Powerful Shiva Meditation - Teaching Us to Replace the Old Patterns

Powerful Shiva Meditation - Teaching Us to Replace the Old Patterns

This was such a powerful Shiva Meditation class on Thursday. Wow! It was the last one I taught this week and several of the students came before. It just gets deeper the more you practice. Consistency is everything.

Whether you want to open your hips, balance in a handstand in the middle of the room, or train your mind to concentrate — what you practice and focus on gets stronger the more you practice. Whatever you feed grows. The opposite is also true. Whatever you starve dies. Focus on the solution. Replace the old patterns that aren’t serving you with new patterns that will lead you in a more positive direction. This is our practice. Over and over and over again.

Thank you to everyone who has come out to practice this week and to the workshops this weekend. It’s been so much fun practicing with you. 

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Beautiful Views from Temescal Canyon Trail.

Beautiful Views from Temescal Canyon Trail.

I’m getting over being sick the last week. It feels amazing! I was feeling so rough last week. My body completely shut down. I’ve been pushing pretty hard the last few months and traveling a lot. My sleep has been pretty disturbed, after hopping from time zone to time zone. This is from an hour ago on the Temescal Canyon Trail. I’ve been hiking the last few days to build up my strength again. Not sick anymore but my body is still feeling pretty weak. It’s been ages since I’ve been hiking too and it feels so good to be back in nature. I’ve missed these incredible views and soaking up the energy of the forest. It’s been a really good year. There’s been ups and downs. Plenty of challenges. And lots of big breakthroughs. I feel like this year I planted a lot of seeds. And I let go of a lot of things that have been holding me back. And I know what I want in 2019. I can see it clearly.

When you are in ignorance — you don’t know the patterns that you are stuck in. You can’t see the forest for the trees. But once you know, once things are revealed — you have a responsibility, and if you choose to stay living in the old pattern, knowing that it’s not serving you, you’re choosing to hold on to the past.

I feel like getting sick last week was the physical manifestation of a whole lot of stuff that I have been working through finally coming to the surface and I am so ready to let it all go. It’s time to move forward.

Offer gratitude. Set your intention. Concentrate.

I’m ready for this new year! Excited and open hearted. Ready for the challenge.  Ready for whatever comes.

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Never stop learning!

Never stop learning!

I learned so much this weekend from Dr. Arun Deva! I am doing another year of Yoga Therapy Rx training at LMU. It was a really informative weekend, focused on Āyurveda. I took so many notes — and this morning ordered some of the herbs and oils that we learned about and used this weekend. I was feeling a little under the weather but am so grateful I was still able to attend and soak up so much knowledge from such a great teacher. Thank you, Arun. Keep learning. Never stop being a student.

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Reduce Tamas & Rajas. Cultivate more Sattva.

Reduce Tamas & Rajas.  Cultivate more Sattva.

Another Shiva Power class, on our retreat to Maui last week! Come into stillness. Concentrate. And breathe. Practicing asana reduces Rajas. Practicing pranayama reduces Tamas. Practicing concentration increases Sattva. This is Samkhya Yoga. This is Ashtanga Yoga. Reduce Tamas and Rajas. Cultivate more Sattva. Make the mind fit for concentration and ready for the higher Raja Yoga practices of concentration, meditation, and Samadhi. Ommmmm!

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Control Your Breath, Control Your Mind.

Control Your Breath, Control Your Mind.

The breath is so important in a physical yoga practice. The yogis say, “if you can control your breath, you can control your mind.” Breathe deeply. Breathe down into the belly. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe into the side ribs. This is called costal breathing. Yogic breathing is often described as a combination of these two types of breathing. You want your breath to be long and slow. But you don’t want to fill the lungs so much that the collar bones lift and the upper chest lifts up towards the neck. This is called clavicular breathing. It is not recommended during your yoga practice. It stimulates the nervous system and is usually only used when the body is starving for oxygen. Breathe in and out through the nose. Let the breath lead you into the movement in your practice. Let the body follow the breath. Krishnamacharya says, “Let the breath be the Guru and the body be the disciple.” Ujjayi pranayama is very balancing. It can be performed in any asana. The Ujjayi pranayama is used to control the breath and slow it down. We can’t control the breath at the nostrils without using our fingers. But we can control the breath by constructing the throat muscles, as if we are sipping the breath through a tiny straw.

