Yoga- Yoga - news, reviews and techniques

 
 

 
 

  • Yoga Marrakech
  • YOGA CLASSES MARRAKECH

    YOGA CLASSES MARRAKECH
    YOGA CLASSES ARE HELD IN THE HEART OF GUELIZ IN YOGA STUDIO THREE TIMES A WEEK MONDAY WEDNESDAY FRIDAY 8H TO 9H15 CLASSES ARE MIXED LEVELS ALL ARE WELCOME MATS PROVIDED ADDRESS,, RUE VIEUX MARRACKCHI NEXT TO RUE LIBERTE OFF MOHAMMED 5,, NEXT TO NEW MALL CARRE EDEN ENQUIRES HEARTOFA@GMAIL.COM 0675736448
  • KUAN YIN

    KUAN YIN
    KUAN YIN,, GODDESS OF COMPASSION AND WISDOM,,, 
  • ASHTANGHA YOGA MARRAKECH

    ASHTANGHA YOGA MARRAKECH
    ASHTANGA YOGA MARRAKECH OFFERS WEEKELY GROUP CLASSES OR PRIVATE LESSONS, AT HOTELS, RESIDENCES, VILLAS,,,,,,, ONE HOUR ONE HOUR HALF TAILOR MADE TO GROUPS , INDIVIDUALS  ENQUIRIES HEARTOFA@GMAIL.COM
  • YOGA MUDRA YOGA

    YOGA MUDRA YOGA
    YOGA MARRAKECH IS HAVING A WEEKEND OF MUDRA MEDITATION WORK,, SATURDAY MORNING AND SUNDAY MORNING IN MARCH   MUDRA WORK IS INTERESTING AS IT IS A WAY TO HEAL ,, STRENGTHEN ,,RESTORE AND NOURISH THE BODY    THERE ARE MANY MUDRAS,, OFTEN CALLED YOGA OF THE HANDS   WORKSHOP IS 3 HOURS ENQUIRES HEARTOFA@GMAIL.COM
  • MEDITATION CLASSES IN MARRAKECH

    MEDITATION CLASSES IN MARRAKECH
    YOGA MARRAKECH IS STARTING WEEKLY MEDITATION CLASSES COME SPRING, THESE CLASSES ARE OPEN TO ANYONE AND WILL BE HELD WEEKLY AT YOGA MARRAKECH CENTER NEAR THE STADIUM. FOR FURTHER INFO CONTACT HEARTOFA@GMAIL.COM
  • My Yoga Online
  • Introducing Week Two of Our Free Online Film Festival

    Introducing Week Two of Our Free Online Film Festival

    We hope you enjoyed week one of our free online film festival, and welcome to week two. This week's focus is on harnessing the power that lies inside of all of us. All selections from this festival will be available for the full duration of the guide, so there's lots of time to catch up if you're just joining us today. 

    Coming soon, as a MyYoga member, you will also have access to all of the content on Gaiam TV, including their library of over 3000 videos. This guide is an exclusive look into that library, and features a specially chosen sampling of the films, documentaries and shorts that your membership will include after the launch of our extended community mid-August. 

    Know someone who’d enjoy and benefit from this series? Feel free to share. These are the types of films you'll want to discuss after the credits roll, so join the discussion on our Facebook page and in the comments section under that videos release.

    Film Festival Schedule: Week Two

    Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds

    There is one vibratory field that connects all things. It has been called Akasha, Logos, the primordial OM, the music of the spheres, the Higgs field, dark energy and a thousand other names throughout history. Learn more about it in this awe-inspiring documentary. 

    Women of Bhakti

    Take a journey into the lives of historical and modern devotees of bhakti yoga. Women of Bhakti offers an enlightening understanding of the bhakti, or devotional tradition, and its relation to modern yoga practice.

    Check in every Tuesday for the next week's selections. 


