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Yoga 101

Be Your Own Alchemist

I am a modern day Alchemist
. . . transforming energy within for any purpose I choose . . . but it took a while to gain this skill (and I'm not done learning it).

Life is Energy!  Life is Shakti (power)! 
And we are energy
- our bodies, thoughts, emotions and life-Spirit -
everything about us is energy.

In the classical 8-Limb path of yoga (as outlined by Patanjali a couple thousand years ago) there is a practice that can assist us in moderating our energy . . .

Brahmacharya - Energy Moderation

The practice of Brahmacharya means bringing Conscious Awareness into how we spend our time . . .
what activities we choose to do with our limited time and energy. . . and who we choose to experience them with. 

This has dramatic results!

With Conscious Awareness of our choices, we begin to acknowledge and honor our freedom to choose and also accept the responsibility for our choices. 
We actually take back our Power! 
Or perhaps finally claim it for the first time!  

You have the Power to choose what you think!
You have the Power to choose how you speak!
You have the Power to choose the emotional energy you carry!
You have the Power to choose what goes into and out of your body!

All the choices are yours!
All the Power is yours!

So, back to that Alchemy part .  .  .
Brahmacharyais about moderating energy, making conscious choices about what we want in life and how we take on the responsibility of manifesting what we want.  If I want to lose weight, for example, I must take responsibility for changing my actions in order to receive that result.  If I want to sleep better in order to have more energy in the morning, I must make the changes necessary to ensure that happens. 
I am not a victim of myself.  I am not a victim of life.  I am not a victim. 

Now I enjoy taking this awesomeness one step further . . .
true alchemy happens when any energy I can find within myself . . . perhaps even anger . . . becomes simply raw energy with which I can transform into another form.  I harness energy within and channel it into energy expressions I consciously choose.  I feel anger (old habits - samskaras) . . . I choose love (conscious awareness).  I then accept the responsibility to change my thoughts to loving thoughts . . . which drastically changes my emotions to loving emotions . . . which supports me in expressing loving actions towards myself and others! 
Yippee!  Energy Alchemy!

emPOWER & enJOY,

shae


Less Is More

Less Is More . . .
What a Liberating Realization!

"Less Is More"is a phrase I frequently use with my clients. 
So often it is less effort, less pushing, less 'fixing' that needs to happen.  Frequently the answer is within more allowing, more being and more awareness.   

And yet so much of the time we feel a constant underlying anxiety of "Not Enough" . . . either we don't have enough or we think that we are not enough (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc)
. . . either way we feel a lack in some capacity.

In studying Patanjali's Classical Yoga I find it helpful to lump two of the Yamas (Moral Restraints) together because they both seem to stem from this anxiety of lack:

Asteya - Non-Stealing
Aparigraha - Non-Hoarding

On the surface level it seems easy to categorize these two practices.  Okay, don't steal from others and don't hoard things.  Moving on . . .

But I have found from further exploration that by following these two behaviors to their root, that within myself I feel a hollow lacking, a feeling of unworthiness . . . of simply not being enough.  And from this feeling of desperation and longing to be whole, one might be inclined to hoard or to steal, or to do many unhealthy behaviors (we each have our own personal list). 

If one believes that the Universe has a limited amount of something - money, love, food, i-pads, you name it - then one's anxiety level increases.  If one believes in unlimited abundance and that all you desperately seek can be found from an inexhaustible Source Within, then your anxiety level
GREATLY reduces!

What you seek is Within. 
Unlimited Joy!  Unlimited Abundance!  Unlimited Peace! 

Joy ~ Peace ~ Love . . . these are States of Being

Look Within . . . YOU ARE ENOUGH!


With great love,

shae




Yoga Is Awareness

Yoga is Awareness  . . .
~This is one of my favorite definitions of yoga.~ 

Yoga is not a posture . . . Yoga is your awareness within the posture. 

