Kimi Marin Yoga

Honor limitations. Transcend Boundaries.

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

I Define Myself…

PhoenixRising

I have been reading this declaration in my classes and people seem to really enjoy it. I discovered it on the Wild Woman Sisterhood site on Facebook. The author is unknown.

I do not define myself by how many roadblocks have appeared in my path;
I define myself by the courage I have found to forge new roads.

I do not define myself by how many disappointments I have faced;
I define myself by the forgiveness and faith I have found to begin again.

I do not define myself by how long a relationship lasted;
I define myself by how I have loved, have been willing to love again, and how I still love.

I do not define myself by how many times I have been knocked down;
I define myself by how many times I have struggled to my feet.

I do not define myself by how often I have appeared a fool;
I define myself by the number of risks I have taken.

I do not define myself by the number of mistakes I have made;
I define myself by the knowledge I have learned from trying a new way.

I am NOT my pain…

I am Not my past…

I AM that which has emerged from the fire.

-Author Unknown

 

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Seeds of Intention

Surya, Hindu Sun God

Surya, Hindu Sun God

Once upon a time when the last age ended, the Hindu deity Brahma awoke from his sleep in the cosmic egg. He broke the egg open and the sound OM arose. From the outer shell he made the land and mountains, from the inner shell the sky and atmosphere. The liquid became the rivers and oceans. The yoke rose as the sun and there was a great cry as life began. This rejoice can be heard every morning by the birds and animals as the sun rises.

The sun’s cycle of rise and rest is one we, the land, and animals instinctively follow. In winter, as the sun sets early, plants go underground, trees lose their leaves, bears hibernate, and humans spend their evenings hunkered on sofas, beds, and barstools. This week the Northern Hemisphere honors the start of spring – the time when the sun god, Surya, sits in the sky longer lengthening the days. Spring is when Surya and Mother Earth are waking and rising from the dark and barrenness of winter and as they awake the entire Northern Hemisphere lights up.

Spring is here and with the fuel from solar power we will experience burst of vigor and energy. This is a time of rebirth, renewal, and personal growth. Last week I was exhausted; my students were exhausted. A heavy mist seemed to envelope and weigh down most everybody. Many people were blaming the hour change as the reason for this onslaught of lethargy but I think it went deeper than just an hour change. Our bodies are one with Earth. We are made up of various elements among which are oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. As the Northern Hemisphere begins to awaken, so do our own bodies. I believe that people were extra tired because on an intuitive level our bodies and spirit went within to prepare for the outpouring of energy that is inevitable with spring. To emerge from our cocoons and for the buds to break through the frozen earth takes an extra force. Just as I rest before a big event or a late night, my body relaxed in preparation of the blooming that will occur over the next few months.

The next few months are about growth, moving upward and out, and fresh starts. Look around and you will see babies of all kinds, emerging shoots in vegetable gardens, and blooming flowers. The seeds of intention you planted at the New Year may begin to blossom. With the longer days, comes warmer weather and people shed winter layers. This includes internal spring cleansing. Find time to lay down and imagine all the tensions, hurts, and resentments from your past move out your body through the soles of your feet. Inhale to fill your body with light and use the exhale to scrap the build-up of winter away. Recall an incident or person that still makes your blood boil, or face redden and instead of pushing the feelings and memory away, thank the experience and honor the lessons you have learn. You are now stronger because of that incident or person.

After releasing your past, come to a seated position and with your hands stacked over your heart center, ask yourself: “what would I like to bring into my life?” The answer may come as a feeling, a sensation, or thought. Don’t strain or push but find joy in indulging in your dreams. Maybe spend some time making a vision board (see below); or writing down what you want in your life; drawing or doodling a picture; singing a song; or ecstatically dancing to your own tune. Spring with its rain shower, longer days, and some times sudden snowfalls, asks for creativity and flexibility. Tune into Surya, the sun deity, ground into the Goddess Earth, and experience the joy that is your life.