    More Yoga
  • Enjoy Week One of Our Free Online Film Festival

    Enjoy Week One of Our Free Online Film Festival

    Join us to expand your mind, empower your spirit and enhance your well-being with our weekly film selections, released every Tuesday from July 15th to August 15th. Access is free as long as you have a My Yoga Online account.

    This online film festival is a little bit different than anything we've previously offered. Coming soon, as a MyYoga member, you will also have access to all of the content on Gaiam TV, including their library of over 3000 videos. This guide is an exclusive look into that library, and features a specially chosen sampling of the films, documentaries and shorts that your membership will include after the launch of our extended community mid-August. 

    Know someone who’d enjoy and benefit from this series? Feel free to share. These are the types of films you'll want to discuss after the credits roll, so join the discussion on our Facebook page and in the comments section under that videos release.

    Enjoy our first week's selection of films by clicking here. 

    Film Festival Schedule: Week One

    Tuesday, July 15th

    The Living Matrix

    This film uncovers new ideas about the intricate web of factors that determine our health. It features a group of dedicated scientists, psychologists, bioenergetic researchers and holistic practitioners who are finding healing potential in new places. 

    Ayurveda Action Plan

    Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine that has been practiced in India for centuries. Enjoy three episodes from this informative series on breathing, meditation and more. 

    Check in every Tuesday for the next week's selections. 


    More Yoga
  • Exciting Changes Are Coming: MyYoga News

    Exciting Changes Are Coming: MyYoga News

    A Message From Michelle Trantina, President of MyYoga

    Nine years ago my husband Jason and I launched MyYoga Online. It was a bold dream and many thought we were crazy, but we wanted to bring yoga to the world. Several months ago we shared with you the news of our merger with GaiamTV--a lifestyle streaming portal with over 6,000 titles.

    In the coming months, MyYoga's look and feel will be changing in new and exciting ways. Your membership will include even more yoga practices with even more teachers (including the MYO instructors you know and love), and a new selection of fitness videos. You'll also have access to a wealth of new content, including the latest in integrative nutrition, Ayurveda, meditation, spirituality, personal growth and so much more. You'll have new opportunities to expand your mind, empower your spirit and enhance your well-being by supplementing your practice with Gaiam TV's vast library of thousands of groundbreaking videos. And don't worry, you'll still have access to all of your favorite MyYoga selections, too.



    We will also continue to offer you our monthly practice guides and progressive series, and our library of articles on yoga, teacher training, nutrition and health will continue to grow. For all of this, our membership will continue to be only $9.95 a month.

    Thank you so much for all of your love and support over the years. We hope you're as excited as we are for this new chapter in MyYoga's evolution.


    More Yoga
  • Discovering a Safe Place to Feel: A Spotlight on Faith Hunter

    Discovering a Safe Place to Feel: A Spotlight on Faith Hunter

    Committed to living a life of soulful freedom, every day Faith Hunter aims to both inspire and be inspired by the possibilities that life has to offer. Her classes are playful and informative, and she encourages her students to take advantage of the joyous learning environment she provides as they explore their divine flow both on and off the mat.

    Faith's practice began during her brother's difficult transition from life to death after being diagnosed with HIV. Yoga became an opportunity for her to let go of the feelings that she was holding on to. "It was also this really amazing and safe place for me to cry."

    Through teaching yoga in Haiti, Faith has learned about the true resilience of people. She is a strong believer in the power of hope and transformation for healing and empowerment.

    "Time is flying by, things are happening a lot faster in my life, but I don't feel like I'm aging. Yoga definitely has a part to do with it, but I think part of it is also my outlook on life."

    Click here to watch Faith Hunter's Spotlight Video 

     


    More Yoga
  • Enter Our Shake Your Asana Contest!

    Enter Our Shake Your Asana Contest!

    Join our Shake Your Asana Photo Contest to Win a Pair of Capri Pants and A Bra Top by Onzie - a $98 value! 

    Here at My Yoga Online, we believe that having fun is good for the soul, even in your yoga practice! Shakin' things up is the spice of life, and from July 1st to July 7th, we want to see you have some fun! Whether you are in a park, in the streets or decked out in 80's attire, share photos of your playful practice on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ShakeYourAsana to win. The more creative the better! 

    One lucky winner will recieve a prize from Onzie! 

    Onzie is giving away a pair of capri pants and a criss-cross bra top - you choose the print and the size! Cute and comfortable, they are perfect to wear to and from your yoga class, hot yoga included- a $98 value! 

    Created by a 20 year Bikram Yogi, Onzie blends the best of traditional yoga wear with modern innovation and a touch of whimsy. The result? Active apparel that is functional, flexible and flattering. At Onzie their philosophy is "keep your practice challenging, and your wardrobe simple!"

    ENTER TO WIN IN FOUR EASY STEPS:

    1. Follow My Yoga Online on Instgram and/or Twitter @myyogaonline

    2. Follow Onzie on Instagram @Onzie

    3. Tag photos of your playful practice with #ShakeYourAsana and @myyogaonline

    4. Be an active participant! Like, comment and share other #ShakeYourAsana photos. 

    Make sure to Follow and Like Onzie on Social Media!

    Onzie on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. 

    The winner will be announced on July 8th. Please note that only photos taken within the contest period (July 1st to July 7th) will be considered. 

    The fine print: Click here to read the offical contest rules. 


    More Yoga
 
 
  • Free Online Kundalini Yoga Poses and Exercises
  • How Daily Yoga Practice can Revolutionise Society

    How Daily Yoga Practice can Revolutionise Society

    Our popular contributor Kara-Leah is committed to regular home practice and believes if everyone had home yoga practice - whether it was asana, pranayama, meditation, chanting or Karma Yoga - it would revolutionise our society.

    by Kara-Leah Grant

    Author of Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.

    Ok, as you've likely guessed by now, I'm obsessed with home yoga practice. Part of that is because it's been so incredibly healing for me in my own life. I see how healing it is for other people too. And finally, I've written a book that's all about home yoga practice so the more people that realise its importance, the more books I might sell.

    Yes, regular yoga practice is important to society! Here's why:

    Now, more than ever, this world needs more people who are capable of taking care of themselves. We need people to take responsibility for themselves and their well-being - for their own mental health issues, their own physical health issues and their own emotional health issues.

    This is what yoga has done for me:

    • Daily yoga practice helped me heal and manage major chronic spinal issues.
    • Daily yoga practice helped me recover from psychosis.
    • Daily yoga practice helped me break free of co-dependent relationship.
    • It's helped me figure out my life, myself, this world and my place in the world.

    I didn't do this all on my own - I've had plenty of help along the way from professionals, medication when necessary, friends and family. But my daily yoga practice has been the bedrock, the foundation, and the cornerstone of my recovery, healing and insights.

    If 10% of the population had a regular home yoga practice, we could address some of the major issues facing society today.

    Off the top of my head, here's five major issues costing our country millions of dollars. All of these issues would be positively impacted if more people practiced yoga on a daily basis.

    1. Mental Health Issues Increasing

    2. Addictions and Abuse on the rise

    3. Prison Populations Exploding

    4. Health System Overloaded

    5. Aged Care Resources Stretched Thin

    When you commit to practicing yoga on a regular basis, you are taking responsibility for yourself as a human being.

    You are saying that you care about your health and well-being and that you are worth taking care of. When you start to take care of yourself and send that message that you're worth something, the way you interact with the world starts to change.

    Not only does your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being (in general) improve, but because you feel better about yourself and you are beginning to realise your own intrinsic sense of value, you make better choices in your life. You're able to deal with your emotions and mind better. You no longer need the drugs or the alcohol or the lousy relationship.

    Knowing you're worth something changes everything.

