Blog at the Circle
I'm not the most limber of yoga practitioners but I enjoy my yoga time with Michelle Adams at Deep Dog Yoga. Her Healing Yoga sessions are tailored to the needs of the participants and the benefits occur on many levels. I recently experienced some releases facilitated by the yoga practice that I wanted to share as the process may help you as well.
During one of the standing asana positions a slight back bend was involved - arms up over the head moving back towards the wall behind me. I was standing in front of the wall so there wasn't far to go. We're not talking a huge back bend here, just a small movement that was difficult for me as my back can be very stiff. As I held the position for a few seconds I noticed there was an area of my spine between my shoulder blades that felt stuck. It was uncomfortable and wasn't allowing me to move back any further.
I focused all my attention on the area and asked my body "What's there? What's this discomfort about?" To my surprise I felt sorrow coming from the area of my spine! I don't know what the sorrow was from and I didn't try to figure it out as it was likely not one event but the accumulation of several events. I kept my mind in neutral - not trying to analyze it - and gently set my attention on the area. With each inhale of my ujjayi breath I imagined beautiful loving energy moving into the area and imagined the sorrow energy leaving on the exhale. After a couple of breaths I was able to move through the discomfort and touch the wall behind me, releasing sorrow's hold on my spine.
Moving on in the same practice I began to experience extreme discomfort in my right knee during a pretzel pose. As a Reiki energy medicine practitioner for over 20 years I know that we hold our fears in our knees and it can lead to extreme discomfort or dysfunction in the knee area. This time I found myself talking to my knee and the fear residing there. I imagined the knee and the fear both had personalities. I imagined my breath going into the knee and the fear leaving on the exhale. I addressed the fear saying, "Thank you for the lessons, you can go now." I had no idea what I was afraid of - probably a combination of lots of fear energy built up over time - and it didn't matter. I just addressed the fear energy present there. Within a few short minutes the pain was relieved leaving the knee a bit uncomfortable but no longer in pain.
The experience of moving through the discomfort in both the spine and knee were profound and I concluded the practice feeling as though a huge release of pent-up emotion had taken place. As I continue my yoga practice I remember to refrain from trying to analyze my physical sensations or limitations, be present in the moment, keep my focus on my body and the breath, and imagine the breath going into the uncomfortable areas and releasing the uncomfortable energy with the exhale. For my back and knee I had the realization of (sorrow) or knew (fear) what was creating the discomfort. Now if I don't know what is causing the pain I just give it a name and tell it I love it, thank it for the lessons and imagine it moving out on the exhale.
Enjoy your practice!
In Peace, Linda
Last month during a Reiki session I realized my words had shifted from "Relax and Let Go" to "Relax and Release." I found it interesting that "release" felt very different than "let go." Relax and release has become my new favorite go-to phrase for calming, balancing and stress reduction - all healing energies themselves.
Release - to set free from restraint, confinement or servitude; to relieve from something that confines, burdens or oppresses; to give up or relinquish.
Here's why "Relax and Release" feels so different to me and ultimately more powerful. When I think of "letting go," my mind goes to my hands opening and releasing whatever it is I'm holding on to. It's a very generalized exerience. Just my hand and maybe arms are involved. I feel relief in my arms and shoulders but that's it. It's a very external activity.
When I say "release," I feel it in my entire body. Inside and outside. There is a release of tension that starts at the center of my body and moves outward and away. My face and head relax. It feels so good!
We all have a tendency to internalize our feelings and emotions. We hold them inside because that's what human beings do. It's very natural. But we forgot, or were never taught, that there's no lock on our inner being. We can open the door and let those stressful energies out at any time. But we hold on and hold on. Think of how wonderful the fish feels when we release it into the water- it's natural habitat. "Ahhh, I can be my true self now," says the fish. "I'm free."
There's a sense of freedom that comes with a release. A clearing of internal strife that allows us to connect more fully with our true being. We don't have to identify what we are releasing because the emotional energies are all mixed together. It's not about focusing on what we want to get rid of. It's about just releasing... and our wisdom-self knows what to move out, what to let float away, what to relinquish.
So it's not about trying. It's just about doing. What I do is take a few seconds whenever I think of it to take a deep breath and say to myself "Relax and Release." Say "Relax and" on the inhale and "Release" on the exhale. When you exhale imagine the breath not just coming out of the nose or mouth but imagine the air moving out of the lungs in all directions - like the ripples of water when you drop a stone in a still pond. Somehow for me it brings my shoulders back, my chest opens, I feel my head relax and it brings a smile to my face.
