Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sutra 1.1

Yoga is an ancient practice rooted in Eastern spirituality.  The history of yoga is vast and rich with ancient texts, personalities, and disciplines.  One of the foundational historic text on yoga is known as the Yoga Sutras.  "Sutra" is defined in Sanskrit as a set of rules or aphorisms on a specific subject. Patanjali was a sage in ancient India credited with writing the Yoga Sutras, 195 aphorisms (words of wisdom, direction, and inspiration) that teach how to live a meaningful, fulfilling life. Despite being written over 1,700 years ago, the Yoga Sutras remain as relevant to the modern yogi as their ancient counterpart. There have been hundreds of translations from this age-old Sanskrit text.  Over the next several months to a year, I am going to discuss a few of the sutras considered most relevant to today's yogi and share them with you on our blog. 

One translation of Sutra 1.1: "With humility, we embrace the sacred study of Yoga." Let's break this statement down.

With humility... the dictionary describes humility as "a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness." A few synonyms of the word humility are: shyness, demureness, docility, nonresistance, and unpretentiousness. When I examine these words what comes to mind is childlike and pure. In other words, we could begin the first statement as: "With childlike purity" or "With an open mind and heart"...

We embrace... the dictionary describes embrace as "an act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically."  A few synonyms of the word embrace are: cultivate, follow, affirm, take on and act upon. Let's translate this as: "cultivate"...

Sacred...the dictionary describes sacred as "considered worthy of spiritual respect or devotion."  A few synonyms of the word sacred are: cherished, divine, and revered.  Let's translate this as: "divine"...

Study... the dictionary describes study as "a state of contemplation." A few synonyms of the word study are: deliberation, consideration, commitment, and reflection. Let's translate this one as: "commitment"...

Of yoga...the dictionary describes yoga as "a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India."  A few synonyms of the word yoga are: harmony, equilibrium, union or unity. Let's use the translation "unity"...

And so, putting all of it together we now have our story for this month...
"With an open mind and heart, we cultivate a divine commitment to unity."

Our sassy seniors joyfully wave colorful scares in celebration of our divine commitment to practice in unity. We open our hearts to understanding unity of the body, mind, and spirit. Our hearts blossom to the realization that we are all one. 

You may say I'm a dreamer
but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
and the world will be as one.
- John Lennon


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Joyful Gratitude

We've often heard that happiness contributes to well-being. That's what we all want right, to be happy and well? Happiness is not something found outside of you. Happiness is already inside you, waiting to be discovered. Yoga can help us discover the joy that lives within us. How does it do this? By reducing our stress. Yoga increases our resilience to stress and awakens a sense of joyful gratitude. Most of our stress is caused by thoughts of something that has happened in the past or might happen in the future. Yoga helps us come into the present moment. As we move the body and become aware of the breath we let go of stress. 

This month we tune into the joy of being alive, grateful for the ability to move the body. We focus on the movements of the in-breath, opening the heart and lifting the arms, these movements cultivate a feeling of joy and gratitude. Our story; I am filled with joyful gratitude. 

We open with Breath of Joy pranayama. Breath of Joy energizes, uplifts and cleanses. It is a breathing practice that awakens your whole system. It increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream, circulates energy and detoxifies the body. It strengthens the arms and shoulders and makes you smile. 

A word of may become lightheaded. Find your rhythm. Breath of Joy is not recommended for anyone with untreated high blood pressure or any injuries of the head. 

Breath of Joy: Stand with feet hip distance apart and parallel, knees slightly bent. Inhale one-third of your lung capacity and swing your arms up in front of the body, bringing them parallel to each other at shoulder level, with the palms facing up. Continue to inhale to two-thirds of your capacity and stretch your arms out to the side at shoulder level. Inhale to full capacity and swing your arms parallel and overhead, palms face each other. Exhale completely with an open mouth audible "ha", bending the knees more deeply as you forward fold swinging your arms down and back behind you. Slowly and gently return to standing. Repeat several times and SMILE!

We invite you to take a moment to be grateful for your practice. Be grateful for whatever you may be experiencing. Be grateful for all you have accomplished and all who have helped along the way. Be grateful for where you are on your joy-filled journey. 

Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu...May all beings be happy, free and JOYOUS!

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Available now on Amazon!

The Impossible Dream; a Yoga Storytelling Adventure, our kid's yoga story book has successfully launched.  We are so excited...may The Impossible Dream travel far and wide and may children everywhere realize that, "Nothing is Impossible!"

The Impossible Dream is available for purchase here on our blog, just click on the Amazon link. If you go to Amazon directly use the entire title for the search, The Impossible Dream; a Yoga Storytelling Adventure. The book is also available on our website, we would love for you to visit.

If you purchase a copy for yourself please leave a review at Amazon. Remember, Christmas is just around the corner and The Impossible Dream would make a great gift! If you purchase the book as a gift we would welcome a review from the recipient too. Thanks in advance for the complimentary reviews. We are forever grateful.

p.s. The book will soon be available for schools and libraries to purchase through Ingram/Baker and Taylor. Woohoo!

Please "like" and "share."

Kathe Hudson and Melanie Moyer
Yoga Teachers, Storytellers, Authors