    Plus when you practice yoga on a regular basis you become more aware. You begin to see the truth of yourself as a person and you begin to see the truth of your choices. Even realising that you do have choices can be a huge step. Realising you have choices is the first step to making different choices. Those different choices can be the difference between going back to prison and having the courage to step into a new life.

    Taking responsibility for your well-being and becoming aware of the importance of your choices means that you are far more likely to live well into your old age, which means less chance of needing aged care.

    Yogis are famed for choosing the moment when they leave this lifetime - for sitting down in meditation and going out in bliss. Most of us are unlikely to exit that way. But without yoga, many of us will see out our twilight years in an aged care facility, being feed and toileted by an underpaid overworked carer doing the best they can.

    Practicing yoga won't guarantee perfect health, but it does increase your chances of better health. Better health means you can keep walking, stay independent and stay in control for much longer - maybe right until the end.

    I know this is true. But I don't expect you to just believe me. I want you to try it out.

    I want you to practice yoga daily for forty days and see if it makes your life better. I know this is hard, but I've done it, time and time again. So I've taken the process that has helped me stick to regular yoga practice, all the tips and tricks I've learned along the way, and I've put it into a workbook to take you through a process so you can commit to forty days of yoga.

    I want you to do those forty days.

    And then I want you to tell me what the experience was like for you.

    Does it make life better? It certainly did for one of my beta-readers, Sara Foley.

    Now imagine, if you buy this book and do this process, and practice yoga for forty days - you now know it works. If it works for you, could it work for other people you know? Could it work for society as a whole?

    I know we can't make people practice yoga.

    But what we can do, collectively as a community, is help each other practice yoga on a regular basis and then share our experience with the people around us.

    As teachers, that means encouraging and supporting our students into a home practice. It also means cultivating and tending our own home practice.

    As students, it means having the courage to take that first step and begin practicing yoga at home.

    It means being curious about the experience. Paying attention to how we feel, what we think and what we experience. And then noting how this changes over time.

    For all of us, it means talking to other people about our experiences, and sharing how yoga makes our life better.

    And that's exactly why I'm always going on about home yoga practice. I believe in it and I believe in the difference it can make for our society overall.

    What about you? Do you practice yoga at home regularly? Does it make a difference in your world?   

    About Kara-Leah

     

     

    Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.

    Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga.  She?s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.

    She?s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice in 2013 and she's almost finished revisions for her second book, The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga. She?s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal  

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    Related posts:
    1. How to Stay Motivated for Home Yoga Practice
    2. The Jewels of a Home Yoga Practice: Staying with Discomfort
    3. Top Yoga Poses with Pictures for Daily Practice
    4. Home Yoga Practice: Is it for Me? I’ve just Started Yoga Classes
    5. How to Anchor Your Home Yoga Practice with a Sadhana
  • Home Yoga Practice: Is it for Me? I?ve just Started Yoga Classes

    Home Yoga Practice: Is it for Me? I?ve just Started Yoga Classes

    Our popular contributor Kara-Leah is often asked by people who are just starting yoga classes if it's too early to develop a home yoga practice. This is her response. 

    by Kara-Leah Grant

    Author of Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.

    You may have yet to walk into your first yoga class, so the idea of starting a home yoga practice seems crazy. Me, practice at home? But I don't even know any postures yet! I have no idea what I'm doing!

    No, you don't. But that's ok. The big thing with home practice is that it doesn't matter so much what you do in your practice, it matters that you practice every day. 

    When we first start home practice, we're really building our ability to just show up to the mat every day. That's the most important thing. We soon learn that the mind has 101 reasons why we can't practice yoga today. We don't have enough time, we don't have the right space, we can't be bothered, we don't know what to do... There's always a reason. This doesn't change either - I've been practicing yoga at home for over a decade now and there's still always something else I could be doing other than getting on my mat, or some reason why I can't possibly practice yoga today.