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Deeping the relationship with yourself.

Deeping the relationship with yourself.

If your yoga practice is helping you get into a deeper relationship with your Self, then you will notice your relationships changing. When you experience your Self in that deepest state of meditation, called Samadhi -- what flows through you are feelings of love, compassion, and kindness. The awareness of your inner light shines through you. It's impossible to not care more about the people and things around you, once you experience this deeper connection to your Self.

It is when we are not in touch with this inner light that we live from a very small place. The ego governs our thinking. We look out at the world very selfishly.

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You have to have context in order to make sense of things.

You have to have context in order to make sense of things.

You have to have context in order to make sense of things. It’s really important that we understand how Classical Yoga Philosophy compares to the other philosophies which competed with yoga, as a way to understand the world and our place in it, around 2000 yrs ago. These philosophies influenced each other and influence traditional yoga practices. Modern yoga classes are using these traditional yoga practices. It’s important to understand why. What is the goal of these practices? And, once reaching the goal, what is the experience once we are there? If you want to learn more about yoga philosophy, please join me for one of my Shiva Yoga Teacher Training programs next year. We have a 200hr program in Cabo San Lucas next year July 15-August 16 and we have a 300hr program, spread over 3 modules, in the fall, in Port Orange, Florida!  Check out the upcoming trainings page! Now, is the time for yoga!

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Teaching and The Yoga Mirror.

When you practice teaching others, you learn so much about what you know and what you don’t know. Our students, and teaching itself, is such a good mirror for us. Just like in your own practice, the yoga mirror shows you the things you need to look at, and the areas that are disconnected. Are you being effective when you are teaching, or not? Are you communicating with your students? Do they understand the things you are sharing? The real measure of a good teacher is not what you can do on your mat yourself, but how effective are you at connecting with your students, helping them to grow and transform. Show me pictures of your students. I want to see them. I want to see what they have learned. I want to meet them. Are they closer to balance? Are they more Sattvic? Do they have a deeper relationship with themselves, and deeper relationships with other people and the world around them? 

This powerful technology of yoga!

This powerful technology of yoga!

This powerful technology of yoga! When you practice concentration on one object long enough it leads to a state of meditation, and this leads to the state of Samadhi — where it is as if you have peeled off the layers of body, mind, and ego, and you get to experience the true nature of your Self. What is left over in the stillness, when there is no more body, mind, and ego? You. The part of you that is Pure Consciousness.

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Healthy confrontation.

Healthy confrontation.

I was talking tonight in my class about healthy confrontation. This is one of the things that we are practicing on our mat that is so helpful off the mat too. Can you stay open and confront your challenges? Can you confront the people in your life in a healthy way and with an open heart? Can you sit in the discomfort of the asana and breathe. Stay soft in the heat and intensity of the fire! This is our work on and off the mat. Confrontation is healthy. The world is filled with challenges. What’s your relationship to the challenge? Can you shift your perspective. This is what yoga is asking us to do. Really fun to see you tonight — Equinox Encino! Thank you for your lovely energy and practicing hard with me but also keeping things lighthearted.

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Holding space.

Holding space.

Individual sharing at our Closing Ritual. Holding space. Active listening. Supporting each other. One of the most powerful things that happens in this Teacher Training program is witnessing the students allow others to see who they really are and seeing them getting more comfortable with themselves. Peel off the layers. Drop the mask. Who is in there? Trust. You’re enough. And you’re not too much. You’re perfect exactly the way you are and that’s who we want to get to know. We don’t have another you! Over and over again (in the program) I kept encouraging the students to be authentic. Spirituality is real. It’s grounded in reality. It’s intense, and challenging, and hard work. Walking a spiritual path is not filled with unicorns and rainbows and sunshine. It’s about getting to the truth and in order to do that we’ve got to peel off so many layers. Simple connection. Really listening and paying attention to someone. Seeing them and allowing yourself to be seen. Such deep connection with this group. Such beautiful communication from the heart at our Closing Ritual. Speak your truth, Yogis! Share yourself with the world.

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Closing Ritual.

Closing Ritual.

