Tag Archives: meditation practice

Morning Rituals

lily pad

 

In the Ayruvedic Tradition, it is recommended to start one’s day with a morning ritual.  These rituals can aid in firing up digestion, bringing about a feeling of groundedness and are overall balancing.  After attending a mini workshop on Ayurvedic Morning Rituals, I made a commitment to  myself to begin more of a routine in the morning.  I decided out of the list of Ayurvedic rituals I would start my morning with a glass of warm lemon water, oil pulling and meditation.  Previously I tried a morning meditation practice and would end up very frustrated as I would sit and worry about packing lunches and getting everybody out of the house so, I just gave up on morning meditation and started meditating in the evening.  I decided to make this work, I needed to restructure my morning.   I Pack lunches first while doing my oil pulling then, after my daughter  leaves for school,with the house still dimly lit and quiet, I meditate.  Just after 2 days, I felt more grounded and centered and, grateful for the time I gave to myself.  I look forward to my morning rituals.  I also wanted to take a moment to share that the Yoga Studio that I teach at, Yoga on High, is opening a School of Ayurveda.  Please follow the link if you are interested in learning more about this.

http://yogaandayurvedainstitute.com/school-ayurveda

What are your morning rituals?  How do you start your day off feeling centered?

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
~Ayurvedic Proverb

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Shitali Pranayama

Shitali means cooling.  I thought it fitting to share this breath practice as the humidity of summer arrives.  This pranayama practice is great for my MS students to help deal with the heat and, great for my prenatal students to lessen their nausea.  My daughter and I routinely practice Shitali Pranayama when we are feeling nauseous from hormonal changes.

Benefits: 

*Activates the liver and spleen

*Improves digestion

*Relieves thirst

*Calm  feelings of anger

*Alleviates nausea

*Can help lower fever

Shitali

 

How to:

Find a comfortable seat with the natural curves in the spine.  Stick your tongue out and curl it, if you cannot curl your tongue as this is a genetic trait, make an O shape with your lips.  Inhale through the mouth, feeling the cool air flow over the tongue then, close your mouth and exhale through your nose.  I’ve read that you should do 5 rounds of this breath in order for it to be effective and, I recently read to do no more than 10 rounds in one sitting.   However, you can practice Shitali Pranayama several times a day.

Note:  Please discontinue practice if it does not feel right for you.  Also, if you start to get a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thich Nhat Hanh

The Power of Visualization

I teach yoga to persons with disabilities where the person often has a weaker side which sometimes cannot move without assistance.  In class I often encourage them to do the pose or movement on the stronger/ dominant side first to really feel in their body how the movement feels.  I then encourage them to close their eyes and visualize the second side doing the same movement.  They will often find an increase in strength and flexibility on the weaker side.  There have been studies done on the powerful effects of visualization even for athletes.  Check out this link.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization.

One morning right before I awoke, I had a dream I was in Crane (Bakasana) Pose.  In my dream, I could feel my abdominal muscles engaging and all the muscles working that needed to work.  During my morning practice, I told my husband my dream and that I was going to see if I could do the pose, which I could not do before.  Wow, I got into the pose with ease.  I shared my experience with my students and encourage them to keep visualizing!

What is something you want for your life?  Try some visualization.  I would love to hear how it works for you!

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.”  Richard Bach 

Week 4 Meditation/Mindfulness Journey

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This week I would like to invite you to try a meditation/visualization practice.  After the birth of my daughter, 14 years ago, ( wow, really), I went through a period of my life with high anxiety.  This anxiety was keeping me from doing fun things around others and hurting my marriage.  I started seeing a psychiatrist that was more open to talk therapy, yoga and meditation.   In a session, she invited me to close my eyes and visualize a place where I felt most peaceful and joyful.  The first place that came to mind was a beautiful rose park in our town, (I wrote a previous post about this beautiful park https://yogaandinspiration.com/2012/06/).  She took me through this park  with my senses.  I found this practice so helpful and accessible to do on my own when I started feeling overwhelmed.  I often used this meditation/visualization while going to sleep which helped me drop into a deeper more restful state of sleep.  I invite you to read through this and then sit or lay down and try for yourself.  What is your most peaceful place?

See all the colors around you.

Notice any sounds you hear.

Notice the textures around you and, feel the warm sun on your skin or a soft gentle breeze blowing through your hair.

Notice any pleasant aromas in the air.

Observe how calm and peaceful you feel in this favorite place.

Find a place to sit or lay down and rest in this favorite place feeling so relaxed and safe.

May you find comfort with this practice.

The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.
– James Allen

Quiet and Alone Time

Something new and wonderful happened to me this year, I learned to enjoy my alone time!   I love to be with people and truly enjoy talking with people, this is how I get energy.  I have previously found it difficult to be alone, always making phone calls to connect with people when I found myself alone at home.  I personally felt a little rejected when I was alone.  This year marked the first year that both my children were in school all day which left me with 6 hours in which no one was home.  I am teaching yoga quite a bit so I am with people during these times, however, when I would come home for lunch or have time in the morning I truly savored the quiet.  I never turned on the television and would sit at the kitchen window while eating and enjoy the beautiful nature surrounding me.  During these quiet times I could become aware of my breath and feel grounded and content.   Now that summer vacation is upon me, I am a little mournful that I will have a lot less of this blissful alone time.  I know that in order for me to stay grounded and calm I will need to increase my meditation practice and who knows, maybe I can get my children to enjoy some quiet, contemplative time.

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh