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Ep 83- 25 Minute Meditation: Finding Your Center In Difficult Situations

30 Aug

Space- Artwork for Ep. 83 of Elsie's Yoga Class

These past few months I nearly got overwhelmed by anxiety.

This hasn’t happened to me in a LONG time.

I lost control of my rational thought process and simply dove into a feeling that was suffocating and terrifying. I can’t say that I was in any way comfortable. The only thing that pulled me out of it was my toddler Hunter. She forced me to get out of myself and engage her. The moment that I disconnected from her off I went into a very uncomfortable sense of overwhelm.

I refused this.

Take Control of Your Anxiety and Fear

Instead of allowing myself to be pulled by this avalanche of anxiety and fear I chose to meet it, with softness and full consciousness. I looked at it straight in the eye. I used a technique that I heard in a podcast, and I sooooo wish that I remembered what episode and what this guy’s name was because I would share it, believe me, but at this moment, finding the episode would take me YEARS, so that will wait. I may update this post to add the info.

Anyway, the technique was to feel where the emotion was in my body, fully. You are to notice which was its winding, clock wise or counter clock wise, and slowly unwind the feeling the other way until it dissolves. At first just moving into that hard ball of tension in the middle of my diaphragm was enough…but as I practiced this technique I began to see that I could literally unravel the anxiety!

Unraveling- It’s all about creating space, space to feel, to choose, to remember, and to find your ground. Most importantly, finding space helps you remember that you are part of something so much bigger. Anxiety is about disconnection and isolation. It’s an emotion that rises when you absolutely become limited and small. As you unravel the feeling, you begin to get more spacious, there is literally more room in your body, your breath, your mind, your heart, and you can step back a bit and see things as if you are watching from a bird’s eye view.

You are ok. You truly are. You are more than ok in fact 😀

A couple of days ago I received and email from one of you requesting a more breathing centered practice. Although this simple audio meditation is not specifically about the breath, there is no way to escape the breath. Space is breath.

Every time choose to center myself and incorporate this very accessible and easy meditation practice, you get the opportunity to re-attune yourself to align with something more than anxiety and fear.

I want that!

Listen, practice and do this and tell me what happens! I’d love to hear if this works for you

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Do you have any techniques for dealing with anxiety and challenging situations?

Remember I’m here to serve you, so feel free to comment and tell me if meditations like this offer you support and ease 😀

BTW, the following is the song that I used in the meditation. Was that not the most beautiful song?

Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Sampler, Vol. 1-4Kitaro
“South Wind” (mp3)
from “Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Sampler, Vol. 1-4”
(Domo Records)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Amazon MP3
More On This Album

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Five Essential Beginner Yoga Books For Women To Buy And Start To Their Yoga Education (Video)

21 Aug

Ladies! Build Your Yoga Education At Home 🙂

I know when I first got into yoga the FIRST thing I did was to buy a book. I’m a fiend when it comes to books 🙂

The thing is that there are so many yoga books out there and I had no idea which were the best yoga books to buy, let alone yoga books that were accessible and not too full of yoga jargon with concepts that at that time, I wasn’t ready to digest.

I’ve decided to offer you some of my favorite yoga books for you to buy (or borrow from the Library. I’m a huge Library proponent) in order to enhance your yoga and health know-how! I have to disclose fully that they do have a bit of a female bias, but for my male subscribers, you’ll still find a wealth of information applicable to both men and women.

This whole thing was inspired by the crazy amount of emails that I get asking for advice about this very subject 🙂

Here’s the latest email from one of you lovely folks:

I am a beginner at yoga and just subscribed to your podcasts. I am interested in reading more about yoga and was wondering if there are any books you would recommend?

You can refer to the video above for a more in depth description of why I chose these books, but I’m linking to all the books that I mention below. All links to these books are using my Amazon Affiliate links, which will give me a little bit of cash to buy even more yoga books 😉 Wouldn’t you like to support my yoga reading habits?

yoga for women's health

The Women’s Book of Yoga and Health by Linda Sparrowe and Patricia Walden

This is one of my all time favorites! I use it for reference all the time. This is a MUST for your yoga library.

relaxation and stress relief yoga book

Relax and Renew by Judith Lasater

I was able to build a restorative yoga practice at home following some of her sequences. So much great information.

Anusara Yoga philosophy book

Yoga From The Inside Out: Making Peace With Your Body Through Yoga by Christina Sell

I have more sticky notes in this book than in any other book in my Yoga Library! Sometimes I just open it and use one of Christina’s sentences to inspire an entire class 😀

ayurveda for women's health

Ayurveda For Women by Dr. Robert Svoboda

This was the first Ayurveda book that I bought. I now a own a bunch more by Dr. Svoboda and have learned tons about this incredible way of life.

mother and daughter wisdom

Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Creating a Legacy of Physical and Emotional Health by Christiane Northrup

I bought this book when I found out I was pregnant. At first I thought that it was meant to be a book for mother’s of daughters but then I realized that it was a book for daughters. All women are daughters. All women have mothers, living, dead or absent. I guarantee that you will be inspired by what you read in this book and how it can help you be as healthy as you can be.

Do you have any books to add to this list?

Please share them in the comments below! I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s looking to build her yoga library 😉

Sparkles of Ease: A Way To Nourish and Sustain Moments of Contentment

14 Aug

Riding the Ease of Everyday Moments

I was inspired today by the mighty Brit Bravo and her tweet regarding her awesome gift to herself for her 41st Birthday.