Vision Board

A very blurry picture of my vision board

A very blurry picture of my vision board

A vision board is a tool to help you focus on what you want to manifest in your life. Anything goes – you can create your board as you wish. Fill it full of inspirational words or pictures that help you visualize what you want in your life and how you want to live your life. I LOVE them and often put mine on the wall by my bed so I can be reminded of how I want to live my life. To create more of a ceremonial (and super fun) experience, I like to get a few friends together with some wine (if you are over 21).

How to Create a Vision Board:

Supplies:
Magazine and any pictures you like
Markers, crayons, pens, etc
Glue
Poster board
Scissors

Cut out pictures that appeal to you and paste them on the poster board in any way you want. Draw on the board if it appeals to you. ANYTHING GOES – this is yours…no judgment and no perfection. Remember nobody else has to see your board.

Saucha

happy dudleyYoga Sutra 2.41: sattva shuddhi saumanasya ekagra indriya-jaya atma darshana yogyatvani cha

Also through cleanliness and purity of body and mind (shaucha) comes a purification of the subtle mental essence (sattva), a pleasantness, goodness and gladness of feeling, a one-pointedness with intentness, the conquest or mastery over the senses, and a fitness, qualification, or capability for self-realization. (translated by Swamij)

Last night, before bed, I did some things that I often leave for the morning: I washed all the dishes; folded and put away the laundry; and straightened up the living room. When I awoke this morning, I found myself happier, lighter, and with a sense of freedom as I walked about my house and prepared for my day. By having a clean house, I felt better and more expansive. How many times have you, knowing you have a lot to do, first cleaned your house?  Is your self-esteem slightly lowered when you know your clothes are dirty, or you haven’t showered? How many times have you told a friend, lover, or yourself that you felt gross after eating processed or fast food? This is because cleanliness is vital to reach our truest nature and our highest self.

Saucha or “cleanliness” is the first of the niyamas, the observances we hold toward ourselves. Saucha asks us to remove the extra clutter in our lives so we can move into our true potential. In Riding Your Own Current, I write about how we, and everything around us, are made of energy. To move and work from our best Self, we must be clean vessels. Yoga is the process of unblocking energy lines so you are aware of how you are feeling, what you are experiencing, and the quality of your present experience. In order to recognize your thoughts, speak with truth, act without harming another (yourself included), and recognize the divine in all creatures, you must keep your home, car, and body clean and away from clutter. How can we find freedom and transcendence or pure joy when we judge others, when we listen to gossip, when we eat genetically modified foods, when we destroy natural habitats, allow animal extinction,  declare war, when we live in clutter and consume more than we need? Both external and internal cleanliness allows us to live purer, more straight forward lives. Without the clutter in our lives, without the toxins in our bodies, we function like clean efficient machines allowing the divine to move through us.

My best friend lives in Paris and recently went to a yoga class and loved it. What she loved about it was the simplicity of the class. She felt the teacher stripped the class of  all the “bells and whistles” and the only extras in the class were what the practitioner brought from within.  My dear friend summed up the basic idea of saucha: to wipe away the extras to allow what is naturally present to shine. To embrace this first niyama, find ways to simplify your life and remove the extraneous bells and whistles. Start small: clean a closet today, drink more water tomorrow, buy organic carrots. Slowly cleanse yourself  with one thing every day, maybe two, then three, until saucha is a normative part of life. Feel the freedom as you find more room and space in your life. Watch your inner light shine through the cracks and fill your body. For me, cleaning my dishes, putting my clothes away can feel like a chore. But I also know that this is part of the process for me to relax, to grow, to manifest my dreams. Saucha reminds us  that by clearing out the old we make space for life to bloom.