Everyone's different so you may find that "let go" is just as powerful or works in the same way as "release" does for me. The key is to remember to use it. Use what works best for you! The technique is easy and can be done anywhere, any time. Once you start remembering to use it on a regular basis you'll find yourself more calm and peacful throughout the day. Try it at night for a restful sleep!
Share your technique for releasing stress and tension with us! We can all learn and benefit from each other.
In peace.... Linda
One way to manage stress and promote peace in our life is by being mindful of our thoughts. Every day we have so much going on and we complicate those daily pressures by layering on thoughts of the past or the future. Research shows that we spend just 20 percent of our time focused on what's happening now - in the present moment. Mindfulness is the practice of moving more consistently into the present moment.
Mindfulness is creating an impartial moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and surroundings.
Some cultures were raised with a mindfulness practice. But not here in the United States. To Western cultures mindfulness was an unknown concept as we let our minds run away with us. There's no blame. It's just the way our culture and society was focused. But we are seeing that change now as many recognize the benefits of being mindful of what we are thinking.
It's easy to begin a mindfulness practice. Start by paying attention to what you are thinking. If you are washing dishes are you focused on washing the dishes - getting that pot clean, the bubbles in the water - or are you thinking about what happened earlier that day or what's coming up later that night? If you're looking ahead to the future or hashing over the past be careful. You may not see that sharp knife in the wash water!
The first step to developing mindfulness is to check in periodically on what you're thinking. Catch yourself if you're thinking about something other than what you're doing right now. Now there's a time to plan and a time to look at what's happened in the past - but those would be designated as that's what we are going to do now - plan for the future or look at lessons from the past. That's when we look at the past or future. Otherwise, we want to bring the mind back to what's happening right now.
When we start thinking or "worrying" about how what we're doing will turn out or what people might think we are thinking of the future. When we start thinking "I should do it this way because that's how it's always been done." we are thinking in the past.That takes our focus away from doing our very best and what feels right for this project. And it also sets up an emotional response that will then color whatever we are doing.
Begin by monitoring your thoughts. When you catch yourself dwelling on those thoughts of what has been or could be remind yourself you can think about that later, let it go by, take a few slow deep breaths and bring yourself back into the moment. Be kind to yourself. It just takes a little practice but in time your stress level will be reduced and you'll find a deep peace come into your life.
That's a wonderful place to be!
I hope you will share your stories of moving into Mindfulness!
Appreciation is the recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.
Appreciation is more than just being thankful or grateful for someone or something. Appreciation is acknowledgement on a much deeper level. When we look at something with appreciation we are seeing into the depths of that being and acknowledging that part of them that is connected to all that is but uniquely significant in its own way.
There's an energy about the appreciation. It's not about feeling grateful for having overcome an adversity or being thankful for something received. It is honoring the beauty deep within. It's extending your own unconditional Love out to connect with the unconditional Love within that being. Valuing at the deepest level.
This Valentines Day is a perfect opportunity to practice the art of appreciation. You can practice on your loved ones, family, friends, the grocery clerk. Let the Love in you reach out to the Love in the other. (Everyone has Love in them!) Although you may be handing them someone flowers as a gesture of appreciation, when you say "I appreciate you." from your heart and soul there is a special vibrational quality that will inpact the other in such a beautiful and loving way.
And remember yourself as well. It's not only Valentime's Day this month but it's also American Heart Month. Be kind to yourself. Feel appreciation for your body and your amazing heart.
Written with great appreciation of each and every one of you!!
Share your stories and thoughts on Appreciation with us!
This us a time of renewal - the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again.
Renewing our vows to ourselves - setting New Year resolutions - is a common prctice. Changing just one small action or behavior in our lives can have an amazing affect on our state of mind and well-being.
If need a resolution to put in place this year here's an idea that's sure to provide renewal to your soul throughout the year - practice the art of mindfulness or living in the present moment on a regular basis.
Take a few minutes (or just half a minute if time is short) to stop what you are doing, take a few slow deep breaths and take your attention to what is around you.
Let your thoughts go by - if you catch yourself thinking about the future or past just bring your attention back to your breath and where you are.
If outside, take in the beauty of the plants and sky.
If indoors, savor your surroundings - a warm home, office or the flowers on the table.
Appreciate what you have rather than what you consider to be missing.
Take another deep breath - relaxing your shoulders as you do.
Return to your activities fresh, strong, renewed.
Some of you may want to set an alert on your phone or computer for the top of each hour. A reminder to take a breath, bring yourself into the present moment, be mindful of / appreciate your surroundings and the peace of your inner spirit, and smile!
I wish you Health & Happiness in 2016 and always!