    Over time though, I've learned that no matter what the reason, it's just an excuse and there's always a work-around. There's always some way you can get yoga practice in. 

    I've written an entire book on the subject, Forty Days of Yoga - Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. That's where you can find everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a home yoga practice, including handy worksheets.

    All you need to know right now is that it's never too early to start practicing at home. In fact, I highly recommend that right from your very first yoga class, you start practicing yoga at home. There's a few reasons for this.

    Reason #1: 

    You're sending a message to yourself that yoga is important to you and you're going to give it your best shot. It's not just a way to escape from your life once a week on the mat, but something you intend to integrate into your life.

    Reason #2: 

    Taking time to go over just one thing that you learned in class will fast-track your understanding of yoga so when you do show up to that class every week, you'll get so much more out of it.

    Reason #3: 

    Doing some yoga at home by yourself means you're taking responsibility for your practice. It's not something that the teacher hands down from on high every week, but some thing that you're responsible for learning. This is an important step towards empowerment.

    Reason #4: 

    You'll feel better every time you practice yoga at home. It's like a small lift-me-up in the middle of your day. If you're having a really bad day - and we all have those - you know you can just get on your mat for five minutes of practice and things may just shift. Your perspective may broaden and suddenly whatever is bugging you might not be as bad.

    Reason #5: 

    Right from the start of your yoga journey, you're imprinting home yoga practice into your nervous system and your psyche. It makes yoga a way of life for you, and means that you'll get so much more out of your practice.

    In the end, your yoga practice is your own individual journey and taking time by yourself on your mat gives you the space to really connect with what's going on in your body, mind and with your breath. 

    Now, before you freak out and think that a home yoga practice means doing this spectacular ninety minute sequence of postures every day, take a deep breath in and feel that breath as it fills your nostrils, then your lungs, and descends down into your belly. Release that breath and fill the body soften and surrender as it expels the breath. That moment? Watching your breath? Becoming conscious of what it feels like and sounds like in your body. That was yoga. You were present and conscious of your breath. Congratulations. You just did some home yoga practice.

    When you first start going to yoga class, it is enough to take five or seven minutes every day doing just one posture that you remember. Perhaps you choose Shavasana - Corpse Pose, which is traditionally done at the end of every yoga class. 

    In Shavasana you lie flat on your back, legs hip-width, releasing your feet out sideways, palms facing up to the ceiling and away from the sides of your body. Eyes closed, tongue released from the roof of your mouth. And you breathe. While staying conscious of your breath.  

    The mind will wander... 'Oh I wonder what I should cook for dinner tonight, I can't believe my sister is still dating that guy, I have to call the plumber tomorrow. Oh!' And then you notice it's wandering and you come back to your breath again letting those thoughts go. Inhale. Exhale. 

    Hmm... 'I need to be a card for my mother's birthday...' And so it goes on. Just doing this every day between classes is a home yoga practice. It's a great place to start. In fact, given the nature of many of our lives - busy, busy busy, online all the time, commuting - our nervous systems are over-stimulated and need the stillness of Savasana more than even the dynamism of Sun Salutations. 

    You may feel like you're not 'doing' anything - you're just lying on the ground, watching your mind and your breath - but that's the whole point. Most of us spend all of our days doing, doing, doing and often our yoga practice becomes just another thing to DO. Taking time for Shavasana every day is taking time to be - nothing to do, nothing to achieve, nothing to attain, nothing to perfect, nothing to fix or heal or change. Just us, our breath and our bodies.

    Other simple and effective postures you may wish to explore are Child's Pose, or Mountain Pose, or one of my favourite's, Legs up the Wall Posture. If you can't remember exactly how to do the postures, Google it, read through, watch a video, get it clear in your head, and then get on your mat and practice that posture. 