Aparigraha: The Fifth (and final) Yama

AparigrahaOnce upon a time, a young boy named Nachiketas who, in a disagreement with his father, is sent to the to the home of Yama, the God of Death. When Nachiketas arrives Yama is not at home and Nachiketas waits three nights without food or water for Yama to return. When Yama comes home he is appalled that a guest has been at his home without food or water and grants Nachiketas three wishes. The first two wishes Yama grants willingly but the third wish takes a bit of coaxing for Yama to accommodate. In this third wish Nachiketas asks Yama to tell him if the Self exists when one dies. Yama tells Nachiketas that the Creator made humans with five senses and each of these senses extend outward. We see, hear, taste, touch, and smell what is beyond our body yet the Atman, the individual Soul, is within us. To cease the senses and turn inward is Yoga. When humans cease to look outside and instead go within, they connect to the inner most Self that transcends this world.

The idea to go within is one of the premises of the fifth yama, Aparigraha or non-grasping. Aparigraha asks that we “let go” of all the stuff we cling to  so we can “travel lighter.”  We hold onto clothes that we haven’t worn for years, we hold onto books we will never read again, we hold onto old loves, hurts, and memories subconsciously afraid that if we release them, we will lose ourselves. Quite the opposite. We must let go of past memories as well as release our expectations for our future endeavors in order to connect with the our highest Self.

We often look outside of ourselves for reassurance, for acceptance and validation. The practice of aparigraha reminds each of us that our true nature and our validation is not from more shoes or a longer vacation but from connecting to the strengths that lie in our heart center. We are clouded by debt, by illusions, by a society that feeds us the idea that more is better. Almost all of us has had our heart broken. When we hold onto this hurt, we find it impossible to start a new relationship. Until we can release the old pain, the old memories, and our “baggage,” we are unable to have a new, healthy, and happy relationship. This concept of releasing what does not apply to the “now” can be applied to all aspects of our life. Just as we need to release the past, we need to let go of our grasp to control our future, in order to grow and develop into our most supreme self.

To say “let go” is easy, but to actually “let go” is the one of the hardest things to do. To practice aparigraha in the simplest way focus  on your exhale – the point of exertion and release. Pay attention to how your body releases tension and worry with each exhale. Each time you find yourself trying to control a situation or hold on tightly to an object, opinion, or idea, return to your exhale and embrace aparigraha, non-possessiveness. Each release will lead you closer within to that quiet place of true acceptance, validation, and light.

Brahmacharya: The Fourth Yama

hanuman heartBrahmacharya is the fourth yama and is usually interpreted to mean the wise use of sexual energy or celibacy. Yet, in today’s Western world, a vow of chastity is almost impossible. Instead of looking at the fourth yama as a vow of celibacy, recognize Brahmacharya as a reminder to  lead a life of pure action and pure thought.  To break down the word Brahmacharya we get Brahma, the God of creation, and charya, derived from the root “car,” means “to move.”  Literally translated Brahmacharya means to walk with God or to move with the divine. Therefore Brahmacharya is to recognize the divinity in all beings and work to spread “purity and sacredness everywhere” (Discourse at “Sai Sruti”).

When I think of Brahmacharya and walking with the Divine, I immediately call to mind Hanuman, the mighty monkey of  the Hindu pantheon. Hanuman is known for his loyalty and unwavering devotion to Lord Rama, an avatar of the god Vishnu. When Hanuman first saw Rama, he immediately saw the Divine in Rama and sat before him and vowed his devotion. Everything Hanuman did was for the excellence he saw within Rama — even Hanuman’s heart beat “Rama Rama Rama.”  Hanuman, when faced with obstacles never question if he could do something, he instead looked to how he could accomplish his mission. His whole focus was to Rama and that undying devotion helped Hanuman recognized his own strengths.

Brahmacharya asks that we recognize the divine or sacredness in everyone and everything – including yourself. With the fourth yama, we are reminded to cultivate pure thoughts and not worry about the past or the future but instead focus on the present moment. Brahmacharya asks that you cultivate an attitude toward service of a duty because everything you do is important. Everything matters but let go of he need to acquire the end product that you desire.

When we cultivate an attitude of sacredness towards everything we do, we also cultivate a sense of non-attachment. We recognize that our duty is what is important not the outcome. When we cultivate non-attachment we recognize that the only thing we can truly possess is awareness. And with awareness we walk with our Divine self.

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