, this is hypnosis, and this is meditation.  Every moment of our lives we are in a state of meditation, especially before we go to bed and when we wake up, so be mindful of what you chose to read, watch, and listen to especially before your sleep.

While I could share tips each day from Yogic texts, I like to keep my teaching relevant to those studying with me, and I love great music.  One of my students John, responded to my meditation suggestion from Emile Coue's affirmation suggesting Emile ripped off his affirmation from John Lennon.  While I shared with him that in many ways most affirmations, hypnosis and meditation is a rip off of Yoga and Meditation from Ancient Vedic Science, and in the case of Emile Coue, he was in fact before John Lennon, and it is all evolution.  The message is KEY.  My student John's comment reminded me of the power of John Lennon's influence, so thank you to my student John who inspired me to offer today's meditation option.

Enjoy the process to Imagine a better world, a life of unity, brotherhood of man, peace, and watch it manifest in all areas of your life. ~ Namaste

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day 15 - Meditation with Guiness Book Tao Porchon Lynch

Today's meditation tip is another guided meditation and it comes from one of the worlds greatest Yogini's Tao Porchon Lynch.  Tao is a Guiness Book of World Records Yogini, as she is the oldest recognized Yogini at 94 years young.  This incredible woman is like a ray of light, always bringing inspiration and sunshine to each person.  She originates from Pondicherry, India and shook the yoga world and world of ballroom dance up with her Radiance.  I was lucky enough to learn from her, and bring her teachings to the incredibly fortunate students in my Yoga Teacher Training Course a few years back.  Along with inspiring the Yoga Teacher Trainees, Tao brought her teaching to the students at the Yoga Studio and brought so much awareness to the power of Yoga.  Ever since I will forever call her my teacher and friend, as she then went on to do workshops with my beloved friends at Harmony By Karate as well.

Her incredibly powerful moto that she lives by is "Nothing is Impossible".

If you are lucky to meet and learn with Tao, you will feel inspired.  If not you can always be inspired by her Amazing guided meditations in her beautiful book or CD.  Her voice is like an angel, and her energy permeates through every word.  Both items are available on Itunes or Amazon.
The Yogic Journey By Tao Porchon Lynch

Reflections: The Yogic Journey of Life

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 14 - Meditation with Sacred Geometry and The Flower of Life

Today we have the option to meditate with the Flower of life, also known as Sacred Geometry.  This entire planet is made up of Sacred Geometry.  Separation is the illusion, understanding the duality of pain and pleasure, as one united divine blueprint is when we are one, and is achieved with consistent meditation.  Similar to saying we are made in the image of God, the creator, or the source.

Imagine the expansion of consciousness from the center of your heart with every breath, and allow yourself to see the flower of life opening through this expansion.  Now let this Flower of Life expand beyond your heart into your auric field, in your surrounding, in the planet.  Breathe deeply and allow the activation of this sacred geometry to create a cosmic oneness with the entire universe.  Understand that you are in this flower of life, it is in every cell, and it is in infinity.  Know this Flower of Life is a divine creation, in all things as particle physics; it is abundance, joy, love, peace, harmony and the source of Divine Guidance. 

The Flower of Life is formed through energy vortexes that replicate through all forms in nature.  If it helps use the diagram to create the visual projection, allow each sphere to represent the Divine energy that inspires you, allow each breath to increase your faith, and let the Flower of Life expand with each sphere/breath.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 13 - Meditation with Mantra for Healing

While the ancient yogis used mantra to bring healing, increase vibration, and create balance in the body.  The power of our words is extremely powerful.  Often times people do not want to recite Sanskrit Mantras because of various reasons, which is actually good because sanskrit mantras truly only have power when said correct.  The Concept of Mantra has been since adapted by many Western Teachers including Louise Hay, Milton Erickson, Richard Bandler, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, and many others including a French Psychologist named Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie.  

"Day by Day in every way I am getting better and better. "
"Tous les jours à tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux (In French)

The mantra suggestion for today is made famous by this French psychologist, who noticed a massive impact this phrase had on his patients.  Many Doctors today use this phrase with their patients and notice that it lift spirits and alter chemical levels in the body.  Coue used this to invite his patients to the power of hypnosis, which meditation ultimately is.  He would refer to this technique as a way to have his patients trick their bodies. The important aspect of meditation is that we need to meditate on positive things, words, music, etc.  Our unconscious mind will absorb anything and everything, so when we counter strike this world we live in that bombards our unconscious with subliminal messages in all forms of media designed to create fear, jealousy, discrimination etc., we are raising our vibration which brings healing.  Anytime we focus more on Faith, we are inviting more positive experiences into our path.  Coue treated many patients and claimed a 93% success rate, the 7% of people refused to believe in his mantra and were skeptical.  For those who want to try a new approach to mantra, or help a loved one, recite this mantra every morning for 10-15 minutes (WITH FAITH), and perhaps you will be part of the 93% success rate.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 12 - Meditation Challenge - Meditate on LOVE

We have heard the saying "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" ~ Gandhi.  We have heard that what we focus on, we create, Where attention goes, attention flows, We are our thoughts, and they all relate to the concept of Yoga being the cessation of the mind.