    The beauty of taking time to do your own home practice right from Day 1 of yoga is that when you go back to class, you may have a question you want to ask the teacher, because you've spent time in the posture and are beginning to notice things about your body. Plus, an experienced teacher will be able to tell you're doing a home yoga practice. Students who practice at home progress so much faster than students who don't. Not that yoga is about progress as such, but it's obvious who is practicing at home as the yoga deepens into student's bodies faster.

    So even if you haven't yet made it to your first yoga class, know that you can start practicing yoga at home straight away. It doesn't have to be fancy and it doesn't have to be long. Mostly, you're focusing on building the habit of integrating yoga into your life. And the habit of taking responsibility for your practice - of paying attention to your body and mind and observing what's actually going on. It's simple, but it's powerful. 

     

    That's yoga.

    About Kara-Leah

     

     

    Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.

    Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga.  She?s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.

    She?s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and has just published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. She?s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal 

    Connect w/ Anmol

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    Related posts:
    1. What are the Benefits of a Home Yoga Practice?
    2. What Really Counts as a Home Yoga Practice?
    3. Do I Really Need a Home Yoga Practice?
    4. How to Stay Motivated for Home Yoga Practice
    5. Ten Principles for Creating Your Home Yoga Practice
  • Inspirational Quotes by Natalie Wright

    Inspirational Quotes by Natalie Wright

    And for someone completely different this time... Natalie Wright is a modern author who wrote The Akasha Chronicles, a middle grade/young adult paranormal fantasy trilogy. Turns out fiction authors can say great things that apply to meditation and yoga too!

    ?Ah, yes, choice. I chose to let my ghosts stay in past. Past is history you know. Living is now. I sat. I breathed. I let past go. I let future go. I am. That is all.? 

     

    ?No difference, good or bad. Thoughts like birds in mind. Some fly in. Some fly out. Some stay at water hole to drink. Beware of birds that linger.? 

     

    ?Life is not about perfection. It's about persistence.? 

     

     

    Connect w/ Anmol

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    Related posts:
    1. Inspirational Quotes from Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
    2. Inspirational Quotes from Ram Dass, American Spiritual Teacher
    3. Inspirational Quotes from Mystic Poet and Saint Kabir
    4. Inspirational Quotes from H. E. Davey Sensei
    5. Inspirational Quotes by Spiritual Teacher Amit Ray
  • Inspirational Quotes from H. E. Davey Sensei

    Inspirational Quotes from H. E. Davey Sensei

    H. E. Davey Sensei is the Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts.

    According to his bio on the foundation's website, Davey Sensi has trained extensively in a form of Japanese Yoga called Shin-shin-toitsu-do, or "The Way of Mind and Body Unification". But Davey Sensi is not just a yogi, he's also trained extensively in the creative arts, including Japanese brush writing/ink painting or shodo. He is an award-winning artist in this medium and has written many articles and books on the topic. 

    In 2003 Davey Sensei won the Spirituality & Health magazine's Book of the Year award for Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty. His quotes reflect this connection being states of Being and creativity.

     

    ?Each action we take is an act of self-expression. We often think of large-scale or important deeds as being indications of our real selves, but even how we sharpen a pencil can reveal something about our feelings at that moment. Do we sharpen the pencil carefully or nervously so that it doesn?t break? Do we bother to pay attention to what we?re doing? How do we sharpen the same pencil when we?re angry or in a hurry? Is it the same as when we?re calm or unhurried?

    Even the smallest movement discloses something about the person executing the action because it is the person who?s actually performing the deed. In other words, action doesn?t happen by itself, we make it happen, and in doing so we leave traces of ourselves on the activity.
    The mind and body are interrelated.?

     

     

    ?Basically, if the mind stays in the present, it?s impossible to worry.
    Upon careful consideration, it becomes clear that human beings are capable of worrying
    only about an event that has already transpired or one that may take place in the future (although the occurrence might have just happened or may be about to happen in the next instant).
    The present moment contains no time or space for worry.? 

