A Heart of Love made by Gail Spirit Sky
It is etiquette to turn off your cell phone upon entering a yoga studio. This practice helps us to drop into the present moment and tune into our breath, sensations and the community in the room. I’ve taken this practice off the mat and into my life. This summer I’ve dedicated Tuesdays to spending time with both my kids. During this time, I’m not checking email or Instagram, I’m present to my kids and our experiences together. Our connections have strengthened from this practice of disconnecting from the digital world and connecting to each other. We laugh and “play” together. I get to really listen to my children and bear witness to their hopes, dreams and thoughts on life. I’ve noticed how my teenage daughter is also able to stay present to us and, not check her phone every time she hears a chime signaling a new text. I notice I feel less stressed and therefore, my family is less stressed. I know this time with my kids is so precious and fleeting. I want them to know that I’m really there for them. I also want to instill a practice/habit in them that they learn to stay connected to those in front of them instead of the virtual world. I can’t help but wonder, what message are we sending our loved ones when they are trying to talk to us and, we are so focused on our phone.
Your children need your presence more than your presents. ~Jesse Jackson
“We’re living in an era where capturing moments using our phones is more important than actually living these moments with whoever is beside us.” Unknown
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Tagged breath awareness, connection, contemplative time, family time, intention, Jesse Jackson, mindful parenting, mindfulness, parenting, presence, present moment
Bhramari (pronounced brah mah REE), which means the “buzzing of the bees” according to Dr. Timothy McCall. Bhramari is a breath practice that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the calming nervous system by lengthening the exhalation. Bhramari can help reduce anxiety and bring one’s focus into the present moment. I recently taught Bhramari in my prenatal yoga classes. I often teach them pranayama practices that lengthen their exhalation to bring about a sense of calm as well as relax the muscles of the body. These practices are helpful in labor as well when a woman needs to stay calm and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Even if you’re not pregnant, you can still benefit from Bhramari breath. I invite you to give it a try.
Practice: Sitting comfortably with the natural curves of the spine, close your eyes if it’s comfortable and feel the parts of the body in contact with the floor, feel the hips resting on their support, and notice your breath moving in and out of your nose. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the nose making a humming sound. Repeat maybe 3 more times then, on the last round, cover the ears and feel how the awareness of the vibrations increases. Sit in silence for a few more breaths noticing the silence.
This is a great practice at the beginning of your meditation session to quiet the mind. Children enjoy this practice too!
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thich Nhat Hanh
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Tagged anxiety, beautiful nature, bee breath, Bhramari, breath awareness, calming breath practices, contemplative time, gentle yoga, health, healthy-living, labor techniques, meditation, mindfulness, pranayama, prenatal yoga, presence, relaxation, self-care, stress
Lately I’ve been seeing so many photos of beautiful yogis in amazing poses that I can only dream of doing. I know it is my ego causing me to feel insecure and less than. I also know that yoga is so much more than a perfect body in a perfect pose. After all I teach yoga to many populations that will never be able to attempt, Eka Pada Sirsasana, yet, they and I are still yogis and yoginis (female). Yoga is more than the practice of asanas (postures). It is also meditation and pranayama(breath practices). I believe Yoga offers a set of tools to facilitate a life lived with presence and compassion. I love yoga and am so grateful for finding yoga in my late 20’s! I love how I feel after my practice and how yoga and meditation help me to be more present and joyful in my daily life. My hope is that if you have shied away from yoga because you are not fit, flexible, or are living with a disability, you give yoga a try. Find a studio near you that offers classes based on your needs and commit for at least 28 days and notice how your practice begins to affect you physically, mentally and spiritually. It may just open your heart to yourself and the world!
“The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.”
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Tagged asanas, change, compassion, gentle yoga, healthy-living, meditation, mindfulness, pranayama, TKV Desikachar, transformation, yoga, yoga for all