Yoga is awareness of what is really happening
within yourself and around yourself . . .
whether your 'posture' is Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
or the defensive 'posture' you might take in defending your opinion
(or more likely defending your ego (Ahamkara)) when dealing with others.

So as we continue the journey along Patanjali's 8-Limb Path of Classical Yoga, we can use our tool of awareness in assisting us to practice . . .

SATYA - Truthfulness    

I know in my own life practice I have repeatedly discovered that without awareness I am simply clueless to what is 'honestly' going on inside myself.
  In fact, without awareness I might even be confusing what's going on inside myself with what is happening around me . . .
projecting my own thoughts, fear and labels onto others! 

Although I have been living as Shae for 33 years, I find the most challenge in honestly discovering what's happening inside myself . . .
and then processing my discoveries without criticism or judgment . . . which is the practice of non-violence towards myself (Ahimsa)!  

So within the practice of yoga postures (Asana) we are invited to cultivate our awareness skills and discover what we're really doing with ourselves and to ourselves.  Am I pushing too hard in a posture? Am I not pushing enough?  Am I overstretching . . . under-activating?
And am I criticizing myself and comparing myself to others as I practice? 

With our awareness we can practice truthfulness (Satya). 
With truthfulness we can practice non-harming (Ahimsa).
When we are aware, we are practicing yoga.
And awareness . . . Conscious Awareness . . . is who we Truly Are.

Awareness Is Yoga

Awareness Is YOU!!


New Year . . . New You!

Yoga 101So Where Do I Start?

Welcome to 2013!

To go along with what I am teaching in my yoga group classes and to my private yoga students I am going to be blogging about yoga subjects that can assist in both beginning a yoga practice (sadhana) and in deepening an existing spiritual practice (of any kind).  Since the new year often brings the creation of a new intention (sankalpa) this might be the perfect time for you to begin your journey inwards. 

My own yoga journey began from an intellectual perspective as as one of my majors in college was Philosophy.  Although I had danced pre-professional ballet for over 15 years, it was actually yoga's approach to the mind that so intrigued me.  A brief yet profound glimpse into the philosophical/spiritual systems of Taoism (from studying the Tao Te Ching), Buddhism (from studying the Dhammapada) and Yoga (from studying Patanjali's Yoga Sutras) radically rocked my worldview.

Now I find similarities far more than differences between spiritual traditions.  Themes of compassion, forgiveness, Presence and Being are within all major religions and philosophical/spiritual practices. 

My own religious preference is LOVE.
My own spiritual practice is COMPASSION.
My own daily adventure is FORGIVENESS.

And guess who I start with first???
ME!

I strive to love myself, all of me . . .
in order to love others, all of you.

I practice compassion towards myself at all times,
in all activities. . .
so that I will be able to show others heart-felt compassion
in all circumstances.

I attempt in every moment to forgive myself
of every real and imagined fault . . .
so that I hold no resentment or anger towards any other.

~ ~ ~

My Spiritual Practice in One Word:  AHIMSA

So in my teachings for 2013 (and in my own life)I am going to begin with this yoga practice.  In the Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali over 2,000 years ago he systematized yoga into what is now referred to as 'classical yoga'.  He outlined an 8-Limb Path that could be practiced, lived and taught for all people of any culture, religion or spiritual tradition. 

Within this 8-Limb Path are the poses (asanas), but we'll get to those later, for now we're going to start with the hardest and most profound practice of all, the very first on his list:  Non-Harming (Ahimsa).

So perhaps as you begin this new year with your new intentions to create a new you this would be a great place to begin.  And perhaps the best person to start practicing with is . . . Yourself.

I invite you to practice non-harming with all forms of exercise (including yoga poses) - not too much and not too little.  I would then challenge you further to practice non-harming yourself mentally -
drop the criticism and judgment.  

The way we treat ourselves is the way we treat others.

I believe we are worthy and deserving of love and compassion.
Each and everyone of us.
It is our responsibility to love and honor ourselves . . . and in this way our entire world will transform.

Thank you for Being.  I appreciate You.

~enJOY,

shae

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