Closing Ritual on our last day of the Shiva Yoga 200hr Teacher Training in Cabo! We are back where we started but we’ve been on quite a journey. Yoga asks you to shift your perspective and change your relationship to your Self. When you shift your perspective and change your relationship to your Self, you change your relationship to everything around you. Your experience of the world changes. The world hasn’t CHANGED for you but it has changed for YOU. Your experience of the world has changed. The transformation was all within you. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end. Then, it starts all over again. Every ending is a new beginning. Time is moving very quickly. Breathe into it. Enjoy the journey. Inhale and exhale — over and over again. Enjoy the moment and then let it go. Time to move forward.

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Most of us spend most of our time living in the lower chakras.

Most of us spend most of our time living in the lower chakras.

Most of us spend most of our time living in the lower chakras. Energy is constantly flowing down, through us, and out into the world. The first chakra is all about survival, the second chakra is all about pleasure, and the third chakra is all about power. I need to survive, I want to feel good, and I want to be in control. These three chakras are governed by the ego.

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I love flowing with my students!

I love flowing with my students!

I always practice a couple of Sun Salutations with my students every class. I love practicing yoga!

I think it’s helpful to flow a little along with the class, and to demonstrate or mirror some poses for them as well. I am always so inspired when I practice with my teacher — Dharma Mittra, and he demonstrates something, or practices a pose with us. We have to be careful demonstrating too much when we teach, though. Students who are Tamasic often feel defeated when they see the teacher’s demo, and students who are Rajasic often feel competitive and resent having to watch someone else demonstrating the pose.

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Anything that is not serving you -- let it go!

Anything that  is not serving you -- let it go!

We have come together from as far away as Dubai, Japan and Brazil, from Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Diego, Mexico City, and some of our group is from here in Cabo too! It’s been an incredible month. I will miss this wonderful group when our training finishes in a few days. Time is passing so quickly. Breathe into every moment. Enjoy this incredible time as much as you can. Love everyone. Life is too short. Hold space for people. Pass on what you are learning and keep learning and growing yourself. Anything that is not serving you — let it go. Anyone that is dragging you down — let them go. There are such amazing people in the world. If you start vibrating on the right frequency they will find you. Send out your signal. Yoga encourages us to change ourselves. Don’t ask the world to change for you. Shift your perspective and change your relationship to the world. Namaste, Everyone! Grateful for this amazing group that has come together for this training and for all the wonderful blessings in my life right now.

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What is a Guru? What does 'namaste' mean?

What is a Guru?  What does 'namaste' mean?

Every morning for the past 4 weeks I’ve started teaching my classes with a long Dharma talk before each class. This is definitely one of my favorite parts of leading these Shiva Yoga® 200hr Teacher Training programs. We have extra time and I can take the time to share some of the stories that my teachers have shared with me that have helped me understand yoga, and break down and talk about some of the common terms we use a lot in yoga but may not fully understand.

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Yoga Terminology

Yoga Terminology

We are deep into our study of yoga philosophy in our Shiva Yoga 200hr Teacher Training program! It’s not easy to make sense of the different systems of philosophy that inform the practice. There’s even a lot of confusion with terminology and even understanding the difference between modern styles of yoga and traditional systems of practice.

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So many distractions.

So many distractions.

A deep Shavasana in one of our Shiva Power® classes here in Cabo in my Shiva Yoga 200hr Teacher Training program. I love supporting these students on this journey. It’s wonderful to hold space and witness their transformation. I can’t believe how fast the time is going, though. I was talking yesterday before class in my Dharma talk about how fast we are moving and how much we are running — always so busy, so many distractions. We are making our lives so complicated. People often tell you proudly when you ask how they are doing, “I’m busy! Really busy!” I don’t know if this is such a good thing? Slow down. Find more balance. Make some space. Find stillness. Everything is passing by so fast. Make sure you don’t miss it because you were so busy.

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Honoring our teachers.

Honoring our teachers.

We do a lot of studying in my Shiva Yoga® 200hr Teacher Training program and the students work on a lot of creative projects together. One of the chapters in the training manual is on Lineage and how important it is to honor our teachers in yoga. We owe a big debt of gratitude to our teachers and to their teachers and to the original teachers who were trailblazers. Think of how amazing it is that we just have to follow the path that someone else has already been down. It’s incredible! It’s like my teacher — Dharma’s teacher, Yogi Gupta said, “Copy the teacher, copy the teacher, copy the teacher!”

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