Eres divino!

Una parte fundamental de la filósofia del yoga que yo conozco es la existencia de Isvara, ó sea, La Conciencia Universal Pura.  Cuando limpiamos la mente, limpiamos el  aparato con lo que nuestra conciencia personal pura, purusha, percibe el mundo .  Central a nuestra teoría es la idea que cada ser humano lleva dentro de si una chispa de la Conciencia Universal Pura. Por lo cual, cada persona es divino.

No lo olvidaís!  Sois divinos!

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A few days away

Namasté.  I went this weekend with my yoga group to the Sierra de Mariola, near Alcoy.  A lovely break, it was.  We stayed at a lovely casa rural called “Casa Bons Aires.”    If you should chance to visit the Font Roja region of Alicante, I highly recommend a visit.

The theme of our studies was pranayama, but the unintentional theme was sound.  We chanted the Gayatri mantra in the vedic form as a group.  We sang some bhakti mantras together, with yours truly on guitar.  We laughed our asses off over supper.  The rooster crowed us awake in the morning.  Claudia the donkey brayed.  Water flowed and gushed.  Gases erupted unexpectedly in down dog (adho mukha svanasana).  We practiced bhramhari pranayama.  We had fun…ananda!  Santosha!

There really is nothing like a few days away to recharge your batteries.  “Cambiar el aire” as the Spanish say.  Although I arrived home tired, I feel like I’ve had a month of holidays!

Meanwhile. have a listen to Wade Imre Morrissette sing the Tara Mantra.    I went to High School with this fellow.  I must admit that I would not have imagined him ending up chanting sanskrit mantras!  Wahey Guru!!

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

When I’m not studying yoga, or practicing yoga, or writing about yoga (who ever said Geminis flit from one thing to another?), I earn my living as a massage therapist.  I am really and truly grateful to my profession – I am one of the lucky few to do a job I truly love, and which brings more joy to the world.  A little less pain brings a few more smiles and smiles are always contagious!

I work a lot with the Vodder method of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.  MLD is a therapy that is taught and researched mainly in Germany and Austria.  Every two years I renew my license, but other than those 4 training days, I have no contact with other MLD therapists.  The big problem is that there are very few of us.  In Spain, MLD is taught to all physiotherapists, and they will all say that they know the technique.  With all due respect and humility, I beg to differ.  I have seen too many cases of automated compression sleeves, heavy manual pressure, inadequate compression bandaging and simple bad advice to feel confident in the training of most physios in my neck of the woods.  The thing is, MLD is a highly specialised therapy.  Even many people trained correctly can’t master the technique.  It is very subtle, repetitive and quiet.  But, done correctly, MLD works like nothing else for edemas, be they lymphatic or venous in origin.

So, today, I treated a German lady’s legs.  She receives weekly MLD sessions in Germany because of diagnosed medical problems.  Germany is where it’s at with respect to MLD, and the therapists there are highly skilled and highly competent.  And after my treatment, the lady practically jumped off the bed, smiling from ear to ear, hugged me and said that my drainage was very very good!  Can I tell you how proud and happy that made me feel?  YAY!!!!

Listen

If we are united by any one thing, it is suffering. Suffering is the most universal of human experiences. It touches us all, rich, poor, young, old, beautiful and plain. We are united by grief and cruelty and random injustice. We are united by our reactions to these things – anguish, guilt, rejection and disbelief. None of us expects anything bad to befall us, and we almost all manifest pure surprise when a loved one dies or a partner mistreats us.

 

When we take time to listen to others, we hear first the stories of suffering. Aches and pains and deceptions are cast about and compared. It can be tiring to listen to such words. In situations such as these, it is important to remember where your personal boundaries lie. You can protect your energetic field from contamination by practising yoga, meditation t’ai chi or qi gong. You can project compassion through the eyes without offering a word. In fact, silent compassion, true listening, usually helps cease the flow while reassuring the speaker that they have been heard. Remember, most people feel that no one listens to them. This is the gateway to complaint. When we carry our burdens alone, they feel much heavier. When we share them, they weight less. By actively listening, without offering advice or, worse, belittling the complaint (“Oh, that’s terrible, but think of how much worse it could be…”) we give space for grievances while neither accepting them as ours to resolve, nor rejecting them as insignificant.

Breathing

Namasté.  You are probably aware that yoga pays  very special attention to the breath.  It is considered that the breath is the link between body and mind.  The first three angas (limbs) of yoga are concerned with the outer world.  Then comes pranayama, acting as a link from the outer to the inner realms.

Of course, we are all breathing, right now.  But some of us are breathing more efficiently than others.  Efficient breathing is slow and deep.  Slow and deep breathing is very relaxing to mind and body.  When we are well hydrated and have a good supply of oxygen in our blood, our muscles relax.  When our bellies are relaxed and the diaphragm can descend into the abdomen, we feel relaxed.  Deep breathing is one of the easiest and most effective health remedies that I have ever come across.  And best of all, it’s free!  (Of course, you may decide to part with your cash in order to learn pranayama from a qualified teacher, but the basic principles are gratis.)  Why not surf over to breathing.com and take their breathing tests?  The results may prove interesting.

There are three basic forms of breathing:  chest, belly and paradoxical.  In chest breathing, the lungs and chest expand due to the action of the intercostal muscles, not the diaphragm.  This is an inefficient, and very common form of breathing and results in the higher rate of breathing (more breaths are needed to bring in oxygen).  Belly breathing is the correct form of breathing – the diaphragm pulls down, the lungs expand both their lower and upper lobes and a full, deep breath is taken.  Paradoxical breathing is interesting because it seems to be associated with states of nervous anxiety.     The abdominal muscles are rigid, preventing the diaphragm from descending.  Therefore, although the lungs are inflating, the chest muscles are needed to expand the thorax because the diaphragm is pulling up.  It is called paradoxical because the normal movements of breathing (inflate abdomen on inhale, deflate on exhale) are reversed.  Odd, eh?

Hymn to the Divine Mother

This song is transformative in its power and beauty.  A link, and the text.  Om.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ0h1sb1IFI

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Parashakti Sundari

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Mahamaye Mangale

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Mahakali Bhairavi

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Mahalakshmi Vaishnavi

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Ma Sarasvati Brahmi

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Durga Devi Shankari

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Uma Parvati Shive

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Ma Bhavani Ambike

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Annapurna Lakshmi Ma

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasya Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Kamala Katyayani

Namastastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah

Ma Amba Lalitha Devi

Tvam Tripura Sundari

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasya Namo Namah

The yoga of patience, part II

Patience is a quality associated with the root chakra, the Muladhara chakra.  The root chakra is associated with the element Earth.  Earth changes slowly and deliberately.  I’ve never seen a rock looking at a clock!

As I began to write yesterday, patience has an element of faith in the unknown.  When we are impatient, we allow the intellect and the ego to (attempt to) determine our course . We don’t tend to wait and see…we manipulate and cajole in order to secure our chosen outcome.

When one has faith, it’s easier to have patience.  In Yoga Sutra 1.19-1.20, Patanjali describes the two types of aspirants, characterizing the majority as requiring faith, as well as other characteristics.  When there is a deep faith in the course one is following, patience naturally follows.  Why rush? one thinks, my time will come.

Indeed it will.  Have faith, be patient, still your mind and follow your course.  Be true to your heart and your intuition. If in doubt, be kind and don’t fear, wait and see what happens. It will probably be better than you imagined.  Faith.  Patience.