She asked:

I’d ♥ yr suggestions 4 how u make time 2 do what nourishes u.

The video above is my response to her question. It’s all about what I’ve come to refer to as Sparkles of Ease. I’ve hindered my ability to step into the moment and to its healing aspects due to the fact that I was focusing so much on that which I was unable to do: no 1.5 hr yoga classes, no movies, no quiet times reading books all afternoon, no long luxurious showers, etc.

I shifted my perspective to see that which was possible. What was possible were these incredible moments of magic, although fleeting, still amazingly powerful. These Sparkles of Ease within my day are my connection to the wealth of Spirit which is our birthright, and they are greatly sustainable, as they literally don’t require any time at all!

🙂

Share with me your Sparkles of Ease!

What Does It Mean To Step Into The Heart?

20 May

love in a baby's eyesI’ve just launched this new eCourse. I’ll be telling you more about the why behind it in an upcoming post, suffice it to say that it became necessary for me to do it.

It’s focuses on one of the clearest and most tangible manifestations of the Divine within us: the breath.

Breathe freely and connect

If we wanted to force ourselves to stop breathing by holding our breath, we just couldn’t do it. There would come a point when we would again ‘be breathed.’ As powerful as this force is within us it’s also easily manipulated by those around us and greatly influenced by our physical and emotional habits.

I’d like to share with you the following article that I wrote for Elephant Journal just a little while back. I re-read it and I realized that within this article is the primary reason why our breathing patterns are so easily influenced by outside forces

I’ve been mentoring a brand spanking new yoga teacher. She’s been practicing yoga for four years and teaching for one. Today she asked me some pretty powerful questions: Do you believe in God? How do you teach yoga to students that don’t believe in God. Talk about having to earn my mentoring badge!

When stepping into this sort of conversation whether it be one on one, or in a classroom setting you have to get clear about who you are, and by that I mean, what do you value? What has meaning to you? What is your Truth?

I do believe in God. I do believe in a Supreme intelligence. I do believe in the Divine. I do believe that we are part of something much larger than ourselves. I do believe in Love.

Do all those phrases/definitions equal ‘God’?

Perhaps.

When I began to practice yoga I had a very one dimensional experience of God. I’m a Latin American cradle Catholic and as such my primary experience with spirit and prayer revolved around Sunday Mass and fervent prayers to the Trinity, the Holy Family, Angels and Saints primarily invoked when my life had slightly gone awry.

Although I went to mass on Sundays and had a pretty strong commitment to prayer and a deep fascination with studying Mystics and Saints, my spiritual life was split: a time for study and prayer and the rest of my life 😉 At the time my experience of faith in my every day life was satisfactory, although upon looking back, detached and a bit stale.

It was in yoga classes that I began to hear the phrase “the Divine”. I was a bit shocked by it, as these were sacred words being spoken in mundane situations, at least from my perspective. The Divine, divinity, concocted to me something grand and untouchable that you only really talk about or hear about in church. My experience of the term was very individual and not at all inclusive, and I sorta liked it that way.

As my passion for asana classes grew and my teachers mentioned the Divine (mind you not all teachers mention the Divine), I simply let the word slide away, choosing to not commit attention to this ‘lay’ definition, and maintained a separation between the earthly experience of my body and the realm of the spirit and/or soul. I simply kept showing up to class and my teachers kept offering up teachings which invited me to go deeper. This going deeper was not about asana, although at first that was the only thing that I could do, but about finally choosing to cultivate the Divine in the every day. This undertaking was risky. It required sensitivity, softness, openness and most of all courage, the courage to step inside my own heart, my own Divine heart. This journey as much as it was sweet, and calming was also just as agitating, as the stakes had now gone up. I now had chosen to see the Sacred in the ordinary, thus making each and every one of my choices ever more meaningful. This also meant that not only would I have to take responsibility and be accountable for my faith and my honest participation within Catholicism but also studying, asking questions and cultivating a more meaningful conversation within my Self and God. This included a clear recognition of the purity of my body, breath, words, thoughts, and actions as the embodiment of Auspiciousness.

It was in this discovery that I recognized that my job was to aspire to my own deepest experience. I saw the gift of my life as a blessing, not a problem to be solved. I began to see God, Spirit, Goodness all around me, particularly as it was manifested in the quietness of my heart sprinkled throughout the day. In asana classes I uncovered the tools necessary to begin to fertilize the seeds of Grace that were always present within. My narrow and sterile vision of spirituality, prayer, and the Divine had distilled itself so much within my heart that it had become rich and tasty and thus I was able to see it reflected all around me. The more meaning I brought to my every day life, the more sacred I made the every day, the closer I felt to God, the world and those around me.

I shared with the sweet young teacher, you may not want to define the Divine as God. You may not want to bring any aspect of your spiritual religious life to an asana class, and that’s perfectly fine. What I do offer to you is for you to continue to deepen and refine the questions. You, deepen the conversation with yourself and grow your experiences on the mat, off the mat and within your own individual religious/spiritual practices. How can your yoga help you evolve to a better place and enrich your life and that of those around you? How can your yoga help you to be a better human being?

That is the Divine.

Like I mention in the article, it’s not easy to step into the Heart – and stay there. It’s not easy to pause, be quiet, truly listen…and attune…to your breath. Even though it may not be easy, it certainly is the simplest and most efficient way to enhance and revitalize your health.

If you are ready to do it, I’d like to invite you to join me so we can get started together.

Reclaim Your Health. Start By Breathing!