     

    ?All creations are one with the universe. Look at the world around you. Can you effectively separate yourself from everything else? After seriously pondering this, most of us rapidly conclude that we cannot. To even make the statement that I exist as a unique entity requires comparison with something else. (If you exist as a distinct being, your distinctiveness is in comparison to other creations. No other creations, no individual you.)? 

     

    ?A strong life force can be seen in physical vitality, courage, competent judgment, self-mastery, sexual vigor, and the realization of each person?s unique talents and purpose in life.
    To maintain a powerful life force, forget yourself, forget about living and dying,
    and bring your full attention into this moment.?

     

    Connect w/ Anmol

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    Related posts:
    1. Inspirational Quotes from Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
    2. Inspirational Quotes from American Spiritual Teacher Adyashanti
    3. Inspirational Quotes from Ram Dass, American Spiritual Teacher
    4. Inspirational Quotes from the ‘Father of the Nation’, Nelson Mandela
    5. Inspirational Quotes by Spiritual Teacher Amit Ray
  • Why Nothing is a Problem and There are no Problems

    Why Nothing is a Problem and There are no Problems

    Our popular contributor Kara-Leah shares her experience of once going on a silent meditation retreat. And she highly recommends it too!

    by Kara-Leah Grant

    Author of Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.

     

    Once upon a time I did a four day meditation retreat, three and a half days of which were in silence.

    My work mates at the time thought I was nuts.

    Doing nothing but sitting meditation, walking meditation, eating and sleeping.

    To me it sounded like bliss.

    No work. No website. No teaching. No relationships. No internet, tv, media, newspaper, books, magazines.

    Just unadulterated being, led by one of New Zealand's most prominent meditation teachers, Stephen Archer in a beautiful retreat house in Otaki.

    The day's timetable was the same each full day we were there, but the focus on the meditation changed as we progressed. (For those interested in the exact schedule, I've posted it down below.)

    We began with "exclusive meditation", which means focusing on an object to the exclusion of all else, in our case, the breath.

    Meditation works on two levels - one is the mind, or small self. The other is consciousness, or large self. Most of the time we perceive life through the lens of the mind. Meditation allows us to drop down into the level of consciousness. It doesn't mean we're not thinking, but instead of identifying or being completely wrapped up in the thoughts, we're able to observe them as they come and go. Kinda like sitting by a river watching the water flow past. We can see the water, we watch it change, but we don't think we ARE the water.

    Exclusive meditation allows everything to settle. The anxieties and troubles of day-to-day life are left behind. All that exists is the present moment, breathing in, breathing out. breathing in, breathing out.

    Once we'd done that for a day or so, there was a noticeable difference in everyone's energy and being. People had "settled". They were "present". Words or conversation weren't necessary to know this.

    The second stage of our practice was "inclusive meditation". Instead of narrowing our focus down to just one thing, we now stayed anchored in consciousness while expanding that out to include whatever arose. This is kind of like being the blue sky and observing the clouds as they scuttle across one's being, but not getting confused into thinking one is a cloud.

    For me, this is when the rewards of meditation really bore fruit. I've been using exclusive meditation for a few years now - focusing on mantras, or the breath. Stephen's clear instruction about inclusive meditation fit a large piece of the jigsaw into place for me. The day and a half we'd done of exclusive meditation had made it extraordinarily easy for me to be present, to be consciousness. It was a powerful sensation.

    Shifting into inclusive meditation meant I could retain this sense of presence while opening up to whatever wished to make itself known to me. And here's where I encountered the first signs of resistance to the retreat. The mind, cunning as it is, began to throw up thoughts like:

    "This is easy, you've got this nailed, you didn't need this retreat, what a waste of time, you're more advanced than this."

    Oh how subtle... appealing to the ego like that!