As found in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras:

yogash chitta vritti nirodhah ||2||

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥
When you are in a state of yoga, all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta) disappear. ||2||

For today's meditation tip we are meditating on LOVE.  Whether it is romantic love, or universal Love, this world needs more of it, and therefore individuals need more love.  For today, sit in silence, and stillness and breathe in LOVE, breathe out LOVE.  Imagine rays of love are shinning from your heart, to your loved ones, your surroundings, your friends, your Guru/Teachers, your city, your country, your world.  Let all beings on this planet feel your love.  For a added bonus, send this LOVE to those who have hurt you, those you may need to forgive, those who challenge your ability to love, this action will liberate you from the thought of unforgiveness and bring you closer to freedom. We are all created from LOVE, and when we give more attention to LOVE it brings divine healing into our path.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Day 11 - Meditation Challenge - Candle Gazing (Trataka त्राटक)

This tip or option for your meditation challenge is called Candle Gazing or Trataka (त्राटक). 

It is designed to allow our human eye to focus on this powerful element of fire, uniting with this brilliant flame, and inevitably stilling the mind.  This technique is one of the six cleansing techniques illuminated in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.  We are required to gaze steadily at an object/candle, and this is also helpful to bring healing to the eyes.

Trataka (त्राटक) technique:
  1. Sit comfortably with a small table three to four inches in front of you, if no table option to hold the candle, making sure it is in a stable holder to avoid wax drips etc.
  2. Keep the lit flame at eye level, however you can also rest in on the floor in front of you, just maintain the gaze on the flame.
  3. Keep your gaze steady on the same part of the flame, take some deep soft breaths.
  4. Stare until you cannot stare anymore, and then softly close your eyes.
  5. Visualize the burning flame at the 3rd eye, keep the image clear and when it fades return your focus to your breath.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 10 - Meditation Challenge - Yoga Nidra

This weekend was the grand opening of a beautiful Yoga studio in Brooklyn, NY named Yoga Nidra.  I was so thrilled to come for a weekend trip to participate in this amazing event, especially since the owner is my lovely student Stephanie.  In honor of her wonderful studio, todays tip for meditation is about Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is basically Yogic Sleep with conscious awareness.  There are a variety of techniques that yoga teachers use to help students come into this deep relaxation, and sometimes students can also opt for audio guided meditations for Yoga Nidra.  In a typical yoga class, nearly everyone's favorite part of class is Savasana, where we lay down on our mats and relax, unfortunately in many classes savasana is over in what seems to be a blink of an eye.  In the practice of Yoga Nidra, it allows the Savanasa fans to truly relax and unwind for an entire session.  In this practice we scan the body with guided imagery, connecting to each part and inviting relaxation with breath.  The soft soothing voice of the instructor or audio guides us to soften each part of our body.  Sometimes tibetan bells or singing bowls aid in this magical experience.

Yoga Nidra is considered conscious awareness and is referred to in the Mandukya Upanishads, sometimes referred to as "prajna".  Some swamis say that this is when the mind is in the middle of wakefulness and dreaming state of sleep.

 Though students lay in Savasana during this guided meditation, it is not uncommon for teachers to use blankets, blocks, bolsters and any other props to allow for the student to be craddled in a comfortable position.  Yoga Nidra is gaining popularity in the west, as people are realizing the benefits of stillness.  This practice is also beneficial for people who find it hard to sit, although the challenge is to maintain the ideal of mindfullness throughout and avoid sleeping.  With this deep relaxation, students are guided to connect with their bodies, the koshas, chakras, with conscious awareness of the sensations as they travel with the breath throughout the body.  This allows students to release stress and find a sacred connection with their body.

Soon there will be a guided meditation audio for Yoga Nidra on my Youtube Channel.  For those of you in New York, I highly recommend heading to Stephanie's beautiful Yoga Studio, Yoga Nidra.  The energy in her studio is amazing, she is dedicated to bringing you a beautiful experience, and depending on the weather you may be lucky enough to have class on her outside back porch/garden area.  Wish you all a beautiful experience in your journey with Yoga. Namaste

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 9 - Crystal Meditation

While we all have our own methods to approach this amazing practice of Yoga and Meditation, all paths lead to the same destination, inner peace.  For us to achieve inner peace we need to be able to quiet the noise, but part of quieting the noise/drama or constant memories/pattern behavior that seem to creep up or repeat, we need to understand it, heal and become one with it.  The reason why I encourage people to approach their practice without judgement is because in yoga we are called to be compassionate, that compassion must begin with ourselves.

Rose Quartz - Great for Heart Chakra

Green Calcite - Great for Heart Chakra

Apothyllite and stillbite - Great for 3rd Eye Chakra

For today we are using an external aspect of earth to deepen our meditation experience.  We are using crystals.  Crystals are rock formations that are repeated patterns of molecules that form a solid.  There are a wide variety of crystals, and all have their own unique properties.  Often times people will use Crystals in meditation.  Sometimes you can use crystals based on it's color to coincide with the correlating chakra.  Some chakras are calming (Calcite), some are energizing (Jasper, Quartz).  You can place the crystals on various energy points in the body and see if you can connect with the energy of the stones.  While the study of crystals is amazing, and options are endless, after become certified as a Crystal Healer, I recommend reading up on the power of these beautiful gems and also seeing if you can connect with the stones themselves. 

In ancient India, most yogis would wear certain crystals for the energy, in ancient egypt and greece they would do the same. 

Various Options with Crystal Meditation:
  1. While seated in your meditation place the crystal in your left hand, breathe and witness
  2. Lay the crystals out along with your chakras or with guidance of a Crystal Healer to energize or calm the body
  3. Place some crystals on your alter, or around your sacred space.
  4. Using a Crystal Singing Bowl (for those who have this option it is amazing)

Options of Crystals for beginners:
  1. Amethyst is always great for calming and 3rd eye.
  2. Calcites bring a calm energy, I have had headaches vanish with calcite placed on my forehead
  3. Flourite is also a nice soft calming stone.