    As I walked my twenty paces up and down under the stand of Totara trees I observed these thoughts as though they were a chorus of advisers sitting on my shoulder trying to tell me "how it was". I refused to engage with them, to follow them, or to react to them. After awhile, with no attention given to them, they subsided into silence. no one likes being ignored - not even thoughts ;)

    Experience has taught me that resistance to the moment generally marks an opportunity arising to go deeper, let go of more. And so it was in this case. I can't describe my experience, because words are useless in times like this, but suffice to say, on my next walking meditation, those scuttling clouds faded away, the sun came out, and a layer of ego-identity melted away. Something I'd known intellectually penetrated my being, right down into my cells and I felt like this enormous weight had been lifted.

    As a result, the last day or so of the retreat were bliss. Quite literally. I cruised around, enjoying sitting, enjoying meditation, enjoying eating, enjoying sleeping.

    Thoughts would still come up - planning the future, imaginary conversations - that type of thing. But I was able to stay with consciousness and ask, "What gives rise to that thought?". Sometimes I was able to discern the thought's root, and in doing so, that train of thought would fade away and not return. Blasted 'out of mind' with awareness.

    In one of Stephen's nightly talks, he spoke about the nature of dilemma, and problem, and how such things only exist "in the mind". From my place of consciousness, this sunk in like it never really had. Suddenly I got it.

    Nothing is a problem.

    Nothing.

    Why?

    Because when you live from consciousness, as opposed to the mind, you respond in each moment with total awareness. The appropriate response is always clear. You know what to do. And it's not about what you want to do, or desire to do, or think you should do. You're not thinking about trying to manipulate or control the situation. There is no thought, no ego involved. There is no past, nor any future. Only now, and what needs to be done Now.

    The response comes from a place of absolute clarity. Of total awareness.

    I knew in that moment that anytime I was ever confronted with a "problem" again, all I needed to do was be in consciousness and respond. Life living through me...

    Of course, this requires that we release all attachments to outcome, all desires, all wants, all fears... and this is not as easy task.

    Yet imagine living in a day to day existence where nothing is a problem and life shines from within in a constant stream of bliss.

    Since coming back from the retreat, my problems have melted away. Life does feel different. I feel different. Being in this state is a constant practice, as it is all too easy to fall into the trap of the mind. Into the reality of problems and dilemmas and wants and desires.

    Today, four days after returning, I could feel resistance to the moment in the form of anger arising. I was mad damn it! Usually this would be perceived as "because" of external circumstances, but in truth, the anger arises because it is already within me. It's arising is an opportunity to let it go, once and for all. I could feel my calm state of consciousness melting away and I knew it was time to go and sit.

    And sit I did.

    Sinking back first into exclusive meditation - settling my consciousness, finding my seat. And then moving into inclusive meditation to allow whatever wanted to come, come. There was no miraculous "A-ha!" moment about the anger. I don't know why it was there, what it meant, what caused it. But after my meditation it had gone. Drifted away. Again consciousness was clear and life was "no problem".

    It was a reminder that life is an amazing, beautiful thing where dilemma doesn't exist - if only we can stay in the now, in the presence, in awareness. Attending a meditation retreat is a powerful opportunity to access this place, with plenty of support and encouragement. A retreat makes it easy. But after the retreat, it is just as easy. All it takes is practice, and a willingness to return to meditation whenever the mind begins to "think" there's a problem.

    And boy, does the mind love to think that!

    Meditation Retreat Schedule

    5:45am Wake-up call
    6:00am Sitting meditation
    6:45am Walking meditation

    7:30am Breakfast

    8.45am Talk & Sitting
    9:45am Walking
    10:30am Sitting
    11.15am Walking

    Noon Meal

    2:15pm Sitting
    3:00pm Walking
    3:45pm Sitting
    4:30pm Walking

    5:00pm Dinner

    6:45pm Sitting
    7:30pm Talk
    8:15pm Tea Break
    8:30pm Sitting
    9:00pm Finish

     

    About Kara-Leah

     

    Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.

    Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga.  She?s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.

    She?s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and has just published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga ? Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. She?s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal

    Connect w/ Anmol

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